On June 13, 1973, the Provincial Chapter of the Upper German Province decided to start a foundation of the Carmelite Order in India. The Prior Provincial, Fr. Joseph Kotschner, travelled to India looking for opportunities to establish the Order in the subcontinent. As a result of the discussions with many bishops the first group of students arrived in Bamberg, Germany, at the end of 1973. Two more groups followed in 1974 and 1976.
On May 21, 1982, the first house of the Order in India, Carmel Nivas, was erected canonically at Karukadam, Diocese of Kothamangalam. Carmel Nivas serves as the minor seminary and was the first centre of the Provincial Commissariat erected in 1993. The novitiate house, named as Karmel Nikethan, Kartikulam, was erected canonically in 1983. In 1988 the house for students of theology in Bangalore was inaugurated and named Carmel Jyothi. The Order made rapid progress in India and another formation house for students for Philosophy, Carmel Sadan, was canonically erected in Thrissur in 1994. Since 1997 the house serves also as the house of the deu Commissary Provincial. In 1998 another formation house, Carmel Bhavan, was opened in Karukutty. Beside of the formation work the Carmelites are active not only in parish ministry, but in preaching retreats, socio-spiritual activities and in the school of the mission in Andra Pradesh. In 2000 the first Indian Carmelites went to Kenya to start a new mission there. The first house was officially blessed in June 2005.
In 2002 the Assembly of the Commissariat decided to initiate a process of discussion with the Upper German Province regarding the feasibility of the Indian Commissariat becoming an independent Province. The Province of Upper Germany formally applied for the erection of a Province in India in April 2007. Eventually the Province of St. Thomas came into existence on July 16, 2007, with Fr. Sojan Matthew Neendoor as the first Prior Provincial of the Province together with the Provincial Councillors Frs. Martin Pulickal, Dominic Vadakekuttiankal, Sunny Jacob Thuruthippilly and Bosco Njaliath.
At present the Province of St. Thomas of the Syro-Malabar Rite has five canonically erected houses and about 85 religious working in India, Canada, Kenya, Great Britain, United States, Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe and Italy.
For further information: Province of India
Very Rev Sojan Neendoor O.Carm.
Chettupuzha P. O 680 621
THRISSUR – KERALA