History of Catholic Thomas Christians
(Syro-Malabar) from 1887


Rev. Dr Lonappan Arangassery, UK.

 

The Church of Catholic Thomas Christians which was brought under Padroado (Portugal) in 1600 and later Propaganda Fide (Rome) was given a solemn burial on September 1, 1886 when the ancient See the Archdiocese of Crangannore (Kodumgalloor) was suppressed by Rome and its title was given to Damao by the apostolic letter Humanae Salutis. From 1886 the destiny of Thomas Christians began to be decided by the Indian Latin hierarchy. Sensing the danger of unrest among the Thomas Christians going out of control, the Bangalore meeting of the Latin bishops and archbishops held on 25 January 1887 favoured the decision of the Propaganda to erect two vicariates on the south and north of Periyar (Aluva River) as natural boundary and suggested Trichur and Kottayam for the residence of the Vicars apostolic of northern and southern vicariates respectively. They, however, did not favour erecting vicariates according to caste.[1]

Due to the excesses of the Carmelite missionaries in Malabar (Kerala), the Thomas Christians made it clear to the new Apostolic delegate Andrea Aiuti on 31 March 1887, that they no more wished to be governed by the Carmelites. Although Propaganda Fide was not in favour of the continuance of Carmelites[2], in the general assembly held on 25th July 1887, two Carmelites - Bernardi Marcelline and Fr Polycarp- were proposed as Vicars Apostolic of Trichur and Kottayam respectively. Pope Leo XIII, therefore, personally intervened and annulled the decision of the Congregation and appointed a French man Fr Charles Lavigne S.J. as vicar apostolic of Kottayam and Adolf Medlycott - a diocesan priest-as vicar apostolic of Trichur on 23 August, 1887.[3]  Pope Leo XIII erected the two vicariates separating Thomas Christians from the Latin Christians of the Archdiocese of Verapoly through the apostolic letter Quod iampridem of 20 May, 1887.[4]

Quod iampridem is the first official papal document that refers to the Catholic faithful of the Church of Thomas Christians as Syro-Malabarto distinguish them from other Thomas Christian communities not in communion with Rome. The St Thomas Catholics of India thus lost de jure and de facto, their name linked to their Father in faith and their ecclesial identity as the most vibrant Church of apostolic origin with indigenous features.  The Apostolic letter Quod iampridem had stipulated clearly that the Vicars apostolic should appoint a vicar general of the same rite and nation with faculties to conduct pontifical ceremonies and choose four ecclesiastics of the same rite as consulters in the ecclesiastical affairs.  Accordingly, Fr Emmanuel Nidhiri and Fr George Mampilly from Thomas Christian community were appointed Vicars General of Kottayam (Changanacherry) and Trichur respectively and four priests were appointed as consulters by both Vicars Apostolic.

1. Syro-Malabar and Knanaya Catholics

There were two endogamous groups – popularly known as Thekkumbhagar (Southists- i.e. Knanaya) and Vadakkumbhagar (Northists, i.e. Thomas Christians)– among the Catholics of Malabar. The Southists are related to the traditions of Thomas of Cana or Kinayi (C’nai) Thomman a merchant and 72 Babylonian families who were forced to migrate to India under the leadership of Kinayi Thommen due to the violent persecution of Christians between 310 and 448 with short intervals.  When Rome became Christian in the 4th century, the Sassanid rulers of powerful Persian Empire suspected the Persian Christians of divided loyalty and consequently the Christians were persecuted severely under Sapor II (AD 310-379). Many Christians were martyred and during the time of Jasdgard I (AD 399-420) they enjoyed certain amount of freedom on condition that they did not have anything to do with the Church in the Roman Empire. However, the Christians were again persecuted under Bahram (AD 420-24) and his son Jasdgard II (AD 445-448). In fact, the Church of the East cut off its relations with the west (Antioch) in 410 in the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon that the Church be spared from persecution. According to a southist scholar they are said to have settled in Crangannore.[5] It is claimed that they brought with them their own priests and established their own churches in Malabar. They preserve their ethnic identity through a strict practice of endogamy. And those who marry from outside the community lose their membership in the community[6] and the community does not accept new Christians to its fold. The Church being missionary by her very nature and by her deepest identity, this practice is untenable from ecclesiological and mission perspectives. A Church that does not preach the Gospel, baptise those who accept the faith, integrate the newly initiated by the evangelising Church and  establish and nurture the newly formed communities is a contradiction (EN 28; RM 34, 48; AG 6, 23, 27; Mk 16:15). Any restriction, on this fundamental nature and identity of a Church or community either from within or without is a gross violation of the deepest identity and missionary responsibility of the ecclesial entity worth the name.  The claim of “blood purity” after so many centuries is really a matter of serious dispute since nobody can vouch for it except the woman who gives birth. In spite of the differences in the customs and the practice of endogamy to preserve the racial identity, they follow practically the ecclesial traditions of Syro-Malabar Church.

