Vellore Diocese



  • Bishop Paul Mariaselvam SDB (1953-54), 
  • Bishop David Marianayagam SDB (1956-69), 
  • Bishop Rayappan Antony Muthu (1971-80), 
  • Bishop Michael Augustine (1981-92), 
  • Bishop A.M. Chinnappa SDB (1994-2005)  
  • Bishop Soundararaju Periyanayagam SDB (2005-2020)



The First Bishop of Vellore Diocese


The Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Mariaselvam, S.D.B. was born at Varaganery, Tiruchirapalli on 5th March 1897 of pious parents, Mr. Chinna Pillai and Mariathangam. Though he lost his father while young, his mother, a devout Catholic with a generous heart, would pray daily with ardour that some of her sons should become priests. One day when Rt. Rev. Don Emmanuel Theotonius, Bishop of Mylapore, made pastoral visitation to the parish of the Holy Rosary, Trichy, she took the little boy Mariaselvam to him and said “Your Lordship, take my son and make him a priest. I have been praying hard all these years for this intention. The bishop with a smile said, “From today onwards he will be my child. We will make him a priest.”

 In 1907, he entered the Silesian Institute of Thanjavur, as one of the very first Indian pupils to be received into that Institute. In 1911, he was sent by Rev. Fr. E. Mederlet, S.D.B., the then Rector of the Institute, for his high school studies to St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli. After few years of studies there he was sent as a Salesian aspirant to St. Thomas Minor Seminary at Mylapore, where he passed his high school in Santhome High School. His good example was a powerful incentive to his younger brother, Joseph Sandanam to follow suit

Studies for Priesthood

The Salesian Superiors found the young man Mariaselvam intelligent and good. So, in 1916, he was sent by his Superiors to Genzano di Roma, Italy, where this first Indian Salesian pupil underwent his novitiate successfully in the Salesian Congregation, Talented, he was asked to continue his studies in Lateran University where he passed brilliantly in theology and was ordained priest in 1922 by His Holiness Pope Pius XI. In 1923 he secured a doctorate in theology.

Priestly Ministry

Towards the end of 1923, he returned to India. Then as one of the assistants of Rev. Fr E. Mederlet, S.D.B., he worked full of enthusiasm and zeal in the Sacred Heart Church, Thanjavur. In April 1928, when the Salesians were entrusted with Vellore Mission, Fr. Paul Mariaselvam together with Fr. Mora and Fr. Ignatius followed Fr. E. Mederlet to Vellore, where twenty-five years later he was to return as its first Bishop. The ways of Divine Providence are mysterious indeed. Within three months Rev. Fr. E. Mederlet, S.D.B., was appointed Archbishop of Madras. He took Fr. Mora and Fr. P. Mariaselvam with him as helpers. For nine years, Fr. Matiaselvam was parish priest of St. Antony’s Parish, Royapuram.

In 1938, he was made Chancellor and Treasurer which offices be discharged with great diligence and ability for several years, till he was made Bishop of Vellore. Together with this heavy burden, he was also for some years the Editor of the Tamil monthly magazine ‘Nallayan’ and Diocesan Inspector of Schools till 1942. Besides, he was the Spiritual Director of the sisters of St. Anne’s Congregation, Royapuram and of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, Vepery. He was mainly responsible for the spiritual progress of these two Congregations and thereby won their love and appreciation. In 1951, he succeeded Msgr. J. Carreno as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Madras.

First Bishop of Vellore

On 13th November 1952, when the new Diocese of Vellore was created and was entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco, Rev. Fr. P. Mariaselvam was appointed as its first Bishop At the age of 56, he was ordained Bishop along with the Rt. Rev. F. A. Carvalho, Auxiliary Bishop of Madras-Mylapore and the Rt. Rev. R. Sundaram, Bishop of Thanjavur, at a spectacular ceremony held on the S.I.A.A. Grounds, Madras, on 19 March 1953. It is worth noting that Bishop Paul Mariaselvam was the first Indian Salesian and the first Salesian Student in India to be made bishop.

In the newly erected diocese, many were the difficulties that confronted him. He did not even have a residence to stay. He had to live in a rented house, practically all the catechists of the diocese had to be paid; new chapels and presbyteries had to be built; but the finance was at very low ebb. However, Mary Help of Christians was his guiding star. She was his mother and Mistress, in whom he had unbounded confidence and let himself be guided by her in everything. With zeal he set to work. He visited most of the mission stations, which were after all not new to him and endeared himself to his flock with kindness and charity. His first and foremost attention was to bring a renewal in the teaching of Christian doctrine to the school children and to get good and efficient catechists for evangelization work.

