Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
|Region||India and the Nasrani Malayali diaspora|
|Language||Syriac, Suriyani Malayalam, Konkani, Malayalam, English|
|Liturgy||West Syriac Rite (Antiochian Rite)|
|Headquarters||Catholicate Palace, Kottayam, Kerala, India|
|Founder||Thomas the Apostle by tradition.|
|Origin||AD 52 |
(1st century by tradition-Apostolic Era)
|Branched from||Saint Thomas Christians|
|Merger of||Oriental orthodox Communion|
|Members||1 million (approximately)|
494,000 in Kerala (2011 Kerala state census)
|Other name(s)||Malankara Church ( ),|
Indian Orthodox Church
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in Kerala, India. The church serves India's Saint Thomas Christian (also known as Nasrani) population. According to tradition, the church originated in the missions of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.
The autocephalous Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan (currently Sede vacante), is the primate of the church. It employs the Malankara Rite, an Indian form of the West Syriac liturgical rite. It is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church endorsed full autocephaly in 1912, and remains in communion with the other five Oriental Orthodox churches, including the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch[dubious ] (and its own autonomous branch the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church), the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church drafted and formally adopted a constitution in 1934, wherein the church formally declared the Malankara Metropolitan and the Catholicos of the East as one.
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church holds to miaphysitism, which holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one (, mia) nature ( - "physis") without separation, without confusion, without alteration and without mixing where Christ is consubstantial with God the Father. Around 500 bishops within the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem refused to accept the dyophysitism (two natures) doctrine decreed by the 4th ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451,[dubious ] an incident that resulted in the first major split in the main body of the Christian Church. While the Oriental Orthodox churches rejected the Chalcedonian definition, the sees later would become the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church accepted this council.
According to the 2011 Census of Kerala it was, with a membership of 493,858, the third largest Christian church in the state, coming after the Syro-Malabar Church (2,346,000) and the Latin Catholic Church (932,733).
The Malankara Orthodox Church claims to have been founded by the Apostle Saint Thomas. Even though the church was independent in administration. It had relationships between Churches of Antioch,Persia and Alexandria.[dubious ]They received clerical support from Persian bishops, who traveled to Kerala in merchant ships on the spice route. During the 16th century, efforts by the Portuguese Padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into Latin-rite Catholicism led to the first of several rifts in the community. The Saint Thomas Christians are currently divided into several groups.
They were under the leadership of an archdeacon (a native ecclesiastical head with temporal powers, deriving from the Greek arkhidi?konos). The Saint Thomas Christians were in communion with the Church of the East, centered in Persia. The indigenous Church of Malabar (Malankara) followed the faith and traditions of Thomas the Apostle. Portuguese Jesuits attempted to annex the native Christians to the Latin Church at the 1599 Synod of Diamper. The Saint Thomas Christians, who were opposed to the Portuguese Padroado missionaries, took the Coonan Cross Oath on 3 January 1653. The Dutch East India Company defeated the Portuguese for control of the Malabar spice trade in 1663. Patriarch Gregorios Abdal Jaleel of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Jerusalem witnessed the 1665 ordination of Thomas as Bishop Thoma I, who forged a relationship with the Syriac church, which laid the foundation for adopting West Syrian liturgy and practices over the next two centuries.
The Saint Thomas Christians the Indian church had relationships with the Persian (East Syriac) church atleast since the 6th century. The Indians inherited its East Syriac dialect for liturgical use, and gradually became known as Syriac Christians. During the sixteenth century, Roman Catholic missionaries came to Kerala. They tried to latinise the Syrian Christians. Those who continued with the East Syriac Rite and Diophysite christology constitute the present-day Syro-Malabar Church and Chaldean Syrian Church. Those who stood with the indigenous leader of Malankara, Thoma I and adopted West Syrian liturgies and practices and Miaphysite faith evolved into the Puthenkoor Malankara Church, and the catholicate was established in 1912.
The Arthat Padiyola declared that the administration of Malankara Church is Independent and the bishops from Rome, Antioch or Babylon has no role in Malankara Church. In 1807, four gospels of Holy Bible in Syriac were translated to Malayalam by Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban. The Malankara Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam was established in 1815 under the leadership of Pulikottil Ittup Ramban (Mar Dionysius II). The Mavelikara Synod (Padiyola) lead by Cheppad Mar Dionysius rejected the suggestions put forward by Anglican Missioneries and Reformation group and declared the beliefs and theology of Malankara Church is same as the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril, who became the Malankara metropolitan bishop in 1908, played a significant role with the other clerical and lay leaders of Malankara in re-establishing[dubious ] the Catholicos of the East in India in 1912. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church wanted to retain its autocephaly, and appealed to Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Abdul Masih II. He ordained Murimattathil Paulose Ivanios as Baselios Paulose I, Catholicos of the East, on the apostolic throne of St. Thomas at St. Mary's Church in Niranam on 15 September 1912. In 1934, The Malankara Church adopted a constitution for smooth functioning of the church, parishes and institution. In 1947, Saint Gregorios of Parumala was declared as a saint by the Church. In 1952 the Official Residence of the Malankara Metropolitan and the Head Quarters of Malankara Church was shifted to Devalokam from Pazhaya Seminary. In 1958, The Supreme Court declared Catholicos Baselios Geevarghese II as the legitimate Malankara Metropolitan. The two factions of the Malankara Orthodox Church rejoined. In 1964, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch participated in the enthronement ceremony of the Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan, Baselios Augen I. In 1990, celebrated the 175th anniversary of Malankara Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam. In 1995, The Hounrble Supreme Court of India declared the Constitution of the Malankara Church adopted in 1934 was valid.
In 2002, fresh elections were conducted in Malankara Association under the observation of Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court declared Catholicos Baselios Mathews II is the official and legitimate Malankara Metropolitan and also declared that this decision cannot be disputed in any platform. In 2003, Vattasheril Dionysius VI was declared as a Saint. In 2012, the 1960th anniversary of establishment of Malankara Orthodox Church (AD 52) and centenary of the establishment of the Catholicate in Malankara Church was celebrated. The chief guests of the function were Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Dalai Lama On 2015, celebrated 200th anniversary of Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam. On 3 July 2017, a major verdict by the Supreme court of India declared the Constitution of the Malankara Church as legal and valid and applicable to all the parishes under the control of both the factions.
The spiritual head of the church is the Catholicos of the East, and its temporal head is the Malankara Metropolitan. Since 1934, both titles have been vested in one person; the official title of the head of the church is "The Catholicos of the Apostolic Throne of Saint Thomas and The Malankara Metropolitan". Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was enthroned as the Malankara Metropolitan and the Catholicos of the Malankara Church on 1 November 2010 at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Parumala. He is the eighth Catholicose of the East in Malankara and the 21st Malankara Metropolitan.
Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, accept only the first three ecumenical councils: the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople, and the Council of Ephesus. The church, like all other Oriental Orthodox Churches, uses the original Nicene Creed without the filioque clause. Like the Syriac Orthodox Church, it primarily uses the liturgy of Saint James in Malayalam, Konkani, Kannada, Hindi, English and other Indian languages.
The church has used the Malankara Rite, part of the Antiochene Rite, since the 17th century. The Jacobite Church and the Maronite Church also belong to the same liturgical family. In the first half of the fifth century, the Antiochene church adopted the Liturgy of Saint James. In the 4th and 5th centuries, The liturgical language of fourth- and fifth-century Jerusalem and Antioch was Greek, and the original liturgy was composed in Greek.
After the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Eastern Church was divided in two; one group accepted the council, and the other opposed it. Both groups continued to use the Greek version of the Saint James liturgy. The Byzantine emperor Justin (518-527) expelled the opponents from Antioch, and they took refugees in the Syriac-speaking Mesopotamia on the Roman-Persian border (modern eastern Syria, Iraq, and southeastern Turkey). The Antiochene liturgical rites were gradually translated into Syriac, and Syriac hymns were introduced.
Gregorios Abdal Jaleel came to Malankara from Jerusalem in 1665 and introduced Syriac Orthodox liturgical rites. The most striking characteristic of the Antiochene liturgy is its large number of anaphoras (celebrations of the Eucharist). About eighty are known, and about a dozen are used in India. All have been composed following the Liturgy of Saint James.
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The temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the church is vested in the Malankara Metropolitan, subject to the church constitution which was adopted in 1934. The Malankara Metropolitan is president of the Malankara Syrian Christian Association (Malankara Association) and its managing committee, and trustee of community properties. He is the custodian of the Pazhaya Seminary and other common properties of Malankara Syrian Community. He is also the custodian of vattipanam interest which was deposited in Travancore Government by Marthoma VII. He is elected by the Malankara association.
"Catholicos" means "the general head", and can be considered equivalent to "universal bishop." The early church had three priestly ranks: episcopos (bishop), priest and deacon. By the end of the third century, bishops of important cities in the Roman Empire became known as metropolitans. The fourth-century ecumenical councils recognized the authority of the metropolitan. By the fifth century, the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch gained control of the churches in surrounding cities.They gradually became the heads of the regional churches, and were known as patriarchs (common father). Outside the Roman Empire, patriarchs were known as catholicos. There were four catholicates before the fifth century: the Catholicate of the East, the Catholicate of Armenia, the Catholicate of Georgia and the Catholicate of Albania.[dubious ] In Orthodox tradition, any apostolic and autonomous national church (often referred to as a local church) may call its head a catholicos, pope or patriarch.[dubious ] The archdeacons reigned from the fourth to the 16th centuries; in 1653, the archdeacon was elevated to bishop by the community as Thoma I.
The Catholicate of the East was relocated to India in 1912, and Baselios Paulose I was seated on the apostolic throne of St. Thomas as the Catholicos of the East.[who?][peacock term] The headquarters of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholicos of the East is the Catholicate Palace at Devalokam, Kottayam, Kerala, which was consecrated on 31 December 1951. The new palace, built in 1961, was dedicated by visiting Armenian Catholicos Vazgen I. Relics of St. Thomas are kept in the catholicate chapel, and Geevarghese II, Augen I and Mathews I are interred there.
The list of Catholicos of the East of Malankara Church:
Until the 17th century, the church was administered by the archdeacon (Malankara Moopan). The elected archdeacon was in charge of day-to-day affairs, including the ordination of deacons to the priesthood. Ordinations were performed by Persian bishops visiting India. The Malankara Palliyogam (a forerunner of the Malankara Association) consisted of elected representatives from individual parishes. The isolation of the Malankara church from the rest of Christendom preserved the apostolic age's democratic nature through interactions with Portuguese (Roman Catholic) and British (Anglican) colonialists. From the 17th to the 20th centuries, the church had five pillars of administration:
Envisioned by Dionysius VI, the church's general and day-to-day administration was codified in its 1934 constitution. The constitution was presented at the 26 December 1934 Malankara Christian Association meeting at M. D. Seminary, adopted and enacted. It has been amended three times. Although the constitution was challenged in court by dissident supporters of the Patriarch of Antioch, Supreme Court rulings in 1958, 1995, 2017 and 2018 upheld its validity.
The constitution's first article emphasises the bond between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Malankara church, defining that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is a division of the Orthodox Syrian Church, whose chief Primate is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. The Chief Primate of Malankara Church is Catholicos who is also the Malankara Metropolitan. The second article outlines the church's foundation and designates its primate as the Catholicos. The third article refers to the name of the church, and the fourth to their faith traditions. The fifth article examines the canon law governing church administration.
The elected Malankara Association, consisting of parish members, manages the church's religious and social concerns. Formerly the Malankara Palli-yogam ( ?; Malankara Parish Assembly, its modern form is believed to have been founded in 1873 as the Mulanthuruthy Synod, a gathering of parish representatives in Parumala. In 1876, the Malankara Association began.
The church constitution outlines the association's powers and responsibilities. The Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan is the president, and the diocesan metropolitan bishops are vice-presidents. All positions are elected. Each parish is represented in the association by an elected priest and laypeople, proportional to parish-membership size.
The church's Episcopal Synod has the following diocesan bishops:
The church has a number of spiritual organizations:
The two seminaries which offers bachelor's and master's degrees in theology are Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam and St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur. The Malankara Orthodox Seminary at Kottayam is the first Orthodox Seminary in Asia established in year 1815.
The church was a founding member of the World Council of Churches.[full ] Catholicos Geevarghese II and other metropolitan participated in the 1937 Conference on Faith and Order in Edinburgh; a church delegation participated in the 1948 WCC meeting in Amsterdam in 1948, and the church played a role in the 1961 WCC conference in New Delhi. Metropolitan Paulos Gregorios was president of the WCC from 1983 to 1991.
The church participated in the 1965 Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in Addis Ababa. It is a member of the Faith and Order Commission, the Christian Conference of Asia and the Global Christian Forum. A number of primates of sister churches have visited, including Patriarch Justinian of Romania in February 1957 and in January 1969; Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I in December 1963; Armenian Patriarch Derderian of Jerusalem in December 1972; Patriarch Pimen I of Moscow in January 1977; Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II in September 1982; Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie in 1986, Patriarch Teoctist Ar?pa?u of Romania in 1989; Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I in November 2000; Metropolitan (later Patriarch) Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in December 2006; Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in November 2008, Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Paulos in December 2008; the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I Keshishian in February 2010, and Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Mathias in November 2016.
The Order of St. Thomas, the church's highest award, is presented to heads of state and churches by the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan. Recipients include Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Paulos, Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I, and Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Mathias.
The Malankara Orthodox Church has a membership of about 1 million, 1100 parishes, 1200 priests, and 18 bishops.
The most numerous among the Christian denominations in Kerala today are the Syro-Malabar Catholics, numbering about 2,346,000 in 2011. The Latin Catholics, who numbered about 933,000 in 2011, are the second most numerous Christian denominations. The Jacobite Syrian Christian community has a membership of 483,000 and the Orthodox Syrian community has a membership of 494,000
The Malankara Orthodox Church of India(also called by a variety of names, such as the Malankara Church). It is located in Kerala, India.
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also known as Indian Orthodox Church also Malankara Church, is one of the major and oldest churches in the world. The church is believed to have been founded by the Apostle St. Thomas in 52
India has two main Orthodox churches, the autocephalous and autonomous Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox) and autonomous Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church under jurisdiction of Syrian Patriarchate. However, in 1912, there was a split in the community when one part declared itself an autocephalous church and announced the re-establishment of the ancient Catholicosate of the East in India. This was not accepted by those who remained loyal to the Syrian Patriarch. The two sides were reconciled in 1958 when the Indian Supreme Court declared that only the autocephalous Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan and bishops in communion with him had legal standing. But in 1975, the Syrian Patriarch excommunicated and deposed the Catholicos and appointed a rival, an action that resulted in the community splitting yet again. On 21 January 1995, the Supreme Court of India stated the existence of one orthodox church in India divided into two groups and noticed that spiritual authority of the Syrian Patriarchate reached vanishing point, acknowledging the rights of the autocephalous Church.
The autocephalous Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is governed by Holy Episcopal Synod of 24 Bishops presided over by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Didimos catholicos of the east and Malankara Metropolitan.
However, in 1912, there was a split in the community when one part declared itself an autocephalous church and announced the re-establishment of the ancient Catholicosate of the East in India. This was not accepted by those who remained loyal to the Syrian Patriarch. The two sides were reconciled in 1958 when the Indian Supreme Court declared that only the autocephalous Catholicos and bishops in communion with him had legal standing. But in 1975, the Syrian Patriarch excommunicated and deposed the Catholicos and appointed a rival, an action that resulted in the community splitting yet again. In June 1995, the Supreme Court of India rendered a decision that (a) upheld the Constitution of the church that had been adopted in 1934 and made it binding on both factions, (b) stated that there is only one Orthodox church in India, currently divided into two factions, and (c) the autocephalous Catholicos has legal standing as the head of the entire church, and that he is custodian of its parishes and properties. This decision did not, however, result in a reconciliation between the two groups, which in 2007 remained separate and antagonistic.
The Malankara Church is a division of the Orthodox Syrian Church. The Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch.
1. The Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch. 2. The Malankara Church was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle and is included in the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East and the Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East is the Catholicos.