The Northists (Thomas Christians) claim that they were brought to faith by St Thomas the apostle and that they mingled with the local Indian aristocracy from the 1st century adapting them to Indian culture and East Syrian in worship. Although Portuguese missionaries Barros [1553-63], Goes [1566], Dionysio, Correa and East Syrian Abuna speak of the origin and history of Christianity in Kerala, they do not speak of the Northist and Southist division in the community. Monserrate simply states that Thomas Christians originated from St Thomas the Apostle and Thomas of Cana. Francis Roz, the first Latin bishop over Thomas Christians, however, strongly defends the origin of Northists from Apostle Thomas and the Southists (Knanaya) from Thomas of Cana and that the Southists kept aloof from the main stream.  According to Roz only the Northists are to be considered as the Christians of St Thomas.[7]

2. Ecclesiastical Structures for Knanaya Catholics.

For over 10 centuries the Southists were an integral part of the Thomas Christian community although retaining their special customs and practices. When the Syro-Malabar vicariates of Kottayam and Trichur were established, there were approximately 15 thousand members, 21 priests and 12 parishes of the Southist community in the vicariate of Kottayam.[8] Unfortunately, on 21 November 1887, the majority of the southist priests, instigated and supported by the bitterly disappointed vicar apostolic of Verapoly Msgr Mellano over the ritual separation of Thomas Christians from Verapoly and the erection of Syro-Malabar Vicariates, requested Rome to place the Southists either under Mellano of Verapoly or his co-adjutor Marcelline.[9] The disappointment of Mellano and Marcelline is understandable.  Professor George Nedungatt SJ observes that "when the ritual separation was made in 1887, Marcelline, who was appointed bishop for the exclusive care of Catholic Thomas Christians, became a shepherd without sheep and Verapoly shrunk like a wineskin".[10]

Although earlier in 1870 Propaganda Fide had authorised Vicar Apostolic Leonardo Melano of Verapoly to steal the Padroado sheep without endangering the 1857 concordat with Portugal,[11] Propaganda rejected the idea of dividing the vicariate on the basis of caste and ethnicity. This is evident from its letter to the apostolic delegate Andrea Aiuti on 15th December, 1887.[12] However, to satisfy the Southists, vicar Apostolic Charles Lavigne appointed Fr Mathew Makil from the Southist community as his second Vicar General for the Southists in 1889 and appointed two counsellors from among them.

When the vicariates were re-organised as Changanacherry, Ernakulam and Trichur, there were 13 thousand Southists in Changanachery and two thousand in Ernakulam. Propaganda and Charles Lavigne knew very well that the vast majority of the faithful in Changanachery were Thomas Christians. But still, ignoring the undisputed leader of Thomas Christians Fr Emmanuel Nidhiri (Manikathanar), the second Vicar General from the Southists Fr Makil was made the Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry. The appointment of Mar Makil from the minority Knanaya Community naturally created tension and unrest in the Church and Mar Makil found it extremely difficult to go ahead with the administration of the Vicariate. The decision to make Makil the vicar apostolic is said to be a grave mistake committed by Propaganda for it failed to understand the short sighted and irresponsible advice of the Apostolic delegate L. Zaleski.[13] The appointments of Raphael Figuerdo with criminal backgrounds[14] as successor to indigenous bishop Chandy Parampil over Thomas Christians, the appointments of Charles Lavigne and Medlycott as first vicars Apostolic of Syro-Malabar Church,[15] the appointment of Mathew Makil[16] as Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry, are only a few examples for the misguided and short sighted decisions of the Propaganda Fide.

