The Madhya Kerala Diocese is one of the twenty-four dioceses of the Church of South India (commonly referred as CSI) (successor of the Church of England) covering the central part of Kerala. When the Church of South India was formed on 27 September 1947 the diocese was called the Diocese of Central Travancore. It was a part of the erstwhile Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin founded in 1879. The Diocese was later renamed as Diocese of Madhya Kerala.
The Madhya Kerala Diocese is one of the twenty-two dioceses of the Church of South India (successor of the Church of England) covering the central part of Kerala.
When the Church of South India was inaugurated on 27 September 1947, it was called the Diocese of Central Travancore and was renamed the Diocese of Madhya Kerala. It was a part of the erstwhile Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin founded in 1879.
The history of the Madhya Kerala Diocese dates back to the work of the Church Missionary Society in the state of Travancore. R.H. Kerr and Claudius Buchanan, visited the Malabar Syrians in 1806, during the episcopate of Mar Dionysius I. Lord William Bentinck sent Kerr to Travancore for the purpose of investigating the state of the native church. During the British period, CMS missionaries started a relationship with Saint Thomas Christians; a division occurred between Orthodox Syrian Christians and a minority from the Church, who were in favor of the reformed ideologies of the CMS missionaries. According to some estimates, about 6,000–12,000 Orthodox Syrian Christians joined the Church of England in India in 1837; these were known as Syrian Anglicans.
Early in 1876, the Society began negotiations with the Secretary of State for India so that a new diocese can be formed under the Jerusalem Bishopric Act for the Church of England in the Native States of Travancore and Cochin. The Diocese of Travancore and Cochin (in the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon) was erected with its See at Kottayam in 1879 and John Speechly, then Principal of the Cambridge Nicholson Institute (CMS theological college, Kottayam), was announced as the first Bishop of Travancore and Cochin. Speechly was consecrated a bishop on 25 July 1879 at St Paul's Cathedral; he arrived at Kottayam on 27 January 1880.
In 1888, Speechly left for England and was unable to return, and Noel Hodges (1890–1904), a CMS Missionary from Ceylon followed him as diocesan bishop. He was installed in the Pro-Cathedral, Kottayam in November 1890. During the episcopate of Hodges, the first missionary enterprise of the diocese was organised as its Home Mission, was started at Adoor in 1903. Hodges retired in 1905 and was succeeded by Hope Gill (1905–1925), who was consecrated in Westminister Abbey and arrived in Kottayam in 1906. The full creation of Diocesan structures which began in 1879 was fulfilled in 1920, when Gill constituted, "Travancore and Cochin Diocesan Council" to assist in the management of the temporal affairs and financial business of the church.
On 27 September 1947, the four southernmost dioceses of CIBC united with other churches to form the Church of South India. The presiding bishop at the CSI's inauguration was C. K. Jacob, Bishop of Travancore and Cochin who became Bishop in Central Travancore; his diocese's territory was reduced and renamed the Diocese of Central Travancore. Subsequently, it has been renamed the Diocese of Madhya Kerala after that state was formed in 1956 — madhya is Hindi for central.
Due to the presence of Syrian Anglicans in the CSI, churches of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (in Oriental Orthodox Communion, autocephalous), Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church (in Oriental Orthodox Communion, under Antioch) and Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church do interact frequently on occasions such as family gathering and marriages.