Mananthavady diocese was established by Pope Paul VI on March 1, 1973, by bifurcating the diocese of Thalassery. The diocese comprised civil district of Wayanad in Kerala, Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu and districts of Shimoga, Chickmangalore, Hasan, Mandia, Mysore and Chamarajnagar in Karnataka. The eparchy has an area of approximately 37,697 square kilometers and a population of 172,282 Syrian Catholics. Mananthavady is one among the three taluks in Wayanad district, which lies in the northeast of Kerala state.
The total population of the diocesan territory is 1,603,885 as of December 2016. The diocese has been a multi-ethnic and multi-religious region. About 36 percent of the population in this region are Adivasis consisting of Paniyas, Adiyas, Kattunayakan and Kurichiyans. Moreover, Mananthavady diocese has a large settler population. People from different parts of Kerala migrated to this fertile land.
Languages in use in the diocesan territory are Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, English as well as various tribal languages.
Bishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy was consecrated as the first bishop of Mananthavady on May 1, 1973.
Bishop Thoomkuzhy (Archbishop emeritus of Thrissur) was transferred to the diocese of Thamarassery on June 7, 1995. The Proto-Syncellus Msgr. Joseph Kaniamattam was appointed as the administrator of the eparchy on July 27, 1995. Bishop Emmanuel Pothanamuzhy, CMI, was consecrated as the new bishop of Mananthavady diocese on January 26, 1997. After the demise of Bishop Pothanamuzhy in 2003, Proto-Syncellous Msgr. George Njaralakkatt was appointed as the administrator of the eparchy. The present bishop Jose Porunnedom was appointed on March 18, 2004, and was consecrated the third bishop of Mananthavady on May 15, 2004. The diocese of Mananthavady was bifurcated and Bhadravathi diocese was erected in 2007.
The diocese of Mananthavady was erected for the migrated people from central Kerala. Food shortage and the population explosion of the post-war period (1945-1960) forced them to migrate to the fertile lands of northern Kerala. The eparchy of Mananthavady was established to look after the spiritual needs of them.
Mananthavady belongs to Wayanad district. Mananthavady is one of the three taluks (counties) in the district and is administered by Municipality.
The territory is well connected with roads and there is no train service. The nearest airport and railway stations are at Calicut which is 108 kilometers away from the diocesan headquarters.
The district has salubrious climate due to its distance from the sea level and forest cover. The climate is very hot during March to May. The highest temperature during this season goes up to 35 degrees Celsius. Cold weather is during December to February and the temperature goes down to 10 degrees Celsius. South West Monsoon sets in the first week of June and extends up to September and North East Monsoon sets in October and extends up to November. The average rainfall is 2,500 mm per year.
The economy of Mananthavady diocese is mainly based on agriculture and is an industrially backward area. Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper and vanilla are the main cash crops. Recently Wayanad district has emerged as the most fascinating eco-tourist centre in the state of Kerala.
The level of telecommunications infrastructure is average. Almost everyone has a mobile phone in town areas. Most of the homes have television, telephone and internet. In rural areas access to modern communication is very limited. There are some parts of the diocese where there is no electricity. There is no television broadcasting stations or radio stations in the diocesan territory. The diocese has officially inaugurated a community radio, namely Mattoli.
Literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 85.77 percent, higher than the national average of 59.5 percent. Wayanad district is considered as the most educationally backward district in Kerala.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
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