Kerala Church Wins All-India Jurisdiction Again; Inaugurates Shamshabad Diocese

Published 15 January 2018  |  

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church on Jan. 7 has celebrated its triumph of getting back all-India jurisdiction with Shamshabad diocese, apart from the existing 30 dioceses. By winning back the administrative powers it had lost to the Latin Church in 1886, the church now claims to be the second most powerful in India.

Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, dedicated the diocese to the Vatican and set up Raphael Thattil as its first bishop.

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, the president of the Catholics Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), Archbishop Cyril Vasil, senior Vatican representative and Thumma Bala, Hyderabad Archbishop, along with over 10 archbishops and 40 bishops from across the country, attended the celebration ceremony.

The Diocese of Shamshabad in Hyderabad is the largest in the country regulating across 24 states, including the entire Eastern and Northeastern regions, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and four Union Territories.

The Kerala-based church, which is said to founded by St Thomas the Apostle in 52 AD, is home for over 5 million followers, making it the second largest Christian community in the country and third largest under the Vatican, after the Latin Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Catholic Churches.

The Syro-Malabar Catholics lost their administrative powers to the Latin Church in 1886 after the Portuguese missionaries seized their authority. The Kerala church was left with just two territories –Thrissur and Kottayam.

In 1955, the Vatican expanded the territory of Kerala church to the entire state and a few districts of neighboring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


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