After the death of Alexander Parambil who was an Indian and the first Vicar Apostolic of Malabar (1663), the Malabar Catholics of Syrian Rite were brought under the jurisdiction of Padroado, and later brought under the foreign Carmelite Vicars Apostolic of Malabar residing at Varapuzha.
After the establishment of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy in 1887 by the Brief "Quod Jam Pridem" of Pope Leo XIII, Most Rev Mar Aloysius Pazheparambil was appointed first Vicar Apostolic of Ernakulam on August 11, 1896. Mar Aloysius Pazheparambil was succeeded by the late Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Kandathil in 1919. On December 21, 1923 he was nominated Archbishop of Ernakulam when the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was constituted by Pope Pius XI. He was succeeded by his auxiliary Bp Joseph Parecattil in 1956. In the same year the diocese of Kothamangalam was bifurcated from the Archdiocese. He was made a Cardinal in 1969 and was the Archbishop until he retired from office on April 1, 1984. His auxiliary Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary took over the administration of the Archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator. The then Archbishop of Changanacherry, Mar Antony Padiyara was transferred to this Metropolitan See on May 18, 1985 and he assumed charge of the Archdiocese on July 3, 1985. Mar Mankuzhikary continued as Auxiliary until April 28, 1986 when he was nominated Bishop of the new Diocese of Thamarassery and assumed its charge on July 3, 1986. His Eminence Cardinal Parecattil who was leading a retired life was called to eternal reward on February 20, 1987.
Pope John Paul II raised Mar Antony Padiyara to the dignity of a Cardinal on June 28, 1988. On September 6, 1992 Rev. Dr. Jacob Manathodath was nominated Bishop Auxiliary to Cardinal Antony Padiyara. On January 29, 1993, it was made public that His Holiness Pope John Paul II had elevated the Syro-Malabar Church to the rank of Archbishopric Major with the title of Ernakulam - Angamaly and its seat in Ernakulam. And His Eminence Antony Cardinal Padiyara was made the first Archbishop Major. Bishop Jacob Mananthodath was nominated Bishop of Palghat.
Cardinal Antony Padiyara retired from his office on December 18, 1996. Rev. Fr Varkey Vithayathil, cssr, was made Titular Archbishop of Antinoe and the Apostolic Administrator of the Syro-Malabar Church and of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. Abp Vithayathil assumed office on January 18, 1997.
The present Archdiocese of Ernakulam comprises of the taluks of Kunnathunad, Kanayannoor, Vaikom, Shertallay, Mukundapuram spread out in the districts of Ernakulam, Trichur, Kottayam and Alleppey in Kerala State.