United Kingdom has a rich Christian history and heritage; it is the land of saints and martyrs notably St. Augustine of Canterbury, St. Bede, St. Thomas Moore, St. John Fisher, St. Cuthbert et al. During the nineteenth century hundreds of missionaries travelled from England to all corners of the globe to spread the Gospel and they were very successful witnesses of Christ. They managed to establish Christian faith through love and education. Today, sadly the nation that once stood as a lighthouse of true faith is suffering from great spiritual darkness. We, the Syro - Malankara Catholics are in the midst of this situation and we have two roles to play as followers of Jesus Christ- firstly to sustain and grow in our Catholic faith and traditions by becoming faithful members of Malankara Syrian Catholic family and secondly to evangelise the non-practising Christian population of this great nation.
Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios - First Malankara Catholic Missionary
The Personal attendance of Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios to the Holy Eucharistic Congress held at Dublin, Ireland in the year 1932 marked the beginning of the current mission work of the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church in England and Ireland. It was an honour not only for the Malankara Catholic Church but for the Indian Church as a whole. As it was very much in the fresh context of the Reunion Movement, the other delegates received the discussions by Mar Ivanios on the newly re-united Church and its responsibilities in India with utmost curiosity and respect. (The speech delivered by Mar Ivanios is currently archived at the Public Library in Dublin). The talk delivered at the Conference by Mar Ivanios dwelled on introducing the ancient Indian culture and the Syriac liturgy of the East.
The Celebration of the first Holy Malankara Qurbono at the St. Francis Church, AG Gardiner Street in Dublin after the installation as a Metropolitan Bishop and receiving the Pallium from the Pope was a novel experience for many of the Bishops participating at the Conference.
Following the Conference, Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios was invited to England to attend at the Royal Banquet hosted by King George V where Mar Ivanios discussed at length on India and the cordial co-existence of the various religions in India.
Although, one can believe that nothing happens accidentally, it is evident from history that Mar Ivanios might have foreseen the today's presence of the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church in England and Ireland. The work related migration of Keralites, particularly in the field of Nursing and IT to these countries experienced a significant increase towards the end of the 1990s. From the very onset of this increase in the influx of Keralites and particularly the presence of its members in various places encouraged the Church leadership to ensure that the Malankarites would have access to their rich liturgical patrimony and Church activities.
The migrated presence of the Catholic communities and their fervent leadership and interest at church's activities in the Region have set an example for many of the European churches especially in the context of degeneration of faith and family values in the latter churches. At a time of decrease in the social and moral values wide spreading in Europe, the presence of the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church, and her mission activities are a beacon of hope for the young families in this region.
Malankara Syrian Catholic Church in United Kingdom
Syro-Malankara Catholic Church's first Catholicos, late Major Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios took the initiative and explored the possibility of serving Malankara Catholics in England. The strategic planning, decision-making and due diligence of the then Apostolic Visitators to America, Canada and Europe, Bishop Isaac Mar Cleemis and Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas were instrumental to lay the foundation of Malankara Church in UK and Ireland. Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas arrived in London on 4 July 2005 to celebrate his first Holy Mass and to commence the Mission works in this region.
Notable contributions towards the success of initiating the Mission work in UK were also made successively by Rt. Rev. Geevarghese Mannikarot Corepiscopo, Rev. Fr. Gigi Philip Charivupurayidom, Rev. Fr. Louis Charuvila Puthenveedu and other visiting priests on various occasions.
In 2009, because of the strategic decisions, planning and leadership undertaken by Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos with the full support and cooperation from the England and Wales Bishop's Conferences resulted in the appointment of a permanent Malankara Catholic priest to serve the Malankara Syrian Catholics in the region. The Brentwood diocese appointed Rev. Fr. Daniel Kulangara as the first Malankara Chaplain in July 2009 and he served here as National Coordinator and Special Pastor until December 2016. In June 2012, Rev. Fr. Thomas Madukamoottil was appointed as the Chaplain and His Excellency Most Rev. John Rawsthorne, Bishop of Hallam, appointed him as an assistant priest of the St. Marie's Cathedral Church, Sheffield.
On 3 October 2009, Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thomas, the Apostolic Visitator of Europe officially inaugurated the first Malankara Mission in London under the heavenly patronage of St. Joseph. Following this, Bishop in charge of the American Exarchate Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius continued to give the Church strong leadership for its growth in the region as Apostolic Visitator.
In January 2017, Rev. Fr. Thomas Madukamoottil appointed as the Special Pastor and National Coordinator by the Episcopal Synod of the Syro - Malankara Catholic Church and His Excellency Bishop Alan, Bishop of Brentwood appointed him as the Syro-Malankara Catholic Chaplain and Parish Priest incharge of the St. John the Baptist Church, Ilford.
