Landmarks in the History of the Capuchins in India

1. Early Missions and Presences

1632: A team of six French Capuchins arrived at Pondichery as an extension of the mission at Aleppo in Syria. After a year they retreated to Madagascar.

1639: Mar. 1 A batch of four French Capuchins from Syria started a mission in Surat, Gujarat.

1642: Br. Ephrem of Nevers arrived in Madras from Su- rat, and started a Mission at St. George Fort.

1674: After several failed attempts, the Capuchins from Madras managed to make a re-entry into Pondichery.

1676: The Capuchins from Pondichery started a mission at Chandernagore in Bengal

1707: June 12 Two Capuchins, Joseph of Ascoli and Francis Mary of Tours arrived in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

1709: A mission station was opened in Patna, Bihar.

1745: Apr. 20 Brs. Joseph of Ascoli and Francis Mary of Tours the last of the Capuchins in Tibet, left Lhasa, as the Buddhist priests had forced them out. They settled down in Nepal.

1752: Due to political pressure the Capuchins left Madras Mission.

1769: The Capuchins were forced to leave Nepal together with some Christians they had converted in Tibet. They established themselves in Bettiah, North Bihar.

1818: The Surat mission was closed down.

1820: Apostolic Vicariate of Agra had been established and Msgr. Maria Zombio Benucci was appointed the Apostolic Vicar.

1845: The mission of Agra was divided into two Vicariates Agra and Patna and both were entrusted to the Capuchins. Br. Anastasius Hartmann was appointed the first Apostolic Vicar of Patna.

1850: Msgr. Anastasius Hartmann, the Apostolic Vicar of Patna, was entrusted with the administration of the Vicariate of Bombay.

1854: Bombay Vicariate was bifurcated to Bombay and Poona. Bombay was given to the care of Capuchins and Poona to the Jesuits.

1858: Due to some tensions, the decision was made by Rome to swap the administration of the dioceses of Bombay and Poona between Capuchins and Jesuits.

1880: Vicariate of Punjab was carved out from the Vicariate of Agra. Capuchins from Belgium administered the new vicariate. Later, in 1886, it became the Diocese of Lahore.

1880: A Novitiate House was started at Mussoorie in Uttar Pradesh. Due to lack of funds and vocations and some other problems of governance, it had got suspended thrice and finally was closed down for the next ten years.

1890: Diocese of Allahabad had been bifurcated from Patna and was entrusted to the Capuchins from Bologna.

1892: Agra Vicariate became the Archdiocese of Agra. Capuchins of Tuscany Province administered it.

1892: Apostolic Vicariate of Bettiah was formed; Capuchins of North Tyrol were entrusted with its care.

1892: Apostolic Prefecture of Rajaputana was carved out from Agra Archdiocese and entrusted to the Capuchins from Paris. In 1913 it became the Diocese of Ajmer.

1910: Putting together parts of Agra and Lahore, the Diocese of Simla had been created and was handed

over to the British Capuchins.

2. The Implantation of the Order

1922: Feb. 26 The Indian branch of the Capuchin Order was born with the opening of a Novitiate at Sardhana (U.P.) and Br. John Baptist Tirannanzi of Florence, of the Tuscany Province, Italy, the then Superior Regular of the Agra Mission, was appointed as the first Commissary by Most Rev. Br. Joseph Antony of Persiceto, Minister General of the Order.

The first unit of the Order was entrusted to the common responsibility of all the four Superiors Regular of the North Indian Missions, namely, Simla, Lahore, Allahabad and Ajmer.

1927: Feb. 21 The Indian branch of the Order becomes Custody (Commissariat) of the Province of Paris.

1929: The Commissary sounded readiness to open forma- tion houses in the Southern parts of India to which the responses were very positive. Mgr. Valerian D’Souza, the Bishop of Mangalore had responded that he confirmed the offer of his predecessor Mgr. Paul Perini, SJ to donate the ‘Monte Mariano’ Property of the Diocese; and His Ex. Most Rev. Aloysius Maria Benziger, the bishop of Kollam responded that he would donate Diocese’s Tillery property’ to the Capuchins.

1930: May 1 The Novitiate was shifted to Monte Mariano, Farangipet, the property donated by the diocese of Mangalore, Karnataka. Fr. Symphorian of Paris was the Novice Master.

1932: June 7 A study house was set up at Tillery, Kollam, Kerala, in the property donated by the Diocese of Quilon. Then, most of the clerics who had been abroad doing their studies were brought back to continue their studies at Kollam. Fr. Urban of Lanarvilly was appointed the Director.

