Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

Emblem of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Founder St. Thomas (AD 52)
Reunion 1930 :separated from Malankara Orthodox Church
Recognition Eastern Catholic
First head Geevarghese Ivanios
Current Head Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal
Episcopal see Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Territory Thiruvananthapuram
Language Syriac, Malayalam, Tamil, English, Hindi
Liturgy Malankara Rite
Members 236,870[1][2]
Bishops 14[1][2]
Priests 546[1][2]
Parishes 692[1][2]
Nuns 1688[1][2]
Scriptures Bible (based on Peshitta)

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with Catholic Church and with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. It is one of the 23 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in the Catholic communion. It is a Major Archiepiscopal Church headed by a Major Archbishop. The current Major Archbishop is Baselios Cleemis, who was elected in 2007. The church follows the West Syrian Rite liturgy, which is also used in the Maronite and Syriac Catholic Church.

The Church is one of the Saint Thomas Christian churches centered in Kerala, India, which trace their origin to the evangelism of Saint Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. It is one of two Saint Thomas Christian churches in the Catholic communion, the other being the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. It was established on 20 September 1930 as a result of the re-union movement, when it split from the Malankara Church and entered into communion with the Catholic Church. The Malankara Church itself had emerged from the split within the Saint Thomas Christian community of the 16th century. However, the collapse of that church and influence from the Portuguese, who tried to bring them under the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, led to a rift in the community. Eventually, one faction entered into communion with the Catholic Church known as the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church from 1923 AD, while the rest formed the Malankara Church and aligned with the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. This latter group became gradually closer to the Syrian Orthodox church leading to a series of splits concerning the extent to which the Patriarch would be given authority.

Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
Ancient crosses · Churches · Shrines · Liturgical language · Church music
Prominent persons
Abraham Malpan · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban · Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Mar Thoma I · Saint Alphonsa · Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi · Kariattil Mar Ousep · Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril · Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Ignatius Elias III · Geevarghese Mar Ivanios · Saint Alphonsa · Yeldho Mar Baselios · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Euphrasia Eluvathingal · Thoma of Villarvattom · Gregorios Abdal Jaleel

Margamkali · Parichamuttukali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam


Divisions among Saint Thomas Christians

Saint Thomas Christian's - Divisions- History

A protest took place in 1653 with the Coonan Cross Oath. Under the leadership of Archdeacon Thomas, the Thomas Christians publicly took an oath that they would not obey the Jesuit bishops.[3]

Rome sent Carmelites in two groups from the Propagation of the Faith to Malabar headed by Fr. Sebastiani and Fr. Hyacinth. Fr. Sebastiani arrived first in 1655. He began to deal directly with the Archdeacon, Mar Thoma I. Fr. Sebastiani gained the support of many, especially with the support of Parambil Mar Chandy, Alexandar Kadavil and the Vicar of Muttam. According to Jesuit reports,[3] these were the three councilors of Mar Thoma I who, before the arrival of Sebastiani, were reconciled with Francisco Garcia Mendes, the Jesuit Archbishop of Cranganore, one of the Latin Church sees in Kerala.

Between 1661 and 1662, out of the 116 churches, the Carmelites reclaimed 84 churches, leaving Archdeacon Mar Thomas I with 32 churches. The 84 churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syro Malabar Church has descended. The other 32 and their congregations represented the nucleus from which the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites & Orthodox), Thozhiyur, Mar Thoma Syrians, Syro Malankara Catholics originated.[4]

In 1665 Mar Gregorios, a bishop sent by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, arrived in India. The dissident group under the leadership of the Archdeacon welcomed him.[5] Though most of the St. Thomas Christians gradually relented in their strong opposition to the Western control, the arrival of the Bishop Mar Gregory of the Syriac Orthodox Church in 1665 marked the beginning of a formal schism among the St. Thomas Christians. Those who accepted the West Syrian theological and liturgical tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch of Mar Gregory became known as the Jacobite, The Syrian Catholics remained in communion with Rome and later came to be known as the Syro Malabar Church.[5]

