There are two Reformed Orthodox Churches in Eastern Christianity. The term Reformed Orthodox is the Protestant-reformed revision of practices of the former Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Church. Presently the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church are noted to be Reformed by Lutheran and, respectively, Anglican reforms. Another term used is Protestant Oriental.
Malankara Church Reformation
The Mar Thoma Church was founded by Abraham Malpan who was the leading Protestant reformist of the church. He was a priest and a syriac professor in Kottayam. When British missionaries came to India in the 1850s he had an idea of changing things in the church. He sent his nephew Deacon Mathew to Syria to be ordained as an episcopa. Abraham Malpan had no intentions of creating a new church. Presently the church is headed by Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolition. The Church has more than 1,500 parishes worldwide and has 550,000 members. It is in full communion with the Anglican Communion and the Malabar Independent Syrian Church. It also has a growing ecumenical relationship with the Indian Orthodox Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, and the Latin Catholic Church but has no special relationship or communion with any of those Churches. The Mar Thoma Church has conserved, but altered parts of its west Syriac Rite liturgy, elements, etc. to conform to reformation principles.
Most prominent elements in the Reformation of the traditional Indian Church were:
- Introduction of the concept of salvation by Faith Alone (Sola fide);
- Cleansing of wrong ways of life, and
- Taking up responsibility to be witnesses of Jesus Christ to others;
- All importance be given to the primacy of the Word of God. (Sola Scriptura)
Ethiopian Tadeshwlo Orthodox Church
A church that separated itself from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.