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Syro-Malabar Catholic Church


Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
ܥܹܕܬܵܐ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐ
The Mar Thoma Sliva or Saint Thomas Cross (also known as the Nasrani Menorah), the symbol of the Syro-Malabar Church
Founder St. Thomas the Apostle
Independence Apostolic Era
Recognition first century (with the Church of the East)
1599 (with the Catholic Church)
1887 (autocephaly)
1923 (Patriarchate)
Primate Mar George Alencherry, Major Archbishop (traditionally Metropolitan of Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly)
Headquarters St. Thomas Mount, Kochi, Kerala, India
Territory India
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
Language Syriac and Malayalam
Members 4.6 million[1]
Bishops 57
Parishes 3,224
Website Official site

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly in Kerala, India. The members of the Church are known as Mar Thoma Nasranis or Syrian Catholics. It is the largest of the Nasrani denominations with around 4.6 million believers and traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[1][2][3][4][5]

The Syro-Malabar Church follows the East Syrian Rite liturgy, traditionally attributed to saints Addai and Mari, which dates back to 3rd century Edessa,[6] and like the Chaldean Rite is a Syro-Oriental Rite. It is the second largest Eastern Catholic Church, the largest being the Ukrainian Catholic Church.[7] It is one of the two Eastern Catholic Churches from India, the other being the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which follows the West Syrian Rite liturgy. Saint Alphonsa is the first canonized saint from the Church.

Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
മാർത്തോമാ നസ്രാണികൾ
St. Thomas Cross
Alternate names
Nasrani · Mar Thoma Nasrani · Syrian Christians
Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
Ancient crosses · Churches · Shrines · Liturgical language · Church music
Prominent persons
Abraham Malpan · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban · Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Mar Thoma I · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi · Kariattil Mar Ousep · Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril · Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Geevarghese Mar Ivanios · Saint Alphonsa · Yeldho Mar Baselios · Euphrasia Eluvathingal · Thoma of Villarvattom

Margam Kali · Parichamuttukali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam


  • History 1
    • Origin of St. Thomas Christians 1.1
    • East Syrian relationship 1.2
    • Arrival of Portuguese in Malabar 1.3
    • Divisions among Saint Thomas Christians 1.4
    • Restoration of the Syro-Malabar hierarchy 1.5
    • Time line of events 1.6
    • Syro-Malabar identity 1.7
    • Faith and communion of Syro-Malabarians 1.8
  • Liturgy 2
    • Restoration of East Syrian liturgy 2.1
    • Liturgical calendar 2.2
    • Major feasts 2.3
    • Syro-Malabar major archiepiscopal curia 2.4
  • Saints, Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God 3
    • Saints 3.1
    • Beatified people 3.2
    • Venerables 3.3
    • Servants of God 3.4
  • List of (Arch)Eparchies 4
    • Metropolitan archeparchies 4.1
    • Eparchies 4.2
    • Exarchate 4.3
  • Statistics 5
    • Within the proper territory 5.1
    • Outside the proper territory 5.2
  • Syro Malabar Religious Congregations 6
  • List of prominent Syro-Malabar Catholics in history 7
  • Prominent Syro-Malabar Catholics who worked for unity of Nasranis 8
  • Varthamanappusthakam 9
    • Shared history with other Saint Thomas Christians 9.1
  • Mar Abraham of Angamaly 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13
    • References and bibliography 13.1
  • External links 14


George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church

Origin of St. Thomas Christians

It is believed that St. Thomas the Apostle (Mar Thoma shleeha) landed at Kodungalloor (Muziris)[8] in 52 A. D. and established Christian communities in different parts of India and died at Mylapur in 72 A. D.[9] According to tradition, he founded seven churches or communities in Kerala; at Kodungalloor, Niranam, Kollam, Chayal, Kottakkavu (North Paravur), Kokkamangalam and Palayoor.[10][11][12]

