Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

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Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Malankara Seal.jpg
Seal of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Founder St. Thomas (AD 52)
Reunion 1930 Sept 20
Recognition Eastern Catholic
First Head Geevarghese Mar Ivanios
Current Head Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos
Episcopal see Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Territory Universal
Diaspora India, United States, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Ireland
Liturgy Malankara Rite
Language Syriac, Malayalam, Tamil, English, Hindi
Adherents 436,870[1][2]
Bishops 12[1][2]
Priests 546[1][2]
Parishes 692[1][2]
Nuns 1688[1][2]
Scriptures Bible (based on Peshitta)

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church also known as Malankara Syrian Catholic Church (Malayalam: മലങ്കര സുറിയാനി കത്തോലിക്കാ സഭ) is a West Syrian Rite Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See (of Rome). It has a total membership of around 500,000.

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. Among the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is a Major Archiepiscopal Church, headed by Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis (Thottunkal), who was elected in 2007. In Malankara tradition, the head of church is addressed as Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholica Bava. The Primate of the Church holds the office of Archbishop-Major of Trivandrum, though the hierarchs of the church have acclaimed their primate "Catholicos". As a Cardinal he was assigned to the titular church of San Gregorio VII.

The Malankara Catholic church regained its Catholicity in on September 20, 1930, having lost it in the Coonan Cross Oath of 1653. The division happened from Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, an Oriental Orthodox church, and subsequently entered into communion with Rome. The Malankara Church itself had emerged from the split within the Saint Thomas Christian community of the 16th century; previously the entire community had comprised a province of the Church of the East, which used East Syrian Liturgy, based in Persia Proper also known as Selucia-Ctesiphon Church . However, the collapse of that Church and influence from the Portuguese, who tried to bring it under the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, led to a rift in the community. Eventually, the majority entered into communion with Rome as the Eastern Catholic Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, while the rest formed the Malankara Church and aligned with the Syrian Orthodox Church. The members of the Church are known as Nazaranis or Marthoma Suriyani Nazarani.

Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
St. Thomas Cross
Alternate names
Nasrani · Mar Thoma Nasrani · Syrian Christians
Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
Monuments · Churches · Shrines · Liturgical language · Church music
Prominent persons
Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Abraham Malpan · Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Marth Alphonsa · Mar Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Mar Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Thoma of Villarvattom

Margam Kali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam

Official Name of the Church[edit]

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


Divisions among Saint Thomas Christians[edit]

Relationship of the Nasrani groups

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 rite 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 (Reformed Syrians), Syro Malankara Catholics have 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[edit]

It was in this contentious context that Patriarch Mar Abdulla came to Malankara, and excommunicated Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril in the year 1911 (later Archbishop Mar Ivanios) played a vital role in reinstating the position of the excommunicated Metropolitan, and in gaining the self-governance of the Malankara Church. To ward off the undue interference of Patriarch Abdulla in the administration of the temporalities of the Church, Fr. P.T. Geevarghese with the blessing of Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril contacted Abded M’siha, the Patriarch of Antioch from whom Mar Abdulla usurped the Patriarchal See of Antioch, and invited him to visit Malankara and to establish a Catholicate here. Accordingly, Abded M’siha came 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. After his demise, the See remained vacant until 1925. That was a period of litigation in the Malankara Church, and also a period of spiritual renewal. 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 Mar Ivanios[edit]

The late Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, was born on 21st Sept 1882 at Mavelikara. Born in the famous 'Mallitty' Panikar family, belonging to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, he assumed the baptismal name Geevarghese. Young Geevarghese, a brilliant student in his early school days, of the age of 15 joined M.D.Seminary School for high school studies. On April 20th 1898 he received minor orders and was sent to Madras Christian College for higher studies. There he obtained his Master degree. On Sept.15th 1908 Geevarghese was ordained priest by His Grace Vattasseril Mar Dinoysius. Just after the ordination, Fr.P.T.Geevarghese was appointed Principal of M.D.Seminary, Kottayam. Later he moved to Calcutta, accepting an invitation to teach in the Searmpore College. During his stay at Calcutta Fr.P.T.Geevarghese concentrated his attention to the foundation of a monstic community as an instrument of spiritual renewal within the Syrian Orthodox Church. In his attempt he was very well inspired by the Christian and Hindu monastic traditions.

