Mar Thoma Syrian Church Diocese of North America & Europe
|Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. Diocese of North America & Europe.|
Logo of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
|Founder||Saint Thomas the Apostle.|
|Recognition||Independent Hierarchical Church|
|Primate||Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan|
|Headquarters||2320 South Merrick Avenue, Merrick, New York.|
|Territory||North America, South America and Europe|
The Diocese of North America & Europe is a diocese of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church that includes all the Mar Thoma parishes in the North American and European continents. Its headquarters is at Sinai Mar Thoma Centre, Merrick, New York. As of 2013[update] the Diocesan bishop was Geevarghese Mar Theodosius Episcopa. 1n 2011, 66 parishes and 12 congregations were under this diocese.
Mar Thoma Church
The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, also known as the Mar Thoma Church, is a Christian denomination based in the state of Kerala in southwestern India. It is one of the Saint Thomas Christian churches tracing its origins to the missionary activity of Thomas the Apostle.
The Mar Thoma Church defines itself as "Apostolic in origin, Catholic in nature, Biblical in faith, Evangelical in principle, Ecumenical in outlook, Oriental in worship, Democratic in function, Episcopal in character, and is a Reformed Church.
Members of the Mar Thoma Church, also known as Marthomites began to move out of Kerala by 1940 and some of them settled down in the UK in the 1950s and the USA in the 1970s. There they continued to follow their ancient customs, traditions and worship.
Beginning of parishes in England
In August 1948 Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan, head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, passed through London to attend the Meeting of World Council of Churches in Amsterdam. Though only very few Marthomites lived in London at that time, a holy communion service was conducted, the first Mar Thoma Holy Communion service held in Europe. In 1957 the first Mar Thoma congregation in London was approved. Rev. Abrham Philip, the first vicar was appointed in 1982. 1.
Mar Thoma Church had a humble beginning in Kerala, it has expanded its boundaries to different corners of the continents of the world. In early 1950s, few Marthomites came to the United Kingdom as students for higher studies and others for employment. Once a month they met in the chapel of the Indian YMCA Students’ Hostel in London. At that time there were no other Malayali Christian services in UK. This encouraged other Malayali Christians also to participate in our service.
During the 1970s more Marthomites and other Christians came to England from Malaysia, Singapore, Uganda, Zambia, India and many other countries in East Africa. In 1979 we moved to St. Mary’s Parish Church in Newington in Kensington. Although we had services once/ twice a month, most of our members took membership in the local parishes of the Church of England, with whom the Mar Thoma Church had full communion.
Later this group, with a congregational status was recognized as a parish. In 1989 the parish moved to St. Katharine Cree Church in Central London. Several Bishops of the Church visited from to time. In 1996 the Episcopal Synod of the Mar Thoma Church decided to split the UK parish in two, creating St. Johns Mar Thoma Church, UK, in Hounslow. and St James Mar Thoma Church, in Central London.
Beginning of parishes in USA
The Church began as a small prayer group in Queens, New York. In 1972 this was approved as a congregation and later moved to Manhattan. In May 1975 ‘’Mar Thoma Congregation of Greater New York’’ was formed and K.S. Mathew appointed as its vicar. The first congregation in USA that was approved as a parish of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1976 was in New York.
As members increased and more Marthomites began to settle down in other parts of USA and Canada, more congregations were formed and later they became parishes.
Early history of the Diocese
The churches in this part of the world were grouped as a zone of the Mar Thoma Church in 1982. The Church was led by Thomas Mar Athanasius, and Alexander Mar Thoma presided over the zone. However, as per the decision of the Episcopal Synod, the churches in North America and the United Kingdom became constituents of the newly formed "Diocese of North America and United Kingdom". The Philipose Mar Chrysostom then took charge as Diocesan bishop. As the Church continued to expand, the Diocese was renamed to "Diocese of North America and Europe".
Mar Thoma Centre
In the 1990s the Diocesan Assembly decided to permanently house the Diocese. In 1994 the Assembly initially purchased property at Richboro, Pennsylvania, for their headquarters, but subsequently moved to their current location at 2320 South Merrick Avenue, Merrick, New York.
To spearhead the task of nurturing and developing the young diocese, from 1993, Episcopal Synod of the Mar Thoma Church appointed resident bishops.