The seeds of division inseminated by Mellano and others had far reaching consequences on the future life and growth of this church. Tensions and unrest continued to increase, therefore, on the advice of the three Vicars apostolic, Pope Pius X, separated the Southist parishes and Churches from the vicariates of Changanachery and Ernakulam and erected a new vicariate of Kottayam with Mar Makil, till then the Vicar Apostolic of Changanachery, as the vicar apostolic of Knanaya Vicariate through the apostolic brief “In Universi”, on 21 August, 1911.[17] Fr Thomas Kurialassery was appointed the new vicar apostolic of Changanacherry. The Vicar apostolic of Kottayam was granted personal jurisdiction over all Southists in the vicariates of Changanacherry and Ernakulam.

3. Apostolic Delegate Zaleski

Both the Portuguese and Padroado missionaries had always expressed the idiosyncratic view that the Indians are not capable of governing themselves, for in their eyes, Thomas Christians were ignorant, of low intellectual calibre and morals, and that there prevailed among them “hereditary priesthood”, fractions and divisions.[18] But they always forgot the fact that Thomas Christians lived in peace, when they were governed by the Archdeacons. There were no divisions or factions among them until the arrival of Western missionaries. Even after their arrival, the Padroado and Propaganda loyalists have seen the leadership and administrative excellence of the Archdeacons,  Apostolic Administrator Paremakkal Thomas, Bishop Mar Chandy Parambil who ruled Thomas Christians when the missionaries were forced to hand over the governance of the Church to indigenous leaders. Thomas Christians have also seen how badly, immaturely and imprudently the Europeans governed the Church of Thomas Christians, divided and fragmented it and sowed the seeds of division in the once united community. It is their pride, unrealistic self-image, arrogance, imprudence, feeling of racial superiority and the strategy: “divide and rule” that ruined the Church to say the least.

Padroado and Propaganda missionaries and the apostolic delegates were fully aware of the fact that the root cause of all unrest and dissatisfaction in Malabar was their opposition to the demand of Thomas Christians for the bishops of their own rite and nation. But the craze for ecclesiastical power and unrealistic feeling of racial superiority prevented them from being just and Christian towards the indigenous Christianity in India. The apostolic delegate Ladislaus Zaleski himself wrote to the Propaganda Fide, saying that the root cause of the disturbance among the Suriani Catholics was their desire to have native priests. But at the same time he added:

It is absolutely impossible to grant them these native bishops, because: 1) among their numerous clergy there is not even a single man capable of being elevated to the episcopate…    3) A native bishop granted today to the Suriani Catholics would signify first of all the decadence and the destruction of this Christianity.[19]

The later history of the phenomenal growth of this Church would prove how biased and baseless were the report of the Apostolic delegate. Fr Mundadan says:

If they [the Thomas Christians] ever opposed the Latin priests it was not out of disrespect for them or for the religious facilities and the good doctrine they offered, but for other reasons: mainly because they were apprehensive of losing what had been sacred to them for centuries.[20]

Dissatisfied with the delegate and the Apostolic Vicars, there started a strong movement (1892-1894) under the leadership of some prominent priests, with the objective of getting native bishops at any cost by bringing a Chaldean bishop to Malabar to ordain native bishops. If that happened, it was certain that all would go after these native bishops and would result in a major schism. Zaleski, therefore, changed his view as evident from his letter dated 7 Oct., 1893. He says:

It cannot be denied that the suriani (catholics) governed by Latin bishops find themselves in an abnormal and transitory condition and that in some way they have the right to demand bishops of their own rite.”[21]

