Ecclesiastical Details

Diocese of Varanasi
Heirarchy of the Diocese
Population: 25,333,230
Catholics: 17711
Diocesan Priests: 139
  Total area:
Religious Priests: 48
Religious Sisters:
Ss.John the Baptist Fidelist Martyr
  Languages: Hindi Bhojpuri and Urdu.
  Civil States:

Uttar Pradesh: Varanasi Azamgarh Ballia Bhadohi Chandauli Ghazipur Jaunpur and Mau

Contact Diocese of Varanasi:
Bishop's House 45-Varanasi Cantt. Varanasi 221 002 UTTAR PRADESH
Telephone 1:
0542-25 04 235 25 02 761 / 0542-25 02 767
25 02 767
E-Mail Office:
Most Rev. Eugene Joseph, Bishops of Varanasi
Most Rev. Eugene Joseph
Bishops     E-mail (P):
Canonical Possession:
    Telephone (P): 0542-25 00 043
Other Present & Retired Ordinaries of the Diocese of Varanasi
Pilgrim Centres in theDiocese of Varanasi
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          Aged & Destitute: 1        
History of the Diocese of Varanasi
Though a small diocese Varanasi Diocese is in a significant way a picture of Mother India. The very name of this Holy City conjures up the apex of the spirit's endeavour in Hinduism. Sarnath reminds of Dharm Chakr Parivartan of the Buddha. To the West and to the East Jaunpur and Ghazipur evoke to mind a pair of twin and refined kingdoms of the Muslim era. To the Catholic eyes this Diocese appears as the latest outcome of the Capuchin missionary endeavour to Tibet in the 1700's an epic in the history of the Church.
Following the suppression of the Jesuits Rome added (1784) the Mission of North Western India to the Prefecture of Golconda in-formally called Tibet Hindustan. The amalgamation put the Capuchins in charge of a territory extending from Sikkim to the Indus river and from Himalayas to the Narmada river some three million square kilometers. The French Revolution and its 25 years of turmoil had dried up its very source the flow of men and means; from 1817 to 1822 only three hapless priests manned half the sub-continent. British India monopolized the missionaries as military and railway chaplains leaving but few for the direct apostolate. The wonder is that the work went ahead; in 1820 the Prefecture became a Vicariate Apostolic with its see at Agra.
1845 marks the beginning of the long process of divisions and sub-divisions which out of the Tibet Hindustan immensity was to carve not less that thirty ecclesiastical units of Northern India. In this year Rome effected the first partition: Vicariate Apostolic of Agra and the Vicariate Apostolic of Patna. The titular of the late Bishop Hartmann ofm cap. a saintly individual revealed himself an exceptional prelate. On the establishment of the Hierarchy in India (1886) Patna Vicariate became Diocese with its centre shifted to Allahabad. It is the latest dismemberment of this Allahabad Diocese which heralded the coming of the Varanasi Diocese.
Prefecture Apostolic of Gorakhpur:

On July 11 1946 Rome removed from the jurisdiction of Allahabad its Eastern Districts and erected them into the Prefecture Apostolic of Gorakhpur entrusted to the French Canadian Capuchins. The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Jerome Malenfant ofm cap assumed his duties as Prefect on August 6 1947.
Actually the work 'ad paganos' in this area had been launched by bold and zealous diocesan priests of Allahabad the mother Church of this region in the 1930's. Fr Pascal Sinha from Azamgarh opened Shahganj (1934); Fr Francis Pillai from Gorakhpur initiated the centre of Rasra (1936); Fr Charles Mascarenhas from Ghazipur started Hartmannpur Mission (1938).
Two Religious Congregations supported and extended this missionary apostolate. The Franciscan Brothers of Mount-Poinsur were the pioneers in most of its Stations. Such was their single mindedness that they had barred any of their members from the priesthood with the specific purpose of keeping off the chaplaincies' snare in order to plunge soul and body into evangelization. The Sisters of the Queen of the Apostles specialised in a single idea; doing everything anywhere which can be called 'missionary'. During 23 years of this stage they remained the only Sisters in the villages the main-stay of the feminine apostolate the only queenly touch in an otherwise rugged life.
As for the Canadian Capuchins once they joined the ministry they set their hearts at deepening the furrows intensifying the sowing with a signature all their own a marked stress on adaption Fr Edmond one of the rare Catholic doctors in Hindusthani Music stands out as a typical illustration : his 'summer school of Hindusthani Music' prepared successfully clergy and laity from over 15 Indian dioceses and some from Bangladesh and SriLanka for the degrees of Prayag Sangeet Samiti. May not this have something to do with an obvious fact?. The Church of the North happened to be ready at the close of Vatican Council to apply the guidelines of inculturation at once and without ado.
Diocese of Varanasi:

A few dates may complete this sketch. 1958 brought about a whiff of change: The Prefect took residence in this Holy City and the Prefecture accordingly got its name changed into "Banares-Gorakhpur". 1967 remains the year of the true relay. Five main stations passed into the hands of the diocesan clergy. Everything had been brought up to a logical readiness: the organizational development 10000 Catholics in 13 residential Stations 20 diocesan priests already ordained. The dressers of the Lord's vineyard felt possessed by a swelling expectation.
The final change of the pioneering Prefecture occured in the middle of 1970 : on June 5 Rome raised the Prefecture in to a Diocese (Diocese of Varanasi) committed to the care of the diocesan clergy. As its first Bishop Rome selected Fr. Patrick D'Souza a priest of the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur and Deputy Secretary General of the C.B.C.I. As for the Prefect he lived hes 'Nunc Dimittis' in Varanasi fondly watching the blossoming of the mustard seed he had showed till the lord enthroned him (1976) at His eternal Banquet.
The fulness of status of this local Church has brought in it a burst of life. The priest number 130 among them 86 diocesan ones; Religious Congregations are gone up to 26; seven of men and nineteen of women. The 13 parishes and mission stations with residential priests of 1970 have become 35 in 2001.
In October 1984 three districts above the Ghagra i.e. Deoria Gorakhpur and Basti were separated and erected into the Diocese of Gorakhpur.
Prelates of the Diocese of Varanasi
Bishop NamePrelate DesignationPeriodBishop NamePrelate DesignationPeriod
Bp. Raphy Manjali 2007 Bp. Patrick PaulD?Souza 1970-2007
Bp. Joseph EmilMalenfantOFM Cap 1947-1970