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Mar Jacob Thoonkuzhy

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Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy is a Catholic archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Thrissur in India.


Roman Catholic archbishop's coat of arms (version with pallium)

Archbishop Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy was born at Vilakumadam in the Eparchy of Palai on December 13, 1930. At present his family belongs to the Sacred Heart Parish, Thiruvambady in the Eparchy of Thamarassery. He had his seminary studies at the St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye and Pontifical Urban University, Rome. After ordination he continued his studies in Rome and took his Doctorate in Canon and Civil Law from the Lateran University, Rome. On coming back he was appointed secretary of Mar Sebastian Vallopilly the then Bishop of Thalassery and Chancellor of the same Eparchy. Later he was appointed Rector of the Eparchial Minor Seminary at Tellicharry. After a few years he resumed his studies at Fordham University, NewYork from where he holds a Masters degree in English literature.

Archbishop Thoomkuzhy recruited Professor George Menacherry who was teaching English at Calicut University to write on history of Christianity in Kerala. Since then there has been a profusion of books published which seeks to bring together all versions of the history of Kerala. The martrydom of Apostle Thomas in Mylapore, which is not part of the ancient tradition in Thrissur has been propagated. Books written by Christians in Changanessery and Palai dioceses has been integrated into the history of Thrissur.

Soon after his return from the United States of America he was again appointed Rector of the Eparchial Minor Seminary, Tellicherry and worked there until his nomination as the first Bishop of the newly erected Eparchy of Mananthavady in 1973. He was ordained Bishop on May 1st, 1973 by the late Joseph Cardinal Parecattil assisted by late Mar Sebastian Vayalil and Mar Sebastian Valloppilly. The Bishop took charge of the diocese on the same day. He served the Eparchy of Manathavady for 22 Years.

On 7th June, 1995 he was appointed bishop of Thamarassery and took charge of his office on 28 July 1995. On 18th Dec. 1996, he was appointed Archbishop of Trichur and was installed on Feb. 15, 1997. Marymatha Major Seminary, Jubilee Mission Medical College, Jeevan TV., Jyothi Engineering College, Mahajubilee Training College (B.Ed. College), etc. are some of his pioneering contributions to the Catholic Church and society. He retired from the office on 18th March 2007 and stays at St. Mary's Minor Seminary, Madona Nagar, Trichur.

Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy is a most ardent devotee of Mother Mary, hence his desire to name the new major seminary Marymatha, which means Mary Mother. During his time as Archbishop 1997-2007 he introduced pilgrimage to Palayur, changed the name of the ancient Enamakkal parish from St Mary's Church to Mother of Mount Carmel Church and introduced Assumption of Mary on August 15 as the second parish feast, against the wishes of the parish laity.


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