Parambil Mar Chandy
Mar Chandy Parampil
|Metropolitan and the Gate of All India.|
|Installed||31st of January 1663|
|Predecessor||Mar Abraham-Last Chaldean Bishop of Malabar(1564-1597), Mar Abraham appointed Archbishop of Angamaly by Pope Pius IV|
|Successor||Kariattil Mar Ousep|
|Ordination||31st of January 1663 (At Kaduthuruthi by Msgr. Joseph, with the title of Titular Bishop of Megara in Achala and Vicar Apostolic and Administrator of the Archbishopric of Cranganore).|
|Buried||Marth Mariam Church, Kuravilangad.|
Parambil Mar Chandy Methran (alias Alexander Palliveettil, Alexander de Campo) is the first known person to be appointed in India as a bishop from among the native Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala. Until his time Indians held the office of deacon, archdeacon etc. (There was a plan to appoint George of Christ, Archdeacon of Mar Abraham (1568–1597) as Metropolitan of India. Thus he should have become, according to the plans of Mar Abraham, supported by the Jesuits, the first indigenous Chaldaean Metropolitan of the St Thomas Christians.
However, from the last letter of Mar Abraham, where he requests the Pope to confirm George’s ordination as Bishop of Palur and his successor, is dated January 13, 1584, while from another letter of the same Mar Abraham we learn that the consecration of George failed because of the latter’s death.).
He had an instrumental role in reclaiming eighty-four churches in Catholic side after the Coonan Cross Oath. After his death from 1678 till 1896 there were no native Bishops in Syro Malabar Church. His cousin Archdeacon Thomas was consecrated as a bishop by 12 priests in 1653. By 1665 Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, said to be a delegate of the Patriarch of Antioch was able to come to Malabar and validate the consecration of Mar Thoma.
Historically Saint Thomas Christians were part of East Syrian Church. They came into direct communion with the Church of Rome through the Chaldean Patriarchate with the arrival of Mar Joseph Sulaqa and Mar Elias in AD 1554. Historically, the title of the head of the Church of Saint Thomas was the 'Metropolitan and the Gate of India'. Ancient documents vouches this.
After the infamous Synod of Diamper in 1599, the Church of Saint Thomas Christians became subjected to Latin rite Bishops. The Latin Missionaries broke the historic connection of Thomas Christians with the Patriarchate of Chaldeans and downgraded the ancient Church of Christians of Saint Thomas into a mere suffragan of the Arch diocese of Goa of Latin rite. Later, the Metropolitanate was reinstated and Arch Diocese of Kodungalloor was created with Western Prelates.
Even though the Thomas Christians were subjected to Latin rite prelates in Latin Rite hierarchy, the community consolidated under the leadership of the Arch Deacons as a separate rite with its own liturgy and traditions. The Missionaries began to impose Latinisations in their rite of worship and tried to eliminate the authority and status of the Arch Deaconate and thereby dishonour the status of their ancient Church of Malabar. The community secretly tried to get Prelates from the Patriarchate of Chaldeans and other Eastern Churches.
The missionaries used their political power to prevent Thomas Christians from contacting with any Oriental Churches and they even arrested and deported Mar Ahatalla, a Bishop of Syriac Rite arrived in Mailappore. Thomas Christians rose up and revolted against the Portuguese in AD 1653 and consecrated the Arch Deacon Palliveettil Thomas as the Bishop of Thomas Christians. This revolt was nearly complete and that changed the politics.
The situation is best explained by the Stephen Neill(an Anglican missionary,from Scotland) in his book "A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707".
Rome intervened and Carmelite Missionaries were sent to win the Thomas Christians back. Carmelites could convince the majority that the local church needs Bishops and the consecration of the Arch Deacon Thomas was invalid as the consecration was conducted not by any Bishops, but by twelve priests only. Many leaders of the community rejoined the missionaries and later, due to political reasons, Portuguese Missionaries had to leave the country and they consecrated Palliveettil Chandy Cathanaar as the Bishop for the Catholic Thomas Christians in 1663. Thus, the majority of Thomas Christians consolidated under the native Bishop Palliveettil Chandy, keeping their Syro Chaldean rite of worship.Parambil Mar Chandy applied the historic title 'The Metropolitan and the Gate of all India'. This title denotes a Quasi Patriarchal status with all India jurisdiction.
Early life and ordination
He belonged to the Parambil branch of Palliveettil family at Kuravilangadu. The parambil building of Parambrem Kara existed there till two centuries back. Parambil Kuriakose married into Kudukkasserry and the son born to the couple later became the Bishop. De Campo is the Latin translation of Parambil the Malayalam family name. He was Vicar of Kuravilangad Parish and later had Kuravilangad as his headquarters.
He was a native of Muttuchira parish, in the present central Kerala. As a priest his original name was Father Parambil Chandy. He was consecrated Titular Bishop of Megara in Achala and Vicar Apostolic and Administrator of the Archbishopric of Cranganore on 31 January 1663, at Kaduthuruthy. He celebrated his first ponthifical mass at muttuchira church. His appointment followed representations for the appointment of native Indians as bishops following the split in the church on account of the Coonan Cross Oath.
Later years and Death
In 1674, Mar Parambil Chandy requested Rome to elect a coadjutor and proposed his nephew, Mathew for the position. Carmelites arrived in India in 1676, with special Dutch passports (as Dutch won't allow any other European to work in their areas) and they were asked by Rome to elect an Indian. They elected Raphael Figueredo in 1677, who was not a Syrian Catholic but born as an Indian in the sense that he was a half caste Portuguese. This election shook the confidence Syrian Catholics had in Carmelites and quarrels started to arise. Mar Parampil Chandy died in 1687 and was buried at Kuravilangad.
- Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
- List of Syro-Malabar Catholics
- Timeline of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
- Christianity in India
- Saint Thomas Christians
- Ernst Bremer, Susanne Röhl[Language of religion, language of the people: medieval Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Page 405]
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- Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India, Vol II p75
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- Malabar manual, Volume 1 By William Logan page 206
- Rev Dr Placid Podipara, The Hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church, in Collected works of Rev Dr Placid Podipara CMI, Vol I p 719
- J. P. M. van der Ploeg,The Christians of St. Thomas in South India and their Syriac manuscripts page 30
- Mar Chandy Parambil
- St Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India - Edited by George Menachery (1998).
- History of Christianity in India - Mundadan, A. Mathias (1984).