Mangalorean Recipes

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Maharashtra, the third largest state in India, was created in 1960, from the Marathi-speaking regions of what was previously Bombay State.   The state has a 720-km coastline.    Running parallel to the coast are the Western Ghats, which harbor some of the more scenic and inviting hill stations - particularly Matheran and Mahabaleshwar  

The weather is pleasant from November to February.  Summers are warm.  The rainy season starts from  mid-June  till mid-September.

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This is the capital of Maharashtra and as well  as  the second city of India.  Being the economic powerhouse of India,  Mumbai is the most industrialized city in the country .Originally, it comprised of seven islands: Colaba, Fort, Byculla, Parel, Worli, Matunga and Mahim.  Under the British rule, they were joined and connected to the northern land mass known as Salcette, the lower tip starting at Bandra.

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1524 Chaul, formerly an important city and seaport lay along the coast some 25 miles south of Bombay. In 1516 the Portuguese had already built a small factory at Revdanda close by, and in 1521 obtained permission from the Nizam-ul-Mulk to build a fortress, which was completed in 1524. Thereupon, the Portuguese missionaries commenced building churches at Chaul.

1526 The Portuguese first visited the coast of Bassein (Vasai) in 1509. But it was only in 1526 that they were able to establish a factory there; but they could not hold it securely.

1534 The islands of Bassein, Salsette, Bombay and Karanja were ceded to the Portuguese by the Ruler of Gujarat, on board the galleon "St Mathew".   The archdiocese of Goa was created in the same year and the whole of the Western Coast around Bombay formed part of that archdiocese. It was governed by a Vicar General of the North whose headquarters were in Bassein and represented the Archbishop of Goa till the Marathas regained the territory in 1739,

The Franciscans, arrived in India in 1500, and were the first to establish churches in Bassein, Salsette, Bombay, Karanja and Chaul. Then the Jesuits, arrived in Goa   with St. Francis Xavier, on May 6, 1542.  They served on the western coast from Chaul to Damaun, leaving Bombay Island to the Franciscans.   Besides these the Dominicans and the Augustinians too came as missionaries to serve the west coast.

From 1622, different Congregations were enlisted and sent to India, Malacca, Siam, China, etc. under the leadership of Vicars-Apostolic, i.e. Titular Bishops who received directly from the Holy See jurisdiction to work in certain regions assigned to them within the somewhat indeterminate boundaries of existing dioceses.

Bombay passes to the British

1665 The Bombay island passed into the hands of the British. The British East India company,  had secured a factory in Surat in 1611.  By exploiting the Marriage Treaty of 1661 between Charles the II of England and the Infanta of Portugal  they exploited the strategic trading possibilities Bombay offered.

At the time of the transfer, the situation of the church on the Bombay island was as follows:

a) The Franciscans were the sole missionaries on the island; they were in charge of St Michael Church, Mahim, Our Lady of Salvation Church( Salvacao) Lower Mahim, Our Lady of Glory ( Gloria) Church , Mazagon and Our Lady of Hope (Esperanca) Church, Fort.

b)  The Jesuits of Bandra administered some property at Parel, with a chapel attached, which they had acquired in 1620 or thereabouts. There was but one Jesuit at Parel. The Church on Bombay Island continued to be under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa.

On February 14, 1689, Bombay was invaded by Sidi Yacut of Janjira, about 26 miles to the south of Bombay as a retaliation against the British who had seized and carried off to Bombay several ships of the Sidi which were laden with cloth and corn.  The  British accused the Jesuits of collusion with the Sidi and summarily confiscated their Parel property.  The Jesuits made attempts to get the property back but failed.  A tablet was set up in 1719 by  Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, during the inauguration of  the Haffkine Institute which was built on the former Jesuit property   The inscription began :  " This building was once a chapel in the possession of the Jesuit Fathers from whom it was accquired in 1719...." - ignoring the fact  that it was confiscated as a punishment.

The British also decreed the expulsion of the Portuguese Franciscans from the Bombay Island on May 24, 1720 as they suspected the secret designs of the Portuguese in Goa  to recover Bombay for the Crown of Portugal.   On the other hand they did not want to openly break the solemn promise they had made that they would not interfere with the religious beliefs or practices of the Catholic inhabitants of the island. when they took over Bombay from the Portuguese.

The shrewd British circumvented and approached the Vicar-Apostolic of the Great Moghul, the Italian Carmelite Bishop Fra Mauritius, who was the Papal Legate,  to take charge of the Catholic Community in Bombay.  Rome approved the entry of the Carmelites into Bombay since the British were determined on getting rid of the Portuguese Franciscans.  Thus the Franciscans left Bombay and Bishop Mauritius with four or five Carmelites came to Bombay and took charge of churches vacated by the Franciscans.    

Padroado Controversy

The civil and ecclesiastical authorities in Portugal and Goa openly declared that the Vicar-Apostolic had no spiritual jurisdiction, and the clergy and laity were told to have nothing to do with him.  To understand this litigation one should understand the legal status of those times.