Establishment of Bethany Ashram[edit]

The Catholicate Centre, which houses the Major Archiepiscopal Curia.

On his return from Calcutta, Fr.P.T.Geevarghese looked for a location to establish an ashram. One of his friends 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. The place was thickly filled with thorny bushes and herbs. Fr.P.T.Geevarghese and his followers built a small thatched hut made out of the branches of trees and bamboo. This turned to be the first Ashram in Malankara on 15 August 1919. He prayerfully searched for a name for the Ashram and opened the Bible and he got the word "Bethany". He meditated upon it and came to the conclusion that it is an apt name for a religious order which upholds both contemplation and action.[6] Eventually the Bethany Ashram became a place of pilgrimage and spiritual experience. Spiritual retreats and discourses were given by Fr.P.T.Geevarghese especially in the Passion Week. Fr.P.T.Geevarghese envisioned the Ashram also being a shelter for the poor and the marginalised. Along with the Ashram he started a house for the orphans.

While at Serampore Fr.P.T.Geevarghese was thinking of the empowerment of the Syrian Christian women through education. To realize this ideal he took initiative to give education and training to the selected group of young girls with the help of the Epiphany Sisters of England working at Serampore. He founded the Bethany Madhom (convent) for the women religious in 1925.

He was ordained a bishop of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church by Catholicos Beselios Geevarghese I on 1 May 1925. He received the name Geevarghese Mar Ivanios.[7]

Ecclesial communion[edit]

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

His relentless search for truth in the ascetical atmosphere of Bethany Ashram led him to the firm conviction to reunite with the Catholic Church. On Sept.20, 1930 Mar Ivanios together with Bishop Jacob Mar Theophilos, Fr. John Kuzhinapurath OIC, Dn. Alexander OIC, and Mr. Chacko Kilileth embraced the Catholic Church.As later history reveals the Reunion Movement gained rapid momentum under the leadership of Mar Ivanios O.I.C., giving birth to Malankara Catholic Church.

After Reunion Movement[edit]

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 Trivandrum with the Eparchy of Tiruvalla as its suffragan. The Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum 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.[citation needed] In 1939, Thomas Mar Dioscoros, the Metropolitan of the Knanaya Jacobite Church, reunited with the Catholic Church.[citation needed]

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[edit]

In 1955 Metropolitan Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios was enthroned as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum and the Head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.[citation needed]

The Holy See appointed Mor 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. Wladyslaw Rubin, the then Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, was the Papal Delegate for the Jubilee. Other eminent participants included Maximos V, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of Alexandria and Jerusalem, Luciano Storero, the then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

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.[citation needed]

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

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

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.

Moran Mor Cyril Baselios Catholicos[edit]

Cyril Mar Baselios, the Bishop of Bathery having been appointed by Pope John Paul II, was enthroned as Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum 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 Mar Baselios, by an Apostolic Bull dated 16 December 1996, Pope John Paul II erected the Eparchy of Marthandom bifurcating the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum. 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 blessed with 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 Trivandrum. Paulos Mar Philoxenos passed away on 3 November 1998.

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. The Patriarch-Emeritus of Syrian Catholic Church, Moran Mor Ignace Moussa Cardinal Daoud, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches was the Papal Delegate for the celebration.

A significant development in this period has been the establishment of parishes for the faithful of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States of America. Pope John Paul II nominated the Proto-Syncellus of Bathery Isaac Thottunkal, as Apostolic Visitor and the Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum 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 he 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 tendered his resignation to the Holy See on the grounds of age and the Holy See appointed Isaac Mar Cleemis, the Apostolic Visitor to Europe and America, as the Bishop of Tiruvalla. Mar Cleemis took charge of the Diocese on 2 October 2003. On January 5, 2005 Joseph Mar Thomas was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum 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 on that day by the papal document Ab ipso Sancto Thoma, and as such 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, Trivandrum. 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. The title “Catholicos” is used according to the Antiochene-Malankara Tradition in referring to the "Major Archbishop" (a term recently adopted by the Latin Church to refer to Eastern bishops equal to patriarchal authority, without an historical Patriarchate).[8]

On 19 February 2005, Joseph Mar Thomas was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum 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 Father and Head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on May 14, 2005 was presided over by the Patriarch-Emeritus of the Syrian Catholics Ignatius I Moussa Daoud, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Also present was Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio in India. The Malankara Major Archiepiscopal Curia (Catholicate Centre) started functioning at the St. Mary's Campus, Pattom, Trivandrum. On May 20, 2005, the Catholicos Moran Mor Cyril Baselios blessed the Curia building. The Catholicos soon constituted the Holy Episcopal Synod. The first Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was convened from 16 to 18 August 2005 at the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Trivandrum.

