The diocese of Varanasi was formerly the Prefecture of Banaras-Gorakhpur. It was separated from the diocese of Allahabad in the year 1947 when the Canadian Capuchins took charge of the prefecture in the month of Feb. 1947. The Prefect Apostolic assmumed the duties on Aug. 6, 1947. Msgr. Jerome Malenfant Ofm Cap, was the Prefect Apostolic of Banaras-Gorakhpur from 1947 to 1970. In June 1970 Prefecture Apostolic was erected into the diocese of Varanasi and was given to the diocesan clergy. Most Rev. Patrick D'Souza was appointed the first Bishop of Varanasi.
With a land area of 21,436 square kilometers, the Varanasi diocesan territory covers the Civil districts of Varanasi, Azamgarh, Mau, Jaunpur, Ravidasnagar, Chandauli, Ballia and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. The dioceses of Gorakhpur (North), Bettiah (North-East), Buxer (East), and Allahabad (West) are the immediate neighbors of the dioceses of Varanasi.
Varanasi which is known as Kashi or Banaras is the oldest living city in India. The world heritage of Sarnath in Varanasi where the Lord Buddha the founder of Buddhism delivered his first sermon and got his followers after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya in Bihar. The holy site of Buddhism, holy temples and Holy River Ganges attracts pilgrims from all over India and overseas as well. The present Cathedral, which was blessed on Feb 11, 1993 is one of the unique places of worship in the temple city of Varanasi. The Bible exhibition running in its basement, through out the year, draws people of other faiths.
Besides the 8 district cities, the people live in rural areas. Agriculture is the main occupation in the area. The Gangetinc plain yields paddy, wheat, maize, gram etc. Weaving of Carpet and Sari are the major tradings in this area.
Hindi, English, Urdu and Bhojpuri are the main spoken languages in this area. Dialect Bhojpuri is mostly spoken in rural areas.