Christian Articles

Church of South India, a brief History
Rev. Dr. Ninan Mathew  

The Church of South India was inaugurated on September 27, 1947 in St. George's Cathedral, Madras. India became an independent country on August 15, 1947. The year 1947 was important to India as a nation and to the church, not only in India but also all over the world. The presiding bishop of the inaugural function was Rt. Rev. C. K. Jacob of the Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin. A vast congregation gathered in the cathedral at Madras from all over the world. History was made as the following declaration was done by Bishop Jacob.

"Dearly Beloved brethren, in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ the head of the church, who on the night of his passion prayed that his disciples might be one, and by authority of the governing bodies of the uniting churches whose resolutions have been read in your hearing and laid in your prayer before Almighty God; I do hereby declare that these three churches, namely:

The Madras, Madura, Malabar, Jaffna, Kannda, Telugu

Travancore Church councils of the South India united church

The Methodist church of South India.

Trichinopoly, Hyderabad and Mysore districts; The Madras, travancore and Cochin, Tinnevelly and Dornakal dioceses of the churches of India, Burma and Cylon; are become one CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA, and these bishops, presbyters, deacons and probationers who have assented to basis of union and accepted the constitution of the Church of South India, whose names are laid upon this Holy table are bishops, presbyters and deacons of this church. in the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy Sprit. Amen"

The formal discussion on church union began in May 1919 at Tranquebar. This famous conference on church union is known as Tranquebar 1919. One of the main leaders of this conference and later negotiations was Bishop V. S. Azariah of the Dornakal diocese who was the first Indian bishop of the Anglican Church. The Church of South India is the result of twenty-eight years of prayers and discussions. Of course, this was consummation of the work of the Holy sprit among leaders of the church.

The inaugurations of the Church of South India opened a new chapter in the history of the churches. This was the first time in the history of the church such a union was realised between Episcopal and non-episcopal churches. By this union four traditions came together:

Anglican (Episcopal)




One of the three churches to come into Church of South India was South India United Church (S.I.U.C.). S.I.U.C. was formed in 1908. This was a union between Congregationalists and Presbyterians. The Basal Mission, district of Malabar also joined the S.I.U.C. in 1919.

When C.S.I. was inaugurated there were fourteen dioceses. Today the church has twenty-one dioceses and more than 2 million members. There are seven diocese in Tamil Nadu, six in Andrhra Pradesh, four in Kerala, three in Karnataka and one in Sri Lanka.

We are thankful to God for Church of south India. At the same time we have to repent before God for our failures in fulfilling the mission of the Church. Let us re-dedicate ourselves to live and work as true members of the church, which is the Body of Christ.