Friday, May 15, 2009


Catholic Diocese of Bhadravathi in Karnataka, India was erected on 21st August 2007 by the Synodal decision of the Syro-Malabar Church with the approval of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, bifurcating the Diocese of Mananthavady, Kerala. The territory of the Diocese of Bhadravathi comprises the civil district of Shimoga in Karnataka State. A major part of Shimoga lies in the Malnad (hill land) region of the Western Ghats, a region known for its green forests, plentiful rainfall, beautiful waterfalls, and source of many rivers that flow in Karnataka.
The history of the new diocese should be traced back to the migration of a group of Syro-Malabar Catholics from Kerala to Karnataka immediately after the World War II in search of land and they found Shimoga and the surrounding districts very conducive to their agricultural practices. They slowly tried to settle down as small groups in different parts of Shimoga. These migrant families were under the pastoral care of the Diocese of Mananthavady in Kerala. Due to the geographical distance from the diocesan centre and the cultural and linguistic differences it was almost impossible for the diocesan authorities to take care of the pastoral needs of the migrants. Hence Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, then bishop of Mananthavady entrusted the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament to take care of the spiritual and pastoral needs of these people. The dedicated work of the MCBS Fathers for the past 30 years paved the way to the creation of the new Diocese of Bhadravathi.
The first bishop of the diocese Mar Joseph Arumachadath was consecrated and the new diocese was inaugurated on 25th October 2007. The task of building up this new diocese is a challenge which he cannot fulfil without the grace of God and the generous co-operation of the faithful. Having taken the phrase “To Serve Thy People” as the motto of his Episcopal Ministry, he tries to formulate a pastoral plan for the entire diocese. The new diocese is dedicated to the patronage of St. Joseph.
The See of the new diocese and the residence of its bishop will be in the town of Bhadravathi and St Antony’s Parish Church, Iduvally, will be the Pro-Cathedral of the new diocese until a new Cathedral is built in Bhadravathi. Both the new diocese and its bishop shall be subject as suffragans to the Metropolitan See of Tellicherry and its Metropolitan.
The newly erected diocese of Bhadravathi has an area of 10,553 sq kms with a total population of 16,39,595 of which 6000 are Catholics. There are at present 13 parishes and 6 mission stations in the diocese. 26 priests are serving the diocese out of which protosyncellus Rev. Msgr. George Njaralakatt is from the diocese of Mananthavady, chancellor and finance officer Rev. Fr. Francis Allumpurath is from the Mananthavady Norbertines, 22 priests from the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, one from the Missionary Society of St. Thomas, and one from OFM (conv.). There are 91 religious in 24 religious houses (6 of men and 18 of women) in the diocese belonging to 8 religious congregations doing ministry through 14 educational institutions, 6 balabhavans, 12 health care institutions, 3 old age homes and other social and developmental activities under the Malanad Social Service Society, the official social work organ of the diocese.


Bishop Mar Joseph Arumachadath
Bishop Mar Joseph Arumachadath was born on 10 April 1960 at Uppukandam, in the Erattayar parish of the present Diocese of Idukki, in Idukki District, Kerala as the second of the six children of Thomas and Mariakutty. After his High School education, he joined the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1978. His religious profession in MCBS was on May 17, 1981 and priestly ordination on May 7, 1988.

He did his philosophy at St Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye and theology at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune. He has a Doctorate from Leuven University in Dogmatic Theology and has published his thesis “The Church as Community of Jesus’ Disciples.” After his ordination he served for two years in the Retreat Team in Sannidhanam Ashram, at Illithode, and later as secretary to the Superior General of MCBS. From 1999 to 2002 he was the Rector of the MCBS Minor Seminary at Athirumpuzha. From 2002 to 2005 he was provincial superior of the Emmaus Province of MCBS. He was elected bishop while he was Vice-Rector of Sanathana Seminary, Thamarasserry. He was appointed as the bishop of Bhadravathi on 21 August, 2007 and was consecrated on 25 October 2007.


Prot. No. 673/2007
The growth and vitality of a community of faithful is preserved and strengthened by the creation of the appropriate juridical and hierarchical structures which could then better take care of the overall developments of the community. In many cases, dividing a bigger entity into smaller units would ensure better growth and faster development. The eparchy of Mananthavady which was erected by His Holiness Paul VI of happy memory on 1 March 1973 by bifurcating the present Archeparchy of Tellicherry, has over the past 34 years made great progress in all aspects of pastoral care of the faithful entrusted to its care and evangelization of the people in the area set apart for it. Ably guided and nurtured through much of its period of growth by its first bishop Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy and later by the late Mar Emmanuel Pothanamuzhy, CMI, who built upon the foundations laid down by his predecessor and by the present bishop Mar Jose Porunnedom, who continued the efforts of his forerunners, the eparchy of Mananthavady, spread over a territory of 48250 Sq. Kilometers in the three Federal States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, has achieved remarkable progress in all areas of apostolate. However, because of the great distance from the eparchial headquarters, the geographical, linguistic and cultural differences and the differences in the nature of the apostolates undertaken, a bifurcation of the eparchy of Mananthavady was felt to be a genuine necessity and an urgent need to ensure further growth and development of the various regions that constitute the territory of the eparchy of Mananthavady.
With this in view, successive Synods discussed the proposal of the Local Ordinaries of the Eparchy and the XIV Synod (2006), Session 1, gave its approval for the proposal of the division of the eparchy of Mananthavady and the erection of a new eparchy by name Bhadravathi. The Holy See, through its letter dated 25 January 2007, Prot. No. 24/98, gave its assent to the above proposal.

Therefore, after due consultation in various fora and after having obtained the consent of the Synod and the Assent of the Holy See, thus Diocese of Bhadravathi, Directory-2009 Diocese of Bhadravathi, Directory-2009 36 having fulfilled everything required in law, I, Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, by virtue of the authority vested in me and in accordance with CCEO c. 85 § 1, hereby erect a new eparchy Bhadravathi, by carving out from the territory of the eparchy of Mananthavady, the territory of the civil district of Shimoga in the State of Karnataka, with its boundaries co-terminus with the boundaries of the
same civil district. It is also decreed that the See of the new eparchy and the residence of its bishop shall be in the town of Bhadravathi. By the same decree St. Antony’s Parish Church, Iduvally is raised to the status of the Pro-Cathedral of the new eparchy until a new Cathedral is built in Bhadravathi. Moreover, both the new eparchy and its bishop shall be subject as suffragans to the Metropolitian See of Tellicherry and its Metropolitan. The administration of the eparchy and the rights and privileges of the priests and faithful in the eparchy and the like are to be governed by the provisions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and the Particular Law of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church.

This decree is given in perpetuity for the faithful adherence and loyal observance of everyone concerned with the matter dealt with in this decree.

Given at Kakkanad from the Major Archiepiscopal Curia of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St. Thomas on 21st day of the month of August of the year Two Thousand and Seven.

+Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil
Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church

Fr. Antony Kollannur
Chancellor, Major Archiepiscopal Curia