History Of  CSI

Central  Kerala  Diocese







The CSI Madhya Kerala
Chapter 1
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Chapter 3


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The formation of the Church of South India was one of the remarkable events in the History of Christianity. Bishop Jacob was the Presiding Bishop at the great service of Inauguration and Consecration of the new Bishops, which took place in St. George's Cathedral, Madras. Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists and Anglicans, with a section of the Basel Mission, became one of the first union of Episcopal and non - Episcopal Churches. It was Bishop Jacob who delivered the momentous words: "Dearly beloved brethren, in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, who on the night of His Passion prayed that His disciples might be one, and by authority of the governing bodies of the uniting churches. I do hereby declare these churches have become one" 1. Services of inauguration and commissioning were next held at diocesan level. The northern section of the Diocese - Trichur, Cochin, Alwaye and Munnar, became part of the new North Kerala Diocese with Bishop Stuart Smith, formerly an Archdeacon in the Diocese in charge. Consequently the Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin became 'the Central Travancore Diocese of the Church of South India'.  

Bishop Jacob traveled extensively and it has been said that he put Travancore on the map of the world. Owing to his many absences from the Diocese, he appointed the Rev. M. J. Chandy as his permanent Commissary. Bishop was keen on higher training and securing wider experience for his clergy. In spite of a continual clergy shortage, he sent pastors to minister Malayalees in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Bangalore and Singapore. In 1948 the newly  built Mothers' Union House, St. Monicas at Kanakkary was dedicated, together with a Girl's Guild Section. 2  

In September 1949, the Third Jubilee of the C.M.S. was celebrated in Kottayam. At that time the Youth Conference of the Central Travancore Diocese pledged itself to try to show its gratitude to God by committal to the same glorious evangelistic task to which the Society had been committed for the last 150 years.

Kerala Back-waters

East Kerala- Hill area


A Women’s' Missionary Auxiliary (W.M.A) was formed in the Diocese in 1950 with the aim of stimulating missionary interest, prayer and witness from our women. On Whitsunday 1952 an Order for Sisters of the C.S.I. was inaugurated in Bangalore. Consequently the Bethel Sisters became members of this Order. 3



In 1951 the Diocese was divided into eight District Councils, with 65 pastorates and 364 stations. Church membership was estimated at 80,000. There were 56 diocesan clergy. 150 primary, 15 middle and 10 high schools were there under the Diocese. Though the financial position of the Diocese had improved, it was not yet self‑supporting. The 'Home Mission' extended its work in the Eastern Hills, and also along the coastal areas. During this period, there were nine Medical Mission Centers in the Diocese. 4



Under the initiative and able leadership of Bishop Jacob, the Third World Conference of Christian Youth was held at Kottayam in 1952. The Rajapramukh (former Maharajah) inaugurated the conference and 300 delegates attended it from various countries. During the time of the conference, the 1900th  Anniversary of the landing of St. Thomas on Kerala shores was celebrated. All Christian denominations including Roman Catholics joined in the celebrations. There were other ecumenical trends at this time. In the year 1953, for the first time all the Churches of Malabar followed the Gregorian Calendar and observed Christmas Day on 25th December.



The youth of the diocese sponsored four young people and in 1954, they set out for Nagapur Diocese and established a Mission at Patpara. But in due course because of various reasons it was discontinued. The year 1954 witnessed the centenary of the first ingathering in to the church from the backward classes. Sunday School work, always strong in the Diocese, had at this time 18,000 scholars, including some non- Christians, in 365 centers with some 1,800 teachers.


In June 1956, a Kerala Auxiliary of the Bible Society was inaugurated and a Bible House opened in Kottayam. As Bishop Jacob was President of the Bible Society of India and Ceylon and the Vice-President of the United Bible Societies of the world, these projects were particularly of his initiative. On November 1st the new Kerala State came into being, with the Southern Tamil area of the old state ceded to Madras State and the Northern Malayalam area taken over from them. We had already North Kerala and South Kerala Dioceses, and subsequently, the Central Travancore Diocese became the Madhya Kerala Diocese. At this time, the membership of the Diocese numbered 95,890. There were 73 Pastorates with 301 outstations. In ten years, 32 new churches, prayer houses or chapels were built and dedicated. The C.M.S. College was raised to First Grade and the CMS College High School was shifted to the CNI buildings. Besides, a new section of the CMS College was opened for girls entering the newly established Pre-University class, with their own college hall and classrooms. This was yet another advance in the educational field.



