The C.M.I. Congregation

 Name: Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C.M.I.)
Foundation: Mannanam, Kerala, India, in 1831
Founder: Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871)
Motto: I have been burning with zeal for the Lord God of Hosts (I Kings 19:10).
Syriac Text: meṭan ṭenēt l-māryā ’alāhā ḥayltānā

Charism: Contemplata aliis tradere (Sharing with others the fruits of contemplation)

Generalate: Chavara Hills, P.B. No. 3105, Kakkanad P.O., Kochi-682 030, INDIA.
Phone: +91 484 4070010;; Email:    

The Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) is the first now-existing Religious Congregation founded in the Church in India. It was founded at Mannanam in Kerala, on 11th May 1831. The Founding Fathers were Fr. Thomas Palackal, Fr. Thomas Porukara and Blessed Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara. They were assisted by Brother Jacob Kanianthara. On 8th December 1855, the Religious Community at Mannanam became a canonically recognized Religious Congregation with the religious profession of the first batch of eleven priests headed by Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara. He was the first Superior General of the Congregation. The name of the Congregation at that time was ‘Congregation of the Servants of Mary Immaculate of Mount Carmel’. Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara passed away in the odour of sanctity on 3rd January 1871. Holy Father Pope John Paul II beatified Fr. Chavara during his visit to Kerala in 1986. In 1860, this Congregation was affiliated to the Carmelite Order as a Religious Congregation of the Oriental Rite and assumed the name T.O.C.D. (Third Order of Carmelites Discalced). It was granted Pontifical status in 1885. The name of the Congregation was changed to C.M.I. (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) in 1958. The Congregation was given Pontifical Exemption in 1967.

The CMI Congregation, with a far-reaching and prophetic vision, was involved from its very beginning in several pioneering activities in the Church in Kerala. It started with preaching retreats in all the parishes in Kerala. It brought about vitality and vibrancy throughout the Church. It also introduced into the local Church, adopting from the global Church, many devotional practices like the Eucharistic Devotion, Rosary, Way of the Cross, etc., which became very popular in the whole Church of Kerala. The Congregation also took leadership in starting Seminaries for the training of the Clergy. The first school of the Catholic Church inKerala, a Sanskrit School, was started at Mannanam in 1846. Later in 1885, the first English School of the Syro-Malabar Church also was started by the Congregation at Mannanam. Similarly, in 1846, he first Printing Press in the Syro-Malabar Church was started at Mannanam. Deepika, the first Newspaper of the Catholic Church in Kerala, and the first in the Malayalam language, commenced at Mannanam in 1887.

It was also an important activity of the Congregation to strive after the works of evangelization and to work for the reunion of the separated brethren among the St. Thomas Christians. Blessed Chavara is considered the pioneer of the works of evangelization in the Syro-Malabar Church. He started the first catechumenate of the Syro Malabar church at Mannanam in 1853. All the first houses of the Congregation had attached to them a community of the newly converted people, especially from the dalits. Panthalam Mission was established in 1921 for the reunion of Jacobites. Stations were started at Ayroor and Puthupally for the same purpose. About 40 CMI priests, some of them even adopting the Malankara Rite, helped Mar Ivanios and Mar Theophilos in building up the Syao Malankara Church. The work of evangelization was further expanded in 1935 beyond the Syro Malabar territory, to British Malabar, even adopting the Latin Rite. The Congregation took charge of a Latin parish (S.H. Church, Cheruvanoor in Calicut) on 31 July 1935. A year later the first monastery in the Latin territory, St. Paul’s Monastery, Kadalundy, was established. From there CMI Fathers started working among the Syro Malabar immigrants. In 1949 six Syro Malabar parishes were established . When Thalassery diocese was established in 1953 there were only 10 Syro Malbar parishes all of which had CMI parish priests.

The CMI missionaries ventured into Raigarh-Ambikapur Mission in North India in 1955. Later , in 1962, when the Chanda Mission Territory was entrusted to the Syro-Malabar Church by the Holy See, it was committed to the care of the CMI Congregation. That was the first ecclesiastical territory of the Syro-Malabar Church outside the boundaries of Kerala. CMIs have already 13 of its members consecrated Bishops.

The Congregation also was taking great interest in taking care of the poor and downtrodden sections of the society by establishing charitable institutions. It was Blessed Chavara who founded the first Charitable Institution in the Kerala Church and that was in 1869. Thus, the Congregation was actively involved in an integral development of the people, not only of the Syro-Malabar Church, but the whole of Kerala, irrespective of caste and creed. However, it was the deep-rooted prayer life of the members and of each community, which motivated and supported their people-oriented activities. They were contemplatives in action.

Blessed Chavara was also a great defender of the Faith. When the Roccos schism lashed against the Church in Kerala in 1861, the Syrian Catholic Church was on the verge of a serious division. It was at that time, in 1861, that Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was appointed Vicar General for the entire Syrian Catholic Church. He alerted the Catholic community of the dire consequences of the divisive forces, and gave leadership to fight against the Roccos schism, and preserved the unity and integrity of the Kerala Church.The Congregation entered a path of rapid growth immediately after its canonical erection in 1855 under the holy and able leadership of Fr. Chavara.  Several diocesan Priests as well as lay people enthusiastically sought admission into the rank of the religious, and, apart from Mannanam (1831) six more new houses sprang into existence in various parts of Kerala: at Koonammavu (1857), Elthuruthu (1858), Vazhakulam (1859), Pulinkunnu (1861), Ampazhakad (1868), and Mutholy (1870). Starting from Mannanam the above 7 Monasteries are the now-existing oldest Monasteries in the Indian Church.

