About Us

Rt. Rev. Dr. J. J. Christdoss

Tirunelveli Diocese - History

The formation of tiny congregation at Palayamkottai consisting of just 40 members, the first being Clarinda, was the humble beginning of the Diocese of Tirunelveli, the biggest in Asia now. The infant church was nursed and nourished by the foreign missionaries from Trustbuster like Schwartz and Jaenicke and a few indigenous stalwarts like Sathianathan, Royappan, Savarirayan, Savarimuthu and Anandapragasam. Good news was spread to many areas, and churches were established in different parts of Tirunelveli District. The establishment of a church at Mudalur the first Christian village in 1799 was momentous event in the annals of the history of the Tirunelveli Diocese. It paved way for the "en masse" conversion of Nadars thanks to the enthusiastic and indefatigable ministry among them by David Sundaranandam Gericke and Kohlhoff. James Hough oversaw the missionary work of the SPCK after Schwartz and Jaenicke.

The Church Missionary Society (CMS) and the Society for Propagation of Gospel (SPG) entered the Tirunelveli field and went on planting Churches besides looking after the existing churches for almost a hundred years till they merged into the Diocesan main stream in 1924. CTE Rhenius was head and shoulders above the rest in the CMS. Apart from building the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Palayamkottai, he planted 371 churches including Meignanapuram, Dohnavur, Pannaivilai and Nallur. No wonder, he is considered the greatest missionary after St. Paul and called “The Apostle of Tirunelveli. Pettitt, John Thomas, Tucker, Schaffter, Hobbs, Barenbruck were the other important CMS Missionaries who laboured in the Tirunelveli Vineyard.Tab 2 content goes here.

Nazareth, Sawyerpuram and Idayangudi were the important fields nursed by the SPG missionaries. The Rev Caemmerer and the Rev Canon A Margoschis worked strenuously for the stabilization of the Churches around Nazareth. Schools and a hospital were established at Nazareth, a model Christian settlement. Sawyer, a layman working for the East India Company, formed a village exclusively for Christians and it is called Sawyerpuram after him. Dr. GU Pope and Rev. Huxtable developed it into a model village. Dr Robert Caldwell burnt himself for the establishment and development of many churches including Idaiyangudi, a village far away from Tirunelveli.

Ever since Tirunelveli was upgraded into a Diocese in 1896, it has been casting its net wide and deep. Many pastorates in the East and South have adopted a village in the northern part of the Diocese. This scheme has been paying rich dividends. Besides, Tirunelveli Diocese has introduced outreach ministry. Committed people, clergy and laity, go to other districts for gospel work during the first week of September every year. It established the first indigenous missionary organization called Indian Missionary Society (IMS) in 1903 to take the good news to the unreached areas in other states. The Rt. Rev. V. S. Azariah, the first Indian Bishop, is one of the fruits of Tirunelveli Diocese. Now, the Diocese has 185 thousand members spread over 107 Pastorates in 736 villages.

Apart from spiritual work, Tirunelveli Diocese has been striving hard to address to the economic, educational and social needs of the poor, the aged, the mentally retarded, the visually disabled etc. The fruits of this Diocese are in every nook and corner of globe bearing witness to the Good Shepherd.

Mission Statement

  1. To consider every human being as a precious one created in the image of God and sent into this world to fulfil His purpose.
  2. a). To present Jesus Christ as the true and living God Almighty and to demonstrate His claim on every individual.
    b). To liberate the sin-dominated, sorrow-laden and peace-longing society from sin, sickness and suffering by the power of the Gospel of Christ and by the power of the Cross, the source of Salvation.
  3. To produce daring and dynamic disciples of Jesus who would proclaim the Gospel of Christ in every nook and corner and to every people group of our motherland, India.
  4. a). To do the holistic ministry of catering to the spiritual, intellectual, physical and social needs of every individual without discrimination of caste, creed or colour.
    b). To cater to the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of our fellow-countrymen by effectively running educatinal institutions like Schools and Colleges, Hospitals, Orphanages, Counselling centres, Old-age Homes and Child-care Centres in needy places.
  5. To consider all human beings as brothers and sisters and promote peace, unity and understanding among them.
  6. To cherish and value inter-religious dialogues with our brothers and sisters of other faiths with an open mind and a spirit of respect and understanding.
  7. To preach everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the essence of which is love and sacrifice and to strengthen the existing churches and to establish new churches professing, practicing and propagating the principles of the Holy Bible with congregations filled with parity, unity and peace.
  8. To identify oppression and suppression in any form in any corner and to oppose it stout-heartedly until it ceases and those affected are redeemed.
  9. To care specially for the depraved, down-trodden and underprivileged classes, the Dalits and the Tribals and to uptight them with the power of the Gospel and equip them with spiritual awareness, intellectual insight and liberated thinking.
  10. To identify, condemn and redress all forms of violence that deprives the essence of humanity like infanticide, child labour, sexual discrimination racial prejudice, casteism, blood-shed, etc.

Vision Statement

1. Changing Society

  1. Through the Church, Christian young people and pastors should be educated regarding Christin distinctiveness and worldview.
  2. The Church should emphasize by teaching and practice, the responsibility and role of the Church and Christians in the society and world
  3. The Church should recognize the need to respond to, be relevant to and interact with changing social situations (eg. ethnic conflicts).
  4. Christian leaders and teachers should get Christians involved in tackling structural evils by gathering inter-denominational forums where awareness is raised and issues are discussed. Leaders and government officials, etc. should be invited to give their perspective.
  5. The Church should encourage Christians to embrace active political participation and leadership.

