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India: Tribal village marks Diamond Jubilee of Catholic faith in Manipur

Diamond Jubilee of Holy Cross Catholic Church at Thayong village in Manipur, northeastern India (Photo by RVA News)

The celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Catholic establishment in a remote village in the Archdiocese of Imphal, in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, was celebrated with splendor and gaiety on September 26.

The Holy Cross Catholic Church at Thayong village marked six decades of Catholicism since 1962 on the theme "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; His love endures forever."

In the presence of Father KS Joseph, Parish Priest of Mary Immaculate Parish, Chingmeirong, and the principal of Tiny Tots Unique School, Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal presided over the Holy Mass and unveiled a Diamond Jubilee Monolith erected to mark 60 years of establishing the Holy Cross Catholic Church.

The events were also attended by more than 9 priests, 10 nuns, and 700 people from the Kom tribal community and other Catholic communities from far-flung areas.

During the Holy Mass celebration more than 26 children from the village received their first Holy Communion. 

Achung Michael, an advisor of the Holy Cross Catholic Church, said, "The Diamond Jubilee celebration was a significant day for the Catholics of the Thayong village as it enhances the faith and consciousness of believers in Jesus."

He also appealed to all the Catholics of the village to dedicate and devote more to realizing a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit and Christian service to each other.

The Holy Cross Catholic Church, Thayong, and Mary Immaculate Parish, Chingmeirong, are Manipur's oldest Catholic village churches. The people of Thayong, mostly the ethnic community of Kom of Manipur, embraced the Catholic faith in 1962.

Children who received the First Communion on the occasion (Photo by RVA News)

Among the Kom community villages in Manipur, Thayong village was the first that received the grace of God and embraced the Catholic faith.

Koratin of the Moyon Tribe played a crucial role in the introduction of the Catholic faith in Thayong.

L. Retongkhup Kom, along with the other nine members, became the pioneer (founder) of the Catholic faith in the Kom community.

The visits of Salesian Father Peter Bianchi, the first priest to visit the village, played a vital role in the faith formation of the early Catholics who became leaders of faith and gave great solace and hope to others.

The elderly of today recall that Father Bianchi was an affectionate and inspiring person. He even helped the people of the village with necessities.

On March 28, 1964, ten members of the earlier Christian community of Thayong, under the initiation of L. Rongtongkhup, received the first Holy Sacrament of Baptism at Mary Immaculate Parish, Chingmeirong, Imphal, administered by Salesian Father John Khonglay.

So far, the Thayong village has produced one priest, named Father Albert Kom, presently posted in St. Joseph’s Sugnu, and has two nuns—Sisters  Serto Relamchong Lydia and Chongpi Roseline Kom.

The Koms are a remarkable tribal community in Manipur State. They represent an important cultural heritage. However, exposed to the British colonial rule and democratic process of India and influenced by the Christian faith, the Koms are looking forward to modernization.

There are 82 Catholic families with a population of 323. The total population of the village is 600, with other denominations. -Tungthang Zou


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.