Pastoral Care of the Syro-Malabar Migrants

The Major Archbishop and the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church has jurisdiction only within the five metropolitan provinces of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Changanacherry, Trichur, Tellicherry and Kottayam, limited to Kerala and some parts of Tamilnadu and Karnataka. The Syro-Malabar Church was in existence for two thousand years in India and her metropolitan had jurisdiction all over India until the end of the 16th century. During the Padroado regime following the Synod of Diamper, the Thomas Christians were restricted to one ecclesiastical territory in central Kerala comprising of major parts of Cochin and some parts of the Travancore states. Later when Indian Hierarchy was established in 1886, the Syro-Malabarians were restricted to three Vicariates in central Kerala. When the Syro-Malabar hierarchy was restored in 1923, the jurisdiction of the Syro-Malabar Church was confined to the area between the rivers of Pampa in the south and Bharathapuzha in the north of Kerala. By the decrees of the Holy See of 1953 and 1955, the territory of the Syro-Malabar Church was extended to the whole of Kerala and to the territories of the Latin dioceses of Mangalore, Chickmagalur, Mysore and Coimbatore. Its former all-India jurisdiction has not been restored to the Syro-Malabar Church even though it is elevated to the status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church. The Major Archbishop or the Synod has no jurisdiction outside the “proper territory”, which comprises of the combined territories of the metropolitan provinces of Ernakulam, Changanachery, Thrissur and Thalassery- Kottayam has personal jurisdiction. In 1962 Chanda and in 1968 Jagdalpur, Sagar, Satna and Ujjain in Madhypradesh were given as exclusive mission territories for the Syro-Malabarians, under the neighbouring Latin archdioceses. Today Syro-Malabarians have 9 mission eparchies, under neighboring Latin Archdioceses, in various North Indian states.

1n 1988 the eparchy of Kalyan was established as a multi-jurisdictional and personal-territorial eparchy (overlapping the territory of five Latin dioceses) in Maharashtra, where the Syro-Malabar jurisdiction is applicable only to those Syro-Malabar Catholics in the territory of the eparchy of Kalyan. The eparchy of Kalyan has a two-fold mission, namely pastoral care of it 100,000 faithful concentrated mainly in the 5 civil districts of Maharashtra, such as Greater Mumbai, Raigad, Thane, Pune and Nashik and evangelization of the remaining 10 civil districts of which 4 are assigned to MST (Sangli Mission), 3 to CMI (Chavara Mission of Dhule), 2 to MCBS (Satara-Solapur Mission) and 1 to the Vincentians (Ahmednagar). The eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle in Chicago, established in 2001 for the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabarians in USA and Canada, is also multi-jurisdictional and is directly under the Holy See. In a similar manner, in 2012 the Eparchy of Faridabad was erected for the Syro-Malabarians in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal and some parts of UP. On 26 August 2015, the territory of the Eparchy of Mandya was extended to cover the entire area of the Archdiocese o Bangalore.  On 9 October 2017, the territories of the Eparchy of Ramanathapuram and Thuckalay were extended and the Eparchy of Hosur in the Chennai Region was erected covering the whole of Tamil Naud. On the same day the Eparchy of Shamshabad was erected covering the remaining areas outside the Syro-Malabar Eparchies in India, thus completing the the process of granting to the Syro-Malabar Church the right to evangelization and pastoral care in the whole of India.

There are good number of Syro-Malabar faithful in several foreign countries, especially in USA-Canada, Europe, Australia, and Arabian Gulf. It was the result of the work of the Commission for Evangelization and Pastoral Care of the Migrants to provide our migrant faithful the proper pastoral care, we have now different ecclesiastical provisions outside India. The eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle in Chicago was established in 2001 for the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabarians in USA and Canada, and later, in 2015, Canada was divided from this and the exarchy of Mississauga was established, which was erected into the status of eparchy 2018. In 2013, the Holy Father established the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle, Melbourne for Australia and in 2021 extended its jurisdiction to include New Zealand and all the countries of Oceania. The Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain was established for the Syro-Malabar faithful in England, Scotland & Wales in 2016. The Holy Father appointed an Apostolic Visitor for the rest of the Europe in 2016 itself.

Now, there remains the Arabian Gulf region where more than 5 lakhs of the Syro-Malabar faithful resided. We have also sizable communities in Singapore and South Africa. Though precise statistics are unavailable, there are Syro-Malabar faithful scattered in other countries too.


Back to Top

Never miss an update from Syro-Malabar Church