1937: Apr. 28 Erection and blessing of the Assisi Friary at Aluva.

1938 Oct. 21 The Indian unit of the Order was raised to the status of a General Commissariat and Br. Guido of Pontieux of the Province of Paris was appointed the Commissary General.

1940: Diocese of Lucknow was carved out of Allahabad Diocese. Capuchins from Bologna served there.

1940: Apostolic Prefecture of Jhansi took shape. Capuchins from Malta took care of it.

1942: Assisi Friary at Aluva was freely given over to the Cloistered Poor Clares, Colletines, who had fled from Burma due to World War II.

1946: Apostolic Prefecture of Gorakhpur was carved out from Allahabad Diocese. Capuchins of East Canada

took charge.

3. A Provincial Commissariat

1951: May 26 The Indian unit was declared Provincial Commissariat with Br. Richard of Durand of Calvary

Province (U.S.A.) as the Commissary Provincial.

1952: Nov. 1 Foundation stone was laid for Assisi Ashram Bharananganam, the first friary in Syro Malabar rite.

1952: The Apostolic Prefecture of Jalandhar had been created and was entrusted to the Capuchins from Britain.

1954: June 6 Br. Cyril Andrade of Kallianpur was appointed the first Indian Commissary Provincial.

1954: June 15 Assisi Ashram Bharananganam was blessed.

1956 Diocese of Meerut was bifurcated from the Archdiocese of Agra. The Tuscan Capuchins moved out into the new diocese, giving over to the indigenous Capuchins the Archdiocese of Agra

1956: May 20 The Agra Archdiocese had been entrusted to the Provincial Commissariat and Br. Dominic Athaide was consecrated the first Indian Capuchin Archbishop.

1957: Br. Cassian of Timmins of the Province of East Canada was appointed the Commissary Provincial.

4. A Full-fledged Province

1963: Apr. 13 The formation of the autonomous Indian Province, namely, the province of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the appointment of Br. Berchmans Puthuparampil as the first Provincial Minister.

1966: In the first Provincial election Chapter Br. Berchmans Puthuparampil was elected as the Provincial Minister.

1969: Apr. 30 In the second Provincial election Chapter Br. Jacob Acharuparampil was elected as the Provin- cial Minister.

1971: Dec. 6 Br. Symphorian Keeprath was appointed Bishop of Jalandhar.

1972: Feb. 2-29 The visitation of the Province by Rev. Br. Paschal Rywalski, Minister General and Rev. Br. Aloysius Ward, Definitor General in view of divid- ing the Province.

1972: Apr. 4 The decree of the division of the Province into four different units.

 

5. St. Joseph Province, Kerala

1972: May 17 The division of the Indian province into four circumscriptions, namely, St. Joseph Province (Kerala), Holy Trinity Province (Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra), Amala Annai Province (Tamil Nadu) and St. Francis Vice-Province(Kerala) and the installation of the appointed Provincial and Vice-Provincial Superiors at the Ordinary Chapter at Kotagiri by Very Rev. Br. Aloysius Ward, Definitor General. Br. Hippolytus Kunnumkal was appointed the first Provincial Minister of St. Joseph Province (Kerala).

1973: Feb 4-10 The Renewal Chapter of St. Joseph Province, Kerala at Assisi Ashram, Bharananganam.

1973: Nov 14 Krist Jyoti Mission of the North -West India became a Custody of St. Joseph Province, Kerala.

1973: Snehasadan Arimanal was established

1974: Feb. 17 Mary Matha Mission of Andhra became a Custody under St. Joseph Province, Kerala.

1974: Oct. North Indian Mission of the KGM Province became Vice Province of St. Fidelis, North India.

1975: Feb. 23 The first Election Chapter of St. Joseph Province at Assisi Ashram, Bharananganam. Br. Hippolytus Kunnumkal was elected as Provincial.

1976: Br. Jacob Acharuparampil was elected as the Gen- eral Definitor for Asia.

1976: Dec 6-11 Extraordinary Provincial Chapter at Assisi Ashram, Bharananganam.

1978: Apr 9-15 The Second Election Chapter of St. Joseph Province at Assisi Ashram, Bharananganam. Br.

Claude Ollukaran was elected as the new Provincial Minister.

1978: Dec. 28 Br. Hippolytus Kunnumkal was appointed as the Prefect Apostolic of Jammu-Kashmir.

1978: March 12 Alverna Ashram at Sulthan Bathery was established .

1978: Padua Ashram Perambra

1979: Aug. 13 Br. Jacob Acharuparampil was appointed as the Bishop of Trivandrum.