Turbulence in Malankara Church

It was in this contentious context that the 118th Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Abded Aloho II, went to Malankara in 1911 and excommunicated Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius. To ward off the undue interference of the Patriarch in the administration of the temporalities of the Church, Fr. P.T. Geevarghese with the blessing of Vattasseril Thirumeni contacted Ignatius Abdul Masih II, the 117th Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, who had been excommunicated by the Ottoman government in 1906, and invited him to visit Malankara and to establish a Catholicate here. Accordingly, Ignatius Abdul Masih II went to Malankara in 1912 and established the Malankara Catholicate. This created a split in the church:

Baselios Paulose I (1912–1913), the first Catholicos, died after a short period of five months on 13 May 1913; the See remained vacant until 1925. That was a period of litigation in the Malankara Church. The litigation for Vattippanam (a fixed deposit of money in the name of the Church) and its after-effects in the community was at its zenith.

Geevarghese Ivanios

Abo Geevarghese

Geevarghese was born on 21st Sept 1882 at Mavelikara to the 'Mallitty' Panickervettil family, belonging to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. He was given the baptismal name Geevarghese. The Panickervettil family were honoured with the title of 'Mylitta Panicker' bestowed upon by the Maharaja of Travancore Marthanda Varma, Travancore Royal Family. Panicker's family lineage also include him being grandson of the aristocratic Saint Thomas Christian family Polachirackal with their tharavad in Mavelikkara. The Polachirackal House held the highest-ranking hereditary title for a Christian family in Travancore being of nobility titled as Tharakan and were of the highest ranking Christian peer to the Maharaja of Travancore. The Polachirackal House through the Saint Thomas Christian Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is acknowledged by Pope Pius XI and continues to do so by the Holy See of the Vatican City as one of the oldest Saint Thomas Christian families with their tradition of origin being that their ancestors who were of a royal lineage from the Chera Dynasty were converted by Saint Thomas in 53 AD and preceding Western Christianity and Christian monarchies in Europe. Starting with the first Portuguese discoveries including that of navigator Vasco da Gama, the House had evolved from accumulating one of the largest wealth through merchant trading from their oligopoly in black pepper commodity trading as part of the spice trade controlled by the Dutch East India during the age of discovery between the 16th and 18th centuries. The House's excessive wealth allowed them to become the court financiers to Marthanda Varma and financed the Kingdom of Venad during the Travancore–Dutch War in the 18th century against the Dutch East India Company. This culminated in funding the Battle of Colachel in 1741 leading to Marthanda Varma defeating of the Dutch East India Company which was the first loss of its kind by a European naval super-power in the Indian sub-continent. The House were signatories to the Treaty of Mavelikkara in 1753 contributing to the establishment of the Kingdom of Travancore, diminishing the role of the Dutch East India Company in the Indian subcontinent and leading to the rise of the Maharaja of Travancore Marthanda Varma and the Travancore Royal Family. At the age of 15 he joined M.D.Seminary School for high school studies. On April 20, 1898 he received minor orders and was sent to Madras Christian College for higher studies. There he obtained his master's degree. On 15 September 1908 Geevarghese was ordained priest by Vattasseril Mar Dinoysius. Just after the ordination Geevarghese was appointed Principal of M.D.Seminary, Kottayam. Later he moved to Calcutta, accepting an invitation to teach at Searmpore College. During his stay at Calcutta Geevarghese founded a monastic community.

Establishment of Bethany Ashram

On Geevarghese's return from Calcutta a friend, E. John Vakeel, donated 100 acres (400,000 m2) of land at Mundanmala, Ranni-Perunadu, Kerala at the meeting place of the rivers Pampa and Kakkatt for an ashram. Geevarghese and his followers built a small thatched hut at what became the first Ashram in Malankara on 15 August 1919, named "Bethany".[6] Along with the Ashram Geevarghese started a house for orphans.