His Demise

Providence thought he was already ripe for heaven. He served the diocese as its bishop hardly for one year and a half. He had once a stroke, which he did not mind. He went to Wellington for a few days of rest, where on 6th June 1954, he had a second stroke. His left side completely paralysed and with loss of speech, he was admitted in the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore. After several tests, it was unfortunately discovered that he had a malignant tumour in the brain in an advanced state. As his condition caused great anxiety, the last sacraments were administered to him by his brother, Rev Fr. Joseph Santhanam, S.D.B. which he received with great edification, ever resigned to the holy will of God. Since the doctors said there was no hope of cure except through an operation, which would give no guarantee, he was removed to the Bishop's House, Vellore, on 23rd June 1954. On Friday, 2th June 1954, he calmly gave back his beautiful soul to his Creator at 11:20 P.M.


On hearing the very sad and sudden news of the death of Bishop Mariaselvam thousands of people irrespective of caste and creed, from all over Vellore Diocese and Madras Archdiocese flocked to pay their last respects to their beloved pastor and friend. All the Bishops of Tamil Nadu, the entire Clergy of the diocese, Seminarians, hundreds of nuns, friends and officials were present for the funeral. The solemn Requiem Mass was sung by the Inter-Nuncio to India, the Most Rev. Dr Martin H. Lucas. Then the remains of His Excellency were carried to the sanctuary of the Assumption Cathedral, where at 7:30 PM they were laid to rest amidst the most sorrowful scenes.

His Greatness

In the words of Chevalier Pair, Bishop Paul Mariaselvam was a man of Prayer Dignity and power sat lightly on him. Simple, and humble and unassuming, he was loved and esteemed by all who knew him. Sacrifice has been his badge and services his banner. His inimitable smile and his affable way could rarely be excelled. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints.” The diocese lost a loving father and Pastor, but gained an advocate who pleads before His throne for the progress of his diocese.



The Second Bishop of Vellore Diocese

It is a veritable honour, privilege and a source of immense joy on the part of any writer to make a pen-picture of Bishop S. David Marianayagam. S.D.B. Known popularly among his flock as the Shepherd Bishop (Tamil Attukutty Andavar), he was the very embodiment of a true virtuous life which is beyond expression. However, the moving hand writes and having written moves on to present an account of his sterling activities for publication in the columns of the Silver Jubilee Souvenir, as one who gave his life for God.

Early Life

The son of Mr. Swamidoss Pillai and Mrs Viagula Mary, he was born on LL-l-1905 at Valambury, Thanjavur, and baptized in the Sacred Heart Church, now the Cathedral of Thanjavur Diocese. Young David was but a mere child of four years when his father was struck down by the icy hand of death and much devolved upon his very pious mother who strained every muscle and fibre in her body to educate young David, she prayed with all fervour that he, her youngest son, should enter the priest hood; and her long-cherished dream did fructify to a nicety.

Commencing his course of education in the elementary school, and subsequently in the Government Middle School, he went in further pursuit of it to the St. Antony’s High School, which was in the hands of the Salesian Fathers at the time that Rev. Fr. Eugene Mederlet, S.D.B., was the Superior and, also the incumbent of the parish.

As the leading carol-singer, during the festive season of Christmas, he was prominent among his group. Piety was his deep-seated virtue and, though there was Mass once in a month in his village, he trekked the to-and-for distance of four miles as frequently as possible to the parish church without grumbling.

On completion of his schooling, arrangements were afoot for his elder brother’s marriage. There was a proposal also for young David, who, however, bore in mind often repeated saying. A heart divided is no heart at all. He abandoned the idea of an earthly bride to wed himself avowedly to the cause of serving the one, true and infallible Church of Christ. David showed every iota of sincerity and determination to take up the trail which the great Don Bosco blazed for the Congregation of the Salesian Fathers who have spread their tentacles throughout our sub-continent and the wide, wide world.

Enters Salesian Congregation

In 1928, thus, David was poised determinately to join the Salesian Congregation and he proceeded to Shillong for the pursuance of his sacerdotal studies. He completed his two-year Regency in the Diocesan Seminary of Madras Archdiocese, after his philosophy in Shillong, where he did his theology also.

