Regional News

The CHAI SIB 14th Triennial commenced with a welcome procession in which the delegates and dignitaries assembled at the Archbishop's House Junction were ceremonially received and led to the venue of the Conference by the Caparisoned Elephant Unnikrishnan of the Thiruvambady Devaswom, one of the two Devaswoms most closely associated with the Thrissur Pooram Festival.

Invocation : Thamasorma Jyothir.... The CHAI SIB 14th Triennial Thrissur DBCLC Hall 17th October, 2009.


Welcome Speech : Chev. Prof. George Menachery, General Conveneor of the Conference and CHAI Nat'l General Secretary. Dr. Thonippara and Dr. Thomas Edmunds are also in the picture.

Seated on the dais are (l to r) : Dr. Francis Thonippara (SIB Secretary cum Treasurer), Dr. "Cardinal " Thomas Edmunds (CHAI Nat'l Vice-President), Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem, Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios who inaugurated the Conference, Therambil Ramakrishnan MLA and former Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, Dr. Oberland Snaitang (CHAI Nat'l President), Dr. P. Manesseh (SIB President), and Charls Dias MP (CHAI SIB Executive Committee Member).

Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios inaugurates the 14th SIB Triennial by lighting the bronze Nilavilakku. Second in the picture from the left is P. C. Chacko MP who presided over the function.

Delegate Gudrun Lowner with Unnikrishnan the caparisoned elephant.

Adv. Therambil releases the CHAI Thrissur Conference Souvenir Dr. Thonippara toasts Charls Dias MP, our Exe. Com. member, newly nominated to the Lok Sabha by the President of India

Southern India Branch Conference , Thrissur, 2009

Circular No.2 

Dear CHAI Member, 

Greetings from CHAI Southern Branch Secretary.  The CHAI Southern Branch Executive Body Meeting was held on 18.07.2009 at Dharmaram College, Bangalore, to finalize the programmes of the Southern Branch Conference to be held from the afternoon of 17 to 19 October noon, 2009.  The venue of the meeting is DBCLC (Diocesan Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre: Telephone: 0487-2333245) , Thrissur (Trichur) Archbishop’s House premises.    You are cordially invited to attend the Conference. 

Thrissur is in the Central part of Kerala and there is good connectivity of rail and road.  Those who are coming from Coimbatore, Thrissur is after Palakkad.  Those who come fro Kanyakumari area , Thrissur is after Ernakulam. Those who travel from Mangalore, Thrissur is after Shornur. Once you are in Thrissur, you take an autorikshaw and ask for Thrissur Archbishop’s House which is in East Fort.  The maximum charge will be Rs. 25.  If you have any problem, please feel free to contact me (09480582973) or Prof. Chev.George Menacherry (09846033713).  A tentative time table of the Conference is enclosed herewith. Few hints on the railway timing also are mentioned here (please check the latest time table). 

Mangalore to Thrissur: Parasuram Express (6350)    4.15 a.m.; Thirssur 11.45 a.m.

Chennai to Thiruvanathapuram Mail (2623)  20 hrs;  Thrissur 5.00 a.m. 

Chennai to Alappuzha Express (6041)  21.15 hrs; Thirssur 6.55 am.

Bangalore to Kanyakumari Express (6526)  21.45 hrs; Thrissur 8.20 a.m.

Hyderabad-Kochuveli Sabari Express (7230) 12 noon; Thrissur 12 noon 

There are many other trains also to Thrissur. 

To promote younger Church Historians, for students who are doing Post Graduate studies in Church History or B.D., or B.Th level studies, registration fee will be only Rs. 100/-. 

Those who are interested in presenting papers may please contact Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar at the earliest.( Rev.Dr. Samuel Jayakumar, 19C ( New No.26 )  Appadurai Main Street, Aynavaram, Chennai- 600023, Tel. 044-26602134; 09445107984; ) In order to make sure your participation, please send the Registration fee of Rs. 300 (students Rs. 100) to my address before September 15, 2009 by M.O. only.  In the communication  space, specially mention your address and CHAI  Registration fee.  We accept only M.O.s. ( Francis Thonippara, CMI, Dharmaram College, Dharmaram College, P.O. , Bangalore – 560029, Karnataka.  Tel.080 41116230; 09480582073; ). 

Accommodation is arranged from 17th morning till 19th Lunch.  Those who wish to stay back for one more night accommodation could be arranged. May I request  you to bring along with you bed linen, bathing towel and other personal articles. 