Propaganda came to senses and decided positively on the request for granting native bishops and asked the delegate to communicate the matter to them cautiously and prudently and without giving chance to a tumult or agitation.[22] On 17 January 1895 Pope Leo XIII, approved the decision of the Propaganda Fide and communicated the same to L. Zaleski and the vicars Apostolic Medlycott and Lavigne. Zaleski continued to be adamant and blinded with racial superiority reported against the native bishops, saying that he found no one capable of being elevated to episcopate. He said: “Now in the present state of India the institution of native bishops would be the ruin of the Catholic religion and a complete ruin.”[23]

Naturally Zaleski was not in a mood to give the list of native candidates worthy of episcopacy. Therefore, Propaganda asked the vicars apostolic for the list of candidates. Charles Lavigne presented three candidates: Mathew Makil, George Thayyil and Alosius Pazheparampil for Kottayam and Medlycott presented George Mampilly, John Menachery and Fr Joseph of St John of the Cross TOCD for Trichur.[24]  In the meeting of the Propaganda Fide, held on 23 March 1896, it was decided that the vicariates would be directly under the Holy See and not under the Chaldean patriarch, and decided to divide Kottayam and reorganise the vicariate as Changanachery and Ernakulam.  John Menachery, Mathew Makkil and Aloysius Pazheparambil were nominated as Vicars Apostolic respectively of Trichur, Changanachery and Ernakulam.[25]

Pope Leo XIII approved on 28 March 1896 the decision of the Congregation and the approval was published on 28 July 1896. Apostolic delegate L. Zaleski, who was against native bishops was asked to ordain the new Vicars apostolic. The native bishops were ordained by Zaleski in Kandy cathedral on 25 Oct., 1896. The boundaries of the three vicariates were also demarcated[26] and those Thomas Christians living outside the territory were brought under the Latin jurisdiction. Naturally they were forced to enrol as members of the Latin Church![27]

4. Syro-Malabar Hierarchy stripped off Eastern Identity

On the recommendation of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, a separate Syro-Malabar hierarchy was established by Pope Pius XI in 1923 raising Ernakulam as Metropotitan see and Changanacherry, Trichur and Kottayam as suffragans.[28] Although with the establishment the hierarchy, the Church of Thomas Christians with the new title Syro-Malabar became de jure oriental, but in its form and hierarchical grades of order and jurisdiction it was similar to the Latin hierarchy.[29] The missionaries had succeeded by this time producing a new breed of clerics equipped to Latinise the Thomas Christians without any resistance. Fr Hambye S.J. speaks of the deep impact of the Padroado and Propaganda rule over the Thomas Christians:

More than any other Eastern Church in communion with Rome, the Syro-Malabar Church had almost entirely lost its basic character as an Oriental reality. That loss affected not only the liturgy, but also the spirituality, theology and law. Its own people hardly knew that they were ‘oriental’. After having been told during so many centuries that everything oriental was wrong, backward, unworthy of Catholics, one wonders how some clergy and laity could still hope for a restoration…[30]

Stripped off apostolic heritage, indigenous character, apostolic continuity, eastern ecclesial identity etc., the Syro-Malabar Church became part of the Roman Catholic Church which is more an ecclesiastical subjugation than an ecclesial communion in joyful freedom with dignity. More over Syro-Malabar Church was treated by the Roman Church as its appendix. Even though historically the Catholic Thomas Christians are neither uniate nor the result of the “hard labour” of the western missionaries, the present shape of Syro-Malabar Church in reality is worse than that of a ‘uniate’ Church since its clergy and religious men and women are thoroughly Latinised thanks to centuries of Latin rule.

Although Propaganda and Padroado were bitter enemies, they were unanimous in their opposition to a native bishop entering the scene.[31] It instructed bishop of Cochin to win him over through allurements of money (100 or less Roman Scudi) and honorary titles. The Propaganda instructed Francis Sales saying:

