Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of St. Thomas of Chicago

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Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Chicago (Syro-Malabarese)

Eparchia Sancti Thomae Apostoli Chicagiensis Syrorum-Malabarensium
Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral, Bellwood.jpg
Seat of the Eparchy (Diocese): Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral, Bellwood, Illinois
CountryUnited States
TerritoryUnited States
Ecclesiastical provinceEastern Catholic Eparchies Immediately Subject to the Holy See
MetropolitanCongregation for the Oriental Churches
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2014)
DenominationSyro-Malabar Catholic Church
RiteEast Syriac Rite
EstablishedMarch 13, 2001 (20 years ago)
CathedralMar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral
Patron saintSaint Thomas the Apostle
Current leadership
Pope Pope Francis
Major ArchbishopMar George Cardinal Alencherry
BishopMar Jacob Angadiath
Auxiliary BishopsMar Joy Alappat
Vicar GeneralThomas Kadukappillil

The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of Chicago is an Eastern Catholic eparchy (diocese) for Syro-Malabar Catholics in the United States. The eparchy (diocese) was erected by Pope John Paul II on 13 March 2001. It is one of the four eparchies (dioceses) of the Syro-Malabar Church outside India. It has jurisdiction over Syro-Malabar Catholics in the entire USA, including Knanaya Catholics in the US. The seat of the bishop is Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral based in Chicago, Illinois. The first and current bishop of the eparchy (diocese) is Mar Jacob Angadiath, serving since 1 July 2001. Mar Joy Alappat was installed as an auxiliary bishop since 27 September 2014.


Under the Latin Dioceses[edit]

Syro-Malabar Catholics began to migrate to the US in the 1950s. Their number increased in the following decades. Since the Syro-Malabar Church has no ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the United States, the Syro-Malabar migrants became members of the local Latin parishes.

The Syro-Malabar immigrants in the US wished to have liturgical services in their own rite. They got organized in the major cities as Catholic lay associations and organized Holy Qurbana and retreats with biritual Syro-Malabar priests (serving at Latin parishes) who were locally available. The local Latin dioceses supported them by establishing Syro-Malabar missions under their dioceses.

Studies on the Syro-Malabar faithful[edit]

Because the number of Syro-Malabar faithful settling outside Kerala and India increased, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Mar Antony Padiyara on 8 September 1978 as Apostolic Visitor to study the pastoral needs of the Syro-Malabar faithful living outside the proper territory of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Bishop of Rajkot Mar Gregory Karotemprel CMI, the chair of the Commission for the pastoral care for the migrants and apostolic visitator to USA and Canada, made an extensive study of the pastoral concerns of the Syro-Malabar immigrants in the US and Canada by visiting the major cities in 1996. He recommended to the Holy See to establish Syro-Malabar diocese for the faithful living in the US and Canada.

Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil C.Ss.R. made a follow up study in 1998 by visiting the major cities in the US and Canada. He also recommended to Rome the relevance of a Syro-Malabar diocese in the US.

Establishment of the Diocese[edit]

Based on the above reports and considering the need of preserving the liturgical tradition of the Syro-Malabar faithful, Pope John Paul II established the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago on 13 March 2001 with pastoral jurisdiction over all the Syro-Malabar faithful in the US and appointed Fr. Jacob Angadiath as its first bishop. Bishop Jacob was also appointed as the Apostolic Visitator to Canada.[1] Mar Jacob Angadiath was the director of Mar Thoma Sleeha Mission in Chicago when he was selected as the bishop. Previously he was the vicar of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Garland, TX that he had established in 1992.

Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath, the first bishop of the diocese.

Bishop of Pala Mar Joseph Pallikaparampil, who was in charge of the Overseas Mission of the Syro-Malabar Church, had sent him to Dallas in 1984 to serve the Syro-Malabar faithful in that region. He was the first Syro-Malabar priest officially appointed to begin a Syro-Malabar ministry in the US.[2]

Mar Joy Alappatt, Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese.

The inauguration of the diocese and the episcopal ordination of Mar Jacob Angadiath was held in Chicago on 1 July 2001 at Hyatt Regency Hotel during the Second Syro-Malabar Convention. Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil was the main celebrant of the consecration. Bishop of Pala Mar Joseph Pallickaparampil and Bishop of Kottayam Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry were co-consecrators. Archbishop of Chicago Francis Cardinal George was the homilist during the ceremony.[3]

Fr. George Madathiparambil, the first proto-syncellus (Vicar General) of the diocese from 3 October 2001.

Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath appointed Fr. George Madathilparambil as proto-syncellus and Fr. Abraham Mutholath as syncellus (Vicar Generals) of the diocese on 3 October 2001. The other first curia members were Fr. Zacharias Thottuvelil (Chancellor & Secretary), and Fr. Antony Thundathil (Finance Officer and Cathedral Vicar).[4]

Fr. Abraham Mutholath, the first syncellus (Vicar General) of the diocese from 3 October 2001.

Auxiliary Bishop[edit]

Pope Francis appointed Mar Joy Alappatt as the Auxiliary Bishop of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago on 24 July 2014. He was the pastor (vicar) of Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral when he was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop. His episcopal ordination was held on 27 September 2014 at Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral, Chicago.[5]

The Major Archbiship of the Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal Mar George Alencherry was the main consecrator. The co-consecrators were Mar Jacob Angadiath and Bishop of Irinjalakuda Mar Pauly Kannookadan.[6]

Priests and Liturgy[edit]

The Syro-Malabar Chicago eparchy (diocese) depends on Syro-Malabar priests from Kerala, India; priests would come from the archeparchies (archdioceses) and eparchies (dioceses) of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Idukki, Kothamangalam), Changanassery (Kanjirappally, Palai), Thalasshery (Mananthavady, Thamarassery), Thrissur (Irinjalakuda, Palaghat), and Kottayam (Knanaya). The Syro-Malabar liturgy was primarily in Syriac prior to the Second Vatican Council. Post-Second Vatican Council, the liturgy was translated to Indian languages Malayalam, Hindi, and Tamil as the Syro-Malabar Church was mainly based in India. Mar Jacob Angadiath commissioned on behalf of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church, Rev. Fr. Joseph J. Palackal C.M.I. and George Thaila to set the English language Qurbana text to music in 2007.[7]

The American-born Roy Joseph was ordained in 2016 in the Latin Church as a Jesuit priest, although he's a bi-ritual priest in both the Latin and Syro-Malabar rites.[8] On May 5, 2018, Kevin Mundackal of Thornwood, New York, was ordained as the first ever American-born Syro-Malabar priest at St. Thomas Syro Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Somerset, NJ. Shortly after on June 2, 2018, Rajeev Valiyaveettil Philip of Tampa, Florida, was also ordained to the priesthood.[9] Melvin Mangalath Paul was ordained to the priesthood on 16 May 2020 at the Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral in Chicago.[10] Deacon Thomas "Timmy" Pulickal was ordained on 6th June 2020 for the diocese and the Jesus Youth movement.[11]

Parishes and missions[edit]

The eparchy's cathedral can be found in Bellwood, Illinois. The Mar Thoma Shleeha Cathedral (Saint Thomas the Apostle Cathedral) is a parish with almost 1000 families and is seat to the bishop. Their cathedral was dedicated on July 5, 2008.[1]

There are an estimated 87,600 Syro-Malabar Catholics (circa 2014) following this rite in the United States. Some of the parishes and missions are dedicated to the pastoral care of faithful of the Knanaya Catholics (Knanaya Region), under the pastoral guidance of Knanaya priests. The eparchy includes 42 parishes and 32 missions. Congregations are located in the following states and provinces:[12]

United States[edit]

