The Syro-Malabar Church traces its origin to the missionary works of St. Thomas the Apostle who landed on the Malabar Coast in AD 52. Thus, it is clear that the Church has a long tradition and originated at the same time as the first Christians. St. Thomas Christians are Christians and the Syro-Malabar Church is the church that took root on Indian soil. Most of the Syro-Malabar Catholics live in Kerala, the cradle of Christianity in India.
The first reported, Syro-Malabar Malayalam Mass celebrated in Cork was by Fr. Joy Panjikkaran MST at St. Mary’s Church, Cork City on 20th August 2005 with the permission of Fr. Simon Roche, a Dominican priest, who was a missionary in India for many years. There were about 35 members to attend the Mass. After seeing the enthusiastic presence and need of our people (Syro-Malabar Catholics), Mr. Thomaskutty Eyyalil approached Rev. Fr. Sony Sebastian Palathara CMI, a PhD student in Dublin, to offer Malayalam Mass in Cork. He accepted the invitation and celebrated Mass on 22nd January 2006. The response of the people was very encouraging. About 100 people attended this first official Mass in St. Joseph SMA Church, Wilton. Having realized the pastoral needs of the community, Fr. Sony Sebastian agreed to come and offer Holy Mass on every second Sunday, in Cork. It was a turning point in the history of the Indian Christian community in Cork. We specially acknowledge the dedication and hard work of Miss. Bindhu Antony, Miss. Roshni George and Mr. Mathew P Jose, for the smooth functioning of our Sunday gatherings and all the other activities.
Gradually, the Syro-Malabar community in Cork began to have Holy Mass and other religious activities more frequently, in an organized way. We gratefully remember the encouragement and support we have received from Rev. Fr. Cormac Breathnach SMA and Rev. Fr. Denis Collins SMA, priests in charge of SMA Church. It is their constant support and encouragement that made our dream a reality.
However, a crossroad in the history of the Syro-Malabar community in Cork took place on 12th August 2006. On that day Fr. Mathew Arackaparambil and Fr. Thankachen Paul Najallieth, the chaplains of Indian community in Dublin Archdiocese, celebrated Holy Mass at St. Joseph Church Wilton, SMA in Syro-Malabar Rite in Malayalam, and constituted the first official church committee. This committee included 12 members, representing various areas of Co Cork.
The formation of the committee helped us to organise our activities and to make them more effective. As a result, Mr. James Zachariah made special efforts in organizing the Sunday-school catechism for our children, and Mr. John Panicker helped us to get the data base of the members of our community.
Having felt the urgent need of a Chaplain for the Indian community in Cork, we officially requested Most Rev. Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross, and Bishop Most Rev. Gregory Krotembrel, Bishop of Rajkot & in-Charge of the migrants in Europe, to appoint a chaplain for us. Thus, in November 2007, we were rewarded with the appointment of a full-time priest in-charge, Fr. Johnson Chalissery from Kerala. We extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who has helped us in making our hope a reality within a very short time. We are indebted to most Rev. John Buckley and Mar Gregory Krotembrel for their constant support and encouragement towards our community.