With regard to the conversion of the mitred laymen Mar Thomas, and of the schismatic bishop who intruded into that mission, the vicar apostolic with his zeal and prudence should employ all those means that he believes opportune and practicable. And as regards the first one (archdeacon), whose conversion would be more important …you can make use of some allurements to dispose him more easily to recognize the truth, for example, offering him some superintendence over his subjects in the administration of temporal goods, but never in the spiritual matters, and in order to assist him in his indigence the Sacred congregation would not be contrary to granting him an annual assignment of 100 scudi or less at the decision of the vicar apostolic, who should be very careful not to encourage talk about the nation’s desire to have its own bishop or head of its rite because if this were conceded to the people, there would be evident danger of the same nation separating itself abruptly, or at least gradually, from its dependence on the vicar apostolic which is considered necessary to maintain such a large and excellent flock in the faith and in union with the Catholic Church.[32]

Although Mar Dionysius I (Mar Thomas VI) sincerely desired to come into communion with Rome, Propaganda could not buy him for 100 Scudi or for some leisure trips to or titles from Rome. It appears that even today the Syro-Malabar Church gets excited by Roman allurements and enjoy being an “ecclesiastical beggar” in the corridors of Roman dicasteries. Msgr George Mifsud, who was in charge of the affairs of the Syro-Malabar Church for a long time in the Congregation for the Oriental Churches says that the ritual discrimination continued to be practised, notably, through the prohibition imposed upon the Syro-Malabarians to engage in missionary activity; for the intention was simply to allow their Church to “phase out”.[33]  

5. Syro-Malabar Church with two Heads

Pope Pius XII decided to raise the eparchy of Changanacherry as a Metropolitan province on July 29, 1956 with Palai and Kottayam as suffragans.[34] An anomalous juridical situation was, thus, introduced into Syro-Malabar Church when Changanacherry was raised to Metropolitan status according to the provisions in the Latin CIC 1917 and to fit Syro-Malabar Church into Latin structure.“These ecclesiastical provinces being Latin in hierarchical structure made of SMC a canonical hybrid…”[35] The Syro-Malabar Church with two provincial heads without a common head gave birth to unhealthy competitions and polarisations.  The Church leadership miserably failed to implement the decisions of the Synod on liturgy and the Church has not been able to reach homogeneity in the conception and celebration of liturgy envisaged and “committed” in the Syro-Malabar Synod held in 1996 January in Rome.

6. Proper Territory of Syro-Malabar Church

In spite of the jurisdictional restrictions, the Syro-Malabar Church had a phenomenal growth after the ritual separation in 1887 and the establishment of hierarchy in 1923. Pope Pius XII, erected the eparchy of Palai on July 25, 1950 bifurcating Changanacherry through Quo Ecclesiarum,[36] and the same Pope erected the eparchy of Thalassery on December 31, 1953 through Apostolic letter Ad Christi Ecclesiarum[37] extending its boundary to the northern Kerala. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant[38] took special interest in the growth of this vibrant and fast growing Church. The territory of the Syro-Malabar Church was extended through four decrees dated 25 April, 1955 and made public on 25 July, 1955 by extending the boundaries of Changanachery, Tellicherry, Trichur and Kottayam.[39] The territory of Syro-Malabar Church was made co-terminus with the boundaries of the Latin dioceses of Quilon, Trivandrum, Kottar in the South-West of Kerala and the dioceses of Coimbatore, Calicut, Mangalore, Mysore, Ootty and Chikmangalore on the North-East of Kerala.[40]  

Erection of new eparchies within the proper territory of Syro-Malabar Church was necessitated by the phenomenal growth of the Church. Thus, the eparchy of Manathawady was erected on March 1, 1973, Palakkad on 27 June 1974, Kanjirappilly on 26 February, 1977, Irinjalakuda on 22 June, 1978, Thamarassery on 28 April, 1986, Thucklay on November 11, 1996, Belthangady on 26 May, 1999, Idukki on 19 December, 2002, Badravathy  on 21 August, 2007 and Ramanathapuram and Mandya on  January 18, 2010. The proper territory of Syro-Malabar Church was further extended to Karnataka in 2015 when Bangalore and surrounding civil districts were added to the eparchy of Mandya.

