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 Surat, 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 pressures 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. Anasta- sius 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 be- tween 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 formation 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.
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. Berchumans Puthuparampil as the first Provincial Minister. 1966: In the first Provincial election Chapter Br. Berchumans Puthuparampil was elected as the Provincial Minister. 1969: Apr. 30 In the second Provincial election Chapter Br. Jacob Acharuparampil was elected as the Provincial 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 dividing 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 jurisdictions, namely, St. Joseph Province (Kerala), Holy Trinity Province (Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra), Amala Annai Province (Tamil Nadu) and St. Francis ViceProvince(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. 1974: Feb. 17 Mary Matha Mission of Andhra became 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 General 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. 1979: Aug. 13 Br. Jacob Acharuparampil was appointed as the Bishop of Trivandrum. 1979: Oct. 19 Br. Claude Ollukaran, the Provincial Minister, was nominated Definitor General 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 the Minister Provincial 1982 :Dec 26-31 Extraordinary Provincial chapter at Assisi 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 his Definitory 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 Provincial. 1997: Jan 30 Andhra-Orissa Region had been constituted into a Vice Province, namely, Mary Matha Vice-Province, Andhra- Orissa and Br. Mathew Parinthirickal was appointed as the Vice-Provincial. 1997: Nov-Dec Visitation of the Province by Br. Anil Sequeira, Definitor General, to assess the wishes of the friars on the issue of division of the Province. 1998: May 8 Br. Peter Celestine Elampassery was appointed as the Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar. The Episcopal Ordination took place on 6th Sep. 1998. 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, Definitor General, 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 Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. 1998: Dec. 17 Vice-Province of St. Boneventure, Maharashtra 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 Definitory, 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. 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 patronage of Blessed Virgin Mary. 2003: Nov 22 Delhi Mission of St. Francis Province, Kerala was raised to Prem-Jyoti Custody, DeIhi.
6. Pāvanātma Province, Kerala 2005:
Jan 7 The General Definitory, 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 Definitor read the decree (Prot. No. 00044/05) and declared, constituted and established the Vice-Province of Pāvanātma, 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 Definitors. Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam, 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 Pāvanātma Vice-Province. 2005: Dec. 26-29 Statutory chapter of Pāvanātma Vice-Province was held at Vimalagiri Ashram, Pattaram presided over by Br. Jacob Chamakkala, Provincial Minister of St. Joseph 2008: July 14-18 The first ordinary chapter of Pāvanātma vice province was held from 14 -18 July 2008. Br. Thomas JacobThekkumkattil, Provincial of St. Joseph Province, Kottayam 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, reading the decree (Prot. N. 00369/09) constituted and declared established the Capuchin Province of Pāvanātma, 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 definitors respectively. 2012: Nov. 12-16 The first election chapter of Pāvanātma Province was celebrated at Pāvanātma Provincialate, Kannur presided over by Br. General Minister, Mauro Jöhri. The chapterr 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. The main highlights of the extra ordinary chapter were two papers presented on the grace of working and on Trust and Society, by Brs. George Valiyapadath and Joseph Charuplackal. There were also 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. 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.