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Malankara Metropolitan was a legal title given to the head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, by the Government of Travancore and Cochin in South India. This title was awarded by a proclamation from the King of Travancore & the King of Cochin.Malankara Metropolitan is believed to reign it faithful from the Malankara See of Saint Thomas.
It was when Col. Munroe the resident of Travancore, Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop Ramban was ordained as a bishop by Geevarghese Mar Philexenos (Kidangan) (1811–29) of Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Thozhyoor Church) on 22 March 1815. He was given the episcopal title Dionysius, the second bishop in the Malankara Church to get this title. After the death of Mar Thoma VIII, he was made the head of the Malankara Church by a Royal proclamation issued by the King of Travancore and later by the King of Cochin. The proclamation insisted every Syrian Christian of Travancore-Cochin obey the Malankara Metropolitan. From then onwards the head of the Malankara Syrian Church legally came to be known as Malankara Metropolitan. The position of the Malankara Metropolitan in the 19th century is an upgrowth from the position of the previous Mar Thomas and Archdeacons. The power and authority of the Malankara Metropolitan got more recognition than the power and authority of the previous Archdeacons' and Marthomas' because of some political changes in the country through the establishment of British rule.
From 1816, Dionysius II, Dionysius III, Dionysius IV, Mathews Mar Athanasius, Thomas Mar Athanasius and Pulikkottil 1st were the Malankara Metropolitans in the 19th century. Among these Mathews Mar Athanasius of Palakkunnathu exercised enormous spiritual as well as temporal powers inside and outside the community. He was the Malankara Metropolitan at the time of Mulanthuruthy Padiyola in (1876).However inspired by the western missionaries cooperated in the old seminary at Kottayam, he wanted to inculcate reformist ideas in the traditional Syrian church. A parallel group under Dionysius V was working against the ruling Malankara Metropolitan's reformist ideas. During the latter half of the 19th century there occurred two factions in the community; the minority faction that favored reformation and supported the Reformists and the majority faction who were against the introduction of new changes which was against the Syrian tradition of the church got stood with the Pulikkotil Joseph Mar Dionysius 2 (Syrian traditionalists). This also invited a closer interference of the Patriarch of Antioch in Malankara Church. Mar Dionysius V stood with the Patriarch of Antioch against the ruling metropolitan, Mathews Mar Athanasius of Palakkunnathu. A series of court cases followed thereafter. The Travancore Royal court on 14 July 1889 declared that Palakkunnathu Thomas Mar Athanasius and the Reformist faction has no rights in the physical properties of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Later the Reformist faction organized themselves as the independent Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church.
The practice of issuing Royal proclamation ceased after the time of Palakkunnathu Mathews Mar Athanasius. Dionysius V of the (Syrian traditionalists) invited and brought Patriarch Peter III of Antioch to Malankara in 1875.The Patriarch divided the Malankara church into seven dioceses; Dionysius V was declared as the Malankara Metropolitan in the synod of Mulanthuruthy(27 to 30 June 1876). Neither the reigning Malankara Metropolitan, Palakkunathu Mathews Mar Athanasius nor the Churches favoring him participated in the synod.
Later on, a series of court cases and stronger rift occurred in the church. The head of Malankara Church, Malankara Metropolitan Dionysius V approached the Royal Court of Travancore against Palakkunnathu Thomas Mar Athanasius reigning as Malankara Metropolitan and against occupying assets of church and seminary. Appellant Dionysius V won the case in 1889 and Palakkunnathu Thomas Mar Athanasius was deprived of the title of Malankara Metropolitan and evicted from Syrian Seminary.
Mean while the defeated reformist faction organized themselves under Thomas Mar Athanasius with independent Indigenous Christian heritage as Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church.
- Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church: Independent Reformed Oriental Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of new Marthoma Metropolitan.
- Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church: Independent, following old orthodox beliefs and spiritual guidance of Patriarch of Antioch.
However, later after the establishment of Catholicate in Malankara in 1912, again a rift occurred among Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church over the temporal authority of Patriarch of Antioch. There were several years of litigation between the two factions, the Metran faction, and the Bava faction.
- Mathran Faction (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church): Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos of the East is the primate of the church, in the throne of Saint Thomas.
- Bava Kakshi (Jacobite Syrian Church) : continue under the local jurisdiction of Maphrian of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, Later established Catholicos of India.
Today Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is the official Malankara Church.The Primate of Malankara Church (Orthodox Syrian Church of the East) is Catholicos. He enjoys spiritual powers as well, as the Malankara Metropolitan. Malankara Metropolitan has the prime jurisdiction regarding temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of Malankara Church subject to the riders provided in the 1934 Constitution. In the temporal matters,Patriarch has no power and the spiritual power had also come to the 'vanishing point' by his own acts as noticed by the Supreme Court of India in the 1995 and other judgments.
Historically the primate or the leader of St Thomas Christians were known as Jathikku Karthavyan (leader of Community), Malankara Moopen (Elder of the Community), Archdeacon or Arkadyokon (High Priest). In the 16th century to resist the Latinization attempts of the Jesuits, it became necessary to elevate the Archdeacon to a position of 'Metropolitan Bishop' named as Mar Thoma. In 1653 the Archdeacon position was elevated to Bishopric by laying hands of twelve priests in the absence of a valid Bishop. This was an emergency step. Then onwards the Metropolitan Bishop assumed the honorific ecclesiastical title Marthoma. This title was used from 1653 to 1815. Later a regular 'Bishopric' was established in Malankara with the help of Gregorios Abdal Jaleel. Until a few hundred years back, the leadership of St Thomas Christian Community was dynastically held by members of the Pakalomattom family.