East Syrian relationship

From early centuries the Church of St. Thomas Christians came into communication with the Christian communities that came to be known as the Church of the East.[13] This relationship made the St. Thomas Christians share the liturgical, spiritual and other ecclesiastical traditions with the Church of the East (therefore they are classified as being of the East Syrian Rite). The Christians of St. Thomas kept their distinctive character especially in Church administration and socio-cultural and ascetic- spiritual life.[14] At least from the 4th century until the end of the 16th century the Bishops of the Church of Malabar were sent from the East Syrian Church,[15] appointed by the Patriarch of the Church of the East.[16] While the bishops originally haling from Persia who arrived here were placed in charge of liturgy, the administration of the church remained under the control of the local Archdeacon, who was also the head of the local community.[14]

The bishops who came from the East Syrian Church, were concerned with spiritual matters. Essentially, the Thomas Christians followed three distinct ways of activity in their religious sphere: their liturgy was of the East Syrian Rite: their culture was purely Indian: they had their own style of life. [17]"The governance of the Church was through Palliyogam, Synod, etc. as was prevalent in Oriental Churches.[18]

Arrival of Portuguese in Malabar

Open Air Rock Cross also called Nasrani Sthambams in front of the 3rd Century built Marth Mariam Syro-Malabar Catholic Church at Kuravilangad, Kerala
Marth Mariam Syro-Malabar Catholic Church at Arakuzha, Kerala is an ancient Nasrani church established in 999
A Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, with the Holy of Holies containing the Saint Thomas Cross veiled by a red curtain according to Eastern Christian practice

The Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama arrived in Calicut on 20 May 1498.[19] When Gama and the Portuguese missionaries arrived they found no Christians in the country except in Malabar Coast (modern day Kerala). The Christians they found were St. Thomas Christians. The Christians were friendly to Portuguese missionaries at first; there were exchange of gifts between them, and these groups were delighted at their common faith.[20][21]

Later, due to certain differences, mainly in the liturgy, the relations between the missionaries and local St. Thomas Christians became increasingly strained. Under the Padroado (patronage) agreement with the Holy See the Portuguese missionaries started to interfere in day-to-day operations of the church and things took a turn for the worse. They accused the Indian Christians of heresy and schism (also see: Schism in Christianity); and attempted to introduce the Latin Rite customs and Latin Rite manner of ecclesiastical administration, severing the East Syrian connection.[22]

The Portuguese established a Roman Catholic (Latin Church) diocese in Goa (1534) and another in Cochin (1558) with the hope of bringing the St. Thomas Christians under Latin Rite Catholic jurisdiction. At a Goan Synod held in 1585, it was decided to introduce the Latin Rite liturgy and practices among St. Thomas Christians. During the Synod of Diamper of 1599, the Portuguese Archbishop, Don Alexis Menezes, succeeded in appointing a Latin bishop in the East Syrian Catholic ArchDiocese of Angamaly- Kodungallur to govern the St. Thomas Christians. The Portuguese padroado (patronage) was extended over them.[23] The strife between the Portuguese missionaries and the indigenous Christians and their Mesopotamian prelates was of an ecclesiological and jurisdictional character.[24] Attempts to resist the Latinization process were branded as heretical. Under their Archdeacon, the Thomas Christians resisted, and, consequently, the once united Church in full communion with the East Syrian Patriarch ended up in various denominations.[23]

Divisions among Saint Thomas Christians

Relationship of the Nasrani groups

A protest took place in 1653 with the Coonan Cross Oath. Under the leadership of Archdeacon Thomas, the Thomas Christians publicly took an oath that they would not obey the Jesuit bishops.[25]

Rome sent Carmelites in two groups from the Propagation of the Faith to Malabar headed by Fr. Sebastiani and Fr. Hyacinth. Fr. Sebastiani arrived first in 1655. He began to deal directly with the Archdeacon, Mar Thoma I. Fr. Sebastiani gained the support of many, especially with the support of Parambil Mar Chandy, Alexandar Kadavil and the Vicar of Muttam. These were the three councilors of Mar Thoma I, who had been reconciled with Francisco Garcia Mendes, SJ, Archbishop of Cranganore, before the arrival of Sebastaini, according to Jesuit reports.[25]

Between 1661 and 1662, out of the 116 churches, the Carmelites reclaimed eighty-four churches, leaving Archdeacon Mar Thomas I with thirty-two churches. The eighty-four churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syro Malabar Church has descended. The other thirty-two churches and their congregations represented the nucleus from which the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church(Jacobites).the Orthodox Syrian Church, the Thozhiyur Church, Mar Thoma (Reformed Syrians), Syro Malankara Catholics have originated.[26]