The first Holy Episcopal Synod 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. Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio in India, Shri Bhaironsingh Shekhawat, the Vice-President of India, and Sri Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala, participated in the celebrations.

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

By the decree of the Catholicos, 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 Trivandrum, 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 proper Tradition of the Antiochene Church, called Ramban (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. Isaac Mar Cleemis, the Major Archbishop of Tiruvalla, conferred the consecrations on Saturday, January 13, 2007 on three priests at St. John’s Cathedral, Tiruvalla and Moran Mor Cyril Baselios Catholicos conferred these consecrations on priests on Wednesday 17, 2007 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum.

On Thursday, January 18, 2007, Moran Mor Cyril Baselios, the first Catholicos of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church died. The Catholicos was entombed by the side of his great predecessors at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum on January 20, 2007.

Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos[edit]

Isaac Mar Cleemis was elected the Major Arch-bishop 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, Trivandrum. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the election on 9 February and it was announced on 10 February at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum.

Holy Qurbono in Syro-Malankara Rite

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.[citation needed]

Mar Cleemis was enthroned as the Major Arch-bishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on March 5, 2007 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum. His installation service was officiated by Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, the Synodal Administrator of the Church. Ecclesiastical and notable guests included Mar Varkey [Cardinal] Vithayathil (Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church), Cardinal Telesphore Toppo (the President of the CBCI), and Sri. V. S. Achuthanandan (the Chief Minister of Kerala).

On Monday, 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 Wednesday, 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. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Rome greeted him on his first visit to the Holy See.

On Saturday, July 14, 2007 Major Arch-bishop 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 Moran Mor 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, Trivandrum 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. Catholicos Baselios Cleemis was the main celebrant. In the following meeting Cardinal Sandri recognized Queen of Peace Pro-Cathedral at Palayam, Trivandrum as a Basilica. Catholicos Baselios Cleemis dedicated St. Mary, Queen of Peace Basilica on December 7, 2008.

Baselios Cleemis, the Major Archbishop with the consent of the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has created two new Eparchies in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. They are 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 Trivandrum. Samuel Kattukallil, Syncellus of the Major Archeparchy of Trivandrum and Stephen Thottathil, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of St. Mary's Malankara Seminary were appointed Auxiliary Bishops of the Major Archeparchy of Trivandrum 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. The announcement was simultaneously made in Rome at 12 noon local time and in Trivandrum, the headquarters of the Syro-Malankara Church and at other Eparchial centres at 4.30 p.m. IST on January 25, 2010. In Trivandrum Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos made the announcement at St. Mary's Cathedral in the presence of bishops and a many priests, religious and faithful of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. The bishops of the Church invested the bishops designate with episcopal insignia and congratulated them. [9]

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 Trivandrum 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 the Catholicos 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, Trivandrum. His installation ceremony was on October 3, 2010 at Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale, New York.

The Father and Head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, 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.[10] 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. According to a Thursday, October 25, 2012, press release he said it was a sign of the Pope's appreciation of Indian Catholics' "unity in diversity", and cited the witness, the defense of human life, and the example of authentic prayer given by Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata.[11]

In the course of the growth and development of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, besides the canonical institutions, various associations such as the Malankara Catholic Youth Movement (MCYM), the Malankara Catholic Association (MCA), the Legion of Mary, Matruvedi, Pithruvedi, and other pious associations have emerged.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church engages in humanitarian activities. One example of such services is Thapovanam, Shelter of Hope, Sulthan Bathery, a centre for the rehabilitation of the mentally ill.

