Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church also known as the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church (Malayalam: മലങ്കര സുറിയാനി കത്തോലിക്കാ സഭ) is an Eastern Catholic autonomous (in Latin, sui iuris) particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is part of the Major Archiepiscopal Churches of the Catholic Church that are not distinguished with a patriarchal title. It is headed by Major Archbishop Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Maphrian of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum based in Kerala, India.

Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
TypeParticular church (sui iuris)
ClassificationEastern Catholic
OrientationEastern Christianity
TheologyCatholic theology
PolityEpiscopal polity
PopeMar Papa Francis
LeaderH. E. Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios Cleemis
LiturgyWest Syriac Rite
(Malankara Rite)
HeadquartersCathedral of Saint Mary, Pattom, Kerala, India
FounderArchbishop Mar Ivanios (1930)
Apostle Thomas through apostolic succession, by tradition.
Origin1930, with tradition tracing its origin to the 1st century.
Branched fromMalankara Church
Priests: 1007
Nuns: 2500
Other name(s)Malankara Syrian Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Church
Official websiteOfficial site

The Malankara Syrian Catholic Church traces its origins to the missions of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[3][4][5][6] The Church employs the West Syriac Rite Divine Liturgy of Saint James, which is also used in other Eastern Catholic churches such as the Maronite Church of Lebanon and the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, and also in Oriental Orthodox churches such as the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church of India, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India. It is one of the two Eastern Catholic Churches from India, the other one being the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church which employs the East Syriac Rite liturgy.

The Malankara Syrian Catholic Church was established on 20 September 1930 as a result of the reunion movement under the leadership of Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, when it split from the Malankara Church and entered into communion with the Catholic Church. The Malankara Church itself had emerged from the split within the Saint Thomas Christian community of the 17th century; after the Coonan Cross Oath in 1653, the Malankara Church emerged as the Puthenkuttukar, or "New Party" faction that joined Archdeacon Mar Thoma I in swearing to resist the authority of the Latin Catholic Portuguese Padroado. This faction entered into a relationship with the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.[7][8] The Malankara Syrian Catholic Church represents the group from this Malankara faction that reunited with Rome in the 20th century (1930).

A group of five Malankara Orthodox Syrian bishops who opposed the jurisdiction of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch in India appointed Mar Ivanios to have negotiations with the Holy See of Rome in 1926 to enter into a new communion. Rome only required that bishops make a profession of faith and that their baptisms and ordinations be proven valid in each case. However, only two of the bishops accepted this arrangement with Rome, including Mar Ivanios. The two bishops, a priest, a deacon and a layman were received into the Catholic Church together on 1930. This resulted in a significant movement of the faithful into the Malankara Catholic Church, by 1950 there were some 65,588 faithful, in 1960 112,478, and in 1970 183,490. There are now over 400,000 faithful in over six dioceses in India and across the world.[9]

Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
Crosses · Denominations · Churches · Syriac language · Music
Prominent persons
Abraham Malpan · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban · Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Mar Thoma I · Saint Alphonsa · Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi · Kariattil Mar Ousep · Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril · Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Geevarghese Ivanios · Euphrasia Eluvathingal · Thoma of Villarvattom
Margamkali · Parichamuttukali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam


Divisions among Saint Thomas Christians

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.[10]

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,[10] 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 Syriacs, Syro Malankara Catholics originated.[11]

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.[12] 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 Syriac theological and liturgical tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch of Mar Gregory became known as the Jacobite, The Syriac Catholics remained in communion with Rome and later came to be known as the Syro Malabar Church.[12]

Turbulence in Malankara Church

It was in this contentious context that the 118th Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Abded Aloho II, went to Malankara in 1911 and excommunicated Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius. To ward off the undue interference of the Patriarch in the administration of the temporalities of the Church, Fr. P.T. Geevarghese with the blessing of Vattasseril Thirumeni contacted Ignatius Abdul Masih II, the 117th Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, who had been excommunicated by the Ottoman government in 1906, and invited him to visit Malankara and to establish a Catholicate here. Accordingly, Ignatius Abdul Masih II went 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; the See remained vacant until 1925. That was a period of litigation in the Malankara Church. 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 Ivanios

Geevarghese was born on 21st Sept 1882 at Mavelikara to the 'Mallitty' Panickervettil family, belonging to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. He was given the baptismal name Geevarghese. At the age of 15 he joined M.D.Seminary School for high school studies. On April 20, 1898 he received minor orders and was sent to Madras Christian College for higher studies. There he obtained his master's degree. On 15 September 1908 Geevarghese was ordained priest by Vattasseril Mar Dinoysius. Just after the ordination Geevarghese was appointed Principal of M.D.Seminary, Kottayam. Later he moved to Calcutta, accepting an invitation to teach at Searmpore College. During his stay at Calcutta Geevarghese founded a monastic community.