Francis Thonippara, CMI

Secretary cum Treasurer,

CHAI Southern Branch


14th CHAI Southern Branch Conference

My Dear CHAI SIB Members,
A General Gathering of the CHAI Southern Branch was held on May 5, 2009 at Shillong. It was decided to have the next CHAI Southern Branch Conference held at Trichur from the Afternoon of Saturday October 17th to the Afternoon of Monday October 19th, 2009 in the premises of the Archbishop’s House, Trichur. SIB members please note down the dates and make sure of your participation. Prof. Chev. George Menachery (Ollur, 680306. 09846033713, has already begun the local level planning of the Conference. Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar will co-ordinate the scholarly papers to be presented at the Conference.

The main theme of the Conference will be: " Challenges and Prospects of Christianity in India Today". Those who are interested in presenting papers may contact: Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar. 19/C (new No. 26), Appadurai Main Street, Ayanavaram, Chennai 600023, Tel.: 044- 26602134, 09445107984,
Registration fee for the Conference (Rs. 300) may be sent to me by M.O. Early confirmation of your participation would be appreciated.

With warm regards,
Francis Thonippara

CMI, CHAI Southern Branch Secretary.080 41116230, 09480582973,
Prof. Dr. Francis Thonippara, CMI, President / Principal, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Pontifical Athenaeum of Philosophy, Theology, and Canon Law, Dharmaram College, Bangalore, 560029.

Secretary's Report of the 13th Branch Conference of CHAI-Southern Branch

Vailankanni- Tranquebar

September 29th- October 1st 2006 The 13 Branch Conference of CHAI, Southern Branch was held at Vailankanni-Tranquebar from September 29th to October 1st 2006. The Conference was well attended by scholars. Accommodation for the Delegates was arranged in the St. Francis Assisi Pilgrims' Quarters, Vailankanni. The inaugural session and other sessions were held at the Arogyamatha Higher Secondary School. The inaugural session was held at 5pm. After a short prayer by Rev. Fr. Francis Thonippara CMI, Secretary cum Treasurer, Prof. Maria Lazar, organizing Secretary of the Conference, welcomed the gathering. The Conference was formally inaugurated by Prof. Arul Marianathan, former Principal of T.B.M.L. College, Porayar. In his inaugural address, Prof. Arul Marianathan lauded the contributions of the Christian missionaries in nation building and also requested the CHAI authorities to launch a CHAI website. Rev. Dr. Arthur Jeyakumar in his presidential address stressed the need to promote Christian Scholars and requested the Church Historians to disseminate knowledge. Dr. Jothipakiam, one of the organizing committee members, thanked the chief guest and the CHAI Delegates. The inaugural session concluded with a short prayer.

On 30th morning, after breakfast, the Delegates proceeded to Tranquebar. On the way, a few moments were spent in silence while visiting the mass burial ground of the Tsunami victims. More than 4000 people are buried there, and a memorial is being erected. The whole day was spent in Tranquebar. Rev. V. Gunalan Packiaraj, Pastor, New Jerusalem Church, welcomed the Delegates. One-hour prayer service was held in the church and the pastor preached the sermon. The melodious voice of the T.B.M.L. College Choir took all the Delegates to a heavenly experience. Rev. Dr. Arthur Jeyakumar shared his experiences in Tranquebar and congratulated the pastor and the Christians for having done a marvelous job by restoring and beautifying the New Jerusalem Church. The prayer service was concluded with a prayer and benediction by Rev. Dr. Arthur Jeyakumar. Fr. Francis Thonippara thanked the pastor and the T.B.M.L. College Choir for the melodious hymns and inspiring prayer service. All paid glorious tributes to the veteran missionary Rev. Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, who is buried inside the New Jerusalem Church. CHAI Delegates also found time to go around and enjoy the beauty of the church.

After a short tea break, the academic session began. Since the main thrust of the Conference was to commemorate the 3rd centenary of the arrival of Rev. Ziegenbalg and Rev. Heinrich Pleutschau, the 5th centenary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier and the 4th centenary of the de Nobili Mission in Madurai, papers were mainly on these topics. Prof. Charles Dias, Mrs. Anto Florence, Dr. K.N. John, Prof. George Menachery, Rev. Dr. Sammuel Jayakumar, Dr. Mathew Thomas, Rev. Dr. Arthur Jeyakumar, Dr. P. Jothipackiam and Prof. P. Maria Lazar presented papers during the Conference days of Septermber 30th and October 1st.

After tea break all proceeded to the statue of Rev. Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg for a group photo. Delegates also had time to visit the Danish Fort and Museum, the Zion Church and the Danish burial ground, the residence of Rev. Ziegenbalg and his pioneering field of activities.

