Genesis of the Diocese of Trichur
According to the strong and staunch traditional belief of the Christians on the coast of Malabar, St Thomas, the Apostle of Christ landed in Kodungallur (Cranganore), the capital of the Chera Empire in the year 52 A.D. Persians, Greeks and Romans had trade with Kodungallur, which was also known as Muziris or Mahodayapuram, at present situated in the District of Trichur, as an important centre for their trade.
St. Thomas preached the Gospel and converted many to Christian faith and founded small Christian communities in Palayur, Cranganore, Parur, Kokamangalam, Niranam, Quilon and Chayal (Nilackal). According to tradition, the first place of his apostolate was Palayur, the most ancient shrine of the Archeparchy of Trichur. Palayur had a Jewish colony from pre-Christian era onwards until last few centuries. Palayur can, therefore, rightly be called "the Cradle of Christianity in India". According to the Malabar tradition, He was martyred at Chinnamala and was buried in Mylapore near Madras. in 72 AD.
According to the ancient song Ramban pattu the Apostle Thomas ordained and appointed Kepha as the head of the Indian Church at Kodungallur and Paul as Bishop of Mylapore, thus giving shape to the first Indian Christian Hierarchy.
From the 4th century onwards St. Thomas Christians established relationship with the Church of Persia. Bishops who came to India from that Church also had their residence at Kodungallur while they held the title of the "Metropolitan and Gate of all India". The traditional jurisdiction of the Metropolitan head of the Indian Church was "the whole of India". The 'Metropolitan' changed his residence from Kodungallur to Angamaly in the 16th century due to certain political reasons. The territorial jurisdiction was slowly limited. After the death of Mar Abraham in 1577 St. Thomas Christians were subjected to the Latin Bishops from 1599 and continued to be so until 1887. The See of Kodungallur, which has its origin from the time of the Apostle Thomas, was suppressed in the year 1886.
H.H. Pope Leo XIII of illustrious memory, by the epoch- making bull "Quod Jampridem" of May 20, 1887, separated the Syrian Catholics of Malabar from the Jurisdictions of Padroado as well as the Vicariate of Verapoly and erected for them two Apostolic Vicariates of Trichur and Kottayam. The Vicariate of Trichur had within its territory the most ancient Christian centers like, Kodungallur and Palayoor and Angamaly. It can be said that Trichur has the indirect continuation of the See of Kodungallur. Msgr. Adolphus Edwin Medlycott was the first Vicar Apostolic of Trichur.
Nine Years later, by the Brief "Quae Rei Sacrae" of July 28, 1896 the same Holy Father after reorganizing the two Vicariates into three, namely, Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanasserry gave Indians of the Syro-Malabar rite as their Vicars Apostolic. Thus, Mar John Menacherry became the first native Vicar Apostolic of Trichur.
The rapid and remarkable progress that the Syrian Catholics made under the Indian bishops in the course of a few years was highly appreciated by the Apostolic See and as a result, on 21st December 1923 by the bull "Romani Pontifices" of Pope Pius XI, the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was established, raising Ernakulam to the status of a Metropolitan See and Trichur, Changanasserry and Kottayam as its suffragan Eparchies. Mar Francis Vazhappilly was the first Bishop of Trichur.
Mar George Alappat became the Bishop of Trichur in 1944. Pope Pius XII, by the bull "Saepe Fidelis" of April 29, 1955 extended the jurisdiction of the bishop of Trichur to the Civil District of Coimbatore. During the period of Mar Joseph Kundukulam, who is widely known as "the father of the poor", Trichur was divided to form two more eparchies. On June 20, 1974, Pope Paul VI by the bull "Apostolico Requirente" divided the Eparchy of Trichur erecting the Eparchy of Palakkad which consisted of the civil districts of Palakkad and Coimbatore. Again on June 22, 1978, Pope Paul VI separated the entire Taluk of Kodungalloor, greater Part of Mukundapuram and small portions of Paravoor and Aluva to the north of the river Chalakudy from the Eparchy of Trichur and erected the the Eparchy of Irinjalakuda by the Apostolic Bull "Trichuriensis Eparchiae".
Pope John Paul II inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Eparchy of Trichur on 7th February, 1986 at St. Thomas Nagar, Trichur, in the presence of about one million people. On 20th May, 1987 the centenary day was celebrated. The concluding functions on 9th August 1987 were presided over by Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. The eparchial renewal project - Evangelization Decade - was inaugurated on 30th December, 1990.
On January 18,1994, Mother Theresa visited the eparchy. The long awaited expectation of the faithful of the Eparchy of Trichur was fulfilled on 18th May 1995 when the Pope John Paul II raised the Eparchy to the Metropolitan status with the Eparchies of Irinjalakuda and Palakkad as its suffragans.
Mar Joseph Kundukulam was succeeded by Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy who was was appointed on December 18,1996 and installation was held on 15th February 1997.On December 8, 1997 the foundation stone for the Marymatha Major Seminary was blessed by H.G. Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy and laid by H.G.Mar Joseph Kundukulam at Mulayam. In 1998 Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy started the famous "Palayur Maha Theerthadanam".
On 9th April,2000 the Beatification of Bl. Mariam Thresia, founderess of Holy Family Congregation (CHF) was held at st. Peter's Basilica, Rome by H.H. Pope John Paul II. Opening the opportunities for Professional Education, prestigious professional colleges like Jyothi Engineering college, Cheruthuruthy (September 12,2002), Mahajubilee Training College, Mulloorkara,(September 19,2002), Jubilee Mission Medical College (August 24,2003) were started.
On 19th March 2004 Mar Andrews Thazhath was nominated the first Auxiliary Bishop of Trichur. The Biennial General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) was held at Marymatha Major Seminary, Trichur, from 7 to 14 January 2004. 150 Bishops, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Rome [His Beatitude Ignace Cardinal Moussa I Daoud], the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Quintana and many other dignitaries participated. The public reception given to the Bishops on 11-1-2004 at Thope Stadium was the second historic event of Trichur after the Papal visit in 1986.
The Beatification ceremony of Bl. Euphrasia was held at Ollur on 3rd December, 2006 presided over by Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, the Major Archibishop. Causes of the Servants of god Fr. Augustine John Ukken and Fr. Antony Thachuparambil started on 30th November 2007 and on 9th June 2009 respectively.
On January 18, 2010 three priests from the Archeparchy of Trichur were nominated bishops: Mar Bosco Puthur, Mar Raphel Thattil and Mar Paul alapatt. Mar Bosco Puthur was ordained as the first Curia Bishop of the syro-Malabar Church on 13th February 2010. Mar Raphel Thattil was ordained Auxiliary bishop of Trichur on 10th April 2010 by Mar Andrews Thazhath. The episcopal ordination of Mar Paul Alapatt as the first Bishop of the Ramanathapuram in Tamilnadu, a new suffragan of Trichur, erected by bifurcating the eparchy of Palghat, took place on 11th April 2010.
Mar andrews Thazath was elected President of K.C.B.C in December 2010. On 20th May 2011, the 125th anniversary celebration were inaugurated by the Apostolic Nuncio Salvatore Pennacchio. Ceremonial welcome to the first elected Major Archibishop H.B. Mar George Alenchery was accorded on 16th July 2011.
The present Archeparchy of Trichur has the following boundaries:
North : Bharathapuzha in Malappuram district, and Trichur - Palakkad district boundary
West : Arabian Sea
East : Trichur district boundary
South : Southern boundary of Valapad village and Karuvannur, Karanchira, Kurumali, Mupliyam river