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Diocese of Hyderabad-Deccan

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Hyderabad, also called Bhagnagar, and Fakhunda Bunyad, capital of the Nizam's dominions, was founded in 1589, by Mohammed Kuli, King of Golconda. The mission of Hyderabad-Deccan was cut off from the Vicariate Apostolic of Madras by Pius IX, 20 May, 1851, and became a diocese in 1886. It is bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal, on the north by the Godavani, on the west by the frontier dividing the Nizam's dominions from the Presidency of Bombay, and on the south by the Tungabudra and Kistna. The diocese lies partly in the native kingdom of the Nizam, and partly in British territory. Little is known of the early history of this region. Certain documents relate that in the reign of Ibrahiln Adil Shah I (1535-1557) there were Christians in Moodgul, a town in the southwest of the district. It is likely that the earliest conversions were made by the Franciscans, who arrived in 1502. Soon after this we read of Christians in Raichur and Chitapur, who were visited by the priests from Goa. Urban VIII in 1637 sent the Theatines to Bijapur, near Moodgul and Raichur. He also established then the Vicariate Apostolic of the Great Mogul. The first vicar was the oratorian, Father Mateo de Castro, who in 1637 had been named Vicar Apostolic of the Deccan and Bijapur. In 1645 the Kingdom of Golconda and Pegu was added.

Tavernier, who visited Golconda and Hyderabad 1645 and 1652, tells us that there were Portuguese and Armenian Catholics in those two towns. Father de Castro was succeeded by Don Custodius de Pino, 30 April, 1669; the third vicar was Don Bisconti, 1696, but he died suddenly. After 1696 the vicars were Discalced Carmelites. In 1720 the island of Bombay was included in the vicariate, which gradually acquired the name Vicariate of Bombay. It is said that some of the Carmelites expelled from Goa in 1707, for not swearing fidelity to the King of Portugal, evangelized Moodgul. In 1784 the Christian community was harassed by the infidels: but the government of Hyderabad ordered the Zemindars and local functionaries to prevent any injury to the Christians. In 1720 the island of Bombay was included in the vicariate, which gradually acquired the name Vicariate of Bombay. It is said that some of the Carmelites expelled from Goa in 1707, for not swearing fidelity to the King of Portugal, evangelized Moodgul. In 1784 the Christian community was harassed by the infidels: but the government of Hyderabad ordered the Zemindars and local functionaries to prevent any injury to the Christians. Moodgul was supplied with Jesuit missionaries for the next fifty years. About the end of the eighteenth century, we find one named Velada at Raichur, another named Paradisi in Moodgul, and a third in Chitapur, named Lichetta. In 1784 Delhi and the northern portion of India was given to the prefect Apostolic of Thibet; and the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of the Great Mogul restricted to Carwar, Golconda, and the Deccan. In 1797 Don Pedro d' Alcantara di San Antonio, fourteenth vicar Apostolic, nominated in 1794, sent Father Joas Louis to Bijapur and Golconda. The Theatine Fathers were at Jamaon and Mesulipatam in 1834; many of them were native priests of the Brahmin caste from Malabar. From 1550 till 1832 the Diocese of Hyderabad had no regularly appointed missions, except those of Moodgul, Masulipatam, and one other. Missionaries visited the country from time to time, but never stayed long.

The first Vicar Apostolic of Madras (the vicariate was established 25 April, 1832) was Rev. Daniel O'Connor, O.S A., who took possession in August, 1835. Moodgul, Raichur, Chitapur, Hyderabad, etc., belonged to his vicariate. In 1840 he resigned and was succeeded by Bishop Patrick Joseph Carew, afterwards transferred to the Vicariate of Calcutta. On 21 April, 1841, Dr. John Fennelly succeeded him. Meanwhile Father Daniel Murphy had come to India with Bishop Carew in 1839, and was given the mission of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. In 1840 he began to build a cathedral in the latter place. It was completed is in 1850. In 1842 he erected a church at Bolarum. He was chosen as coadjutor to Mgr. Fennelly and consecrated 11 October, 1846, at Kinsale, Ireland. On 20 May, 1851, the mission of Hyderabad-Deccan was made a Vicariate Apostolic with Bishop Murphy as its first vicar. His territory covered all the present Diocese of Hyderabad with the exception of Moodgul and Raichur, which were not added until 1886. Mgr. Murphy had only four missionaries to assist him (Fathers O'Brien, Drake, Hampson, and Queen, all Irish); two of those were at Secunderabad, one at Masulipatarn, and one at Hyderabad. The new vicar erected a college near Hyderabad. In 1854 he applied to the Foreign Mission Seminary at Milan for more missionaries, and Fathers Pozzi and Barero were sent to him. There were some British regiments quartered near Secunderabad, and the Catholic population of the place thus went up to 4000. Besides the college he built an orphanage, and opened a new mission at Chadragoodaim, which had to be abandoned for lack of priests. In 1856, a native named Anthony became a Catholic and brought 120 others with him. He was made catechist, and thus began a small native congregation at Hyderabad. Between 1857 and 1864 six other missionaries came from Milan, and the Christian communities began to increase, but in 1864, owing to failing health, Bishop Murphy was forced to leave India.

