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The Syro-Malabar Eparchy

The Syro-Malabar Eparchy

Kerala’s Christian presence (18% of 34.8 Million over the geographical area of 15,005 Square Mile) has immensely contributed to the overall development of the (Keralan) State, especially in the areas of education and health care. This has encouraged the young people to migrate to other parts of India and the wider World in search of better job opportunities. Today, there are a significant number of Syro-Malabar faithful in the Middle East, the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the countries of Africa. During the 1960s and 70s, small numbers of professionals migrated to the UK from Kerala, and found work in the NHS as well as other occupations.

The next distinctive phase of migration of Syro-Malabar communities from Kerala to the UK occurred from 2000 onwards. Many families had migrated from Middle Eastern counties at this time as well. With the help of the Syro-Malabar priests working in the Latin parishes, fledgling Syro-Malabar chaplancies (as in the Northwest of England) or studying at variousuniversities, Syro-Malabar communities of faith were formed. At present we have around 8000 families in Great Britain, mostly belonging to the age group of 30-40. We thankfully remember the local ordinaries and latin parish priests who welcomed the Syro-Malabar families and provided them with pastoral care and support.

‘Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi’, Holy Father John Paul II’s instruction on the pastoral care of migrants, observes the growing number of Eastern Rite Catholics in the Western World and their duty and right to follow their liturgical tradition. ‘Eastern Rite Catholic migrants, whose numbers are steadily increasing, deserve particular pastoral attention. In their regard we should first of all remember the juridical obligation of the faithful to observe their own rite everywhere insofar as possible, rite being understood as their liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage (cf. CCEO Can. 28, §1 and PaG 72).’

On 28 July 2016, after much preparatory work, our Holy Father Pope Francis established the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain (for England, Scotland & Wales), with its seat in Preston at St Alphonsa Cathedral (formerly St Ignatius Church, Preston). Among the 32 Eparchies of the Syro-Malabar Church, Eparchy of Great Britain for the Syro-Malabars is only the third outside of India. The Syro-Malabar Church is grateful to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and of Scotland for the support to the new Eparchy. Bishop Michael Campbell of the Diocese of Lancaster and his close collaborators were directly instrumental with the Holy See and the Major Archbishop Cardinal Mar George Alencherry in the establishment of the Eparchy. There are 181 Mass centres for the new the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain to serve nearly 38,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics in Great Britain. Currently, there are 84 priests working for the Eparchy in England, Wales and Scotland.

The new Eparchy is rich in terms of the human resources and the active liturgical and spiritual life of the faithful. The Parish of St John Vianney & St Monica is immensely proud to be the home, since September 2017, of the Syro-Malabar Parish in Blackpool and its distinct liturgies and thus both communities enjoy a respectful and close collaboration.

Contact – Syro-Malabar Priest for Blackpool: Fr Mathew Pinakkattu

Tel: 01253 632254, E-mail: holyfamily@live.co.uk

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