|Diocese of Richmond|
|Territory||Central and Southern Virginia, as well as the Eastern Shore of Virginia|
|Area||36,711 sq mi (95,080 km2)|
(as of 2015)|
|Established||July 11, 1820 (198 years ago)|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of the Sacred Heart|
|Patron saint||St. Vincent de Paul|
|Bishop||Barry C. Knestout|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||William E. Lori|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond (Latin: Dioecesis Richmondiensis) is an episcopal see or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Its current territory encompasses all of central and southern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the Eastern Shore. It is a ceremonial suffragan of the ecclesiastical province of Baltimore, from which its territory was taken.
Currently, there are 236,061 active Catholics and 142 parishes that are part of the Diocese of Richmond. The diocese currently has 87 active priests, 59 retired priests, 115 permanent deacons, 6 religious brothers, 139 religious sisters of Catholic religious orders and 25 seminarians. There are 28 diocesan Catholic schools in the diocese, with a total enrollment of 12,062 students in 6 high schools and 22 elementary schools.
Prior to the American Revolution, few Catholics lived in colonial Virginia. Anti-Catholic laws discouraged the faithful from settling in that area. It was not until the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786 that Catholics were free to worship openly in the commonwealth. The Diocese of Richmond was canonically erected by Pope Pius VII on July 11, 1820.
The new Diocese of Wheeling was formed by splitting off the western part of this diocese in 1850, and that same year, this diocese received the small area which had been retroceded from the District of Columbia in 1846. The Civil War led to formation of the state of West Virginia, but the boundary between that state and Virginia did not coincide with the boundary of the Wheeling and Richmond dioceses. The two eastern-shore counties were transferred to the new Diocese of Wilmington in 1868, leaving Virginia split between three dioceses. In 1974, Virginia and West Virginia dioceses were realigned so that West Virginia was a diocese by itself and Virginia had the Richmond diocese and the new Arlington diocese, both in their entirety.
The Knights of Columbus has several councils in the Richmond Diocese. The Knights serve parish and communities throughout both dioceses in the Commonwealth. One of the best known services is the KOVAR drive which raises money for assisting Virginians with intellectual disabilities.