1979: Oct. 19 Br. Claude Ollukaran, the Provincial Min- ister, was nominated General Councillor in the place of Br. Jacob Acharuparampil who had been appointed as the Bishop of Trivandrum. Br. Gerard Kallidukkil, the vicar-provincial, was told to guide the Province till the next Chapter.

1981: Apr. 20-28 The third Election Chapter of St. Joseph Province held at Assisi Ashram, Bharananganam. Br. Raymond Kavumpuram was elected as the Minister Provincial

1981: October 15 Amalagiri Ashram Payyannur

1982 :Dec 26-31 Extraordinary Provincial chapter at As- sisi Ashram, Bharananganam.

1984: May 7-11 The fourth Election Chapter of the Province held at Calvary Ashram, Thrissur. Br. Stephen Jairaj Koonthamattam was elected as the Minister Provincial.

1986: Apr.1-5 The Province had convened a Chapter of Mats, which took place at the Capuchin Provincialate, Aluva.

1986: Apr. 5 Br. Hippolytus Kunnumkal was appointed the Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar, formerly known as Jammu-Kashmir Prefecture.

1987: Apr27- May 1 The fifth Election Chapter of the Province at St. Francis Theological College, Kottayam. Br. Stephen Jairaj Koonthamattam was re-elected as the Provincial Minister.

1987: Dec. 6 The General Vice-Province of St. Francis was raised to be the Province of St. Francis, Kerala.

1988: Mar. 25 The Holy See by a special Decree (Prot: 60/88) declared St. Joseph Province as belonging officially to the Syro-Malabar Rite.

1988: May 30 Formal inauguration of the Province as a unit of the Order in the Syro-Malabar Rite, during a Friars gathering at St. Francis Theological College, Kottayam.

1989: Jan. 16-20 Extraordinary Provincial Chapter at St.Francis Theological College, Kottayam.

1990: Mar. 12-17 The sixth Election Chapter of the Province held at St. Francis Theological College, Kottayam. Br. Thomas Jacob Thekkumkattil was elected as the Minister Provincial.

1992: Feb. 3 Br. Flavio Roberto Carrara, the Minister General and General Council visited the Province.

1992 Apr 21-24 Extraordinary Provincial Chapter on Formation held at St. Francis Theological College, Kottayam.

1993: Apr 26 -May 1 In the seventh Election Chapter held at Capuchin Vidyabhavan, Kottayam. Br. Thomas Jacob Thekkumkattil was re-elected as Provincial Minister.

1995: Mar 9-11 Visit of Br. John Corriveau, the Minister General to the Province of St. Joseph, Kerala.

1995: Apr 24-28 Extraordinary Chapter on Pastoral Plan for the Province held at the Capuchin Vidyabhavan, Kottayam.

1996: Apr 26 The Vice-Province of St. Fidelis, North India was raised to the status of a Province

1996: May 13-18 The eighth Provincial Election Chapter held at Capuchin Vidyabhavan, Kottayam. Br. Mathew Paikada was elected as the Minister Pro- vincial.

1997: Jan 30 Andhra-Orissa Region had been constituted into a Vice Province, namely, Mary Matha Vice - Province, Andhra- Orissa and Br. Mathew Parin- thirickal was appointed as the Vice-Provincial.

1997: Nov-Dec Visitation of the Province by Br. Anil Sequeira, General Councillor , to assess the wishes of the friars on the issue of division of the Province.

1997: September 6, Blessing of Sevasram, Kannur

1998: May 8 Br. Peter Celestine Elampassery was ap- pointed as the Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar. The Episcopal Ordination took place on 6th Sep. 1998.

1998: March 11 Sevasadan Pallikkunnu

1998: July 22-25 Extraordinary Provincial Chapter held at Assisi Ashram, Bharananganam. Present were Br.

John Corriveau, the Minister General, and Br. Anil Sequeira, Definitor General.

1998: Nov. 21 Visitation of the Province by Br. Thaddeus Ruwaichi, General Councillor , to ascertain the

need for bifurcation of the Province.

1998: Dec. 8 Holy Trinity Province of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra had ceased to be, and the new Holy Trinity Province of Karnataka was born.

1998: Dec. 12 Vice-Province of St. Antony, Goa was born from the erstwhile Holy Trinity Province of Karna- taka, Goa and Maharashtra.

1998: Dec. 17 Vice-Province of St. Boneventure, Maha- rashtra was born from the erstwhile Holy Trinity Province of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra

1999: Apr. 7 The Krist Jyoti Custody of North-West India had been constituted into a Vice-Province and Br. Dominic Thirunilath was appointed as the Vice- Provincial.

