The history of the Diocese goes back to early 17th century. In the year 1606, Diocese of Cochin established a mission in Madurai named Mission “sui iuris” of Madura. However, this mission activity was suppressed in the year 1773. During the later period of suppression, the mission was well taken care of by Bishop Louis-Charles-Auguste Hebert, MEP (1836) and Bishop Clement Bonnand MEP (1836-1850). Then in 1846, Pope Gregory XIV restored the Mission named as Mission “sui iuris” of Madura and Coromandel Coast and made Madurai into an Apostolic Prefecture. The Coromandel Coast was from the Diocese of Sao Tome of Meliapore (Santhome of Mylapore). In 1846, it was raised to an Apostolic Vicariate and entrusted to the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. On September 1, 1886 the Vicariate became a Diocese with the Episcopal residence, fixed at Tiruchirappalli with Msgr. Alexis Canoz S.J., (1846-1888) as its first Bishop and came to be called the DIOCESE OF TIRUCHIRAPPALLI. He was succeeded by Msgr. John Barthe, S.J., (1890-1913) and later by Msgr. Augustine Faisandier, S.J., (1914-1935).
In 1923, Pope Pius XI separated the south-eastern part of the Diocese, known as the Fishery Coast and created the Diocese of Tuticorin. In 1938, another division was made by Pope Pius XII and the Diocese of Madurai was formed. The then bishop of Tiruchirappalli, Msgr. J.P. Leonard, S.J., (1936-1938) was transferred to the new See and the Diocese of Tiruchirappalli was handed over to the Diocesan Clergy with Msgr. James Mendonca (1938-1970) as its first Indian Bishop. When Msgr. James Mendonca retired in 1971, Msgr. Thomas Fernando was transferred from Tuticorin to the Diocese of Tiruchirappalli.
Rev. Fr. Sengole Lawrence Gabriel was consecrated as the Bishop of Tiruchirappalli, on 30th December 1990. At his request, Bishop Gabriel was relieved from the responsibility of the See of Tiruchirappalli and Bishop Peter Fernando, the Co-adjutor Bishop of Tuticorin was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator on the 14th October1997.
Bishop Antony Devotta was consecrated and took charge as the See of Tiruchirappalli on 28th January, 2001. In 2003, the Vicariate of Dindigul was bifurcated and the new Diocese of Dindigul was formed on the 28th December 2003 with Bishop Antony Pappusamy as its first Bishop.
St.Mary’s Cathedral:

In the city of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India, St. Mary’s Cathedral, popularly known as “ Mother of Good Health” in vernacular “Arockiya Matha”, occupies a unique place not only it is one of the oldest Churches in Tamil Nadu but had been the “Mother Church” of five Dioceses bifurcated out of its jurisdiction during these 175 years of its existence since 1839.

The Church itself was built by a Jesuit missionary Fr. Louis Carnier. It was on the 29th June 1841, on the occasion of the feast of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, with the morning sun rising in the east in its glowing splendor, Bishop Bernard Clement of Pondicherry in a solemn ceremony dedicated the Church to Our Lady. The paintings in the roof depicting the martyrdom of holy men and women of Nero persecution were done by Br. De’ Noircourt between the years 1893 to 1898. It has served 175 long years. Due to irreparable cracks and leaks developed over the years, the Diocese decided to  construct a New Cathedral in the year 2010.
The foundation stone was blessed on the 30th January 2011, on the occasion and the celebration of the 125 year of the erection of the Diocese and the 10th Episcopal anniversary of Bishop Antony Devotta.  The actual work commenced on the 15th August 2011 – the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. The initial estimate was made for Rs 9 crores ( 90 million) and the plan of completion would be in two and a half years time. However, the construction went on for about three and little more than a half years (44 months). Meanwhile, the estimate also has steadily gone up to Rs 15 crores (150 million). There were many thrilling and hair raising experiences during these period of construction. Yes, I believe strongly that it is Our Lord and Our Mother Mary did the construction using all of us as their powerful instruments. Work started practically with nothing… Rs 50 lakhs before an estimate of Rs 9 crores. It went on steadily and smoothly without any problems until we had an accident at the site on the 19th May 2014. The scaffolding has given way and 22 were injured and there was one casualty. The work was slowed down for about couple of weeks and then picked its momentum.
And finally, the day has come… the much expected day of Consecration and Dedication 3rd May 2015. A massive gathering of more than 30,000 people irrespective of their religious affinity assembled in the courtyard of Cathedral. All roads around the Cathedral and the roads leading to various directions to the city were thronged with people.
Archbishop of Madras – Mylapore  George Antonysamy was the main celebrant. The Cathedral was blessed and opened by Our Bishop Antony Devotta and the Altar was consecrated by Archbishop Emeritus of Madurai Peter Fernando and the installation of Word of God by Bishop of Kumbakonam F. Antonysamy and the installation of Blessed Sacrament by Bishop of Chengalpet Neethinathan and the offering of the time capsule – containing the details of the donors and the workers by Bishop of Marthandom Vincent Mar Paulos. It was placed at the feet of Our Lady after a prayer by Rev. Fr. T. Eugene, the Rector and the Parish Priest of  Cathedral.
Our sincere thanks and appreciations to all those contributed – people, religious congregations, religious and priests of the Diocese and all over, Donors agencies and friends abroad – and all those worked with dedications and perfect involvement. we place in record the kind of support received from our Bishop Antony Devotta and the consultations and guidance from Msgr P. Thomas Paulsamy, the Vicar General and Rev.Fr. S. R. Antonysamy, the Chancellor. May Our Lord and Our Mother Mary bless us all.
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