Trichy-Tanjore Diocese of the Church of South India

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The CSI Tiruchirappalli-Thanjavur Diocese
Country India
Ecclesiastical province The Church of South India
Members88,831 (as on 2000)
Secular priests 100+
Current leadership
BishopRt.Rev.Dr. Dhanraj Chandrasekaran

The CSI Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur Diocese (தென்னிந்திய திருச்சபை, திருச்சிராப்பள்ளி-தஞ்சாவூர் பேராயம் ) is a diocese of Church of South India in Tamil Nadu state of India. The diocese is one among the 24 dioceses of Church of South India and was one of the first 14 dioceses to be formed at the inaugural of the Church of South India in 1947.


About the diocese

The diocese spreads over the Mayiladuthurai district, Nagapattinam District, Tiruvarur District, Thanjavur District, Tiruchirappalli District, a part of Perambalur District, Karur District, a part of Tirupur district, a part of Coimbatore District, a part of Cuddalore District, a part of Pudukottai District, a part of Ariyalur District and part of the Union Territory of Puducherry & Karaikal. For administration purposes the diocese is subdivided into eight District Church Councils(DCC) - Thanjavur DCC, Tiruchirappalli DCC, Perambalur DCC, Karur DCC, Dharapuram DCC, Udumalaipettai DCC, Tharangambadi-Nagapattinam DCC and the Anaimalai Hills DCC. The diocese had a membership of 88,831 in 2000 and the mission in the diocese is carried through 100+ ordained pastors along with a bishop. The diocese has partnership with Leicester in The United Kingdom. Empowerment of women and dalits are the main thrusts of the diocese.


The diocese does Education Ministry, Hospital Ministry, Tribal Welfare Ministry, Mission and Evangelisation Ministry and Ministry among women. Education Ministry: The diocese has 52 primary schools, 2 high schools, 17 higher secondary schools (including St.Peter's Higher Secondary School, Thanjavur, which taught English to Indians for the first time in India since 1784, St.John's Vestry Higher Secondary School and Bishop Heber Higher Secondary School, Teppakulam, Tiruchirappalli in education service since 1763 and 1762 respectively), 2 nursing schools, 1 industrial training centre and 4 colleges specialised in Arts & Science, Management, Nursing & Community Welfare (including Bishop Thorp College, Dharapuram, the first self-financing college in Tamil Nadu). All institutions of this diocese are religious minority educational institutions. These institutions are some among the earliest institutions of the Tamil Nadu state started by the then missionaries with a highly dedicated sacrifice and a vision of super quality education in the area wherever they are located. Most of these institutions are residential. Hospital Ministry: The diocese has 2 general hospitals; The CSI Mission General Hospital is located in Uraiyur, Tiruchirappalli and the CSI Dr. Anne Booth Mission Hospital in CSI Mission Compound, Dharapuram. These hospitals are multi-speciality hospitals on service committed and dedicated to the glory of God through the ministry of healing with modern facilities, infrastructure, dedicated management and staff. Tribal Welfare Ministry: The diocese operates Tribal Welfare programmes in the tribal area whichever located in the jurisdiction of the diocese. Mission and Evangelisation Ministry: The diocese does Mission and Evangelisation programme in the limit of the diocese's territories. Ministry among women: Having the motto of empowering women in the diocese, the diocese operates various programmes and welfare measures for the development of the life style and social status of the women. Diocesan Press and Book: The diocese has its own printing press at Uraiyur, Tiruchirappalli; where they print all their reading materials. They also publish a book called "Thiruchabai Malar" (திருச்சபை மலர்) on every month which is circulated internally.

Officers of the Council

The diocese is headed by a bishop, who is an elected presbyter through the Diocesan Council. He is considered as the head of the diocese and all the institutions belonging to the diocese. Other than the Bishop as the head of all, the Clerical Secretary position takes care of the Pastoral & Evangelical workers in the diocese, the Lay Secretary position takes care of all the Lay Workers in the diocese, the Educational Secretary position takes care of all Educational Institutions and the workers of those institutions and as usual of all the organisations, this diocese also has a position for the Diocesan Treasurer to manage all the incomes and expenditures of the diocese.

Bishops of the diocese and their tenure

Following is the list of bishops served in the Diocese.

† The Right Rev. Dr. Edgar Bentley Thorp (1947-1962)

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Edgar Bentley Thorp Bishop Thorpe.jpg
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Edgar Bentley Thorp

Wesleyan Methodist missionary Rt. Rev. Dr. Edgar Bentley Thorp, who was born in Bengaluru was the first Bishop of the diocese. He was consecrated as bishop in St. George's Cathedral, Chennai on 27 September 1947 when he was aged 42. He was the son of a former missionary and Chairman of Mysore District, Rev.William Hubert Thorp and was one among the two Methodists consecrated as bishops. A distinguished scholar and educationist educated at Kingswood School and with degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. He was a brilliant mathematician in the famous Oxford University, but he gave up the science for the Church. After a year studying Comparative Religion at Marburg, Edgar went to the Trichinopoly (Tiruchirappalli) District in 1930. He was Principal of the Bible School at Dharapuram, training village evangelists. He was the Chairman of the District from 1945 to 1947. He was guiding the diocese as bishop for 15 years and left India on 1962 on health grounds. His ministry among poverty-stricken village Christians in the Dharapuram mass movement area and on the tea plantations in Valparai area, was underpinned by his simple lifestyle; and as bishop, the impartiality of his leadership fostered unity between the Anglican minority and Methodist majority in the diocese. He died at Prestatyn on 1 September 1991.

