Church of South India

The Church of South India (Abbreviation: CSI) is a union of many Protestant denominations spread throughout South India. It is the largest Protestant Church in India and second largest Christian church after the Catholic Church in India . It is one of the four United Churches in the Anglican Communion.

The inspiration for this Union was born out of ecumenism inspired by the self-pronouncing words of Jesus Christ as found in Gospel of John, 21

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

That they all may be one is also the motto of the Church of South India .


The CSI was inaugurated in September 1947 at St. George's Cathedral Chennai. It was formed from the union of the South India United Church (itself a union of churches from the Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed tradition, the southern provinces of the Anglican Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, and the Methodist Church of South India . In the 1990s, a small number of Baptist and Pentecostal churches joined the union .

Discussions about the merging of South India's Protestant denominations began at a 1919 conference at Tranquebar (today known as Tharangambadi), and by the independence of India in 1947, the union was achieved and the CSI officially established .


The church accepts the Lambeth Quadrilateral as its basis and recognises the historical episcopate in its constitutional form .


The church is governed by a synod based in Chennai and headed by a presiding bishop bearing the title of Moderator who is elected every two years. The current moderator is J. W. Gladstone, the bishop of the Diocese of South Kerala.


The church is further dividied into 22 dioceses, each under the supervision of a bishop, including one diocese encompassing Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The dioceses are governed by Diocesan Councils comprising of all clergy in the diocese as well as lay people elected from the local congregations .

Name Headquarters Location Bishop Link
Dornakal Diocese Dornakal Andhra Pradesh B. Satyanandam Devamani
Karimnagar Diocese Karimnagar P. Surya Prakash
Krishna-Godavari Diocese Machilipatnam G. Dyvasirvadam
Medak Diocese Secunderabad Badda Peter Sugandhar
Nandyal Diocese Nandyal P. J. Lawrence
Rayalaseema Diocese Kadapa K. B. Yesuvaraprasad
Central Karnataka Diocese Bangalore Karnataka Suputhrappa Vasantha Kumar
Karnataka Northern Diocese Dharwad J. Prabhakara Rao
Karnataka Southern Diocese Mangalore Devaraj Bangera
East Kerala Diocese Melukavumattom Kerala K. G. Daniel
Madhya Kerala Diocese Kottayam Thomas Samuel
North Kerala Diocese Shoranur K. P. Kuruvila
South Kerala Diocese Trivandrum John Wilson Gladstone
Coimbatore Diocese Coimbatore Tamil Nadu Manickam Dorai
Kanyakumari Diocese Nagercoil G Davakadasham
Madras Diocese Chennai V. Devasahayam
Madurai-Ramnad Diocese Madurai A.Christopher Asir
Thoothukudi - Nazareth Diocese Thoothukudi J. A. D. Jebachandran
Tirunelveli Diocese Tirunelveli Jeyapaul David Swamidawson
Trichy-Tanjore Diocese Tiruchirappalli G. Paul Vasanthakumar
Vellore Diocese Vellore Yesuratnam William
Jaffna Diocese Jaffna Sri Lanka Daniel Thiagarajah


The church has 14,000 local congregation with 3.8 million members worldwide. While the majority of the members are in India, congregations exist in Sri Lanka where a full diocese is organized, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates .


The church runs 2000 schools, 130 colleges and 104 hospitals in South India. In the 1960s the Church became conscious of its social responsibility and started organizing rural development projects. There are 50 such projects all over India, 50 training centers for young people, and 500 residential hostels for a total of 35,000 children .

The School for Small Farmers is a specific agency catering to the needs of the farming communities in their Dalit and Adivasi congregations .

The logo

The logo of the CSI is a cross superimposed on a stylised lotus and surrounded by the motto and the name of the church. The symbols, the lotus and the Christian cross, used in the logo of the church possess a rich cultural heritage in India which is used to symbolize the call and mission of the CSI.

In Indian mythology, the lotus flower is the seat of the Creator. It is also known variably as those that are born in mud and the flower of the sun. These symbolisms are adopted to interpret the position of God, and the nature and role of the people in the CSI

The petals of the lotus and the cross are knitted together with the symbol of the fiery-tongues of the Holy Spirit as referenced in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. It is an expression of the people's communion with God. The original colors, red (for life) and purple (for piety and ecclesiastical) on a white backdrop communicate the nature of the mystical union where an inseparable companionship is established between God and humanity.

The motto and the name of the CSI is placed in a circle around the lotus and the cross. The words are taken from the prayer of Jesus Christ who prayed not only for the church but also for the whole world. This universality is portrayed by placing the words in a form of circle, a symbol which also represents the universe. It calls for the unity of both the church and all peoples of India.

The central position of the cross in the logo conveys the idea that it was the sacrifice that was made by Jesus on the cross that is the foundation of the Church. The four ends of the cross painted in deep color indicates that it is the cross that guides all Chrsitians to join in one stream to pray and labor united for a peaceful coexistence and communal harmony.


Theological education

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


The CSI is a member of the Anglican Communion. Its bishops participate in the Lambeth Conferences and it has representation on the Anglican Consultative Council. The CSI is also in full communion with the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India and the Church of North India (CNI). It is a member in the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches in India.

The CSI, CNI, and Mar Thoma Church jointly formed the Communion of Churches in India (CCI) in 1978 for mutual recognition of the ministry and leaders, intercommunal relationship, and to explore possibilities of working together especially in the field of evangelization in India and other areas of cooperation in the fulfillment of the mission of the Church.

Prominent Members

See also


External links


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