In 1665 Mar Gregorios, a Bishop sent by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, arrived in India. The dissident group under the leadership of the Archdeacon welcomed him.[27] Though most of the St. Thomas Christians gradually relented in their strong opposition to the Western control, the arrival of the Bishop Mar Gregory of the Syriac Orthodox Church in 1665 marked the beginning of a formal schism among the St. Thomas Christians. Those who accepted the West Syrian theological and liturgical tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch of Mar Gregory became known as the "Malankara Syriac Orthodox Christians" or Puthenkoor. The Syrian Catholics remained in communion with Rome and later came to be known as the Syro Malabar Church,or Pazhayakoor, a name which became a common epithet only in the nineteenth century. It literally means Syrian Christians of the Malabar Coast (Kerala).[27]

Restoration of the Syro-Malabar hierarchy

After the split in the church community, some priests and laymen attempted to persuade the hierarchy to improve the identity of the local church and for the appointment of bishops from local priests. To represent their position, Kerala's Syrian Catholics Joseph Kariattil and Paremmakkal Thomma Kathanar went to Rome in 1778. While they were in Europe, Kariatty Joseph Kathanar was installed in Portugal as the Archbishop of Kodungalloor Archdiocese. While journeying home, they stayed in Goa where Kariattil died before he could formally take charge. Before he died, Kariattil appointed Kathanar as the Administrator of Kodungalloor Archdiocese after him. The new administrator ran the affairs of the church establishing his headquarters at Angamaly. In 1792, the headquarters of the Archdiocese was shifted to Vadayar dodging the invasion of Tippu Sultan. In the last four years of his life, Thomma Kathanar managed church administration from his own parish, Ramapuram.

After being under Chaldean bishops earlier and under Latin Rite Roman Catholic bishops from 1599, St. Thomas Christians obtained their own bishops from 1896.They were known as Catholic Chaldean Syrians during the period from around 1787(Angamaly Padiyola) to around 1886. They were known as the Catholic Syrians to differentiate them from the Orthodox Syrians and Latin Church Catholics in Kerala.They came to be known as the Syro Malabar Catholics from 1932 onwards to differentiate them from the Syro-Malankara Catholics in Kerala. The Indian East Syrian Catholic Hierarchy was restored on 21 December 1923 with Mar Augustine Kandathil as the first Metropolitan and Head of the Church with the name Syro-Malabar.[28]

Time line of events

Time line of events

  • 1 Ancient Era
  • 2 Portuguese Era
  • 3 Era of Divisions
  • 4 Arrival of the Protestants and further splits
  • 5 Era of Self-governance
  • 6 A Sui iuris Church.

Syro-Malabar identity

While modern Syro-Malabar identity is rooted in the Mar Thoma Margam or the sacred tradition of the Ancient Church of St. Thomas Christians - Syro-Malabar Historian and theologian Fr. Placid Podipara describes it as "Catholic by faith, Indian by culture & East Syrian/Syriac/Oriental in liturgy." Today, the Syro-Malabar Church finds herself as the second-largest Eastern Catholic Church in the world with 4.5 million worldwide.

Faith and communion of Syro-Malabarians

The St. Thomas Christians got their bishops from the Assyrian Church of the East/Chaldean Church from ca. 500 AD till the end of the sixteenth century, until it was stopped by the Portuguese Roman Catholics (Latin Church) in 1597, after the death of Mar Abraham.


As per the East Syriac tradition, liturgical day of the Syro-Malabar Church starts at sunset (6 p. m.). Also the worshiper has to face the east while worshiping.[29]

According to the East Syriac tradition, the following are the seven times of prayer:

  • Ramsha or the Evening Liturgy (6 p. m.)
  • Lelya or the Night Liturgy (9 p. m.)
  • Qala d-Shahra or the Vigil Liturgy (3 a. m.)
  • Sapra or the Morning Liturgy (6 a. m.)
  • Quta'a or the Third Hour Liturgy (9 a. m.)
  • Endana or the Noon Liturgy (12 p. m.)
  • D-Bathsha Shayin or the Ninth Hour Liturgy (3 p. m.)