Establishment of Bethany Ashram

On Geevarghese's return from Calcutta a friend, 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 for an ashram. Geevarghese and his followers built a small thatched hut at what became the first Ashram in Malankara on 15 August 1919, named "Bethany".[13] Along with the Ashram Geevarghese started a house for orphans.

While at Serampore, Geevarghese founded the Bethany Madhom (convent) for women religious in 1925, with the help of the Epiphany Sisters of England working at Serampore. 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.[14]

Ecclesial communion

On 20 September 1930 Mar Ivanios, Bishop Jacob Mar Theophilos, Fr. John Kuzhinapurath OIC, Dn. Alexander OIC, and Chacko Kilileth embraced and reunited with the Catholic Church. The Reunion Movement under the leadership of Mar Ivanios gave rise to Malankara Catholic Church.

And this took place in Quilon Bishop’s chapel. The members of the Jacobite Church were received by his Lordship Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger (Bishop of Quilon) to whom the Archbishop Mar Ivanious approached for help and whom the Holy See deputed to perform the reception.

After reunion movement

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 Thiruvananthapuram with the Eparchy of Tiruvalla as its suffragan. The Metropolitan Eparchy of Thiruvananthapuram 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. In 1939, Thomas Mar Dioscoros, the Metropolitan of the Knanaya Jacobite Church, reunited with the Catholic Church. 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 Gregorios

In 1955 Metropolitan Archbishop Benedict Gregorios was enthroned as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram and the Head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.

The Holy See appointed 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.

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.

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

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

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.

Major Archbishop Moran Mor Cyril Baselios

Cyril Baselios, the Bishop of Bathery having been appointed by Pope John Paul II, was enthroned as Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram and as the head of the Malankara Catholic 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 Baselios, by an Apostolic Bull dated 16 December 1996, Pope John Paul II erected the Eparchy of Marthandom bifurcating the Metropolitan Eparchy of Thiruvananthapuram. 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 Thiruvananthapuram. Paulos Mar Philoxenos died 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.

In this period parishes for the faithful of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States of America were established. Pope John Paul II nominated the Proto-Syncellus of Bathery Isaac Thottunkal, as Apostolic Visitor and the Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram 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 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 resigned due to his age, and the Holy See appointed Isaac Cleemis, the Apostolic Visitor to Europe and America, as the Bishop of Tiruvalla. Cleemis took charge of the Diocese on 2 October 2003. On January 5, 2005 Joseph Mar Thomas was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram 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, Thiruvananthapuram. 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.

On 19 February 2005, Joseph Mar Thomas was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram 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 head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church took place on May 14, 2005. The Malankara Major Archiepiscopal Curia (Catholicate Centre) started functioning at the St. Mary's Campus, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram. On May 20, 2005, Cyril Baselios blessed the Curia building. Baselios soon constituted the first Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, convened from 16 to 18 August 2005 at the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Thiruvananthapuram. It 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.

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

By the decree of Baselios, 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 Thiruvananthapuram, 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 tradition of the Antiochene Church, 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.

On Thursday, January 18, 2007, Cyril Baselios died, and was entombed by the side of his predecessors at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram on January 20, 2007.

Major Archbishop Cardinal Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis

Isaac Cleemis was elected the Major Archbishop 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, Thiruvananthapuram. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the election on 9 February and it was announced on 10 February at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram.

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.

Baselios Cleemis was enthroned as the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on March 5, 2007 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram.

On 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 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.

