Former Bishops

1

Rt Rev J M Speechly

[ 1879 – 1889 ]

He was the first Bishop of the Travancore-Kochi Anglican Diocese. During his tenure there were 5 foreign missionaries, 17 local priests and 17564 members. Diocese had 2 councils namely, Kottayam and Mavelikara. Sunday School was started in the Diocese in an orderly manner by Arch Deacon Oommen Mammen in Mallapally. Some of the Churches established during his tenure were Ettumanur, Punkaserri, Kottala, Mooledom, Kattambakkal, Ezhuvanthanam, Kaniyampara, Tiruvanchoor, etc. He served as a Bishop for 9 years and went back to his home country.

2

Rt Rev A N Hodges

[ 1890 – 1904 ]

During his time the rules for the election of the church committee were introduced. Church wardens used to be elected on the Easter day. Lyrics and hymns were also composed in Malayalam for the first time. Rev T K Benjamin, a priest with a Bachelor’s Degree was ordained for the first time in the Diocese in 1895.

Diocese added 2 more districts namely, Melukavu and Tiruvalla. He encouraged the organisation called ‘Johns Suvisheshakar’. Strengthened the Gospel work among the Hindus in Ochira, Aluva and Guruvayoor. Adoor Mission was started during his time. Pallom School and CMS College were upgraded to the 2nd grade during his tenure. CMS Industrial school for the backward class children was started during this period. Upgrading of Thrissur CMS school to High School and the Kottayam Baker school to a Lower Secondary School were some of the achievements during his time.

His leadership to Kottayam YMCA in its initial stage was memorable. First secretary was Mr TK Benjamin. Bishop Hodges HighSchool in Mavelikara is named after him.

3

Rt Rev Dr C H Gill

[ 1905 – 1924 ]

He wanted a Synod to be formed for the Diocese. But later it had been decided that only one Synod would be enough for the Anglican churches in Burma, Ceylon and India and one council for the Diocese.

In 1916 Youth Fellowship Movement was started during his tenure. Parkal Mission was started. Men’s Union of the diocese took charge of the mission. . Under the initiative of Mrs Gill an organisation for the women was started. She inspired Ms Edith and Miss Rachel Joseph the work in the Ashramam. People from the hilly areas of Northern Kerala were encouraged to become Priests during his time. He was interested in the backward classes. He was known as ‘Avarnarude Appostolan’. People from the backward classes were allowed to sit with other people during the service. It was during his time that the week long missionary work called the Onavara Suvishesha vela started.

The first BD holders Mr MC Chacko and Mr P J George became priest during his time. During this time, Sadhu Mattayichan, started the Christian Institute for the Non Christians in Allepey. Admissions were given to the low caste people in the education institutions of CNI and a hostel named St Johns Hostel was started for them. The whole bible was translated and printed in Mangalore Basil Mission press during this time. Arch Deacon Rev Koshy, a pandit in Hebrew- Greek- English, was in charge of this mission. The Old Testament was translated by Rev OV John.

In 1908 he attended the world Bishops conference in Lambert. Diocesan head office in the Anderson Hall was formed as a result of the centenary celebrations of CMS in Kerala. He worked earnestly for the union of Anglican church and Mar Thoma church. CSSM, a mission for the children was started during this time, under the leadership of Rev R T Archie Bold. This is a mission where both CSI and Mar Thoma work together among the children.

In 1921, a united prayer meeting of the CSI and Marthoma priests was held in Tiruvalla. Union Christian College in Alwaye was formed as a step of unification of both CS and Mar Thoma Churches.

4

Rt Rev E A L Moore

[ 1925 – 1937 ]

It was during his time that a constitution was approved by the diocese in 1926. Following this in 1928, Diocesan Council, Church Committees and District Councils were formed. Ettumanoor district was formed during his time. Boats were used to carry medicines and give medical assistance to patients. These Mobile Hospitals lasted for 20 years.

In order to give importance to the gospel, he urged the churches to have prayer meetings on every Sunday and he himself used to take part in most the meetings. Annual Missionary Conventions were also organised every year successfully for 20 years. He baptised the older people publicly. 2 people from the backward class were made priest during his time.

5

Rt Rev B C Corfield

[ 1938 – 1944 ]

Bernard Cunningham Core Field was the son of North Indian Missionaries and was the first Bishop of Travancore Kochi Diocese to be ordained in India. He was ordained at Madras at the age of 48. He was a teacher, soldier and a priest.

After 6 years of service, he took leave and went back to England and informed that he is retiring from his post. Till 1961 he worked as a rector in a few churches in England and died on 22 Jul 1965.

