Édouard Hambye

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Father E.R. Hambye in Pune (c1973)

Édouard René Hambye (3 July 1916 – 7 September 1990),[1] was a Belgian Jesuit missionary priest in the Indian subcontinent, and a leading scholar on the history of Indian churches. Hambye is the author of Christianity in India,[2] and a contributor to The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India.[3] He was often published under the name E. R. Hambye,[2][4] and in India was anglicized as "Edward".[5][6][7][8][9]


Hambye was born in Mons[1] and attended that city's Jesuit high school. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus on 23 September 1934. The usual spiritual and academic Jesuit training led him to receive sacerdotal ordination on 24 August 1946.

After further studies involving Syriac he was appointed Professor of Church History and of Patristics at the Kurseong Saint-Mary's Jesuit Theologate in West Bengal[10] where he undertook research into the history of eastern church rites (notably in the Syrian Catholic tradition). His primary field of writing was the Syrian Malabar church.[11][12] Hambye's History of Christianity in India was well received in the 1970s, but some of his contemporary scholars, such as Stephen Neill, were less impressed.[13]

When work on the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India commenced in 1970 by George Menachery he was along with Paul Verghese, later Paulos Mar Gregorios, one of the prominent consultants.[14] He also researched the history of the 'Bengal Jesuit mission' of the Belgian Jesuits and the role of chaplains in the fleet of 17th Century Flanders.[15]

In Kerala Hambye was actively involved in ecumenism between Saint Thomas Christians, Syrian Orthodox and Roman Catholics in India.[16][17] An active member of the Indian Church Historical Association, Hambye was appointed a member of the commission for dialogue with the Malankara Orthodox Church, Kottayam, 1989.[18][19] In 1977 he had already been working in Kurseong, Delhi, Poona, Vadavathoor-Kottayam for 26 years.[20]

In later years he was a professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.[21]


  • Hambye, E. R., Eastern Christianity in India; a History of the Syro-Malabar Church From the Earliest Time to the Present Day, (with Eugène Tisserant) The Newman Press, 1957.
  • Hambye, E. R., Les traces liturgiques de l'usage du bêmâ dans la liturgie de l' Eglise chaldéomalabare, 1964.
  • Hambye, Ed., S. J., L'aumônerie de la flotte de Flandre au XVIIè siècle, 1623–1668, Nauwelaerts, 1967.
  • Hambye, E. R., Christianity in India: A history in Ecumenical Perspective, (with H. C. Permulalil), Alleppey, 1972.
  • Hambye, E. R., Dimensions of Eastern Christianity, 1976.
  • Hambye, E. R., S. J., Some Syriac Libraries of Kerala (Malabar), India, Notes and Comments, 1977.
  • Hambye, E. R., Articles in The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, vol. 1 1982.
  • Hambye, E. R. History of Christianity in India: Eighteenth Century, (with George Menachery) Church History Association of India, 1997.
  • Hambye, Edouard R., 1900 Jahre Thomas-Christen in Indien, (with Johannes Madey) 1983.
  • Hambye, Édouard R., "Un Irlandais aux origines de la Mission Navale des Jésuites Belges", Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu. Roma 15 (1946), pp. 144–154.
  • Hambye, E. R., Bibliography on Christianity in India (1976).


