Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Changanassery

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Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Changanassery
Cathedral Changancherry.jpg
St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral
Country India
Ecclesiastical provinceChanganassery
Area24,595 km2 (9,496 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2009)
385,000 (4.1%)
RiteSyro-Malabar Rite
CathedralSt Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral in Changanassery
Patron saintSaint Joseph
Current leadership
Major ArchbishopMetropolitan and Gate of All India Mar George Alencherry
ܡܸܛܪܵܦܘܿܠܝܼܛܵܐ ܘܬܲܪܐ ܕܟܠ ܗܸܢܕܘܿ ܡܵܪܲܢ ܡܵܪܝ ܓܝܼܘܲܪܓܝܼܣ ܡܸܛܪܵܦܘܿܠܝܼܛܵܐ
ArchbishopMar Joseph Perumthottam
ܡܵܪܝ ܝܵܘܣܹܦ ܐܲܦܸܣܩܘܿܦܵܐ
Auxiliary BishopsMar Thomas Tharayil
ܡܵܪܝ ܬܐܘܿܡܐܵ ܐܲܦܸܣܩܘܿܦܵܐ
Bishops emeritusMar Joseph Powathil
ܡܵܪܝ ܝܵܘܣܹܦ ܐܲܦܸܣܩܘܿܦܵܐ Archbishop Emeritus (1985-2007)
Website of the Archdiocese
The Metropolitan Archeparchy of Changanassery

Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Changanassery is a Eastern Catholic archeparchy in India, under the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Currently, it is one of the largest Catholic Diocese in India[citation needed]. It is one of the first two Vicariates (Trichur and Kottayam) and the second Metropolitan Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy which can be considered as a prelude to the restoration of the identity of the Church in 1992 as a Sui Juris Church.[citation needed]

It covers 13 Forane churches and more than 300 other churches in the Keralite districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. It also manages a lot of Hospitals, Colleges, Schools - both general and those for the physically/mentally challenged, Orphanages, De-addiction centers and Old-age homes.

Mar Joseph Perumthottam is the current Metropolitan Archbishop.


The Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Christians traditionally traces its origin to St. Thomas, the Apostle, who is held to have arrived on the Kerala Coast in A.D. 50. The Metropolitan of "The See of St. Thomas" was "Metropolitan and Gate of all India". In the course of history this Church entered into good relationship with the East Syriac Church. The lay office of the Archdeacon of all India did the full administration.[citation needed]

The Portuguese missionaries who arrived in the 15th century could not decipher the liturgical traditions and the mode of governance of this Church. They Latinized the ancient liturgical texts and forced existing East Syriac Christians or Nasranis to convert to the Roman Catholic Church under the Pope. When the domination of the Portuguese missionaries became unbearable, a section of this community broke away from western supremacy in 1653 and accepted allegiance to Antiochian West Syriac belief. But a good number returned to the Roman Catholic through unification efforts. Those who did not return constitute the present Malankara Churches. The others maintained and regained loyalty to the Apostolic See of Rome. This relationship started only in 1553 as a half Catholic-half Nestorian position due to a split in the Babylonian Church of the East and strengthened in 1599 through the Udayamperur sunnahadose (Synod of Diamper).[citation needed]

The first two Vicariates of the Syro-Malabar Church are Trichur and Kottayam. The Archdiocese of Changanacherry is part of the Kottayam Vicariate and the second Metropolitan Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, after the establishment of the Syro-Malabar hierarchy which was the prelude to the restoration of the identity of the Church in 1992 as a Sui Iuris Church. Pope Leo XIII of happy memory by his Bull ‘Quod Iam Pridem’ dated 20 May 1887 established two Vicariates Apostolic - Kottayam and Thrissur; exclusively for the Syro-Malabarians. Dr. Charles Lavigne for Kottayam and Dr. Adolph Medlycott for Trichur respectively were appointed the Vicars Apostolic.[citation needed]

The same Pope reorganised the existing Vicariates by the Bull ‘Quae Rei Sacrae’ dated 28 July 1896 establishing a new Vicariate, Ernakulam, with territories carved out from the two existing Vicariates (1) Pallippuram, Alappuzha, 2) Edappally and 3) Arakuzha divisions from Kottayam Vicariate). Indigenous bishops were appointed Vicars Apostolic in the new Sees. They included Mar Mathew Makil for Changanacherry, Mar Louis Pazheparambil (from Changanacherry Vicariate) for Ernakulam and Mar John Menacherry (from Ernakulam Vicariate) for Thrissur.[citation needed]

A new Vicariate of Kottayam was constituted in 1911 exclusively for the Suddists and Mar Mathew Makil was transferred to Kottayam as the Vicar Apostolic of Suddists and Mar Thomas Kurialacherry was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry. With the establishment of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy on 21 December 1923 by the Bull ‘Romani Pontifices’ of Pope Pius XI, the Diocese of Thrissur, Changanacherry and Kottayam became suffragans of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam thereby constituting the first Modern Syro-Malabar Province.[citation needed]