(1)  Padroado is the Portuguese word for " Patronage" which essentially consisted in the privilege of nominating a candidate for some ecclesiastical office -- in this case the Bishop of the diocese.  When it is given to a king, it is called a Royal Patronage which was exercised when the diocese of Goa was erected in 1534 and the right of patronage  extended to all the places discovered or yet to be discovered by the Portuguese!

In the history of the Archdiocese, Portuguese insistence on exercising the right of patronage clashed with the missionary efforts of the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith whose representative was the Italian Carmelite Bishop Fra Mauritius : Hence the "Padroado- Propaganda" conflict.

(2) Regium Placitum This referred to the claim of the Portuguese Government to exercise censorship on Papal Bulls, Briefs, Decrees or Instructions communicated to Bishops or clergy in such a way that unless they bore the signature or sanction of the King, they could not legally be introduced, accepted, published or put into execution within the kingdom.

Thus India and the colonies, were the playground for the Europeans to fight out their rivalries back home.   During this time, Reformation had broken out, and England and Holland had broken away from Rome, with some of the German princes.   The British therefore did not feel obliged to follow the agreements entered into by the Pope.

1720-1789 were the period of exile.   

While the foreign clergy left, the secular priests remained but refused to obey and looked to Goa for instructions.   The British played their diplomatic games, by preventing certain Vicars from entering Bombay and finally the matter was settled in 1772

The post exile period (1772- 1789):

 Fra Charles of St. Conrad (1772- 1785) assumed the spiritual direction of the 4 Churches of Bombay and lived in the house attached to the Fort chapel in Medows Street (close to the site of the present - day " Examiner Press ").

Trouble continued brewing in Bombay: a body of lay people complained to the government about the administration of the Churches, the Carmelites, divided among themselves, were at loggerheads with their parishioners, and gave dissatisfaction to the secular clergy.

Fra Angelino of St. Joseph (1785-1786) died on his way to India. Bishop Victorinus of St. Mary appointed Vicar Apostolic in 1789, was not allowed to take up his office in Bombay. Instead, he was ordered by the British authorities that the claim of the Archbishop of Goa has been admitted and that the Carmelites have to evacuate their premises in Bombay. February 18, 1789 marks the temporary end of the Carmelites in Bombay.

(1789-1791) Under Goan Jurisdiction: This change in British Policy was dictated by political events. When the British invited the Carmelites to Bombay, they looked upon the Portuguese as undesirable neighbours and political enemies. However, in the next 60 years. Portuguese power in India rapidly declined. Further, Bassein was wrested from them by the Marathas and Salsette ( 1739- 1740 ) passed into the British hands in 1774. From that time onwards there was no longer any danger of the Portuguese aggressive designs on Bombay. Hence the British were in a position to restore the spiritual jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa in Bombay.

(1791 - 1793) Under Carmelite Jurisdiction: Two years later, the situation was reversed and on September 1, 1791 Fra Victorinus took possession of Esperanca Church. During the concluding years of Bishop Victorinus, administration (1791-1793) there were no public disturbances between the followers of the Carmelites and those of the Archbishop of Goa. But the latter were still reconciled with the current state of affairs. A counter - petition was made for the restoration of the Goa jurisdiction. This sounded the death - knell of the one - jurisdiction period in Bombay and was instrumental in bringing about the Double Jurisdiction in 1794.

Double Jurisdiction, a British Idea: On June 25,1793 the Court of Directors of East Indian Company in England wrote to Bombay : " To us it is immaterial who may officiate in the Roman Catholic churches of your Presidency, provided the inhabitants of that persuasion are satisfied and that the Pastor and his flock conform to the orders and regulations of the Government, and conduct themselves as good and faithful subjects. In order, therefore to reconcile all parties… we direct that two among the Carmilite mission and the other two by the Portuguese priests. They ( the Catholic inhabitants ) will be thus at full liberty to exercise their religious worship under the direction of such pastors as they may think proper."  

This calamitous solution was a result of lack of  unity and peace within Catholic community in Bombay. as well as the confusion in the understanding of theological dimensions of the Church as a whole by laymen and priests.

The Churches bin Bombay were distributed in the following manner :

To Padroado and the Archbishop of Goa went :

(1) Gloria Church, Mazagaon

(2) Salvacao Church, Lower Mahim

(3) O.L.of Health chapel, Cavel

(4) The private chapel in Mazagaon at the home of Miguel de Lima e Souza

To Propaganda and the Vicar - Apostolic went :

(1) Esperanca Church, Fort

(2) St. Micheal, Upper Mahim

(3) St. Teresa chapel, Girgaum

(4) (4) St. Anne chapel, Mazagaon

(5) Fort Chapel ( attached to the residence of the Vicar Apostolic )

The period of Double Jurisdiction (1794- 1928)

( A) From Peter of Alcantra to bishop Hartmann (1794- 1850)

(1796-1838) The administration of Bishop Peter of Alcantara was a long period of stormy skies with only an occasional ray of sunshine breaking through. The double jurisdiction far from healing the breach between the Archbishop of Goa and the Vicar-Apostolic of Bombay was the source of increasing evils.