  1. ^ a b list of Belgian Jesuits, "Hambye. Edouard. Mons. 1916-07-03 1934-09-23 Namur. 1990-09-07."
  2. ^ a b "Christianity in India; a history in ecumenical perspective", Library of Congress Online Catalog.
  3. ^ "The St. Thomas Christian encyclopaedia of India", Library of Congress Online Catalog.
  4. ^ "A bibliography on Christianity in India", Library of Congress Online Catalog.
  5. ^ Rooney, John, The Hesitant Dawn: Christianity in Pakistan, 1579-1760, 1984, p. 4.
  6. ^ Nedungatt, George, S.J., "Manikathanar in century retrospect", Orientalia Christiana Periodica, Volume 70, Issue 2, Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum - 2004, p. 337. "Jesuit historian Edward Hambye credits Lavigne with having secured the conversion of some Jacobite priests, which was as a matter of fact thanks to Manikathanar."
  7. ^ Troll, Christian W., Islam in India: The Akbar Mission and Miscellaneous Studies, Vikas, 1982, p. xv, 3.
  8. ^ Kollaparambil, Jacob, "The St. Thomas Christians' revolution in 1653", 1981. "I am thankful to the Reverend Fr. Edward R. Hambye, SJ, for sharing with me his discovery of Mar Atallah's death record at the National Archives of Paris."
  9. ^ Indian Church History Review: Volumes 27-32 Church History Association of India - 1993. "Among the sorrows are the passings away of two prominent members of the Association: Father Edward R. Hambye SJ on 7 August 1990 and Dr. Ashish K. Mondal on 10 July 1991. Both of them as members of the CHAl Editorial Board were at ..."
  10. ^ The faculty of Theology was transferred to Delhi in 1971 and is nowadays known as the 'Vidyajyoti College of Theology'.
  11. ^ (in Spanish) O'Neill, Charles E. and Domínguez, Joaquín María, Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús: Biográfico-temático: Volume 3.pp. 2882 - 2001. "En la India, los estudios del belga Edouard Hambye (1916-1990) sobre el cristianismo indio han incluido escritos sobre las tradiciones malabar y malankara de Kerala y su herencia siria."
  12. ^ (in German) Hallesche Beiträge zur Orientwissenschaft: Issue 33 Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg-2006. "Gérard Daucourt vom Einheitsrat sowie der inzwischen verstorbene Professor Edouard René Hambye SJ, der lange Zeit in Indien gewirkt hatte. Die syro-malabarische Kirche vertrat ..."
  13. ^ Neill, Stephen, A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to Ad 1707, p. 516 - reissued 2004. "The work does not quite live up to its title, being rather heavily slanted on the Roman Catholic side. Some of the chapters are barely adequate."
  14. ^ The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India title pages
  15. ^ (in French) Henrici, Thomas and Renard, Jean-Pierre, Amtstagebuch eines Generalvikars des Bistums Basel, p. iv - 2007 ".. selon Edouard Hambye, lui-même auteur de L 'aumônerie de la flotte de Flandre au XVII ..."
  16. ^ "Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius", Sobornost: Volumes 3-4 - 1981. "A Belgian Jesuit working in India, Fr Edouard Hambye, considered 'Ecumenism in India as a witness to hope and hesitation'."
  17. ^ (in French) Lavenant, René, VI Symposium Syriacum1992: University of Cambridge, Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum- 1994 "Arthur Vööbus, Dom Louis Leloir, le P. Edouard Hambye, apôtre de l'oecuménisme auprès des églises syriaques de l'Inde, et le P. André de Halleux qui nous a quittés le 30 janvier 1994."
  18. ^ (in French) Lavenant, René, V Symposium Syriacum, 1988: Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, 29-31 René Lavenant 1990 "La mise au point finale de ce Ve Symposium n'était pas encore achevée lorsque nous avons appris avec stupeur et tristesse le décès inopiné du P. Edouard R. Hambye SJ, survenu le 7 Septembre dernier à Namur."
  19. ^ Indica: Volume 29, Saint Xavier's College, Bombay. Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, 1992. "The conference remembered with gratitude Fr. Antonio da Silva Rego (with an exhibition of his works), Fr. Edouard Hambye, SJ, and Dr. BS Shastry, all of whom have passed away recently."
  20. ^ (in German) Görres-Gesellschaft, 1977. "Dr. Edouard R. Hambye SJ, who is hailing from Mons and is working in India (Kurseong, Delhi, Poona, Vadavathoor-Kottayam) since 26 years."
  21. ^ (in Italian) Orientalia Christiana Periodica: Volume 58 Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1992. "Sono scritti da Colin Davey, Joseph Habbi e Edouard Hambye (t 1990) (gli ultimi due professori al PIO). I loro hanno per titolo «Chiesa anglicana e Oriente Ortodosso» (pp. 265-279), «La Chiesa d'Inghilterra ei Cristiani Siri dell'India» ..."

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