Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church

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Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
(Jacobite Syrian Christian Church)
Syriac orthodox COA.svg
Syriac Orthodox Church Emblem
Classification Oriental Orthodox
Theology Miaphysitism
Polity Episcopal
Primate Syriac Patriarch- Ignatius Aphrem II
Region India, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America
Language Malayalam, English, Hindi, Syriac
Headquarters Kochi, Kerala, India
Members 1.2 Million[1](2003 CE)
Official website
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Saint Thomas Christians
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Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
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Prominent persons
Abraham Malpan · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban · Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Mar Thoma I · Saint Alphonsa · Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi · Kariattil Mar Ousep · Ignatius Elias III · Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril · Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Geevarghese Mar Ivanios · Saint Alphonsa · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Euphrasia Eluvathingal · Thoma of Villarvattom

Margamkali · Parichamuttukali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam

Saint Thomas Christians - Divisions- History in a nutshell
Holy Mass of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church

The Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church,[2][3][4][5][6] officially known as Jacobite Syrian Christian Church,[7][8][9][10] is an integral branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church centered in Kerala, India. It recognizes the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, currently Ignatius Aphrem II, as its Supreme Head. It functions as a largely autonomous unit within the church, under the authority of the Catholicos of India, currently Baselios Thomas I. Its members are part of the Saint Thomas Christian community, which traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Saint Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[11][12][13][14]

It is believed that Saint Thomas Christians of Malabar were in communion with the Church of the East from 496 to 1599.[15] They received episcopal support from Persian bishops, who traveled to Kerala in merchant ships along the spice route, while the local leader of the Saint Thomas Christians held the rank of Archdeacon; it was a hereditary office held by the Pakalomattam family. In the 16th century, the overtures of the Portuguese padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into Latin Rite Catholicism led to the first of several rifts in the community due to Portuguese colonialists, and the establishment of the Catholic and the Malankara Church factions. Since then, further splits have occurred, and the Saint Thomas Christians are now divided into several fragments. The Malankara Jacobite Church is one of three such groups that have remained part of Oriental Orthodoxy (the other being the Orthodox Syrian Church and Thozhiyoor Church).

Saint Thomas Christians were administratively under the single native dynastic leadership of an Archdeacon (അർക്കദിയൊക്കൊൻ) (a native ecclesiastical head with spiritual and temporal powers, deriving from Greek term arkhidiākonos) and were in communion with the Church of the East, centered in Persia, from at least 496.[16][17] The indigenous Church of Malabar/Malankara followed the faith and traditions handed over by the Apostle St. Thomas. During the 16th century, the Portuguese Jesuits began deliberate attempts to annex the native Christians to the Catholic Church, and in 1599 they succeeded through the Synod of Diamper. Resentment against these forceful measures led the majority of the community under the Archdeacon Thomas to swear an oath never to submit to the Portuguese, known as the Coonan Cross Oath, in 1653. The Malankara Church consolidated under Mar Thoma I welcomed Gregorios Abdal Jaleel, who regularized the canonical ordination of Mar Thoma as a Bishop.

Meanwhile, the Dutch East India Company defeated the Portuguese and gained supremacy over the spice trade in Malabar in 1663. The Malankara church used this opportunity to escape from Catholic persecution with the Dutch East India Company's help. At the request of the Malankara Church, the Dutch brought Gregorios Abdal Jaleel of Jerusalem, a bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church, in their trading vessel in 1665. Mar Thoma I forged a relationship with the Syriac Orthodox Church and gradually adopted West Syrian liturgy and practices.


As part of the Syriac Orthodox communion, the church uses the West Syrian liturgy and is part of the Oriental Orthodox group of churches. It has dioceses in most parts of India as well as in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Western Europe, the Persian Gulf, Australia and New Zealand nations. In 2003 it was estimated that the church has 1,200,000 members globally.[18]


The Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church has been known by several names during its existence. Other variants include the 'Jacobite Syrian Christian Church',[19] Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, and Jacobite Syrian Church.[20]


Patriarchal Centre

Puthencruz is the headquarters of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in India. The headquarters is situated near Sts. Peter and Paul's Jacobite Syrian church. Its headquarters is named after the illustrious Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. The property was bought and built under the leadership of the Catholicos of India Mar Baselios Thomas I, after the church faced difficulties in continuing its functioning from its base at Muvattupuzha with the demise of Catholicos Mar Baselios Paulose II.

