Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church (also known as Malankara Syrian Catholic Church, Malankara Syriac Catholic Church) is an Antiochian rite, Major Archiepiscopal sui iuris (self-governing) Eastern Catholic Church in the Catholic Communion in union with the Pope of Rome, historically linked to the Syrian Church. It is one of several groups of Saint Thomas Christians tracing their origin to St. Thomas the Apostle who, according to tradition, came to India in A.D. 52. In course of time, due to the latinization policy of the Portuguese Indian Church, it was divided in two. One group eventually came under the Syrian Orthodox Church.
From this group Archbishop Mar Ivanios, entered into discussions with the Catholic Church in the early twentieth century. Communion was restored in 1930. It began with five members, but today has a total number of around 500,000. Pope John Paul II described it as a "fast-growing church".
On February 10, 2005, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was elevated by Pope John Paul II to a Major Archiepiscopal Church, elevating the Archbishop to Major Archbishop (called "Catholicos" by Syro-Malankara Catholics). As a major archiepiscopal church, the Syro-Malankaras are granted the greatest level of autonomy under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, governed by the major archbishop and the general synod of all bishops of the church, subject to papal oversight.
The current Major Archbishop and Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis (Thottunkal), who was elected by the Holy Synod as the successor of the late Moran Mor Cyril Baselious on February 8, 2007, and was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI on February 10, 2007. He was installed on March 5, 2007.
The liturgy of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is West Syrian, whose principle eucharistic rite is the Liturgy of St. James. The liturgy today is celebrated in Malayalam, Syriac, English, Tamil, and Hindi.