The Holy Mass, which is called Holy Qurbana in East Syriac Aramaic and means 'Eucharist', is celebrated in its solemn form on Sundays and special occasions. During the celebration of the Qurbana, priests and deacons put on elaborate vestments which are unique to the Syro-Malabar Church.

Restoration of East Syrian liturgy

Crowning during a Syro-Malabar Catholic wedding by bishop Mar Gregory Karotemprel.

East Syrian liturgy has three Anaphorae; those of the Holy Apostles (Saints Addai and Mari), Mar Nestorius, and Mar Theodore the Interpreter. The first is the most popularly and extensively used. The second was traditionally used on the Epiphany and the feasts of St. John the Baptist and of the Greek Doctors, both of which occur in Epiphany-tide on the Wednesday of the Rogation of the Ninevites, and on Maundy Thursday. The third is used (except when the second is ordered) from Advent to Palm Sunday. The same pro-anaphoral part serves for all three.

In the second half of 20th century, there was a movement for better understanding of the liturgical rites. A restored Eucharistic liturgy, drawing on the original East Syrian sources, was approved by Pope Pius XII in 1957 and for the first time on the feast of St. Thomas on July 3, 1962, the vernacular, Malayalam, was introduced for the celebration of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana.[30] Currently they celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Addai and Mari and the Anaphora of Mar Theodre in Malayalam, Syriac or English.

Besides the Anaphora of Mar Addai and Mari being used currently in Syro-Malabar Liturgy, there are two more Anaphorae known as Anaphora of Mar Theodore and Anaphora of Mar Nestorius. The fact that the Anaphora of Mar Theodore which was withdrawn from use after the Synod of Diamper is being used again in Syro-Malabar Church after 415 years is indeed an important historical reality. Pope Pius XII during the process of restoration of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana in 1957 had requested the restoration of the Anaphorae of Mar Theodore and Mar Nestorius. The draft of the Anaphora of Mar Theodore was restored after meticulous study by the Central Liturgical Committee, Liturgical Research Centre, various Sub-Committees and the eparchial liturgical commissions. Many changes befitting to the times have been made in the prayers maintaining maximum fidelity to the original text of the Second Anaphora. It was this text so prepared that was sent to Rome for the recognitio of the Apostolic See in accordance with the decision of the Syro-Malabar Synod. The Congregation for the Eastern Churches gave its approval for using this Anaphora on an experimental basis for three years on 15 December 2012.[31]

The Latinization of the Syro-Malabar rite churches was brought to a head when in 1896 Ladislaus Zaleski, the Apostolic Delegate to India, requested permission to translate the Roman Pontifical into Syriac. This was the choice of the Malabar prelates, who chose it over the East Syrian Rite and West Syrian Rite pontificals. Various problems and concerns delayed the approval of this translation, until in 1934 Pope Pius XI stated that Latinization was no longer to be encouraged among Eastern Rite Catholics.[32] He initiated a process of liturgical reform that sought to restore the oriental nature of the Latinized Syro-Malabar rite.[33] A restored Eucharistic liturgy, drawing on the original East Syrian sources, was approved by Pius XII in 1957 and introduced in 1962.

The church uses one of several Bible translations into Malayalam.

Liturgical calendar

Syro-Malabar liturgical calendar

Syro Malabar Church has its own liturgical year. It is ordered according to the flow of salvation history. It focuses on the historical life of Jesus.[34] There are nine seasons for the liturgical year. They are:

  1. Annunciation (Subara)
  2. Epiphany (Denha)
  3. Great Fast (Sawma Rabba)
  4. Resurrection (Qyamta)
  5. Apostles (Slihe)
  6. Summer (Qaita)
  7. Elijah-Cross (Elijah-Sliba)
  8. Moses (Muse)
  9. Dedication of the Church (Qudas-Edta)

Major feasts

Major feasts of the Church are,[35]

  • Dukrana of the Father in Faith - Mar Thoma Shliha Commemorated on July 3
  • Marth Alphonsa - commemorated 28 July
  • Mar Kuriakose Elias Chavara - commemorated 3 January
  • Mar Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly – commemorated 5 October
  • Saint Euphrasia - commemorated 29 August
  • Mar Bartholomeo Sleeha - commemorated 24 August
  • Marth Shmoni and her 7 Children - commemorated 21 August
  • The Assumption of Marth Mariam(Shoonaya) - commemorated on 15 August
  • Transfiguration(Geliyana) - commemorated 6 August
  • Mar Addai and Mar Mari - commemorated on the Second Friday of Qaita (Summer)
  • The 12 Apostles of our Lord, Iso' Misiha - commemorated 19 July
  • The 70 Apostles - commemorated 17 July
  • Mar Quriaqos and mother Yolethe - commemorated 15 July
  • Mar Aprem- Commemorated - commemorated 9 June
  • Blessed Mariam Thresia - commemorated 8 June
  • Holy Pentecost - commemorated on 31 May
  • The Ascension of our Lord, Iso' Misiha(Sulaqa) - commemorated 21 May
  • Mar Addai Shliha - commemorated 10 May
  • Mar Geevarghese Sahada - commemorated 24 April
  • New Sunday - commemorated 19 April
  • All Saints Day - commemorated on the first Friday of the Season of Resurrection
  • Entry of our Lord, Iso' Misiha into Jerusalem - Oshana Sunday
  • The Annunciation of Marth Mariam(Subara) - commemorated 25 March
  • Remembrance of all Departed Faithful( Kol Anidhe) - commemorated on Last Friday of Denha
  • The feast of Denha, the Epiphany - commemorated on 6 January
  • The Nativity of our Lord, God and Saviour Iso M'siha (Yaldha) - commemorated 25 December
  • Mar Thoma Sliba - commemorated 18 December
  • Immaculate Conception of Marth Mariam - commemorated 8 December
  • Mar Augustinose Kunjachan - commemorated 16 October
  • Passover Feast (Pesha)

Syro-Malabar major archiepiscopal curia

Syriac inscription at Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archbishop's House, Ernakulam.

The curia[36] of the Syro-Malabar Church began to function in March 1993 at the archbishop’s house of Ernakulam-Angamaly. Later, on 27 May 1995, it was shifted to new premises at Mount St. Thomas near Kakkanad, Kochi. The newly constructed curial building was opened on 3 July 1998.

The administration of the Syro-Malabar Church has executive and judicial roles. The major archbishop, officials, various commissions, committees, and the permanent synod form the executive part. The permanent synod and other offices are formed in accordance with the CCEO. The officials include the chancellor, vice-chancellor, and other officers. Various commissions are appointed by the major archbishop: Liturgy, Pastoral care of the migrant and Evangelisation, Particular Law, Catechism, Ecumenism, Catholic Doctrine, Clergy and Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The members of the commissions are ordinarily bishops. But there are also priests in different commissions. For judicial activities there is the major archiepiscopal ordinary tribunal formed in accordance with CCEO and it has a statutes and sufficient personnel with a president, as its head. At present, Rev. Dr. Jose Chiramel is the president. The Major archiepiscopal curia functions in the curial building in Kerala, India. They have prepared the particular law for their Church and promulgated part by part in Synodal News, the official Bulletin of this Church. There are statutes for the permanent synod, for the superior and ordinary tribunals. Regarding economo, CCEO c. 122 § 2 is specific in the particular law, that the term of the office shall be five years and the same person shall not be appointed for more than two terms consecutively.[37]

Saints, Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God

Syro-Malabar saints[38]
St. Joseph's Syro-Malabar Dayra Church, Mannanam, where the mortal remains of Mar Kuriakose Chavara are kept. Saint Thomas cross is seen in the picture on the top of church


Beatified people


  • Mar Thomas Kurialachery - Archeparchy of Changanassery - First Bishop of Changanassery (1872-1925)
  • Mar Mathew Kadalikattil (1872-1935)

Servants of God

List of (Arch)Eparchies

Syro-Malabar bishops at the Generalate of S. D.