Mar Thoma (title)
- Mar Thoma I – In 1653, Thomas of Palamattam Thravadu was consecrated with the title Marthoma I by 12 priests in 1653 after Coonan cross oath.
Marthoma I had survived a number of assassination attempts. He died on 25 April 1670 and was interred in Angamaly St Mary's Syrian Church.
- Mar Thoma II – (1670–1686) Consecrated by Marthoma I and Mar Gregorios Abdal Jaleel. Died on 14 April 1686 and was interred at St. Mary's Orthodox Church, Niranam.
- Mar Thoma III – (1686–1688) Consecrated by Mar Ivanios Hirudyathulla (from Antioch), died on 21 April 1688. Laid to rest at St.Thomas Orthodox Church, Kadampanad.
- Mar Thoma IV – (1688–1728). Consecrated by Mar Ivanios Hirudyathulla. Died on 24 March 1728 and was interred at Kandanad Martha Mariam Orthodox Church.
- Mar Thoma V – (1728–1765) – Consecrated by Marthoma IV. Died on 8 May 1765 and laid to rest at St. Mary's
Orthodox Church, Niranam.
- Mar Thoma VI – (1765–1808) Consecrated by Marthoma V. Died on 8 April 1808 and laid to rest at St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral, Puthenkavu. Important events:
In June 1770, he accepted re-consecration from Antiochian bishops in order to avoid a split in the Church and the title Dionysius was accepted. Marthoma VI did not approve the appointment of Kattumangattu Abraham Mar Coorilos as a metropolitan by a bishop from Antioch. This was the beginning of Malabar Independent Syrian Church. He was forced to conduct a service according to Chaldean Catholic rites but escaped during a rebellion in Travancore under Velu Thampi. Rev.Dr. Claudius Buchanan visited and made arrangement for the translation of the Bible into Malayalam. Marthoma presented him the Peshitto Bible written in the old Syriac. This manuscript is kept in the public library of the University of Cambridge.
- Mar Thoma VII – (1808–1809) Consecrated by Marthoma VI in 1796. During his time on 1 December 1808, a sum of 3000 Star Pagoda (in 2002 one Star Pagoda coin had a market value of £475) was given as loan in perpetuity to the British resident Colonel Macaulay. This is known as Vattipanam. Marthoma died on 4 July 1809 and was interred at St. Peter's & St. Paul's Orthodox Church, Kolencherry.
- Mar Thoma VIII – (1809–1816) Consecrated on 2 July 1809 by Marthoma VII. During his time Kottayam Suryani Seminary was opened and modern education began in Kerala. Marthoma died on 26 January 1816 and was interred at St. Mary's Cathedral, Puthencavu, Chengannur.
- Mar Thoma IX – (1816–1817). Consecrated by Marthoma VIII without the consent of the people. So he retired to St.George Orthodox Church, Kadamattom, and spent the rest of his days in prayer and fasting.
Thereafter the Malankara Metropolitans of Orthodox faction didn't use the name Marthoma with their ecclesiastical title until 1975. However Marthoma faction continued to use it from 1898 Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius (Malankara Metropolitan) – (1816) was consecrated by Mar Philoxenos II, of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Thozhiyoor Sabha). Died on 25 November 1816 and laid to rest at Orthodox Old Seminary, Kottayam. (He didn't use the official title Marthoma even though people affectionately called him Marthoma X.)
- Mar Dionysius II (Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius)
- Mar Dionysius III (Punnathra Geevargis Mar Dionysius)-(1817–1825)
- Mar Dionysius IV (Cheppattu Philipose Mar Dionysius)-(1825–1852)
- Mathews Mar Athanasius-(1852–1877)
- Thomas Mar Athanasius of Palakkunathu
- Mar Dionysius V (Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius II)-(1865-1909)
- Mar Dionysius VI (Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril)-(1909-1934)
Malankara Marthoma Church head is known as Marthoma Metropolitan in See of Malankara
- Mar Thoma XV - Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Mar Thoma XVI - Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Mar Thoma XVII - Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Mar Thoma XVIII - Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Mar Thoma XIX - Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Mar Thoma XX - Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Mar Thoma XXI - Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan
Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos of the East
Since 1934, the Catholicos of East is also holding the title of Malankara Metropolitan.
- Baselios Geevarghese II (1934-1964)
- Baselios Augen I (1964–1975)
- Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews I (1975–1991)
- Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II (1991–2005)
- Baselios Mar Thoma Didymos I (2005–2010)
- Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II(2010–present)
- Kallumkathra Padiyola Explaining Under the Holy See of Antioch | http://www.syriacchristianity.info/Kallumkathra/KallumkathraPadiyola.pdf
- http://www.syriacchristianity.info/StGG/mavelikara__padiyola.htm</ref|Mavelikara Padiyola subject to the supremacy of Mar Ignatius Patriarch
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Niranam St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church – Niranam Valiyapally". Niranamchurch.com. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
-  Archived 30 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- "St.George Orthodox Syrian church,Kadamattom,Kerala,India,Kadamatttathu Kathanar,Kadamattom pally,churches in Kerala,orthodox church". Kadamattomchurch.org. Archived from the original on 27 December 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- Frykenberg, Robert Eric (2008). Christianity in India: From Beginnings to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press.