Mar Thoma I
|Mar Thoma I (Mar Thoma the Great)|
|Predecessor||ArchDeacon Geevarghese Kathanar.|
|Successor||Mar Thoma II|
|Consecration||May 22, 1653|
|Died||April 25, 1670
|Buried||St.Marys Syrian Orthodox Church, Angamaly.|
Thomas the Apostle arrived to Kerala to preach the gospel to the Jewish community. Some of the Jews and locals became followers of Jesus of Nazareth. They were known as Malabar Nasrani people and their church as Malankara Church. They followed a unique Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition which included several Jewish elements and Indian customs.
In Malankara (Kerala) St. Thomas did not appoint any bishops, but an elder (Mooppen in Malayalam) was selected to lead the people. The parish leader was called Edavaka Mooppen and the church as a whole had a Malankara Mooppen. This was the tradition till 1653.
Canons of the Synod of Diamper, Malayalam versions use these titles throughout the report except in three places where they use the Latin word archidiāconus. There is no chance for the Malankara Church to use this Latin word. Portuguese were not familiar with Malayalam word Malankara Mooppen and so they might have used Latin word Archidiāconus. The Malaylam name Jathikku Karthavian, given by some historians was not used in the Malayalam version of the canons.
Kuravilangad is a town located in the Kottayam district of Kerala, South India. The town is situated in the Meenachil Taluk, about 22 km north of Kottayam. Pakalomattom family was one of the oldest families at Kuravilangad. Thomas who later became the first Mar Thoma, was born at Parampil house of this family.
As Malankara Mooppen
Kuravilangad Pakalomattom Parampil Geevarghese Kathanar, the Malankara Mooppen (elder) died in 1637. His relative Thomas Kathanar was then elected as the next Malankara Mooppen. He and his followers opposed the Portuguese attempts to bring the Indian Christian church into the Roman Catholic Church. He spent most of the time doing his pastoral work mainly outside the country of Cochin where Portuguese had no influence. In 1653, Thomas Kathanar and his followers swore the Coonen Cross Oath, declaring an independent church, and stating "We and our children shall never be under Rome."
After the Coonen Cross Oath the elders of the church met and decided to consecrate him as a bishop. Four months after Coonen Cross Oath, on May 22, 1653, twelve kathanars, (priests) placed their hands on Thomas Kathanar and elevated him as the bishop. This was the practice that they were following for the past 1600 years. They chose the name Mar Thoma as he was the successor of Thomas the disciple of Jesus Christ. Till 1662, Mar Thoma survived a number of assassination attempts.
Rise of Dutch power
The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC in old-spelling Dutch, literally "United East Indian Company") was established in 1602. By 1652, VOC trading posts were established in Malabar Coast in India. On January 7, 1663 Cochin was attacked and the king of Cochin surrendered to the Dutch on March 20, 1663.
By 1665, Cochin was under Dutch control. That year Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, said to be a delegate of the Patriarch of Antioch was able to come to Malankara and validate the Metropolitan consecration of Mar Thoma.
Four very efficient trustworthy and responsible priests, Kalliseril Anjilimoottil Itty Thomman Kathanar, Kaduthuruthy Kadavil Chandy Kathanar, Angamaly Vengoor Geevarghese Kathanar and Kuravilangad Palliveettil Parampil Chandy Kathanar were selected as his advisors.
The last days of Mar Thoma I was comparatively peaceful period for the Malankara Church.
- The Dutch East India Company established VOC trading posts in Malabar Coast in India by 1652.
- Mar Thoma I was elevated as a bishop by 12 priests on May 22, 1653.
- On January 7, 1663 Cochin was attacked and the king of Cochin surrendered to the Dutch on March 20, 1663.
- Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, of Jerusalem, made the consecration formal in 1665.
- Mar Thoma I died on April 25, 1670.
Malankar Mooppen Geevarghese Kathanar.
|Metropolitan of the Malankara Church
Mar Thoma II
- Portuguese was not familiar with Malayalam word Malankara Mooppen and so they used the Latin word Archidiāconus.
- The acts and decrees of the Synod of Diamper, 1599
- Five of the Malayalam versions were available in 1952.
- Daniel, K.N. Canons of the Synod of Diamper, prepared using five of the available Malayalam versions.
- Antonio de Gouvea (1606) Jornada do Arcebispo Aleixo de Menezes quando foy as Serra do Malaubar.
- Mar Chandy Parambil
- Mathew N.M. History of the Marthoma Church, Vol. I. Page 183.
- Mathew N.M. (2003). St. Thomas Christians of Malabar Through Ages’’, C.S.S. Tiruvalla. ISBN 81-482-1008-8 and CN 80303
- Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008) Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla