Born at Manimala in Kerala, South India on 11 February 1921, Antony Cardinal Padiyara Completed his ecclesiastical studies in St. Peter’s Seminary, Banglore and Salem, and was ordained priest on 19th December 1945 for the Diocese of Mysore. He served at Kollegal and Ooty. In 1952 he was made rector of the minor seminary at Mysore and in 1954 was appointed professor at St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, Banglore. On July 3, 1955 he was nominated bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Ootacamund. On 25 September 1955, he assumed charge of the diocese. He was consecrated bishop on 16 October 1955.
He was promoted Acrhbishop and transferred to the Metropolitan See of Changanacherry, of which he took charge on 15 charge on 15 August 1970. He received he Pallium on 7 August 1970. In 1976 he was elected Vice- President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference. On 8 September 1978 his Holiness Pope John Paul appointed his Apostolic Visitor to the Syro-Malabar Catholics living outside Kerala. The Holy Father Pope John Paul II transferred Mar Antony Padiyara To the Metropolitan See of Ernakulam on May 18, 1985. He assumed charge of it on July 3, 1985.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II nominated Mar Antony Padiyara as member of the College of Cardinals on May 29, 1988. At the Consistory on June 28, 1988 he was raised to the dignity of a Cardinal. On October 20, 1988 His Holiness appointed Cardinal Padiyara a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Oriental Canon Law. As a crown to his glory, on 16 December 1992 the Holy Father appointed His Eminence the First Major Archbishop of the newly erected Major Archiepiscopal See of Ernakulam - Angamaly.