There are 31 eparchies. Five of them are Archeparchies at present – Ernakulam-Angamaly, Changanacherry, Trichur, Tellicherry and Kottayam. There are other 13 eparchies – Bhadravathi, Belthangady, Irinjalakuda, Kanjirapally, Kothamangalam, Idukki, Mananthavady, Mandya, Palai, Palghat, Ramanathapuram, Thamarassery and Thuckalay within the canonical territory of the Major Archiepiscopal Church. There are 13 eparchies outside the canonical territory of which Adilabad, Bijnor, Chanda, Gorakhpur, Jagdalpur, Kalyan, Rajkot, Sagar, Satna and Ujjain in India are with exclusive jurisdiction and Kalyan, Faridabad eparchies in India, the St. Thomas Eparchy of Chicago in the United States of America and St. Thomas the Apostle Eparchy of Melbourne in Australia enjoy personal jurisdiction.[39]

Metropolitan archeparchies

The believers of this church are organized under 5 Archeparchies. All five are in Kerala.

Mar Varkey Vithayathil former Major Archbishop.




The number of Syro Malabar Church institutions and personnel[40]
Institutions #
Parishes 3,224
Quasi-parishes 539
Missions 490
Institutes of consecrated life - men & women 53
Major & minor seminary 71
Regular, technical & other colleges 691
Teachers’ training institutes 24
Engineering colleges

Higher Secondary & Primary Schools



Kindergartens 1,685
Non-formal & adult education 503
Special schools 4,021
Health care institutions 700
Nurse's training schools 44
Hospitals, dispensaries & health centers

Medical colleges



Specialized health care centers, incurables & leprosy care centers 54
Old age homes 211
Children’s homes 185
Orphanages 230
Rehabilitation centers and other institutions 1,616
Total 13,805
Religious sisters 35,000
Religious brothers 6,836
Seminarians 2,907
Diocesan and religious priests 9,121
Bishops 56
Major archbishop 1
Total 51,097

According to the Annuario Pontificio (the pontifical yearbook) for 2008 there were about 3,947,396 members in the Syro-Malabar Church.[39]

Within the proper territory

There are sixteen eparchies in the proper territory of the Syro Malabar Church.

Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly has 510,000 members with 347 parishes, 731 religious/secular priests, 632 male religious and 4935 female religious. Archeparchy of Trichur has 471,328 members with 195 parishes, 418 religious/secular priests, 358 male religious and 3315 female religious. Eparchy of Idukki has 400,000 members with 129 parishes, 119 religious/secular priests, 109 male religious and 1320 female religious.

Archeparchy of Changanacherry has 390,000 members with 266 parishes, 615 religious/secular priests, 534 male religious and 2705 female religious. Eparchy of Palai has 348,128 members with 169 parishes, 502 religious/secular priests, 127 male religious and 3312 female religious. Archeparchy of Tellicherry has 317,782 members with 222 parishes, 293 religious/secular priests, 263 male religious and 1664 female religious. Eparchy of Irinjalakuda has 258,200 members with 128 parishes, 233 religious/secular priests, 132 male religious and 2350 female religious.

Eparchy of Kothamangalam has 217,420 members with 115 parishes, 242 religious/secular priests, 163 male religious and 2210 female religious. Eparchy of Kanjirapally has 192,000 members with 136 parishes, 314 religious/secular priests, 210 male religious and 1840 female religious. Archeparchy of Kottayam has 175,300 members with 149 parishes, 161 religious/secular priests, 107 male religious and 1233 female religious. Eparchy of Mananthavady has 170,100 members with 140 parishes, 413 religious/secular priests, 358 male religious and 1546 female religious. Eparchy of Thamarasserry has 129,600 members with 128 parishes, 247 religious/secular priests, 257 male religious and 1321 female religious. Eparchy of Palghat has 68,004 members with 106 parishes, 167 religious/secular priests, 82 male religious and 1360 female religious.[39]

According to a study conducted, in Kerala about 30 percent of the Syro Malabar Church members lived in the erstwhile Cochin State. The remaining 70 percent lived in Travancore state. In the Travancore state, Meenachil Taluk had the largest proportion, followed by Changanaserry Taluk.

