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Diocese of Nagpur
Diocese in India, suffragan to Madras. Formerly the north-western portion of the Vicariate Apostolic of Vizagapatam, it was erected into a diocese on 29 July, 1887, and its boundaries finally readjusted on 10 July, 1895. It comprises the greater portion of the Central Provinces, Berar, a portion of the Indore State, a strip of the Nizam's dominions as far south as the Godavery River, etc., the boundaries being in many parts independent of civil divisions. The area is about 124,000 square miles with a Catholic population of 15,000 out of total of about 15,000,000 inhabitants. It is served by 28 priests of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, Annecy, and 7 secular clergy assisted by 7 brothers of the above congregation; 13 Franciscan Brothers from Paderborn in Germany; 4 Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Jean de Maurienne, Savoy; 23 Daughters of the Cross; and 28 Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate. The diocese has 12 churches and 33 chapels. The cathedral, bishop's residence, and diocesan seminary are at Nagpur.
Although the territories comprised under Nagpur were included within the Vicariate of the Great Mogul, there is no trace of any missionary ever having set foot there till the beginning of the nineteenth century. Nagpur, Kamptee, Aurangabad, and Jaulnah were first visited by priests of the Goan jurisdiction, from Poona, about 1814. A chapel in honour of St. Anthony existed at Takli, suburb of Nagpur, where the troops of the Rajah of Nagpur were quartered. Another was built in Kamptee, and held in great veneration by native Christians. A Goan priest died at Nagpur in 1834. Simultaneously, Goan priests established themselves at Aurangabad, and built a chapel in honour of St. Francis Xavier in 1816; another chapel was built by them at Kannar, two miles from Aurangabad. Military cantonments for British troops were created at Kamptee in 1821, and at Jaulnah in 1827. The Goan priests retained their jurisdiction in these parts until 1839, when, in consequence of the Apostolic Brief "Multa praeclare" of 24 April, 1838, the district fell to the jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Madras. In January, 1839, priests from Madras took possession of Kamptee and Jaulnah. They were Fathers Breen (died 1844) and Egen at Kamptee, and D. Murphy at Jaulnah. Father Murphy, whose registers are preserved in the bishop's residence at Nagpur, subsequently became Vicar Apostolic of Hyderabad and then Archbishop of Hobart Town, Tasmania, where he died in 1908. In 1845 some missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, from Annecy (Savoy, France), were appointed to the charge of the northern portion of the Vicariate of Madras, which was thus separated and made into the Vicariate of Vizagapatam. They took possession of Aurungabad, Jaulnah, and Kamptee in 1846, and visited Nagpur, Ellichpur (1848), Jubbulpur (1850), and Khandwa. Jubbulpur became a military cantonment in 1857. From 1846 to 1870 Nagpur was a sub-station of Kamptee, and then became a residential station. It developed into the headquarters of the mission when the district was finally separated from Vizagapatam and made into an episcopal see, suffragan to Madras, in 1887.
SUCCESSION OF BISHOPS
Alexis Riccaz, 1887-92; Charles Felix Pelvat, 1893-1900; J. M. Crochet, 1901-03; E. M. Bonaventure, 1905-07; F. E. Coppel, present bishop from 1907.
Schools for Boys: St. Francis of Sales' College, Nagpur, Calcutta, with 350 pupils, also industrial school, printing press and Catholic young men's institute; St. Francis of Sales' Native School, Nagpur, with 220 pupils; St. Joseph's Day School, Kamptee, with 130 pupils; St. Aloysius' School, Jubbulpur, with 120 pupils; small schools at Amraoti and Aurangabad; native training school at Ghogargaon with 15 boarders, and 26 other schools in the villages with 215 pupils; thirty schools in Khandwa under 25 catechist teachers with 396 pupils; 17 schools round Ellichpur under 17 catechists with 155 pupils.
Schools for Girls: Under the Sisters of St. Joseph: six schools at Nagpur, Kamptee, Jubbulpur, Khandwa, Harda, Pachmari with 565 pupils, besides two smaller schools. Under the Daughters of the Cross: three schools at Amraoti, Aurangabad, and Badnera with 191 pupils. Under the Catechist Sisters: two schools in Nagpur with 105 pupils.
Charitable Institutions: Poorhouse, Nagpur, with 156 inmates; also foundling home with 30 inmates; 14 dispensaries in various places; boys' orphanages at Nagpur, Kamptee, Thana, Jubbulpur, and Amraoti, with 249 inmates, and girls' orphanages at the same places with 229 inmates. St. Vincent de Paul Society at Nagpur; catechumenates at Ghogargaon, Khandwa, and Ellichpur; training schools for catechists at Ghogargaon and Ellichpur with 38 students. The mission centres are (1) Ghogargaon near Aurangabad, created in 1893, with 55 villages, 23,288 Catholics, and 26 schools; (2) Passan near Bilaspur, opened in 1900 with 80 Catholics; (3) Aulia in Khandwa, opened in 1902, 36 villages with 2100 Catholics and 30 schools; (4) Ellichpur in Berar, opened in 1903, 16 villages with 870 Catholics.
Madras Catholic Directory (1909 and previous years); Diocesan Directory (1907 and 1908); La Mission de Vizagapatam (Annecy, 1890).
Ernest R. Hull.