- 1. Rt.Rev.Dr.Zacharias Mar Theophilus (October 1993 - October 2001)
Parents Niranam Mattackal Venparambil V K Oommen and Mariamma Oommen Born on 1938, August 29 Ordained as Deacon 1966, May 7 Ordained as Kassissa 1966, July 9 Ordained as Ramban 1980, April 26 Consecrated as Episcopa 1980, May 1 Installed as Suffragan Metropolitan 2004, July 3
After schooling at Niranam, he graduated from the Union Christian College, Alwaye and completed his B. Ed training from Titus II College, Tiruvalla. He started his career as a teacher at the Ashram High School, Perumbavoor. Following this he went for Theological training at the Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur in 1966. He again returned to Perumbavoor, Ashram English High School and also pasturing the parishes in Perumbavoor, Vengoor, Krariali, Kothamanglam, Koratti, Mamala, Methala etc. He then completed his Masters at the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1974 and his Doctoral studies at the Boston University, USA in 1976. During his education at Princeton and Boston he was also the Vicar of the Congregations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
He was consecrated as a Bishop on the 1st of May, 1980 and served in the following Dioceses: Adoor-Mavelikara Diocese, Kottayam–Ranni Diocese, Madras-Kunnamkulam Diocese, South Zone of Bombay-Delhi Diocese, Malaysia-Singapore-Australia Diocese, Kottayam–Kochi Diocese, North America-Europe Diocese, Madras–Calcutta, Chennai–Bangalore Diocese and currently at the Chengannur–Mavelikara Diocese since 2005. He started various projects and missions in different dioceses, including Asha Bhavan – Pathanapuram, Mochana De-addiction Centre – Kottayam, Thrikkunapuzha Mission, Haripad Centre, Pathanamthitta - Working Women’s Hostel, Santhigiri Ashram – Alwaye, Sinai Centre – New York, Karuthal – Cancer Care and Counselling Centre, Higher Education Loan Project, Navadharshan De-addiction Centre – Kidangannur, Mar Thoma Mission School and Mission Hostel Narasapuram, Ministry for Widow, Widowers and Aged, Sadhu Sadanam – Venmony, Bodhana Project, Bodhadhara Project, VISA-Vivaha Sahayam Project, Dalit Development Project. For the Metropolitan’s Navathy Project collected more than Rs. 16 Crores and provided more than 2050 houses for the homeless in India. He served as the President of the National Missionary Society of India, Bible Society of India, Kerala, Auxiliary, World Mission of India, Ecumenical Christian Center (ECC), Bangalore and Theological Literature Society, Kerala.
He served as the Secretary of the Nilackal Ecumenical Trust of all Episcopal churches in Kerala, Executive Committee Member of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and Executive and Central Committee Member of the World Council of Churches (WCC). He is also a member of the Ecumenical Meeting of Bishops, Friends of the Focolare Movement and member of the Ecumenical Solidarity Visit to Sudan.
- 2. Rt. Rev. Dr. Euyakim Mar Coorilos (October 2001 - December 2008)
- 3. Rt. Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Theodosius Episcopa (Incumbent from January 1, 2009,)
Diocesan Secretaries, Treasurers, Councils, Assemblies, have also held office in the diocese. Former Diocesan Secretaries include Rev. N.M. Cherian, Rev. A.G. Mathew, Rev. Dr. P.J. Philip, Rev. Jayan Thomas, Dr. P.V. Cherian (Recording Secretary), Rev. P.J. Alex, Rev. Dr. T.P. Abraham, Rev. Dr. P.G. George, Rev. Oommen Philip, Rev. K.Y. Jacob, Rev. Dr. John Joseph, Rev. Dr. K. A. Abraham. Rev. Joseph Oommen, Rev. Biju S. Cherian.and Rev. Vinoy Daniel. At present, Rev. K.E. Geevarghese is serving as the Diocesan Secretary.
The first Mar Thoma Youth Conference in America was in 1980 at Stoney Park New York. The leader was Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan.
The first family conference was held from 26 to 29 June 1963 in Toronto, Canada. The leader was Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan. Mar Thoma Church of Dallas, Farmers Branch hosted the conference in 2010.
- Reformation in the Malankara Church- Living the Gospel. Pub. Mar Thoma Sabha Council. February 2011. Page 7.
- Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. ‘’Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History’’. London, England. 2003. ISBN 81/900854/4/1.
- Mathew, N.M. Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume III.(2008). Page 234-235.
- Official Site of the Diocese of North America & Europe
- Official web site of the Mission Board of the Diocese
- Canadian Parishes
- American Parishes
- Chicago Mar Thoma Church
- Christos Mar Thomas Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- St.Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Chicago
- Mar Thoma Church of Dallas, Farmers Branch
- St Mark's Mar Thoma Church Tampa, Florida
- St. Stephen's Mar Thoma Church, East Brunswick, New Jersey
- Sehion Mar Thoma Church of Dallas, Plano, Texas
Carmel Mar Thoma Church, Liverpool