Due to ill health, Bishop Jacob resigned in 1957 and in December he was called to his eternal abode. The Church mourned at his death, that a great Bishop, a true shepherd of his flock, and tributes to his outstanding life and leadership poured in from all over the world. The Rev. M. J. Chandy was appointed as Moderator's Commissary, and cared for the diocese faithfully till the new Bishop was consecrated.



By the middle of 1958, the Rev. M.M. John, (195 8-1974) then the vicar of Kanjikuzhi Pastorate, had been selected to the Bishopric. He was already well-known through out the Diocese, and had higher training in Canada. He was to be our first Bishop with in the C.S.I. and the first to be consecrated within the Diocese itself.

After a year's preparation, the Mothers' Union Golden Jubilee was celebrated, in October 1958. It was noted that 'The Women's Fellowship, of which Mothers' Union is a part, had helped in the unity of the C.S.I. 5  It was during this time, a large number of Christian women went to prison for taking part in the rising against the Kerala Communist Government. The popular uprising put an end to Communist rule and saved the Christian educational institutions from crippling and stereotyped nationalization.

In July 1960, the Peet Memorial Training College 6  (graduate teacher course) at Mavelikara was inaugurated on the upstairs of the huge old mission Bungalow where the Rev. Joseph Peet had lived and served from 1838 to 1865. In 1964, a second college was started by the Diocese at Mavelikara. The College is named after Bishop Moore, a true scholar and an educationalist. In the same academic year, a high school was started at Olessa, and permission was obtained to open a high school at South -Puthuppally, a long-felt need of the Southern Pastorates. The following year a Technical Training Institute was started at Muttom, in the Melukavu District.

World Vision of America had held pastors' conferences in various parts of the world and in October 1964 they came to the Diocese. About 700 pastors attended the conference from various churches including Methodist and Salvation Army.

1966 was the Triple Jubilee year of the start of the work of the CMS in Travancore. The Diocese celebrated the Jubilee in November 1966 and to commemorate the Jubilee, an annual convention was started at Kottayam. Notable speakers from all over the world were invited and a large number of people attended the convention. The 10th session of C. S.I. Synod which meets in turn in different dioceses, was held at Kottayarn during the year. Another event of the Jubilee year had been the Golden Jubilee of the Youth Movement of the Diocese, which was started in 1916. About 300 young people with their leaders attended the 50th Annual session of the youth conference in May and a public meeting was arranged in the CMS College, Kottayam to mark the occasion. The conference decided to start a Youth Center at Changanacherry and to send missionaries outside Kerala to work among the people, those who have not yet heard the Gospel. 7

The Diocese was divided mainly into two Zones - North and South Zones, and placed under two district ministers, Rev. C.I. Mathai and Rev. M. V. George respectively. During this period there were ten district councils, 8 each district council was under the charge of a district chairman, a senior pastor.

It was in 1966, a section of the backward community led by Rev. V. J. Stephen, left the Diocese and the C.S.I. and formed a new church, known as the Kerala C.M.S. We can note that comparatively only a small section of the backward community had joined the new church, and the majority with ten pastors from the backward community remained loyal to the Diocese and C.S.I. In order to cope with the situation the Diocesan Executive Committee appointed a development officer and an educational director from the backward community. 9  


The Diocesan Council which was held in October 1966, decided to have an Assistant Bishop, to help the Diocesan Bishop in administrative matters, from the backward community, Rev. T. S. Joseph was selected to the Bishopric and he was consecrated on 1st  July 1967. It was a remarkable event in the history Of the Diocese, as Bishop Joseph was the first one, who came to this high position of the Church from the Dalit Community. 10 As a result of his efficient and earnest work, the people who left the Diocese and joined in the Kerala CMS came back in large numbers.




The Diocesan Youth League had selected Mogulappally, a very backward village 14 miles away from Parkal, as their mission field, which they named as Andhra Mission. The Rev. P.O. Ninan and his wife were the first missionaries and they went to the mission field in 1967. Today there are six centres with 31 Christian villages, two missionary pastors and six church workers. There is one homeopathic hospital, one tailoring school, and one typewriting institute. Here the work is mainly among the higher caste people. 1



Village Church and Parsonage development was the main thrust of this period. Several churches and mission houses were destroyed, by the splinted group from the diocese, were repaired or renovated. Almost all the churches and property came to the Diocese after a long battle of court cases with Kerala C.M.S.


