Syriac Orthodox Church

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Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch
Syriac: ܥܺܕܬܳܐ ܣܽܘ̣ܪܝܳܝܬܳܐ ܬܪܺܝܨܰܬ ܫܽܘ̣ܒ̥ܚܳܐ
Syriac orthodox COA.svg
Classification Oriental Orthodox
Scripture Peshitta
Theology Miaphysitism
Polity Episcopal
Primate Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II
of India
Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
Region Levant, India
Diaspora: notably in Sweden, Germany, United States, Canada, Guatemala, Brazil, and Australia
Language Syriac
Headquarters Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria (since 1959)
Historically: Antioch, Byzantine Empire
Founder Patriarch Severus of Antioch (Self-traces origin to Saints Peter and Paul)
Origin 512
Antioch, Byzantine Empire
Members 5 million[1]
Official website Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (Syriac: ܥܺܕܬܳܐ ܣܽܘ̣ܪܝܳܝܬܳܐ ܬܪܺܝܨܰܬ ܫܽܘ̣ܒ̥ܚܳܐ‎), or Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean. Employing the Divine Liturgy of Saint James with Syriac as its official and liturgical language, it is part of the Syriac Christianity by heritage. The church is led by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014, seated in Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.

The Syriac Orthodox Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodoxy, a distinct full communion of churches since the schism following the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Patriarch Severus of Antioch was a significant bishop in the establishment of the organisation of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Antioch, Byzantine Empire, around 512, while Bishop Jacob Baradaeus (died 578) is credited for consolidating its miaphysite theology in the 6th century. However, the church itself claims roots further down the centuries through means of the Patriarchate of Antioch to the first Christian communities established by Saint Peter in Antioch, Roman Empire, in 37, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (New Testament, Acts 11:26). Around 825, many Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala, India, affirmed allegiance to the Syriac Orthodox Church, establishing the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. In the Levant, controversy occurred in 1783, when the majority of its hierarchy entered in full communion with the Catholic Church, establishing the Syriac Catholic Church as part of the Eastern Catholic Churches. However, another part of clergy gained permission from the Ottoman authorities in Istanbul to reestablish the Syriac Orthodox Church soon after. Although originally established in Antioch around 512, due to persecution, the church's patriarchate has been seated subsequently in Mor Hananyo Monastery, Mardin Province, Ottoman Empire (1160-1933), whereafter Homs (1933-1959), and today in Damascus, Syria (since 1959).

The church's present circa 5 million members are divided in 26 archdioceses, and 11 patriarchal vicariates. Its original area is present-day Syria, Turkey, or Iraq.[2] The church's Levantine ethno-religious identity has been a matter of controversy since the 20th century, see terms for Syriac Christians. Many refer to these as ethnic Syriacs or Assyrians, while other advocate the term Arameans (some even proposing renaming the church to "Aramean Orthodox Church").[3]

The Syriac Orthodox Church participates in ecumenical discussions, being a member of the World Council of Churches since 1960, and of the Middle East Council of Churches since 1974. The precise differences in theology that caused the schism in 451 is said to have arisen "only because of differences in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by different theological schools to express the same matter", according to a joint declaration in 1984 by the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, and the Pope John Paul II of the Catholic Church.

Due mainly to persecution throughout the centuries, a diaspora has spread from the Levant throughout the world, notably in Sweden, Germany, United States, Canada, Guatemala, Brazil, and Australia.


Apostolic succession[edit]

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch claims the status as the most ancient Christian church in the world. According to Saint Luke, "The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (New Testament, Acts 11:26). Saint Peter and Saint Paul are regarded as the co-founders of the Patriarchate of Antioch in AD 37, with the former serving as its first bishop and considered the first patriarch of and by the Syriac Orthodox Church.