Erstwhile Cochin State, Meenachil and Changanaserry together had 56 percent of the total Syro Malabar population. Kottayam, Muvattupuzha, Kanjirappally, Thodupuzha, Kothamangalam, Cherthala, Mukundapuram (irinjalakkuda-chalakkudy), Wadakkancherry, Thrissur, North Parur, Alwaye, Kunnathunadu, Ambalapuzha, Kuttanad, Peerumedu, Nedumkandam and Devikulam etc. are the prominent taluks.[39]

Outside the proper territory

There are eleven eparchies outside the proper territory of the Syro Malabar Church.

Eparchy of Kalyan has 100,000 members with 106 parishes, 146 religious/secular priests, 105 male religious and 270 female religious. St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago, USA has 85,000 members with 11 parishes, 45 religious/secular priests, 13 male religious and 16 female religious. Eparchy of Chanda has 14,079 members with 5 parishes, 51 religious/secular priests, 182 male religious and 352 female religious. Eparchy of Adilabad, has 13,273 members with 25 parishes, 50 religious/secular priests, 41 male religious and 143 female religious. Eparchy of Rajkot has 12,850 members with 12 parishes, 140 religious/secular priests, 142 male religious and 421 female religious.

Syro Malabar Religious Congregations

The Religious Congregations are divided in the Eastern Catholic Church Law (Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches – CCEO) as Monasteries, Hermitages, Orders, Congregations, Societies of Common Life in the Manner of Religious, Secular Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life.

List of prominent Syro-Malabar Catholics in history

Prominent Syro-Malabar Catholics who worked for unity of Nasranis


The Varthamanappusthakam is the first travelogue written in the Malayalam language. It is written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar. It describes the history of the Nasrani Church between the years 1773 and 1786 with emphasis on the journey of its author and Malpan Mar Ousep (Joseph) Kariattil from Malabar to Rome via Lisbon and back. Despite attempts by European ecclesiastical authorities to destroy it the major part of this book survived.

Shared history with other Saint Thomas Christians

Mar Abraham of Angamaly

Abraham of Angamaly (Syriac: ܐܒܪܗܡ ܡܛܪܢ, Mar Abraham died c. 1597) was the last in the long line of Mesopotamin Bishops who governed the Church of Saint Thomas Christians. In spite of the express approbation of the Pope, he was not welcomed by the Portuguese ecclesiastical authorities.

Mar Abrham died in January 1597 at Angamaly and his body was buried in Mar Hormiz Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Angamaly (old Cathedral church).

