Diocese of Medak of the Church of South India

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Diocese of Medak
Medakcathedralsideview.png
Location
Country India
Territory Telangana
Deaneries 3 District Church Councils (DCC)
(Godavari DCC, Medak DCC, and Town DCC)[1]
Subdivisions 105 Pastorates[1]
Headquarters Medak
Statistics
Members 1/3rds of a million[1]
Information
Denomination Protestant
Rite Uniting Church (comprising Wesleyan Methodist, Congregational and Anglican missionary societies – SPG, WMMS, LMS, CMS, and the Church of England)
Established 1947
Cathedral Medak Cathedral
Secular priests 200[2]
Language English, Hindi, Kannada, Lambadi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu
Calendar Church of South India Liturgical calendar
Music Contemporary worship music
Current leadership
Parent church Church of South India Synod
Patriarch Thomas K. Oommen
(Moderator)
The Right Reverend A. C. Solomon Raj
Archdeacons The Reverend T. Bhaskar
(Vice-Chairperson)[2]
Emeritus Bishops B. P. Sugandhar and
T. S. Kanaka Prasad
Website
CSI Medak Diocese

The Diocese of Medak is one of the prominent Dioceses in the Church of South India, a Protestant Uniting Church with its headquarters in Medak.

History[edit]

Christianity in India[edit]

King Gondophares receives a letter from St. Thomas in Gujarat.

Saint Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles landed[3] in Maharashtra and began his mission in Kalyan[4] and was followed by Saint Thomas[3] who landed in Gujarat during the reign of King Gondophares[5] and initiated the Gospel in parts of Bharuch[6] and Taxila before traveling southward to Kerala in 52 A.D. where he won many converts and established many churches, eventually traveling to Tamil Nadu where he was martyred in 72 A.D. After centuries of inactivity, the missions were again revived with the arrival of Saint Francis Xavier in 1542 followed by Robert de Nobili in 1605 who arrived in Goa on the western coast. The first Protestant missionaries arrived in 1706 with Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau of the Lutheran Missions who landed at Tranquebar on the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. However, the modern missions began to take shape only with the arrival of the Baptist Missions in 1793 led by William Carey, the Father of the Modern Missionary Movement.[7]

It was with this background[8] that Jawaharlal Nehru,[9] the first Prime Minister of India remarked in a parliamentary debate in 1955[10] in the Lok Sabha that,

"Christianity in India is as old as Christianity itself."

Christianity in Telangana[edit]

The Roman Catholic missionaries first set foot in the erstwhile Hyderabad State in 1535[11] during the sixteenth century followed by the American Methodist missions in 1873,[11] the Baptist missions in 1875,[11] the Mennonite Brethren missions then followed by the Wesleyan Methodist missions in 1878[12][11] during the nineteenth century.

The beginnings of the church[edit]

Once the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society set foot in the erstwhile Hyderabad State in 1878,[11] the missionaries led by Henry Little, William Burgess and the Indian Evangelist Benjamin Wesley[11] who pioneered the spread of the Gospel and helped in establishing of churches in areas northward of Hyderabad City winning of new converts to the fold of Christianity.

Meanwhile, efforts were made by visionary Pastors to form the Church of South India for which missionary societies came forward for negotiations who included[13] Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Lutherans, and Wesleyan Methodists. However, the talks towards Church Union did not go well with the laymen hailing from the Baptists and the Lutherans in spite of efforts by their Clergy[14] led by Professor Muthyala Theophilus, CBCNC and William Powlas Peery, AELC[15] to join the Church of South India. Meanwhile in 1923,[16] the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society participated in the negotiations towards Church union and formally agreed to join the Church of South India in 1947 and Frank Whittaker became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Medak.

The CSI and aftermath[edit]

From 1947 onward, the church came under the Church of South India overseen by a Bishop residing in Medak, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the Diocese of Medak and was overseen by Bishops beginning with Frank Whittaker. The Bishops used to appoint Pastors to lead the congregations in Christian love and faith so that the Christians lead selfless lives and set example for others. The Clergy consisted of Pastors who had theological grounding under able scholars in seminaries either at the Andhra Christian Theological College or at the United Theological College, Bangalore.[11] The church also had visiting preachers from the nearby seminary, the Andhra Christian Theological College as well as other non-CSI churches in the city.

Bishops[edit]

The Bishops that have led the Diocese of Medak were notable and exemplary and having focused on the objective of the Mission and Evangelism as shown through the Gospels. The lives of the Bishops have been documented by Church historians and available in book form include,

  • Rajaiah David Paul, The First Decade: An Account of the Church of South India, published by the Christian Literature Society, Chennai, 1958,[17]
  • Rajaiah David Paul, Ecumenism in action: a historical survey of the Church of South India, published by the Christian Literature Society, Chennai, 1972,[18]
  • K. M. George, Church of South India: Life in Union, 1947-1997, Jointly published by Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, New Delhi and Christava Sahitya Samithi, Tiruvalla, 1999,[19]
From[A] Until[B] Incumbent Notes (earned theological credentials)
27.9.1947 Mar 1960[20] Frank Whittaker M.A. (Cambridge)
Apr 1960 31.10.1960 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod)
1.11.1960[20] 1967 Eber Priestley B.A. (Birmingham)
1967 1968 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod)
1968 1975 H. D. L. Abraham B.D. (Serampore)
1975 1976 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod)
1976 1981 B. G. Prasada Rao B.D. (Serampore), M.Th. (Serampore)
1981 1983 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod)
1983 1992 P. Victor Premasagar B.D. (Serampore), M.A. (Cambridge), Ph.D. (St Andrews)
1992 Aug 1993 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod)
Sep 1993 Sep 2008 B. P. Sugandhar B.D. (Serampore)
Sep 2008 16.8.2009 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod) P. Surya Prakash and J. W. Gladstone
17.8.2009 2012 T. S. Kanaka Prasad B.Th. (Serampore), B.D. (Serampore)
2012 11.10.2016 See vacant (overseen by the Church of South India Synod) G. Dyvasirvadam
12.10.2016 A. C. Solomon Raj B.D. (Serampore), M.Th. (Serampore)