Priestly Life

He was ordained on 7-7–1904, by Archbishop Peter Perier of Calcutta His first appointment was in Royapuram as the assistant to Rev. Fr. P. Maria Selvam, S.D.B. Later, he was the Parish Priest for a year in each of Koviloor, Tirupattur and Polur Parishes.

As the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, Chethupattu, from 31st of January 1937 to April 1953, he left the impress of his priestly zeal upon the parish for its activities and the annual feast. He knew the idiosyncrasies and the history of all his parishioners, wherever he served with undeniable Godly love. During those times, there were no motorable roads and the only means of transit to the sub-stations was the traditional bullock-bandy. Nevertheless, He bore the rough with the smooth, calmly and smilingly, wholly and solely to serve the Lord, for His greater glory and the salvation of souls by no means it is a stretch of imagination to write that hit cheerful disposition, his pellucid eyes and wholesome talks shot rays of happiness to examine the darkest recesses of the most desolate heart.

In the meanwhile, he had gathered a golden harvest of experience and during ensuing years, he served in various capacities, respectively, as the Inspector of Schools and Vicar Forane of Chethupattu vicariate (1942- to 1952), Chancellor and Vicar General (from April 1953) and Administrator of Vellore Diocese from July 1954 to 1956 (first two months as the Vicar Capitular). In the wake of these responsible positions, a more onerous office as we all know loomed in the offing. His piety, zeal und ardent fervour was always striking.

Bishop of Vellore

The sad demise of His Lordship, Bishop P. Mariaselvam, S.D.B., The first bishop of Vellore. In due course, lowered the epis copal mantle upon the time-worn shoulders of Msgr. S. David Marianayagam, S.D.B. And on 9-9-1956, His Grace Archbishop Louis Mathias, S.D.B. of Madras-Mylapore, of sacred memory, ordained him Bishop in the vast campus of the Assumption Cathedral.

Consequent upon Bishop P. Maria selvam’s short-lived episcopate, the young diocese was entrusted to him, who under his Episcopal motto, “Let Jesus and Mary Reign”. Was prepared to mist the challenge of the years with all equanimity and courage. He made trips, too, to the Golden West, Europe and America, to seek ways and means to improve his diocese. The Assumption Cathedral was given a new looking for most of the poor among his flock of 50.000. Be drawn up a programme for the social uplift of a widespread nature and many Catechists too were appointed to help in the work of evangelisation. Besides, he constructed 7 Churches, 50 Chapels, 9 Presbyteries and 7 Convents: he renewed and remodelled many.

Churches and Institutions; and to cap the climax, a sum of money was given by him to each parish. All these good works coupled with many more stand in mute testimony of his burning zeal for the spreading of Christ Kingdom on earth. His Lordship was a real father to his flock and his many years of contact with the Lord’s Vineyard in the North Arcot District, gave him such experience that he knew all the problems that confronted them. He was loved alike by the Hindus, Muslims and Other Denominations. In fact, the Hindus, who lived in close proximity, were so magnified in their outlook upon Bishop David that they longed to have him as their guide and support along the path to peace; He was all in all to all, especially to his priests.

His Demise 

After a 13-year period of his episcopate, our charming father, pastor, philosopher and guide succumbed to an outset of Coronary Thrombosis at the residence of His Lordship, Bishop Arulsamy of Kumbakonam, at 14-30 hours on 16-7-1969. While he was conscious, calon and courageous in his moments of oncoming death as he was in life, be asked the bishop who had anointed him to give him the Papal Blessing. With the words Jesus, Mary and Joseph on his lips, he passed from this Vale of tears to his heavenly abode. True to the import of his Episcopal Motto. Jesus and Mary were with him on that day, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

His remains were brought to Vellore for interment in the Cathedral. After the concelebrated Mass by twelve Bishops, he was laid to rest in the sanctuary of his own Assumption Cathedral, just near the spot where, day after day, he had prayed devoutly (witnessed by his faithful) to the Eucharistic Lord. The great secret of his success was his strong and edifying devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother, Mary Help of Christians.



Present Bishop of Vellore Diocese

Not many men are called upon in their life-span to shoulder varied heavy responsibilities; and fewer still acquit themselves with distinction and grace in every position that they hold. The present Bishop of Vellore, Rt. Rev. R. Antony Muthu, is certainly one of them. It is often said that, when a boy is educated, an individual is educated; when a girl is educated a family is educated, bur when a priest is educated. Bisected, the whole world 1 Antony Muthu born on 7th April 1912, at Vellikodu of pious parents-Thiru Royappan and Gnadapragasi, was educated in the Carmel High School in Nagercoil and was ordained for the Kottar Diocese In obedience to the Supreme Pontiff, he is now the zealous Bishop of the Diocese of Vellore working with might and main that all may have life.

