From 4th century onwards, St. Thomas Christians established relationships with the Church of Persia which gradually developed into a hierarchical one. Bishops who governed the Church of India had their residence at Kodungallur while they held the title of the "Metropolitan and Gate of All India". The 'Metropolitan' changed his residence from Kodungallur to Angamaly in the 16th century due to certain political reasons. From 1599 onwards this Church was ruled by the Latin Bishops and continued to be so until 1896.
The seat of Archdiocese of Kodungallur from 1701 to 1771 was at Puthenchira. Then the ordinaries lived in the presbytery at the Puthenchira Church. The mortal remains of Most Rev. Dr. Rebeiro,sj., Dr. Antony Pimentel, Dr. John Aloysius Vasconels and Dr. Salvado Dos Rays are kept in the floor of the St. Mary's Forane Church at Puthenchira.
H. H. Pope Leo XIII by the papal Bull "Quod Jampridem" of May 20, 1887 separated the Syrian Catholics of Malabar from the jurisdiction of the Padroado as well as the Vicariate of Verapoly and erected for them Apostolic Vicariates of Trichur and Kottayam. In 1896 by the Papal Brief "Quae Rei Sacrae" the Pope reorganized the two Vicariates into three: Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanacherry - with native Indians of the Syro - Malabar Church as their Vicars Apostolic . Mar John Menachery became the first native Vicar Apostolic of Trichur.
H. H. Pope Paul VI bifurcated the Diocese of Trichur and erected the Diocese of Irinjalakuda by the Bull "Trichurensis Eparchiae" on June 22, 1978 and nominated Msgr. James Pazhayattil as the first Bishop. The diocese consists of the Southern part of the former Diocese of Thrissur, that is to say from Karuvannur river on the North, to Chalakudy river on the South. West boundary is the Arabian Sea and East boundary being the districts of Palaghat and some parts of Tamilnadu state.
Brief history of Bishop
Mar James Pazhayattil was born at Puthenchira on July 26, 1934. After the school career at his native village he joined St. Mary's Minor Seminary at Thope, Thrissur in the year 1952. He had his seminary studies in Kandy and Poona. He was ordained priest by His Eminence Valerian Cardinal Gracias on October 3, 1961. Then he secured his master degree in English Literature from St. Thomas College, Thrissur. While he was working as a lecturer in the St. Thomas College and hostel warden in the same college, he was nominated the first Bishop of the new diocese of Irinjalakuda on June 22, 1978. He received his Episcopal Ordination from His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Parekkattil on September 10, 1978 at Irinjalakuda and took charge of the diocese on the same day. He made his first "Ad Limina" visit in 1980, 2nd in 1985, 3rd in 1990 and 4th in 1996. At present he is a substitute member in the permanent synod of the Syro - Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church and member of the commission for Particular Law. From June 7, 1995 to January 18, 1997, he was the assistant to the Major Archbishop.