While at Serampore, Geevarghese founded the Bethany Madhom (convent) for women religious in 1925, with the help of the Epiphany Sisters of England working at Serampore. He was ordained a bishop of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church by Baselios Geevarghese I on 1 May 1925. He received the name Geevarghese Mar Ivanios.[7]

Ecclesial communion

The Five Pillars of 1930 Reunion Event: Metropolitan Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Bishop Jacob Mar Theophilos, Fr. John Kuzhinapurath OIC, Dn. Alexander OIC, Mr. Chacko Kilileth

On 20 September 1930 Mar Ivanios, Bishop Jacob Mar Theophilos, Fr. John Kuzhinapurath OIC, Dn. Alexander OIC, and Chacko Kilileth embraced and reunited with the Catholic Church. The Reunion Movement under the leadership of Mar Ivanios gave rise to Malankara Catholic Church.

After reunion movement

Pope Pius XI, through the Apostolic Constitution Christo Pastorum Principi of June 11, 1932, established the Syro-Malankara Hierarchy for the reunited community and erected the Archiparchy of Thiruvananthapuram with the Eparchy of Tiruvalla as its suffragan. The Metropolitan Eparchy of Thiruvananthapuram was established in 1933. Mar Ivanios was enthroned as its first Metropolitan Archbishop. The Eparchy of Tiruvalla was established in 1933. Jacob Mor Theophilos was enthroned as its first Bishop.

In 1937 Joseph Mar Severios of the Orthodox Church reunited with the Catholic Church. In 1939, Thomas Mar Dioscoros, the Metropolitan of the Knanaya Jacobite Church, reunited with the Catholic Church.[8] In 1938, the missionary congregation of the Daughters of Mary was founded at Marthandom in Kanyakumari District. Bishop Dioscoros died in 1943.

Ivanios consecrated Benedict Mar Gregorios as his Auxiliary Bishop in 1953. Ivanios died on 15 July 1953.

The Eparchy of Tiruvalla was led by Jacob Mor Theophilos and Joseph Mor Severios. Severios was the Administrator of the Eparchy until 1950 due to the ill health of Theophilos. In 1950 he was appointed as the Bishop of Tiruvalla. He was also invested with the title ‘Archbishop’. He died on 18 January 1955.

Metropolitan Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios

Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios

In 1955 Metropolitan Archbishop Benedict Gregorios was enthroned as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram and the Head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.[9] The Holy See appointed Zacharias Athanasios as successor to Severios, whose consecration took place in 1954. Jacob Mar Theophilos died in 1956.

Francis Acharya, a Cistercian monk, came to the Eparchy of Tiruvalla. In the year 1957 he founded the Kristiya Sanyasa Samaj, Kurisumala Ashram in the high ranges of Vagamon.

In 1958 the territorial boundaries of the Eparchy of Tiruvalla was extended north to include the Malabar region of Kerala, the civil districts of Coimbatore and Nilgiris and Karoor Taluk in Tiruchirappally District of Tamil Nadu and districts of Mysore, Mandya, Coorg, Hasan, Chickamangalore, Shimoga and South Kanara of Karnataka State.

Mor Athanasios died in 1977.

Paulos Mor Philoxenos, the Metropolitan of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, was received into the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 28 August 1977.

The appointment of Mor Isaac Yoohanon as Bishop of Tiruvalla and erection of the Eparchy of Bathery with the appointment of Cyril Mar Baselios as its first Bishop through the decree of the Holy See took place in 1978. Both prelates were consecrated that year.

The Eparchy of Bathery was officially inaugurated in 1978. In 1979 the Eparchial contemplative monastery, Dhyana Ashram, was founded in the Eparchy of Bathery by Fr. Silvester Kozhimannil.

Lawrence Mor Ephrem was consecrated Bishop in 1980.

Malankara Catholics within India but outside the canonical territorial boundaries of the Church were first organized as Malankara Catholic Associations, and later came to be erected as personal parish communities. A coordinator was appointed to oversee them, by the Council of Hierarchs of the Malankara Catholic Church.

St. Mary’s Malankara Major Seminary, the first local seminary, was inaugurated at Pattom in 1983 and the new building was blessed at Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram was blessed in 1989.

Pope John Paul II visited on 8 February 1986 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram.

On 28 April 1987, Mar Yoohanon, the Bishop of Tiruvalla died.

Cardinal Lourdusamy, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, visited the Malankara Catholic Church in August 1987.

Mor Geevarghese Timotheos succeeded Yoohanon as the Bishop of Tiruvalla. He was consecrated Bishop in 1988.

Metropolitan-Archbishop Benedict Mor Gregorios died in 1994 after serving 41 years.

Cyril Baselios

Cyril Baselios, the Bishop of Bathery having been appointed by Pope John Paul II, was enthroned as Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram and as the head of the Malankara Church on 14 December 1995. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios was consecrated Bishop of Bathery in the place of Cyril Mar Baselios on 5 February 1996. Achille Silvestrini, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, visited the Malankara Catholic Church on 11, 12, 13 February 1996. On the request of Cyril Baselios, by an Apostolic Bull dated 16 December 1996, Pope John Paul II erected the Eparchy of Marthandom bifurcating the Metropolitan Eparchy of Thiruvananthapuram. Lawrence Mar Ephrem was appointed as its first Bishop. He died after a few months of his enthronement as Bishop of Marthandom, on 8 April 1997.

In the meantime the Eparchy of Tiruvalla was given an Auxiliary Bishop in the person of Thomas Mar Koorilos, who was consecrated Bishop on 17 July 1997. On 29 June 1998 Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom was consecrated as the Bishop of Marthandom and Joshua Mar Ignathios as the Auxiliary Bishop for the Metropolitan Eparchy of Thiruvananthapuram. Paulos Mar Philoxenos died on 3 November 1998.

Pope John Paul II at the Great Jubilee Audience with Fr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath, the Contact Person and other Delegates of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church celebrated the Great Jubilee 2000 in Rome from 19–21 November 2000. Pope John Paul II gave an audience to the hierarchy and the representatives of the clergy, the religious and the laity of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 20 November 2000. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church organized a Great Jubilee Conference in Pope John Paul II auditorium of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome on 20 November 2000 under the presidency of Achille Cardinal Silvestrini, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches. The other dignitaries spoke on the occasion were Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, the President of the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee, Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and Cyril Mar Baselios. [10] The Great Jubilee Holy Mass in the Malankara-Syro Antiochene rite was celebrated on 21 November 2000, at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, presided by Ignace Moussa I Daoud, Patriarch of the Syro-Antiochean Catholics and Cyril Mar Baselios, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. In this Holy Mass the prayers were recited in six languages namely, Syriac, Arabic, Malayalam, Tamil, Italian and English.[11]

Christu Jayanthi Maha Jubilee and the Sapthathy of the Re-union Movement of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church were celebrated jointly at Tiruvalla on 26, 27, 28 December 2000.

In this period parishes for the faithful of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States of America were established. Pope John Paul II nominated the Proto-Syncellus of Bathery Isaac Thottunkal, as Apostolic Visitor and the Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram on 18 June 2001 for the Syro-Malankarites residing in North America and Europe. He was consecrated on 15 August 2001 at Tirumoolapuram, (Tiruvalla), and assumed the name Isaac Mar Cleemis.

Bifurcating the Eparchy of Tiruvalla, the Eparchy of Muvattupuzha was erected on 15 January 2003 and Thomas Mar Koorilos was appointed as its first Bishop.

On 29 March 2003 Bishop Mar Timotheos resigned due to his age, and the Holy See appointed Isaac Cleemis, the Apostolic Visitor to Europe and America, as the Bishop of Tiruvalla. Cleemis took charge of the Diocese on 2 October 2003. On January 5, 2005 Joseph Mar Thomas was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram and Apostolic Visitor to North America and Europe.

On February 10, 2005, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was raised to the status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church by the papal document Ab ipso Sancto Thoma, and as such the church possesses a high level of autonomy under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio in India, read the official declaration at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram. The Hierarchical Head of the Church became a Major Archbishop who exercises patriarchal powers and governs the Church assisted by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Church.[12]

The Catholicate Centre, which houses the Major Archiepiscopal Curia.

On 19 February 2005, Joseph Mar Thomas was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram and Apostolic Visitor to North America and Europe. On 11 April 2005 the Faculty of Theology of St. Mary’s Malankara Major Seminary became affiliated to the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.

