The Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Christians has its origin from St.
Thomas, the Apostle who arrived on the Kerala coast in A.D. 52. The
Metropolitan of "The See of St. Thomas" was "Metropolitan and Gate of
all India". In the course of history this Church entered into
hierarchical relationship with the East Syrian Church and became an
autonomous Metropolitan See under the East Syrian Patriarch in
communion with the Apostolic See of Rome. The " Archdeacon of all
India" did the administration.
The Portuguese Fathers who arrived in the 15th century could not
tolerate the liturgical traditions and the mode of governance of this
church. They latinized the ancient liturgical texts. A section of the
community broke away from the Western supremacy in 1653. They
constitute the present Malankara Orthodox Churches. We are the
descendants of those who stayed back, maintaining loyalty to the
Apostolic See of Rome.
The Archdiocese of Changanacherry is one of the first two Vicariates
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 our Church in 1992 as
Sui Juris Church, thanks to the untiring efforts of our forefathers.
Pope Leo XIII of happy memory by his Bull "Quod Jam Pridem" dated May
20, 1887 established two Vicariates Apostolic, viz, Kottayam and
Thrissur exclusively for the Syro - Malabarians and Dr Charles Lavigne
and Dr Adolph Medlycott respectively were appointed Vicars Apostolic.
The same Pope reorganized the existing Vicariates by the Bull "Quae
Rei Sacrae" dated July 28, 1896 establishing a new vicariate,
Ernakulam, with territories carved out from the two existing
Vicariates (Pallippuram, Edappaly and Arakuzha divisions from Kottayam
The Vicariate of Kottayam was renamed Changanacherry, since this town
had been the centre of Catholic activity, for e.g. the convocation of
the Changanacherry Synod in 1888 and hence its headquarters had been
shifted to Changanacherry.
Indigenous bishops were appointed Vicars Apostolic to the new Sees.
They were Mar Mathew Makil for Changanacherry, Mar Louis Pazheparambil
(from Changanacherry Vicariate) for Ernakulam and Mar John Menacherry
A new Vicariate of Kottayam was constituted in 1911 exclusively for
the Suddists and Mar Mathew Makil was tansferred 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 December 21,
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 Syro - Malabar
On July 25, 1950 the Diocese of Changanacherry was bifurcated by the
Bull "Quo Ecclesiarum" of Pope Pius XII and the new Diocese of Palai
The Holy See being very much pleased with the wonderful progress
achieved by the Syro - Malabarians, extended the hitherto held
boundaries of Changanacherry to the areas south of river Pumba, upto
(including) Kanyakumari, by the Bull "Multorum Fidelium" of Pope Pius
XII, dated April 29,1955.
Changanacherry was raised to the status of an Archdiocese on July 26,
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 Coelorum' of November 26, 1959 of Pope
John XXIII gave effect to this decision.
The Archdiocese was again divided on February 26, 1977 by the Bull "Nos
Beati Petri" of Pope Paul VI and the new Diocese of Kanjirapally was
set up comprising parts of the civil districts of Kottayam, Idukki and
The Archdiocese was divided a fifth 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 December 18, 1996. The formal
inauguration of the new diocese of Thuckalay and the Episcopal
Ordination of Mar George Alenchery as its first Bishop took place on
February 2, 1997.
In 1975 the Church work of five civil districts of the Archdiocese of
Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh was taken up completely by the
Archdiocese of Changanacherry.
Metropolitan Archbishop's House,
P.B. No.20, Changanacherry,
Kottayam (Dt), Kerala - 686 101, India
Tel: +91 481 - 2420040, 2420614, 2420379,
Fax: +91 481 - 2422540
Area: 845 sq. kms.
Total Population: 92,54,161
Languages spoken: Malayalam
Revenue Districts: Kottayam, Alappuzha,
Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.
Diocesan Clergy: 338
Religious Priests: 570
Religious Brothers: 04
Religious Women: 3,400
No. of Parishes: 264
Houses of Women Religious: 312
Houses of Men Religious: 61
Major Seminaries: 03
Minor Seminaries: 05
No. of Educational institutions
P. G. Depts / Colleges: 30, Students: 800
B. Ed. Colleges: 02, Students250
Colleges: 06, Students: 6,500
Technical Institutions: 06, Students: 600
Sr. Secondary Schools (10+2): 18, Students: 4,500
High Schools (10th std.): 29, Students: 25,000
Primary Schools: 95, Students: 30,000
Hospitals: 21, Beds: 2,000
Dispensaries: 10, Beneficiaries (Annual): 15,000
Other Institutions: 15, Beneficiaries (Annual): 12,000