Malankara Metropolitan

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Malankara Metropolitan was a legal title given to the head of the St Thomas Church of Malabar by the Governments of Travancore and Cochin in South India. This title was awarded by a proclamation from the government of Travancore.

History[edit]

In 1816 Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius became a bishop and he got an approval letter known as the Royal Proclamation from the Travancore government to function as the Metropolitan of the community. Now on wards the head of the Church came to be known as Malankara Metropolitan. The position of the Malanakara Metropolitan in the 19th century is a growth from the position of the Marthoma Metrans. The power and authority of the Malanakara Metropolitan got more recognition than the power and authority of the Archdeacons and Marthoma Metrans because of some political changes in the country through the establishment of British rule.

From 1816, DionysiusII, DionysiusIII, DionysiusIV,Mathews Mar Athanasios, Thomas Mar Athanasios and DionysiusV were the Malanakara Metropolitans in the 19th century. Among these Mathews Mar Athanasios of Palakkunnathu exercised enormous spiritual as well as temporal powers inside and outside the community. Mar Dionysius V was the Malankara Metropolitan at the time of the Synod of Mulanthuruthy (1876). During the later half of the 19th century there occurred a split in the community because of the works of the CMS missionaries and the reformation supported by them. This invited a closer interference of the Patriarch of Antioch.Mar Dionysius V sided with Patriarch of Antioch against Mathews Mar Athanasios of Palakkunnathu.The ancient and apostolic St Thomas church of Malankara formally came under Patriarch of Antioch at the time of the Synod of Mulanthuruthy (1876)

To get over the difficulties caused by the reformation and to support Mar Dionysius V against the reformers the Church invited the Patriarch to come over to India. The Patriarch Peter III of Antioch came here in 1875. Instead of healing the division in the community the Patriarch tried to make use of the situation to establish his authority in the church by suppressing the authority of the Malanakra Metropolitan. He strongly stood with Mar Dionysius and called the Synod of Mulanthuruthy.

The Patriarch presided over the synod and directed its proceedings and took some decisions justifying the actions of the Patriarch in the Malankara Church. After the Synod he divided the church into seven dioceses and consecrated six new bishops to rule each diocese. By these actions the Patriarch was trying to reduce the authorities of the Malankara Metropolitan.

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