NEW YORK, JULY 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI erected an apostolic exarchate (I wonder what is the difference between eparchy and exarchate?) for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States, and appointed Father Thomas Naickamparampil (appropriate for a priest to St Thomas Christians) of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum as its first bishop.
The bishop-elect, 49, was also appointed apostolic visitor for the Syro-Malank
ara Catholics in Canada and Europe.
Thomas Naickamparampil was born on June 6, 1961 at Mylapra in Pathanamthitta District of the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta.
After completing high school, he joined St. Aloysious Minor Seminary, Pattom, Trivandrum, and then later completed his priestly formation at the Papal Seminary in Pune. He was ordained on Dec. 29, 1986.
He has a doctorate degree in philosophy from the Pontifical University Gregorian in Rome.
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church traces its roots back to St. Thomas the Apostle (That's right "Doubting Thomas" evangelized India long before the Age of Discovery brought European powers there. I am personally a big fan of his and I think he got a bum rap. He's no worse for his disbelief than Peter for his denials). The Church split from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in 1930, and then entered into communion with Rome. In 2005, the Eastern Church was elevat
ed to a major archiepiscopal Church. It is currently led by Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis, and currently has eight eparchies and some 500,000 faithful.
The community of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church began to organize in 1984 in New York. Today there are an estimated 10,000 members, 16 parishes and 15 mission stations (The nearest one of these to me is Miami. I am
curious to see their liturgy, but there is a Syro-Malabar parish in Atlanta that I could go to. I would think the liturgy is similiar since they are both St Thomas Christians) of the Church in the United States and Canada. It also counts with 30 priests, and 34 religious.
The new exarchate will have its headquarters in New York City, and the main parish will be the Malankara Catholic Church in Long Island.