History

Origins and Developments

Prior to independence there were very few Syrian Christians outside Kerala.With the opening up of opportunities of employment, after the middle of the last century, Keralites started going out in search of employment not only in their familiar world of commerce but also mostly in professional and government service. The inflow of Syrian Christians and other Keralites into Delhi steadily increased after independence.

Early arrangements

Even in the new surroundings, the migrants tried to maintain their old traditions and mode of worship. A little known fact is that Holy Qurbana used to be conducted in Delhi twice a month from as early as 1942, a full decade before the parish was formally established in 1952. In those days, liturgical services were conducted by Father Mathews, the present Catholicos, His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II, who was then a student of Bishop's college Calcutta. When this college was shifted out of Calcutta, following sporadic bombing of that city during the Second World War and relocated at Kathauli in Uttar Pradesh, not far from Delhi, it facilitated frequent visits by Rev. Fr. Mathews to Delhi for conducting Holy Qurbana.

Delhi Parish established

In 1944, during the visit to Delhi of His Grace Alexios Mar Theodosius, Bishop of Kollam and the ‘Diocese outside Kerala’, the feasibility of establishing a parish in the capital city was explored, but it was considered beyond the reach of some fifteen families and around 150 single persons then living in Delhi. This idea was revived in 1952, during a second visit of the Diocesan Metropolitan, coinciding with the nineteenth centenary celebrations of the arrival of St. Thomas in India. And the Delhi Parish was formally established on 19th December 1952, by the late Rev. Fr. T.G. Koshy, who had come from Bombay.

In January 1953, a full time priest, Rev. Fr. K.C. Thomas (The late H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios, who departed to his heavenly abode on 23rd February 2008) assumed charge of the parish. For a few months, Sunday service continued to be held in Lady Hardinge Chapel and then in St. Thomas Church. Later, as the congregation grew larger, the Bishop of Delhi (Rt. Rev. Willis) and the Cambridge Mission Brotherhood of Delhi came to our rescue by allowing us to use St. James Church, Kashmere Gate for conducting our services. This arrangement continued for an extended period, to the end of March 1968. We gratefully acknowledge the help rendered by all of them.

In the initial stage, financial support in the form of a small but very useful monthly contribution started coming from the Kottayam Cheriapally towards the upkeep of the parish. This continued for a little over a year, when it was found no longer essential, and the parish committee wrote to Cheriapally conveying “deep sense of gratitude and the wish that this contribution might be diverted to some more needy parish.”

Becomes a Cathedral

Delhi Diocese was created in 1975. His Grace Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios took charge of it in 1976, and his formal enthronement was done in a fitting manner on 11th July 1976 by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mathew I, Catholicos of the East assisted by other Metropolitans. St.Mary’s Orthodox Church being the principal church at the Headquarters of the Diocese, assumed the new name of St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral in 1979 and continued to function as the Diocesan Headquarters. It was only in 1984 that the Delhi Orthodox Centre was formally declared open by Shri R. Venkataraman, the then Vice-President of India. The Cathedral played a prominent part in raising resources and building the Orthodox Centre.

Jubilee Celebrations

A year-long golden jubilee celebrations were slated for December 2001 to December 2002. Blessing of all houses in the parish, providing financial assistance of Rs. 25000 each to 50 deserving girls for meeting their marriage expenses, an inaugural public meeting on 16th December 2001, which was graced by our Catholicos and the Catholicate-designate and attended by inter-religious leaders, seminars and family conferences, two fetes and release of a Souvenir, were among the highlights of the year-long celebrations, which formally concluded on 29th December 2002 in a Public meeting presided over by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mathews II, the late Catholicos.

Youtube Links


  • Mar Philexinos - DOCIB

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  • OCYM Delhi Diocese. Thalamura Sangamam.

  • CATHOLICATE CENTINARY