6

Rt Rev Dr C K Jacob

[ 1945 – 1957 ]

He was 6th Bishop of the diocese and the first local Bishop and the first Bishop of the Madhya Kerala Diocese. He was born at Pallom in 1886 to T Korula Ashan. He graduated from the Madras Christian College and joined the CMS College High School as teacher. He studied theology at the CNI Bible College and was ordained as a Priest in 1914. He then went to Oxford for higher education and was appointed Arch Deacon at Mavelikkara. Was ordained Bishop on 6th May 1945 at the St George Cathedral in Madras.

He worked as the secretary to the first 3 Bishops and had served as the head master at the CNI School. He also served as the Principal of the CNI Bible School for 20 years. He also served as Principal at the Calcutta Bishop’s College. In acknowledgement of his contributions and the formation of the CSI Church, Wycliffe College in Canada presented him an Honorary Doctorate.

Because of his deep Bible knowledge, he used to be called the “Bible Dictionary”. He used to get up early in the morning kneel, pray and study the bible. He retired from service in 1957 and died on 17th Dec 1957. He was buried at the Kottayam Cathedral.

7

Rt Rev Dr M M John

[ 1958 – 1974 ]

2nd Bishop of the Madhya Kerala Diocese. He was of the Matteethra Family from Aymanam in Kottayam and a member of the Olassa Parish. After taking BA from Madras Christian College, worked as the Sunday School Secretary for 2 years. Studied theology at CNI, Kottayam and Bishop’s College, Calcutta. Was ordained priest by Bishop Core Field in 1938 and took MTh from the Wycliffe College Canada. He was ordained Bishop on 6th Aug 1958 by the CSI Moderator at the Kottayam Cathedral and was the first Bishop to be ordained within the diocese.

He spearheaded many development programmes. Was elected the President of the India-Burma-Ceylon Bible Society. Served the diocese for 16 years and retired at the age of 65. Worked as a Campus Crusade organiser after retirement. Died on 27th Feb 1987 and was buried at the Kottayam Cathedral.

8

Rt Rev T S Joseph

[ 1974 – 1981 ]

Rev T S Joseph was the 3rd Bishop of the Madhya Kerala Diocese. He was a native of Ayiroor and was the first Bishop from the backward classes. Hew as ordained priest by Bishop Jacob and had served at the Parakkal Mission.

He did his higher studies in Australia and was ordained Assistant Bishop in 1967. He was elected Bishop on 27th Dec 1974. Though many doubted, he lead the diocese earnestly with humility and faith. He retired in 1981 and died on 16th Jun 1990. He was buried at the Kottayam Cathedral.

9

Rt Rev Dr M C Mani

[ 1981 – 1993 ]

Rev M C Mani was ordained Bishop by Most Rev Solomon DuraiSwami at the Kottayam Cathedral on 8th Feb 1981. He was the son of Dr M P Chacko and Mariamma of the Modayil family from Mallappally. He was ordained Deacon in 1956 by Bishop Jacob and was ordained Presbyter by the then CSI Moderator Michael Holys.

Had studied at the Madras Christian College, Bankarappetta Bible Seminary, Bangalore UT College, in America, St George College in Jerusalem, etc. Has worked as the President of the Healing Ministry and Mission & Evangelism Departments of the CSI Synod. After 12 years of service he retired in Jul 1993 and currently lives at Kanjikuzhi, Kottayam.

10

Rt Rev Dr Sam Mathew

[ 1993 – 2001 ]

Son of Mathai and Mariamma of Valiathottathil, Kunnida near Adoor. Graduated from the Serampur Bible College and was ordained a priest in 1965. He was ordained Bishop on 1 Sep 1993 at the Kottayam Cathedral. He worked for the spiritual renewal of the Church and is an orator, a thinker and a writer. He retired after 8 years of service on 8th Oct 2001 and currently lives in Manganam, Kottayam.

11

Rt Rev Thomas Samuel

[ 2001 – 2011 ]

He is from the Valayil family of Tholasserry Kanjirappalli. He is the grandson of Cheriyan Asan of the Missionary School at Guruvayur. He was inspired by his mother to take up God’s work. His father was employed in Ceylon. He started his career as a lecturer at the Chengannur Christian College after his MA in Literature. Later he took BD from Jabalpur, MTh from Princeton University and Master of Sacred Theology from New Jersey University.

He was ordained Deacon in 1973 and Presbyter in 1974. He had worked as Bishop Mani’s Chaplain and as Sunday School Secretary. He was a faculty member at the KUT Seminary for 10 years. He was elected as Clergy Secretary in 1999. He was the convener of the CSI Liturgy Committee and the International Anglican Liturgy Commission.

He was ordained Bishop on 27th Oct 2001 by the CSI Moderator Rt Rev K J Samuel. His wife is Lilly Thomas and she left her job with the Postal Service when her husband became the Bishop. He retired in January 2011 and currently lives in Thiruvalla.