Dioceses of India
Total: 1
Jammu - Srinagar 

Diocese of Jammu - Srinagar 

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Rite: Latin
Region : North
Patron: Nativity of Our Lady
Founded: 17 January 1952
Province: Delhi
Status: Diocese
Total area: 222236 Sq. km
Total Population : 12,100,450
Catholics Total: 17,196
Diocesan Priests: 42
Religious Priests: 19
Religious Sisters: 180
Minor Seminarians: 0
Major Seminarians: 0

Diocese of Jammu - Srinagar  at a Glance

Ecclesiastical Institutions

Parishes & Substations : 42Retreat Centres: 0
Major Seminaries : 0Diocesan Minor Seminaries: 0
Congregation Minor Seminaries: 0Religious Formation Houses : 01
Men Religious Houses: 0Women Religious Houses: 0

Charitable Institutions

Hospitals : 03Dispensaries / Clinics / Health Centres: 02
Orphanages : 03Homes for Aged & Destitute : 0
Schools for Physically Challenged: 01Homes for Physically Challenged : 0
Crèches: 0Boarding Houses : 0
Counselling Centres : 0De-addiction Centre: 02
Social Centres : 02HIV / AIDS Centre: 0

Educational Institutions

Professional Colleges : 01Degree Colleges: 01
Parallel Colleges : 0Vocational / Technical Training Centres : 02
Higher Secondary / Junior Colleges : 08High Schools : 22
Upper Primary Schools: 01Lower Primary Schools:03
Nurseries / Pre-Primary Schools :03Presses & Media Centres : 01



1. A Brief History of the Diocese

1.1. Brief History of the Catholic Church in Jammu and Kashmir

The Catholic Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar has been rendering yeomen service to the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and India at large in different fields such as Education, Health care and Social Action. The services of the Diocese and the Christian Missionaries have been acknowledged many times, by the successive Chief Ministers and the state machinery at various levels. Yet there is little information readily available on the Catholic Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar and its History.

The Beginning

The Christian presence in Jammu and Kashmir goes back by many centuries. Christianity came to the northern part of India especially Tibet by the medium of the European travelers and missionaries who came in search of a “Christian Nation” which seemed to have existed somewhere in central Asia. Christianity existed under the Nestorian mission and even flourished in the Central Asia, possibly also in Ladakh from the sixth to eleventh century but it died leaving behind no trace for posterity. Today, three Crosses are seen in Tangtse, in eastern Leh. On the top of the Cross is a Sogdian inscription which reads as “In the eight-hundredth year of the death of our Lord Jesus, the Nestorian Christians of Syria have arrived this place from Samarkand”. Samarkand at that time was the principal city of Sogdiana, known today as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. With this there are other documents which confirm the existence of Nestorian and Armenian missions in Mongolia, Chinese Turkistan, Afghanistan and Tibet.

During the Mughal reign, especially during the reign of Emperor Akbar there were Jesuit priests who were part of his Court. Some of them have even visited Kashmir with the Emperor. It is well documented that two Jesuits namely Fr. Jerome Xavier and Br. Goes accompanied the Emperor Akbar to Kashmir in 1597. Possibly, Fr. Jerome Xavier even stayed in Kashmir for over three months. In the later years, other Jesuit priests such as Joseph de Castro in 1627 with Emperor Jahangir and Manoel Freyre and Ippolito Desideri in 1715, would traverse this land in their efforts to reach Tibet. 

Modern Era

The Catholic presence in Jammu and Kashmir in the modern era is linked to the arrival of the Mill Hill Missionaries from London. In January 1879, the Vatican requested Bishop Herbert Vaughan, founder of the Mill Hill Missionaries, to send chaplains to minister to the British army personnel in the Punjab. The Mill Hill Missionaries arrived in North India in 1879 and commenced their mission with Fr. Brouwer as its first Superior. 

On 6th July, 1887, Pope Leo XIII erected the Apostolic Prefecture of Kashmir and Kafirstan, whose territories extended from Kashmir to Kabul, and entrusted it to the Mill Hill Missionaries. Msgr. Ignatius Brouwer was appointed the first Prefect of the Apostolic Prefecture and was based at Rawalpindi. Initially the presence of the missionaries in Kashmir was severely limited due to administrative reasons. In 1888 Fr. Daniel Kilty MHM laid the foundations of the Leh mission. His first priority was to learn the local language. He stayed there till his death due to illness in November of the same year. His work was carried on by Frs. Hanlon, Donson and Simons who stayed there till the closure of the Leh mission in 1898. It would later be re-opened by the first Indian Prefect Apostolic Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal. Later in 1892 Frs. Winkley and Cunningham constructed the first church at Baramulla, the cradle of the Catholic mission in Jammu and Kashmir! The Catholic mission in Srinagar was opened in 1894 by Rev. Frs. Cunningham and Donsen, MHM. The church was built by Franklin Winkley in about 1900. The territory of Jammu and Kashmir was ecclesiastically divided into two parts before the Independence. The Kashmir region was under the Prefecture of Kashmir and Kafirstan and later became part of the diocese of Rawalpindi while the Jammu region was looked after by the Belgium Capuchins from Sialkot and was part of Lahore Diocese.

