Latin Hierarchy in Kerala at the Time of Mar Ivanios' Reunion Efforts

Historical Background

The Latin Hierarchy in Kerala during the late 19th century, particularly at the time of Mar Ivanios' reunion efforts, was intricately linked with the colonial and ecclesiastical history of the region. The Portuguese arrival in India significantly influenced the ecclesial landscape in Kerala, with the Latin Church playing a pivotal role.

Establishment of Latin Dioceses

Diocese of Funchal
Date Established: June 12, 1514
Pope: Leo X (1513-1521)
Jurisdiction: Included India and other African and Asian territories under Portuguese patronage.

Diocese of Goa
Elevation: January 31, 1533
Pope: Clement VII (1523-1534)
Status: Suffragan of Funchal
Scope: Included Latin communities in Kerala.

Diocese of Cochin
Elevation: February 4, 1558
Pope: Paul IV (1555-1559)
Jurisdiction: Covered Malabar Coast (excluding St Thomas Christians), Coromandel Coast, Madura Mission, Karnatic Mission, Burma, and Ceylon.

Vicariate Apostolic of Malabar
Establishment: 1659
Scope: Initially for Catholic St Thomas Christians post-1653 schism.
Transformation: Became the Vicariate of Verapoly for both Eastern and Western Christians.
Impact of Multa praeclare (1838): Portuguese Padroado jurisdiction in India and China was suppressed, except in Goa.

Expansion and Re-Establishment
Division (1845): Vicariate apostolic of Malabar divided into Quilon, Verapoly, and Mangalore.
Re-Establishment of Cochin Diocese: Following the 1857 concordat, Cochin was re-established as a suffragan of Goa in 1860.

Establishment of New Latin Hierarchy in India
Apostolic Letter: “Humanae salutis auctor” by Pope Leo XIII (September 1, 1886)
Outcome: Vicariate apostolic of Verapoly elevated to an archdiocese; Quilon became its suffragan.

Bishops during Mar Ivanios' Reunion Efforts
Verapoly: Archbishop Angel Maria Perez y Cecilia OCD (1918-1934)
Quilon: Aloysius Maria Benziger OCD (1905-1931)
Cochin: Bishop Jose Bento Martins Ribeiro (1909-1931)
Vijayapuram (established 1930): Bishop Juan Vicente Arana y Idigoras OCD (1931-1946)


The Latin hierarchy in Kerala at this time was characterized by a blend of indigenous traditions and colonial influences, with the Church navigating complex socio-political dynamics. The re-establishment of dioceses and the reshaping of ecclesiastical jurisdictions reflected both the Catholic Church's adaptation to local contexts and the imprint of colonial powers.

The vicars apostolic and bishops who led these dioceses were instrumental in shaping the religious and cultural fabric of the region. Their governance, often marked by the challenges of addressing the needs of diverse communities, played a critical role in the ecclesial and social development of Kerala.


During the crucial period of Mar Ivanios' reunion efforts, the Latin hierarchy in Kerala was undergoing significant transformations. The leadership of bishops like Angel Maria Perez y Cecilia, Aloysius Maria Benziger, and Jose Bento Martins Ribeiro, within the broader context of the Church's evolution in Kerala, created a unique ecclesiastical environment. This period was marked by efforts to balance tradition with the changing realities of the time, setting the stage for future developments in the region's Christian community.

history/the_reunion_movement_of_mar_ivanios/latin_hierarchy_in_kerala_at_the_time_of_mar_ivanios_reunion_efforts.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/24 04:31 by smcc