Khrist Jyothi Province
Khrist Jyothi Province
The Little Flower Congregation had its origin on 19th March 1931 at Mookkannur a village seven kilometers north east of Angamaly, Kerala. It was started as a society of Brothers under the name ‘Little Flower Brotherhood’ by Fr. Thomas Panat, later known as Fr. Basilius with the necessary permission from Mar Augustine Kandathil the then Archbishop of Ernakulam. As the originator and director, Fr. Basilius was all in all of this lay Congregation. Inspite of his strenuous efforts and prayers, the community had a poor growth. So in 1945, with the consensus of the members, who were all lay brothers, Fr. Basilius sought the permission of the Archbishop to re-organize the congregation by admitting also candidates for priesthood. On December 27th, 1945 Archbishop Kandathil issued a decree giving permission to admit candidates for priesthood for ‘better realization of the aim of the congregation’. In June 1946, the first batch of aspirants for priesthood was admitted and a new enthusiasm and vigour emerged on the life and activities of the Congregation. A petit seminary was started at Mookkannur on 1st June 1948. The first ordination to priesthood in our congregation took place in June 1956. Many new houses were established and members embarked on several new projects in accordance with the aim and Spirit of the congregation.
The Constitution of the reorganized religious institute thereafter called Little Flower Congregation written by Fr. Basilius was approved by His Grace Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil on 8th October, 1947. Later the Constitution was revised according to the oriental Code of Canon Law and was approved by His Grace Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Parecattil on 18th April, 1963. Very Rev. Fr. Basilius CST, the founder of our Congregation was called to his eternal reward on 4th October 1976 and his mortal remains are buried in the Ashram cemetery at Mookkannur.
On the basis of the desire expressed by the Brothers for greater autonomy, the Oriental Congregation directed His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Parecattil to appoint a special commission to study the matter and report to Rome its finding. In the light of the findings of this commission and the information he gathered from the two sections viz. Priests and Brothers by holding discussion with them, His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Parecattil sent a report to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on 15th September 1977 recommending the division of the Congregation into two autonomous bodies i.e., Clerical and Lay. Accepting this recommendation the Oriental Congregation appointed Very Rev. Fr. Cyril OIC, the then Superior General of the Order of the Imitation of Christ (later Arch Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram) its delegate to pave the way for the smooth division of the Congregation. On the basis of the report submitted by him to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, His Eminence was directed by the Congregation by the Decree Prot.N.512, 68 dated Nov.9, 1978 to issue two decrees for the erection of two Congregations Iuris Eparchialis. Hence, by virtue of this Decree, His Eminence the Cardinal officially and canonically erected the community of the Fathers as Clerical Congregation Iuris Eparchialis on 8th December 1978 and named it, Little Flower Congregation (CST Fathers).
As per instruction issued by His Eminence the Cardinal along with the Decree of Erection, a General Chapter was convoked in 1979 for revising the Constitution. The Constitution and Statutes revised and finalized were approved by His Eminence the Cardinal on April 1st, 1981. These legislative texts were translated into English and submitted to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches together with an application to grant Pontifical status to our Congregation. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches after careful study and thorough examination of the texts made certain observations and asked the Superior General to revise the rules in accordance with the guidelines given. Thus the revised constitution and directory was approved by His Grace Mar Antony Padiyara, Arch Bishop of Ernakulam on February 14th 1986.
On 11th August, 1984 the Holy See erected the new diocese of Gorakhpur bifurcating the diocese of Varanasi and Fr. Dominic Kokkat, who headed the Congregation’s missionary activities in the diocese of Jalandhar, in Punjab was nominated its first Bishop. His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Parekattil together with other bishops ordained him on October 4th 1984 and the installation ceremony took place on 14th October at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church, Gorakhpur.
Considering the further growth and development of our Congregation and taking into account the increase of the number of members and Ashrams and the wide expansion of the area of our apostolic activities, the IXth Ordinary General Synaxis of our Congregation in 1991 has reorganized the administration of our Congregation into two Regions with delegated powers to the Regional Superiors. Thus two regions were erected St. Joseph’s and St. Thomas in our congregation on 15th February, 1992.
The same General Synaxis of 1991 in its fourth session, in accordance with codex canonum eccelsiarum orientalium No.508:2 and our Constitution No.194 unanimously decided on 29th November 1991, to erect these two regions into provinces with effect from March 19, 1994. Heralding further growth of the Congregation Gorakhpur-Nepal Region under St. Thomas Province and Punjab-Rajasthan Region under St. Joseph’s Province, were erected on 10th June, 1994.
Making another milestone in the history of the CST Congregation His Holiness Pope John Paul II raised our Congregation to the status of a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right on 21st December, 1995. The official declaration of the decree and the celebration connected with it took place on 19th March, 1996 at our Generalate in the presence of Cardinal Mar Antony Padiyara, the then Major Archbishop of Syro Malabar Church. As per the decision of the Xth Ordinary General Syanxis of Little Flower Congregation held at Little Flower Generalate, Thrikkakara, Khrist Jyoti Vice-Province and Little Flower Vice-Province were erected on 2nd January 2000. The revised constitution of our Congregation was promulgated on 5th March 2003, as experiment for seven years. On March 5th 2003 the Little Flower Vice-Province and Khrist Jyoti Vice Province were raised as independent Provinces in the Congregation. On 15th July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Thuruthimattam CST, the then Superior General of Little Flower Congregation, as successor to Bishop Dominic Kokkat CST. He was ordained bishop on 1st October 2006 by Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil. The revised constitution promulgated in 2003 for seven years was revised and promulgated in 2010. CST fathers started working under Faridabad diocese.