THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF INDIA The Malankara Orthodox Church hereafter referred to as the Orthodox Church of India or the Indian Orthodox Church, is the second largest faction of the ancient church of the St Thomas Christians in India, which stood till 1657 as a single and united Church with an indigenous character of its own. This ancient church of the St. Thomas Christians is an Apostolic Church like all other Apostolic Churches around the world and originated from the evangelical labours of St. Thomas – the Apostle not only of Malabar and South India but also of India and all of Asia. In that sense this church is one of the Oldest Churches in the Christian world and also in India, because Roman Catholic Christians came to India only in the 16th century and Protestant Christians in the 18th century – all following Western colonialism. The Malankara Church is an indigenous Church with a distinctive heritage and characteristics of its own, deeply rooted in Indian soil. Moreover it is a church which stood for centuries in close contact with the East Syrian Church which once flourished in the present regions of Iraq and Iran.

In the 16th century it came in contact with the Roman Catholic Church through Portuguese colonialism, which after a century's contact and interactions resulted in the enforced domination of Roman Catholicism over the church of the St. Thomas Christians. The Synod of Udayamperoor – 1599 played the decisive role in this regard. Thus this synod laid the firm foundation for all the problems which arose later on in this church. For about 54 years thereafter the St. Thomas Christians remained under Rome's occupation and then onwards in a divided state.

In 1653 through an Oath, the St. Thomas Christians' Church as a whole overthrew their enforced subjection to Roman Catholicism and resolved to restore their freedom as a church of India and to revive their Oriental Church heritage and indigenous characteristics. But due to various pressures their unity was broken, mainly due to the overwhelming action of the Roman Catholics who had immense support from the Colonial powers; a group of the Thomas Christians were induced to the Roman Catholic side and later on became the champions in the propagation of Roman Catholicism among the Thomas Christians. Moreover they, ie, those who were taken over to the Roman Catholic side did not allow their opponents, who had discarded Rome, to travel on freely to their destination as a free church. After many years of intense tribulation, struggles and loss of faithful to the Roman Catholics, those who stood against Rome, emerged as independent Church entering into free and friendly adherence with the bishops who came from the West Syrian Patriarchate in South – West Asia. This began from 1665, soon after the change in the political and colonial scenario of South India, when the Portuguese were ousted out the advent of the Dutch in the region.

This Church of the St. Thomas Christians who had freed themselves from the Roman Catholicism, were led till 1816 by Indian bishops of their own native origin and they were known by a common name – Mar Thoma. It is this church, which continued thereafter under bishops known as Mar Dionysius; now known by the name the Indian Orthodox Church. During 17th, 18th and 19th centuries they were also known by some names, which in most cases were appellations imposed upon them by their opponents from time to time. These are: New party (Puthencoor), Non – Romo Syrians, Malabar Syrians, Jacobite Syrians etc. After the formation of the Church's constitution in 1934 the name of this church became the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. They believe that they are the faithful original descendants and real continuation of the Church of the St. Thomas Christians of India. Hence they claim they are an ancient and apostolic Church like any other apostolic Church elsewhere in the world. The Church in India is eastern in its ethos and worship and is clearly distinguished from western (Roman and Protestant) church traditions.

The church is fully self-governed by its local leadership and is indigenous. No foreign leadership is allowed to rule over this church now.

This elements of self-awareness always echoed whenever they were threatened during the periods of contact with Roman Catholicism , Protestantism and the West Syrians.

Moreover, a unique and noble feature of this church, even now is its broad vision of humanity, non-Christian religions and other ideologies. From time immemorial this Church was at peace, oneness and tranquility with the surrounding Hindu, Muslim, communities without prejudice, rivalry and fanaticism. It respected those religions and those religions too respected this church. Hindu rulers and others in recognition of the abilities of the faithful of this church and its tolerant attitude had been benevolent in granting material benefits of an everlasting nature towards this church. This church never engaged in proselytism of Hindu or Muslim brothers and that is its notable nobility in India. Its members serve in all noble spheres of life and actions of humanity all over the globe.

This Church now consists of about 3.5 million members, who are spread all over the world, though the majority reside in Kerala state. The Supreme of the Church and the present Catholicos is H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II.His residence and the Head-quarters of the Church is in Kottayam in the Kerala State of the South-West India. The Church as a whole is divided into 30 ecclesial units as dioceses and each diocese is served by a bishop, administratively and spiritually.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D. 52. At least from the fourth century, the Indian Church entered into a close relationship with the Persian or East Syrian Church. From the Persians, the Indians inherited The East Syrian language and liturgies, and gradually came to be known as Syrian Christians. In the sixteenth century Roman Catholic missionaries came to Kerala. They tried to unite the Syrian Christians to the Roman Catholic Church and this led to a split in the community. Those who accepted Roman Catholicism are the present Syro-Malabar Catholics. Later, Western Protestant missionaries came to Kerala and worked among The Syrian Christians. This also created certain divisions in the community. In the seventeenth century, the Church came in to relationship with the Antiochene Church, which again caused splits. As a result of this relationship, the Church received West Syrian liturgies and practices. The Church entered into a new phase of its history by the establishment of the Catholicate in 1912.