(1796-1839) On the one hand, the establishment of the Double Jurisdiction in Bombay threw the door open to interference on the path of the British Government in Bombay in the religious life of the Catholic community. Thus, the Government claimed the right of sanction in the appointment of parish priest in Bombay and the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Goa. Further, it claimed not only the right to appoint the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Goa but also to tell him where to reside.

On the other hand, the Catholic laity were quick to learn of the new status that Government had given them, according to which they were to be consulted on religious matters. It was not necessary to tell them twice that they were the real masters of their parish priests, safe from Episcopal censure. The result in many respects was disastrous: they determined not only whether they would be under Padroado or Propaganda, but also the parish priests they wanted.

1838: In 1828, civil war broke out in Portugal between King Dom Miguel and the party of Queen Maria da Gloria. Dom Miguel, to whom the Religious Orders lent moral and financial support, was defeated, and the new government not only suppressed all Religious Orders in Portugal but also broke off diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1833.

Pope Gregory XVI issued the Brief `Multa Praeclare', on April 24, 1838, in which he confirmed the Vicars- Apostolic in their office, extended their field of work and deprived the Padroado clergy of all jurisdiction within the established Vicariates.

When Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama sailed, the Pope had divided the lands which they would find between Spain and Portugal as compensation for their efforts.   This legal ownership, led to misunderstanding in the jurisdictions of Faith and King's  wealth and eventual led separation of Church and State.   The Protestant Kingdoms felt no obligation to follow the Pope's division, so they went on the principle "first come first served - everything is just in the name of 'self-interest'    This philosophy guides them even till today, when they decide to invade others.

The authorities in Goa rejected the Papal Brief: though Portugal had broken off diplomatic relations with Rome, they claimed that since the Brief had not received the ``Regium placet'', it was null and void!

1839: At this critical moment, Bishop Peter of Alcantara, then in his 78th year, petitioned the Holy See to extend his jurisdiction over the island of Salsette. Rome's answer, commonly known as the Salsette Decree, came on February 4, 1839, and was a favorable one. On October 22, 1839, Bishop Peter issued the following instructions: ``Unless Catholics, whether in Bombay or Salsette, renounced Goa and gave their adherence to the Vicar-Apostolic, they could not marry, they could not act as godparents, they could not be absolved of their sins.''

However, in Bombay, opposition to the Vicar-Apostolic gathered in volume and ultimately led to the foundation of the Padroado Defence Association in 1839, as Association with ``the special object of supporting the archiepiscopal and primatial rights against the encroachments of the Propagandists''.

1844: Archbishop Dom Jose Maria da Silva Torres landed in Bombay on his way to Goa in January 1844. The Padroado party, clergy and laity, escorted him to Gloria Church in a triumphant procession. In Gloria Church and in other parishes, Archbishop Torres administered the sacraments, began a series of visitations and generally acted as if ``Multa Praeclare'' and The Salsette Decree had never been written. The Archbishop's behavior threw the whole of Bombay into a ferment

1840 to 1850: These were ten years of ecclesiastical chaos and misery. They followed in the wake of a long period of unrest and dissensions in which all parties in the conflict appear to have shared responsibility -- the Portuguese Government in Lisbon, the civil and religious authorities in Goa, the British Government, the Padroado and the Propaganda parties in Bombay, the Carmelite Fathers and the Carmelite Vicars-Apostolic.

Confusion became worse confounded when, on several occasions, papal ordinances were simply rejected or ignored by the Padroado priests. Then came the disconcerting campaign of Archbishop Torres in Bombay. Finally, as if all that has been mentioned was not evil enough, the Vicar-Apostolic, Bishop Fortini and his Coadjutor, Bishop Whelan, were at loggerheads with each other. Thus, the ten years, during the time of Vicars-Apostolic Fortini (1840-1848) and William Whelan (1848-1850) were ecclesiastically a little hell, and in the words of Fr Hull (Vol 1: 370), ``may aptly be called the Dark Ages of the Vicariate of Bombay''.

This was the state of disorder inherited by Dr Hartmann when he was appointed Administrator Apostolic of Bombay.

Bishop Anastasius Hartmann (1850-1858)

1850: When Bishop Hartmann came to Bombay in 1850, the one Catholic newspaper for those under the Vicar-Aposltolic's Jurisdiction was the Bombay Catholic Layman, run by two Irish laymen, who used the paper to oppose the first Bishop Whelan and then Bishop Hartmann. Rather than cross swords with them, Bishop Hartmann encouraged the starting of the Bombay Catholic Standard, under the editorship of another Irishman.

The Examiner

Soon, disappointed with that paper as well, the Bishop approached a certain Mr Borges, a son of the soil, who in July 1850 had, on his own initiative, started a monthly publication, The Examiner. Three months later in September 1850, with Mr Borges' consent The Examiner became the ecclesiastical organ of the Vicariate under the Bishop's control and management, but another title, The Bombay Catholic Examiner.

By 1852, the other two publications folded up while The Bombay Catholic Examiner kept on going. In April 1905, its title was shortened once again to The Examiner. 1853: Hardly had Bishop Hartmann come from Patna to Bombay than he found himself in the middle of the bitter Padroado-Propaganda conflict.