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

Cleemis created two new Eparchies in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, 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 of Marthandom Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom 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 Thiruvananthapuram. Samuel Kattukallil, Syncellus of the Major Archeparchy of Thiruvananthapuram and Stephen Thottathil, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of St. Mary's Malankara Seminary were appointed Auxiliary Bishops of the Major Archeparchy of Thiruvananthapuram 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.[15]

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 Thiruvananthapuram 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 Cleemis 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, Thiruvananthapuram. His installation ceremony was on October 3, 2010 at Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale, New York.

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.[16] 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.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is fast growing in theological and canonical studies. Many authors have contributed to the development in the field of theology and canon law.[17]

Besides the canonical institutions of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, various associations including the Malankara Catholic Youth Movement (MCYM), the Malankara Catholic Association (MCA), and the Legion of Mary, Matruvedi, Pithruvedi 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.



According to the Pontifical yearbook Annuario Pontificio for 2012, the Syro-Malankara Church had approximately 436,870 members.[18][19]

Dioceses Members Bishops Parishes Diocesan Priests Religious Priests Men Religious Women Religious Seminarians
Archeparchy of Thiruvananthapuram 219,437 2 300+ 131 24 97 578 100
Eparchy of Parassala 22,000 1
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 Bathery 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 2 24 14 7 8 20 3
Eparchy of the United States and Canada [20] 10,000 1 16 11 1 1 16 4
TOTAL 436,870 14 692 546 93 221 1688 252


The Malankara Syrian Catholic Church has 16 Hierarchs:

Hierarchs Diocese Cathedral / Location
Baselios Cleemis
Cardinal of the Syro-Malankara Church
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Archbishop Thomas Mar Koorilos
Metropolitan Archbishop of Tiruvalla
St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Timotheos
Metropolitan Emeritus of Tiruvalla (Retired)
Emeritus of St. John's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Joseph Mar Thomas
Metropolitan of Bathery
St. Thomas Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad, Kerala, India
Vincent Mar Paulos
Metropolitan of Marthandom
Christuraja Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Marthandam, Kuzhithurai, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India
Abraham Mar Julios
Metropolitan of Muvattupuzha
St. Joseph's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Vazhappilly, Mudavoor, Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
Joshua Mar Ignathios
Metropolitan of Mavelikkara
St.Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Punnamoodu, Mavelikkara, Alappuzha, Kerala, India
Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom
Bishop Emeritus of Pathanamthitta
St. Peter's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pathanamthitta, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Thomas Mar Eusebius
Metropolitan of Parassala
St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church /
Parassala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Philipose Mar Stephanos
Metropolitan of St. Mary, Queen of Peace (USA & Canada)
St. Vincent de Paul Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Elmont, New York, USA
Jacob Mar Barnabas
Metropolitan of Gurgaon
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Neb Sarai, New Delhi, India
Thomas Mar Anthonios
Metropolitan of Khadki
St. Mary's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Khadki, Pune, Maharashtra, India
Samuel Mar Irenios
Bishop of Pathanamthitta
St. Peter's Syro Malankara Catholic Cathedral /
Pathanamthitta, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India
Geevarghese Mar Makarios
Metropolitan of Puttur
St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral /
Noojibalthila, Kerala, India
Yuhannon Mar Theodosius
Curia Bishop

Late Lamented Metropolitans

Title Name Notes
Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios
Split from Malankara Orthodox Church
Archbishop Jacob Mar Theophilos
Split from Malankara Orthodox Church
Archbishop Joseph Mar Severios
Left Malankara Orthodox Church
to join Malankara Catholic Church
Thomas Mar Dioscoros
Left Knanaya Syriac Orthodox Church
to join Malankara Catholic Church
Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios
Zacharias Mar Athanasios
Paulos Mor Philoxenos
Left Malabar Independent Syrian Church
to join Malankara Catholic Church
Isaac Mar Yoohanon
Major Arch Bishop-Catholicos Cyril Mar Baselios
Lawrence Mar Ephrem
Metropolitan of Puthur Geevarghese Mor Divannasios

Liturgy and worship

The liturgy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is of the Antiochene Rite, West Syriac in character. The liturgy today is celebrated in Malayalam, Syriac, English, Tamil, and Hindi. The church uses one of several Bible translations into Malayalam.