At present, the Church is using the West Syrian liturgy. The faith of the Church is that which was established by the three Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (A.D. 325), Constantinople (A.D. 381) and Ephesus (A.D. 431).

The Church is in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches namely, Syriac, Alexandrian, Armenian, Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. The Church is in good ecumenical relationship with the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches.

This Church now consists of about 2.5 million members, who are spread all over the world, though the majority reside in The state of Kerala in South West India. The Supreme Head of the Church and the present Catholicos is H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II. H.H:s residence and the Head-quarters of the Church is in Kottayam in the Kerala State of the South-West India. The Church as a whole is divided into 30 ecclesial units called dioceses and each diocese is served by a bishop, administratively and spiritually.

Photo Gallery

  • image description
  • image description
  • image description

News & Events


Episcopal Silver Jubilee of Diocesan Metropolitan
The Episcopal Silver Jubilee Celebration of HG Dr Mathews Mar Severios Metropolitan Celebrated on 18th of December 2016 at Prasadam Centre, Kolenchery. The program started with processsion from Kolenchery Medical Mission Junction with His Grace on a Royal Car. The Public meeting started at 3:30 P.M , His Holiness The Catholicose, Marthoma Valiya Metropolitan, Metropolitans of the Diocese of Thumpamon, Ankamaly, Africa UK Europe,Ahemedabad, Calcutta, Sri. Joice George M.P, Sri. Mons Joseph MLA, Sri. Eldhose Kunnapilly MLA, Smt. Dolly Saju,Sri.George Joseph, Fr. Thomas Karinjattil, Fr Dr Johns Abraham Konat, Dr. Kurian Thomas, Fr C M Kuriakose, Fr Jose Thomas respectively spoke to the august gathering. Organisations, Churches, Convents,Individual Persons greeted His Grace on the occassion.
ഐ.എസ് ഭീകരർ തട്ടികൊണ്ട് പോയ ഫാ.ടോം .ഉഴുന്നാലിന്റെ മോചനത്തിന് വേണ്ടി
ഐ.എസ് ഭീകരർ തട്ടികൊണ്ട് പോയ ഫാ.ടോം .ഉഴുന്നാലിന്റെ മോചനത്തിന് വേണ്ടി യുവജനപ്രസ്ഥാനം കണ്ടനാട് ഭദ്രാസന കമ്മിറ്റി അംഗങ്ങൾ പിറവം മാർ ഗ്രിഗോറിയോസ് ഓർത്തഡോക്സ് കാതോലിക്കേറ്റ് സെൻററിൽ പ്രാർത്ഥനയോടെ മെഴുകുതിരി ദീപം തെളിയിച്ചപ്പോൾ
ധീര ജവാന്മാർക്ക് ആദരം
പിറവം -ധീര ജവാന്മാർക്ക് ആദര അർപ്പിച്ച് കൊണ്ട് പിറവം യുദ്ധസ്മാരകത്തിൽ കണ്ടനാട് വെസ്റ്റ് ദദ്രാസന യുവജനപ്രസ്ഥാനം പ്രവർത്തകർ റിപ്പബ്ലിക്ക് ദിനാഘോഷം നടത്തി .വിമുക്തഭടന്മാരും യുവജനപ്രസ്ഥാനം പ്രവർത്തകരും ഒപ്പം ചേർന്ന പരിപാടിയിൽ നാഷണൽ എക്സ് സർവീസ് മെൻ കോർഡിനേഷൻ യുണിറ്റ് പ്രസിഡന്റ് ജോൺ വി.വി ദേശീയപതാക ഉയർത്തി . സ്മാരകത്തിൽ യുവജനപ്രസ്ഥാനം ഭദ്രാസന വൈസ് പ്രസിഡന്റ് ഫാ.ജോമോൻ ചെറിയാൻ പുഷ്പ ചക്രം നടത്തി. യുവജനപ്രസ്ഥാനം ഭദ്രാസന ജനറൽ സെക്രട്ടറി ഗിവീസ് മർക്കോസ് ,യുവജനപ്രസ്ഥാനം കേന്ദ്ര കമ്മിറ്റി അംഗം ബേസിൽ പൗലോസ് ,ഭദ്രാസന ഭാരവാഹികളായ മെബിൻ ബേബി ,അൻസൺ ജെയ്മോൻ ,പേൾ പുത്തൻകുരിശ് , ജേക്കബ് ജോയി നാഷണൽ എക്സ് സർവീസ് മെൻ വൈസ് പ്രസിഡന്റ് ജോർജ് ഈനാകുളം ,സെക്രട്ടറി ബെന്നി വി.റ്റി ,തോമസ് മണപ്പാട്ട് ,എം .എൻ അപ്പുക്കുട്ടൻ തുടങ്ങിയവർ പ്രസംഗിച്ചു .
Diocesan Day Celebrations.
Offering a Helping hand for the needy.