The Vicar of the Church set into motion a series of events which ended in June 1851 with Salvacao Church transferring itself to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa. Then came the Bishop of Macao, Jeronimo da Matta in February 1853, on his way to Goa. He stopped at Bombay and officiated in the churches of Gloria and Cavel, then he passed on to Salsette where he said Mass and conferred the sacraments at Kurla, Thane and Bandra. Sharing in the rebellious conduct of the Bishop were four Bombay priests: Antonio Mariano Soares (Vicar General of the North and Vicar of Gloria Church), Braz Fernandes (Vicar of Salvacao Church), Joseph de Mello and Gabriel de Silva (Vicar and Assistant respectively of St Michael's Church).

The Papal Brief of May 9, 1853, Probe Nostis, completely vindicated the rights of Bishop Hartmann and confirmed his claim to the exclusive exercise of jurisdiction in the islands of Bombay and Salsette. It also condemned unreservedly the behavior of Bishop da Matta and the four Bombay priests. In point of fact, however, his jurisdiction continued to be ignored by the adherents of Padroado: witness the series of events at St Michael's Church in 1853 which culminated with the transfer of that parish together with the Sion chapel to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa in June 1854.

The year 1853 is also noteworthy in that it marks the success of Bishop Hartmann's efforts towards founding a Catholic College in the Vicariate. Aware of what he called "the complete want of educational institutions for youth'', he first invited in 1850, the Sisters of Jesus and Mary to take over the education of girls in Bombay. This was the very first Religious Congregation for Women to really begin work in the Vicariate (The Loretto nuns of Rathfarnham had been brought by Bishop Whelan to Bombay in 1848, but their efforts at running an orphanage in Bishop's Hartmann's first year were a failure; they left Bombay for Calcutta).

Bishop Hartmann then turned his attention to a College which he considered would be the foundation stone of the social, intellectual and moral renewal of the Bombay Catholic Community. He laboured heart and soul to bring the Jesuits to Bombay for this purpose; his labours were rewarded when, by the end of 1853, there were four Jesuits in the Vicariate of Bombay (among them Fr Walter Steins and Fr James Peniston). 1854

On December 12, 1853 the Carmelite General informed Propaganda that the Carmelite Fathers had decided to give up the administration of the Bombay Mission. The Holy See accepted their resignation and thus ended, after a period of 133 years (1720-1853), the Carmelite administration of the Vicariate of Bombay.

On February 16, 1854 Propaganda officially divided the Bombay Vicariate into the northern Vicariate of Bombay (comprising the islands of Bombay and Colaba, and Aurangabad, Khandesh, Malwa, Gujarat and Sind as far as Cabul and the Punjab) and the southern Vicariate of Poona ( comprising the islands of Salsette and Bassein, and the regions of the Konkan and Deccan or Bijapur).

Further Propaganda entrusted the Bombay Vicariate to the Capuchin Fathers and the Poona Vicariate to the Jesuit Fathers. Bishop Hartmann was appointed Vicar-Apostolic of Bombay and Administrator of Poona. The Propaganda Decree of 1854 inaugurated a period of four years of misgivings, bickerings and unrest in the Propaganda camp in Bombay: the Carmelites who continued to serve in the parishes under their charge before the Decree, did not welcome the Capuchins and looked upon them as workers of the eleventh hour who were reaping where others had sowed; on the other hand, the Carmelites positively disliked the Jesuits whom they held largely responsible for their ouster from Bombay. The Jesuits who were given the Poona Vicariate, desired to start a college in Bombay. The Capuchins, in their turn, dreaded what the Jesuits might do after opening their College; it would not be very long, they feared, before the Jesuits would assume spiritual leadership of Bombay. And Bishop Hartmann was caught in the middle of this three-sided crossfire.

In 1856 Propaganda called him to Rome to discuss a remedy for the deplorable situation that existed in the Bombay Vicariate. On July 29, 1856 Bishop Hartmann sailed for Naples little knowing that he would never see Bombay again.

On August 13, 1857 Propaganda reversed the 1854 arrangement: the Bombay Vicariate was now given to the Jesuits and the Poona Vicariate to the Capuchins. When squabbles arose between the Jesuits and the Capuchins over the comparatively small financial resources of the erstwhile Vicariate of Bombay, the Superior General of the Capuchin Order decided to clear the foul air by completely withdrawing the Capuchin Fathers from the Bombay and Poona Missions. Thus on August 13, 1858 the Bombay-Poona Vicariate came entirely into the hands of the Society of Jesus.

East Indians

There are many versions of the history of East Indians. Some are hotly debated. regarding the beginning of Christianity as to whether it was the 6th century or 15th Century. There is however no debate that we are the original inhabitants of Bombay, Salcette and Thana...

St. John the Evangelist  Church

The origins of the parish of St. John the Evangelist can be traced back to two mass conversions at Marol. Some of the inhabitants of Marol were among the 500 people who were converted when the neighbouring church at Condita was opened for public worship on the feast of St. John the Baptist in the year 1579. The second mass conversion took place on the eve of the feast of the Assumption in 1588, when the whole village of Marol became Catholic. Soon 13 other villages around Marol followed its example. Marol and surrounding villages received the Catholic faith through the pioneering efforts of Jesuit Brother Manuel Gomes, “The Apostle of Salcette.