The enthronement of the Major Archbishop as the head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church took place on May 14, 2005. The Malankara Major Archiepiscopal Curia (Catholicate Centre) started functioning at the St. Mary's Campus, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram. On May 20, 2005, Cyril Baselios blessed the Curia building. Baselios soon constituted the first Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, convened from 16 to 18 August 2005 at the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Thiruvananthapuram. It constituted the Permanent Synod and the various Synodal Commissions headed by Bishops to take care of various apostolates of the Church. The official bulletin, Malankara is published from the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, to communicate the Synodal acts and voice of the Syro-Malankara Major Archiepiscopal Church.

The Platinum Jubilee of the Reunion Movement and the Year of the Eucharist were celebrated jointly at Mar Ivanios Nagar, Punnamoodu, Mavelikara on September 19, 20, 21, 2005.

By decrees of Baselios, the Metropolitan Province of Tiruvalla with the Eparchies of Bathery and Muvattupuzha as suffragans, was established on May 15, 2006 and Isaac Cleemis was appointed as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tiruvalla. On June 10, 2006 Isaac Cleemis was enthroned as the first Metropolitan-Archbishop of Tiruvalla.

By the decree of Baselios, on January 1, 2007, the new Eparchy of Mavelikara was erected and Joshua Mar Ignathios, the Auxiliary Bishop and protosyncellus of the Major Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, was appointed as its first Bishop.

The Second Ordinary Holy Episcopal Synod was convoked on December 6–7, 2006 and it was decided to revive monastic consecration according to the tradition of the Antiochene Church, properly termed Rabban per the Syriac, but locally called Ramban; and Corepiscopo, to honour a number of priests for their meritorious service in the Church.

On Thursday, January 18, 2007, Cyril Baselios died, and was entombed by the side of his predecessors at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram on January 20, 2007.

Baselios Cleemis

Isaac Cleemis was elected the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church through the first Episcopal Synod of election of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church held on February 7–10, 2007 at the Catholicate Centre, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the election on 9 February and it was announced on 10 February at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram.

The installation of Aboon Mor Joshua Ignathios was held on 16 February 2007 at Mavelikara and Aboon Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, the Administrator of The Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church presided over the installation ceremony. The new eparchy has a 30,825 Syro-Malankara Catholic faithful of a total population of 2,998,325 inhabitants. Of this 269,849 are Malankara non-Catholics and 598,824 Christians of other denominations.

On February 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Chacko Aerath OIC as the Apostolic Visitor with Episcopal status for the Malankara Catholic faithful residing in the Extraterritorial Regions of the Church within India.[13]

Baselios Cleemis was enthroned as the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on March 5, 2007 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram.

On March 26, 2007 the Aboon Thomas Mar Koorilos was appointed the Second Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archieparchy of Tiruvalla. His installation Ceremony was held on May 2, 2007 at St.John’s Cathedral, Tiruvalla. Major Arch-bishop Cleemis was the main celebrant.

Baselios Cleemis visited Pope Benedict XVI on May 28, 2007 at Vatican and exchanged ecclesiastical Communion.

On July 14, 2007 Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis declared Archbishop Mar Ivanios a Servant of God.

In accordance with the provisions of CCEO can. 1063 the Ordinary Tribunal of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was constituted on November 15, 2007.

Aboon Abraham Mar Julios, Ph.D. was consecrated Bishop of the Eparchy of Moovattupuzha by Baselios Cleemis on February 9, 2008 at Moovattupuzha.

Baselios Cleemis blessed the newly built Tomb Chapel of the Servant of God Mar Ivanios in St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram on July 1, 2008.

Leonardo Sandri, Cardinal Prefect of Congregation for the Oriental Churches visited the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on November 10, 2008. Holy Qurbono according to the Syro-Malankara Tradition was celebrated. Baselios Cleemis was the main celebrant. In the following meeting Cardinal Sandri recognized Queen of Peace Pro-Cathedral at Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram as a Basilica. Cleemis dedicated St. Mary, Queen of Peace Basilica on December 7, 2008.