It was also Blessed Chavara who, in collaboration with Fr. Leopold Beccaro, OCD, founded the first Religious Congregation for women in the Syro-Malabar Church, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (C.M.C.), in 1866. This sister Congregation has a membership of more than 6500 professed sisters in 20 Provinces all over India. And it is a matter of great significance that, one of its members, Mother Euphrasia, CMC, was declared BLESSED on 3rd December 2006.

The second half of the 20th century witnessed a rapid growth of the CMIs beyond the boundaries of Kerala. Three decisive moments in its history in this line were the division of the Congregation into 3 Provinces, the shifting of its Major Formation House to Bangalore, by the new name Dharmaram College in 1957 and extending its activities to North India for direct Evangelization in 1962. The Mission Diocese of Chanda was the first Diocese entrusted to the CMIs in 1962. This was also the first Diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church outside Kerala. Apart from Chanda, today CMI Bishops take care of the Dioceses of Jagdalpur, Bijnor, Rajkot, and Adilabad.

The CMI Congregation has today 5 Major Study Houses for the training of its members. They are: Dharmaram College, Bangalore (1957), Darsana Philosophate, Wardha (1983), Samanvaya Theologate, Bhopal (1994), Carmel Vidya Bhavan, Pune(1943), and CMI Vidya Bhavan, Baroda(2004). Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (D.V.K.) at Bangalore (1976), is a Pontifical Athenaeum with the Faculties of Philosophy, Theology and Oriental Canon Law, and it has a strength of 1000 Students hailing from 20 Dioceses and 75 Religious Congregations. In 1998, the CMIs were entrusted with the administration of the Regional Major Seminary in Namibia, Africa.

The Congregation in 1971 established its General Procura in Rome. The CMIs are running a Centre for Indian and Inter-religious Studies in Rome since 1977. It offers our Indian as well as foreign Students courses in Indian Spirituality. The C.M.I. Spirituality Centre established in Liberty, in the United States, in 1989, is a very promising step that serves the people of America introducing them to Indian, Oriental and Carmelite spiritual traditions. In Sacramento, California, the Chavara International Study Centre, established on 18th October 2005, conducts seminars on Indian Spirituality. A Contemplative Ashram was established on 16th July 2005, at Thottuva, on the banks of river Periyar, with perpetual Adoration, in an atmosphere of silence and serenity. This ashram was shifted to Kakkadampoil in 2009.

Today the CMI Congregation is the largest Religious Congregation for men in the Syro-Malabar Church. The CMIs are spread throughout India and abroad in 15 Provinces. It has a membership of 3000 personnel including 9 Bishops, 1730 Priests, 26 Lay Brothers and 1200 Brothers in formation. 700 of our Priests are working outside Kerala, of which 300 are outside India. Our Priests are actively involved in missionary work and pastoral ministry in 27 countries around the world. Our first Formation House outside India was established in 2001 in Kenya in Africa. The first batch of our students from abroad are Kenyans who made their Religious Profession in  2005 and were ordained priests in 2012. By the grace of God the CMI Congregation is marching forward in creative fidelity to its founding charism and responding to the signs of time, offering itself to the service of God and His people. The main thrust of the Congregation envisaged by the 36th General Synaxis is, Communication, Communion and Community: called to be a welcoming presence always and everywhere.      

The Prior General with his team of four General Councillors and a General Auditor serves the Congregation at the level of general administration. The General Synaxis  elects them every six years. The Provincial level administration is carried out by the Provincials with four Councillors and the Provincial Auditor elected by the respective Provincial Synaxes every three years.


General Information
Province 15
Region 1
Sub-regions 7
Mission Dioceses 5
Countries with CMI presence 30


Bishops 9
Priests 1730
Deacons 1
Brothers 26
Scholastics 525
Novices 125
Aspirants 480
Total 2890

Deceased Members-736


Canonical Houses 45
Houses 60
Formation Houses 42
Residence 89
Centres 170

Pastoral Ministry 
Mission Stations 177
Parishes 98
Retreat/Renewal Centre 13

Educational Apostolate
Pontifical Athanaeum 1
Deemed University 1
Medical College 1
Engineering Colleges 2
Arts, Scie & Com. Colleges 21
B.Ed. Colleges 10
Nursing Schools/Colleges 6
Polytechnic 1
ITC 12
Higher Secondary Schools 77
High Schools 136
Upper Primary Schools 150
Lower Primary Schools 170
Kindergartens 151
Hostels/Boarding Houses 47
Cultural/Dialogue Centres 24

Printing & Publication Houses 17
Periodicals 13
Book Houses 24

Social Apostolate
Hospitals 16
Dispensaries 36

Counselling Centres 15
Inst. for Mentally Challenged 7
Inst. for Physically Challenged 10
Social Service Centres 46
Children's Homes 20
Homes for the Aged 9
Non-formal Education Centers 55

Click to download

GS 36 Vision Statement; PG Circular; The Carmelites


  1. Big lie by the priest who is working in Germany shared in Shalom