CHRISTIAN FAITH IN KERALA DOWN THE CENTURIES –
A TIME LINE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF VERAPOLY

In the First Century

      • 52 A.D – Tradition states that it was Apostle St.Thomas, who brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to India, landing at Malliankara, Cranganore (Kodungalloor)
      • 345 A.D – Seventy two Christian families migrate from Edessa in Syria to Kodungalloor under the leadership of Knanayi Thomman, the trader.
      • 345 A.D – Cosmas the Byzentine travellor records the existence of Christian colonies here and there in Malabar.
      • 841 A.D – Sulaiman the Mohammedan trader who visited India  states that a ten days journey was required to reach Bathuma, meaning ‘house of Thoma’, which is the tomb considered to be that of St.Thomas in Mylapore.
      • 883 A.D – King Alfred of England sends gifts and offerings to India for saints Thomas and Bartholomew, both considered as Apostles of India.
      • 1291- John of Monte Corvino, a Fransican missionary, on his way to China, reached Quilon and stayed  there for 13 months, bringing many people to Christian faith.
      • 1321- Jordanus Kathalani, a Dominican missionary who authored “Mirabilia Descripta” visits Thane near Mumbai.
      • 1329 August 9- Pope John 22nd recognizing the existence of a large Christian community, establishes the first Roman/Latin diocese in India,  with  Quilon as headquarters, under the Archdiocese of Sultania of Perssia , appointing Jordan Katalani as the first Bishop. The pastoral care of newly formed Latin catholic communities in Mylapore, Kozhikode, Kannur, Manglore and beyond up to Thane was his responsibility.
      • 1336 -Jordan Kathalani martyred at Thane while on a pastoral visit.
      • 1347- Papal Nuncio John Marignoli,a Francican visits Quilon  and vigorously engages in  missionary work  for 16 months.

Portughese Era

      • 1498 May 20 -Vasco Da Gama arrives at Kozhikode.
      • 1500 November 26- Under  the captaincy of Alvarez Cabral a fleet of 13 Ships arrives at Kochi. There were 18 priests with him. His pleasing ways won the heart of the King and he obtained  permission to engage in missionary work  in and around Kochi .
      • 1502 November 7- A delegation of early Christians of the land (Syrian Christians) meets Vasco Da Gama at Kochi seeking protection”in the name of the precious blood of our Lord”, from atrocities committed by Muslims. The Christian delegation handed over to Gama the ” scepter” of their last king.
      • 1503 September 3 – Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque reaches Kochi with a great armada and rescues King Godavarma who had taken shelter in the Vypin temple, which was surrounded by the invading  army of the Zamorin (Samuthiri) of Kozhikode. The Portuguese could defeat the Zamorin, though at a great cost, and liberate the Kochi King. As a token of gratitude Godavarma permitted the Portuguese to build a fort in Kochi with a church in its center.
      • 1524- Vallarpadam church, now a National Shrine and Basilica established.
      • 1541- St.Vincent Seminary erected at Kodungallur by Vincent Lagos, a Franciscan missionary.
      • 1542 – St. Francis Xavier arrives in Kerala.
      • 1557 – As per the Bull of Pope Paul IV “Pro Excellenti Prae Emenentia”, Archdiocese of Goa is divided and the Diocese of Cochin established, bringing the Coastal area of Kerala and Bengal  under it.
      • 1565- For administrative convenience and to ensure peace and serenity of the Church, Holy Father establishes the Diocese of Angamali appointing Mar Abraham as Metropolitan.
      • 1577- Vypikotta Seminary is erected by the Jesuits at Chendamangalam. In fact they were re locating it from Palliport where Vypikotta is.
      • 1597 – Pope commissions Dr. Alexis Menezes, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Goa to study the reality of the chaotic issues of Malabar and to find solutions.
      • 1599 June 20-26 – The Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor Synod), convened and chaired by Archbishop Alexis Menezes.  Superstitious beliefs and unchristian practices like untouchability emanating from Hinduism were prohibited and Nestorian errors were totally eradicated.  A total of 813 delegates consisting of 113 Priests and 660 lay parish representatives participated in the Synod. It was the progressive canons enacted in the Udayamperoor Synod that paved the way for positive social change in Kerala.
      • 1599 December 20 – Francis Ross S.J,  Rector of the Vyppikotta Seminary and a Syrian Language Scholar, is appointed as  Pastor of the early Christians, popularly called as  St.Thomas Christians, and made Angamaly a Suffragan Diocese of Goa.
      • 1600- Archbishop Ross shifted his residence from Angamali to Kodungallur which was a Portuguese stronghold.
      • 1602- A seminary at Ambazhakadu was established by Jesuits .
      • 1622 January 22- Pope Gregory  XV establishes the Propaganda Fidei, now known as the Congregation for the evangelization of peoples.
      • 1653 January 3-Coonan Kurishu Shabadham ( The oath at the bent cross). Conflicts between the JesuitPrelates of Kodungallur/Angamali, appointed by Rome and the Archdeacons from the Synod of Diamper for over 54 years, culminated in this sad event that split the Church. A large number of St.Thomas Christians assembled at Mattancherry under the leadership of the Archdeacon.A lengthy rope was tied to the ancient cross there. Holding to it the Archdeacon and his people took an oath that thereafter they will not obey or subject to Jesuits. Some say it was against just the Jesuits. Some others say it was against the Portuguese. But in effect it was an open revolt against Rome.
      • 1653 May 22- At Alangad, 12 revolting priests laid their hands on the head of Archdeacon Thomas “consecrating” him as their Bishop.

