The archdiocese of Changanacherry is the largest Catholic diocese in Kerala state. It is one of the first two vicariates and the second metropolitan archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar hierarchy which can be considered as a prelude to the restoration of the identity of the Church in 1992 as a Sui Juris church. It covers 13 forane churches and more than 300 other churches.
Malayalam is the main language spoken. But sizeable numbers of people speak English and Tamil.
The vicariate of Kottayam was renamed Changanacherry and its headquarters moved to Changanassery in 1891. With Pope Pius XI's establishment of the Syro-Malabar hierarchy on Dec. 21, 1923, through the papal bull Romani Pontifices, the dioceses of Thrissur, Changanassery and Kottayam became suffragans of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, thereby constituting the first Syro-Malabar ecclesiastical province. On July 25, 1950, Palai diocese was created from the territory of Changanassery.
In 1955, the Vatican extended the boundaries of Changanacherry diocese to areas south of the river Pamba up to and including Kanniyakumari. The following year, on July 26, 1956, Pope Pius XII created the second province in the Syro-Malabar Church by raising Changanacherry to an archdiocese with Kottayam and Palai as its suffragans.
The archdiocese was divided on Feb. 26, 1977, to create the diocese of Kanjirappilly, and again on Dec. 18, 1996, when the Kanniyakumari mission was elevated to become the diocese of Thuckalay.
Humid conditions with temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius in the summers.
Spread over 8,450 square kilometers, the archdiocese covers the districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.