The Diocese of Belthangady was erected by the Papal Bull "CUM AMPLA", dated 24th April 1999, of His Holiness Pope John Paul II as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Thalasserry. This diocese has been established for the Syro-Malabar Catholics of the three civil districts of Karnataka State, viz., Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. Till the Diocese of Belthangady was established, this region was under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Thalasserry. As Belthangady is in Karnataka State with a different language and culture, it was difficult to cater to the spiritual needs of the faithful directly from Thalasserry. Hence it was declared a Mission Province of the Archdiocese of Thallasserry and an Episcopal Vicar was appointed on 10th November 1979. This Mission grew up and finally THE DIOCESE OF BELTHANGADY was established on 24th April 1999. The diocese was inaugurated on 4th August 1999.
MAR LAWRENCE MUKKUZHY - THE FIRST BISHOP
Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy was born on 31st August 1951 at Hosmota(Kadaba) as the 7th Child of Smt.Rosa and Late Mr.Thomas Mukkuzhy. After his school education at Aranthodu and Sullia, he joined St.Joseph's Minor Seminary, Thalasserry.His pre-degree course was at Nirmalagiri College,Kuthuparamba. He had his Philosophy and Theology course at the Pontifical Seminary, Aluva and was ordained Priest on 27th December 1978 by Bishop Mar Sebastian Valloppilly. He secured Master's Degree in English Literature from the University of Mysore.
Bishop Lawrence has to his credit a very good record of eventful and fruitful ministry in different Parishes. His first appointment was as assistant Parish Priest at Udane. He served as Parish Priest at Gandibagilu (1981- 86) Kutruppady and Guthigar (1986-88), Belthangady, Kankanady,Mundaje and Malachowki (1988-94) and Channanakampara (1994-97). In 1997 he was appointed Episcopal Vicar of Dakshina Kannada Mission and Parish Priest of Bl.Alphonsa Church, Mangalore. He has also served as Archdiocesan Consultor,Pastoral and Presbyteral Council member, President of Karnataka Catholic Educational and Charitable Society and President of the Dakshina Kannada rural Development society.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed him as the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Belthangady on 24th April 1999. He was consecrated Bishop on 4th August 1999 by the major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil assisted by Archbishop Mar George Valiyamattam of Thalassery and Bishop Mar Joseph Pallickaparambil of Pala and he assumed charge on the same day.