Throne of St. Thomas
Throne of St. Thomas is the chair occupied by the head of the Malankara Church when he is enthroned as the prelate and given the title of Malankara Metropolitan. Tradition has it that this Church was established by St. Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century in Malankara (Kerala). During the first fifteen centuries, the heads of the church were elders selected or elected from among elders of various parishes. No chairs or thrones were known to have been in use for their enthronement. The first person to have been enthroned on this throne was Mar Thoma I, in 1653.
The malankara simhasanam (malankara throne or st thomas throne ) is now under the custody of malankara marthoma syrian church.
Soon after the Coonan Cross Oath (Koonan Kurishu Satyam), in 1653 AD, it became necessary to appoint a bishop as the head of the Malankara Church. They elected the then leader Parampil Thomas Kathanar as their first bishop. For this consecration they made a special chair (throne). On May 22, 1653, Thomas Kathanar was seated on it and twelve kathanars (priests) placed their hands on him and elevated him to the office of bishop. He was given the ecclesiastical title Mar Thoma I. This throne used in 1653 was later used for the consecration of other prelates of the Malankara Church and they all carried the title Mar Thoma.
The usage of the title continued till the end of nineteenth century. The Malankara sabha witnessed a split in AD1876. Mar Thoma Church got separated and started functioning as an independent faction. However, the two fully independent factions as of today, Malankara Orthodox Church and Mar Thoma Church continue to use the title 'Mar Thoma' in the names of their supreme heads. As all other factions that got separated from the unified Malankara sabha are under foreign Church heads, the usage of 'Mar Thoma' title is restricted to the above two Malankara Churches only.
Metropolitans enthroned on this throne
|Mar Thoma I||Parampil Thomas Kathanar||1653–1670|
|Mar Thoma II||--||1670–1686|
|Mar Thoma III||--||1686–1688|
|Mar Thoma IV||--||1688–1728|
|Mar Thoma V||--||1728–1765|
|Mar Thoma VI||Mar Dionysius I||1765–1808|
|Mar Thoma VII||--||1808–1809|
|Mar Thoma VIII||--||1809–1816|
|Mar Thoma IX||--||1816–1817|
|Mar Thoma XI||Punnathra Mar Dionysius / Mar Dionysious III||1817–1825|
|Mar Thoma XII||Cheppad Mar Dionysius / Mar Dionysious IV||1825–1852|
The following Metropolitans of the Malankara Church were not seated on this Throne of St. Thomas at the time of their consecration.
- Mar Thoma X, Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious I (Mar Dionysious II) (1815–1816) was consecrated at Pazhanji, outside Travancore-Cochin
- Mar Thoma XIII, Mathews Mar Athanasius (1843–1877) was consecrated in Antioch.
- P.V. Mathew. Keralathille Nazrani Kristhianikal (Nazrani Christians of Kerala) Vol. 2. Page 5
For further reading
- (Anglican) Missionary Registers (in English) from 1816.
- Niranam Granthavari (Record of History written during 1770-1830 in Malayalam). Editor Paul Manalil, M.O.C. Publications, Devalokam Aramana, Kottayam. 2002.
- Malankara Church
- Malabar Independent Syrian Church
- Mar Thoma Church
- St. Thomas Evangelical Church
- Oriental Orthodoxy