Bishop: Bp. Lawrence Mukkuzhy
Address: Bishop’s House, Udayanagara, P.O., Box 13, P.O. Belthangady-574214, Dhakshina Kannada Dt., Karnataka
Tel : 08256 -232439, 232975, 232498
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Diocese of Belthangady was erected by the Papal Bull “CUM AMPLA“, dated 24th April 1999, of His Holiness Pope St. John Paul II as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Tellicherry. This diocese has been established for the Syro-Malabar Catholics of the three civil districts of Karnataka State, viz., Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.
It took more than 50 years for the Syro-Malabar Catholics living in this area to become a Diocese. It has a prehistory. In the middle of the 20th century there were lot of migrations from Southern Kerala to Northern Kerala, to the southern parts of Karnataka and South Western parts of Tamil Nadu. The migration of Syro-Malabar Catholics to various parts of Karnataka, mainly Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chickmagalur, Shimoga districts took place in 1950s. The migration to these areas were encouraged by the availability of agriculture land and the encouragement from the then Madras Government.
The spiritual needs of these Syrian Catholics were met by the Latin Dioceses of Mangalore, Mysore, Chickmagaluru.
The Diocese of Tellicherry was erected by the Bull Ad Christi Ecclesiam Regendaam on 31st December 1953 by His Holiness Pope Pius XII of happy memory, as a suffrogan of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, for the Catholics of Syro-Malabar Church migrated to Malabar from Travacore and Cochin states. Mar Sebastian Vallopilly became the first Bishop of the Diocese.
As the Catholics of of the Syro-Malabar community migrated even to the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu, the boundaries of Tellicherry Diocese were extended to the present Latin Dioceses of Mangalore, Chickmagalur, Mysore, Shimoga and Ootacamund on April 29, 1955.
In order to overcome the hindrances of language the CMI Fathers came with helping hands and later priests from the Diocese of Tellicherry. The cultural difference especially the language difference was a problem for the priests from Tellicherry for the fruitful pastoral activities here. So the development of the parishes in Karnataka remained far behind comparing to the parishes in Kerala.
In March 1, 1973, the Diocese of Mananthavady was formed by bifurcating the Diocese of Tellicherry. The territory of the new Diocese was extended to the districts of Shimoga, Chickmagaluru, Hassan, Mandya, Chamarajanagara and Mysore in Karnataka. The districts of Dakshina Kannada (including present Udupi District) and Kodagu remained under the Diocese of Tellicherry.
As Dakshina Kannada (including present Udupi District) is in Karnataka State with a different language and culture, it was difficult to cater to the spiritual needs of the faithful directly from Thalassery. Hence it was declared a Mission Province of the Archdiocese of Tellicherry on the 11th November 1979 by Mar Sebastian Vallopilly and appointed Very Rev. Fr. K.M. Peter as the Episcopal Vicar of the Mission. Very Rev. Fr. Peter Koottiany was the Episcopal Vicar of D.K.Mission till May 16, 1997. During the 18 years of his able and dedicated leadership the D. K. Mission grew to become a Diocese later.
Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy was appointed as the Episcopal Vicar for the Region in 1997. His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed him as the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Belthangady on 24th April 1999. He was consecrated Bishop on 4th August 1999 by the Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil assisted by Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam of Tellicherry and Bishop Mar Joseph Pallickaparambil of Pala and he assumed charge on the same day.