After Powai, Marol was a stronghold of Christianity in this region of the island. The Jesuit Report of 1669 tells us that the parish comprised 1380 Catholics in Marol, 302 in Condita, 246 in Gundowli and 219 in Chakala.

The original church of this parish was built in 1579 at Condita at a point north of the present village of Kondivita and northwest of the present church. The major portion of this church is still standing. We do not know when the name of this Condita church was changed from “St. John the Baptist” to “St. John the Evangelist.” According to the information provided by Fr. Humbert (I: 53) the name had already changed by 1716.

The church at Condita escaped the ravage of the Maratha war, for it continued to have Vicars, now secular priests, appointed to it from 1739 onwards (Humbert, I:141), who also looked after the remnant Christian community at Powai. Due to the outbreak of a devastating epidemic, Fr. Jose Lourenco Paes, the Vicar of Condita at the time, having built a new church in the village of Marol in 1840,  transferred the parish from Condita to Marol and the old church and parish house was abandoned (Humbert II:63). Before the old church feel into disrepair, the statues, the baptismal font, the altars and a few pillars were transferred to the new church at Marol.

At the entrance of the present church of Marol stands a historic 4-foot statue of Our Lady with the child Jesus, known as the statue of Our Lady of Amparo (Help). This statue was once venerated in the church of the same name that now lies submerged under the waters of the Vihar Lake. This statue was brought to Marol between 1842-1853 (Humbert, II: 65, 85), when the Bombay Municipality acquired the Vihar Valley with the church in it from the Vicar of Marol for a compensation of Rs.1944.10 Annas. One of the Baptismal Registers of the church of Our Lady of Amparo (1804-1832) is still preserved at Marol.

Till about the year 1973, Mass was celebrated annually at the ruined church of Condita. This practice was discontinued when the property comprising a picturesque lake and the ruined church was acquired by the Government for SEEPZ (Santa Cruz Electronic Export Processing Zone.) The SEEPZ Authorities intend to preserve the ruined church as a historical monument.

The parish of Marol has given birth to two new parishes: Holy Family at Chakala in 1943 at its western end, and St. Vincent Pallotti in 1981 at its northern end. However, in spite of these “detachments” the parish of St. John the Evangelist continues to grow due to the influx of Catholics into the numerous Housing Societies in the neighborhood.

East Indians (the indigenous Catholic inhabitants of Bombay, Salcette and Bassein) Though It is commonly thought that the origin of Christianity in North Konkan, was due to the proselytizing activities of the Portuguese in the 16th Century. It was, St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, who preached in North Konkan . There are indisputable evidences of this fact by the writings of Cosmos Indicopleustes of his having seen in Kalyana a flourishing Christian Community in the 6th Century and of Jordanus, of his having labored among the Christians in Thana and Sopara in the 13th Century.

Friar Jordanus’s evangelizing activity in Thana and Sapora was the first work of Rome in North Konkan. Sopara was an ancient port and an international trading center. The water once extended all the way to Bhyander creek thus making the whole area extending from Arnala to Bhyander an island - referred to as Salcette island.

In the time of the Buddha, Sopara, (Ancient Shurparaka), was an important port and a gateway settlement. Perhaps this induced Ashoka to install his edicts there. Sopara is referred in the Old Testament as Ophir, the place from which King Solomon brought gold; 1 Kings 9:28, 10:11. Cf. Psalms 45:9, Isaiah 13:12. Josephus identifies Ophir with Aurea Chersoneses, belonging to India (Antiquities 8:6:4). Septuagint translates Ophir as Sophia, which is Coptic for India. This refers to the ancient city of Soupara or Ouppara on the western coast of India.

It should then come as no surprise that contact with India dates as far back as the days of King Solomon. Pantaneus visited India about AD 180 and there he found a Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew language, left with the Christians there by St. Bartholomew. This is mentioned by Eusebius, and by Jerome in one of his letters.

The finding of a Gospel of Matthew left with the Christians by Bartholomew is very strong evidence to the existence of a Christian community in India in the first century at the time of the visit of St. Bartholomew. It traces the history of the Church in India to the first century. In fact it is an independent confirmation of the Indian church’s ancient and apostolic origin Most history of The Indian Church was lost between the 9th and the 14th Century, as Persia went over to the Nestorianism in 800 AD. Since the provision of Church offices and all the apparatus of public worship, was looked to a foreign source; when this foreign aid was withdrawn. the Indian Christians were reduced to `nominal’ Christians.

The Portuguese came to India in 1498 `to evangelize and trade’. Little did they know that they had come to a land which had the unique distinction of having heard the preaching of two of the Apostles of Christ, St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew. None of them made the slightest attempt to understand the venerable civilization of India so much more ancient than their own, into which they had intruded. The whole policy of the Portuguese, who came to India in 1498, was to bring the Indian Christians under their concept of Roman Catholicism.