Bishop Thorp Arts and Science College in Dharapuram is named in his remembrance. Also, the diocese have named lot of constructions in some of its institutions in his remembrance. For example, Thorp Block at Bishop Heber Higher Secondary School in 2001 Puthur, Tiruchirappalli, Bishop Thorp hostel for women at Bishop Heber College 2008 Tiruchirappalli and Bishop Thorp Memorial Church at Chinnaputhur Pastorate in Dharapuram, 2014 Ammapatti village.

† The Right Rev. Dr. David Chellappa (1962-1964) (Interim Bishop)

The Rt.Rev. Dr. David Chellappa Bishop David Chellappa.jpg
The Rt.Rev. Dr. David Chellappa

The Rt. Rev. David Chellappa (1905–1964), the first Indian Bishop of the Diocese of Madras of the Church of South India. [1] Born in Tanjore in 1905, Chellappa was the son of Justice Daniel Chellappa and Mrs Elizabeth Daniel Chellappa, daughter of Munsif A. David Pillay, who served as the Legal Adviser to King Serfoji II of the Bhonsle dynasty in Thanjavur. Ordained in 1933 by Rt. Rev. Edward Harry Mansfield Waller, he was sent to Tiruchirappalli district to serve two churches - Mettupatti and Irungalur. Received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Hope College and graduated with a Master of Arts degree from Durham University in 1954. [2] He became Bishop of Madras the following year. [1]

† The Most Rev. Dr. Solomon Doraiswamy (1964-1982)

The Most Rev. Dr. Solomon Doraiswamy was the first Indian bishop to lead the diocese. When Bishop Thorp left India, the diocese was in a state of confusion. The Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur diocese had failed to make a panel. As per the constitution, they were required to send a panel of at least two names. Owing to the internal troubles, they had sent only one name and so the Synod of CSI appointed Rev. Solomon Doraiswamy as the Bishop in Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur diocese. He was officially consecrated as the bishop on 8 February 1964 at St. Peter's Church (built by Rev. Christian Friedrich Schwarz), Thanjavur by The Most Rev. Arnold Henry Legg (Moderator) and co-consecrated by The Most Rev. Pereji Solomon (Deputy Moderator). Bishop Chellappa's ring, cross and Staff were used in the consecration to Bishop Doraiswamy as they were not arranged on time.

During the fourteenth Church of South India Synod held from 10 to 14 January 1974 at the Women's Christian College, Madras, Bishop Doraiswamy was elected as the Deputy Moderator and held the office from 1974 to 1980 for over three terms (1974-1976; 1976-1978 and 1978–1980). Again during the seventeenth Church of South India Synod held from 10 to 14 January 1980 at Madras Christian College, Tambaram, Bishop Doraiswamy became the Moderator and held the office for a term up to 1982. In his tenure, he rejuvenated and started so many people friendly and people development projects. One of his achievements was the rebirth of Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirapalli. The most remembered are the Bishop Heber College, Bishop Heber Schools, Kindernothilfe, etc. The Senate of Serampore College (University) awarded an honorary doctorate degree upon Bishop Doraiswamy in 1981. He retired in his 65th age in the year 1982 on attaining superannuation.

† The Right Rev. Dr. Rajamanickam Paulraj (1982-1998)

The Right Rev. Dr. R. Paulraj The Most Rev. Dr. R. Paulraj.jpg
The Right Rev. Dr. R. Paulraj

The Right Rev. Dr. Rajamanickam Paulraj was elected and consecrated as the third Bishop of the Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur diocese on 21 January 1982. He guided the diocese for 16 years. An excellent scholar and a bishop who was awarded with three doctorates. He was actively involved in the CSI Synod as a bishop and was elected to serve as the Deputy Moderator of the Church of South India for the term 1994 – 1996 during the twenty fourth Church of South India Synod held in January 1994 at the Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirappalli. Considering the need for higher education in Dharapuram area, this former Bishop took great efforts to start "Bishop Thorp College" affiliated to the Bharathiar University, Coimbatore in 1984 – under the C.S.I Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur Diocese. Thus "Bishop Thorp College" emerged as the "First Self-Financing College" in the state of Tamil Nadu. He passed on to the glory on his 82nd age on 18 January 2016.

† The Right Rev. Dr. Daniel James Srinivasan (1998-2008)

† The Right Rev. Dr. Gnanamuthu Paul Vasanthakumar (2008-2018)

† The Right Rev. Dr. Dhanraj Chandrasekaran (2018 incumbent)

The Right Rev. Dr. Dhanraj Chandrasekaran has been elected and consecrated as the sixth bishop of the diocese. He was consecrated by The Most Rev. Thomas Kanjirappally Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India and bishop in Madhya Kerala Diocese, on 28 May 2018 at St. Luke's Church, Bishop Heber College in Tiruchirappalli.

Theological education

The diocese recognises theological degrees granted by institutions affiliated with the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College. These might include:

List of Pastorates in Tiruchirappalli Thanjavur Diocese

List of Pastorates in Anaimalai (Valparai) DCC

List of Pastorates in Dharapuram DCC

List of Pastorates in Karur DCC

List of Pastorates in Perambalur-Kollidam DCC

List of Pastorates in Thanjavur DCC

List of Pastorates in Tharangambadi-Nagapattinam DCC

List of Pastorates in Tiruchirappalli DCC

List of Pastorates in Udumalaipettai DCC

Bishops appointed in India by Church of England before the Church of South India Union

The Bishops of Calcutta became Metropolitans in 1835; Royal Letters Patent, dated 10 October 1835.

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  1. 1 2 Lawrence, H. S. S. "A Brief History". CSI St. George's Cathedral - Chennai. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  2. "Supplement to the Graduate List Last Published in 1954". Graduates of the University: 31. 1960. Retrieved 11 January 2021.