1999: Oct. 25 Declaration of the bifurcation of Kerala St. Joseph Province into Province of St. Joseph, North-South Kerala and Province of St. Thomas the Apostle, Central Kerala by the Decree Prot.: No. 00899/99 of the General Council, in the friars gathering at the Capuchin Provincialate, Aluva. Assam-Meghalaya Mission and Mary Matha Vice- Province of Andhra-Orissa were entrusted to St. Joseph Province, Kerala. Krist Jyoti Vice-Province was raised to the status of a General Vice-Province.

2000: May 22-26 Extraordinary Provincial Chapter was held at Assisi renewal Centre, Bharananganam.

2002: Apr 29- May 3 The first election Chapter of the Province was held at Assisi Renewal Centre, Bharananganam. Br. John Corriveau, Minister General, presided over the Chapter and Br. Thomas Jacob Thekkumkattil was elected as the Minister Provincial.

2002: January 12 Vimalagiri Ashram Pattaram

2002: July 5 Shanthi Ashram Kundayithode

2003: Apr 28-May 2 Extraordinary Provincial Chapter was held at Assisi Renewal Centre, Bharananganam

2003: Nov 21 Assam-Meghalaya Mission was raised to Nirmala Custody, North East India, under the pa- tronage of Blessed Virgin Mary.

2003: Nov 22 Delhi Mission of St. Francis Province, Kerala was raised to Prem-Jyoti Custody, DeIhi.

6. Pavanatma Syro Malabar Province, Kerala

2005: Jan 7 The General Council, after having carefully examined all the aspects of the request to raise the Capuchin presence in North Kerala to a Vice- Province and having verified all the prerequisites, decided to raise the Capuchin presence in North Kerala to a Vice-Province entrusted to the care of St. Joseph Province, Kerala.

2005: Feb. 2 Br. John Bednarik, the General Councillor read the decree (Prot. No. 00044/05) and declared, constituted and established the Vice-Province of Pavanatma, North Kerala, in a large gathering of the faithful at Sevasram, Mele Chovva, Kannur.

 

Br. Stephen Jairaj Koonthamattam was appointed the Vice-Provincial and Brs. Kurian Chirappurath, Paul Kainickal, Vincent Kurisummoottil, and Martinian Njarackal were appointed the Councillors. Archbishop Mar George Valiyamattam, Mar Paul Chittilappil1y, Mar Lawrence Mukkuzhy, Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Rt. Rev. Hippolytus Kunnunkal and Rt. Rev. Dr. Varghese Chakkalakkal graced the occasion.

 

2005: Apr 4-7 The first Assembly of the perpetually professed friars was held at Vimalagiri Ashram, Pattaram, Iritty to reflect and to discuss the priorities and major concerns of Pavanatma Vice-Province.

2005: April 25 Assisi Ashram Vadapuram

2005: July 3 Padre Pio Ashram  Panamaram

2005: Dec. 26-29 Statutory chapter of Pavanatma Vice- Province was held at Vimalagiri Ashram, Pattaram presided over by Br. Jacob Chamakkala, Provincial Minister of St. Joseph

2006: August 12 Saccidananda Ashram Madampam

2007: April 24 St. Joseph Ashram Vellarikundu

2008: July 14-18 The first ordinary chapter of Pavanatma vice province was held from 14 -18 July 2008. Br. Thomas JacobThekkumkattil, Provincial of St. Joseph Province, Kerala presided over the Chapter. Br Scaria Kalloor was elected as Vice Provincial. The councillors elected were Br. Kurian Chirappurath, Br. George Valiyapadath, Br. Paul Kainickal and Br. Syriac Palakkudy.

2008: Nov. 11-12 The friars of the vice province gathered together for three days to discuss and plan the various aspects of our ministry and charism in the Vice Province.

 

7. Pavanatma Province, North Kerala

2009: Dec. 03 Br Mauro Jöhri, General Minister, read- ing the decree (Prot. N. 00369/09) constituted and declared established the Capuchin Province of Pavanatma, North Kerala which belongs to the Syro-Malabar rite. A large crowd including Members of CCMSI, brothers from other provinces, our benefactors, relatives and well wishers were present on the occasion. Bps. Mar George Valiyamattom, Mar Joseph Porunnedom, Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, Rt. Rev. Dr. Varghese Chakkalackal and Rt. Rev. Geevarghese Mar Divanaseos graced the occasion with their presence. Br Scaria Kalloor was appointed as Provincial Minister and Brs. Kurian Chirappurath, Adolf Kannadippara, Joseph Ezhuthupurackal and George Valiyapadath were appointed as Vicar Provincial and Councillors respectively.