Then the Delegates proceeded to Porayar, Gnanapoo Illam, a home for the orphan and destitute girls. The Manager of Gnanapoo Illam, Prof. Kumudavalli Peter welcomed the Delegates. The inmates of the Illam presented cultural programmes for the CHAI Delegates. Dinner was sponsored by Gnanapoo Illam. A video show on the life and activities of Rev. Ziegenbalg was shown, which was both informative and inspiring. Rev. D. Jeremiah thanked the Gnanapoo Illam authorities and inmates for the sumptuous dinner and for the cultural evening. By 11.30 pm all reached Vailankanni for night rest.

On 1st October the Session began at 9.30 am and two more papers were presented. After the papers, the Delegates were given time to evaluate the Conference and few representatives spoke on the occasion.

At 10.30 am the Business Session of the Southern Branch was chaired by the Secretary-Treasurer as the President Dr. Vincent Kumaradoss was absent due to personal indisposition. The Secretary-Treasurer presented a brief report. The new office-bearers of CHAI, Southern Branch were elected unanimously after the names were presented by Prof. George Menachery, the head of the Nomination Committee made up of himself, Dr. Jothipackiam, and Rev. Jeremiah. The new office- bearers thus elected are the following:

President: Dr. P. Manasseh

Secretary cum Treasurer: Rev. Dr. Francis Thonippara, cmi

Associate Secretary: Prof. Maria Lazar

Executive Body Members:

Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar

Dr. Charles Dias

Rev. Gladson Jathanna

The new office-bearers were then presented to the Assembly and congratulated.

I would like to place on record my special thanks and appreciation to Dr. Vincent Kumaradoss, our former President, who could not be present for the Conference due to ill health. I remember with gratitude our dynamic Associate Secretary, Rev. Jeremiah and all the Executive Body members.

. All the Delegates were greatly appreciative of the arrangements and full of praise for the Organizing Committee: Prof. P. Maria Lazar (convener), Dr. P. Jothipackiam, Rev. Fr. A. Stephen Raj, Prof. B. Jeyaraj Ponnaiah, Prof R. Sekaran and Prof. D. Julius Vijayakumar (members). On behalf of the Southern Branch, I register my sincere appreciation and thanks to all the members of the various committees and sub-committees for their role in making the Conference a great event.

Special thanks to Vailankanni Shrine authorities for allowing us to make use of the Shrine Campus for our Conference. With deep sentiments of gratitude I appreciate the generous services of staff, students and choir members of TBML College, Porayar and the Manager of Gnanapoo Illam, Porayar.

I cannot complete this report without thanking all our benefactors and sponsors. I remember with deep gratitude CHAI Andhra Pradesh, the Provincial of the Jesuit Madurai Province, Tamil Nadu, Christ College Bangalore and Local organizing committee whose meticulous way of functioning could find excess income for the smooth conduct of the Conference. The Local Organizing Committee could collect a total amount of Rs. 48360/-including Registration fees, out of which Rs. 10,000 was contributed to the Central Fund. Secretary-Treasurer could raise Rs. 25,000, including Rs. 10,000 contribution from CHAI, Andhra Pradesh. From the Central Fund only Rs. 11250 was spent for the Conference. Rest of the expenses were met by the Local Organizing Committee either by way of sponsorship or by donations. I am happy to conclude this report with a positive note by saying that financially the Southern Branch is in a good position.

I thank each member of CHAI Southern Branch for the trust you placed on me. I expect your valuable cooperation and let us make our Branch the most vibrant one.

With warm regards,

Fr. Francis Thonippara, CMI,

Secretary- Treasurer, CHAI Southern Branch

Western India Branch

The Western India Branch will hold its annual seminar in Nashik on 20th-21st Sept.- Mrs. Agnes de Sa, Secretary, WIB


An informal Branch meeting was held on May 5, 2009 from 9 pm to 9.50 pm in the North East Hill University (NEHU) Conference hall, attached to the University Guest House. This meeting was held on the occasion of the 14th CHAI Triennial Conference. The Southern Branch meeting was attended by the following members:

Mr. Charles Dias
Dr. Samuel Jayakumar
Dr. Thomas Edmunds
Dr. Santha Prabhuraj
Rev. P.V. Antony
Dr. Gorge Oommen
Dr. Vergese Perayil
Dr. George Menachery
Dr. Emmanuel
Rev. Antonym Swami
Rev. Sebastian Edathikavil CMI
Rev. Francis Thonnippara CMI
Dr. Gudrun Loewner