The Catholicossate chapel is named after Poulose Mar Athanasius of Aluva and under the chapel is situated the space for tombs for the use of future Catholicos's of the church. An Arts and Science college named after Mar Athanasius of Aluva is also run on the premises of the Zakka centre. It is the place where Akhila Malankara Suvisesha Yogam, the official Gospel convention of the community, is generally held from 26 to 31 December every year. The official publishing house of the church, JSC Publishers is also a part of the large complex. Its subsidiary institutions such as the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Sunday School Association (MJSSA) is also based in Puthencruz.

MaleCruz Monastery

Catholicos of India[edit]

Catholicos of India is an Ecclesiastical Title in the Syriac Orthodox Church, the officeholder is the head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in Kerala, India. He is the Catholicos/Maphrian of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, an autonomous body within the Syriac Orthodox Church, and functions at an ecclesiastical rank second to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. The jurisdiction of the Syriac Orthodox Catholicos is limited to India, and he presides over the Provincial Synod.[21] The current Catholicos of India is Catholicos Baselios Thomas I, who was consecrated in 2002. The position was created in the 20th century, amidst a series of splits within the local Malankara Syrian Church that divided the community into rival Jacobite Syrian and Indian Orthodox factions. It was instituted to provide a regional head for the Jacobite Syrian Church, the faction that remained closely aligned with the Patriarch of Antioch.

Catholicos Baselios Thomas I (Mal: ആബൂന്‍ മോര്‍ ബസേലിയോസ് തോമസ്‌ പ്രഥമന്‍ കാതോലിക്ക ബാവ, b: July 22, 1929) is the second Maphrian i.e. Catholicos of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India and Metropolitan Trustee of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church. His official title is Catholicos of India. On the 26th of July, 2002 he was enthroned as the second Catholicos and the head of the Malankara Jacobite Church in India by Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, in a ceremony held in Damascus, Syria. The position had remained vacant between 1996 (date of death of Catholicos Baselios Paulose II) and 2002.

Saints of the Church[edit]


The Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church has the following dioceses

Bethel Suloko Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, Perumbavoor, Kerala

Archdioceses (Autonomous)[edit]

There are Archdioceses under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch:

  1. Knanaya Archdiocese
    1. Region of Chingavanam
    2. Region of Kallisseri
    3. Region of Ranni
    4. Region of USA, Canada and Europe
  2. Malankara Archdiocese of North America
  3. Malankara Archdiocese of Europe
    1. Patriarchal Vicariate of Ireland
    2. Patriarchal Vicariate of UK
    3. Patriarchal Vicariate of Germany & Central Europe

Dioceses in Kerala[edit]

  1. Trivandrum
  2. Kollam Diocese[22]
  3. Thumpamon Diocese[23]
  4. Niranam Diocese[24]
  5. Kottayam Diocese[25]
  6. Idukki Diocese[26]
  7. Kandanad Diocese[27]
  8. Kochi Diocese[28]
  9. Angamaly(Largest Diocese)
    1. Angamaly Region
    2. Perumbavoor Region
    3. Kothamangalam Region
    4. Highrange Region
    5. Muvattupuzha Region
    6. Pallikkara Region
  10. Thrissur Diocese[29]
  11. Kozhikode Diocese[30]
  12. Malabar Diocese[31]

Dioceses in the remainder of India[edit]

  1. Mangalore DIocese
  2. Bangalore DIocese
  3. Mylapore DIocese[32] (formerly Chennai Diocese)
  4. Bombay Diocese
  5. New Delhi Diocese[33]

Dioceses Outside India (Autonomous)[edit]

  1. Middle East Diocese - Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
  2. Australia & New Zealand
  3. Singapore & Malaysia

Other Dioceses (Autonomous)[edit]

There are dioceses under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch.