Malabar Vicariath – The Mission of Reconciliation of the Holy Father

 

      • On 22nd February 1657 – Fr. Joseph Sebastiani and his Companions, the Carmelite Missionaries arrived at Malabar by land as a part of reconciliation mission by the Holy Father.
      • On 7th January 1658, Fr. Sebastianileft for Rome to present a report about the Kerala church before the Holy See.
      • On 10th March 1658, the second team of Carmelites appointed by the Pope under the leadership of Fr.Hyacinth, reached Kochi by sea and started their Reconciliation Mission.
      • 1659 December 3rd – Based on the Report Submitted to the Holy See, the Pope established the Malabar Vicariath in 1659 December 3rd and appointed Fr.Sebastianias the first Vicar Apostolic. Fr.Sebastiani was also appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of Kodungallur Archdiocese which was under the Jurisdiction of Padroado on December 3rd 1659 ( Injunctis Nobis Divinities-Pope Alexander VII)
      • 1661 May 14th – Eighty four Churches Joined the Roman Catholic Church afteSebastiani reached Kodungallur Archdiocese on May 14th 1661. Only 32 Churches were there on the side of Archdeacon. Thus through the establishment of Malabar vicariate, a new beginning took place in the Kerala Church.Dutch Invaders attacked Kochi on January 17th 1663. According to the Order given by the Dutch, all European priests and missionaries were compelled to quit Malabar and Fr.Sebastiani was also forced to leave the country.
      • On the 31st January 1663 – His Excellency Joseph Sebastiani Consecrated Parambil Chandy Kathanar,an indigenous priest by the name Alexander De campo as his successor.
      • In 1673, Fr.Matheus, a great Botanical Scientist and a Carmelite Priest  who won favour with Dutch Governor, remained in Kerala and obtained permission to build Churches in Chathiath and Verapuzha.
      • In 1676, as a Successor of Bishop Alexander De Campo, Bishop Raphael de Figuredo Salgado was appointed.
      • In 1678 “Hortus Malabaricus” (12 Volumes) was published by Fr.Matheus. Carmelite missionaries were given the Permission to do the work of evangelization in Malabar under the Jurisdiction of Dutch due to the intervention of Fr.Peter Paul, the Italian Carmelite Provincial and later made the Great Mughal Vicar Apostolic (1969) in the year 1678. Fr.Peter Paul built the seminary at Verapoly in 1682.
      • In 1700, Bishop Angelo Francis OCD was appointed as the Vicar Apostolic and the Headquarters of Vicariath was shifted to Verapuzha.