District missionary conferences became a regular feature, organized by the district chairman and the missioner. The conference started with a thanksgiving service, then a colorful procession and in the afternoon a public meeting. 12 To a great extent this missionary conferences helped to inspire the missionary spirit of the church and led several to commit themselves for the Christian work. A group of evangelists of the Melukavu district formed High Range Gospel Team in 1971 with a view to evangelizing the un-reached area of High Ranges. 13  During the year the NCCI Assembly was held at Kottayam. The first of its kind to be held here.

The Diocese observed the year 1973 as the 'development year' and Mr. K. J. John was appointed as the development officer. The Treasury of knowledge, the first periodical of Kerala, celebrated its 125th  Anniversary in 1973, its first edition had come out in 1848. Likewise the youth publication 'Yuvalokam' also celebrated its Silver Jubilee, in the same year.

In May 1974, Bishop M.M. John retired after 16 years of fruitful Episcopal ministry. Several educational institutions were started during his period. The Diocese developed and extended its work in various spheres. But he was the most criticized Bishop in the history of the Diocese. 1

He was followed by the Rt. Rev. T. S. Joseph, (1974-1981) the Assistant Bishop, as the 8th  Bishop of the Diocese of Madhya Kerala. He was installed in the Cathedral on 27th December 1974.


A retreat was organized at Buchanan Institution, Pallom for those who were working in various institutions, on 9th  August 1975. At the business session of this meeting, it was decided to form the Professional Fellowship and elected Rev. M. C. Mani as its President and M. C. Andrews, Secretary. It was also decided to conduct zonal conferences once in three months. Today, it is one of the best organizations in the Diocese, having units in almost all the churches. Professional Fellowship is publishing a monthly periodical named 'Atmaya Sandesam' in which the articles are mainly contributed by the laity.


The Diocese began a frontier mission within the Diocese and Rev. K. Michael John was appointed in charge of the mission. It was a mission work among the people, who were living in the most backward areas. There were eight sisters to assist this mission work. Pallom and Kanakkary were the two centers; they had concentrated for their work. In each area about 1,000 families were chosen to assist them in bettering their social, economic and religious life. The sisters used to visit the houses and teach the poor people how to manage their home, children and advise them what are the precautions they have to take to resist various diseases. The workers of the frontier mission also help the poor people to budget their expenditure according to their income and teach them to save a little money for their unforeseen needs. 15



The Diocese was not yet self-sufficient, so a meeting was conducted for the pastors and church workers and representatives of those churches which were not self- supporting. The Diocese was in debt and it was compelled to sell several pieces of land to overcome the severe economic crisis. The Diocesan Council, which met on 2nd October 1975 decided that all the pastors, church workers and council members should pay their one-month income towards 'the Diocesan Welfare Fund'. In addition to this, several measures were taken to clear the debt and become self-supporting.

A scheme of Five Year Plan for the Diocese was drawn up. Its major purposes were:

1.    Spiritual Renewal

2.    To improve Evangelical activities

3.    To make the people aware of their social commitments,

4.     Economic development through Agricultural schemes, and,

5.    Renovation of the Diocesan Institutions.


To a certain extent, all these schemes were successfully carried out in the Diocese.

The sixteenth session of the C.S.I. Synod was held at Kottayam from 141, to 19th  January 1978. There were 400 delegates from 19 Dioceses attending the Synod meetings.


Ascension Sevananilayarn was started in 1978 near Kottayam Medical College in order to help the patients those who are coming to the Medical College Hospital for treatment. It serves as a true resting place to the sick and the suffering with a pastor always available for their spiritual need. Those from far away places find this institution to be of immense help.



Bishop John Sashtiabda Purthi Memorial Hospital, Kodukulanji was inaugurated on 2nd  April 1978. It was constructed with the help of the Protestant Central Agency, West Germany and about 54 lakhs of rupees expensed off for the completion of the hospital complex. Though conceived as the nerve center of the Diocesan Medical activity, it did not come up to expectation. Stiff competition and lack of medical personnel were the causes for this as in the case of many other hospitals of the Diocese.


