HISTORY OF THE DIOCESE OF ELURU
The Diocese of Eluru was bifurcated from the erstwhile diocese of Vijayawada on 26th February 1977. It consists of the entire revenue district of West Godavari and the four mandals of Konaseemain East Godavari. The diocese has well defined borders all around: Bay of Bengal in the South, the river Godavari in the East, Diocese of Vijayawada on the west and the Diocese of Khammam in the north. The diocese with an extent of 10,775 sq.kms has a total population of 75, 00,000 and a Catholic population of 3,50,000 spread over 115 parishes.
THE MISSION TERRITORY OF THE DIOCESE OF ELURU was part of the Hyderabad Apostolic Vicariate, until the erection of Bezwada as “mission sui juris” in 1933. From 1933 to its bifurcation in 1977, it was part of the Diocese of Vijayawada.
THE SEEDS: The first Catholic presence in the diocese is recorded at Narsapur. Fr. Anotonio de Christo residing at Bandar in 1646 and built a church of Our Lady of Divine Providence. He made Narsapur his head-quarter for missionary activities. The first Priest to reside Eluru was the Irish Priest, Fr. Daniel Murphy, as Chaplain for the Catholic soldiers.
NEW BEGINNINGS: Eluru mission had a new beginning with the arrival of the PIME missionaries in 1864. After the sea-quake and tidal wave that almost washed away Machilipatnam killing about 20 to 30 thousand people, on 1st November 1864, Eluru became the leading Catholic community of the ‘Telugu’ districts. In 1868, the headquarters from Machilipatnam was moved to Eluru. The arrival of Fr. Silvio Pasquali, PIME, was a new beginning for the Eluru mission. He can rightly be called the Apostle of Eluru.