Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an Autonomous Oriental Orthodox church centred in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the churches of India's Saint Thomas Christian community, which traces its origins to the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The church is locally headed by the autonomous Catholicos and its present primate is Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan.

Historically, the Saint Thomas Christians were united in leadership and liturgy, and were part of the Church of the East centred in Persia. From the 16th century the Portuguese Jesuits attempted to forcefully bring the community fully into the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Resentment of these measures led the majority of the community to join the archdeacon, Thomas, in swearing never to submit to the Portuguese in the Coonan Cross Oath in 1653. The part of the church that followed Thomas is known as the Malankara Church.

Following the arrival of the Bishop Gregorios Abdul Jaleel of Jerusalem, Archdeacon Thomas forged a relationship with the Syriac Orthodox Church and gradually adopted West Syrian liturgy and practices. Over time, however, relations soured between the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs and the local hierarchy, particularly after Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV (reigned 1872—1894) began demanding registered deeds for the transfer of properties. In 1912, a synod led by the Patriarch Ignatius Abdul Masih II, who had been controversially deposed by the Ottoman government, consecrated Evanios as Catholicos of the East, under the name Baselios Paulose I. The faction that supported Baselios Paulose became what is now the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, while those who supported the Patriarch became the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church. The two groups were briefly reunited between 1958 and 1975, but attempts by church leaders and two Supreme Court decisions were unable to resolve the contention, and the two churches operate independently today.

The church is theologically and traditionally a part of the Oriental Orthodox communion of churches. The Indian Orthodox Church accepts the Alexandrian Christology, as does the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Read more about Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church:  Hierarchy, Distribution and Doctrine, Liturgy, Catholicate, Saints of The Church, Current Metropolitans, List of Bishops, Theological Seminaries, Ecumenical Relations, Monasteries of The Church, Dioceses, Malankara Association

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