Introduction to the missions

The expansion of the Syro Malabar Church beyond Kerala got a momentum towards the middle of the twentieth century. Responding to the call of His Excellency Oscar Severin SJ, bishop of Raigarh-Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh (then Madhya Pradesh), the CMI Fathers of the Syro Malabar Church started working in the Raigarh-Ambikapur Diocese from 1955 with an understanding that a territory proper for mission work in the Syro Malabar Rite would be entrusted to them in the near future. The path for the realization of this promise was opened when His Grace Eugene D’Souza, Archbishop of Nagpur offered to cede a territory from the large uncommitted areas of his archdiocese to the CMI fathers for mission work in the Syro Malabar Rite.

Decree for the handing over of Chanda Mission to CMI congregation
(True copy)

Handing over ceremony

Entrusting the Chanda Mission to Mgr. Januarius, its Ordinary from the CMI Congregation, at Nagpur by the Representative of the Internuncio in the presence of Archbishop of Nagpur, 15th August 1962, at the Chapel of the Archbishop's House.

Thus, separating a territory from the Archdiocese of Nagpur, His Holiness Pope John XXIII erected Chanda, the first Syro Malabar Mission, through the Decree “Ad lucem Sancti Evangelii” (Prot N 81/61, dtd March 31, 1962) and entrusted it to the CMI congregation on August 15, 1962.

1) Mission eparchy of Chanda

Bishop Januarius
Palathuruthy CMI 1962 - 90

Bishop Vijay Anand
Nedumpuram CMI 1990 -

Msgr Januarius Palathuruthy CMI took charge of the Chanda Ordinariate (consisting of the civil districts of Wardha, Chanda and Adilabad, separated from the Archdiocese of Nagpur) on August 15, 1962 as the Mission Superior with the faculties of an Apostolic Exarch. The Ordinariate was raised to the status of an Exarchate in 1968 and a diocese in 1977 with Mar Januarius palathuruthy CMI as the first bishop. Mar Vijay Anand Nedumpuram CMI succeeded Mar Januarius on July 3, 1990. (Mar Januarius was called to the eternal rest on March 28, 1995). The district of Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh was separated from the diocese of Chanda to form the new diocese of Adilabad in 1999 with Mar Joseph Kunnath CMI as the first bishop.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St.Thomas the Apostle
Area: 32,233 Sq.Kms
Total Population: 36,20,160
Catholics: 12,877
Parishes and Mission Stations: 33
CMI Priests working in the Eparchy: 39
Diocesan priests: 19
Religious Brothers: 06
Religious Sisters: 354

2) Mission eparchy of Sagar

Bishop Clemens
Thottungal CMI 1968 - 87

Bishop Joseph Pastor
Neelamkavil CMI 1987 - 2006

Bishop Antony
Chirayath 2006 -

It was through the initiative of the late Eugene De Souza, the then Archbishop of Bhopal that the Eparchy of Sagar came into being. On 29 July 1968 the Exarchate Sagar was constituted and entrusted to the CMI Congregation and Msgr.Clement Thottungal CMI was appointed as the Exarch. The districts Sagar, Raisen and Vidisha of the Bhopal diocese constituted the new exarchate in 1973. The district of Guna from Ajmir-Jaipur diocese was added to the Sagar Diocese on 26 February 1977. Sagar became a diocese by the decree “Divina Verba” and Msgr.Clement Thottungal CMI was appointed its bishop in 1977. He was retired and Msgr.Joseph Pastor Neelankavil CMI was appointed his successor on 22 February 1987. When Bishop Pastor Neelankavil retired, Msgr.Antony Chiriyath, a diocesian priest, was appointed the new bishop of Sagar Diocese on 25 March 2006

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: Little Flower
Area: 39,020 Sq.Kms
Total Population: 45,38,500
Catholics: 7,100
Parishes and Mission Stations: 75
CMI Priests working in the Eparchy: 14
Diocesan priests: 35
Religious Sisters: 194

3) Mission eparchy of Ujjain

Bishop John
Perumattam MST 1968 - 1998

Bishop Sebastian
Vadakel MST 1998 -

Ujjain as an ecclesiastical unit in India came into existence when the “Apostolic Exarchate of Ujjain” was erected by Pope Paul VI on 29th July 1968 with the Papal Bull “Apostolicum Munus” and entrusted to the newly formed ‘Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle’. Very Rev. Fr. John Prumattam, the first Director General of the Society was appointed Apostolic Exarch of Ujjain and he was installed on 14th January 1969. The Ap. Exarchate of Ujjain was created by bifurcating the diocese of Indore. The three civil districts of Ujjain, Shajapur and Rajgarh formed the new ecclesiastical unit. The Apostolic Exarchate of Ujjain was erected as the Eparchy of Ujjain on February 26, 1977, by Pope Paul VI with the Apostolic Letter “Qui Divino Consilio” Msgr. John Perumattam was appointed its first Bishop. He was consecrated bishop by His Excellency late Mar Sebastian Vayalil, Bishop of Palai, on May 15, 1977 and he took Canonical Possession of the office on July 3, 1977. On 5th June 1998, Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation and Farther Sebastian Vadakel was nominated the second bishop of Ujjain. He was consecrated bishop on 8th September 1998 and he took canonical possession of the See on the same day.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St. Paul
Area: 18,255 Sq. Kms
Total Population: 41, 28, 128
Catholics: 3, 042
Parishes and Mission Stations: 38
Diocesan priests: 23
MST priests: 69
Religious Sisters: 270

