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During the later Old Testament times the Malabar Coast had trade relations with West Asia. These trade routes later enabled Christianity to reach Kerala, a state on the south western coast of India. Tradition states that the Apostle Thomas preached the Gospel to the locals (which included Jewish settlers in Kerala), baptized many, and founded seven churches. The churches are Niranam, Palayoor, Nilackal, Kottakavu, Kothamangalam, Kollam and Maliyankara. These churches remain the major Christian centers in Kerala. The Christians of this ancient tradition were and are known as either Nasranis or Syrian Christians.

The Christian Community of Kerala (India) traces back its origin to the advent of St. Thomas, the Apostle to India, who reached the Cragnanore Port in AD 52 and its subsequent spiritual stabilization and growth.

St.ThomasIt is believed that the Apostle started his gospel mission in India, from a small town called "Maliyankara" on the sea coast of 'Paravur' Taluk in Kerala, at a short distance away from Cranganore Port. From such small beginnings, the Christian Community of Kerala grew to its present stature against heavy odds aided, among other providential factors, by the continued tolerance and hospitality of many a neighborhood, the goodwill of the local rulers, chieftains and others.

The Portuguese who colonized India in AD 1498 tried to convert the St. Thomas Christians to western Catholicism. By AD 1599 Goan Arch Bishop Menezes succeeded in forcibly converting some to the Catholic Church. But in AD 1653, a section of St. Thomas Christians revolted and resolved against accepting Catholic (Latin) authority known in church history as 'Koonan Kurishu Oath or Coonen Cross Oath'. The people that sought to preserve the Church's Syrian ties again appealed to the Syrian Orthodox Church for help in restoring its Episcopal succession. The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch responded and Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, came to India in AD 1665. The Archdeacon who had been declared in the meantime to be Metropolitan Mar Thoma by the laying on of hands by twelve Presbyters was now confirmed by him in his Episcopal rank, and both of them worked together to organize the church on firm footing. Mar Thoma I was followed in succession by a series of Prelates with the same name till AD 1816 when the last of them namely Mar Thoma IX came to the scene, but was soon replaced by Mar Dionysius II.

The London Missionary Service was active in India. Bishop Norton inaugurated the first Anglican Church in Kerala at Thalavady in the house of one Itty Matthan Panickar who was till then a Syrian Orthodox Christian. This church was later known as Christian Missionary Service and after Indian Independence it became the Church of South India. Lore says that Bishop Norton was tutored in Malayalam by Itty Matthan Panickar. Later the same person tutored Bishop Benjamin Bailey in Sanskrit & Malayalam, and was presented the chair on which the Bishop sat as a gift. Later in the 19th century, exposure to the doctrines of the Church of England inspired a reform movement led by Abraham Malpan. This led to the formation of the Mar Thoma Church.

In 1912, the Catholicate of the East was revived in India. The Malankara Orthodox Church had always wanted to retain its autocephalous nature and so, appealed to Patriarch Ignatius Abdul Masih II of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who ordained Murimattathil Paulose Mar Ivanios as Moran Mar Baseliose Paulose, Catholicos of the East. The ceremony was held at St. Mary's Church, Niranam on 15 September 1912 with much jubiliation and joy.

Despite several schisms, the Indian Orthodox Church remains a stronghold of Oriental Orthodoxy in the The Subcontinent.

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

At present the Church is having a population over 2 millions with 30 dioceses all over the world




Contact Address

Pallibhagam Youth Movement
St Stephen's Orthodox Cathedral
Kudassanad P O, Pandalam
Pathanamthitta (Dist)
Kerala, India. Pin 689512

Ph No : +91 4734 252134

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