  1. Honavar Mission[34]
  2. E.A.E (Evangelistic Association Of The East) Churches[35]
  3. Simhasana Churches

Present Synod[edit]

The Synod of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church comprises:

  1. Catholicos Baselios Thomas I
  2. Kuriakose Mor Severios Edavazhikal (Knanaya)
  3. Abraham Mor Severious
  4. Thomas Mor Timotheos
  5. Joseph Mor Gregorios
  6. Mathews Mor Ivanios
  7. Geevarghese Mor Dionysius
  8. Kuriakose Mor Dioscorus
  9. Geevarghese Mor Athanasios (Simhasana Churches)
  10. Kuriakose Mor Theophilos
  11. Yuhanon Mor Militos
  12. Mathews Mor Theodosius
  13. Mathews Mor Aphrem
  14. Pathros Mor Osthathios
  15. Geevarghese Mor Coorilose
  16. Yeldho Mor Theethose
  17. Kuriakose Mor Eusabios
  18. Markose Mor Chrisostamos
  19. Elias Mor Athanasios
  20. Kuriakose Mor Gregorios (Knanaya)
  21. Yaqu'b Mor Anthonios
  22. Zacharias Mor Philoxenos
  23. Paulose Mor Irenious
  24. Kuriakose Mor Ivanios (Knanaya)
  25. Ayub Mor Silvanious (Knanaya)
  26. Geevarghese Mor Barnabas
  27. Issac Mor Osthathios
  28. Kuriakose Mor Julios
  29. Thomas Mor Alexandros
  30. Zacharias Mor Polycarpus
  31. Mathews Mor Thimothios
  32. Mathews Mor Anthimos

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "CNEWA Canada - The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church". 
  2. ^ Russell, Thomas Arthur; Comparative Christianity: A Student's Guide to a Religion and Its Diverse Traditions(English) Boca Raton, Florida;2010; Universal Publishers; p 40.
  3. ^ Gregorios; Paulos; Roberson; Ronald G.; The Encyclopedia Of Christianity Online (Syrian Orthodox Churches in India)(English) Netherlands;2016; Brill Online Reference works.
  4. ^ Lucian N. Leustean; Eastern Christianity and the cold war, 1945-91(English) New York;2010; Routeledge Taylor&Francis Group; p.317.
  5. ^ Erwin Fahlbusch; The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5(English);2008; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing;p. 285.
  6. ^ Frykenberg, Eric; Christianity in India: From Beginnings to the Present(English); Oxford University Press; p 374.
  7. ^ "JSC News - The Official News Portal of the Holy Jacobite Syrian Christian Church". 
  8. ^ Pastoral message of H.B Thomas I,Catholicos of India, Jacobite Church Head in India
  9. ^ Official Publication of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
  10. ^ "Jacobite Syrian Christian Church Constitution 2002 (in Malayalam)" (PDF). 
  11. ^ Menachery G (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, B.N.K. Press, vol. 2, ISBN 81-87132-06-X, Lib. Cong. Cat. Card. No. 73-905568; B.N.K. Press – (has some 70 lengthy articles by different experts on the origins, development, history, culture... of these Christians, with some 300 odd photographs).
  12. ^ Leslie Brown, (1956) The Indian Christians of St. Thomas. An Account of the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1956, 1982 (repr.)
  13. ^ Thomas Puthiakunnel, (1973) "Jewish colonies of India paved the way for St. Thomas", The Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, ed. George Menachery, Vol. II., Trichur.
  14. ^ NSC Network (2007) St. Thomas, India mission- Early reference and testimonies
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Frykenberg, p. 93.
  17. ^ Wilmshurst, EO, 343
  18. ^ Fahlbusch, Erwin; Lochman, Jan Milic; Mbiti, John S.; Vischer, Lukas; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (2003). The Encyclopedia Of Christianity (Encyclopedia of Christianity) Volume 5. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 285–286. ISBN 0-8028-2417-X. 
  19. ^ Leustean, Lucian N. (2014). Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. p. 585. ISBN 1317818660. 
  20. ^ Russell, Thomas Arthur (2010). Comparative Christianity: A Student's Guide to a Religion and Its Diverse Traditions. Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 1599428776. 
  21. ^ "Catholicate of the East". 
  22. ^ "Kollam Diocese of Jacobite Syrian Church". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Home". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "Niranam Diocese of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  25. ^ "Kottayam Diocese". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Official website of Idukki Diocese". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Kandanad Diocese - Jacobite Syrian Christian Church". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "Kochi Diocese". 
  29. ^ "Home". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "Kozhikode Diocese". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "Official Website of Malabar Diocese, Jacobite Syrian Christian Church". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Mylapore Diocese". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "Delhi Diocese of Jacobite Syrian Church". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  34. ^ "Honnavar Mission". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  35. ^ Visuals,Cochin, Tek Web. "The Evangelistic Association of the East". 

Complete video of the Holy Liturgy [Holy Qurbano] of the Jacobite Syrian Church:

External links[edit]

Media related to Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church at Wikimedia Commons