7. Eparchies outside proper Territory[41]

Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) erected Chanda in Maharastra as a Syro-Malabar ordinariate through the decree Ad lucem Sancti Evangelii on 31 March, 1962[42] outside the so called “proper territory” of Syro-Malabar Church. After the Council, Pope Paul VI erected a few more Syro-Malabar Exarchates outside its proper territory, but not compromising with the theory “one territory one bishop” which was rejected by the Council. The exarchates of Chanda, Satna, Sagar and Ujjain were established on July 29, 1968.[43] Bijnor and Jagdalpur were erected as exarchates on April 29, 1972.[44] Except Bijnor, all others were raised as eparchies together with the erection of the eparchy of Rajkot on March 12, 1977. Bijnor was made an eparchy on July 18, 1977.[45] The eparchy of Gorakhpur which follows practically Latin liturgical tradition in almost all parishes and mission centres[46] was erected as a Syro-Malabar eparchy on 11 September, 1984. The eparchy of Kalyan for the pastoral care of migrants was erected on 30 April 1988. The Eparchy of Adilabad was erected dividing the eparchy of Chanda on 16 July, 1999. Faridabad, geographically the largest eparchy in India, was erected on 6th March 2012. It is co-terminus with the states of Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, the national capital territory Delhi and two districts: Gautham Budh Nagar and  Ghaziabad from U.P. (9.50 lakh Sq.Kms).

8. Syro-Malabar Migrants outside India

The Syro-Malabar faithful are scattered all over the world as agents of new evangelisation and re-evangelisation. The eparchy of Chicago was inaugurated on July 3, 2011 with jurisdiction in the USA and Canada. The Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Melbourne was established in for the Migrants in Australia and New Zealand in January 2014. In 2015 the eparchy of Chicago was bifurcated and Canada was erected as an Exarcate. In Europe, the emigrant faithful are a minority compared to the unbelievably big numbers of Syro-Malabar Catholics in the Gulf region where there are Syro-Malabar Catholics in big numbers needed to erect separate eparchies or suitable ecclesiastical structures. In Saudi Arabia alone there are 190,000 and in UAE there are 110,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics according to the directory of 2013.

Conclusion

Ending the anomalous juridical nature of Syro-Malabar Church and conforming her to the juridical structure and nature envisaged in the CCEO,  the Syro-Malabar Church was raised to de iure sui iuris Church of Major Archiepiscopal status  on 16 December, 1992. With the canonical elevation, the name of the Church was changed from “Syro-Malabar Church” to “Major Archiepiscopal Church of Ernakulam-Angamaly”[47] which today is headed by His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alenchery.

 

[1] Copy of the letter sent to Propaganda see, ACO, Acta 1887, vol. 18, ff.263v-264; Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 91-92; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 118.

[2] ACO, Acta 1886, vol. 17, f.530; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 118; Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 85-86.

[3] Cf. Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 108-111; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 121-122.

[4] Quod iampridem of 20 May, 1887 in Leonis XIII, Pontificis Maximi Acta, vol. 7, Romae 1888, 106-108; Acta Sanctae Sedis, vol. 19, 513-514.

[5] Cf. J. Kollaparampil, The Baylonian Origin of the Southists among the St Thomaschristians, OCA 241, (Roma 1992) xxiii & 133.

[6] J. Kollaparampil, Origin of the Southists, 155.

[7] Mundadan, History of Christianity in India, vol. I, Bangalore, 96-97.

[8] Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 128-129.

[9] ACO, Scritture riferite malabar, 1878-1889, ff. 1300-1301; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 129.

[10]  Nedungatt, “Manikathanar in Centenary Retrospect”, OCP 70/2 (2004), 329.

[11] Nedungatt, “Manikathanar”, OCP 70/2 (2004), 319.

[12] ACO, Lettere e Decreti 1887, vol. 20, f.439; for the details of the unethical ecclesiastical politics of divide and rule by Mellano and others see Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 156-163; 212-217; Koodapuzha, Christianity in India, 105-106.

[13] For the details of the situation see Bernard Thoma, Mar Thoma Kristianikal, additions by Pellissery, 907-912; Nedungatt, “Manikathanar”, OCP 70/2 (2004), 319 ff.

[14] Thazhath, Juridical Sources, 178

[15] Nedungatt, “Manikathanar”, 329.