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



According to the Pontifical yearbook Annuario Pontificio for 2012, the Syro-Malankara Church had approximately 436,870 members.[1][2]

Dioceses Members Bishops Parishes Diocesan Priests Religious Priests Men Religious Women Religious Seminarians
Archeparchy of Trivandrum 219,437 2 81 131 24 97 578 100
Eparchy of Pathanamthitta 37,500 1 100 64 6 6 110 26
Eparchy of Marthandom 65,715 1 82 40 7 14 178 21
Eparchy of Mavelikara 24,083 1 95 56 7 9 145 23
Archeparchy of Tiruvalla 40,000 3 132 112 25 54 285 37
Eparchy of Battery 25,000 1 102 77 8 8 274 25
Eparchy of Muvattupuzha 12,435 1 64 41 8 24 82 13
Eparchy of Puttur 2,700 1 24 14 7 8 20 3
Exarchate of the United States 10,000 1 12 11 1 1 16 4
TOTAL 436,870 12 692 546 93 221 1688 252


The Malankara Syrian Catholic Church has 15 Hierarchs:

Hierarchs Diocese Cathedral / Location
Pope Francis
Bishop of Rome & Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church
St. John Lateran Basilica /
Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis
Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Church
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pattom, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Thomas Koorilos
Metropolitan Archbishop of Tiruvalla
St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Joseph Thomas
Metropolitan of Bathery
St. Thomas Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Sulthan Bathery, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Vincent Paulose
Metropolitan of Marthandom
Christuraja Syro Malankara Catholic Catheddral /
Marthandam, Tamil Nadu, India
Aboon Mor Abraham Julios
Metropolitan of Muvattupuzha
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Vazhappilly, Mudavoor, Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Joshua Ignathios
Metropolitan of Mavelikkara
St.Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Punnamoodu, Mavelikkara, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Yoohanon Chrysostom
Metropolitan of Pathanamthitta
St. Peter's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Geevarghese Divannasios Ottathengil
Metropolitan of Puthur
St. Joseph’s Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Puthur, Karnataka, India
Aboon Mor Geevarghese Timotheos
Metropolitan Emeritus of Tiruvalla
Emeritus of St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Thomas Eusebius
Exarch of the United States
St. Vincent de Paul Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Elmont – New York, USA
Aboon Mor Jacob Barnabas
Apostolic Visitor to North India
Mar Ivanios Bhavan Syro Malankara Catholic Center /
New Delhi, India
Aboon Mor Samuel Irenios
Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Philipose Stephanos
Auxiliary Bishop of Tiruvalla
St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Kerala, India
Aboon Mor Thomas Anthonios
Bishop of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia
Catholicate Centre /
Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Liturgy and worship[edit]

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.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in North India[edit]

There are 39 Syro-Malankara communities in North India, including churches at Banglore, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Aboon Mar Jacob Barnabas is Apostolic Visitor for Syro-Malankara Catholics in North India.

The Church around the world[edit]

United States[edit]

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.[12]

Canada and Europe[edit]

In July 2010 Pope Benedict XVI also appointed Aboon Thomas Mor 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.[12] There are Syro-Malankara parishes and communities in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Middle East[edit]

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.[13] 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 Beatitude the Catholicos Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis has 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[edit]



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

Malankara Catholic Youth Movement[edit]

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[edit]

  • Kerala MCYM

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

  • MCYM Tamil Nadu

1.) Eparchy of Marthanadom

  • MCYM Karnataka

1.) Eparchy of Puttur

  • MCYM ETR in India

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

  • MCYM of the Exarchate and Apostolic Visitation of Canada and Europe

1) Exarchate of United States Malankara Syrian Catholic Churches (Long IslandNew York)

Malankara Catholic Association[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Population Statistics". , Syro Malankara Church.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ronald Roberson. "The Eastern Catholic Churches 2012". Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Retrieved Nov 18, 2012.  Information sourced from Annuario Pontificio 2012 edition.
  3. ^ a b Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, "Eastern Christianity in India"
  4. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia profile of "St. Thomas Christians" - The Carmelite Period
  5. ^ a b 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. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Malayala Manorama, Deepika January 26, 2010
  10. ^ "Annuncio di Concistoro per la Creazione di Sei Nuovi Cardinali" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 2012-10-24. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "New Apostolic Exarchate for Syro-Malankara Church". ZENIT News Agency. July 14, 2010. 
  13. ^ "St. Mary's Malankara Catholic Church (Doha, Qatar)". Retrieved JUly 15, 2010. 

Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]