On 25 July 1950 the Diocese of Changanacherry was bifurcated by the Bull ‘Quo Ecclesiarum’ of Pope Pius XII and the new Diocese of Palai was created.The Holy See being impressed by the wonderful progress achieved by the Syro-Malabarians, extended the hitherto held boundaries of Changanacherry to the areas south of river Pamba, up to (including) Kanyakumari, by the Bull ‘Multorum Fidelium’ of Pope Pius XII, dated 29 April 1955. Changanacherry was raised to the status of an Archdiocese on 26 July 1956 by Pope Pius XII constituting the second province in the Syro-Malabar Church and Kottayam and Pala became its suffragans. The Apostolic Constitution ‘Regnum Caelorum’ of 26 November 1959 of Pope John XXIII gave effect to this decision of Pope Pius XII.

In 1975 the missionary work of three (now five) civil districts of the Archdiocese of Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh was taken up completely by the Archdiocese of Changanacherry. The Archdiocese was again divided on 26 February 1977 by the Bull ‘Nos Beati Petri’ of Pope Paul VI and the new Diocese of Kanjirappilly was set up comprising parts of the Civil districts of Kottayam and Idukki. The Archdiocese was divided a fourth time when its Kanyakumari Mission was elevated to the status of a new diocese by the Bull Apud Indorum Gentes of John Paul II, dated 18 December 1996. The formal inauguration of the new diocese of Thuckalay and the Episcopal Ordination of Mar George Alencherry as its first Bishop took place on 2 February 1997.

The Archdiocese of Changanacherry now comprises the civil districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam in Kerala and Palai, Kanjirapally and Thuckalay as its suffragans. Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil assumed the office of the Archbishop of Changanacherry on 17 January 1986 and resigned in 2007. Mar Joseph Perumthottam was appointed on 20 January 2007 as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Changanacherry and was installed on 19 March 2007.[1]

Eparchs and Archeparchs[edit]

Year Head Position
1887–1896 Charles Lavigne Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam
1896–1911 Mar Mathew Makkil Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam
1911–1925 Mar Thomas Kurialacherry Bishop
1927–1949 Mar James Kalachery Bishop
1950–1969 Mar Mathew Kavukattu Archbishop
1970–1985 Mar Antony Padiyara Archbishop
1985–2006 Mar Joseph Powathil Archbishop
2007-to date Mar Joseph Perumthottam Archbishop

Suffragan dioceses[edit]

Institutions and personnel[edit]

Foranes under Archdiocese of Changanacherry include, Alappuzha, Kollam, Manimala, Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kurumpanadom, Edathua, Amboori, Nedumkunnam, Athirampuzha, Kudamaloor, Pulincunnu, Champakulam, Changanacherry and Thrickodithanam .

Institutions Number
Foranes 15
Parishes 181
Filial churches 35
Shrines/Chapels 18
Colleges/Institutes 29
Higher Secondary Schools 29
Hostels 16
Priests 420
Seminarians 160

Important events[edit]

  • 19 February 1892: Foundation Stone laid for the new Bishop's House at Vedikkunnu.
  • 21 March 1891: Bishop Lavigne shifts his residence to Changanacherry.(Mount Carmel CMC Convent)
  • 3 February 1891: St. Berchmans, the first highschool of the Syrians founded on the precincts of St. Mary's Cathedral Changanacherry.
  • 1 October 1890: Letter of Permission to shift the headquarters of Kottayam, Vicariate to Changanacherry
  • 18 December 1888: Bishop Charles Lavigne convenes Changanacherry Synod.
  • 14 December 1888: Bishop Lavigne established St. Germane's, the first Orphanage and FCC.
  • 10 May 1888: Bishop Charles assumes charge
  • 13 September 1887: Bishop Charles Lavigne, Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam.
  • 20 May 1887: Establishment of Vicariates of Kottayam and Trissur.
  • 15 April 1887: Nazarani Deepika launched.
  • 16 January 1887: Reconstruction of the present Metropolitan Church.
  • 28 July 1896: Vicariate of Ernakulam created, with territories from both Vicariates.
  • 21 December 1923: Establishment of Syro Malabar Hierarchy with Ernakulam as the Metropolitan See
  • 29 July 1956: The diocese of Changanassery made Metropolitan See
  • 3 July 1962: Establishment of St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, Kottayam.
  • 3 December 1972: Establishment of archdiosese youth movement, YUVADEEPTI-KCYM
  • 15 January 2003: Diocese of Idukki established.[2]

First Vicar General[edit]


  1. ^ Changanacherry, Archdiocese. "History". History. Archdiocese. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  2. ^ Changanacherry, Archdiocese. "Archdiocese". Chronicles. Archdiocese. Retrieved 31 January 2012.

External links[edit]