Varapuzha Vicariath

 

      • On 13th March 1709, Pope Clement 11th renamed Malabar Vicariath as Varapuzha Vicariath and the Provinces of Kodungallur Archdiocese was brought under the Jurisdiction of Varapuzha Vicariath.
      • On 17th October 1712, Bishop Angelo Francis, the Author of the First Malayalam Grammar Book, left for his heavenly reward. Bishop John Baptist Multedo OCD who was made the Vicar Apostolic on 14th April 1714 passed away on 6th April 1750.
      • On April 22nd 1751 Bishop Florence OCD was consecrated as Bishop. Travancore Maharaja Ramavarma or Dharma Raja on his way back  to his palace after winning a war in 1761, visited the Varapuzha Church. Bishop Florentiusrebuilt/re-established the seminary at Varapuzha by expanding the catecumenate in 1764.
      • ‘Samkshepa Vedartham’, the first Malayalam Book was published in 1772 by Fr.Clement Pianius.
      • Bishop Florentius died on July 26th 1773.
      • From 1774 along with Latins, Syrians also started to do their Religious Studies in the seminary at Varapuzha.
      • Though Bishop Francis de Sales took Charge as Vicar Apostolic in 1775 at the order of Propaganda he resigned his post in 1779.
      • In 1784, March 30th Bishop Aloysius Mary OCD was appointed as Apostolic Vicar.
      • In 1782, Fr.Joseph Kariyatil received the Latin rite at Lisbon and was consecrated as metropolitan Archbishop of Kodungallur. But he died on his way back to India.
      • In 1789 November, Tippu Sultan entered the boundary of Malabar and established his Domain in Thrissur and from there he travelled to Paravur, Kuriappilly, Chendamangalam and via Alangad he arrived the place beyond Verapoly and made many to embrace Islam.
      • In 1794 Paulinus Pathiri, the Vicar General of Verapoly and a historian, published his book “India Oriantalis Christiana”.
      • In 1795, British attacked Kochi and defeated Tippu.
      • On 2nd April 1802 Bishop Aloysius Mary died at Varapuzha.
      • In 1802 Bishop Raymond of St.Joseph OCD, is made  the Vicar Apostolic and was Consecrated as Bishop in 1808 and in 1816 July he left for his Eternal Home.
      • In 1819, Bishop Miles Prendergast OCD was made the Vicar Apostolic and in 1821 he established the St.Francis Assisi Church at Ernakulam.
      • In 1827 Bishop Prendergast relinquished his office.
      • In 1828 Bishop Moureleus Stabilini took  charge.
      • In 1829, When Syrian Priests, Thomas Palakal, Thomas Perukara and the Latin Priest and ChancellorPschal Beylon put forward their suggestion to start a new religious formation and the Bishop gave full support. Later this congregation was known as Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI).
      • In 1831 Bishop Mourelius Sthabilini relinquished his office.
      • In 1831, Archbishop Francis Xavier Pescetto OCD took charge.
      • In 1837, St.Philominas Church at koonammavu was established.
      • In 1838 April 24th, Pope Gregory XVI, the historically renownedPapal Brief “Multa preclaere was issued and Kochi and Kodungallur Dioceses were made ceased to exist .From the  south Kanyakumari to the north South Canara was brought under one jurisdiction tomerge /amalgamate into Varapuzha Vicariath.
