The Syro-Malabar Community


The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

The Syro-Malabar Church is an Eastern Catholic Church based in Kerala, India. It is one of the 23 Eastern ( Oriental ) Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. With 5 million believers it is the largest Eastern Catholic Church after the Ukrainian Greek Church. It is an autonomous church governed by the Synod of Bishops held by the Major Archbishop. The Church, with its deep rooted spirituality and high rate of vocations to priesthood and religious life, can be considered as the most vibrant Catholic Community in the world.

The Saint Thomas Christians

The Syro-Malabar Church is an Apostolic church which traces its origin to St. Thomas the Apostle, who landed at Miziris in 52 AD and founded seven Christian communities in Kerala. St. Thomas was martyred in 72 AD at Mylapore near Chennai. The early Christian community in India came to be known as the St. Thomas Christians.

The East Syrian Connection

In the first centuries, the Church of the St. Thomas Christians came into contact with the East Syrian Church, which also traces its origin to Thomas the Apostle. From the 4th century until the end of the 16th century the St. Thomas Christians were governed by Bishops who were appointed and sent by the Patriarch of the East Syrian Church. The St. Thomas Christians shared the liturgical, theological and spiritual traditions with the East Syrian Church. However in their socio-cultural organisation they were distinctively Indian.

The Syro-Malabar Church Today

The Syro-Malabar Church today constitutes the largest denomination of the St.Thomas Christians. The other Eastern Catholic church in India is the Syro-Malankara Church.

There are five archdioceses and 26 eparchies in India and four overseas eparchies in America, Australia, Canada and Great Britain. There are currently 64 bishops, ~8500 priests ( ~3600 diocesan and ~5000 religious ) and ~32000 women religious and ~1200 major seminarians. Many bishops, priests, religious and laity of the Syro-Malabar Church are present all over the world and share in the missionary and pastoral life of the sister churches.

The Syro-Malabar Church is involved in many educational and social activities. The Church runs ~4900 educational, 262 ecclesiastical and ~2600 health and charitable institutions.

The Eparchy of Great Britain

The 1960s and 1970s saw the start of a migration of people to the UK from Kerala. Many parish communities started to be formed. In July 2016, our Holy Father Pope Francis established the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain, with its see in Preston at the Cathedral of St. Alphonsa. His Excellency Mar Joseph Srampikal is the Bishop of the Eparchy of Great Britain. There are currently 84 priests ministering to ~38000 Syro-Malabar Catholics in 181 mass centres.

Syro-Malabar Community in Gloucester.

In 2003 families in Gloucester of the Syro-Malabar faith started to gather to practice their religion. Within the next few years the community grew and celebrated its first Holy Mass at St. Peter’s Church. Since 2013 it has been celebrating Mass at St. Augustines. Initially Masses were celebrated by priests from Bristol and other cities. But since 2021 the community has had its own priest and Masses are celebrated weekly. The community consists of around 350 families and runs its own mission. The Mission also includes families from Cheltenham, Hereford and Swindon. As well as celebrating Masses, the Mission teaches catechism to over 360 children and runs organisation like Savio Friends ( for children below year 4 ), Cherupuzhpa Mission League ( year 5 to 9 ) and Youth League ( year 10 and above ). The Women’s forum and Family Unit seek to increase engagement with church activities, charitable work and to give support within the local community. There are monthly meetings and retreats for adults and children, daily gatherings in October for prayers of the Rosary, visits to every family at Christmas for caroling, Way of the Cross every Friday during the season of Lent, and First Friday Adoration. Children also actively participate in choir, altar service and Bible cultural programs.

We appreciate greatly the kindness and support that St. Augustines has shown us and we hope you all know that you are just as welcome to join us.