Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly

Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam–Angamaly
Syriac inscription at Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archbishop's House Ernakulam.jpg
Syriac inscription at Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archbishop's House, Ernakulam.
Ecclesiastical province Eranakulam - Angamaly
Area 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2009)
513,000 (11%)
Denomination Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Rite East Syrian Rite
Established 28 July 1896
Cathedral St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam
Patron saint Sacred Heart of Jesus
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Major Archbishop Mar George Alencherry
Auxiliary Bishops Mar Sebastian Adayantharath
Mar Jose Puthenveetil
Vicar General Sebastian Adayanthrath
Emeritus Bishops Thomas Chakiath Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus (1998-2012)
Website of the Archdiocese

Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Ernakulam–Angamaly is a Syro-Malabar Archeparchy in Ernakulam, Kerala, India. It is the See of the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Mar George Alencherry is the present Major Archbishop. The archdiocese has three auxiliary bishops, Mar Sebastian Adayantharath, Mar Jose Puthenveetil and Mar Bosco Puthur. The archdiocese has two suffragan dioceses, namely Kothamangalam and Idukki. Mar Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly,[1] Mgr. Joseph C. Panjikaran[2][3] and Rani Maria from the archdiocese have been declared Servants of God. Beatification of Mar Varghese Payyappilly was initiated by the archdiocese itself.


Mar George Alenchery, the first elected Major Arch Bishop of Syro Malabar Church.
Former Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil

In 1896, Pope Leo XIII established the Vicariate of Ernakulam by the Papal Bull Quae Rei Sacrae, which was then the third Vicariate of Syro Malabar Church, in addition to the previous two Apostolic Vicariates, Kottayam and Trichur. Mar Aloysius Pazheparambil was appointed as the first Apostolic Vicar, who assumed charge on 5 November 1896. Mar Pazheparampil governed the Vicariate till he died in 1919, and Mar Augustine Kandathil was appointed the Bishop the same year.

Archbishop Kandathil guided the life and work of the archdiocese and of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy for well over three decades. The Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was established in 1923, and Ernakulam was raised to the Metropolitan status or Archdiocesan status, and Mar Augustine Kandathil was made the first Archbishop and Head of Syro-Malabar Church. Ernakulam was the See of Syro-Malabar Church in 1923, a title which was abrogated after the death of Mar Augustine Kandathil, but reinstituted in 1992. Mar Augustine Kandathil served the Archdiocese till his death in January 1956.

On 20 July 1956, Mar Joseph Parecattil became the Archbishop of Ernakulam. On 29 July 1956, Ernakulam was bifurcated and the Diocese of Kothamangalam was erected. The dioceses of Thrissur, Thalassery and Kothamangalam became suffragan dioceses of Ernakulam archdiocese. Mar Parecattil became Cardinal on 28 March 1969 and Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary was appointed as his auxiliary on 15 November 1969. A large number of churches, monasteries, convents, seminaries, schools, colleges, technical institutions, printing presses, hospitals, homes for retired priests, social centres and various associations and institutes dedicated to intellectual and vocational apostolates came into being in this archdiocese during Cardinal Parecattil's tenure of office.

In 1 April 1984, Mar Joseph Parecattil retired from the office, and Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary was designated as the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese. In the year 1985, Mar Antony Padiyara was appointed as Archbishop of Ernakulam archdiocese. Mar Antony Padiyara was made Cardinal in 1988 and Mar Jacob Mananthodath became the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese in 1992. On 16 December 1992 the Syro-Malabar Church was declared a Major Archiepiscopal Church Sui Iuris with the title of Ernakulam-Angamaly, by Pope John Paul II. This was a landmark in the history of the Syro Malabar Church and especially in the history of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. The Archdiocese of Ernakulam was re-established as the See of Syro Malabar Church. Thereby the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly is also the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. By this, the name of the Archdiocese was changed from Ernakulam to Ernakulam-Angamaly. Angamaly, an ancient residential See of the Bishop of St Thomas Christians and now a municipal town in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, also got associated with the title of the Major Archbishop. During this period, the powers of Major Archbishop were vested in the Pontifical Delegate Mar Abraham Kattumana (1992-1995). Major Archbishop Antony Padiyara retired from his office on 18 December 1996.