As Jewish Christianity originated at Jerusalem, so gentile Christianity started at Antioch, then the leading center of the Hellenistic East, with Peter and Paul as its apostles. From Antioch it spread to the various cities and provinces of Syria, among the Hellenistic population as well as among the Hellenistic Jews who, as a result of the great rebellions against the Romans in A.D. 70 and 130, were driven out from Jerusalem and Palestine into Syria.

When Saint Peter left Antioch, Evodios and Ignatius presided over the Patriarchate of Antioch. Because of the significance attributed to Saint Ignatius in the Syriac Orthodox Church, almost all of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs since 1293 have been named Ignatius.[5]

Patriarchate of Antioch[edit]

Given the antiquity of the bishopric of Antioch and the importance of the Christian community in the city of Antioch - a commercially significant city in the eastern parts of the Roman Empire - the First Council of Nicaea (325) recognised the bishopric as a patriarchate along with the bishoprics of Rome, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, bestowing authority for the "Church of Antioch and All of the East"[citation needed] on the Patriarch.

Even though the Synod of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine, the authority of the ecumenical synod was also accepted by the church in the Persian Empire, which was politically isolated from the churches in the Roman Empire. Until 498, this church accepted the spiritual authority of the Patriarch of Antioch. The church also maintained a smaller non-Chalcedonian church under a Catholicos, known by the title Maphryono, until the 1860s. This Catholicate was canonically transferred to India in 1964, as Catholicos of India and continues today as Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch as its head.

The Christological controversies that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451 resulted in a long struggle for the Patriarchate between those who accepted and those who rejected the Council. In 518, Patriarch Severus of Antioch was exiled from the city of Antioch and took refuge in Alexandria. It was after Severius' exile and death that the Syriac Orthodox Church's distinct Patriarchate of Antioch was founded by Jacob Baradeus, in opposition to the Patriarchate of Antioch occupied by the pro-Chalcedonian partisans, today known as Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch; leading to its being known popularly as the "Jacobite" Syriac Church. On account of many historical upheavals and consequent hardships which the church had to undergo, the Patriarchate was transferred to different monasteries in Mesopotamia for centuries.

In about 1160[citation needed] its seat was transferred from Antioch to the Mor Hananyo Monastery (Deir al-Za`faran), in southeastern Turkey near Mardin, where it remained until 1933. They reestablished themselves in Homs, Syria due to an adverse political situation in Turkey. In 1959 it was then transferred to Damascus, where it currently resides.

On July 21, 1781, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch George IV died, and the five bishops present, clergy and laity met in the Mor Hananyo Monastery and elected Catholic convert Ignatius Michael III Jarweh as Patriarch; he accepted only after the reading and the approval of a Catholic declaration of faith[citation needed] in the Church of the Forty Martyrs. He was enthroned in Mor Hananyo Monastery on 22 January 1783 and took the traditional name of Ignatius. His election was confirmed by Pope Pius VI on 14 September 1783, and he received the Pallium, the sign of patriarchal authority, on 15 December of the same year.

However, from the perspective of the Oriental Orthodox clergy, the Syriac Orthodox Church thus had a Patriarch who was illegitimately enthroned after his illegal election by an illegitimate synod. Thus, two Syriac Oriental Orthodox bishops opposed his election. One of them, Ignatius Matthew, Bishop of Mosul, consecrated four of his monks as bishops [6]:391 in order to hold a second election[7] and thus he was elected by them as Syriac Orthodox patriarch. This party arrived at Istanbul before Michael's envoy, and received the formal approval of the Ottoman authorities, and could thus continue a parallel Syriac Orthodox tradition.

The Patriarchate is now situated in Bab Tuma, Damascus, capital of Syria; but the Patriarch resides at the Mar Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saidnaya, located about 25 kilometers north of Damascus.

Ecumenical relations[edit]

Liturgy being celebrated at Monastery of Saint Mark, Jerusalem.

The Bishops of Antioch played a prominent role in the first three synods held at Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), and Ephesus (431), shaping the formulation and early interpretation of Christian doctrines.