Cleemis created two new Eparchies in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Pathanamthitta in Kerala and Puthur in the State of Karnataka. He appointed four new bishops, elected by the Holy Episcopal Synod. He announced the transfer of Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, later Bishop of Marthandom, to the new See of Pathanamthitta and Bishop Geevarghese Mar Divannasios from the See of Bathery to the new See of Puthur. Joseph Mar Thomas, the Apostolic Visitator to North America and Europe was appointed Bishop of Bathery. To the See of Marthandom, vacant due the transfer of its Bishop, was appointed Vincent Kulapuravilai, Professor and Registrar of St. Mary's Malankara Seminary Thiruvananthapuram. Samuel Kattukallil, Syncellus of the Major Archeparchy of Thiruvananthapuram and Stephen Thottathil, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of St. Mary's Malankara Seminary were appointed Auxiliary Bishops of the Major Archeparchy of Thiruvananthapuram and the Archieparchy of Tiruvalla respectively. Antony Valiyavilayil, the Postulator of the Cause of Canonisation of Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios and the Chancellor of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, was appointed the Bishop of the Curia.[14]

The Episcopal Ordination of Bishops Vincent Mar Paulos, Samuel Mar Irenios, Philipose Mar Stephanos and Thomas Mar Anthonios took place at Mar Ivanios Vidya Nagar in Thiruvananthapuram on March 13, 2010

The Public Meeting after the Episcopal Ordination on March 13, 2010

Thomas Naickamparampil was appointed as the first Exarch of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Exarchate in the United States by Pope Benedict XVI, with consultation by Cleemis and the Holy Synod of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, on 14 July 2010. He was ordained bishop and received the name Aboon Thomas Mor Eusebius on 21 September 2010 at St. Mary's Malankara Syrian Catholic Cathedral, Thiruvananthapuram. His installation ceremony was on October 3, 2010 at Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale, New York.

Baselios Cleemis was elevated to the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI at the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican on 24 November 2012.[15] As Cardinal-Priest he was assigned the titular church of San Gregorio VII. He is the first bishop of the Syro-Malankara church and the fifth Keralite becoming cardinal.

The new Eparchy of St John Chrysostom of Gurgaon (New Delhi) was established by Pope Francis on 26 March 2015 and Jacob Mar Barnabas was appointed as its first Bishop. On the very same day Pope Francis established the new Exarchate of St Ephrem of Khadki (in Pune) for the Syro- Malankara Catholics and appointed Thomas Mar Anthonios as its first Bishop.[16]

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is fast growing in theological and canonical studies. Many authors have contributed to the development in the field of theology and canon law.[17]

Besides the canonical institutions of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, various associations including the Malankara Catholic Youth Movement (MCYM), the Malankara Catholic Association (MCA), and the Legion of Mary, Matruvedi, Pithruvedi emerged.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church engages in humanitarian activities. Mar Gregorios Snehaveedu, Nalanchira,Trivandrum which takes care of the mentally sick people on the road and Thapovanam, Shelter of Hope, Sulthan Bathery, a centre for the rehabilitation of the mentally ill are examples of such services.

Syro-Malankara Catholics in Ireland with His Excellency Most Rev.Dr.Joshua Mar Ignathius. ( Mavelikara Diocese Bishop)

Eparchies and Exarchates


According to the Pontifical yearbook Annuario Pontificio for 2015, the Syro-Malankara Church had approximately 445,381 members.[1][2]

Dioceses Members Bishops Parishes Diocesan Priests Religious Priests Men Religious Women Religious Seminarians
Major Archeparchy of Thiruvananthapuram 222,400 2 316 151 32 106 553 46
Eparchy of Pathanamthitta 38,300 1 100 66 6 6 84 30
Eparchy of Marthandom 67,423 1 85 44 8 25 192 31
Eparchy of Mavelikara 26,398 1 95 53 10 13 142 24
Archeparchy of Tiruvalla 40,660 3 136 100 20 33 280 41
Eparchy of Bathery 23,500 1 107 70 10 10 310 25
Eparchy of Muvattupuzha 14,000 1 64 43 14 30 83 14
Eparchy of Puttur 2,700 1 24 15 8 8 19 5
Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom of Gurgaon - - - - - - - -
Apostolic Exarchate of St. Ephrem of Khadki - - - - - - - -
Eparchy of St. Mary, Queen of Peace of USA and Canada 10000 1 14 16 1 1 31 3
TOTAL 445,381 12 941 558 109 232 1694 219


