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The Bishop in South Kerala, the Rt. Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam August 17, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of South India.
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The Rt. Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam, Bishop in South Kerala

On July 23, 2011 the Church of South India consecrated the Rt. Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam as sixth Bishop in South Kerala.

(A note on Anglican nomenclature.  Bishops in the Church of South India are known as the bishop in XXX, not as the bishop of XXX.  This comes from the church’s heritage as a united church combining a number of Protestant traditions.  The CSI’s chief bishop is not an archbishop but a moderator.  The moderator is the chairman of the synod and senior bishop but is not a metropolitan archbishop.)

The election and consecration of Bishop Rasalam had some unusual twists and turns.  In December, Bishop J.W. Gladstone retired as Bishop in South Kerala and Moderator of the CSI.  The principal of the Kerala United Seminary, the Rev. Dr. G. Sobhanam was subsequently elected by the diocesan synod and confirmed by the CSI’s general synod as the new bishop.  However, Bishop-elect Sobhanam died on March 26, 2011.

The runner up in the election was the Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam.  He was appointed bishop of the diocese in May by the synod in place of Dr. Sobhanam.

Here is a link to a Kerala newspaper article reporting on the consecration.  And a link to a story I wrote for the Church of England Newspaper on his election and a controversy over the diocesan medical school.

The Diocese of South Kerala was formed in 1947 with the formation of the Church of South India and was first known as the Diocese of South Travancore.  A London Missionary Society missionary, the Rev. A.H. Legg was consecrated on 13 Oct 1947 as the first bishop of the diocese.  In 1959 the diocese was divided into the South Kerala and Kanyakumari dioceses, with Bishop Legg continuing as Bishop in South Kerala until 1966.

His successors were:

The Rt. Rev. William Paul Vachalan (1966-1972)
The Rt. Rev. I. Jesudasan (5 Aug 1973-1990)
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Amirtham (20 May 1990-1997)
The Rt. Rev.  J. W. Gladstone (16 Sept 1997-2010)

As of year’s end 2010 the diocese has 352 ordained pastors, 49 retired pastors and more than 200 church workers. There are 60 districts and 623 churches in this diocese.



1. Arun - October 5, 2011

The following may be considered as a grievance.
CSI South Kerala Diocese (Trivandrum) has named several churches as “Memorial” in the name of dead human beings those who are neither proclaimed as Saints nor Apostles of Lord Jesus Christ. “Mateer Memorial” Church – One of the prime Church in Trivandrum is quoted for reference. Nevertheless many more churches under CSI South Kerala Diocese bear such names.
This is a shame for the whole CSI South Kerala Christian Community who are claiming themselves as followers of Lord Jesus Christ but giving the Glory to his servants. The Churches should be renamed for the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ rather than for the glory of a human being who might have done the duties what Lord anticipate from him. It does not mean that human names should overrule the divine.
It is a real disgrace that this issue is not being realised, and even if realised not ready (are afraid) for change. Now a days it is a trend in CSI South Kerala Churches that, for any developmental activities, if donations are made, the donor will definitely demand for naming even the Church by his fore father’s name added up a with a “memorial” behind. People should be encouraged to put such names in the Cemetery (Tomb) and not for the Holy Churches of Our Living Lord.
Now the question is: who is the responsible or who is to be blamed for. It is obvious that the Diocese Council is the real Culprit. Diocese is giving permission to register such names for the Churches, giving priority to the interests of people and not for the interests of our Lord.
It is hence brought to your kind notice for a thorough review of the above matter and for the implementation of a proper solution.

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