Metropolitan Throne of Malankara See
Metropolitan Throne of Malankara Seeor Marthoma Throne was the chair seated by the head of the Malankara Syrian Church when he is enthroned as the primate and given the title of Metropolitan of Malankara. Affectionately St Thomas Christians of Malankara Church call their leader as Mar Thoma since he is considered the successor of St.Thomas who preached Christianity in India and founded the Malankara Church. Tradition has it that Malankara Church was established by St. Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century in Malankara (Kerala). During the first fifteen centuries, the heads of the church were elders selected or elected from among elders of various parishes. No throne-like chairs or ottomans were known to have been in use for their enthronement. The first person to have been enthroned on this chair was Archdeacon Parampil Thomas Kathanar as Mar Thoma I, in 1653; and hence this chair is also known as MarThoma's Throne . The Dutch model chair was said to be gifted by Raja of Thekkumkoor Dynasty who was against the Portuguese hegemony.
Soon after the Coonan Cross Oath (Koonan Kurishu Satyam കൂനൻ കുരിശ് സത്യം), in 1653 AD, it became necessary to appoint a bishop as the head of the Malankara Church. They elected the then leader Parambil Thomas Kathanar as their first bishop. For this consecration it is believed that they made a special throne-like chair. On May 22, 1653, Thomas Kathanar was seated on it and twelve kathanars (priests) placed their hands on him and elevated him to the office of the first Metropolitan of Malankara. This throne used in 1653 was later used for the consecration of other hierarchs & primates of the Malankara Syrian Church and they all carried the title Mar Thoma.
The usage of the title continued till the end of nineteenth century. In AD 1889 Malankara Syrian Church culminated in a split with the Travancore Royal court verdict . Following the Royal Court verdict of 1889 Reformist faction of the Malankara Syrian Church got separated and started functioning as an independent faction and later became known as Marthoma Syrian Church. The Metran (Reformist) faction possessed this chair from the old Syrian Seminary, Kottayam after the eviction of Thomas Mar Athanasius as Malankara Metropolitan with the Travancore Royal Court verdict in 1889.
Malankara Church and its leadership
Christians of St Thomas and Malankara church has a history of 2000 years. But the history was not properly documented and mostly in oral tradition. However it was widely believed that the Church affairs till the advent of Portuguese was vested in a leader who is duly selected by the community meeting under the guidance of a n metropolitan in a semi-structured manner. The following was titles of leaders of Malankara Church.
- Moopen. (meaning Elder of Community)
- Jathikkukarthavyan. (an ecclesiastical name used in consecration of a bishop)
- Arkadyokon or Archdeacon.
- Marthoma. (from Marthoma I to Marthoma IX)
- Marthoma X with Royal proclamation as Malankara Metropolitan.
Malankara Metropolitans enthroned on this throne
|Mar Thoma I||Parampil Thomas Kathanar||1653–1670|
|Mar Thoma II||--||1670–1686|
|Mar Thoma III||--||1686–1688|
|Mar Thoma IV||--||1688–1728|
|Mar Thoma V||--||1728–1765|
|Mar Thoma VI||Mar Dionysius I||1765–1808|
|Mar Thoma VII||--||1808–1809|
|Mar Thoma VIII||--||1809–1816|
|Mar Thoma IX||--||1816–1817|
|Punnathra Mar Dionysius / Mar Dionysious III||1817–1825|
|Cheppad Mar Dionysius / Mar Dionysious IV||1825–1852|
|Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan||1877–1889|
The following Metropolitans of the Malankara Syrian Church were not enthroned on this throne while their ordination as Malankara Metropolitan.
- Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious I (Mar Dionysious II) (1815–1816) was consecrated at Pazhanji, outside Travancore-Cochin
- Mathews Mar Athanasius (1843–1877) was consecrated in Antioch.
When Thomas Mar Athanasius was legally evicted from the the Throne of Metropolitan of Malankara, He was allowed to take this chair along with him .
Marthoma Metropolitans enthroned on this throne
There after the Marthoma Metropolitans of Marthoma Syrian Church were enthroned on this throne.
- (1893–1910), Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- (1910–1944), Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- (1944–1947), Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- (1947–1976), Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- (1976–1999), Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- (1999–2007), Philipose Mar Chrysostem Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- (2007– ), Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- P.V. Mathew. Keralathille Nazrani Kristhianikal (Nazrani Christians of Kerala) Vol. 2. Page 5
For further reading
- (Anglican) Missionary Registers (in English) from 1816.
- Niranam Granthavari (Record of History written during 1770–1830 in Malayalam). Editor Paul Manalil, M.O.C. Publications, Devalokam Aramana, Kottayam. 2002.