The Church of Christ, founded in India by St. Thomas the Apostle, was in communion with the Universal Church, especially with the Churches of the Persian Empire where the Apostle had begun the preaching of the Word of God. However, with the loss of this universal communion in the seventeenth century, a part of this Church came into contact with the Jacobite Church of Antioch. It was the historic event of the communion of the Malankara Church, under the leadership of the Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios, that opened up this portion of the Church of St. Thomas Christians again into the universal communion of Catholic Churches. Archbishop Mar Ivanios made the presence of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church felt in the various parts of the world. He visited Rome and some of the countries of Europe in 1932. His visit to the United States of America in 1947 marked a remarkable event in the history of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.
It was the visitation of the late Most Rev. Benedict Mar Gregorios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum, and the late Most Rev. Zacharias Mar Athanasius, Bishop of Tiruvalla, that inspired and initiated the scattered Malankarites in North America to form an ecclesial community. Malankara communities were formed in different cities of the United States, particularly in New York in 1980, Dallas in 1981, Philadelphia in 1982, and Chicago in 1983. In the absence of a canonical provision, a legal entity became a necessity for the proper functioning and growth of the Malankara community. Hence the Malankara Catholic Mission of North America Inc. was registered on 29 June 1984. The following were the officials elected at that time: Rev. John Mathew Elanjileth (President); Rev. John Melamparampil (Vice President); Dr. Babu George (Chairman); Mr. Benjamin Mathew (Secretary); Mr. Alex John Thangalathil (Treasurer); Mr John Panicker (Administrative Director); and Mr. James Alexander, Mr. C.M. Joseph, Mr. Kuriakose Kidarathil, Mr. Ninan Oommen Maret, Mr. John Mathai, and Mr. A.J. Varghese as directors.
The official inauguration of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Mission of North America was on 25 August 1984 in a meeting held at Fordham University, New York, led by His Grace the Most Rev. Benedict Mar Gregorios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, delivered the keynote address at this inaugural meeting. The Malankara Catholic Missions in North America were guided by Reverend Fathers appointed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum, who took a personal interest in the formation and growth of our Church here in this country. From 1984 to 2001, Rt. Rev. Melamparambil John Ramban, Rt. Rev. Kalloor John Corepiscopo (later Most Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom), Rt. Rev. Mannikarott Geevarghese Corepiscopo and Rev. Dr. Peter Kochery served the Syro-Malankara Catholic Community in North America as Priests-in-charge and Coordinators.
Responding to the request of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Hierarchy to have an ecclesiastical provision for the ecclesial growth of the Syro-Malankara Catholics in the USA, Canada, and Europe, on 18 June 2001, the Holy Father Pope John Paul II appointed Rt. Rev. Msgr. Dr. Isaac Thottunkal (later Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos), then-Vicar General of the Eparchy of Bathery, as Titular Bishop of Chayal and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum with the special mission as Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Faithful in North America and Europe. Msgr. Isaac Thottunkal was ordained Bishop with the name Isaac Mar Cleemis on 15 August 2011, by His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Cyril Mar Baselios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Malankara Catholic Church.
The Hierarchy of our Church continued the dialogue with the Holy See for a stable canonical provision for the faithful in the USA. And, on 10 May 2002, Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios officially submitted the application for the same to the Holy See.
On 2 October 2003, Most Rev. Isaac Mar Cleemis was transferred to the Eparchy of Tiruvalla as its Bishop. After an extended period, on 5 January 2005, Rev. Dr. Joseph Konnathu then-Principal of Mar Theophilus College, Trivandrum, was appointed Titular Bishop of Sicilibbensis and Auxiliary Bishop of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum with the special mission as Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malankara Catholic faithful in North America and Europe. Msgr. Joseph Konnathu was ordained Bishop with the name Joseph Mar Thomas on 19 February 2005, by His Beatitude Moran Mor Cyril Baselios Catholicos, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church. On 25 January 2010, Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thomas was transferred to the Eparchy of Bathery in India as its Bishop.
As per the request of His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop-Catholicos on 14 July 2010, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI erected an Exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States of America. Rev. Fr. Thomas Naickamparambil of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum was appointed the first Bishop of the new Exarchate and Apostolic Visitator to Canada and Europe. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Naickamparambil was ordained Bishop with the name Thomas Mar Eusebius by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos on 21 September 2010 in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum. The official inauguration of the Exarchate in the USA was held on 3 October 2010, at Bishop Kellenberg Memorial High School, New York. During the function His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Eusebius assumed the office as the first bishop of the Exarchate in the USA. His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, officiated the installation and inaugurated the Exarchate.
The Syro-Malankara Conventions held at New York, Chicago, Philadelphia & New Jersey and the Youth Conferences held at Philadelphia, Houston, & Toronto and the Family Conferences held in New York helped us to cherish our cultural heritage and liturgical patrimony. The Apostolates of MCA, MYCM, Fathers’ Forum, Mothers’ Forum, Sunday School, etc. greatly help in the growth of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the USA.
At present there are 14 parishes and a few mission stations for the Malankara Catholic Church in America. Around 10,000 members are there in the Exarchate. There are 33 Priests and 34 Religious Sisters rendering their ministry in this region. Three Bethany convents and seven Daughters of Mary convents are situated in the new Exarchate.