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Explore the Oldest Dioceses in South Asia

Cardinal Cheong

The cathedral of the first diocese in India.

It is believed that Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle,
who is said to have reached the Malabar Coast of Kerala in 52 AD.

Christian communities developed and expanded further when
Portuguese missionaries arrived in the 13th and 14th centuries.

History of a few oldest dioceses in India as the cradle of Indian Christianity
can be dated back to the 15th century.

Find out which is the first diocese in India here.

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Archdiocese of Trivandrum (S)

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Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal
Cardinal Thottunkal
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Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal
Major Archbishop's House,
Pattom, Trivandrum-695 004, India

Phone: +91 471-2541642, 2541643, 2540446
Fax :+91 471-2541635
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal was born on June 15, 1959 at Mukkoor, in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala as Isaac Thottunkal. After schooling, he attended the Minor Seminary Formation in Tiruvalla from 1976 to 1979. He received a bachelor degree in philosophy from St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye. He received a bachelor degree in Theology from the Papal Seminary, Pune, which he attended from 1983 to 1986. He was ordained priest on June 11, 1986. He studied theology in Dharmaram College, Bangalore, from 1986 to 1989. Cardinal Thottunkal took his doctorate in ecumenical theology from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, in 1997. On his return from Rome, he became the proto syncellus of the eparchy of Bathery.

Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of Trivandrum and apostolic visitor for the faithful residing in North America and Europe on June 18, 2001. He was ordained bishop on Aug. 15. 2001, assuming the name Isaac Mar Cleemis.

The Holy See appointed him as sixth bishop of the eparchy of Thiruvalla on Sept. 11, 2003. He was installed on June 10, 2006.

Mar Cleemis was elected the second major archbishop and catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on Feb. 9, 2007. Baselios Cleemis was enthroned the second major archbishop-catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on March 5, 2007 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom.

Previous Ordinaries:

  • Bishop John Kochuthundil (Curial Bishop: 5 Aug 2017 to 10 Apr 2018)
  • Major Archbishop and Catholicos Cyril Mar Baselios OIC (2005-2007)
  • Major Archbishop and Catholicos Cyril Mar Baselios OIC (2005-2007 )
  • Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios OIC (1995-2005)
  • Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios OIC (1995-2005)
  • Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios (Priest: 22 Dec 1978; Auxiliary Bishop: 25 Jan 2010 to 10 Apr 2018)
  • Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios OIC (1955-1994)
  • Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios OIC (1955-1994)
  • Vacant (1953-1955)
  • Vacant (1953-1955)
  • Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios OIC (1932-1953 )
  • Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios OIC (1932-1953)

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