Prefecture of Jammu and Kashmir

In the independent India, when Kashmir came under the Indian Union, Kashmir could no longer be looked after from Rawalpindi as there were lot of restrictions on both the sides owing to the political realities. Travel and communication were difficult and the priests found it hard to frequent Kashmir from the diocese of Rawalpindi for pastoral care. This impasse was solved by the active intervention of the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Vatican Internuncio, Rev. Leo Kierkels. On 17 January 1952 the Prefecture Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu was erected by the Holy See. In June 1952, Msgr. George Shanks was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu. In September 1952 he arrived in Kashmir and made Srinagar as his headquarters. The new Prefecture was comprised of the districts of Kashmir valley and Ladakh (taken from Rawalpindi Diocese) and the districts of Jammu province (taken from Lahore Diocese). Soon the Jammu mission was opened. Before this Jammu had been an out-station of Sialkot.

On May 4, 1968, at the request of the then Prefect Apostolic Msgr. John Boercamp, to correspond with the official name of the Indian State in which the Apostolic Prefecture is found», the ecclesiastical territory was reconstituted and renamed as the Prefecture Apostolic of Jammu and Kashmir. The Mill Hill Missionaries worked in the Prefecture in a zealous manner till 1978 and laid a strong foundation for the emergence of the Catholic community. With the advent of the Indo-Pak war of 1971, the issue of geo-strategic sensitivity of the Kashmir region once again raised the stake for the foreign missionaries operating in this rather volatile region. Hence, in 1978 the Mill Hills decided to hand over the reins of the mission to the Indian Capuchins of St Joseph’s Province, Kerala and Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal was appointed the first Indian Prefect Apostolic on November 11, 1978.

Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar

In the course of Msgr. Hyppolytus’ tenure of prefectureship, many more mission stations, schools and social action centers were established enhancing the growth of the mission. In 1986, the Holy See decided to raise the Prefecture to the rank of a diocese. Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal OFM Cap., was consecrated as its first bishop on June 29, 1986 in Rome and was installed as bishop on September 07, 1986 in the newly consecrated St. Mary’s Cathedral, Jammu. The Curia, which was in Srinagar since 1952, was shifted to Jammu on December 23, 1986. Bishop Hippolytus a great missionary contributed to the growth of the Diocese and its various missionary endeavor. These included mission stations with educational, health care and social service. The highlight of his commitments is the reopening of the mission at Leh in the Ladakh region.

After the retirement of Bishop Hippolytus Kunnunkal, Rev. Fr. Peter Celestine was ordained the Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar Diocese on September 6, 1998. The priorities of the new administration under the leadership of  Bishop Peter Celestine was to open mission stations, schools, and health care centers in remote places. New mission stations were opened in Batote and Kargil, which symbolically unite the whole of the diocese from Kathua to Leh, a stretch of more than 800 kilometers! The Diocese presently is comprised of all the three Regions of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, namely, Jammu Region with 10 districts, Kashmir Region with 10 districts and Ladakh Region with 2 districts.

After shepherding the Jammu-Srinagar Mission for 35 years, the Capuchin missionaries have handed over the mission to a young and an energetic diocesan clergy, Rev. Fr. Ivan Pereira who was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of Diocese on 3rd December 2014 has been consecrated and installed as Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar Diocese on 21st February 2015. Bishop Ivan brings in a new perspective to his Episcopate with his stated motto “Pax Nuntiata Est”. It calls for a new dimension for the mission work: peace in families, peace between communities and Peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

1.2. Prefects Apostolicof Kafristan and Kashmir

1887 - Msgr. Ignatius Brouwer MHM, Prefect of Kafristan & Kashmir

1894 - Msgr. Reyndes MHM, Prefect Of  Kafristan & Kashmir

1899 - Msgr. Wagener MHM, Prefect Of  Kafristan & Kshmir

1914 - Msgr. Winkley MHM, Prefect Of  Kafristan & Kashmir

1933 - Msgr. O’ Donhoe MHM, Prefect of Kafristan & Kashmir

1943 - Msgr. Mayer MHM, Pro-Prefect Of Kafristan & Kashmir

1.3. Prefects Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu

1952 - Msgr. George shanks MHM, Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir & Jammu

1962 - Msgr. Boerkamp MHM, Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir & Jammu

1978 - Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal OFM Cap. Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir & Jammu

1.4. Former Bishops

1986 – 1998 - Most Rev. Hippolytus, Kunnunkal OFM Cap.

1998 – 2014 - Most Rev. Peter Celestine OFM Cap.

1.5. Present Bishop

2015 - Most Rev. Ivan Albert Pereira

Former Bishops

Most Rev. Hippolytus Anthony Kunnunkal, O.F.M. Cap. Bishop1978-1998
Rev. Msgr. John Boerkamp, M.H.M.Prefect Apostolic 1963-1978
Rev. Msgr. George Shanks, M.H.M.Prefect Apostolic 1952-1963