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Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam
Located on the Malabar Coast, India. This vicariate forms part of the territory of the ancient Church of Malabar, which was founded by St. Thomas and was governed by Syro- Chaldean bishops until the end of the sixteenth century. In 1600 the Portuguese authorities substituted Latin for the Syro-Chaldean bishops, and from this date until 1887 the Syro-Chaldean Catholics remained under the jurisdiction of the Latin bishops of Verapoly and Cranganore and, on the suppression of that see, of Goa. By the Brief "Quod jampridem" of 20 May, 1887, Leo XIII separated the churches of the Syrian Rite on the Malabar Coast from the Latin churches, and, while leaving the latter under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Verapoly and the Bishop of Cochin, erected the Syrian churches into two vicariates Apostolic for Northern and Southern Malabar, styling them the Vicariates of Trichur and Kottayam and declaring them independent of the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical province of Verapoly. By the Brief "Quæ rei sacræ" of 28 July, 1896, a new division of the territory was effected; namely, into the three Vicariates of Trichur, Ernakulam, and Changanacherry, Kottayam being thus suppressed. On 29 August, 1911, however, Pius X, by the Decree "In Universi Christiani" restored the Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam for the section of the Syro-Malabar Christians known as the Suddhists, and it now includes all the Suddhist churches and chapels in the vicariates of Ernakulam and Changanacherry. The vicar Apostolic is the Right Rev. Mary Matthew Makil, D.D., Bishop of Tralles (b. on 27 March, 1851; consecrated on 25 Oct., 1896), who was transferred from Changanacherry by the Brief "Magni momenti" of 13 August, 1911. The latest statistics for the vicariate show: 1 bishop; 30 (secular) priests; 12 seminarists; 19 sisters in 2 convents; 3 secondary schools for boys and 2 for girls; 35 parochial schools; 2 boarding schools; 1 orphanage; 29,530 Catholics.
Catholic Directory of India (Madras, 1912).
Moira K. Coyle.