The Malankara Syrian Catholic Church has 15 Hierarchs:

Hierarchs Diocese Cathedral / Location
Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis
Major Archbishop - Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Church and Cardinal
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Aboon Thomas Mor Koorilos
Metropolitan Archbishop of Tiruvalla
St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
Aboon Joseph Mor Thomas
Metropolitan of Bathery
St. Thomas Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Sulthan Bathery, Kerala, India
Aboon Vincent Mor Paulose
Metropolitan of Marthandom
Christuraja Syro Malankara Catholic Catheddral /
Marthandam, Tamil Nadu, India
Aboon Abraham Mor Julios
Metropolitan of Muvattupuzha
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Vazhappilly, Mudavoor, Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India
Aboon Joshua Mor Ignathios
Metropolitan of Mavelikkara
St.Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Punnamoodu, Mavelikkara, Kerala, India
Aboon Yoohanon Mor Chrysostom
Metropolitan of Pathanamthitta
St. Peter's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Aboon Geevarghese Mor Divannasios
Metropolitan of Puthur
St. Joseph’s Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Puthur, Karnataka, India
Aboon Geevarghese Mor Timotheos
Metropolitan Emeritus of Tiruvalla
Emeritus of St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
Aboon Thomas Mor Eusebius
Metropolitan of the United States
St. Vincent de Paul Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Elmont – New York, USA
Aboon Jacob Mor Barnabas
Bishop of St. John Chrysostom of Gurgaon
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Neb Sarai – New Delhi, India
Aboon Samuel Mor Irenios
Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Aboon Philipose Mor Stephanos
Auxiliary Bishop of Tiruvalla
St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
Aboon Thomas Mor Anthonios
Apostolic Exarch of St. John Chrysostom of Khadki
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Khadki, Maharashtra India

Liturgy and worship

The liturgy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is of the Antiochene Rite, West Syrian in character. The liturgy today is celebrated in Malayalam, Syriac, English, Tamil, and Hindi. The church uses one of several Bible translations into Malayalam.

In the Indian diaspora

There are 39 Syro-Malankara communities in North India, including churches at Banglore, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. On March 26, 2015, Cleemis and the Holy Synod in consultation with Pope Francis erected two Eparchies to cover all of India. Bishop Barnabas Jacob was appointed bishop of the Delhi-based Eparchy of St John Chrysostom of Gurgaon. Bishop Anthonios Thomas heads the Apostolic Exarchate of St Ephrem of Khadki.[18]

Around the world

United States

Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in the United States

In July 2010, Pope Benedict XVI erected an apostolic exarchate for Syro-Malankara Catholics in the United States, and appointed Father Thomas Naickamparampil, then head secretary general of the major archiepiscopate of the Syro-Malankara Church, as first apostolic exarch of the new exarchate. The bishop-elect was ordained to the episcopacy on 21 September 2010 at St. Mary's Malankara Syrian Catholic Cathedral, Pattom, receiving the name "Aboon Thomas Mor Eusebius" and the Enthronement Ceremony in the United States was held on October 3, 2010 at Kellenberg High School, Uniondale, New York.[19] On 4 January 2016, Pope Francis elevated the exarchate to an eparchy for the United States and Canada. At the same time, Bishop Naickamparampil was transferred from the titular see of Lares to the new St. Mary, Queen of Peace eparchy, and released from the Office of Apostolic Visitator to the Syro-Malankara Catholics in Europe.[20]

Canada and Europe

In July 2010 Pope Benedict XVI also appointed Thomas Eusebius as Apostolic Visitor for Syro-Malankara Catholics in Canada and Europe, alongside his primary work as Apostolic Exarch of the above-mentioned newly created Syro-Malankara exarchate in the U.S.[19] There are Syro-Malankara parishes and communities in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Middle East

Thirteen Syro-Malankara communities are present in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Because parishes (Qatar has parish) have not yet been organized, as the Syro-Malankara does not have ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Middle East, the people are under the direct supervision of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariates of Northern Arabia and Southern Arabia.[21] Malankara Catholics of Abu Dhabi launched one of the early websites for the Syro Malankara Catholic Church beofore any official sites were existing and the first in the middle east. Now almost all communities in the Gulf have their own websites.