In terms of Christology, the Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) understanding is that Christ is "One Nature—the Logos Incarnate, of the full humanity and full divinity". Just as humans are of their mothers and fathers and not in their mothers and fathers, so too is the nature of Christ according to Oriental Orthodoxy. The Chalcedonian understanding is that Christ is "in two natures, full humanity and full divinity". This is the doctrinal difference which separated the Oriental Orthodox from the rest of Christendom.

By the 20th century the Chalcedonian schism was not seen with the same relevance, and from several meetings between the authorities of the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodoxy, reconciling declarations emerged in the common statement of the Oriental Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and Pope John Paul II in 1984.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is active in ecumenical dialogues. It has been a member church of World Council of Churches since 1960 and Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas is one of the presidents of World Council of Churches. The Syriac Orthodox Church is also involved in ecumenical dialogues with the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches. There are common Christological and pastoral agreements with the Catholic Church. It has also been involved in the Middle East Council of Churches since 1974.

Since 1998, the heads of the three Oriental Orthodox churches in the Eastern Mediterranean i.e. the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church meet regularly each year.[5]



Syriac Orthodox clergy and some devout laity follow a regimen of seven prayers a day, in accordance with Psalm 119.[9] According to the Syriac tradition, an ecclesiastical day starts at sunset:

  • Evening or Ramsho prayer (Vespers)
  • Night prayer or Sootoro prayer (Compline)
  • Midnight or Lilyo prayer (Matins)
  • Morning or Saphro prayer (Prime or Lauds, 6 a.m.)
  • Third Hour or tloth sho`in prayer (Terce, 9 a.m.)
  • Sixth Hour or sheth sho`in prayer (Sext, noon)
  • Ninth Hour or tsha` sho'in prayer (None, 3 p.m.)


The liturgical service, which is called Holy Qurbono in Syriac Aramaic and means "Eucharist", is celebrated on Sundays and special occasions. The Holy Eucharist consists of Gospel reading, Bible readings, prayers, and songs. During the celebration of the Eucharist, priests and deacons put on elaborate vestments unique to the Syriac Orthodox Church. Whether in the Eastern Mediterranean, India, Europe, the Americas or Australia, the same vestments are worn by all clergy.

Apart from certain readings, all prayers are sung in the form of chants and melodies. Hundreds of melodies remain preserved in the book known as Beth Gazo. It is the key reference to Syriac Orthodox church music.[10]

Bible in the Syriac tradition[edit]

Syriac Orthodox Churches use the Peshitta (Syriac: simple, common) as its Bible. The New Testament books of this Bible are estimated to have been translated from Greek to Syriac between the late 1st century to the early 3rd century AD.[11] The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated from Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century. The New Testament of the Peshitta, which originally excluded certain disputed books, had become the standard by the early 5th century, replacing two early Syriac versions of the gospels.


The ranks of clergy in the Syriac Orthodox Church, i.e. Patriarch, Catholicos, Metropolitan, Corepiscopos, Priest, Deacon, Laymen.


Ignatius Aphrem II, current Patriarch

The Syriac Patriarch is named "Patriarch of Antioch" (one of the five Patriarchates of the early Christianity) and is the supreme head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, considered the "father of fathers". He must be an ordained bishop.


Bishop comes from Episcopos a word that means "the one who oversees". In the Syriac Orthodox Church, a bishop is a spiritual ruler of the church. Bishops too have different ranks. The highest is the Patriarch. Next to him is the Catholicos of India, also known as Maphrian, who is the head of the integral Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in India. Then there are Metropolitan bishops or Archbishops, and under them there are bishops.[12] Historically, in the Malankara Church, the Archbishop was called as Archdeacon, who was the local chief and/or ecclesiastical authority of the Saint Thomas Christians in the Malabar region of India.