In the Vineyard of the Lord

Such was his piety and devotion that the Parish Priest and Spiritual Director had no hesitation to ascertain that the seed of priestly vocation was already germinating in the heart of young R. Antony Muthu. After the usual philosophical and theological studies in Quilon, he was ordained a priest on 28th March 1936, now we will see how his Motto was slowly sprouting, germinating and being steadily reaped especially in the Diocese of Vellore: “THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE.”

Great was his ministry in the Vineyard of Christ, encompassed by the Diocese of Kottar, for thirty-five long and fruit-bearing years. People of God really possessed divine life in several parishes where he worked : Mulugumudu yeur; Kottar Assistant Parish Priest (one Cathedral Assistant Parish Priest (one year); Cheruvalloor Parish Priest (for a month-then due to Malaria took rest for year); Mullanginavilai-Parish Priest (three years); Matravilai-Parish Priest (ten & a half years, from May 1941 to November 1951); Manghuzhi - Parish Priest (two years and three months, from Nov. 1951 to Feb, 1954); Karangadu – Parish Priest (seven years and three months from Feb, 1954 to May 1961); Kurusadi – Parish Priest (ten years – from May 1961 to 5th March 1971). In all these parishes and in all these years, he was and is known as a dynamic spiritual power. 

He constructed Churches, put up Grottos of Our Lady of Lourdes and also started the following for the benefit of the faithful and other communities of non-Catholic circle too, namely, Catholic Action, Catholic Religious Book Depot, and Arulananthar Reading room.

He also opened Don Bosco Oratory, Catholic Welfare Society for the well-being of the poor boys and girls, Sodality of Our Lady, all-purpose Co-operative Bank, Armpher Charka Training Institute for the welfare of the poor people of the parish. In Kurusadi parish, by his untiring work, he made a separate Curia for the Legion of Mary and gained the praiseworthy appreciation from the Senates of Madras, for the good functioning of the above-mentioned Curia. All these and other services, by way of his apostolate, prove without doubt his holy motto in view, THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE.

Bishop of Vellore

His deep interior life and his long years of hard and pastoral life moved the Holy Spirit to elevate him as the third Bishop of Vellore Diocese, in succession to the late Bishop David Marianayagam of happy memory. He was nominated as Bishop of Vellore on 6th March 1971, and, on 21st April, the same year; he was ordained Bishop by His Grace, the Most Rev. Dr. R. Arulappa, Archbishop of Madra-Mylapore. This being accomplished, he started in right earnest to carry on his Episcopal Ministry and Apostolate proving his motto, THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE.

Spiritual growth & Evangelisation

The Diocese of Vellore admires in its pastor, the deep interior life and sincere devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother Mary. Evangelisation is his first and most important pre-occupation. During his service of episcopate for the last seven years, thousands are brought to the true fold. The fact that he himself goes to the parishes and sub-stations to administer the Sacrament of Baptism to hundreds of people, in spite of his age and other works of heavy administration, one cannot but admire in him the spirit of winning souls for Christ and His Church, adhering strictly to the Evangelical Council, “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28: 19). Yes, great is the enthusiasm he is instilling in his priests to bring people to the haven of true faith, THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE.

In the short span of seven years, he has created twelve parishes and many are on the way. More than fifty new chapels are constructed and blessed in various mission stations. Through the great impetus given by the highly spiritual minded Bishop Antony Muthu, various Pious Associations are being given new life. Now that the Diocese of Vellore also has the Comities of Legion of Mary from 24th July 1977, does it not prove that he wants all his faithful to be apostles according to the Vat. Council II since it is proper to the layman’s state in life for him to spend his days in the midst of the world and of secular transactions, he is called by God to burn with the spirit of Christ and to exercise his apostolate in the world as a kind of heaven (Apostolate of the Laity. No 2) with the same spirit, namely to win souls for Christ, he has invited into the Diocese thirteen Religious Congregations of women and three Congregations of men. Guided by him, all of these are working very hard so THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE.