The Brahmins, Prabhu and other high-class Hindus who were prudently and ceremoniously converted were treated by the Portuguese with honor and distinction. In stark contrast, was the attitude of the Portuguese to those groups who were engaged in cultivation, fishing and other rural occupations handed down to them by their ancestors. These groups were given neither education, not proper instructions in the dogmas and doctrines of the church. - (the same problem was faced by Christ, while attempting to teach fishermen and simple people.  He used parables, and not the method of the Pharisees and Scribes).

Among the converts the Portuguese made, it cannot be denied that a large number of them were descendants of the Christian Community founded by Apostle St. Bartholomew . But these new converts were not strangers to the old Christians. They were their own people with whom they had been living for centuries. The Portuguese however welded them into one community.  Ever since then, this community has remained a separate entity, without becoming one with any of the other Christian Communities.  Sometimes they were  referred to as `Portuguese Christians’.

With the defeat of the Portuguese at the hands of the Marathas and later on the advent of the British, there came a lot of change. Fortunately, for the Portuguese Christians, they were the only people in the regions, who were able to read the Roman characters, and it was from this class that the British drew its supply of clerks, assistants and secretaries. From the early days of the East India Company, there were no other Indian Christians in the North Konkan except the Christians of the soil. Employments that were intended for the Christians, was the monopoly of the Indian Christians of the soil.

With development, came in railways and steamship, a boon for the traveling public. And with that came a number of immigrants from Goa which were also known as Portuguese Christians. The British found it expedient to adopt a designation which would distinguish the Christians of North Konkan who were British subjects and the Goans who were Portuguese subjects. Accordingly on the occasion of The Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Christian of North Konkan, who were known as `Portuguese Christians’ discarded that name and adopted the designation `East Indian”. By the adoption of the name `East Indian’ they wanted to impress upon the British Government of Bombay that they were the earliest Roman Catholic Subjects of the British Crown in this part of India, is as much as Bombay, by its cession in 1661, was the first foothold the British acquired in India.

The five Broad Cultural Groups are the Samvedi Christians, Koli Christians, Vadvals, Salcette Christians and the urbanized section.

Vasai and Thane

Thane lies on the Thana River, about 30 km (about 20 mi) from the central business district of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay),  It is an industrial center linked by rail lines and a national highway.

The Portuguese came to Thane about 1530  and ruled for over 200 years till 1730  Thane was then known as Cacabe de Tana.   Work on the Thane Fort began in 1730.

The Marathas who conquered Bassein  (Vasai) and Thane in 1737  and 1730.   In 1784  the British captured the Fort and ruled it. They made it the headquarters of the district administration with a district collector stationed  there.  The Municipal Council was formed in 1863. 

The first railway train in India ran from Bombay VT (Now Mumbai CST,  to Thana in 1853. Thane (or Thana) literally means "station" in Marati the local language.

The city is surrounded by scenic hills, which add to its beauty. The Hill of Yeoor is considered to be the hill station for the people of Thane.. . Two road bridges and  one rail bridge connect the two parts of the city divided by Thane Creek,


The history of Vasai is as old as Christianity itself. Tradition has it that St. Bartholomeo, the apostle, came to Kalyan which forms part of Thane district in which is situated the Diocese of Vasai. In the 6th century, Kalyan had a Bishop elected and sent from Persia. Jordenus worked as a Dominican priest for a brief period in a church at Sopara in 1321 in this diocese when he had come just as a Father before he was appointed as the first Bishop of Quilon.  (See Newsletter Volume 2005/July)

In 1534, the Portuguese moved to Vasai from Cochin and Goa. In 1536, they put up a church in Vasai Fort dedicated to Our Lady of Life. There was also a Parish church under the title of St. Joseph. This Church was known as the 'Se' or 'Seat of the Bishop.' Whenever the Bishop of Goa visited Vasai that was the church from where he officiated.

With the arrival of the Portuguese Frs. the Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, Augustinians, they started sending their Fathers to Vasai. (The Brothers of St. John of God were also among them). They erected 3 big churches in North Vasai and about 5 churches in South Vasai. There were churches built by them in Palghar and Dahanu Talukas. Today, they do not exist. The Catholics of the former 8 churches are being served today by the 33 ecclesiastical units which form the major part of this diocese.

The Church in this diocese had its ups and downs during the 18 - 20 centuries i.e. during the Maratha and the British rule, but the priests that came from Goa kept up the faith when the European Fathers were driven away. The local priests coming from the East Indian Community were among the first ones to help the Goan priest in preserving the faith of the people of this area which they had received from the Portuguese from the 16th Century.

The  large Catholic population of the diocese today gives good number of vocations. The diocese today has many Churches, Convents, and Hospitals.  There are Senior and  Junior Colleges.  A growing number of High Schools and Primary Schools.  Like Christians from the early times, they also have Orphanages, Homes for the Aged, Dispensaries, Leprosy Homes.

The new Diocese of Vasai was created on May 22, 1998 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. The good tidings of the creation of the new diocese were joyfully announced by His Eminence Cardinal Ivan Dias, on Sunday, June 28, 1998, the eve of the feast of the Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, at the Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Remedy, in the august presence of Simon Cardinal Pimenta. The Installation ceremony of Most Reverend Bp Thomas Dabre as the First Bishop of the new Diocese took place at the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace, Papdy, on August 15, 1998.

