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Brief History

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is a complete all season destination created in pink stone. Jaipur derives its name from Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a prince, soldier and astronomer, who built the city in 1721 in accordance with Shilpa Shastra, the ancient Hindu tradition on architecture.

The first Christian presence in Jaipur goes back to the time of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur. In 1728 Father Emmanuel de Figuredo accompanied by a lay man Pedro de Silva, who later settled down in Jaipur, came to Jaipur at the invitation of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The Maharaja gifted a piece of land and contributed generously for building of Sacred Heart Church at Ghat Gate in 1871.

The first resident priest of Jaipur was Fr. Conrad OFM Cap. In 1890 Rajputana and Malwa Missions were created separating them from Agra Diocese and in 1891 this new mission was made into an Apostolic Prefecture appointing Fr. Bertram OFM Cap., as the first Prefect of the new Prefecture. To start with there were five priests and five stations namely Bandikui, Nasirabad, Jaipur, Neemuch and Mhow.

In 1913 the prefect, Rt. Rev. Fortunatus Henry Caumont OFM Cap, was appointed the first Bishop of Ajmer. In 1931 Bishop Pius and in 1939 Bishop Guido were appointed Bishop of Ajmer.

In 1949 the Diocese was handed over to the Diocesan clergy and Most Rev. Leo D' Mello was appointed the first Indian Bishop. In 1955 the name of the Diocese was changed to Diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur. Most Rev. Ignatius Menezes was appointed Bishop of Ajmer - Jaipur in 1979.

By the Apostolic Decree "Evangelium Studium" of July 20, 2005, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, erected the new diocese of Jaipur, consisting of 12 civil districts of Rajasthan, namely Alwar, Bikaner, Churu, Dausa, Hanumangarh, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Karauli, Nagaur, Sawai Madhopur, Sikar, and Sri Ganganagar. The diocese of Jaipur was erected with the territory carved out from the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur, making it a suffragan of the Province of Agra.

On the same day, by another Decree, the Holy Father appointed Most Rev. Oswald Lewis, Coadjutor Bishop of Meerut as the First Bishop of the Diocese of Jaipur. The news was officially announced in Ajmer and Jaipur on July 20, 2005 at 3.30 p.m.

The Installation ceremony was held in Jaipur on August 28th, 2005. The Apostolic Nuncio, His Grace Pedro Lopez Quintana installed Most Rev. Oswald Lewis as the first Bishop of Jaipur diocese.

Page updated: October 30, 2013