2. Communalism

  1. The Church should promote constructive dialogue and interaction with different religious groups on social and religious issues.
  2. The Church should conduct seminars / worshops on communal harmony for the laity.
  3. Christians should be trained to conscientize the society/their neighbours for communal harmony by making full use of the media, i.e. writing articles in the newspapers, producing skits, films, etc.
  4. In communally senstive areas, special care should be taken in the choice of evangelistic methods. Aggressive and offensive methods of evangelism should not be used.

3. Evagelization and Church-Planting

  1. National networks and co-ordinating bodies should work together in common national programmes to avoid confusion and competition between missions / Churches and to avoid duplication.
  2. Consultations and seminars should be conducted for mainline Churches on Church-planting to create awareness and educate the participants for involvement in Church-lanting.
  3. Emphasis should be given to training people for Church-planting ministry and also to encouraging resource persons for the Church-planters.


  • Hospitals - 6
  • Colleges - 3
  • Nursing College - 1
  • College of Education - 2
  • Teachers Training Institutes - 3
  • Higher Secondary Schools - 11
  • High Schools - 3
  • Middle Schools - 74
  • Primary Schools - 249
  • Special Schools - 3
  • Matriculation Schools - 2

  • Medical Mission

    Medical Mission initiated by the S.P.G. at Nazareth, Sawyerpurm, ldaiyangudi and Nagalapuram has been found most rewarding. In the early years when medical facilities provided by the Government were meager and inadequate, these hospitals eminently served the community. St. Luke’s Hospital, Nazareth has kept on with the march of modern medicine. Its phenomenal growth was during the stewardship of Dr. R. Vedabodagam when several new wards – mostly gifts of grateful patients – were erected. In recent years a huge Extension Project was completed with the aid of the Protestant Central Agency for Development Aid, Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany. With several additional buildings, an air- conditioned operation theatre and intensive care unit, sophisticated equipment and highly qualified medical personnel, the hospital is much sought by the community several miles around. A significant development out of this hospital is St. Luke’s Leprosarium at Peikulam (Estd. 1956) which has grown to be one of the foremost of its kind in the whole of India.

    Recent additions to the medical ministry are the Hospitals at Maruthakulam, Tuticorin and Melapalayam. All these hospitals are manned by competent and dedicated medical staff, with whom alone they can fulfil the purpose for which they were founded.

    CSI Rhenius Community Health and Development Project Melapalayam, Tirunelveli:
    The CSI Rhenius Community Health and Development Project at Melapalayam is a comprehensive health care and socio-economic programme of the CSI Tirunelveli Diocese, providing preventive and curative health care to the multi-faith community and marginalized people with the active participation of the local community, support of government agencies, voluntary organizations and the church.

    Project area:
    Melapalayam is in the district of Tirunelveli and a suburban part of the Tirunelveli Town. 80% of the population are Muslims while the rest are Hindus. Christians form a very small minority. Majority of them are economically backward. Their general and hygienic conditions are not good and the standard of health is low. The project is also serving 2 small villages Omanallur and Sadaiammankulam 10 and 33 km away from the main clinic in Melapalayam respectively. These two villages are visited twice a week.

    Staff pattern:
    The project is run by a small team of 2 multipurpose health care workers, 1 social worker, 2 paramedical workers and a medical officer in charge.

    Door to door survey is done. Children below 2 years are given free immunization. Pregnant mothers are given free antenatal care. Patients with diseases like tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension, etc. are followed up. Physically handicapped persons are given possible help through voluntary agencies. Periodical free medical and eye camps and once-a-month leprosy clinics are conducted. Health education is given. Necessary articles like quilts and blankets are distributed to the needy.

    The project proposes to extend its service to 7 more villages by forming one more mobile medical team.
    Hospitals in the Diocese:

  • CSI Jeyaraj Annapackiam Mission Hospital Palayamkottai
  • CSI Bell Pins Indrani Chelladurai Mission Hospital Palayamkottai
  • St. Immanuel Hospital Idaiyankudi
  • Barenbruck Hospital Bangala Surandai
  • Barenbruck Mission Hospital Athisayapuram, Surandai.
  • St. Luke's Hospital Maruthakulam
  • Diocesan Officers

    Rev. V. Kanthiah Nallapandi

    Clergy Secretary

    81/1, CSI Church Street,
    Pulavanur, Madhapuram,Keela Kadayam, 
    Kadayam, Tirunelveli,
    Tamilnadu- 627415.


    K. Samuel Baskar Raj

    Lay Secretary

    H - 91, Anbu Nagar, Maharaja Nagar, Tirunelveli, 
    Tamilnadu- 627011.

    0944 2108844

    Mr. R. Jayakumar Thomas Jayaraj

    Financial Administrator

    17, Hari Raj Street, Perumalpuram, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli, Tamilnadu- 627007

    0944 3149940

    News & Events

    No News

    No Events

    Get in Touch

    Diocesan Office: 
    P.O. Box No:116, 
    No.5, Punithavathiyar Street, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli-627002, 



    Our Gallery