The priest is the seventh rank and is the duly one appointed to administer the sacraments. Unlike in the Catholic Church, Syriac deacons may marry before ordained as priests; however they may not marry after ordained as priests. There is an honorary rank among the priests that is Corepiscopos who has the privileges of "first among the priests" and are given a chain with cross and specific vestment decorations. Corepiscopos is the highest rank a married man can be elevated to in the Syriac Orthodox Church. Any ranks above the Corepiscopos are unmarried.


In the Syriac Orthodox tradition, different ranks among the deacons are specifically assigned with particular duties. The six ranks of diaconate are:

  1. ‘Ulmoyo (Faithful)
  2. Mawdyono (Confessor of faith)
  3. Mzamrono (Singer)
  4. Quroyo (Reader)
  5. Afudyaqno (Sub-deacon)
  6. Masamsono (Full deacon)

Only a full deacon or Masamsono can take the censer during the Divine Liturgy to assist the priest. However, in Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, because of the lack of deacons, altar assistants who do not have any rank of deaconhood may assist the priest. The deacons in Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church are allowed to wear a phiro, or a cap. Historically the Malankara Church were administered by a local chief called Archdeacon ("Arkadiyokon").


Celebration at a Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mosul, Ottoman Syria, early 20th century.

The clergy of the Syriac Orthodox Church have unique vestments that are quite different from other Christian denominations. The vestments worn by the clergy vary with their order in the priesthood: the deacons, the priests, the bishops, and the patriarch each have different vestments.

Bishops usually wear a black or a red robe with a red belt. They do not, however, wear a red robe in the presence of the patriarch, who wears a red robe. Bishops visiting a diocese outside their jurisdiction also wear black robes in deference to the bishop of the diocese, who alone wears red robes.

A priest also wears phiro, or a cap, which he must wear for all the public prayers. Monks also wear eskimo, a hood. Priests also have ceremonial shoes which are called msone. Without wearing these shoes, a priest cannot distribute Eucharist to the faithful. Then there is a white robe called kutino symbolising purity. Hamniko or stole is worn over this white robe. Then he wears a girdle called zenoro, and zende, meaning sleeves. If the celebrant is a bishop, he wears a masnapto, or turban (different from the turbans worn by Sikh men). A cope called phayno is worn over these vestments. Batrashil, or pallium, is worn over the phayno by bishops, similar to hamnikho worn by priests.[13] An important aspect is that bishops and Corepiscopos have hand-held crosses while ordinary priests have none.

The priest's usual dress is a black robe. However, in India, due to the hot weather, priests usually wear white robes except when during prayers in the church, when they wear a black robe over the white one.

Primacy of Saint Peter[edit]

Further information: Primacy of Peter
A 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt.

The fathers of the Syriac Orthodox Church tried to give a theological interpretation to the primacy of Saint Peter. They were fully convinced of the unique office of Peter in the early Christian community. Ephrem, Aphrahat and Maruthas who were supposed to be the best exponents of the early Syriac tradition unequivocally acknowledged the office of Peter.

The Syriac Church Fathers following the rabbinic tradition call Jesus "Kepha" for they see "rock" in the Old Testament as a messianic symbol. When Christ gave his own name "Kephas" to Simon, he was giving him participation in the person and office of Christ. Christ who is the Kepha and shepherd made Simon the chief shepherd in his place and gave him the very name Kephas and said that on Kephas he would build the Church. Aphrahat shared the common Syriac tradition. For him Kepha is in fact another name of Jesus, and Simon was given the right to share the name. The person who receives somebody else's name also obtains the rights of the person who bestows the name. Aphrahat makes the stone taken from Jordan a type of Peter. He says Jesus, son of Nun, sets up the stones for a witness in Israel; Jesus our saviour called Simon Kepha Sarirto and set him as the faithful witness among nations.

Again he says in his commentary on Deuteronomy that Moses brought forth water from "rock" (Kepha) for the people and Jesus sent Simon Kepha to carry his teachings among nations. God accepted him and made him the foundation of the church, and called him Kepha. When he speaks about the transfiguration of Jesus he calls him Simon Peter, the foundation of the church. Ephrem also shared the same view. The Armenian version of De Virginitate records that Peter the rock shunned honour who was the head of the apostles. In a mimro of Efrem found in holy week liturgy points to the importance of Peter.