Ministerial formation[edit]

The Ministerial Secretary of the Diocese of Medak acts as the Vocation Promoter and for those discerning their avocation towards priesthood, the Diocese of Medak through its Ministerial Secretary examines candidates to determine their preparedness for the priestly vocation at varying points of time. First, candidates are admitted to the Diocese of Medak and attached with a Priest in congregations and after a year or two they are sent for ministerial formation to a seminary affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University). Presently, the Diocese of Medak divides candidates between the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad and to the United Theological College, Bangalore.

It was in the Medak[21] that the first seminary was established prior to 1947.[21] Incidentally, this College moved over to Dornakal and became the Andhra Union Theological College which later in 1964[22] joined hands with the Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists to form the Andhra Christian Theological College,[22] originally located in Rajahmundry and moved to Secunderabad in 1972.[23] The Diocese is also represented in the United Theological College, Bangalore which was established in 1910[21] and in addition to the Andhra Christian Theological College.[21]

The Diocese of Medak through its scholarly Clergy has also been involved in ministerial formation both at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad and at the United Theological College, Bangalore. Some of its Clergy who have been sent on lien to teach elsewhere include,

- Taught Religions from 1964 to 1976 at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Rajahmundry/Secunderabad and later from 1977 to 1988 at the United Theological College, Bangalore.

  • M. Vidyanandam,

- Taught Old Testament at the L.Th. level at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Rajahmundry

- Taught Old Testament from 1966 to 1980 at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad

  • R. Yesurathnam,

- Taught Systematic theology from 1973 to 2002 at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad

- Taught New Testament and Homiletics at the United Theological College, Bangalore from 1991 to 2000.

  • Ch. Vasantha Rao

- Teaches Old Testament at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad and would be moving over to the United Theological College, Bangalore in the latter half of 2017

  • M. John Sundar

- Taught New Testament at the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 70 years of God's Faithfulness: CSI UK Telugu Christians Souvenir commemorating the 70th year of the formation of the Church of South India, 2016.[1]
  2. ^ a b Church of South India Synod - Medak Ministerial Details. [2]
  3. ^ a b George Nedungatt, Quest for the Historical Thomas Apostle of India: A Re-reading of the Evidence, Theological Publications in India, Bangalore, 2008. [3]
  4. ^ A. C. Perumalil, The Apostles in India, Xavier Teachers' Training Institute, Patna, 1971.[4]
  5. ^ See Acts of Thomas
  6. ^ James Kurikilamkatt, First Voyage of the Apostle Thomas to India: Ancient Christianity in Bharuch and Taxila, Asian Trading Corporation, Bangalore, 2005.[5]
  7. ^ Timothy C. Tennent, Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first century, Kregel, Grand Rapids, 2010, p.259.[6]
  8. ^ Manohar Samuel, Christianity in S. Muthiah (Edited), Madras, Chennai: A 400-year Record of the First City of Modern India, Volume 1, Palaniappa Brothers, Madras, 2008, pp.160-184. [7]
  9. ^ Jawaharlal Nehru, Discovery of India, Penguin, New Delhi, 2008.[8]
  10. ^ Andrew Wingate, The Meeting of Opposites?: Hindus and Christians in the West, Cascade Books, Eugene, 2014. [9]
  11. ^ a b c d e f g P. Y. Luke, J. B. Carman, Village Christians and Hindu Culture, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1968, pp.15, 17, 24.[10]
  12. ^ Lasania, Y. Yunus (2015-11-21). "162-year-old and still going strong". The Hindu. Hyderabad. Retrieved 2016-11-05. 
  13. ^ Rajaiah David Paul, J. Kumaresan, Church of South India-Lutheran Conversations: A Historical Sketch, Christian Literature Society, Madras, 1970, p.40. [11]
  14. ^ D. J. Jeremiah, The Relationship of the Baptist Churches in Andhra Pradesh to the Church Union Movement in South India since 1919 in Reflections on Theology Today: Papers Presented by the ACTC Faculty during the Academic Year 1988–89 on Theology and the Mission and Ministry of the Church, Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad, 1990, pp.54-73. [12]
  15. ^ CSI-Lutheran Inter Church Commission
  16. ^ Paul M. Collins, Christian Inculturation in India, Ashgate Publishing, 2007.[13]
  17. ^ Rajaiah David Paul, The First Decade: An Account of the Church of South India, The Christian Literature Society, Chennai, 1958. [14]
  18. ^ Rajaiah David Paul, Ecumenism in action: a historical survey of the Church of South India, The Christian Literature Society, Chennai, 1972. [15]
  19. ^ K. M. George, Church of South India: Life in Union, 1947-1997, Jointly published by Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, New Delhi and Christava Sahitya Samithi, Tiruvalla, 1999. [16]
  20. ^ a b Rajaiah David Paul, Ecumenism in action: a historical survey of the Church of South India, The Christian Literature Society, Chennai, 1972, p.86[17]
  21. ^ a b c d Anthony Tyrrell Hanson, Beyond Anglicanism, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1965 , p.65. [18]
  22. ^ a b J. Herbert Kane, A Global View of Christian Missions from Pentecost to the Present, Baker Book House, 1971, p.120. [19]
  23. ^ Yearbook of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., 1973, p.143.[20]