Mar Joseph Kariattil [Mar Ouseph Kariattil (also spelled 'Cariattil')] (5th May 1742 - 10th September 1786) was the first native Indian to be appointed as Archbishop of the Syrian Catholics in the territory now comprising Kerala, India, after Portuguese missionaries imposed latinised liturgy and control over them. [1]

Joseph Kariattil was born at Alengad, near Aluva in present day central Kerala. He had his intial religious education at the Seminary at Alengad. Later he was sent to the Propaganda College of Urban University, Rome, in 1755 when he was barely 13 years old. There he was ordained as a priest, and he took Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology from there [2]. He returned to India in 1766. He was then appointed as a professor at the Alengad Seminary.

Father Joseph Kariattil took great efforts for the reunion of the Syrian Christians who had split following the Coonen Cross Oath. He made the historic journey to Rome in 1778 together with Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar to represent the matter with the church authorities there [3]. He had the full backing of leading church functionaries like Archbishop Thoma VI (Divannasios I) and lay leaders like Thachil Mathoo Tharakan. Father Kariattil was consecrated bishop at Lisbon in 1783 and was appointed Archbishop of Cranganore (Kodungalloor). However, on his way back to India, he died at Goa on 10 September 1786. He was initially buried there. But his mortal remains were transferred to Alangad and were re-interred at the St Mary's Church, Alengad in 1961.

He is the author of two books, viz. Vedatharkkam [Dialectics on Theology] (1768) and Noticias do Reino do Malabar (1780) [4].

Also see

Syro Malabar Catholic Church

External links


  • Mar Joseph Kariattil
  • St Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India - Edited by George Menachery (1998).
  • History of Christianity in India - Mundadan, A. Mathias (1984).
  • The Thomas Christians - Podipara, Placid J. (1970).

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