  • Arizona
    • Holy Family Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Phoenix, AZ[13]
  • California
    • St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Santa Ana, CA
    • St Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, San Francisco, CA
    • St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Los Angeles, CA
    • Infant Jesus Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Sacramento, CA
    • St. Pius X Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Church, Los Angeles, CA
    • St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Forane Church, San Jose, CA
  • Colorado
    • St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Denver CO
  • Connecticut
    • St Thomas Syro-Malabar Mission, Hartford, CT[14]
  • Delaware
    • Holy Trinity Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Delaware, DE
  • Florida
  • Georgia
    • Saint Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Loganville, GA
    • Holy Family Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Church, Atlanta GA
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
    • St. Theresa Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Kansas City, KS
  • Kentucky
    • Divine Mercy Syro-Malabar Mission, Louisville, KY
  • Maryland
    • St Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Halethorpe, MD
    • Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Syro-Malabar Mission, Gaithersburg, MD
  • Massachusetts
    • St Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Boston, MA
  • Michigan
    • St Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Southfield, MI
    • St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Church, Detroit, MI
  • Minnesota
    • St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Minneapolis, MN
    • St Paul Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Mission
  • Nevada
    • St. Mother Teresa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Las Vegas, NV
    • St. Stephen Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Mission, Las Vegas, NV
  • New Jersey
  • New York
    • St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Bronx, NY
    • St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, West Hempstead, NY
    • Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Rockland County, NY
    • St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Westchester County, NY
    • St Joseph Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Mission, Bronx NY
    • St. Joseph Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Hudson Valley, NY
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
    • St. Raphael Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Cleveland, OH
    • St. Mary Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Columbus, OH
    • St Chavara Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Cincinnati, OH
  • Oklahoma
    • Holy Family Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Oklahoma City OK
  • Pennsylvania
    • St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Philadelphia, PA
    • St. John Neumann Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Mission, Philadelphia, PA
    • St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Pittsburgh, PA
    • St. Joseph Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Harrisburg-Hershey, PA
    • St. Sebastian Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Exton PA
  • Tennessee
    • St Mother Theresa Syro-Malabar Mission, Nashville, TN
  • Texas
    • St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Pearland, TX
    • St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Austin, TX
    • St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Coppell, TX
    • St. Thomas the Apostle Syro-Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Garland, TX
    • St. Joseph Syro-Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Houston, TX
    • St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, San Antonio, TX
    • Divine Mercy Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Edinburg, TX
    • Christ the King Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic Church, Farmers Branch, TX
    • St. Chavara Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, North Houston, TX
  • Virginia
    • St. Jude Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Northern Virginia, VA
    • St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Richmond, VA
  • Wisconsin
    • St Antony Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission, Milwaukee, WI

Timeline of the Diocese[edit]