 

2012: Nov. 12-16 The first election chapter of Pavanatma Province was celebrated at Pavanatma Provincialate, Kannur presided over by Br. General Minister, Mauro Jöhri. The chapter elected Br Thomas Karingadayil as Minister Provincial, Br George Valiyapadath as Vicar Provincial and first Councillor, Br Siby Mattathil as Second Councillor, Br Jose Thachukunnel as third Councillor and Br Jose Vattukulathil as Fourth Councillor. Br Michael Fernandez, the first General Councillor for India and Br Ephrem Bucher the Provincial Minister of Switzerland participated in the chapter.

 

2014: Nov. 3-6 An extra ordinary chapter in the triennium was held from 3-6 November 2014 at Vimalagiri Renewal Centre Pattaram Iritty. There were discussions on prayer life, fraternal life and on our apostolate. All the brothers in perpetual profession participated in the event. The celebration of the extra ordinary chapter was an occasion to deepen our fraternal as well as spiritual life.

2015: March 7 St. Alphonsa Ashram Parayanchery

2016: April 11-14 2nd Ordinary Provincial Chapter was held at Vimalagiri Renewal Centre Pattaram Iritty. Br Michael Fernandez General Councillor for India Presided over it. During the chapter following Brothers were elected to animate Pavanatma Province for the next Triennium: Br Thomas Karingadayil as Minister Provincial, Br Stepehn Jairaj Koonthamattam as Vicar Provincial and first Councillor, Br Siby Mattathil as Second Councillor, Br Shaju Anithottathil as third Councillor and Br Johns Pulparambil as Fourth Councillor.

 

2016: May 25 Kokkada Madikkeri Mission

2017: November 6-10 And extraordinary chapter of Pavanatma Province was held from 6 – 10 November 2017 at Vimalagiri Renewal Center, Pattaram. The important items in the agenda of the Chapter were the following:- 1. The difference between Trust and Province. 2. Updating the statutes and electoral procedures of our Province. 3. Vocation promotion and initial formation and on-going formation. 4. Vision and Mission of our Province. 5. Mission com- mitments and the presence of our Province in and outside India. All the brothers in perpetual vows participated in the Chapter. It was an event of renewal in personal and fraternal levels.

2017: September 25 Tapovanam Melattur

2019: April 29 to May 3 The third election chapter of the Province was held at Vimalagiri Renewal Center, Pattaram, Iritty from April 29th to May 3rd, 2019. Br. John Baptist Palliparambil, General Councillor presided over the Chapter. The Chapter elected the following brothers to animate and to lead our Province: Br. Stephen Jairaj Koonthamattam as Minister Provincial, Br. Scaria Kalloor ad Vicar Provincial, Br. Varghese Mundackal as the 2nd Councilor, Br. Justin Johns Nellikkunnel as the 3rd Councilor, and Br. Mathew Poovassery as the 4th Councilor. 

The Pavanatma Provincial Council dated 15th September 2019 to give priority to Rajkot Mission already assigned to Pavanatma Province in the year 2013.

On 19-20 May, 2020 Pavanatma Provincial Council decided to send Brs. Sebastian Manayanickal, Cyril Emmanuel, Stephinson and Jibin Boby to Gujarat Mission.

2019: The Council meeting dated 9 November 2019 decided to buy 2 acres of land at Rayarome facing the hill highway. Br. Stephen Jairaj, the Provincial minster and members of the building commission visited the site and finalized the plan of the Ashram. Br. Biju Neelamthara was appointed to be the pioneer at Rayarome. The Provincial council in its meeting Dated 4th July 2019 decided to buy a plot of land for an Ashram between Manjeshwaram and Mavumkal in Kasaragod District. Finally, in its meeting on 15th September 2019, the provincial council decided to buy the plot of land at Ambalathara facing Kanhagad-Panathady Road, adjacent to Snhalayam.

2020: The Provincial Council in its meeting dated 9th January, 2020 decided to look for a handed Property for and Ashram at Kuttikol. In its meeting on 2nd October 2020, the Provincial Council decided to buy a proposed landed property at Kuttikol measuring 4,5 acres, facing Poinachi-Sullia Road.

2020: February 5 Calvary Ashram Nellipoyil

2021: At the initiative of Br. Mathew Poovassery a plot of land for St. Antony's Ashram, measuring 2.4 acres was bought at Alathur, Wayanad.