Ecclesiastical Details

Diocese of Darjeeling
Heirarchy of the Diocese
Population: 2300000
Catholics: 27481
Diocesan Priests: 85
  Total area:
43000 Sq. km
Religious Priests: 35
Religious Sisters:
Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary & St. Teresa of the Child Jesus
  Languages: Nepali Bhutanese Lepcha Sikkimese Tibetan English
  Civil States:

West Bengal: Three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district: Darjeeling Kurseong and Kalimpong Sikkim: Kingdom of Bhutan: Entire country

Contact Diocese of Darjeeling:
Bishop's House 13 Dr. Yen Singh Road Darjeeling ? 734 101 WEST BENGAL
Telephone 1:
0354-22 54 025 / 22 54 929
22 54 929
E-Mail Office:
Most Rev. Stephen Lepcha, Bishops of Darjeeling
Most Rev. Stephen Lepcha
Bishops     E-mail (P):
Canonical Possession:
    Telephone (P): 0354-22 54 027
Other Present & Retired Ordinaries of the Diocese of Darjeeling
Pilgrim Centres in theDiocese of Darjeeling
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Physically Challenged:
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Nurseries/Pre-Primary :
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          Aged & Destitute: 3        
History of the Diocese of Darjeeling
The Diocese of Darjeeling was erected on August 8th 1962 and was formed by separating Darjeeling District from the Church of Calcutta and joining it to the Prefecture Apostolic of Sikkim. In November 1997 the church in the sub-division of Siliguri was separated from Darjeeling Diocese to form the new diocese of Bagdogra. The present Darjeeling Diocese consists of the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling the State of Sikkim and the Kingdom of Bhutan.

The Church first came to Darjeeling with the Irish Loreto Sisters in 1846 soon after the opening of the hill station of Darjeeling. The area was then under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Bishop Hartman of Patna diocese and was staffed by Capuchins who were mostly Italians. In 1886 when the hierarchy was established in India the area comprising the present sub-divisions of Darjeeling Kurseong and Siliguri and the State of Sikkim was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Calcutta and came under the care of the Jesuits from Belgium.

In 1889 a theologate for the Society of Jesus called St. Mary's College was started at Kurseong. Up to the end of 1971 when it was transferred to Delhi the College contributed much to the expansion work in the district. Memkorable among the missionaries of that time are Father M. W??ry who worked in Kurseong from 1932 to 1957 and is known today as the 'Apostle of the Nepalese' and Father A. Bossaerts who started the first station in the terai at Gayaganga in 1933 where he died in 1945 after years of service to the tribal laboureres brought from Chota Nagpur to work on the tea gardens in the plains.

In 1946 the English-speaking Jesuits of the Upper Canada Province came to the assistance of the Belgian Jesuits. They gradually took over the administration of the area and in 1956 the Darjeeling Region of the Calcutta Province was created and this became a province of the Society of Jesus in 1997.

Kalimpong & Sikkim

In the Kalimpong area work started in 1883 when the Fathers of the Foreign Missions of Paris settled down in Pedong with the hope of getting into Tibet via the Chumbi Valley. The Kalimpong sub-division which was then known as 'British Bhutan' was attached to the Vicariate Apostolic of Lhasa and named 'Southern Tibet Mission'. Prominent among the French Missionaries and a pioneer and scholar in Tibetan was Fr A. Desgodins who founded Pedong.

In 1929 the territory was separated from Tibet to form an Independent Mission within the ecclesiastical province of Calcutta. In 1931 Sikkim was added to it and thus the 'Prefecture Apostolic of Kalimpong-Sikkim' came into existence with Msgr Jules Douhanel as its first Prefect Apostolic.

In 1935 the French Fathers handed the files over to the Canons Regular of Swiss Congregation of St Maurice of Agaune ("CR's") and in 1937 Msgr Aurelio Gianora was appointed its new Prefect Apostolic. Twenty five years later in 1962 he handed the territory over to Bishop Eric Benjamin the First Bishop of the newly erected diocese.


The Kingdom of Bhutan was separated from the Diocese of Tezpur and included in the Diocese of Darjeeling in 1975 by a Decree of the S.C. for the Evangelization of Peoples ('Qua Facilius' No. 217/75 20.1.1975)
Prelates of the Diocese of Darjeeling