      • In 1840, Bishop Francis Xavier was raised to the Status of (Major) Metropolitan Archbishop. He died in 1844 December 7th.
      • In 1844, Archbishop Ludovico Martini OCD was appointed as the successor.
      • In 1845 Varapuzha Vicariath was divided into three dioceses : VarapuzhaMangalore and Quilon.
      • In 1859, the Vicariath administrator  and the Great Missionary Bernardino Baccinelliwas made the Metropolitan of Varapuzha  Vicariath who was earlier the Administrator  of the Archdiocese since 1853.
      • In 1855, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate(CMI) was canonically erected/established
      • In 1855, December 8th Fr. Chavara Kuriakose pronounced  hisevangelical vows before the presence of Archbishop Bernardino Baccinelli as  a new member of CMI.
      • Though the OCD Latin Congregation which was started in 1857, Koonammavu, this  monastery was given to Syrian Priests in 1857 itself.
      • In 1859, Archbishop Bernardino Baccinelli was made the Vicar Apostolic.
      • Rokose Schism  in 1861   —- Babylon Patriarch Joseph Oudo IV in 1860 september 18th, without the permission of the Pope consecrated and sent Bishop Rokoss to Malabar. He claimed to have the supremacy over St.Thomas Christians. Under this Circumstance, Fr.Chavara Kuriakose was appointed as the Vicar General and entrusted him with the full responsibility of the Syrian Christian of Kerala.
      • In 1866, Archbishop Bernardino Baccinelli erected a seminary at Puthenpally. Beside he issued an order to Start school attached to all the churches (Pallikoru Pallikkoodam) for children from all religions irrespective of caste , creed , or nationality.
      • In 1866 February 13th, the first Indigenous Congregation for women TOCD (Third Order Discalced Carmelites) established by Mother Eliswa at Koonammavu.
      • In 1866 Archbishop Bernardino Baccinelli Introduced 40 hours Adoration at Koonammavu  Church for the first time in Kerala.
      • The foundation stone for Manjummel Monastery was laid in 1866.
      • In 1868 July 20th, Mother Eliswa Started School and Boarding house attached Koonammavu  convent.
      • In 1868, Archbishop Bernardino Baccinelli went to his eternal home.
      • In 1868 November 15th Archbishop Leonardo Mellano was consecrated.
      • In 1869 the first printing press  – Immaculate press was started.
      • In 1869, Archbishop Leonard Mellano went to take part in the First Vatican Council in Rome.
      • In 1872 November 7th, in his pastoral letter explained about the way in which the school should be restructured/ reorganised.
      • In 1874 Mellus Schism broke out/set out.
      • In 1876 Oct 12th, the oldest Malayalam News daily, the most circulated newspaper “SathyaNada kahalam” was started under the initiative of Fr.Louis Vyppissery OCD of Manjummel Monastery.
      • In 1876 September 26th the foundation stone was laid for Manjummel Church.
      • In 1880 April 28th, Archbishop Leonardo Mellano established St.Joseph’s college at Kochi.
      • In 1886 June 23rd, Diocese of Kochi was Reinstated under the Diocese of Goa.

