Marthoma Metrans

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Marthoma Metran refers to primate of Malankara Church of Saint Thomas Christians in India. Metran is a short form of metropolitan and its plural in Malayalam is Metranmar. "Mar" means saint and Mar Thoma means Saint Thomas. It is concatenated with "Thoma" to indicate that St. Thomas Christians believe that in India, Christianity was first preached by Saint Thomas the Apostle, in the 1st century CE. Even today the St. Thomas Christians call their bishops Metran.


After the Great Swearing in Ceremony, the parish elders (Idavaka Mooppens) of the Church met together and elected Kuravilangad Parampil Thomas Kathanar as Malankara Elder (Malankara Mooppen). Following the ancient custom, twelve Idavaka Mooppens laid their hands on him and appointed him as Mar Thoma I. The Catholics considered this illegitimate, because this was not their practice. So the Malankara Church was forced to send letters to various Churches asking to send a bishop. In 1655 Mar Gregorios Abdul-Jaleel, Patriarch of Jerusalem arrived. Thus the Jerusalem Patriarch was able to regularise the consecration of Mar Thoma I.

Marthoma Methran is the honorific title given to Bishops who are consecrated to rule over the great parish of St. Thomas in Malankara. The followers call this bishops affectionately as Marthoma thirumeni. The Throne of St. Thomas or Malankara throne is the chair seated by the head of the Malankara Church when he is enthroned as the hierarch and given the title of Marthoma.The Dutch model chair was said to be gifted by Raja of Thekkumkoor Dynasty who was against the Portuguese hegemony and it was believed that it was built in the same design of the throne of the king of Thekkumkoor.

The Apostolic throne of the Malankara Mar Thoma Church

The lineage[edit]

Until a few hundred years back, the Apostolic Throne of the Malankara church was held by members of the Pakalomattom family.

Mar Thoma I – In 1653, Thomas of Pakalomattam Thravadu was consecrated with the title Marthoma I by Mar Gregorios. Marthoma I survived a number of assassination attempts. He died on 25 April 1670 and was interred in Angamaly Marthommen Jacobite Orthodox Church.

Mar Thoma II – (1670–1686) Consecrated by Marthoma I and Mar Gregorios. Died on 14 April 1686 and was interred at St. Mary's Syriac Orthodox Church, Niranam.[1]

Mar Thoma III – (1686–1688) Consecrated by Mar Ivanios Hirudyathulla (from Antioch), died on 21 April 1688. Laid to rest at St.Thomas Syriac 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 Syriac Orthodox Church.

Mar Thoma V - (1728–1765) – Consecrated by Marthoma IV. Died on 8 May 1765 and laid to rest at St. Mary's Syriac Orthodox Church, Niranam.[1]

Mar Thoma VI – (1765–1808) Consecrated by Marthoma V. Died on 8 April 1808 and laid to rest at St. Mary's Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, Puthenkavu.[2] Important events:

  • In June 1770, he accepted re-consecration and the title Dionysius from Antiochan bishops in order to avoid a split in the Church.
  • 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.
  • Forced to conduct a service according to 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 gave him the manuscript of the Bible written in the oldest Syrian. This manuscript was deposited 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 Maccaulay. This is known as Vattipanam. Marthoma died on 4 July 1809 and was interred at St. Peter's & St. Paul's Syriac 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 Syriac Orthodox Church, Niranam.[1]

Mar Thoma IX – (1816–1817). Consecrated by Marthoma VIII without the consent of the people. So he retired to St.George Orthodox Church, Kadamattom,[3] and spent the rest of his days in prayer and fasting.

Mar Thoma X (Malankara Metropolitan)– (1816). Also known as Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius, 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.

The usage of Marthoma Metropolitan of Malankara was again brought back in Malankara church during the consecration of Titus I Marthoma in 1893. The Marthoma episcopacy continued ordinations of Mar Thoma Methrans in the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas.

Mar Thoma XXI Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan

See also[edit]