Both Aphrahat and Ephrem the Syrian represent the authentic tradition of the Syrian church. The different orders of liturgies used for sanctification of church buildings, marriages, ordinations etc., reveal that the primacy of Peter is a part of living faith of the Syriac Orthodox Church.[14]

However, Syriac Orthodox don't believe that Saint Peter is indicative of the Papal primacy, but solely "Petrine primacy".

Global presence[edit]


A Syriac Orthodox church in Midyat, Turkey.

It is estimated that the church has over 5,000,000 members globally. This includes 1,500,000 members in India and Indian diaspora.[15] The majority of their remaining followers are ethnic Syriacs/Assyrians, who comprise the indigenous pre-Arab populations of modern Syria, Iraq and south eastern Turkey.[16] They were also the ethnic group that converted the St Thomas Christians of India in the 700s. Additionally, there is also a large Syriac community among Mayan converts in Guatemala. In addition, there are a few other autocephalous(independent) Syriac Orthodox Churches following the same or similar liturgy and the same West Syrian rite Christianity including the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Mar Thoma Syrian Church, both based in India and followed by ethnic Indian St Thomas Christians.

According to 2001 estimates, around 260,000 ethnic Syriacs live in the Middle East. A similar number live in Western Europe and North America, most notably in Sweden and Germany (100,000), and the Americas (50,000).[15] In terms of specifics, There are 170,000 Syriac Orthodox members in Syria, 50,000 in Iraq and 15,000 in Turkey.[15][17] However, The number of Syriacs in Turkey is rising, due to refugees from Syria and Iraq fleeing ISIS, as well as Syriacs from the Diaspora who fled the region during the Turkey-PKK conflict(which occurred from the late seventies until the late 90s) returning and rebuilding their homes. A specific instance of this occurred in Elbegendi, where a German Syriac returned to his village with a few other families and rebuilt the town together with money earned abroad. In addition to those larger populations of Syriacs, 5,000 live in Palestine (500 in Jerusalem and 5,000 Bethlehem), and around 50,000 are estimated to live in Lebanon.

In the Assyrian/Syriac diaspora, there are approximately 80,000 members in the United States, 80,000 in Sweden, 100,000 in Germany, 15,000 in the Netherlands, 200,000 members in Brazil, Switzerland, and Austria and around 2,000,000 in Central America, which is mainly made up of indigenous Mayan converts in Guatemala, in addition to the 1.5 million adherents of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church and their own ethnic diaspora.[18]

Official name[edit]

A church of Syrian Christians in India (October 1855)[19]

Since the church has never been the officially adopted religion of a modern-day country, a unique name had long been used to distinguish the church from the polity of Syria in most languages besides English. This includes Arabic (the official language of Syria), where the Church has always been known as the "Syriani" church; the term "Syriani" being the same word used to identify the Syriac language in Arabic. Being the lone exception up until the year 2000, English identified the church as the "Syrian Orthodox Church"; with "Syrian" being derived from the term "Syrian church" used by English-speaking historians to describe the community in ancient Syria prior to the Nestorian/Jacobite split in the 5th century. (see: Christianity in Syria). Syriac-speaking Christians have historically referred to themselves as Suraye/Suryaye, literally "Syrian", leading to most members favoring the term "Syrian Orthodox". However, Assyrianism|Assyrian nationalists]] favored the term "Assyrian Orthodox", some arguing it was more accurate because the term Syria is now generally accepted as an Indo-European (Luwian) corruption of Assyria (see Name of Syria). The name "Syrian Orthodox" failed to distinguish the church in English which uses "Syrian" to mean the Arabs of Syria, and the term Assyrian Orthodox Church led to confusion with the Assyrian Church of the East, itself renamed from the Church of the East in 1976. Hence, in 2000, a Holy Synod ruled that the church should be named after its official liturgical language of Syriac (i.e. Syriac Orthodox Church), as it is in most other languages. The official name of the church in Syriac is pronounced ʿĒdtō Suryōytō Triṣaṯ Šuḇḥō; this name has not changed, nor has it changed in any language other than English.[20] The church is often referred to as Jacobite (after Jacob Baradaeus), but it rejects this name.