Varapuzha Archdiocese

      • On September 1st 1886, Pope Leo XIII issued a Papal Brief “ Humane Salutis Oukthor” in which he declared  the status of the vicariaths would be raised to archdiocese i.e. Agra, Bombay, VArapuzha, Kolkotta, Madras, Pondicherry and Columbo and other Vicariaths in the Indian sub continent would be given the status of dioceses.
      • In 1887, May 20th “as per the Bull issued namely “Quad Yam, Predem” the Syrian Christians from the archdiocese were separated and shifted to Thrissur and Kottayam Vicariaths.
      • On October 15th 1887, Bishop Medlikot was appointed as the Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam. Dioceses of Quilon, Kottayam and Thrissur Vicariath continued under the Archdiocese of Verapoly  at the administrative level.
      • In 1887, Carmelite sisters of St. Teresa founded by Sr. Teresa of St. Rose of Lima came into existence at the request of Dr. Leonard Mellano, the Archbishop of Verapoly.
      • In 1888 September 23rd Vallarpadam Church was conferred the honour of  the status of “Altar Privilegiatum in Perpetuum Concessum”.
      • In 1889, May 9th St.Teresa’s school was started in  Ernakulam.
      • In 1889 April 23-24, The first Synod of the Archdiocese was convened by Archbishop Dr.Leonard Mellano
      • In 1891, St. Philomina’s English school was started at Koonammavu.
      • In 1891, the head quarters of Kottayam Vicariath was shifted to Changanassery
      • In 1892 St.Alberts’ School was started in Ernakulam.
      • In 1893, the silver jubilee of the Episcopal ordination of Dr. Leonard Mellano was celebrated.
      • The Manjummel church was blessed in 1893.
      • In 1893 April 19th, Archbishop Leonard Mellano convened the second synod, the provincial synod: in 1894, April 1, 8, 15 and in 1896 December 15-16, the third Archdiocesian synod also was convened by Dr. Leonard Mellano.
      • In 1896 Pope Leo XIII issued an order by reorganizing the vicariaths of Kottayam and Thrissur. Thus Thrissur, Changanasserry and Ernakulam came into existence.
      • On August 19, 1897 -Archbishop Leonard Mellano left for his heavenly reward
      • In 1897, Archbishop Bernard Argiunzonis OCD took charge of the Archdiocese
      • The head quarters of Varapuzha Archdiocese is shifted to Ernakulam in 1904.
      • Kottayam Vicariath was established for the people of ‘Thekumbhagom’ on August  29th 1911
      • In 1919 February 6th Archbishop Bernard resigns his office
      • In 1919 Archbishop Angel Mary Parez OCD is consecrated.
      • In 1922, December 8th, The request for the appointment of indigenous Bishop for the archdiocese of  Verapoly  was submitted by the priests and lay leaders to the Holy Father
      • In 1923, December 22nd pope Pious XI formed the province of Syro-Malabar and re-established the syro-Malabar hierarchy. He also declared the status of Ernakulam as the archdiocese with Thrissur, Kottayam, and Changanassery as the suffragan dioceses by separating these dioceses from the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Verapoly.
      • In 1925, June 15th St.Teresa’s college, the first women’s aided college in Kerala was started.
      • In 1929 April 20, Msgr. George Kurz Arakkal , the first indigenous vicar general of India was appointed as the administrator of the Archdiocese when Archbishop Angel Mary left for Rome.
      • In 1930, Varapuzha Archdiocese was bifurcated and the new diocese of  Vijayapuram came into existence.
      • In 1930, September 20th, Mar Ivonios and Mar Theophilos made an oath before Dr.Aloysius Benziger, the bishop of Quilon was joined the Catholic Church. This was later known as the Malankara Church
      • In 1932, June 28,29, St. Maxmillian Colbe visited the Varapoly Archbishop’s house.
      • In 1933 June 11th Dr. Joseph Attipetty was Consecrated as Archbishop by Pope Pius XI and took charge of his office on December 21st1934.
      • In 1937 Diocese of Quilon was divided and the diocese of Trivandrum was formed
      • Alberts’ college was established in 1946 July 17
      • In 1950 March 28th Archbishop Attipetty initiated the programme of visiting each house in the Archdiocese by him.
      • In 1950 July 18, diocese of Kochi was separated from the jurisdiction of Padroado and brought under the Archdiocese of Verapoly
      • In 1952, the diocese of Kochi was divided into Kochi and Alappuzha Dioceses.
      • In 1957 October 2nd the News daily Kerala Times was inaugurated.
      • In 1960, the diocese of Calicut was separated from Bombay and brought under the province of Verapoly
      • In 1962, Little Flower Engineering Institute of Kalamasserry was started
      • In 1965, St. Paul’s college started
      • In 1966 the blessing of St. Xavier’s college at Aluva  by CTC sisters
      • The reformulation of Catholic Association of Verapoly archdiocese was made on 27th November 1967.
