The history of the Protestant Missions in South Kerala begins with the arrival of William Tobias Ringeltaube on 25 April 1806 at Mylaudy near Cape Comorin. As missionary work was already started in Tranquebar, a Danish colony, Ringeltaube travelling in a Danish ship arrived at Tranquebar, invited by Vedamanikan Maharasan the first convert from this region. Travancore was then a native state under British protection ruled by its Maharaja. It was with great difficulty and largely through the intervention of the British Resident in Travancore, Colin Macaulay, that Ringeltaube obtained permission to construct a Church at Mylaudy. In May 1809 the foundation stone was laid for the Church. The construction of a modest structure was dedicated in September that year. The Mylaudy Church was the first protestant church built in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore, and it formed the nucleus of the present South Kerala Dioceses of Kanayakumari and South Kerala.
The South India United Church (SIUC) was inaugurated on 25 July 1908 at Davidson Street Church, Madras, uniting the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches in South India. It consisted of 9 church councils: Travancore, Madurai, Jaffna, North Tamil (Coimbatore), Kanara, Telugu, Madras, Arcot and Malabar. The South Travancore diocese was formed from the South Travancore Church Council when the SIUC united with the Anglican and Methodist Churches to form the CSI in 1947. The Rt. Rev. A. H. Legg, the last LMS missionary stationed here, was consecrated our first bishop at St. George's Cathedral, Madras on 27th September 1947 and his installation in the diocese was held at Trivandrum on 13th October of that year.
In 1959, the diocese was bifurcated into South Kerala and Kanyakumari dioceses, with Rt. Rev. Legg continuing as bishop of South Kerala. The succeeding bishops are:
Rt. Rev. William Paul Vachalan (1967-1972)
Rt. Rev. I. Jesudasan (1973-1990)
Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Amirtham (1990-1997)
Rt. Rev. Dr. J. W. Gladstone (1997-2011)
Rt.Rev.Dharmaraj Rasalam (2011-2023)




In 1919, representatives of the SIUC, the Anglican Church and the Methodist Church met at the New Jerusalem Church in Tranquebar (built by Ziegenbalg in 1717 - 18) and drafted the Tranquebar declaration, a manifesto for Church union. The Lutherans initially participated but backed out. The Anglicans negotiated on the basis of the Lambeth Quadrilateral, a four fold basis of union adopted at the 1888 Lambeth conference: the Scriptures as the ultimate standard of faith, the tow Creeds Apostles' and Nicene, the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord\92s Supper, and recognition of the historic episcopate. After several decades of negotiations , the General Assembly of the SIUC at Tambaram in 1946 approved the scheme of union. The Church of South India was inaugurated on 27th September 1947. It was for the first time in Church history that non-episcopal Churches such as the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches had formed a union with Episcopal Churches such as the Anglican and Methodist Churches. The principle followed was not `absorption' (of the other Churches into say, the Anglican tradition) but `comprehension' (of various traditions into a comprehensive union). It initially had 14 dioceses, which by bifurcation or addition have grown to 22 dioceses. The original 14 dioceses were formed by the union of the aforementioned nine Church Councils of the SIUC; the South India province (Madras, Trichinopoly, Hyderabad and Mysore districts) of the Methodist Church; and the Madras, Dornakal, Tinnevelly and Travancore-Cochin dioceses of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican Church). The SIUC met for its last General Assembly at Tambaram on 26th September 1947 and dissolved itself. Thus in 1947, the Travanore Church Council of the SIUC became the South Travancore diocese of the CSI (the Church Council and Mission Council were finally amalgamated into the Diocesan council), and its President, Rev A.H Legg, was elevated as bishop. On 2nd June, 1959, the diocese was bifurcated into the South Kerala and Kanya Kumari Dioceses. It is noteworthy that these dioceses, though they accepted episcopacy, do not have cathedrals. Incidentally, the CSI, while accepting `the historic episcopate in a constitutional form' as part of the basis of union, specified that the bishop is "called to feed the flock of God... Not as lord either in act or title, but an example to the flock." This means that the concept of bishop as lord or monarch (thirumeni) was not envisaged in the basis of union. The dioceses of the CSI send representatives to the Synod (the bishops are members ex-officio), which meets every two years and elects a moderator from the bishops.

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                                  1 Peter 3:14





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