The history of the Diocese of Cochin begins with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries along with the famous explorer, Vasco da Gama, in Calicut. The second Portuguese fleet under Pedro Alavarez Cabral reached Cochin on December 24, 1500. It was Francesco de Albuquerque who built a place of worship which was blessed on November 1, 1503.The first Portuguese Viceroy, Francesco de Almeida, who reached Cochin in 1505 built a church edifice using lime and stone. On the feast of the “Invention of the Holy Cross”, May 3, that year its foundation stone was laid and when completed it was named Santa Cruz. (This church was on the eastern side of the present Children’s Park, Fort Cochin).When the Dutch conquered Cochin in 1663, they destroyed all the Catholic institutions except the Cathedral and the Church of St. Francis. The Cathedral used as an armoury was later destroyed when the British took over in 1795 ( One of its monumental remains, a decorative granite pillar, is kept on the south-eastern corner of the present Basilica ).Bishop Dom Joao Gomes Fereira who became the prelate of Cochin in 1887 started rebuilding the cathedral but only during the reign of his successor, Dom Mateus Oliveira Xavier it could be brought to reality. On November 19, 1905, the new Cathedral was consecrated by Dom Sebastiao Jose Pereira, Bishop of Damao.Considering the earnest request of Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Kureethara, who was holding the Crosier of Cochin then, and considering the covetable antiquity, artistic magnificence and historic significance, Pope John Paul II raised the Santa Cruz Cathedral as a Basilica on 19th December, 1984. It was, indeed, a matter of great joy to each and every faithful of the Diocese, especially the Kochinites, irrespective of cast and creed.