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.
Official site of Ruhalaya Seminary:
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.
The setting of the seminary is very helpful for dialogue and cultural integration. There are plenty of opportunities for the students to come into contact with the scholars of Indian Philosophy and Religion who are invited to speak at various literary and cultural programmes. Besides, the seminarians are also encouraged to participate in the major cultural programmes and religious festivals of the city. In short, remaining faithful to the spiritual heritage and the sacred traditions of the mother church and committed to the task of forming future missionary priests, Ruhalaya provides a comprehensive programme of formation for the students. It helps them to form an integral vision of life based on the Christian principles and values.
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.
3. Academic Structure:
The academic programme in Ruhalaya lasts seven years; three years (6 semesters) of philosophy and four years (8 semesters) of theology, normally separated by a year of missionary training in the field.
Faculty of Philosophy:
Ruhalaya offers three year philosophy course leading to a Degree of Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Ph) of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome. During the three years of philosophical formation the students obtain the bachelor’s degree in arts from Vikram University, Ujjain with triple main subjects: Philosophy, English Literature and Hindi Literature.
Ruhalaya Philosophate has got eight qualified and committed resident professors on the staff. We have thirty esteemed visiting professors dealing with different branches and areas of philosophy and other related subjects.
The aim of philosophy course is to train the future missionary priests in the art of thinking clearly, critically and creatively in their search for truth regarding God, oneself, other persons and the world. Hence, both historical and systematic courses on Western and Indian philosophy together with sciences such as sociology, psychology, education, literature, social communication etc. are taught.
The study of Western philosophy is given importance as it is closely bound up with the Catholic heritage. Study of Indian philosophy should lead one to a profound investigation of the cultural and religious heritage of India and to engage in fruitful dialogue with Indian religions and cultures.
Faculty of Theology:
Ruhalaya Theologate aims at imparting theological formation to students who prepare themselves for the missionary apostolate in India. Formation in Catholic theology with a special emphasis on the Oriental (Syro-Malabar) and Indian context and tradition for an evangelizing mission in India is its special thrust. Such a formation consists of cultivating a theological wisdom based on an organic vision of God’s self-communication, given in Jesus Christ, handed down through the ecclesial tradition and lived in a specific life-situation.
Theological formation is understood as Christian faith seeking experience, understanding and expression in the here and now of the community of believers through an ongoing reflection, dialogue and experience of God’s self-communication and the human experience. The missionary formation is imparted through the study of missiology and practice of missionary involvement through missionary exposure and participation. The Oriental and Indian dimensions of theological reflection are integrated in the teaching of sacred sciences. The multi-religious context of Ujjain provides plenty of opportunities for study and dialogue. We also pay special attention to the communication revolution and media explosion for communicating the Gospel effectively.
At the end of the four years (8 semesters) all those who have fulfilled all conditions are given a Course Certificate. Those who have obtained high first class will be chosen to apply for the BTh degree awarded by Paurastya Vidya Peetam, Vadavathoor.
Ruhalaya Theologate has seven qualified and committed resident professors on the staff. We have thirty seven esteemed visiting professors dealing with different branches and areas of Theology and other related subjects.
Ruhalaya Major Seminary is proud to have a well equipped computerised library to cater to the academic needs of its students. It has a well maintained lending library, a well furnished reference library and a reading room in the Philosophy section and parallel facilities in the theology section. The Ruhalaya library has a Father librarian and two full time paid library assistants and they take care of the daily maintenance, running and updating of its facilities. There are also library assistants from among students who contribute in various ways to the fruitful running of our library.
At present we have around 25000 books already in our library shelves being used by the students and professors of the seminary. We also make it a point to update and enrich our library facilities every year with new books and journals catching up with the growth of information technology.
We also subscribe to around 175 national and international journals (reviews) which are weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, half-yearly and annual.
Ruhalaya gives ample importance to human formation. Sports and games are given great importance. We have competitions in games and sports and literary items in connection with the Seminary Day.
Along with the philosophical formation the staff and students are actively engaged in the social and developmental activities in the nearby villages. We consider it as part of missionary formation. On Thursdays the students go to villages to teach the students and to form the youth. In the evenings of other days they give tuition to the school students who are weak in English and Mathematics. They also participate in constructing houses for the helpless and conduct self-help groups. Besides, every year the students are sent for two-week live-in-village experience in villages near to the mission stations of the diocese of Ujjain.
In the Theology section the Deacons go to parishes and mission stations for pastoral ministry. They take up deaconate ministry in different parts of North and North East India in January-February. Under the guidance of the formators the other brothers engage themselves in various ministries of social apostolate like Street Ministry, Hospital Ministry, Youth Ministry, Prison Ministry, Slum Apostolate, Media Education, Remand Home Ministry, Sramic Vidyalaya, Manovikas and Prem Sagar Special School Ministry, Kishore Home Ministry. Besides these they help in conducting Self-help Groups and organize various training programmes for the empowerment of women
Ruhalaya Publications publish books and a half-yearly journal called Journal of Sacred Scriptures. Alok is the annual of Ruhalaya Seminary and contains scientific articles by the students on various topics of contemporary interest. It also features photographs of various activities of the seminary and reports of different departments and social ministries.
Home Herald, the wall magazine is a fine opportunity to nurture the literary and artistic talents of the students of Ruhalaya in the form of essays, poems, photo-features, quotes, stories, reports, interviews, columns, pencil sketches, cartoons, paintings etc.
Besides these we do have speeches for the third year students in the refectory with the intention of developing their rhetoric and public speaking skills. We also conduct drama competitions for all the batches to provide more opportunities for the students to come to the stage.
Every year we celebrate the Seminary Day in which students get opportunities to nurture their talents for singing, dancing, acting, speaking etc. Our Seminary Day cultural programmes are very highly appreciated.
Rector - Very Rev Fr Chandy Kalathoor
Vice - Rector - Rev Fr George Mampillil (Philosophy Section)
Rev Fr Manoj Parackal (Theology Section)
Procurators - Rev Fr John Thettalickal (General Procurator)
Rev Fr Johnson Kuppayil (Assistanat Procurator)
Deans of Studies - Rev Fr Thomas Kannany (Philosophy Section)
Rev Fr Jose Palakeel (Theology Section)
Spiritual Directors - Rev Fr Jose Valiamangalam
Rev Fr Lonappan Arangassery
Rev Fr Antony Cheeramvelil
Rev Fr Paul Mudathotty
Professors - Rev Fr John Kudiyiruppil
Rev Fr Joshi Mullappallil
Rev Fr Joseph Venattumattam
- Ruhalaya Major Seminary
P.B. No 4, Agar road, Ujjain City P.O., 456 006, M.P., India
Phone: - Philosophate 0734-2581019/2580920/2581121
Phone: - Theologate 0734-2580893/2580933