The vicariate was then entrusted to the Milan Seminary of Foreign Missions. Father Giovanni Domenico Barbero became vicar Apostolic, and was consecrated Bishop of Doliche, at Rome, 3 April, 1870. He procured some Sisters of St. Anne from Turin, and in 1871 established them at Secunderabad where they opened an orphanage and a girls' school. Bishop Barbero died 18 October, 1881, and was succeeded by Monsignor Caprotti. In 1886 the Vicariate of Hyderabad became a diocese, and Bishop Caprotti, titular of Abydos, became Bishop of Hyderabad; the districts of Moodgul and Raichur were added to the diocese. The see was removed from Secunderabad to Hyderabad, and the erection of St. Joseph's cathedral was begun. In 1890 a convent was opened there, and a school for Europeans and natives. Bishop Caprotti died in 1897, and was succeeded by Bishop Vigano, who opened new convents, at Raichur, Bezwada, and Kazipet. In 1894 the Little Sisters of the Poor were introduced, and later the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. At the present time, besides 21 European missionaries, there are in the there are in the Diocese of Hyderabad 50 European nuns, 18 native sisters, 70 native catechists: 11 churches, 78 chapels 38 schools for boys with a total of 1642 pupils; 14 schools for girls with 920 pupils. There are two high schools in Hyderabad, one for boys the other for girls; and one each in Secunderabad, Raichur, and Bezwada, all under the Sisters of St. Anne; 6 orphanages; a home for the infirm, with 60 inmates in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor, in Secunderabad, a dispensary in Raichur; a catechumenate, and a Magdalen Home under the care of the native sisters in Secunderabad, with branches in Raichur and Bezwada; an industrial school for girls in Bolarum; two libraries; two soldiers' institutes, confraternities, etc. Students are prepared for the priesthood in the Diocese of Mangalore by the Jesuits. Since its erection as a diocese, Hyderabad had held two synods, the first on 28 February, 1889; the second on 9-11 December, 1902. The Catholic population of the diocese amounts to 14,752 souls out of a total of 11 millions composed of pagans, Mussulmans, heretics, etc. The annual number of baptisms of adults is about 400; and of infants about 500. The languages spoken in the diocese are Telugu, Tamil, Canarese, Coia, Marathi, and Hindustani.

Vicars apostolic of Hyderabad-Deccan

1. Monsignor Daniel Murphy, titular Bishop of Philadelphia, was born at Belmont, Crookstown, Co. Cork, Ireland, 18 June, 1815, ordained at Maynooth college, Ireland, 9 June, 1838. When Dr. Carew, one of the Maynooth staff, was named coadjutor to the vicar Apostolic of Madras, India, Father Murphy offered to accompany him. He arrived at Madras early in January, 1839, and was put in charge of the mission of Hyderabad. When Monsignor Fennelly became Vicar Apostolic of Madras, Father Mulphy was made his Coadjutor. He was appointed bishop in December, 1845, by Gregory XVI, and consecrated in Kinsale, Ireland, 11 October, 1846, by the Bishop of Cork. He became first Vicar Apostolic of Hyderabad, 20 May, 1806. The residence of the vicariate was in Secunderabad, but, owing to the intolerance of Sir Henry Pottinger, he was obliged to live at Chuderghant on the borders of the Nizam's dominion. During his short administration he showed wonderful zeal. He left India in 1864 owing to ill-health and went to Australia; he was chosen Bishop of Hobart, Tasmania, in 1866, and he died there, Dec., 1907.

2. Monsignor Barbero, second Vicar Apostolic, was born at Foglizzo d' Ivrea, Italy, in 1820; sailed for Hyderabad, 11 February, 1855. He was consecrated Bishop of Doliche by Cardinal Corsi in Rome, 3 April 1870, and died at Chudderghaut, 18 October, 1881.

Bishops of Hydrabad

1. Monsignor Caprotti, b. in Carate Brianza (Italy), 1832; d. in Yercaud, 2 June, 1897. He came to Hyderabad in 1877. He was consecrated Bishop of Abydos in 1882, and when the ordinary hierarchy was established in India in 1886, he became Bishop of Hyderabad.

2. Monsignor Vigano, the second bishop, came to Hyderabad in 1880; he was consecrated in 1898, by Monsignor Morgan, Archbishop of Madras; at the request of Pius X he returned to Italy, 15 Nov. 1908, to take charge of the Foreign Missions Society of Milan.

3. Monsignor Vismara, the third Bishop of Hyderabad, came to India in 1890; he was consecrated at Milan, 29 June, 1909, by Cardinal Ferrari.


Madras Dirctory; Bombay Examiner; Calentario e Notizie del Seminario delle Missioni Estere di Milano; Missioni Cattoliche (Milan); Documents in the archives of the Diocese of Hyderabad.

About this page

APA citation. Pezzoni, U.M. (1910). Diocese of Hyderabad-Deccan. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Pezzoni, Ugo Maria. "Diocese of Hyderabad-Deccan." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas. Dedicated to Fr. Joseph Kadukanmackal M.C.B.S.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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