[16] Nedungatt, “Manikathanar”, 347.

[17] Apostolic letter In Universi, see the Latin and English text in Pallath, Important Roman Documents, 198-201.

[18] Cf. ACO, Lettere e Decreti 1886, vol. 19, ff. 496v-499; Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 87-91; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 121.

[19] ACO, Deleg.India., Soriani Malabar 1889-1900, rubr. 109, vol. 1, fasc.1, f. lv.; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 123.

[20] Mundadan, Arrival of the Portuguese, 150.

[21] ACO, Deleg.India., Soriani Malabar 1889-1900, rubr. 109, vol. 1, fasc.1, f. 3v; Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 363; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 123.

[22] ACO, Acta 1895, vol.25, f.51; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 123.

[23] ACO, Deleg.India., Soriani Malabar 1889-1900, rubr. 109, vol. 1, fasc.2, f. 2; see details: Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 385-400.

[24] The most acceptable candidate for Changanacherry (Kottayam), Vicar General Emmanuel Nidhiri was conspicuously left out by Lavigne from the list. see: G. Nedungattu, “Nidhirikal Manikathanar”.

[25] ACO, Acta 1896, vol.26, f.51; Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 124-125. For details see: Varicatt, Suriani Church of India, 410-438.

[26] In the north as far as the boundary of the diocese of Mangalore (i.e. the southern boundary of present Latin diocese of Calicut) or River Bharathapuzha and in the south the boundaries of the five deanaries given to Changanacherry, i.e. as far as river Pampa.

[27] This practice of sheep-stealing by the Latin Church is still continued in spite of the numerous documents and promulgation of CIC and CCEO.

[28] Cf. Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices of 21 December, 1923.  AAS 7 (1924) 257-262. Latin text and Eng. Trans: in Pallath, Important Roman Documents, 206-219.

[29] Cf. Vithayathil, Origin and Progress, 76-83, 167; Arangassery, Ecclesial Dimensions, 5.

[30] Hambye, “Eastern Churches in India”, Seminarium 3, 373-374.

[31] Cf. APF, SOCG, 839, f. 222, Ambrosius a  S.Theresia, Hierarchia Carmelitana…, 277; see also Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 169-170.

[32] Cf. APF, SOCG, 839, f. 222, Ambrosius a  S.Theresia, Hierarchia Carmelitana…, 277; see also Pallath, Catholic Church in India, 169-170.

[33] Mifsud, “Missionary Activity”, 215.

[34] AAS 51 (1959) 580-581. The decree of erection Regnum Caelorum was made public by Pope John XXIII only on January 10, 1959.

[35]  Nedungatt, Spirit of the Eastern Code, 143. Recently one of the Syro-Malabar honorary ‘archbishops’ indulging in ‘unmaking’ the traditions in his eparchy is said to have stated that he is accountable only to Pope.

[36] AAS 43 (1951) 147-150.

[37] AAS 46 (1954) 385-387.

[38] The Pope himself was the prefect of the Congregation then.

[39]  AAS 47 (1955) 784-785; 786-787; 787-788; and 788-789. See also the text of the decrees in Latin with Eng. trans. in Pallath, Important Roman Documents,  Changanacherry: 220-221; Tellicherry: 222-224; Trichur: 224-227; Kottayam: 227-229.

[40] Till date this is the proper territory of the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop.

[41] Directory 2012, 143-144.

[42] Vithayathil, Origin and Progress, Appendix XI, 134.

[43] Apostolic decrees: Chanda (Qui Benignissimo), Sagar (Quo Aptius in AAS 61 (1969) 20-21); Satna ( In Amore, in AAS 61 (1969) 21-22); Ujjain (Apostolicum munus in AAS 61 (1969)23-24).

[44] Decrees: Bijnor [In Beatorum apostolorum] and Jagdalpur [Indorum gentes] in AAS 64 (1972) 416-419.

[45] See all 7 apostolic constitutions in AAS 69 (1977) 241-248.

[46] We are indebted for the information to priests of this eparchy.

[47] Apostolic Constitution Quae maiori, AAS 85 (1993)398-399.