RUHALAYA is the major seminary of the Missionary Society of Saint Thomas the Apostle (MST). It is situated at the outskirts of Ujjain, a city of historical and religious importance in Madhya Pradesh. It is the holy city of the Hindus. In ancient days the city was one of the foremost seats of learning of art, science and mathematics. Sanskrit literary genius Kalidas was a member of the court of Vikramaditya who ruled India from Ujjaini (Avantika) as capital. Once in 12 years the Kumbh Mela is celebrated in a very large scale.
1. Nature and Purpose of Ruhalaya
Ruhalaya imparts formation to priesthood with special emphasis on the human, spiritual, intellectual and missionary training, firmly rooted in the ecclesial traditions of the Syro-Malabar Church and fully adapted to the missionary context of India.
Name: The name Ruhalaya is the combination of the Syriac word Ruha (Holy Spirit) and the Sanskrit word alaya (house, abode) meaning abode of the Holy Spirit.
Specific Characteristics: Ruhalaya has mission ad gentes as its most prized priority. Missionary formation is truly rooted in the Catholic, Oriental and Indian traditions is the specific characteristic of Ruhalaya. Being a Catholic, Oriental seminary in the mission, Ruhalaya remains faithful to the traditions of the Thomas Christians and foster the distinctive spirituality, liturgy, church discipline and theology of the oriental tradition and promote dialogue and collaboration with other Catholic and non-Catholic Churches in the mission.
As a mission seminary in North India, Ruhalaya is conversant with the socio- cultural and religious traditions and heritage of India in general and that of North India in particular, through study, dialogue and common endeavours. Inter-religious dialogue and inculturation assume great importance in the curricular and co-curricular activities.
Specific Objectives: The specific objectives of Ruhalaya follow closely from its distinguishing characteristics.
– Train missionary priests committed to mission ad gentes through (a) spiritual formation centred around the oriental and Indian spiritual traditions and practices and (b) strict academic training in philosophy and religion and in the sacred sciences and related subjects in accordance with the Catholic doctrine in the mission context.
– Promote missiological studies through research, training and exposure.
– Enunciate systematically the Christian wisdom contained in the Biblical, Patristic, liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Oriental heritage to the people of the present day.
– Study the religious, philosophical and cultural heritage of India along with the Christian tradition.
– Promote ecumenism.
– Situated in a city of great religious and cultural importance, dialogue with religions and cultures.
– Bring about change in the society through systematic involvement in the various strata of social, cultural and religious life by means of diverse programmes.
– Give theological-ideological support to the missionaries, developing a missiological vision, planning and programme.
2. History of Ruhalaya Seminary
Ruhalaya Major Seminary is the realization of the long cherished desire of MST to give formation to its members in the mission field itself. The history of the origin of Ruhalaya Philosophate begins with MST placing a request before the Congregation for the Oriental Churches to grant the starting of an institute of philosophy in the mission area where most of its members worked. After serious consideration the Congregation granted the permission in 1985 by the Decree Prot. No. 173/84 dated January 28, 1985.
Ruhalaya Philosophate was inaugurated on 3rd July 1986 at Kamed 5 kms away from Ujjain city centre. The inaugural function was presided over by His Grace Eugene D’Souza, the Archbishop of Bhopal, in the presence of Most Rev. George Anathil, Bishop of Indore, Mar John Perumattam, Bishop of Ujjain and Very Rev. Fr Kurian Valiamangalam, the Director Gneral of MST. Rev. Dr Thomas Parayady MST was appointed the first Rector. Under his able and expert leadership Ruhalaya flourished and grew into a full fledged Institute of Philosophy.
Ruhalaya was aimed to give philosophical training and formation to the students of MST. But from the second year onwards, taking into consideration the pressing demands from the neighbouring mission dioceses, and Vincentian Congregation, admissions were granted to their seminarians too. Since then Ruhalaya admits around 30 students to the first year Philosophy.
Effective mission work can be done only when the missionaries are properly trained and oriented for evangelization in less Christian regions. In order to provide such a formation MST has started its own Theologate in 1997 in another compound about 600 metres away from the Philosophate. In the Theology section also there are students from Mission Dioceses and Congregations. We admit about 20 students in the first year Theology.
Ruhalaya Philosophate has been providing solid human, spiritual, intellectual and missionary formation to its students. At present there are students from mission dioceses like Chanda, Satna, Ujjain, Jagdalpur, Rajkot, Goraphpur, Kalyan, and Sagar. There are also students belonging to V.C. and CST congregations. We have also admitted students from Pala, Kanjirappally, Changanassery, Thalassery, and Bathery to our seminary.
Ruhalaya Philosophy Faculty was affiliated to Pontifical Urban University Rome with the Decree No. 1020 of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome on 22nd October 1998. The affiliation was renewed after five years on 28th October 2003.
Ruhalaya Theology Faculty was affiliated to Paurastya Vidya Peetam, Vadavathoor with the Decree No. 1068 of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome on 15th September 2006.