In 1980, the Diocese celebrated its centenary at Kottayam. One of the notable decisions of the centenary was to open a new mission field in Uttar, Pradesh in memory of the Diocesan Centenary and this mission is often known as the centenary mission. Mr. & Mrs. P. N. Ninan were sent as the first missionaries and they started their work at Oazipur in 1982. Today there are 3 missionaries to look after the mission vigorously. A school, a nursery school, and a clinic are running in addition to the mission work. 16

The Rt. Rev. T. S. Joseph retired on 18th January 1981 after successfully completing his tenure of 7 years as the Assistant Bishop and 6 years as the Bishop of the Diocese. A man of prayer and simplicity he shepherded his flock faithfully. Rt. Rev. M. C. Mani, (1981-1993) became the 9th  Bishop of the Diocese and he was consecrated on 8th  February 1981 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kottayam.

In order to help the poor and the needy, who came from various castes and sub castes,  the Diocese started the ' Bishop's Discretionary Fund'. In 1981, a School for the Partially Hearing was started at Adoor and is one of the pioneer schools in this field. This has developed into a full‑fledged school. Another remarkable contribution of this period was the beginning of a Junior College at Melukavu. The College was named after the great missionary Rev. Henry Baker and it was dedicated and formally inaugurated in November 1981.



The C.S.I. Synod decided to start a Diaconate Training Center at Tiruvalla in 1982, for the lay training, and for the ongoing study of the pastors and church workers of the three dioceses in Kerala. Bible study, sermon preparation, Evangelism, Theology, Social Work, Youth, Worship, Sunday School, Women's Fellowship, Development etc. were taught at the center. Besides, refresher courses for pastors and church workers were conducted to make them up to date in the field.



Rev. Michael John one of the pastors from Melukavu area, was appointed as the special officer for the formation of a new Diocese. He traveled far and wide and made consensus among the people and prepared them to form the Diocese. The 18th , session of the C.S.I. Synod decided to bifurcate the Diocese of Madhya Kerala and to form a new Diocese under the name 'The East Kerala Diocese', and Melukavu as its headquarters. The long cherished desire for the East Kerala Diocese became a reality when the Bishop M. C. Mani, the Moderator's Commissary declared, "The East Kerala Diocese is come into existence on Easter Sunday early Morning, 3rd April 1983. " Melukavu Christ Church became the Cathedral of the newly formed Diocese. The new Diocesan office was also inaugurated on the same day. 17  Rev. K. Michael John was selected for the Bishopric and he was consecrated on 5th  January 1984 as the first Bishop of the East Kerala Diocese.

The C.M.S. School at Thalavady was upgraded into a High School and it was inaugurated on August 51, 1983, by the then Hon. Education Minister T. M. Jacob.

During the month of May 1983, there was some unrest among the members of the Youth Movement. The cause of this was widely discussed by the Diocesan Council and it passed a resolution, by which the constitution of the Youth Movement was amended. According to the new constitution the Diocesan Bishop became the President of the Diocesan Youth Movement and in the local units either the pastor or the church worker should be the president.

In 1985, the Elanthoor District Church Council was divided into two ‑ Elanthoor and Kumplampoika.



The Diocese gave importance to the missionary activities within the Diocese. The Eastern region of the Diocese is High Ranges. There are several estates ‑ tea and rubber. Most of the people living in this area are estate laborers and backward in all respects. With a view to uplifting these poor people the Diocese has started to work among them. Today there are 14 centers under two missionary pastors and each mission center is in charge of a church worker.



A Theological Institution was started in 1989 at Kottayam, the headquarters of the Diocese for the continuing education of pastors, evangelists and for lay training. The Diocese endeavors to build up a library and also an archives in Kottayam. Moreover, the Diocese constructed a Retreat Center in 1991, where seminars and workshops for the clergy, evangelists and for the laity are conducted.

Bishop Rt. Rev. M.C. Mani retired on 31 July 1993 after 12 years of Episcopal ministry and Rev. Sam Mathew was selected for the Bishopric. He was consecrated as the 10th  Bishop of the Diocese on 1st September 1993.

