Through the pages of history
The Eparchy of Pathanamthitta is the seventh Eparchy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church after the event of re-union 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 Marthandom, as the first Bishop of Pathanamathitta. The inauguration of the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta and the Installation of His Excellency Most Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom as the 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 four ecclesiastical districts-Pathanamthitta, Konni, Ranni-Perunadu, Pandalam and Seethathode Sub district.
This Eparchy has 106 priests, out of whom 100 are Eparchial and 6 religious. It has on it rolls 100 parishes, all within the territories of the civil district, Pathanamthitta. They belong to the 5 ecclesiastical districts – Ranni-Perunad, Konni, Pathanamthitta, Pandalam and Seethathode Sub district . 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 Diocese.
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 neighbourhood 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.