Recently Rev. Dr. John Padipurackal, a Syro Malankara priest serving in Kuwait, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, is appointed the Coordinator of the Malankara Catholic Faithful in the Middle East. "In consultation with the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church convoked from 5–8 March 2012 His Cleemis appointed Rev. Dr. John Padipurackal the Ecclesiastical Coordinator of the Extraterritorial Region in Middle East. He has to oversee the pastoral engagement of the Syro-Malankara Priests and coordinate the pastoral activities of common interest in the Gulf Region" relates Malankara, the official Communiqué of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church regarding this new appointment.

Religious orders



The Malankara Catholic Educational Society manages various ecclesiastical, charitable, and educational institutions. Baselios Cleemis is the President and Samuel Mar Irenios the Vice Chairman of Malankara Catholic Educational Society.

Malankara Catholic Youth Movement

Malankara Catholic Youth Movement (MCYM) is the official organization for the youth in Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. The Catholic Youth Movement of Kerala dates back to the second half of the 1960s. Although there were some youth organisations in the parish level at different parts of Kerala, the spread of the organization of the youth movements in the diocese took place rather late. Two reasons seems to be of prime importance for the foundation of the youth organizations in the late 1960s.

MCYM Branches

1) Major Archieparchy of Thiruvananthapuram
2) Archieparchy of Thiruvilla
3) Eparchy of Bathery
4) Eparchy of Marthandom
5) Eparchy of Muvattupuzha
6) Eparchy of Mavelikkara
7) Eparchy of Pathanamthitta

1.) Eparchy of Marthanadom

1.) Eparchy of Puttur

1) Apostolic Visitation of North India Malankara Syrian Catholic Churches (MCCETR – New Delhi)

1) Exarchate of United States Malankara Syrian Catholic Churches (Elmont, New York)

Malankara Catholic Association

Founded in 1989, the Malankara Catholic Association is the association of lay faithful of the Church. Baselios Cleemis is the patron; there are now diocesan sections in the Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruvalla, Bathery, Moovattupuzha and Marthandom Dioceses and in North America.

Official name

The official name of the church is Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which is mainly used in catholic world. The name of the church as translated from Malayalam/Syriac is Malankara Syrian Catholic Church.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Population Statistics"., Syro Malankara Church.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Ronald Roberson. "The Eastern Catholic Churches 2012" (PDF). Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Retrieved Nov 18, 2012. Information sourced from Annuario Pontificio 2012 edition.
  3. 1 2 Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, "Eastern Christianity in India"
  4. Catholic Encyclopedia profile of "St. Thomas Christians" - The Carmelite Period
  5. 1 2 Thekkedath, History of Christianity in India”
  6. Fr. Thomas Inchakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios (Vol.1), pp. 152-171
  7. Rajan, Matthew (2004). "H.H. Baselios Geevarghese I - Second Catholicose". The Christian Light of Life. 3 (12): 221–225.
  14. Malayala Manorama, Deepika January 26, 2010
  15. "Annuncio di Concistoro per la Creazione di Sei Nuovi Cardinali" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 2012-10-24.
  17. "The classified Bibliography of Fr. Dr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath" (in English and Malayalam). 2014-09-15.
  19. 1 2 "New Apostolic Exarchate for Syro-Malankara Church". ZENIT News Agency. July 14, 2010.
  20. "Pope Francis Elevates the Syro-Malankara Apostolic Exarchate in the U.S. to an Eparchy for the U.S. and Canada". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. January 4, 2016.
  21. "St. Mary's Malankara Catholic Church (Doha, Qatar)". Retrieved July 15, 2010.

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Coordinates: 8°31′30″N 76°56′15″E / 8.5250°N 76.9375°E / 8.5250; 76.9375

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