Socio-Educational Works

His Excellency, the Rt. Rev. R. Antony Muthu is also a great social worker. Milk Dairies in many places, thirteen new dispensaries, two hospitals, three homes for the aged, a home for the destitute, a home for the crippled and abandoned children, four new orphanages for the poor children, two new high schools, many nursery schools, provision of new tailoring machines to the deserving, help for the children to acquire a sound and solid Christian education, agricultural works, help to put up new houses etc. prove his eagerness to bring up the people also in the social field. All these accomplishments do not fail to convince everybody that he has been always faithful to his motto, THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE.

In conclusion, His Excellency, the Rt. Rev. R. Antony Muthu, is a silent and an unostentatious worker who very zealously spreads the Kingdom of Christ. What his right hand does, his left hand does not know. His great success lies in his daily Rosary and his hours of rapt contemplation in front of Our Lord in the tabernacle. Indeed, it is his interior spirit which sustains him in all the extraordinary labour or a busy life, giving him strength to prove with smile his great motto, “THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE”.


Bishop Michael Augustine

The Fourth Bishop of Vellore

(1981 - 92)

On the 10th July 1981, Most Rev. Dr. S. Michael Augustine, till then Auxiliary Bishop of Madras - Mylapore, was nominated as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Vellore. The Installation service took place on 24th July 1981 at 6.00 p.m. in the Cathedral Campus at Vellore.

Bishop S. Michael Augustine was the Bishop of Vellore for 10 years and 11 months. During his tenure of office about 100 (churches and chapels) were built; 7 new parishes were erected, 6 convents and dispensaries and 3 high schools were opened. 5 elementary schools were upgraded to middle schools. He was noticing that Catholics do not hold high positions. To achieve this, he started summer coaching classes for the students who finished school final. 

This coaching class helped many people to go for medicine, nursing, engineering and technicians. He has also established a scholarship fund for professional studies. The children should have strong foundation in their education. So he started coaching class for High School children. The coaching classes were conducted for a month. The whole expenses were met by the projects and Diocesan contributions.

The future of the Diocese depends upon the priests we get. To foster local vocations, he started a minor seminary at Pathiavaram. As the Tamil Nadu Bishops decided to have the college education as minimum qualification for major seminary admission, a seminary was started at Koviloor. The students attend Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur. At present, the minor seminary is at Vepoor. Only students who have finished their higher secondary studies are admitted. After one year of minor seminary course, the students are sent to Tirupattur College for degree course. 

‘Home for Homeless’ - with this view he built houses for the poor people. A loan scheme was started to help the teachers to build their houses. About 300 teachers have benefited by this scheme. With the help of Austrian Youth, 4 dispensaries were started in interior villages. 

A Retreat House is started by ‘Foyer de Charite’. This is one of the Power Houses. Several Retreats and Seminars are conducted here. The separated brethren too come here for their spiritual renewal. He was transferred as Archbishop of Pondicherry - Cuddalore on 24th March 1992. He remained administrator of Vellore Diocese till 25th June 1992.

When Bishop Michael Augustine took charge of Pondicherry Archdiocese, the Diocese of Vellore became vacant. The Diocesan Consulters had their meeting and elected Rev. Msgr. A. Nambikairaj as the Administrator of the Diocese of Vellore. The diocese was ably administered by him for 20 months.


Bishop A.M. Chinnappa

The Fifth Bishop of Vellore

(1994 - 2005)

After 18 months of vacancy, Very Rev. Fr. A. Malayappan Chinnappa SDB., M.A.B.Ed., from K. Pudur, Madurai Archdiocese was appointed Bishop of Vellore. This good news was announced on 16th December 1993. He is the fifth bishop of Vellore and 3rd Salesian Bishop. The Episcopal Ordination was held on 25th January 1994. Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy was the main consecrator. All the Bishops of Tamil Nadu were present. More than 400 priests were present. A good number of Sisters Religious and lay people were present for the Episcopal Ordination.

In 1911, North Arcot District was erected and Vellore was named as its headquarters. In 1989, North Arcot was bifurcated into two Districts Vellore and Thiruvannamalai. From that time onwards Vellore Diocese comprises of two districts namely Vellore and Thiruvannamalai. These two districts get less rain. Most of the fields are dry lands. There are two rivers and a few tributaries; they are dry throughout the year. There are no factories or industries. Once upon a time, Vellore district was famous for Tannery works. Now the tanneries are mechanized and so no work. Matchbox works and Beedi (country cigarette) works are done here. In this situation only education can help these people.

