The St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary was formally established by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches through its letter dated April 26, l962 and it was formally inaugurated and began functioning on July 3, l962. It is primarily intended for the education and formation of the seminarians of the Syro-Malabar dioceses. It is also open to the students of Syro-Malankara and Latin dioceses and of religious congregations. The Seminary is subject to the authority and control of the Syro-Malabar Bishops’ Synod, which exercises its authority through a Synodal Commission of Bishops.
The seminary aims at training priests primarily of the Syro-Malabar Church in the patrimony of Mar Thoma, the Apostle and Founder of the Church keeping up with the spirit of the time. It fosters the human, spiritual, academic and pastoral formation of its seminarians.
Celebration of the Divine Praises, the Holy Qurbana and the recitation of the Rosary forms part of the daily time table. Special attention is given to the daily meditation of the Word of God and the the lectio divina in common. Students draw adequate spiritual benefit from regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and from the earnest participation in recollections and retreats, observance of fast and abstinence. Spiritual instructions and conferences, particularly individual conferences and guidance are help in their spiritual journey during the formative years. Seminary has four resident spiritual directors. Seminarians are encouraged to find time for personal prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the Adoration Chapel. The monthly recollections and the Annual retreats provide for their spiritual growth.
Paurastya Vidyapitham is the local name given to the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Religious Studies which is an autonomous faculty of Theology erected at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, Kottayam. This Seminary has been established by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches through the letter No. 260 / 59, dated April 26, 1962. It is primarily intended for the education and formation of the seminarians of all the Syro – Malabar Eparchies and also of the Syro- Malankara Eparchies. It is also open to all the Eparchies of the other Churches and in particular of the Latin Church of Kerala for sending their seminarians. The Seminary is subject to the authority and control of the Syro – Malabar Bishop’s Synod, which exercises its authority through a specially elected Synodal Commission.
By a decree of the Congregation for the Catholic Education Prot. No. 674/72/13, the Theological Department of the Seminary was affiliated to the Faculty of Oriental Ecclesiastical Sciences at the Pontifical Oriental Institute Rome on the 21st of February 1973. After an experimental period of 4 years, the affiliation was renewed and extended by the letter of the Congregation for the Catholic Education, dated April 10, 1977. Then realizing the important role of this seminary in the life of the Oriental Churches of India and taking into account its steady growth in the past years the Congregation for Catholic Education erected its academic section into an independent Theological Faculty with right to confer the degrees of B. Th. (Bachelor of Theology), M. Th. (Master of Theology) and D. Th. (Doctor of Theology) through the decree “Perinisigne Fidei Christianae Testimonium” on July 3, 1982 on the Feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle of India.
On August 15, 1985 the Department of Philosophy at this Faculty was given the power to confer the degree of B. Ph. (B.A. in Philosophy). The Institute was authorized officially to commence the Doctoral Course by the letter of the Congregation for the Catholic Education dated November 28, 1986.
General Orientation of the Institute
The programme of formation at this Institute aims at the development of fully integrated priestly personality, and therefore takes into account the human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and missionary dimensions of priestly formation. With this end in view the programme of studies co-ordinates the fields of Humanities, Philosophy, Theology, Bible and Eastern Christian Studies in such a way as to present the Mystery of Christ harmoniously to the students.
The specific aims of the Institute are the following:
- To cultivate and promote through scientific research the patrimony of Christian wisdom of both East and West with special emphasis on Biblical, Patristic, Oriental, Syrian and Indian traditions.
- To enunciate systematically the truths contained in the Biblical, Patristic, Liturgical and Spiritual traditions of Eastern Ecclesiastical heritage and to present them to the people of the present day in a manner adapted to the local cultural context.
- To impart a Theological and Pastoral formation to the candidates for priesthood.
- To train its students to a level of high qualification in the Sacred Sciences and allied subjects according to Catholic doctrine, to prepare them properly to face their tasks in the various fields of apostolate and to promote the continuing permanent education of the Ministers of the Church as well as other sections of the people of God.
- To Promote the study and investigation of the writings of the Oriental Fathers and writers and of the Theological, Spiritual, Liturgical and Disciplinary heritage of the Oriental Churches of India.
- To promote ecumenical studies and investigate traditions of the various Christian Churches with special reference to the actual situation of India.