The Church of South India (CSI), a united and uniting Church, formed on 27 September 1947, is a union of varying traditions Anglicans, Congregationalists, Methodists and Presbyterians. Today, organised into 24 dioceses, each under the spiritual supervision of a bishop, the CSI is the second largest Church in India and the largest protestant Church in India with 4.5 million members. Among the 24 dioceses, 6 of them are in Kerala, namely the Diocese of East Kerala, Diocese of Kochi, Diocese of Kollam-Kottarakkara, Diocese of Madhya Kerala, Diocese of Malabar and Diocese of South Kerala.
The members of the CSI Diocese of Madhya Kerala, erstwhile Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin (until the formation of the CSI in 1947), who had migrated to other parts of India and abroad, carried with them the legacy of worshipping together using their liturgy in the vernacular (Malayalam). Their urge to worship in their language and tradition, both CSI and Anglican, resulted in the formation of various CSI Malayalam Congregations all over India, and outside India, especially in the Middle East and the United States. Ever since the beginning of these Congregations, the Diocese of Madhya Kerala, whose members had laboured hard to establish them, has been responsible for their episcopal and pastoral care.
The CSI diaspora community in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland had to wait until the first and second decades of the twenty-first century to form their CSI Congregations. The first among them was formed in London (2007), followed by Belfast (2008), Dublin (2011) and Manchester (2014). Until then, almost all those members were either attending the Church of England (in the UK) or the Church of Ireland (in Ireland) Congregations. In the Republic of Ireland, many of them were already members of various churches in the Church of Ireland. As they came to know each other, they shared their common urge to worship using the CSI Liturgy in Malayalam. Thus, in 2010, some of them decided to assemble in their homes once in a month and conduct Cottage Prayers. They also decided to explore possibilities of holding a Holy Eucharist in Malayalam using the Samkshiptha Pothu Aaraadhana Pusthakam, the ‘CSI Diocese of Madhya Kerala Worship Resource Book’ comprising of the Malayalam translation of the CSI Eucharist Liturgy, Matins, Psalm, and Hymns and Lyrics. In August 2010, the first Cottage Prayer was held, and in February 2011, the first Holy Eucharist as per the CSI rite in Malayalam was conducted.
The seven months from August 2010, when the first Cottage Prayer was held, to February 2011, when the first Holy Eucharist was celebrated, were days of God’s immense guidance and providence. After the first Cottage Prayer in August 2010, when the initial discussions about forming a Congregation was held, on 31 October 2010, a resolution to form a CSI Congregation was passed unanimously during the second Cottage Prayer. A request along with a copy of the resolution was sent to the Right Reverend Thomas Samuel, Bishop, Diocese of Madhya Kerala. On 7 December 2010, a request letter was also submitted to the Most Reverend Dr John Neill, the Archbishop of Dublin (Church of Ireland) requesting his permission, to which the Archbishop replied positively. On 28 December 2010, Bishop Thomas Samuel officially wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Dublin exploring the possibilities of forming a CSI diaspora Congregation of the Diocese of Madhya Kerala in Dublin.
On 31 December 2010, the members wrote a letter to the Reverend Canon Mark Gardner, Vicar of St Catherine and St James Church of Ireland, and obtained permission from him and the Dean to conduct the CSI Worship Service in that Church. The Reverend Dr Jacob Thomas, an ordained Presbyter of the CSI Diocese Madhya Kerala Diocese, who was teaching in Belfast Bible College, UK, agreed to conduct the Worship Services (once in a month) for the Congregation. While the plans for the first CSI Holy Eucharist was underway, on 15 January 2011, the members also met Reverend Obinna Ulogwara (Chaplain for International Community, Church of Ireland) and Mr Philip McKinley (Ecumenical officer of Irish Inter-Church committee) to understand the faith and order of the Church of Ireland. The meeting was fruitful, and they pledged their support for the efforts to form a CSI Congregation. The Archbishop Most Reverend Dr John Neill, based on the recommendation of Bishop Thomas Samuel, gave Reverend Dr Jacob Thomas, the ‘Permission to Officiate’ in the CSI Malayalam Congregation.
On Saturday, 5 February 2011, at 10.30 AM, the first Holy Eucharist in Malayalam was celebrated in St Catherine and St James Church of Ireland Dublin. The Reverend Dr Jacob Thomas conducted the service, during which the Very Reverend Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, declared the inauguration of the CSI Malayalam Congregation in Dublin, “The CSI Holy Trinity Congregation, Dublin”. The inaugural service was also att