The main intention of this period was a spiritual renewal in the Diocese. Bishop urged his clergy and church workers to make their congregations active and lively. He instigated them to divide the congregation into small prayer groups, each group under the leadership of a lay leader and provided Bible notes to teach in these groups. All the organizations - Women's Fellowship, Youth Movement, Sunday School Union, Professionals' Fellowship and Choristers' Association are very active and vibrant wings of the church.

Renovation of the village churches, mission houses and development of the marginalized communities are to be the priority of the Diocese. Active support and co‑operation of the people are needed to take up these issues. A Commission named 'Jerusalem Mission' is instituted to carry out a detailed and comprehensive study of all the churches in the Diocese to identify the needs and potentials. This can be the beginning of the attempt to revive and re‑vitalize the church to cater to the needs of the present time.

Through out the Diocese, Missionary Festivals are organized in order to inspire the missionary thought of the people. Tens of thousands of people with Bible participated in the rallies organized in the various districts of the Diocese. These Bible Rallies created new enthusiasm among the people and raise new challenges in the Christian Community. Besides, these district level rallies, where 25 to 50 churches come together for witnessing, bring down the ecumenical activity to the grass root level.


The fourth mission field outside the Diocese was started in 1996 at H.D.Kote, in Mysore, known as the 'Mysore Mission'. Mr. Kurian Mathew and his wife Dr. Mrs. Ruby Kurian are the missionaries, working among the people, those who are economically poor and socially backward. The Keralites who are settled in Mysore are a great help for the outreach of the Gospel. Medical work is carried on and is a blessing to this poor people. The growing Christian influence has indirectly affected the non‑Christians and a desire for improving their socio-economic and religious conditions is visible.


The Madhya Kerala Diocese has parishes outside Kerala and also in North America and the Gulf Countries. The members of the outside parishes are supporting the developmental activities of the Diocese.





The Diocese, being a part of the Church of South India, enjoys a wide Christian fellowship with almost all the Reformed Churches in the world and has full communion with some of them. Being a United Church, the Diocese always stands for the ultimate union among the Churches and gives leadership in the ecumenical arena.  




Membership  2,75,000
District Councils 11
Pastorates 111
Pastorates outside Kerala 10
Pastorates outside India 17
Congregations 383
Pastors 170
Evangelists   140
Colleges 3
Teacher Training Colleges 2
Hospitals 3
Educational Institutions  165
Boarding Homes and Day Care Centers  17
Theological Institute 1
Mission fields outside Diocese  6


This Indian Church looks forward eagerly to a time when the Gospel will bring perfect justice and peace among the people of India, and the whole creation with its fascinating divergences will be united in the Salvation. It is primarily through the concern for the total humanity that the Church fulfills its mission.

History of  Madhya (Central) Kerala Diocese... by Rev. C.Y. Thomas

Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3 



Chapter 3


1. Eira Dalton. 'Who thee by faith. p.62

2. Girls Guild. an organisation of girls, was started in 1939. In 1955 it had 200 units in the Diocese and eventually it was arnalgarnated with the Youth Movement.

3. Eira Dalton, ‘Fellow workers with God’ p.65

4. Ibid, p. 64

5. Eira Dalton, Fellow workers with God,p.70.

6. The Peet Memorial Training College is the first B. T. College of the Diocese.

7. Treasury of Knowledge, Vol. LX IX, June 1966.

8. Mavelikara, Kodukulanji.Thiruvalla. Mallappally, Elanthoor, Pallom Mundakayam, Kottayam, Etturnannur & Melukavu.

9. Centenary Souvenir 1980  p. 25.  

10. Treasury of Knowledge, Vol. LXX July 1967, No. 7. pp. 247, 248

11. Missionary Bulletin, Vol, 1, No. 1, Jan. 1997.

12. Treasury of Knowledge, vol, LXXIV, Jan. 197 1, No. 1, p.2.

13. Treasury of Knowledge, vol. LXXIV, June. 197, No. 6, p.21 1.

14. Treasury of Knowledge Vol. LXXV111, June'74, No. 6, p. 198.

15. Treasury of Knowledge, vol. LXXXV111, Oct. 75 Vol.10,p417‑420.  

16. Missionary Bulletin, Vol, 1, No. 1, 

17. Treasury of Knowledge Vol. CXXXV11, May 1983.