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Eparchy of Pathanmthitta

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History of Eparchy of Pathanamthitta

The Eparchy of Pathanamthitta is the seventh Eparchy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church after the event of Reunion on 20 September 1930. As per the decision of the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and having consulted the Apostolic See of Rome, His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop-Catholicos, erected the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta bifurcating the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum on 25 January 2010. On the same day His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, the then Bishop of Marthandam, as the first Bishop of Pathanamthitta. The inauguration of the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta and the Installation of His Excellency Most Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom as the First Bishop of Pathanamthitta was officiated by Moran Mor Baselios  Cleemis Catholicos at Cyril Baselios Catholicos Nagar (Municipal stadium) and Sacred Heart Church, Mylapra respectively on 20 March 2010. The territory of the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta consists of five ecclesiastical districts-Pathanamthitta, Konni, Ranni-Perunadu, Pandalam and Seethathode.

This Eparchy has 123 priests. It has on it rolls 100 parishes, all within the territories of the civil district of Pathanamthitta. They belong to the 5 ecclesiastical districts - Ranni-Perunad, Konni, Pathanamthitta, Pandalam and Seethathodu. Though the civil district of Pathanamthitta in Kerala and the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta are insignificant in the vast sub-continent of India, they deserve a privileged position in the history of India’s Evangelization. For it is traditionally believed that St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, preached the Good News of the Saviour for the first time in India, and that he established 7 Churches in Kerala and a mission station in Tamil Nadu. One of these Churches is at Nilackal (Chayal) in the district of Pathanamthitta within the boundaries of the Diocese of Pathanamthitta. Hence, the Christians over here have an ancient history and patrimony. Besides the various Christian denominations, the Jacobites, Orthodox, Marthomites, etc. have strong communities within the boundaries of this Eparchy.

The region of Pathanamthitta enjoys a privileged position in the history of the Reunion Movement, headed by Mar Ivanios of happy memory. It was when Mar Ivanios was leading his religious life at Mundanmala (Ranni-Perunad) in the district of Pathanamthitta that he decided to take the courageous step of entering into full and visible communion with the Catholic Church when the other Prelates of his own Orthodox Church retracted from their common decision for Reunion with the Catholic Church. Since his decision was in fulfilment of the ardent desire of our Lord “that all may be one,” God blessed this endeavour of Mar Ivanios. Thus, Pathanamthitta became the very cradle of the Reunion Movement. Several priests from within the town and its neighborhood became zealous protagonists of the Movement, as a result of which, thousands of faithful from all Christian denominations embraced the Catholic Church. If we examine the history of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum of the Malankara Catholic Church, we can find that the region of Pathanamthitta is rich in priestly and religious vocations.

Reunion movement is intrinsically related to Ecumenism. Christians of all denominations now a days, show special interest in common witnessing in whichever level possible. At this juncture, it is especially noteworthy that the unique ‘Ecumenical Centre’ we have in Kerala, is located at Nilackal, within the district of Pathanamthitta. The Catholic Diocese of Pathanamthitta hosted the 62nd Reunion Celebrations in the year 2012 and dedicated the Diocesan Cathedral on that occasion.

On 10 April 2018 His Excellency Samuel Mar Irenios was appointed as the Co-adjutor Bishop of the Eparchy. Later 8th June 2019, Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios was appointed as the second bishop of the Eparchy.

A. Number of Families (around) : 8013
B. Malankara Catholics (around) : 40,020
C. Parishes : 100
D. Priests : 122
E. Seminarians : 40
  Major : 25
  Minor : 15
F. Religious Sisters:    
  SIC Convents (16) : 71
  DM Convents (5) : 19
  Vincentian Convent (1) : 9
  Snehagiri Convent (1) : 2
  Gethsemane Convents (2)    : 8
G. Institutions    
I. Ecclesiastical    
  Minor Seminary : 1
  Pastoral Centre : 1
  Priests’ Home 1
II. Educational    
  Training Schools : 1
  Technical Institutes : 1
  Higher Secondary Schools : 1
  High Schools : 4
  UP Schools : 4
  LP School : 13
  Unaided Schools : 6
III. Charitable    
  Home for Aged : 1
  House for the mentally challenged adults : 1
  House for the mentally challenged children  : 1