Pune (Poona)

Pune is at the confluence of the Mutha and Mula river, surrounded by hills and lies in the natural settings having pleasant climate. Pune is a significant milestone in the history of India. For many years Pune was the pulse of the Maratha land and has given India some of its most memorable personalities. Raja Shivaji, the Maratha king who defied the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb was brought up in Pune. The city also served as the Head quarters of the Maratha Empire under the Peshwas. After the fall of Maratha Power, Pune became an educational centre. Many social reforms were initiated in Pune. During the lifetime of Lokmanya Tilak, Pune had became the nerve of national politics. The city has provided many social reformers, revolutionaries, political leaders, researchers, scientists educationists and players.

Pune today, is very much a modern city, but still retains its quaint old values and traditions. It is one of the fastest growing industrial area.  Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. It boost a fine University and number of educational institutions.

It is a Military Cantonment, the Head quarters of Southern Command of Indian Army, Air base for Jaguar,Mig29 and Su30 Aircrafts of Indian Air Force.


The Poona Diocese consists of the civil districts of Pune, Satara, Solapur, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Around 1790, the Archbishop of Goa at the request of Dom Manuel Noronha, a Portuguese officer working in the Peshwa's army, sent Fr.Vincent Joaquim Menezes to minister to the Catholics working in the army of Peshwas. Fr.Menezes resided and said Mass in the house of Dom Noronha. In 1794, with the contribution of the Catholics in the army, a small chapel was built at Nana Peth on a plot offered by the Peshwa. The first Mass was celebrated in this chapel on Christmasday. These were the beginning of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, commonly known as the City Church.

Around 1800 the Vicar Apostolic of Bombay started sending his priests to minister to the Catholics in the Scindia's army but he stopped this about 1804. In 1835 Fr.Britto, a Goan priest working under the Vicar Apostolic acted as Military Chaplain in a chapel built at Right Flank Lines, Wanowrie. In 1850 St.Patrick's Church, the present Cathedral was built.

Poona was erected into a Vicariate Apostolic by dismemberment from Bombay on March 8, 1854, and entrusted to the society of Jesus. The Vicar Apostolic of Bombay remained Administrator till the Hierarchy was established in 1886. Rt.Rev.Bernard Bieder-Linden SJ was appointed its first Bishop.

On October 20, 1953 the Catholics of Ratnagiri District and those of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Pune, who formerly belonged to the Archdiocese of Goa, were placed under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Poona. On November 30, 1953 the districts of Dharwar and Bijapur, formerly in the Poona Diocese were attached to the newly constituted Diocese of Belgaum.

On June 9, 1987 the Holy Father created the Diocese of Nashik comprising of four districts - Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar - of the Poona Diocese and appointed Fr.Thomas Bhalerao SJ as its first bishop.

The rededication of St.Patrick's Cathedral took place on October 22, 1987. The roof of the old Cathedral collapsed shortly before midnight on July 15, 1984. The outer walls and facade have been retained, but there is now a vault roof of concrete.

His Holiness created the Eparchy of Kalyan on May 19, 1988 which is contiguous with the Archdiocese of Bombay and the Dioceses of Poona and Nashik. On August 24, 1988 Rev.Fr.Paul Chittilapilly was ordained Eparch of Kalyan and the new diocese was formally inaugurated and all Catholics of the Syro-Malabar Rite in the diocese came under his jurisdiction.

The First Diocesan Synod was held at Ishvani Kendra, Pune, from 11 to 14 February 2003. The theme of the Synod was: WE ARE THE CHURCH. 144 delegates from all the 7 districts came together in love for the Church and the Diocese to share their opinions and talents and use their charisms to make the Synod truly a pilgrimage – a walking together – in the power of the Spirit.



Amravati is situated right in the center of the northern border of the  State. Amravati meaning "abode of immortals" may be traced with the association of Lord Krishna.

It lies mainly in the Tapi basin with only some of its parts on the eastern border lying in the valley of Wardha. Besides cotton, Jowar and Tur (lentil), which are the leading crops in the region; orange gardens are also important from the agriculture point of view.


The Diocese of Amravati created by the Decree 'Cum Petierit' dated May 8, 1955 was formerly a part of the Archdiocese of Nagpur. It comprised four districts of Vidarbha viz. Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Yavatmal and the three districts of Marathwada, viz Aurangabad, Parbhani and Nanded.

By another decree 'Paescit Ubique' dated May 8, 1955, Pope Pius XII appointed Bp Joseph Albert Rosario, msfs, the First Bishop of Amravati.

Holy Father Pope Paul VI by the Decree 'Qui Arcano' of December 17, 1977 created the Diocese of Aurangabad for which the three civil districts, Aurangabad, Parbhani and Nanded of Marathwada region, got separated from the Diocese of Amravati.

Thus the present Diocese of Amravati consists of only four civil districts of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra state viz. Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Yavatmal.