      • In 1968, Catholic Women’s Forum came into existence.
      • In 1970 January 21st, archbishop Attipetty passed away.
      • In 1971 April 4th Dr. Joseph Kelanthara as the metropolitan Archbishop of Verapoly and Msgr. Cornelius Elenjikkal as the bishop of Vijayapuram were Consecrated.
      • In 1972, Kerala Latin catholic Association was started.
      • In 1979, March 11th Msgr.Antony Thannikot was consecrated as the Auxiliary Bishop of Verapuzha.
      • In 1984 February 24, Bishop Antony Thannikot left for his eternal reward.
      • In 1986, the Centenary Celebrations of the Archdiocese and the Papal Visit by Pope John Paul II.
      • On February 7th 1986, St.JohnPaul II stayed one night in our Archbishops House.
      • In 1986 October 19th, Dr.Joseph Kelanthara passed away.
      • On March 19th 1987, Bishop Cornelius Elenjikal was consecrated as the Archbishop of Verapoly.
      • Establishment of Kottappuram Diocese in 1987
      • In 1987 October 4th Msgr.Francis Kallarakal was consecrated as the Bishop of Kottapuram.
      • In 1990 May 1st, the Inauguration of the Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese-ASHRIBHAVAN as a Memorial Structure of the Archdiocese Centenary Celebrations.
      • The Kerala Latin History Association was formed in 1993.
      • In 1996 November 3rd, Dr.Daniel Acharuparambil OCD was consecrated as the Archbishop of Verapoly.
      • In 1997, the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) was formed.
      • In 2000 August 8th, Christhu Jayanthi Hospital at Perumpilly was established.
      • In 2000 August 8th, Fr.Zacharias OCD and Aurelian OCD were declared the Servant of God.
      • On November 10, 11&12 in 2000, All Kerala Eucharistic Congress.
      • On Jan 5th 2001, the inauguration of Christhu Jayanthi hospital at Perumpilly.
      • On April 19th 2002, Msgr Joy Kalathiparambil was declared as the Bishop of Calicut and the Episcopal Ordination was on May 19th, 2002.
      • In 2004, Vallarpadam Church was raised to the status of National Shrine, the Pilgrim Centre, and the Baslica.
      • On March 16, 2005, Navardarshan Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) was started in Vypin.
      • In 2005, Aluva Carmelgiri Pontifical Seminary Golden Jubilee.
      • In 2005, the publication of JEEVANADAM the weekly newspaper by the KRLCC came into existence.
      • On 29th April 2006 Msgr.Francis Assisi Chullikatt was declared as Archbishop of Austra Archdiocese and the ApostolicNuncio of Jordan and Iraq.
      • In 2006 November 25th, Msgr Joseph Karikkassery was declared as Auxiliary Bishop of Verapoly.
      • On 28th December 2006, Msgr Joseph Karikassery was consecrated as the Bishop of Kottappuram.
      • In 2009 October 26th, Dr.Daniel Acharuparambil left this world for his eternal reward with a legacy of establishing Navadarshan, Albertian Institute of Manangement,  Assisi Public School, Sidhi-Sadan Nursing College and Christhu Jayanthi Hospital.
      • On April 11th 2010, Bishop Francis Kallarakal was appointed as the Archbishop of Verapoly.
      • On August 7th 2011, Archbishop Cornelius passed away.
      • On August 31st 2011, Archbishop Francis kallarakal blessed the first Engineering College, the Albertian Institute of Science and Technology (AISAT) in Kalamasserry.
      • On 3rd December 2011, the Quasquicentennial celebrations of the establishment of the Archdiocese was inaugurated.
      • On October 29th 2012, Most Rev Dr.Francis Kallarakal declared the 4th Synod of the Archdiocese at the final day of the quasquicentennial celebrations.
      • In 2013, September 1st, Fr.George Vakayil was declared as the Servant of God.
      • On 27th January 2014, The Servant of God Fr.Zacharias OCD was raised to the status of ‘Venerable’.
      • On February 1st 2014, Msgr. Alex Vadakumthala was declared a Bishop of Kannur and On March 23rd 2014, he was consecrated.
      • In 2014 October 19th, the St.Philominas church at Koonammavu was declared as the Pilgrim Centre of the Archdiocese.
      • Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Vicar General of Archdiocese was declared as a Saint by Holy Father on November 23rd, 2014.
      • The historic event of this century – The Archdiocesan Synod was celebrated from 8th -12th April 2014.
      • On August 30, 2015 Archbishop Francis Kallarakal gave his Official Signature for the documents of the Synod.
      • On October 30th 2016, Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil was appointed as the Archbishop of Verapoly and Archbishop Francis Kallarakal was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese.
      • On December 18, 2016 Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil took charge as the 6th indigenous Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Verapoly.