Vatican City, 26 March 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father:
- erected the eparchy of St. John Chrysostom of Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankars, India, appointing Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas Aerath, OIC, as its first eparchal bishop. Bishop Aerath was previously apostolic visitor for the Syro-Malankars extra-territorial missions in India. The new eparchy extends along the northern part of India, covering 22 of the 29 states. The district’s southern boundary is made up of the four central states of: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. In addition to these four states, the faithful are distributed throughout Punjab, Rajashtan, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. The eparchy is headquarted in Gurgaon because that metropolitan area has the largest concentration of faithful in the nine parishes covered. The region has two colleges and ten schools administrated by the Syro-Malankar church. It has 15 priests, both regular and eparchal, and 30 religious carrying out its pastoral, educational, and charitable work.
- erected the apostolic exarchate of St. Ephrem of Khadki of the Syro-Malankars, India, appointing Bishop Thomas Mar Anthonios Valiyavilayil as its first exarch. Bishop Valiyavilayil was previously curial bishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India. The new exarchate extends along the southern part of India, which previously did not have any ecclesial district of the Syro-Malankar church, and includes the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana together with parts of the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The extra-territorial mission of the Syro-Malankar church began in Poona in 1955 with the pastoral care of emigrants by Bethany Ashram, OIC. Today, the Syro-Malankar presence in the exarchate’s region includes 27 parishes and missions. There are 21 priests dedicated to pastoral care, 13 convents, and a dozen schools including a college of higher learning. The majority of the faithful are located around Mumbai and Poona, in the western state of Maharashtra.