(As of June 15, 2019)




Christianity started in India with St. Thomas, the Apostle. In A.D.345, Thomas of Cana, a leading navigator, merchant and intrepid world traveler of Cana in the Middle East lead a bold band of his people consisting of 72 families to Cranganore in the Kerala coast with a view to strengthening the church established by St. Thomas. This group of Christian pilgrims won the respect of the local king and became recipients of several honors and social distinctions. The descendants of this group maintained their separate identity and traditions, although they co-operated in all spiritual activities of the Indian Catholic hierarchy of which they formed an integral part. Knanaya Christians are the descendants of these Jewish Christian immigrants in Kerala. They were also called Southists (Thekkumbhagar) because they lived on the south side of Kodungalloor. It is also stated that Knananites were called Southists because they came from the southern kingdom of Judah. Knanaya Christians are seen not only among the Catholics but also among the Orthodox Christians of Kerala, because when a group of Thomas Christians joined Jacobitism, among them there were Knanaya Christians too. They observe many rituals and traditions, which are very peculiar to their own community. Even today, the Knananites continue to be an endogamous community. In order to keep the purity of their race and ethnicity, they do not marry anyone outside their community. A Knanaya Catholic can marry a Knanaya Jacobite. The Knanaya Catholics were originally disbursed among different Diocese in Kerala State. His Holiness Pope St. Pius X appointed Bishop Mathew Makil as bishop of the Diocese of Changanacherry. The appointment was not well received by the non-Knanaya Catholics of the diocese. Holy See was convinced that the only way to maintain peace among the Knanaya and non-Knanaya members of the diocese was creating a separate diocese for the Knanaya Community. The desire to keep their unique identity and heritage, led to a strong move for a separate Diocese for the Knanaya Catholics. Through the intercession and personal appeal of His Excellency, Bishop Mar Mathew Makil, His Holiness Pope St. Pius X, on August 29, 1911, by a special Decree (In Universi Christiani) instituted a new Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam and appointed Bishop Mar Mathew Makil to the new Diocese by transfer from his former Diocese of Changanacherry. On December 21, 1923 the Vicaraite Apostolic of Kottayam was elevated to an Eparchy by Pope Pius XI. The diocese of Kottayam is a multiritual diocese consisting of Syro Malabar and Malankara rites. The members of the Knanaya Catholic community in North America observe the Syro Malabar, Syro Malankara and Latin rites. Bishop Mar Mathew Makil was succeeded by His Excellencys; Mar Alexander Chulaparambil (July 16, 1914 – January 8, 1951), Mar Thomas Tharayil (January 8, 1951 – May 5, 1974) and Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry (May 5, 1974 – January 14, 2006). During Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry’s tenure, on May 9, 2005 Eparchy of Kottayam was elevated to a Metropolitan See. ….