  • 28 October 1983: Beginning of Kerala Catholic Ministry (later Knanaya Catholic Mission) in Chicago by the Archdiocese of Chicago with Fr. Jacob Chollampel as the director.[17]
  • August 1985: Joseph Cardinal Bernardin inaugurated Syro-Malabar ministry in Chicago with Fr. Kurialacherry as the chaplain. Holy Mass was offered every Sunday at St. Bernadine Church in Forest Park.
  • 17 July 1988: Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Benardin granted the use of St. Chrysostom Church in Bellwood for Syro-Malabar Mission in Chicago. The church was renamed as Mar Thoma Shleeha Church.
  • 10 September 1988: Formal inauguration of Mar Thoma Sleeha Church by Mar Joseph Pallickaparambil, Bishop of Pala.
  • October 1996: Bishop Mar Gregory Karottemprel visited Syro-Malabar faithful settled in the United States and Canada to study and present report on the pastoral need of the people to Vatican.
  • January 2000: Formation of SMCC (Syro-Malabar Catholic Congress of North America).
  • 13 March 2001: Pope John Paul II declared the establishment of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago and appointment of Mar Jacob Angadiath as its first bishop. He is also appointed as Apostolic Visitator for Syro-Mlabar faithful in Canada.
  • 1 July 2001: Inauguration of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago and consecration of its bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath at Hyatt Hotel in Chicago.
  • 3 October 2001: His Excellency Mar Jacob Angadiath appointed Fr. George Madathiparambil and Proto-synchellus (Vicar General) and Fr. Abraham Mutholath as Syncellus (Vicar General) of the Eparchy.
  • 24 - 27 July 2003: The third Syro-Malabar Catholic Convention of North America was held in New Jersey.
  • 29 October 2003: Mar Jacob Angadiath officially recognized 10 Knanaya Catholic Mission Missions in the USA, as missions of the St. Thomas Diocese of Chicago.
  • 16 – 18 July 2004: SMCC (Syro-Malabar Catholic Congress) convention in New York.
  • 7 – 9 July 2005: Diocesan Convention in Dallas.
  • 28 April 2006: Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath established seven regions in St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago. They are Chicago, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, California, Florida, Texas and Knanaya Region.
  • 30 April 2006: Mar Jacob Angadiath officially declared the establishment of Knanaya Catholic Region at OLV Church Chicago and appointed Vicar General Rev. Fr. Abraham Mutholath as Region Director.
  • March 2007: A new residence was purchased for the office and residence of the bishop and the chancery personnel at 372 S. Prairie Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-4020.
  • 27 June - 1 July 2007: Fifth Syro-Malabar Diocesan and National Convention of North America held at Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida.
  • 2008
  • 5 July 2008: Blessing of Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral.
  • 18 – 20 November 2008: The first Eparchial Assembly of the diocese was held at Techny Towers Retreat and Conference Center, IL.
  • 17 – 19 July 2009: National Family Conference of SMCC in Philadelphia on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of SMCC.
  • 26 – 29 July 2012: The Sixth Syro-Malabar National Convention of North America held at International Convention Nagar in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 24 July 2014: Announcement of Rev. Joy Alappatt as Titular Bishop of Bencenna and Auxiliary Bishop of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago.
  • 27 September 2014: Episcopal Ordination of Mar Joy Alappatt at Mar Thoma Sleeha Cathedral, Chicago.
  • 28 February 2015: Elevation of five parishes of Knanaya catholic Region as Forane parishes. Sacred Heart, Maywood, Chicago, St. Mary's Forane Parish, Houston, St. Stephen's Forane, New York, Sacred Heart Forane Parish, Tampa FL and St. Mary's Forane Parish, San Jose, CA
  • 6 August 2015: Declaration of the New Exarcate in Mississauga, Toronto for all the Syro-Malabar faithful in Canada. Mar Jacob Angadiath had been the Apostolic Visitator for Syro-Malabar faithful until this establishment of this exarchate.
  • 28 March 2016: Inauguration of the Diocesan New Administrative office at 310 West Lake St., Elmhurst, IL 60120.
  • 16 June 2019: Visit of Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
  • 1 – 4 August 2019: Diocesan Syro-Malabar Family in Houston at Hilton in Houston.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocesan Bulletin. Chicago. 2001. p. 6.
  2. ^ "Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath | St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese". Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  3. ^ Kottukappally, George Joseph (2001). High Marks in the Halls of History, Commemorative Souvenir - 2001. Chicago: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Cathoic Diocese of Chicago. pp. 70–72.
  4. ^ St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocesan Bulletin. Chicago. 2001. pp. 19, 31.
  5. ^ "Mar Joy Alappatt - Auxiliary Bishop | St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese". Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  6. ^ Varakilparambil, Roy (3 October 2014). "ചിക്കാഗോ രൂപതയുടെ സഹായമെത്രാനായി മാർ ജോയി ആലപ്പാട്ട് അഭിഷിക്തനായി". Kerala Express. Vol. XXII, No. 40: 1, 26. |volume= has extra text (help)
  7. ^ Palackal, Joseph (2013). "The Eucharistic Celebration of the Syro-Malabar Church". Christian Musicological Society of India. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Yu, Doris (August 11, 2016). "Thornwood Native Is First American-born Syro-Malabar Priest Ordained in U.S." Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Chicoine, Christie L. (August 2, 2018). "Thornwood Native Is First American-born Syro-Malabar Priest Ordained in U.S." Catholic New York. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "Ordination of Deacon Melvin Paul". Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "Priestly Ordination - Deacon Thomas Pulickal". Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "Parishes | St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese". Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  13. ^ "Holy Family Syro Malabar Catholic Church". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  14. ^ "Syro-Malabar Mission Hartford CT". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  15. ^ "Our Lady of Health oasis of faith, tradition for Indian Catholics". AP (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal). November 27, 2004.
  16. ^ "Mar Thoma Shleeha". Mar Thoma Shleeha Cathedral. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  17. ^ "CHRONOLOGY". Retrieved 2021-03-31.


  • Diocesan Directory 2013-14, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, 2014.
  • Diocesan Directory 2016, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, 2016.
  • Diocesan Bulletin, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese, 2001 October onwards.
  • Enas, Dr. Enas A, An Eyewitness Account of The Syromalabar Story of Chicago Metropolis, Chicago: 2018.
  • Kottukappally, George Joseph (Editor in chief), Commemorative Souvenir - 2001, Syro-Malabar Catholic Convention, Inauguration of the St. Thomas Diocese of Chicago, Episcopal Ordination of Mar Jacob Angadiath, Chicago: Mar Thomas Sleeha Cathedral, 2001.
  • The Episcopal Ordination of Mar Joy Alappatt, Chicago: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°53′19″N 87°55′55″W / 41.88861°N 87.93194°W / 41.88861; -87.93194