4) Mission eparchy of Satna

Bishop Abraham D
Mattam VC 1977 - 2000

Bishop Mathew
Vaniakizhakkel VC 2000 -

The Apostolic Exarchate of Satna was erected by the Papal Bull "In more est" dated July 29, 1968 and was entrusted to the Vincentian Congregation (Syro-Malabar). It comprises six civil districts in M.P, bifurcated from the Diocese of Jabalpur, namely Satna, Chhatarpur, Panna, Rewa, Sidhi and Tikamgargh. The Exarchate was made "suffragan ad instar" to the Archdiocese of Bhopal. Mar Abraham D. Mattam VC was nominated as its Apostolic Exarch. On February 26, 1977 by the Papal Bull "Ecclesiarum Orientalium"of Pope Paul VI the Exarchate was raised to the rank of an Eparchy. Mar Abraham D. Mattam was appointed the first Bishop of Satna. On 22 December 1999 Mar Abraham Mattam retired and Mar Mathew Vaniakizhakkel was appointed bishop of Satna on 14th January 2000. He was ordained bishop and was installed on 12 April 2000

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St. Vincent De Paul
Area: 45,147 sq. km
Total Population: 71,80,655
Catholics: 2493
Parishes and Mission Stations: 24
Diocesan priests: 27
Religious priests: 27
Religious Brothers: 3
Sisters: 144

5) Mission eparchy of Jagdalpur

Bishop Paulinus
Jeerakath CMI 1972-90

Bishop Simon Stock
Palathara CMI 1993 -

On 23rd of March, 1972 Pope Paul VI established the Apostolic Exarchate of Jagdalpur and entrusted it to the CMI Congregation. Msgr. Paulinus Jeerakath CMI was the first Exarch. In 1977 Jagdalpur was raised to the status of a diocese and Msgr.Paulinus CMI was made the first Bishop on 11, May, 1977. Bishop Paulinus slept in the Lord on 6, August 1990. Msgr.Simon Stock Palathara CMI took charge as the Bishop of Jagdalpur on 19 March 1993 as the second Bishop.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St.Joseph
Area: 39,176. Sq.Kms
Total Population: 26,72,651
Catholics: 6,540
Parishes and Mission Stations: 38
Diocesan priests: 12
CMI Priests working in the Eparchy: 57
Religious Brothers: 9
Sisters: 250

6) Mission eparchy of Bijnor

Bishop Gratian
Mundadan CMI 1977- 2010

Bishop John
Vadakel CMI 2010 -

His Holiness Pope Paul VI constituted the Exarchate of Bijnor by the Papal Bull “Beatorum Apostolorum” on 23 March 1972 and entrusted to the CMI congregation. Mgr.Gratian Mundadan CMI was appointed its first Apostolic Exarch. The new Exarchate was previously part of the Diocese of Meerut and it consists of the districts of Bijnor, except Dhampur division in Uttar Pradesh, and the five hill districts of Pauri, Garhwal, Tehri, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttar Kashi in Uttaranchal. On 26 February 1977, Bijnor was raised to the status of an Eparchy and Msgr.Gratian Mundadan was appointed its first Bishop.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St.Joseph
Area: 30,664 Sq.Kms
Total Population: 2,700,000
Catholics: 2,123
Parishes and Mission Stations: 42
Diocesan priests: 25
CMI Priests working in the Eparchy: 24
Religious Brothers: 2
Sisters: 163

7) Mission eparchy of Rajkot

Bishop Jonas
Thaliyath CMI 1977-81

Bishop Jose
Chittooparambil CMI 2010 -

Bishop Gregory
Karottembrel CMI 1983 - 2010

His Holiness Pope Paul VI erected the Eparchy of Rajkot on 25 February 1977 and entrusted it to the CMI Congregation and Msgr.Jonas Thaliyath CMI was appointed its first bishop. The new eparchy was part of the Diocese of Ahmedabad and it consists of the civil districts of Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, Rajkot and Surendranagar of Gujarat State. Bishop Jonas was called to the eternal reward on 7 November 1981 and Msgr. Gregory Karottembrel CMI took its administration and on 24 April 1983 he was appointed the Bishop of Rajkot.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: Sacred Heart of Jesus
Area: 1,09,905 Sq.Kms
Total Population: 1,50,17,107
Catholics: 12,000
Parishes and Mission Stations: 68
Diocesan priests: 20
CMI Priests working in the Eparchy: 66
Religious Sisters: 410

