The Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia

The Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia 
Mount St Thomas, P.B. No. 3110, Kakkanad P.O., Kochi 682 030, India 
Tel. 0484-2424768, 2424780, 2425727, 2426235, 2426236, Fax: 0484-2422727. 

The Major Archiepiscopal Curia is the administrative headquarters and the central governing body of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church. According to the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (CCEO) the major archbishop who is also the bishop of an Archdiocese must have two separate offices, one for his Archdiocese and another for the entire Church over which he presides. The Major Archiepiscopal Curia coordinates and provides central organization for the correct functioning of the entire Syro-Malabar Church. It consists of the Major Archbishop, the permanent synod and the Synod of Bishops, the Curia Bishop, the Chancellor and the various departments like the Chancery, Financial Office, Tribunals and various Commissions. Curia is a Latin term which means ‘court’, in the sense of ‘royal court’ rather than court of law.

The Catholic Church is a communion of twenty-three Particular Churches: the Latin Catholic Church and twenty-two Oriental (Eastern) Churches. The Latin Catholic Church is the largest among them. The Churches which originated in the eastern regions came to be known as Eastern Churches.

The Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest Oriental Church, Ukranian being the largest. Syro-Malabar Church was erected as a Major Archiepiscopal Church on 16th December 1992 by the Apostolic Constitution Quae maiori of John Paul II (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 85[1993], pp. 398-399) with His Eminence Cardinal Antony Padiyara, the Archbishop of Ernakulam, as the First Major Archbishop, and Archbishop Abraham Kattumana as the Pontifical Delegate. After the death of Kattumana in 1995, all the powers of the Major Archbishop rested in Cardinal Padiyara. When he retired 1996, Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil was appointed the Apostolic Administrator as a temporary arrangement, but with the powers of the Major Archbishop. Ernakulam-Angamaly is the See of the Major Archbishop. The Syro-Malabar Bishops' Conference is now replaced with the Synod of Bishops. The first meeting of the Synod was held on May 20, 1993 at Ernakulam.

As in the secular administrative systems there are three wings in the administration of the Syro-Malabar Church also: Executive or administrative, legislative and judicial. The Major Archbishop, his officials, various commissions and committees, the Permanent Synod and the Major Archiepiscopal Assembly form the executive. His officials include his chancellors and finance officer or officers. Various commissions are appointed by the Major Archbishop for dealing with matters as liturgy, pastoral care of the migrant Syro-Malabarians and so on. The members of the commissions are ordinarily bishops. The Permanent Synod is an advisory council of bishops to help the Major Archbishop in fulfilling his function. Three of them are elected by the Synod and one is nominated by the Major Archbishop. Among the three elected at least two must be bishops who govern dioceses. Including the Major Archbishop there are five members in the Permanent Synod.

The Major Archiepiscopal Assembly is a meeting of the representatives of the various sections of faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church. It is to meet at least once in five years. If necessary the Major Archbishop can convene it as often as needed. The first Major Archiepiscopal Assembly of the Syro-Malabar Church was held from 9 to 12 November 1998 at Mount St. Thomas.

The Synod of Bishops is the legislative body. All the bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church are members in it and have voting rights. It can enact laws for the Syro-Malabar Church. If they are liturgical laws they will be applicable for all the dioceses; but if disciplinary they are applicable only in those dioceses which fall within the proper territory of the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop.

For judicial activities there are the Superior Tribunal and the Major Archiepiscopal Ordinary Tribunal. The Superior Tribunal is the Synod itself. However it exercises this function through three bishops elected from among the members of the synod. One of them is nominated as the Moderator. The Major Archiepiscopal Ordinary Tribunal will have its own personnel. They are not bishops. The personnel can be anyone with the prescribed qualifications. The head of the Ordinary Tribunal is known as the President.

The Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop's Curia (Office) is situated on a small hillock named Mount St Thomas near Kakkanad, on the Ernakulam-Kizhakambalam road, 12 kilometers away from Ernakulam town. The Major Archiepiscopal Curia began to function in March 1993 at the Archbishop’s house of Ernakulam-Angamaly. Later, on 27 May 1995, it was shifted to new premises at Mount St. Thomas. The newly constructed curial building was opened on 3 July 1998. It was Archbishop Abraham Kattumana, the late Pontifical Delegate to the Syro-Malabar Church, who initiated the project. A plot measuring 21.5 acres belonging to the Novodaya Film Studios was purchased for this purpose. The foundation stone of the new building was laid on 16th November 1995 by the late Cardinal Antony Padiyara, the first Major Archbishop. On completion of the building he himself blessed it on 3rd July 1998. The offices were inaugurated by the second Major Archbishop late Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.Ss.R.

contact us

  • Mount St Thomas, P.B. No. 3110, Kakkanad P.O., 
    Kochi 682 030, India 
    Tel. 0484-2424768, 2424780, 2425727, 2426235, 2426236, 
    Fax: 0484-2422727.

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