The Church in Kerala traces its origin to the preaching of St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Hence, the Christians here are called “St. Thomas Christians.” This Apostolic Church has been in the Catholic Communion. From the early centuries especially in the fourth century it came in contact with the Syro - Chaldean Churches and consequently adopted the Syrian Liturgical traditions in its worship. In the 16th century it came in contact with the Western Church through its Fathers. Owing to the policy of the Portuguese Fathers in Latinising the Liturgy and the indigenous customs of the Apostolic Indian Church, a section of the community broke away from the Portuguese ecclesiastical authorities and eventually got into communion with the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch. Ever since the division in the Church, attempts were made to regain the original Catholic Communion which could be crowned with success only in the first half of this century.
In 1926 the Episcopal Synod held at Parumala, empowered Metropolitan Man Ivanios to enter into negotiations with Rome to effect a reunion with the Catholic Church under the expressed condition that the ancient and venerable traditions of the Malankara Church should be retained and kept intact. The Holy Father Pope Pius XI graciously accepted the conditions and welcomed the reunion.
Accordingly on September 20, 1930, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Bishop Mar Theophilus, Fr John oic., Bro Alexander (Fr Seraphion oic) and Mr. Chacko Kilileth made their profession of Faith and were duly received into the Catholic Communion by His Excellency Rt Rev Dr Maia Benziger, Bishop of Quilon, specially deputed by the Holy See. The following day two Rembans, Rt Rev Joseph Pulikottil and Rt Rev Philipose Cheppad made their profession of Faith and were received into the Catholic Church.
In 1932, His Grace Mar Ivanios made his visit to Rome and His Holiness Pope Pius XI invested him with the Sacred Pallium. By the Apostolic Constitution, “Christo Pastorum Principi” (June 11, 1932) the Holy Father Pope Pius XI established the Syro - Malankara Catholic Hierarchy, comprising the metropolitian Eparchy of Trivandrum and the Eparchy of Tiruvalla.
On March 11, 1933 Archbishop Mar Ivanios dedicated his provisional Cathedral at Palayam to the Mother of God and celebrated the solemn Holy Qurbana in the Cathedral on the following day concelebrated by Bishop mar Theophilos, the Bishop of Tiruvalla, Rt Rev Maria Benzigar, the special depute of the Apostolic Delegate.
Archbishop Mar Ivanios having made the Profession of Faith before the august assembly of the Bishops of the three Rites, priests and laymen and amidst the acclamations of ‘Oxios’ ( a customary hymn for the occasion) was enthroned as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum and the Hierarchical head of the Syro - Malankara Catholic Church. The pioneer of the reunion movement in Kerala.
His Grace the Archbishop Mar Ivanios, passed away on July 15, 1953. A few months before his death, on January 29, 1953 he consecrated Rt Rev Benedict Mar Gregorios as his Auxiliary Bishop and as the Titular Bishop of Anterdos.
Upon the demise of his Grace Mar Ivanios, His Excellency mar Gregorios was made the Apostolic Administrator of the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum. And on January 27, 1955, His Holiness Pope Pius XII appointed him the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum.
Under God’s providence as result of untiring labours of devoted Priests, Religious and lay people, the Re- Union movement struck roots and made rapid strides enriching the Malankara Catholic Church.
The Silver Jubilee of the establishment of the Hierarchy was celebrated on February 11, 1958 at St. Mary’s church, Vakayar. In 1959 the new Archbishop received the sacred Pallium from His Holiness Pope John XXIII. His Grace took part in II Vatican Council which was opened in 1961.
The newly built permanent Cathedral was consecrated by His Grace Benedict Mar Gregorios on the 22nd of February 1965.
His Excellency Most Rev. Paulose Mar Philexinos, the Metropolitan of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, was received into the Catholic Church on August 28, 1977. His was appointed Titular Bishop of Chayal.
His Excellency Rt Rev Lawrence Mar Ephraem, who was nominated Auxiliary to the Archbishop and Titular Bishop of Barkuso on November 6, 1980 was consecrated Bishop on December 27, 1980 at Kottayam during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Reunion movement.
The Golden Jubilee of the Reunion Movement of the Syro - Malankara Catholic Church was celebrated at Kottayam on December 26, 27, and 28, 1980. His Eminence Wladyslaw Cardinal Rubin, the Perfect of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches was the Papal Delegates 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 Excellency Most Rev Luciano Storero, the Apostolic Pro Nuncio to India, and Mother Teresa.
A significant development in the recent past has been the establishment of parishes for members of the Syro - Malankara Catholic Church in different parts of India and in the United States of America.
Pope John Paul II blessed us with his Historic visit to St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum, on February 8, 1986. The Holy Father in his Major speech in
Trivandrum, praised the founder of the reunion movement and expressed his high
appreciation of the work and witness of the Syro - Malankara Church.
After 41 years of devoted service Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios passed away on October 10, 1994. His Excellency Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios, the Bishop of Bathery became the Apostolic Administrator of the Malankara Catholic Church. His Excellency Rt Rev Lawrence Mar Ephraem, Proto-Syncellus, was elected the Administrator of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum on the same day.
His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum on November 29, 1995. The enthronement of His Grace took place on December 14, 1995. As the Metropolitan Archbishop received sacred Pallium from the Holy Father Pope John Paul II on January 9, 1996 in Vatican. His Eminence Achille Cardinal Silvestrini, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches visited the Archdiocese on 12th and 13th of February 1996.
His Eminence Josef Cardinal Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples visited the Archdiocese on 2nd November 1996.
Considering the linguistic, social and cultural heritage of the people of the region of Kanyakumari and the vast area of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum. His Holiness Pope John Paul II, at the request His Grace Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios, by an Apostolic Bull dated December 16, 1996 created the Diocese of Marthandom having its headquarters at Marthandom.
Major Archbishop Cyril Baselios passed away on Jan. 20, 2007.
Catholicos Bava Baselios Cleemis was elected on Feb. 10, 2007 and installed Major Archbishop of Trivandrum on March 03, 2007