The Vatican announced yesterday it would create a new Tamil-majority diocese in the east of the country.

It says Trincomalee-Batticaloa diocese is to be divided, making Batticaloa a diocese in its own right.

Batticaloa will become Sri Lanka’s 12th diocese with Auxiliary Bishop Ponniah Joseph becoming its first prelate.

The new diocese will comprise 55,225 Catholics with 48 priests.

“We have been expecting this news for a long time,” Bishop Joseph said.

“People here have been urging the Vatican to declare a separate diocese since 1980,” the bishop said. “Administrative matters will be much easier from now on,” he added.

The official installation ceremony will be held on September 23.

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