8) Mission eparchy of Gorakhpur

Bishop Dominic
Kokkat CST 1984 - 2006

Bishop Thomas
Thuthimattam CST 2006 -

The Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur was erected by H.H. Pope John Paul II on the 19th of June 1984 through the Bull "Ex quo Divinum Concilium" and was formally inaugurated on the 14th Oct. 1984. It comprises the five civil districts of Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Deoria, Basti and Sidharthanagar of U.P.., carved out of the diocese of Varanasi. The members of Little Flower Congregation ( CST Fathers) were working in this area since 1970. Mar Dominic Kokkatt, CST., a member of the same Congregation, was appointed its first Bishop. On his resignation, Mar Thomas Thuruthimattam, CST was appointed bishop of Gorakhpur on 15 July 2006. He was ordained bishop on 1 October 2006 and assumed office on the same day.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patrons: St. Theresa of Child Jesus and St. Joseph
Area: 19070 sqkm
Total Population: 13.63 million
Catholics: 1617

9) Mission eparchy of Kalyan

Bishop Paul
Chittilapilly 1988 - 1997

Bishop Thomas
Elavanal MCBS 1997 -

On September 8, 1978 Pope John Paul II appointed His Eminence Antony Cardinal Padiyara, the then Archbishop of Changanacherry as the apostolic visitor to study the situation. The visit of Pope John Paul II to India in 1986 gave him a first hand experience of the living faith of the Syro-Malabar Christians of India. On May 19, 1988 His Holiness Pope John Paul II made the historic announcement of the establishment of a new diocese for the Syro-Malabar Christians of Bombay-Pune-Nashik regions, and designation of Msgr. Paul Chittilapilly as its first bishop. The Bull, However was signed by the Pope on April 30, 1988. Thus the birth of the diocese and the appointment of the first Bishop takes effect from April 30, 1988. Bishop Paul Chittilapilly was transferred to the diocese of Thamaraserry in Kerala on 18th December 1996 and took over the charge on 13th February 1997. His successor and the second Bishop of the Diocese of Kalyan is Mar Thomas Elavanal, whose consecration was on 8th of February, 1997 at Kannamwar Nagar , Vikhoril , Mumbai.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St. Thomas the Apostle
Area: 1,50,000 sq. kms
Total Population: 38,363,420
Catholics: 1,00,000

10) Mission eparchy of Adilabad

Bishop Joseph
Kunnath CMI 1999-

Adilabad diocese is co-extensive with the civil district of Adilabad, the Northern most district in Andra Pradesh. This area was under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Chanda until 23rd July 1999. It was then constituted a new diocese by Pope John Paul II through the Papal Bull “Ad apties consulendum”. Fr.Joseph Kunnath CMI was appointed its first Bishop through the Papal Bull “Quonian Oportet”.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara
Area: 16,210 Sq.Kms
Total Population: 24,89,312
Language: Telugu and Tribal dialects
Catholics: 11,500
Parishes and Mission Stations: 22
Diocesan priests: 14
CMI Priests working in the Eparchy: 31
Religious Brothers: 2
Religious Sisters: 131

11) Mission eparchy of Chicago

Bishop Jacob
Angadiath 2001 -

It was from the 1960s that a great number of Indian immigrants reached the United States and Canada. Many of them who came first were students with the intention of pursuing graduate education in the various Universities in the States. Then, professionals such as doctors and nurses came. By the 1980s, the number of Syro-Malabar Catholics including the Knanite Catholics exceeded many thousands. By the time of the establishment of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, there were several Syro-Malabar missions in different cities of the United States. They were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop designated by the Syro-Malabar Synod for the migrants. Bp. Gregory Karotemeprel who was in charge of the Syro-Malabar migrants made a visit to the United States and Canada in 1996 to have a personal assessment of the situation of the Syro-Malabar Catholics. The report of his assessment and evaluation was sent to the Syro-Malabar Synod as well as to Rome. Holy Father, recognizing the need to preserve the faith and liturgical tradition of the Syro-Malabar Catholics established the eparchy of Chicago in 2001 and appointed Bishop Jacob Angadiath as its first Bishop. The consecration of the Bishop took place on July 1, 2001 The diocese has now four parishes and 29 missions. Total families registered under different parishes and missions would come to be about 8500 of which 1400 would be Knanites.

Eparchy at a glance (2006)

Patron: St. Thomas the Apostle
Catholic Population: 120950
Catholics: 11,500
Parishes: 07
Priests: 36
Missions: 29
Religious Sisters: 12