Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy of Marthandom
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|Diocese of Marthandom
|Ecclesiastical province||Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum|
|Area||1,664 km2 (642 sq mi)|
|(as of 2009)
|Established||16 December 1996|
|Cathedral||Christ the King Cathedral|
|Patron saints||St. Paul and St. Therese of Lisieux|
|Major Archbishop||Baselios Cleemis|
|Bishop||Vincent Mar Paulos|
The Eparchy of Marthandom (also called Marthandam) is a Syro-Malankara Catholic diocese in Tamil Nadu. It was created by Pope John Paul II on 16 December 1996. It was the fourth diocese of the Syro-Malankara church. It consists of three civil districts: Kaliakkavilai, Marthandam, Nagercoil.
The Apostle St. Thomas came to India in 52 A.D. In what now is the Civil District of Kanyakumari, the St. Thomas church at Thiruvithancode is the only church that has the privilege of the ARAPPALLY. Though there was a Christian community in Kanyakumari dating from the beginning of the 1st century, it was not until the arrival of the Portuguese Missionaries in the 16th century that a sizeable Christian community developed. British control in India brought the Protestant missionaries to what would become the Civil District of Kanyakumari, State of Travancore.
On 20 September 1930 when Metropolitan Archbishop Ivanious together with a group of four people (a bishop, a priest, a deacon and a layman) reunited with the Catholic Church, the Malankara Church paved the way for regaining its Catholic Communion. On 11 June 1932 by the Apostolic constitution Christo Pastorum Principi, Pope pius XI established the Syro Malankara Catholic Hierarchy comprising the Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Diocese of Tiruvalla. Ivanios, the pioneer of the Reunion Movement, extended his mission work to Kanyakumari Civil District in 1934.
With the dedicated service of the Priests and the Religious from various Dioceses and Congregation, many parishes and mission of the Malankara Church could be established in the District of Kanyakumari. After the death of Ivanios, under the guidance of Archbishop Benedict Gregorios, the number of parishes and missions increased. Vocation to priesthood and the religious life from this region also increased. At the demise of Gregorios, Rev. Cyril Baselios assumed the office of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum. At the request of Cyril Baselios, Pope John Paul II, by an Apsostolic Decree dated 16 December 1996, bifurcated the Metropolitan Eparchy and erected the Eparchy of Marthandam having its headquarters at Marthandam, and appointed Lawrence Ephraem as its first bishop. Thus the fourth Diocese of the Malankara Catholic Church came into existence. Lawrence Ephraem took charge as its first Bishop, and was enthroned on 23 January 1997 at the Christuraja Cathedral, Marthandam. Cyril Bas Basalios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum, officiated at the liturgical ceremony, and executed the Papal Bull of the erection of the new Eparchy of Marthandam.
After a prolonged illness, Bishop Lawrence Ephraem died on 8 April 1997. On 16 April 1988 Pope John Paul II appointed Yoohanon Chrysostom as the second Bishop of the Eparchy of Marthandam; he was consecrated as Bishop on 29 June 1998, and enthroned on 1 July 1998.
On 16 April 1998 John Paul II appointed Yoohanon Chrysostom as the second Bishop of the Eparchy of Marthandam. He was consecrated as Bishop on, 29 June 1998 and enthroned on 1 July 1998.
One the same day Baselios Cleemis transferred Yoohanon Chrysontom from the Eparchy of Marthandom to be the first Bishop of the new Eparchy of Pathanamathitta on 25 January 2010. Having been elected by the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, with the assent of Pope Benedict XVI, on the same day, Baselios Cleemis appointed Vincent Kulapuravilai as the third Bishop of Marthandom.
On 12 February 2010 Vincent Paulos received Ramban Ordination at the M.S.C. Church at Anakkari. On 13 March 2010, he received the episcopal ordination, and was enthroned on 14 March 2010.