When he was appointed Bishop of Vellore, his main priority was “Education for everybody”. He was trying his best to educate all children. He was trying to raise funds by scholarship, sponsorship etc. He put up good buildings for the schools and also upgraded several schools that the children may study in the local school. This has helped to reduce the dropouts. To cater to the needs of more people in rural areas, 17 new parishes and 2 mission stations with resident priests are erected. In 1997, his Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee was celebrated. At that time, the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council meeting was held in Vellore. 

As a remembrance RS.25/- Lakhs (2 1/2 million rupees) were collected and the interest is used to help as medical aid to the poor people. Widows receive proper care. Care of souls is done with Pastoral Plans. Administrative and Cultural buildings are put up. 

In 2001, he defended a thesis at Madras University - Chair of Christianity and obtained a Ph.D. (on the Pastoral Methods of missionaries especially Paris Foreign Missionaries and the Salesians of Don Bosco). To provide opportunities for higher education he has invited Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary to start University Study Centre, Carmelite Sisters to similar work and the Sisters of Gonzaga to start Teachers’ Training College in different parts of the diocese. Priests, Religious and Laity received periodical animation programmes. To cater to the socio-economic developments of the people one more Social Service Society is established at Thiruvannamalai. Eradication of Casteism is one of the land marks. The Diocesan Synod was celebrated 9 – 13th September 2003 with “Building Relationships in Dialogue” as the main Theme.

In 10th July 2002, one of the Diocesan Priests Most Rev. Dr. L. Thomas Aquinas appointed Bishop of Coimbatore. This is the first one to be raised from the Vellore Diocesan clergy to the Bishopric. His Episcopal Ordination was well attended by the Priests, Religious and Laity at Coimbatore.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters open a Women’s’ College at Pudupalayam. Gonsaga Sisters opened B.Ed., College at Chetpet.  Congregation of the Sisters of Theresian Carmelites (CTC) opened a B.Ed. College at Pavithiram. College here means University Education all they help to improve the standard the people.

On 01.04.2005 Bishop Chinnappa SDB was transferred to Madras - Mylapore as its Arch Bishop. He took charge of the Archdiocese on 22-05-2005. A fitting send-off was given to him. A good number of Priests, Religious and people took part in the installation at Madras.

On 23.05.2005, the Consulters of Vellore Diocese had the Council Meeting to elect the Administrator for the vacant Diocese. Msgr. M. Joe Lourdusamy was elected as the Administrator of the Diocese. At that time he was the Chancellor of the Diocese and Secretary to the Clergy Commission.




Bishop Soundararaju Periyanayagam SDB

The Sixth Bishop of Vellore


On 11.07.2006, Very Rev. Soundararaju Periyanayagam, S.D.B was appointed Bishop of Vellore. At that time, he was the Rector of Don Bosco Orphanage, Gandhinagar, Vellore. He was also a member of the Diocesan Council. Bishop Soundararaju Periyanayagam, SDB, is the Fourth Salesian Bishop to head the Diocese. He hails from Vellore Diocese itself. He hails from Kolappalur Parish. He is the first native Bishop of the Diocese. His Episcopal Ordination was on 24.08.2006. Madras - Mylapore Archbishop Chinnappa, SDB was the main Consecrator. Archbishop Anandarayar of Pondicherry-Cuddalore and Bishop Thomas Aquinas of Coimbatore were Co consecrators. 

All the Tamil Nadu Bishops and the Bishop of Nellore were present. More than 500 Priests and a good numbers of Religious and laity were present.  After his Episcopal Ordination the Bishop had visited all the parishes of the diocese. He had administered confirmation in all the parishes and he confirmed 12,630 children till now.Eleven new churches and Thirty five chapels were built in some of the parishes and substations. 

Since the new Bishop is the son of the soil and he had been Vice Principal, Professor and Principal of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur, he is well aware the economical condition of the local people. Besides religious formation of the people, he gives priority for education especially higher education. He is the first bishop to give Scholarship for Higher Education. In the memory of his decennial episcopal celebration, he launched a new scholarship on 24th August 2016 for higher education especially for civil service exams, medical and engineering studies. More than sixty poor students benefit every year. He has erected Sanipoondi, Maruthuvambadi and Sirungattur as Parishes. A new mission station was started at Yelagiri. Twelve different women religious homes were opened in twelve parishes. 

A communication centre by name ‘Vinnarasi Kalai Thodharbagam’ was opened for evangelization and producing programs for Madha TV. The diocesan Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in grand manner in November 7 & 8, 2012 and it was an extraordinary event too. Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio visited and presided over the Eucharistic Celebration. He was very happy to meet all the priests, religious and the people.