On 6 January 1997, Mar Varkey Vithayathil C.Ss.R. was nominated titular Bishop of Antinoe and the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese. Mar Thomas Chakiath was made auxiliary bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly in February 1998. On December 23, 1999, the Vatican appointed archbishop Mar Varkey Vithayathil as Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. Mar Sebastian Adayantharath was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly by Pope John Paul II on January 3, 2002. Mar Bosco Puthur was appointed as Curia Bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly on January 15, 2010.

On April 1, 2011 Mar Varkey Vithayathil died. Mar Bosco Puthur was apostolic administrator until installation of new Major Archbishop. On May 24, 2011 Mar George Alencherry was elected as new Major Archbishop and installed following May 29.

Elevation into the College of Cardinals

On January 6, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI announced that Mar George Alencherry will be created a cardinal at the consistory of the Church held on February 18, 2012. On 18 February 2012, Mar George Alencherry was ordained as a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Past and present ordinaries

Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India read the message of Pope Benedict XVI during the installation of Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church at St Marys Basilica, Ernakulam and presenting the first elected Major Archbishop, Mar George Alencherry with the papal gift
Ordinary Year of appointment Last year of service
Mar Aloysius Pazheparambil 1896 1919
Mar Augustine Kandathil 1919 1956
Mar Joseph Parecattil 1956 1984
Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary (Administrator-Apostolic) 1984 1985
Mar Antony Padiyara 1985 1996
Mar Abraham Kattumana (Pontifical Delegate) 1992 1995
Mar Varkey Vithayathil 1996 2011
Mar George Alencherry 2011

Congregations and institutions

Mar Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly, A Servant of God from the archdiocese

Generalates of the four major religious congregations for men of the Syro-Malabar Church, namely the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C.M.I.), the Vincentian Congregation (V.C.), the Congregation of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (C. S. T.), and the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (M.C.B.S.) and the only Syro-Malabar Provincialate of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins, and the two Syro-Malabar Vice Provincialates of Franciscan Conventuals and of the Redemptorist Fathers and of the Claretians are situated in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam.

There are 11 college centers, 12 parallel colleges, 7 nursing schools and near to two hundred schools under the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese also manages near to 31 hospitals and 170 orphanages. The biggest Pontifical Seminary in the world, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, is in Alwaye, and run by the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council.

Historical places

The archdiocese has several places of historical significance to the Syro Malabar Church and the St.Thomas Christian community.

The ancient port of Muziris, the earlier gateway to India for traders from Middle East is in the borders of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts. Diamper (Udayamperoor), where the famous Synod convoked by Dom Menezes, Archbishop of Goa (1599) took place is in Ernakulam Archdiocese. According to tradition, a session of the Synod of Diamper was conducted in Edapally. Chendamangalam known for the ancient Vaippincotta Seminary of the Jesuits, Puthenpally where the Spanish Carmelites conducted a seminary for the Syro-Malabar clergy are within the boundaries of Ernakulam Archdiocese.

Many places which are believed to be associated with the coming of St. Thomas are in this diocese. Kottekkavu (N. Parur) and Kokkamangalam / Pallippuram (Cherthala) are two places where St Thomas established churches in the first century. It's believed that St.Thomas used to frequently come for meditation and prayers in the hills of Malayattoor.

Notable churches

Interior of Malayattoor church

Kottakkavu Mar Thoma Syro-Malabar Pilgrim Church, North Paravur

St. Thomas who reached Kerala in AD 52 brought Christianity to India. The Kottakavu Church is said to be one of the seven churches founded by him. In the 19th century, due to the lack of space in the old church for conducting Holy Mass and community functions, the new church was built.

St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica, Angamaly

It is recorded that the first church of Angamally, dedicated to St. George (AD 450), was the St. George Forane Church (Basilica), Angamaly. In this church there was a chapel, which was dedicated to St. George, where both the Syro-Malabar Catholics and the Jacobites conducted their services in a cordial manner.

St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Edappally

St George Forane Church, popularly known as Edappally church, is situated in Edappally, which is about 10 km from Cochin. This Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the oldest churches in Kerala built in 594 AD. The deity of this church is said to have the power of getting rid of snakes. Every year, a grand nine-day festival is celebrated here in the month of April - May. The church is also quite popular amongst the non-Christians, who also come here for veneration.

Mar Hormiz Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Angamaly

It is the former cathedral of Angamaly- Kodungalloor Archeparchy of Saint Thomas Christians.

See also


Further reading