The church today has two seminaries, and numerous colleges and other institutions. Among those there are several religious institutions which are noteworthy. Patriarch Aphrem I Barsoum (†1957) established St. Aphrem's Clerical School in 1934 in Zahlé, Lebanon. In 1946 it was moved to Mosul, Iraq, where it provided the Church with a good selection of graduates, the first among them being Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and many other church leaders. Also the church has an international Christian education centre which is a centre for religious education. In 1990 he established the Order of St. Jacob Baradaeus for nuns and renovated St. Aphrem's Clerical building in Atshanneh, Lebanon for the new order.[21]

Two new seminaries have been instituted in Sweden and in Salzburg, Austria for the study of the Syriac Church, Syriac theology, Syriac history and Syriac language and culture.

Jurisdiction of the patriarchate[edit]

The Syriac (Syrian) Orthodox Church of Antioch originally covered the whole region of the Middle East and India. However, in recent centuries, its parishioners started to emigrate to other countries all over the world. Today, the Syriac Orthodox Church has several Archdioceses and Patriarchate Vicariates in many countries covering six continents.


Middle East
Archbishop of Aleppo "Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim" (left) with Austrian politician Reinhold Lopatka in 2012
The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II.
  1. Patriarchal Office Director in Damascus Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak.
  2. Archbishopric of Jazirah and Euphrates under the spiritual guidance and direction of acting Archbishop Mor Timothius Matta AlKhouri.
  3. Archbishopric of Aleppo under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim (de).[note 1]
  4. Archbishopric of Homs & Hama under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Selwanos Petros AL-nemeh.
  5. Patriarchate Vicariate for the Archdiocese of Damascus under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Timothius Matta AlKhouri.
Holy Land
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Israel, Palestine and Jordan
  1. Archbishopric of Baghdad and Basrah under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Severius Jamil Hawa.
  2. Archbishopric of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Nicodimus Dawood Sharaf. Served previously by the retired Archbishop but currently Patriarch Advisor Mor Gregorius Saliba Shamoun.
  3. Archbishopric of St Matthew's Monastery under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Timothius Mousa A. Shamani.
  1. Archbishopric of Mount Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Theophilos George Saliba.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of Zahle under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Yostinos Boulos Safar.
  3. Archbishopric of Beirut & Benevolent institutions in Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Clemis Daniel Malak Kourieh.
  4. The Patriarchal Institutions in Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Chrysostoms Michael Shimon.
  1. Archbishopric of Istanbul and Ankara under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Filüksinos Yusuf Çetin.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of Mardin under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Filüksinos Saliba Özmen.
  3. Patriarchate Vicariate of Turabdin under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Timothius Samuel Aktaş.
  4. Archbishopric of Adiyaman under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Gregorius Melki Ürek.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of UAE and Arab States of the Persian Gulf under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Bartholomaus Nathanael.
Bethel Suloko Church, Perumbavoor, Ernakulam, India
The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, one of the various Saint Thomas Christian churches in India, is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church, with the Patriarch of Antioch as its supreme head. The local head of the church in Malankara (Kerala) is Baselios Thomas I, ordained by the Patriarch in 2002 and accountable to the Patriarch of Antioch. The headquarters of the church in India is at Puthencruz near Ernakulam in the state of Kerala in South India. The Knanaya Syrian Orthodox Church is an archdiocese under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Severious Kuriakose with the same patriarchate as its supreme head.
Simhasana Churches and Evangelistic Association Of The East (E.A.E) the first missionary association of Syriac Orthodox Church, is under direct control of H.H. Ignatius Aphrem II
The Indian or Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, is not affiliated with the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.
Unlike most other patriarchal churches abroad, the language of the Syriac Orthodox Divine Liturgy in India is mostly in Malayalam along with Syriac. This is because almost all Syrian Christians in India hail from the State of Kerala, where Malayalam is the mother tongue of the people.


