The history of the Diocese goes back to early 17th century. In the year 1606, Diocese of Cochin established a mission in Madurai named Mission “sui iuris” of Madura. However, this mission activity was suppressed in the year 1773. During the later period of suppression, the mission was well taken care of by Bishop Louis-Charles-Auguste Hebert, MEP (1836) and Bishop Clement Bonnand MEP (1836-1850). Then in 1846, Pope Gregory XIV restored the Mission named as Mission “sui iuris” of Madura and Coromandel Coast and made Madurai into an Apostolic Prefecture. The Coromandel Coast was from the Diocese of Sao Tome of Meliapore (Santhome of Mylapore).
In 1836 Pope Gregory XIV made Madurai into an Apostolic Prefecture, in 1846 it was raised to an Apostolic Vicariate and entrusted to the Fathers of Society of Jesus, On Sept. 1, 1886 the Vicariate became a Diocese with the episcopal residence fixed at Tiruchirapalli with Msgr, Alexis Canoz S.J. (1846-1888) as its first Bishop and the territory was called the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli.
In 1923 Pope Pius XI separated the South Eastern part of the diocese known as the fishery coast and made it into a separate Diocese of Tuticorin. In 1938 again the South Western portion was divided and made into the Archdiocese of Madurai by the bull “Si inter infideles.” In 2003 December Pope John Paul II bifurcated the Vicariate of Dindigul from the diocese of Tiruchirapalli and made it into a new diocese of Dindigul.
The present Diocese of Tiruchirapalli comprises of Tiruchy and Manaparai taluks of Tiruchirapalli District, Kulithalai taluk of Karur District, and Kulathur taluk of Pudukottai District. The Diocese consists of 67 parishes grouped into four Vicariates, of Tiruchirapalli-1, Tiruchirapalli-2, Manaparai, and Keeranur.
- Alexis Canoz (1846-1888)
- John Barthe S.J. (1890-1913)
- Augustine Faisandier S.J. (1914-1935)
- John Peter Leonard S.J. (1936 transferred to Madurai – 1938)
- James Mendonca (1938-1971)
- Thomas Fernando (1971 – retired in 1990)
- L. Gabriel (1990 – retired in 1997)
- Bishop Peter Fernando (Administrator 1997-2000)
- Bishop Antony Devotta installed Bishop of Tiruchirapalli on 28-01-2001