THE SYRO-MALANKARA CATHOLIC CHRUCH: HISTORICAL OVERVIEW Minimize
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on 26th, 27th and 28th Dec 1980. His Eminence Wladyslaw Cardinal Rubin, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches was the Papal Delegate for the Jubilee. Other eminent participants included His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of Alexandria and Jerusalem, His Grace Most Rev. Luciano Storero, the then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. His Excellency Lawrence Mar Ephrem was consecrated Bishop as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum by Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios on 27th Dec 1980.

A significant development of this period is the organization of the Syro Malankara Catholic Faithful in India, outside the canonical territorial boundaries of the Church. From being organized as Malankara Catholic Associations, the communities of our faithful living in the Metropolitan cities of India came to be erected as personal parish communities.

It was the long cherished dream of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church to have a Major Seminary of its own for the formation of its clergy. St. Mary's Malankara Major Seminary was inaugurated at Pattom on 29th June 1983 with Philosophy course and afterwards it was shifted to the new building at Nalanchira, Trivandrum, which was blessed on 25th May 1989.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was fortunate to welcome His Holiness Pope John Paul II on 8th Feb 1986 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum. His Holiness was accorded a cordial reception by the Church by the entire Malankara Catholic Church Hierarchy, representatives of clergy, religious and laity. At 3:30 pm the Supreme Pontiff was garlanded at the entrance of the Cathedral by His Grace Benedict Mar Gregorios, the Metropolitan Archbishop and was received to the Cathedral with liturgical reception by the Bishops of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. His Holiness prayed at the Sanctuary. After the welcome speech of His Grace Mar Gregorios, the Holy Father gave his speech. Later His Holiness addressed the whole Catholic community from Trivandrum and the neighboring districts at Shankumukham beach. In his memorable speech at Shankumukham, the Holy Father praised the heroic leadership of Mar Ivanios of revered memory and the ecclesial significance of the Syro-Malankara Reunion Movement (L'Osservatore Romano, 17th Feb 1986).

Following the visit of Pope John Paul II, His Eminence Cardinal Lourdusamy, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, visited the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 18th and 19th August 1987.

Most Rev. Isaac Mar Yoohanon entered into eternal rest on 28th April 1987. Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Timotheos was ordained a Bishop by Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios on 6th Aug 1988 and succeeded Mar Yoohanon in the Eparchy of Tiruvalla.

The Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, a missionary congregation started in the Archdiocese of Trivandrum, was raised to the Pontifical status on 15th Oct 1988. His Grace the Metropolitan-Archbishop Mar Gregorios was called to eternal rest on 10th October 1994 after an eventful service for 41 years and was entombed on 12th Oct at the side of his great predecessor at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom. It is to be specially mentioned that His Grace Mar Gregorios participated in all sessions of the 2nd Vatican Council and the subsequent Synod of Bishops in Rome. He served as President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India in 1988-1989.

Major Archbishop - Catholicos Moran Mor Cyril Baselios (1995-2007)

During the vacancy of the Metropolitan See, His Excellency Cyril Mar Baselios, the Bishop of Bathery by virtue of CCEO c. 173/1 took up the administration of the Church. His Holiness Pope John Paul II apointed His Excellency Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios, as the successor of His Grace Benedict Mar Gregorios in November 1994. He was enthroned as Metropolitan-Archbishop of Trivandrum and as the Head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 14th Dec 1995. His Grace visited His Holiness Pope John Paul II and received the sacred pallium on 9th Jan 1996 at Vatican.

His Excellency Geevarghese Mar Divannasios was consecrated and installed Bishop of Bathery by Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios on 5th Feb 1996 at St. Thomas Cathedral, Bathery.

His Eminence Achille Cardinal Silvestrini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, visited the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 11th, 12th and 13th Feb 1996.

On the request of His Grace Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios, by the Apostolic Bulletin dated 16th Dec 1996, His Holiness Pope John Paul II erected the Eparchy of Marthandom bifurcating the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum. Most Rev. Lawrence Mar Ephraem, the Protosyncellus of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum, was appointed as its first Bishop. His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios, the Metropolitan Archibishop officiated the inauguration of the new Eparchy and the installation of His Excellency Lawrence Mar Ephream at Christuraja Church, Marthandom on 23rd Jan 1997. The territorial boundary of the Eparchy of Marthandom extends to Kanyakumari in the South, Kalikavilai in the west, Kavalikinar in the north and Kumarapuram in the east. After a few months. His Excellency Lawrence Mar Ephraem was called to eternal rest, on 8th Apr 1997 and was buried t Christuraja Cathedral, Marthandam.

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