The Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Christians in India always remained in Catholic Communion until the 16th century. But, under the influence of ‘padroado’ agreement, the Indian Church of St. Thomas came into direct contact with the Latin Catholic Church through the Portuguese missionaries. The missionaries, who were mostly ignorant of the Oriental Catholic traditions wished to latinize the St. Thomas Christians of India in a clandestine manner and that ended up in the revolt of Koonan Kurisu Sathyam (Coonan Cross Oath) in 1653. Consequently, the Church of St. Thomas split into two parties, namely, the Pazhayakoottukar and the Puthenkoottukar. The puthenkoottukar made several attempts to reestablish the communion with Rome. Since they failed in their effort, they established communion with the Jacobite Syrian Church of Antioch. Even after establishing communion with the Jacobite Church of Antioch, the prelates of puthenkoottukar continued their efforts to reunite with Rome.
The Holy Episcopal Synod of the Jacobite Church held at Parumala, near Tiruvalla, Kerala on 1 November 1926 authorized Mar Ivanios, the Metropolitan of Bethany to negotiate with Rome for communion with the Catholic Church. Mar Ivanios, following earnestly the mandate of Holy Synod, made prolonged negotiations with Rome. Finally on 4 July 1930, Rome took the decisive decision to accept the request of the Puthenkoottukar. Thereafter, on 20 September 1930, Mar Ivanios and four others, made the profession of faith, before Most Rev. Maria Aloysius Benzigar O.C.D., the Bishop of Quilon. As the Reunion Movement gained momentum, Pope Pius XI of happy memory, through the Apostolic constitution “Christo pastorum principi” of 11 June 1932, established the Syro-Malankara Hierarchy for the reunited community and erected the Archieparchy of Trivandrum with the Eparchy of Thiruvalla as its suffragan. The metropolitan Archieparchy of Trivandrum was inaugurated on 11 May 1933, and Mar Ivanios was enthroned its first Metropolitan Archbishop.
After these epoch-making events under the providence of God, the Archieparchy of Trivandrum engaged in her double mission of Reunion and evangelization. As a result of the committed and dedicated work of the priests, religious and laity made the Archieparchy grow up in ecclesial and social life. Recognizing the linguistic, social and cultural heritages of the southern region, on 16 December 1996, the Eparchy Marthandom was erected, bifurcating the Archieparchy of Trivandrum.
Since the Malankara Catholic Church made great strides in its ecclesial and social development, Pope John Paul II of happy memory elevated the Malankara Catholic Church to the juridical status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church on 10 February 2005, through the Apostolic Bull Ab ipso sancto Thoma, with all rights and obligations as per the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. And this event is the zenith of several attempts of reunion with Rome after Koonan Kurisu Sathyam and that too, a turning point in the history of Malankara Catholic Church.
Thereafter, considering the pastoral need and the long cherished wish of the people of God in the Major Archieparchy to have new eparchies erected, the Fourth Ordinary Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church held from 31 October to 3 November 2006 decided to erect the Eparchy of Mavelikara. Taking into account the significance of Mavelikara in the history of St. Thomas Christians of Puthenkoottukar, the town Mavelikara was chosen as the Episcopal See. The famous Holy Synod of Mavelikara and Mavelikara Padiyola (document) are the evidence of its historical importance of Mavelikara. It is the birth place of Archbishop Mar Ivanios, the founder of the Reunion Movement. It comprises of the geographical region of South of River Pampa and North-Western region of Trivandrum Major Archieparchy.
Mavelikara, the sixth Eparchy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and the first Eparchy constituted by the Major Archbishop, through the Decree of Moran Mor Cyril Baselios Catholicos ( Prot.No.1/2007 dated 1 January 2007) was inaugurated on 16 February 2007. He appointed Most Rev. Joshua Mar Ignathios as the first Metropolitan of the new Eparchy through the Decree Prot.No.2/2007 dated 1 January 2007. The enthronement of His Excellency Most Rev. Joshua Mar Ignathios took place on 16 February 2007 at Punnamoodu.
The Eparchy of Mavelikara consists of the Presbyteral Districts of Mavelikara, Kollam, some parts of Chengannur and Adoor of Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum and its boundaries are the boundary of the civil districts of Alapzha south of River Pampa and the boundaries of the parishes of the presbyteral district of Kollam in the civil district of Kollam and the boundaries of the parishes on the western part of the Main Central Road in the civil district of Pathanamthitta. At the time of bifurcation, there were 94 parishes in the new Eparchy.