A wandering Aramean was my ancestor ;he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous” (Deuteronomy26:5)
The story of the Syro Malabar faithful in Chennai is an Exodus in itself, hesitant to come out of the native place, quarreling and murmuring on the way, suffering the injustice from others ,still looking foreword with the hope of a better day. The story begins with St. Thomas the Apostle, whose personal encounter with the risen Lord, ”My Lord and My God “ (jn 20:28) empowered him to come and die (“Let us go that we may die with him.” Jn 11:16) in this land as martyr and he opened “the way and the truth and the life “ (jn14:6) of faith in Jesus Christ to our ancestors.
Later the missionaries, monks and bishops from East Syria used to come to India and they rendered spiritual leadership to the St. Thomas Christians of India . Indian church was continuously evangelized and constantly cared and fostered the; pastoral needs of the people . By 15th century ,with the arrival of Portuguese , and other Europeans , the St. Thomas Christians encountered the evangelizing mission of the Latin Church. Through this Missionary thrust reinvigorated and rejuvenated the St. Thomas Christians in India ,it also caused uneasiness ,attacks and divisions among St.Thomas Christians due to ignorance and aggressive approaches . Until last century ,it followed the footsteps of Latin Missionaries .
In 1952, it was Cardinal Tisserant, the Prefect of the Congregation of Oriental Churches who awakened St. Thomas Christians from its deep slumber . He learned about our Church and that made him to love the Church. His historical remark “I love your Church, because I know her history “ is still a great challenge for every Syro Malabar Christian . From then onwards ,there began the new chapter of evangelization of Indians and pastoral care of Syro Malabar faithful in the history of St. Thomas Christians . Great missionary endeavors to North India are begun under CMI fathers and pastoral care in metropolitan Cities is provided by different Syro Malabar bishops . This missionary Endeavour got its approval and authority from the Sacred Magisterium through the teachings of Second Vatican Council and later through codes of canons of both Latin and Oriental Churches .
On 14th December 1983, we began our mission of pastoral care for the Syro Malabar migrants of the Chennai city with the following vision:” To reach out to each every Syro Malabar faithful living in and around Chennai, cater their needs especially spiritual , sacramental, pastoral and social, entirely and integrally ; teach and enable them to live the faith and patrimony of St. Thomas ,the Apostle of Jesus Christ .” now we have completed 25 years of pastoral care for these faithful with this vision in front of us . This vision is concretized through the mission pedagogy we adopted here .