The gateway to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad is named after the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. Lying along the right bank of the Kham River, the city is the district headquarters, which offers visitors all the modern comforts and amenities.  There are several luxury and budget hotels, shopping centres and banks

.In the city, there are three museums housing the art treasures of the region -- the Sunheri Mahal Museum, the University Museum and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum. You can also while away the hours in the pleasant confines of the Bani Begum Gardens

Today, it is known for some of the finest colleges and university in Maharashtra. And it is the fastest growing industrial town in India. But the charm and glory of its long past has not been lost. And its heritage is rich and varied - the result of the artistic and cultural influences of several dynasties since its first Stone Age inhabitants.


The Diocese of Aurangabad was erected by the Decree 'Qui Arcano' (No. 1139/78) dated December 1997. It comprises of seven civil districts, Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani and Nanded are taken from the Diocese of Amravati and Latur. Bhir and Osmanabad are taken from the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. This entire region constitutes a political unit named MARATHWADA in Maharashtra. 


Nashik is a district head quarters located on the banks of Godavari and is 185 km away from Mumbai. The climate is moderate, and is located at 635 m above mean sea level. The city has developed on both the banks of Godavari which divides the city into almost equal halves. The History of the city dates back to Ramayana. There are many references of the city in many epics as well as vedas. Today the city has developed into a metropolis with a population of 14 lakh souls. The city since old days have developed on the banks with basically the design of a religious place How-ever today it has been a flourishing Industrial Centre as well as an educational centre.

For Catholics, there is the Infant Jesus Shrine located in this city, which attracts many from different parts of Maharashtra.   Infant Jesus Shrine, Nashik Road: St.Xavier’s High School,
Nashik Road, Nashik 422 101


His Holiness Pope John Paul II erected the Catholic Diocese of Nashik consisting of the territory detached from the Diocese of Pune. The Catholic Diocese of Nashik consist of the civil revenue districts of Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar. All these five districts are in Maharashtra.

The majority of the Catholic Population of this diocese comprises of landless labourers marginal farmers, factory workers and those in various government services.

By the Decree "Dilecto Filio" dated June 9,1987, His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed Rt. Rev. Thomas Bhalerao, S.J. the first Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik. He was consecrated Bishop by His Eminence, Simon Cardinal, Pimenta (the then Archbishop) of Bombay on Sunday, August 23, 1987 at Dynanamata Vidyalaya, Sangamner, Ahmednagar district. He took as his motto "TOP REACH THE GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR" (Isaiah, ch. 61:1; Mathew, ch. 28:19; Acts, ch. 10:42.

The erection of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik with a son of the soil as it's first bishop is undoubtedly a landmark in the history of the Church in Maharashtra.


Nagpur city is famous for its oranges, its greenery, its industries, its research centers, and much more things. Along with all these it is also famous for its wide range of temples. One can find these temples everywhere in the city.

1702 A.D. :- Nagpur city founded by Gond King 'Bakht Buland Shah' of Devagad, on the banks of Nag River. That is why the city was named 'Nagpur'. He founded the city by joining 12 small hamlets formerly known as 'Rajapur Baraasa' or 'Barasa',

Nagpur city and district were transfered to Maharashtra State, in 1960  as a part of state reorganisation. Since the first session of the state legislature was organised at Nagpur, the city was assigned the status of the second capital to Maharashtra


The Archdiocese of Nagpur is situated roughly in the middle of India. It now comprises the districts of Nagpur and Bhandara in Maharashtra state, and the districts of Betul, Chhindwara, Seoni (except the tehsil of Lakhnadon) and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh. The diocese was originally formed by dismemberment of what was then known as the Central Provinces and Berar, from the Diocese of Visakhapatnam in 1887. It was entrusted to the care of Fathers of St. Francis de Sales.

On July 18, 1932 the Brief "De Romanorum Pontificum" erected the Prefecture of Jabalpur (now diocese) by separating from the Diocese of Visakhapatnam in 1887. It was entrusted to the care of Fathers of St. Francis de Sales.

Again on March 11, 1935, the Decree "Salutis Animarum" of the S.C. of the Propagation of Faith erected the Prefecture of Indore (now diocese) comprising parts of the Diocese of Ajmer, Allahabad and Nagpur, namely, the districts of Hoshangabad and Khandwa.

Further on May 8, 1935, the Decree "Cum Petierit" erected the Diocese of Amravati by taking away from the Nagpur Archdiocese the four districts of Berar (Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Yeotmal) and the three districts of Marathwada (Aurangabad and parts of Parbhani and Nanded. The other parts of Parbhani and Nanded belonged to the Archdiocese of Hyderabad).

On March 31, 1962, the Apostolic Decree "Ad Lucem Sancti Evangelii" erected the Exarchate of Chanda from the three districts of Wardha, Chanda and Adilabad, till then part of Nagpur Archdiocese. This was entrusted to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, of the Syro-Malabar Rite. In 1976 Chanda Exarchate was made into a diocese.

On January 16, 1964 by the Bull "Religio Vera Christique Salus" the districts of Raipur, Durg and Bilaspur were further detached from the Nagpur Archdiocese to form the Prefecture of Raipur which was entrusted to the Pallottine Fathers and later given the status of diocese in March 1974.

In September 1953, Nagpur was raised to an Archbishopric, with Amravati and Chanda diocese as its Suffragans. Most Rev. Eugene D'Souza was the first Indian Bishop and later Archbishop of Nagpur.

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