Timeline of Oriental Orthodoxy in India (St. Thomas Christianity)

From OrthodoxWiki
Revision as of 02:38, March 18, 2010 by Angellight 888 (talk | contribs) (Modern Era)
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is marked as in progress by Angellight 888, who is actively developing it. It has yet to achieve a stable or complete form and is currently being worked on. Please carefully consider before making major edits to this article.
Coptic Orthodox Cross

Churches of the Oriental
Orthodox Communion

Autocephalous Churches
Armenia | Alexandria | Ethiopia | Antioch | India | Eritrea
Autonomous Churches
Armenia: Cilicia | Jerusalem | Constantinople
Alexandria: Britain | Antioch: Jacobite Indian

St. Thomas Christians (52-1498)

Era of Divisions (1498-1912)

Portuguese Colonial Era (1498-1653)

Jacobite Era (1653-1912)

Arrival of the Protestants - Further Splits (1818-1912)

Modern Era (1912-Present)

Indian Orthodox Church: Autocephalous Era (1912-Present)

See also



  1. Malankara is a cognate word of the place name Maliankara, a place near Muziris, where St. Thomas the Apostle first landed, in the Indian state of Kerala. It was the headquarters of the Church from the first century. The original liturgical language used in the Malankara Church was Aramaic and Hebrew; later this was replaced by Syriac.
  2. In 337 Shāpūr sent his forces across the Tigris River, the uneasy frontier, to recover Armenia and Mesopotamia, which his predecessors had lost to the Romans. Until 350 the conflict raged in northern Mesopotamia, with neither side a clear-cut victor. Shortly after 337, Shāpūr took an important policy decision. Although the state religion of the Sāsānian Empire was Mazdaism (Zoroastrianism), Christianity flourished within its boundaries. The Roman emperor Constantine the Great had granted toleration to Christians in 313. With the subsequent Christianization of the empire, Shāpūr, mistrustful of a potential force of a fifth column at home while he was engaged abroad, ordered the persecution and forcible conversion of the Christians; this policy was in force throughout his reign.
  3. The Mulanthuruthy church was the venue of the famous Mulanthuruthy Synod in 1876 convened by the Patriarch of Antioch Peter III. Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Yakoob III also visited this church in 1964. And the present Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas visited the Church twice, during 1982 and 2000.
  4. Two strong groups were in the church at this time: the one owed allegiance to Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius (1877-1893), and supported independence and purification of the church (the Metran Kakshi faction); the other under the control of Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious II (1865-1909), spearheaded Orthodoxy and subservience to the Patriarch of Antioch (the Bava Kakshi. faction).
    In 1877 Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius thus became the first Metropolitan of the new Mar Thoma Church (1877-1893), a group that split from the Malankara Church and was originally known as "Reformed Jacobites", of the West Syrian Rite (i.e. Protestant Oriental, in communion with the Anglican Church).
  5. Mar Thoma or Marthoma is Aramaic, meaning Saint Thomas. Members of this church are often referred to as Marthomites.
  6. The reasons for this break with the papacy were political rather then religious. From the sixteenth century there had existed a concordat between the Holy See and the King of Portugal which allowed the latter to nominate Bishops to the diocese of Latin Rite India, as well as other colonies which had formally been Portuguese colonies. The arrangement was known as the Patrondo (Patronage). By the second half of the nineteenth century it had become obvious that it was high time for Patrondo to be abolished.
  7. "On January 2, 1887, Pope Leo XIII set up a new Latin hierarchy for India and Ceylon, with the bishops (except for the province of (Goa) directly dependent on the Congregation of Propaganda. This change aroused considerable indignation because there still existed strong sentimental link between Indian Catholics and Portugal. Many native priests were indignant at being transferred to jurisdictions of French or Italian bishops.
    Thus came into being what was called the 'Patrando Association'. Its leaders petitioned King Luis I of Portugal, to use his influence at Rome to have the royal patronage restored. On February 10, 1888, a Goan priest, who had been a Brahmin, Antonio Francisco-Xavier Alvarez, was elected by the Association as first bishop of the schismatic church. He applied to Mar Dionysios V, Jacobite Metropolitan of Malankara since 1865, to consecrate him, but with no result. His appeal to Mar Ignatius Peter III, Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch was more successful." (Old Catholic Church of the United States. Credo: The Catechism of the Old Catholic Church. iUniverse, 2004. p.391.)
  8. Patriarch Ignatius Abded Aloho II (1906-1915) had deposed Patriarch Ignatius Abdul Masih II (1895-1905) and usurped the Patriarchal See of Antioch from him. In 1911 Patriarch Ignatius Abded Aloho (Mar Abdulla) came to Malankara, and excommunicated Malankara Metropolitan Vattasseril Mar Divannasios. To ward off the undue interference of Patriarch Abdulla in the administration of the Indian Church, Fr. P.T. Geevarghese with the blessing of Vattasseril Mar Divannasios, contacted Patriarch Abded M’siha, the Patriarch of Antioch from whom Mar Abdulla usurped the Patriarchal See of Antioch, and invited him to visit Malankara and to establish a Catholicate there. This created a split in the church in 1912, into the two groups, with some claiming that the relocation of the Catholicate to India was without authority from the Universal Syriac Orthodox Synod, thus causing the century long dispute in the Malankara Church. (See 1958).
  9. The Indian Orthodox Church view is that the Catholicate of the East is autocephalous and in the legitimate succession of St. Thomas the Apostle, citing use of the term "Throne of St. Thomas" in documents since at least 1301 AD, and that this was a period of religious turmoil where the Patriarch of Antioch interfered and suspended the Malankara Metropolitan, demanding complete surrender, leading to this event; two factions thus emerge from the Malankara Church (Indian Oriental Orthodoxy): the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church (Patriarchal, "Jacobite", or Bava Faction) and Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Catholicos, or Methran Faction).

Further reading


Christianity in India

See also: Thomapedia. 2000. ISBN 9788187132134 (The Thomapedia is the Enlarged 2000 Edition of the 1973 2nd Volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India (STCEI), both edited by Prof. George Menachery.)
By Indian historian Anant Priolkar. Provides the most comprehensive account of the Goa Inquisition held by Portuguese colonialists in Goa, India in the 16th century and details the wholesale massacres of Hindus, Muslims, Indian Jews and non-Catholic Indian Christians by the Portuguese inquisitors.

Christianity In Persia


External Links


Oriental Orthodox
Other St. Thomas Christian Groups
Roman Catholic