In January 2017, Rev. Fr. Renjith Madathirampil was appointed as the Chaplain and His Excellency Bishop Mark, Bishop of Shrewsbury appointed him as the assistant priest of Our Lady and St. Christopher Church, Romiley. In 2017 October 24, Rev. Fr. John Alex Puthenveedu was appointed as the Chaplain and His Excellency Bishop Patrick, Bishop of Nottingham, appointed him as the assistant parish priest of St. Barnabas Cathedral Church, Nottingham. On 14 May 2018, Rev. Fr. Johnson Mathew Manayil was appointed as the Chaplain of the Syro - Malankara Catholic Faithful in Scotland and Bishop Philip Tartaglia, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, appointed him as the assistant Parish Priest in the Holy Cross Catholic Church, Crosshill, Glasgow. On 27th December 2019 Bishop Alan, Bishop of the Diocese of Brentwood, appointed Rev. Fr. John Alex Puthenveedu as the parish priest in charge of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Ilford. On 1 December 2019, Rev. Fr. Mathew Neriattil was appointed as the chaplain and His Excellency Bishop Patrick, Bishop of the Diocese of Nottingham, appointed him as the assistant parish priest of St. Barnabas Cathedral Church, Nottingham.
The Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro -Malankara Catholic Church appointed Rev. Dr. Kuriakose Thadathil as the special pastor and coordinator, on 19 March 2021 and Archbishop Bernard Longley, Archbishop of the Diocese of Birmingham appointed him as the parish priest in charge of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Great Barr. On 24 September 2021, Rev. Fr. Daniel Plavilayil was appointed as the chaplain and Bishop Alan, Bishop of the Diocese of Brentwood appointed him as the assistant parish priest of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Ilford. Rev. Dr. Louis Charuvila Puthenveedu was appointed as the chaplain on 3 March 2022 and Bishop Mark Davis, Bishop of the Diocese of Shrewsbury appointed him as the assistant parish priest of St. Anns Roman Catholic Church, Cheadle Hulme. Rev. Fr. James Elanjikkal was appointed as the chaplain on 5 April 2022 and Bishop Patrick, Bishop of the Diocese of Nottingham, appointed him as the assistant parish priest of St. Barnabas Cathedral Church, Nottingham.
Priests and Mission Centres Currently, Rev. Fr. Thomas Madukamoottil, Special Pastor and Coordinator (Diocese of Brentwood) Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Madathirampil, Chaplain (Diocese of Shrewsbury), Rev. Fr. John Alex Puthenveedu, Chaplain (Diocese of Nottingham) and Rev. Fr. Johnson Mathew Manayil, Chaplain (Archdiocese of Glasgow) are serving as resident Chaplains in London, Manchester, Nottingham and Scotland respectively. Until now fourteen Mission centres have been formed in UK. The Mission centres are located in following places: East London, Croydon, West London, Luton, Ashford, Southampton, Bristol, Gloucester, Coventry, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham and Glasgow.
Priests and Mission Centres
Currently, Rev. Dr. Kuriakose Thadathil , Special Pastor and Coordinator (Archdiocese of Birmingham) Rev. Fr. James Elanjikkal, Chaplain (Diocese of Nottingham), Rev. Dr. Louis Charuvila Puthenveedu, Chaplain (Diocese of Shrewsbury), Rev. Fr. Johnson Mathew Manayil, Chaplain (Archdiocese of Glasgow), Rev. Fr. John Alex Puthenveedu, Chaplain (Diocese of Brentwood) and Rev. Fr. Daniel Plavilayil, Chaplain (Diocese of Brentwood) are serving as resident Chaplains in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Scotland and London respectively. So far nineteen Mission centres have been formed in the UK. The Mission centres are located in the following places: Aberdeen, Ashford, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Croydon, East London, Glasgow, Gloucester, Ipswich, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Northampton, Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton and West London.
The annual convention, which is an opportunity for the Syro - Malankara Catholic families to convene together, has been a significant boost for the growth and coordination of the Church in the region. At these conventions, pastoral visits by His Beatitude Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos and other bishops have encouraged the faithful to strengthen their relationship with the Church. To date, seven conventions have been convened at seven different places in England.
1. Coventry- 2011
3. London- 2013
7. Wolverhampton- Birmingham 2019
The pastoral visits by Archbishop Thomas Mar Koorilos, Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas, Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius, Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios, Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, Bishop Abraham Mar Julios, Bishop Vincent Mar Paulos and Bishop Yoohanon Mar Theodosius have boosted up the paternal love and care of the Synod to the Malankarites in the UK.
St. Anne's Church- Mar Ivanios Centre, Dagenham- London
Syro - Malankara Catholic Church has its own Church in London for the liturgical services and provided by the diocese of Brentwood by the lease base. We are much indebted and grateful to His Excellency Bishop Alan Williams and to the diocese of Brentwood for benevolently apportioning St. Anne?s Church for the sole use of the Syro - Malankara Catholic Church, UK.
His Excellency Bishop Yoohanon Mar Theodosius, Apostolic Visitator
On 5 August 2017, The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Rt. Rev. Msgr. Dr. John Kochuthundil as Apostolic Visitator for Syro-Malankara Catholic faithful resident in Europe and in Oceania, bishop of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church and titular bishop of Tuburbo Maggiore. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Dr. John Kochuthundil is ordained as Bishop Yoohanon Mar Theodosius on 21 September 2017. His Excellency made his first Pastoral Visit to UK and Ireland from March 27 to April 8, 2018.