Dioceses of India
Total: 1

Diocese of Marthandom

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Rite: Syro-Malankara
Region : Tamil Nadu
Patron: St.Paul & St. Theresse of Lissieux
Founded: 16 December 1996
Province: Trivandrum-Malankara
Status: Diocese
Total area: 1,665 sq. kms.
Total Population : 20,669,924
Catholics Total: 65,000
Diocesan Priests: 43
Religious Priests: 05
Religious Sisters: 0
Minor Seminarians: 21
Major Seminarians: 23

Diocese of Marthandom at a Glance

Ecclesiastical Institutions

Parishes & Substations : 82Retreat Centres: 0
Major Seminaries : 0Diocesan Minor Seminaries: 01
Congregation Minor Seminaries: 0Religious Formation Houses : 0
Men Religious Houses: 0Women Religious Houses: 0

Charitable Institutions

Hospitals : 02Dispensaries / Clinics / Health Centres: 420
Orphanages : 04Homes for Aged & Destitute : 02
Schools for Physically Challenged: 0Homes for Physically Challenged : 0
Crèches: 0Boarding Houses : 0
Counselling Centres : 0De-addiction Centre: 0
Social Centres : 0HIV / AIDS Centre: 0

Educational Institutions

Professional Colleges : 0Degree Colleges: 04
Parallel Colleges : 0Vocational / Technical Training Centres : 03
Higher Secondary / Junior Colleges : 04High Schools : 02
Upper Primary Schools: 10Lower Primary Schools:04
Nurseries / Pre-Primary Schools :21Presses & Media Centres : 02


It is firmly believed and traditionally accepted that St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ had come to India in 52 A. D. Out of the seven and a half churches established by St. Thomas, the District of Kanyakumari is having the privilege of having the half church at Thiruvithamcode. Though there was a Christian community in Kanyakumari right from the beginning of the 1st century, it could not grow to a sizeable Christian community.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese Church Workers arrived in the District of Kanyakumari and as the result of their work, the Christian community there began to grow. Later during the British regime in India, the Protestant Church Workers also started their work among the people in the district of Kanyakumari, which was in fact a part of the erstwhile State of Travancore.

On September 30, 1930 when Metropolitan Mar Ivanios together with a group of
four people (a Bishop, a priest, a deacon and a layman) reunited with the Catholic Church, the Malankara Church paved the way for regaining its Catholic communion. On June 11, 1932 by the Apostolic Constitution Christo Pastorum Principe, His Holiness Pope Pius XI established the Syro - Malankara Catholic Hierarchy comprising the Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Diocese of Tiruvalla. Mar Ivanios, the pioneer of the Reunion Movement, extended his mission work to Kanyakumari district with Marthandam as its centre in 1934.

With the dedicated service of the priests and the religious from various dioceses and congregations, many parishes and stations of the Malankara Church could be established in the district of Kanyakumari. After the demise of Mar Ivanios, under the guidance of His Grace Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios of happy memory, the number of parishes and missions increased. Vocation to priesthood and the religious life from this region also increased. At the demise of His Grace Mar Gregorios, His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios assumed the office of the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum.

Considering the linguistic, social and cultural heritage of the people of this region and the vast area of the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum, at the request of His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, by an Apostolic Decree dated December 16, 1996, bifurcated the Metropolitan Eparchy and erected the Eparchy of Marthandam having its headquarters at Marthandam. Thus the fourth Diocese of the Malankara Catholic Church came into existence and His Excellency Most Rev Lawrence Mar Ephraem took charge as its first Bishop.

The installation of His Excellency Most Rev Lawrence Mar Ephraem as the Bishop of Marthandam took place on January 23, 1997 at the Christuraja Cathedral, Marthandam. His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum officiated the liturgical ceremony, and executed the Papal Bull of the erection of the new Eparchy of Marthandam.

After a prolonged illness, His Excellency Bishop Lawrence Mar Ephraem slept in the Lord on April 8, 1997.

On April 16, 1998 His Holiness Pope John Paul ll appointed Most Rev Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom as the second Bishop of the Eparchy of Marthandam. His Excellency was consecrated as Bishop on June 29, 1998 and was installed as the Bishop of Marthandam on July 1, 1998.

Former Bishops

Right Rev. Samuel Mar IreniosBishop1998-2010
Most Rev. Lawrence Ephraem ThottamBishop1996-1997