In the Indian diaspora

There are 39 Syro-Malankara communities in North India, including churches at Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. On March 26, 2015, Cleemis and the Holy Synod in consultation with Pope Francis erected two Eparchies to cover all of India. Bishop Barnabas Jacob was appointed bishop of the Delhi-based Eparchy of St John Chrysostom of Gurgaon. Bishop Anthonios Thomas heads the Apostolic Exarchate of St Ephrem of Khadki.[21]

Around the world

United States

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.[22]

Canada and Europe

In July 2010 Pope Benedict XVI also appointed Thomas 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.[22] There are Syro-Malankara parishes and communities in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Middle East

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.[23] Malankara Catholics of Abu Dhabi launched one of the early websites for the Syro Malankara Catholic Church before 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. Fr. Mathew Kandathil, a Syro Malankara priest serving in UAE, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, is appointed the Coordinator of the Malankara Catholic Faithful in the 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


  • St. Mary’s Malankara Major Seminary, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Bethany Vedavijnana Peetham, Pune
  • St. Aloysius Seminary, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Infant Mary's Minor Seminary, Thiruvalla
  • St. Thomas Minor Seminary, Gurukulam, Bathery
  • St. Ephraem's Minor Seminary, Marthandom
  • Gurusannidhi Minor Seminary, Muvattupuzha
  • Mar Ivanios Minor Seminary, Mavelikkara
  • Mar Gregorios Malankara Syrian Catholic Seminary, New York
  • St. Thomas Minor Seminary, Pathanamthitta
  • Mar Ivanios minor seminary in New Delhi
  • Nirmal Hriday Minor Seminary, Pune


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

Malankara Catholic Youth Movement

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

  • Kerala MCYM

1) Major Archieparchy of Thiruvananthapuram
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)

1) Exarchate of United States Malankara Syrian Catholic Churches (Elmont, New York)

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

Malankara Catholic Association

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

Official name

The official name of the church is Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which is mainly used in the English speaking Western regions. The name of the church as translated from Malayalam/Syriac is Malankara Syrian Catholic Church.

See also


  1. The Eastern Catholic Churches 2017
  3. Official Website
  4. George Menachery (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, B.N.K. Press, vol. 2, ISBN 81-87132-06-X, Lib. Cong. Cat. Card. No. 73-905568; B.N.K. Press – (has some 70 lengthy articles by different experts on the origins, development, history, culture... of these Christians, with some 300 odd photographs).
  5. Leslie Brown, (1956) The Indian Christians of St. Thomas. An Account of the Ancient Syriac Church of Malabar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1956, 1982 (repr.)
  6. Thomas Puthiakunnel, (1973) "Jewish colonies of India paved the way for St. Thomas", The Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, ed. George Menachery, Vol. II., Trichur.
  7. Gregorios & Roberson, p. 285.
  8. Vadakkekara, p. 91.
  9. Roberson, Ronald. "The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church". E Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  10. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, "Eastern Christianity in India"
  11. Catholic Encyclopedia profile of "St. Thomas Christians" - The Carmelite Period
  12. Thekkedath, History of Christianity in India”
  13. Fr. Thomas Inchakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios (Vol.1), pp. 152-171
  14. Rajan, Matthew (2004). "H.H. Baselios Geevarghese I - Second Catholicose". The Christian Light of Life. 3 (12): 221–225.
  15. Malayala Manorama, Deepika January 26, 2010
  16. "Annuncio di Concistoro per la Creazione di Sei Nuovi Cardinali" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 2012-10-24. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23.
  17. "The classified Bibliography of Fr. Dr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath" (in English and Malayalam). 2014-09-15.
  18. "Population Statistics"., Syro Malankara Church.
  19. Ronald Roberson. "The Eastern Catholic Churches 2012" (PDF). Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Retrieved Nov 18, 2012. Information sourced from Annuario Pontificio 2012 edition.
  20. "The Statutes from St. Mary, Queen of Peace Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in USA and Canada website"., Syro Malankara Church.
  22. "New Apostolic Exarchate for Syro-Malankara Church". ZENIT News Agency. July 14, 2010. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011.
  23. "St. Mary's Malankara Catholic Church (Doha, Qatar)". Retrieved July 15, 2010.

Additional sources

  • The Syro-Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church Directory, Thiruvananthapuram, 2006.
  • Ronald Roberson, CSP; The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey (6th Edition); Edizioni Orientalia Christiana, Pontifico Instituto Orientale; Rome, Italy; 1999; ISBN 88-7210-321-5
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