After self introduction the Branch Secretary, Fr. Francis Thonippara, cmi, welcomed all the members to the meeting and appealed to the CHAI members to campaign for CHAI membership. The main agenda of the meeting was to fix the dates and venue of the next CHAI Southern Branch Conference. Trichur is proposed as the venue of the next Conference and Prof. George Menachery, a native of Trichur, has graciously extended his wholehearted cooperation for the Conference. October 19-21 are the tentative dates proposed. The final decision will be taken after convoking the Executive Body meeting of the Southern Branch Details of the Conference will be worked out later in consultation with the local organizers

The following themes were proposed as topics for the next Southern Branch Conference.
2010 being the centenary year of the Edinburgh Missionary Conference, proper importance should be given to the ecumenical movement in the Indian Church
Challenges of Indian Church and cultural integration
Post independent Christianity in India problems and prospects
Religious violence and suffering: Christian understanding in the context of recent attacks against Christians
Challenges and prospects of Christianity in India.

It was finally agreed upon that “Challenges and prospects of Christianity in India” shall be the main theme of the next Southern Branch Conference. However, the General Assembly also opined that other topics mentioned above can be dealt with, taking into account their relevance in the present context of the Church in India.

It was decided to fix registration fee Rs 300. The inaugural session will be held on October 19 afternoon and the conference will be over on October 21 afternoon. There will be 16 scholarly papers besides a keynote address. Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar has accepted the request of the Assembly as the Coordinator of the papers to be presented. It was opined that Metropolitan Mar Aphrem and Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath could be Patrons of the local organizing Committee. It was also suggested to get the involvement of the history departments of the local Colleges in the conduct of the Conference.

The Secretary thanked all the participants and the meting came to an end by 9.50 pm.

After the meeting a Fr. Thonippara had further discussions with Prof. George Menachery and with Executive body members, Rev Dr. Samuel Jayakumar, and Mr. Charles Dias on the viability of conducting the Conference at Trichur. An official Executive Body meting could not be held since the following members were absent;
DR. P. Manasseh, President
Dr. Maria Lazar (Executive Body member)
Rev. Gladson Jathanna ( “ )

However, it was decided to proceed further in organizing the Conference after duly consulting the Executive Body members who were absent.



Fr. Francis Thonippara later contacted the other Executive Body members except Rev. Gladson Jathanna, over telephone and the members were happy with the decision of the General Gathering. However, there is slight change in the dates as Deepavali falls on October 18th. Therefore, after consulting Prof. George Menachery following dates are fixed for the Conference. From Saturday October 17 afternoon to Monday October 19 afternoon. The venue will be the premises of Trichur Archbishop’s House.

May I request all the member of the CHAI Southern Branch to attend this Conference which is to be held in the cultural capital of Kerala Those who are interested in presenting papers may please contact Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar, 19/C, (New no.26) Appadurai Main Street, Ayanavaram, Chennai-600023, Tamil Nadu. 044-26602134; Cell: 09445107984 E-mail:

CHAI Southern Branch Report presented by the SIB Secretary at the CHAI Triennial Conference, Shillong on 7th May, 2009

The 13th Branch Conference of CHAI Southern Branch was held at Vailankanni-Tranquebar from September 29th to October 1st 2006. The conference was well attended by the Church History Scholars. Accommodation for the Delegates was arranged in St. Francis Assisi Pilgrims Quarters, Vailakanni. The inaugural session and other sessions were held in the Arogyamatha Higher Secondary School. 16 scholarly papers were presented during the Conference days One important feature of this Conference was that a whole day was spent in the Tranquebar, visiting the places associated with first Lutheran Mission in India. Since the main thrust of the Conference was to commemorate the 3rd centenary of the arrival of Rev. Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg and Rev. Heinrich Pleutschau, the 5th centenary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier and the 4th centenary of Robert de Nobili`s mission in Madurai, papers were mainly on these topics

On October 1st during the business session the new office bearers of the CHAI Southern Branch were unanimously elected: President: Dr. P. Manasseh; Secretary cum Treasurer: Rev. Fr. Francis Thonippara, CMI (re elected)

Associate Secretary: Prof. Maria Lazar

Executive Body Members: Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar ; Dr. Charles Dias; Rev. Gladson Jathanna.

There are joyful and sorrowful moments in the past years. Prof. George Menachery, an active member of the CHAI is honored by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI with Chevalier title

Sorrowful moments are the sudden demise of two of the members of CHAI Southern Branch: Rev. S.D. L Alagodi, and Rev Varghese Pudussery. Let the departed souls rest in peace

On May 5, 2009, General Gathering of the Southern Branch was held and it was attended by 14 members The next Southern Branch Conference will be held at Trichur in October 20009.

(Report presented by the Secretary at the CHAI Triennial Conference held at Shillong, on 07-05-09)