Moeder Godskerk, Amsterdam
Interior of Saint Stephen church in Gütersloh, Germany
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Belgium, France and Luxembourg.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Germany under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis.
  2. Ecumenical Movement in Germany under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Julius Hanna Aydın.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of the Netherlands under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Polycarpus Augin (Eugene) Aydın.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Spain under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Nicolaos Matti Abd Alahad.
  1. Archbishopric of Sweden and Scandinavia under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Julius Abdulahad Gallo Shabo.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of Sweden under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Dioskoros Benyamen Atas.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Switzerland and Austria under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz.
United Kingdom
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of the United Kingdom under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod.

North America[edit]

United States
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of the Eastern USA under the spiritual guidance and direction of the Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and his deputy ArchbishopMor Dionysius Jean Kawak.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of the Western USA
  3. Malankara Archdiocese of North America under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldho Pathickal.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Canada under the spiritual guidance and direction Archbishop Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi.

Central America, the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela[edit]

  1. Archdiocese of Central America, the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Yaqub Eduardo Aguirre Oestmann.

South America[edit]

  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Argentina under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Chrysostomos John Ghassali.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Brazil under the spiritual guidance and direction of the Apostolic Nuncio Mor Theethose Bolous Toza.


Australia & New Zealand
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Australia and New Zealand under His Eminence Mor Malatius Malki Malki [23]

See also[edit]

Syriac Christianity in India[edit]



  1. ^ In 2013, Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim along with Paul (Yazigi) was abducted by militants in the Syrian Civil War, his whereabouts is currently unknown.[22]


  1. ^ name="Kurian" | In India
  2. ^ The Syriac Orthodox Church Today
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "History of Christianity in Syria", Catholic Encyclopedia
  5. ^ a b Chaillot, Christine. The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East. Geneva: Inter-Orthodox Dialogue, 1988.
  6. ^ Michael Jarweh autobiography: French translation in: Revue de l'Orient chrétien, VI (1901), pag 379–401
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference Frazee was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ From the common declaration of Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, 23 June 1984
  9. ^ "Psalm 119:164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws". Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Beth Gazo D-ne`motho
  11. ^ Brock, Sebastian P. The Bible in Syriac Bible. Kottayam: SEERI.
  12. ^ Corepiscopos, Kuriakose M. A Guide to the Altar Assistants. Changanacherry: Mor Adai Study Center, 2005.
  13. ^ Detailed explanation of vestments of Syriac Orthodox Church
  14. ^ Primacy of St. Peter by Mor Athanasius of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Malankara Syriac Christian Resources
  15. ^ a b c Murre-van den Berg, Heleen (2011). "Syriac Orthodox Church". In Kurian, George Thomas. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 2304. ISBN 978-1-4051-5762-9. 
  16. ^ Gall, Timothy L. (ed). Worldmark Encyclopedia of Culture & Daily Life: Vol. 3 – Asia & Oceania. Cleveland, OH: Eastword Publications Development (1998); pg. 720–721.
  17. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld – World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Turkey : Syriacs". Refworld. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Church of the Syrian Christians in India". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. London: Wesleyan Missionary Society. XII: 115. October 1855. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  20. ^ The Holy Synod approves the name "Syriac Orthodox Church" in English , The Catholic University of America
  21. ^ Patriarchate of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch
  22. ^ News Regarding the April 2013 Abductions of Bishops in Syria.
  23. ^

External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

Ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church[edit]


Relating to Syriac Orthodox Church[edit]

Relating toMalankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church[edit]