See also


  1. ^ a b Official Website
  2. ^ George Menachery (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, B.N.K. Press, vol. 2, ISBN 81-87132-06-X, Lib. Cong. Cat. Card. No. 73-905568; B.N.K. Press – (has some 70 lengthy articles by different experts on the origins, development, history, culture... of these Christians, with some 300 odd photographs).
  3. ^ Leslie Brown, (1956) The Indian Christians of St. Thomas. An Account of the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1956, 1982 (repr.)
  4. ^ Thomas Puthiakunnel, (1973) "Jewish colonies of India paved the way for St. Thomas", The Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, ed. George Menachery, Vol. II., Trichur.
  5. ^ NSC Network (2007) St. Thomas, India mission- Early reference and testimonies
  6. ^ Addai and Mari, Liturgy of. Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. 2005
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio- The Pontifical year Book for 2008
  8. ^ George Menachery & Chakkalakkal, "Kodungallur - City of St. Thomas", Azhikode, 1987
  9. ^ Dr.Mathias Mundadan (1984),"History of Christianity in India ( CHAI) Volume I"
  10. ^ Chev. V. C. George, "The Seven Churches of St. Thomas" in George Menachery, Ed., The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol.2, Trichur, 1973,pp.179-181
  11. ^ History, Payyappilly Palakkappilly Nasrani family
  12. ^ Dr.Mathias Mundadan (1984), "Indian Christians Search for Identity & Struggle for Autonomy"
  13. ^ Dr.Placid Podipara,(1938) "The Syrian Church of Malabar," repr. in George Menachery, Ed.,Indian Church History Classics, Vol.1, Ollur, 1998, pp.363-377.
  14. ^ a b Dr.Placid Podipara (1972), "The Individuality of Malabar Church"
  15. ^ Lesser Eastern Churches by Adrian Fortescue page 358–359
  16. ^ Placid Podipara (1972), "The Malabar Christians"
  17. ^ Placid Podipara, "Hindu in Culture, Christian in Religion, Oriental in Worship," repr. in George Menachery, Ed., The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. 2, Trichur, 1973, pp.107-112.
  18. ^ Placid Podipara (1979), "The Rise and Decline of the Indian Church of the Thomas Christians"
  19. ^ Britannica CD 97, S.V "Gama, Vasco da"
  20. ^ Mathias Mundadan, (1967), "The Arrival of Portuguese in India and Saint Thomas Christians under Mar Jacob"
  21. ^ Placid Podipara, "The Sixteenth Century: Alliance with the Portuguese," repr.from "The Thomas Christians" in George Menachery, Ed. The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol.2, Trichur, 1973, pp.36-43.
  22. ^ Thekkedath, "History of Christianity in India", Placid Podipara, "Thomaschristen" Vellian "Beginnings of Latinization of the Malabar Liturgy" George Menachery Ed. Books by Geddes, Mackenzie, George Cathanar, Medleycott in the Indian Church History Classics Vol.I The Nazranies
  23. ^ a b Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha, "Faith and Communion of the Indian Church of Saint Thomas" Also article by Koodapuzha of the same title in the Thomapedia Ed. George Menachery (1973) 2000
  24. ^ Dr. Vellian "Beginnings of Latinization of the Malabar Liturgy"
  25. ^ a b Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, "Eastern Christianity in India"
  26. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia profile of "St. Thomas Christians" - The Carmelite Period
  27. ^ a b Thekkedath, History of Christianity in India”
  28. ^ Fr. George Thalian: The Great Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil, D. D.: the Outline of a Vocation, Mar Louis Memorial Press, 1961. (Postscript) (PDF)
  29. ^ Divine Praises in Aramaic Tradition by Pathikulangara Varghese Kathanar
  30. ^ The Origin and Progress of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy By Varkey J. Vithayathil
  31. ^ Official Website
  32. ^ The Synod of Diamper and the Liturgy Jacob Vellian The Synod of Diamper Revisited, George Nedugatt, ed.
  33. ^ A Study of the Syro-Malabar Liturgy (George Vavanikunnel)
  34. ^ Pathikulangara, Varghese. Mar Thomma Margam (A New Catechism for the St. Thomas Christians of India), Kottayam: Denha Services, 2004
  35. ^ Syro Malabar Church-Major Feasts, The Nazrani. Also major article on the same in The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India Vol. II
  36. ^ Francis Eluvathingal, Patriarchal and Major Archiepiscopal Churches in the Eastern Catholic Legislations based on CCEO Canon 114–125
  37. ^ Francis Eluvathingal, Syro-Malabar Church Since the Eastern Code
  38. ^ Syro Malabar Saints
  39. ^ a b c d [2], Syro Malabar Church: An Overview.
  40. ^ At a Glance, Syro Malabar Church Website.

External links

References and bibliography

  • ASSEMANI, Bibliotheca Orientalis (Rome, 1719–28); DE SOUZA.
  • Orientale Conquistado (2 vols., Indian reprint, Examiner Press, Bombay).
  • Gouvea, Jornada do Arcebispo Aleixo de Menezes quando foy as Serra do Malaubar (Coimbra, 1606).
  • Fr. tr. De Glen, Histoire Orientale etc. (Brussels, 1609); DU JARRIC.
  • Thesaurus rerum mirabilium in India Orient (3 vols., Cologne, 1615).
  • India Orientalis Christiana (Rome, 1794).
  • Mackenzie, Christianity in Tranvancore, with Census Report of 1901 (Trivandrum). Ed.& Reprinted, Prof. George Menachery in the Nazranies i.e. The Indian Church History Classics I, 1998.
  • Medlycott, India and the Apostle St. Thomas (London, 1905). Ed. & Reprinted, Prof. George Menachery in the Nazranies i.e. The Indian Church History Classics I, 1998.
  • Thalian, G. `The Great Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil, D. D.: the Outline of a Vocation', Mar Louis Memorial Press, 1961. (Postscript) (PDF)
  • Menachery G (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, B.N.K. Press, vol. 2, ISBN 81-87132-06-X, Lib. Cong. Cat. Card. No. 73-905568; B.N.K. Press – (has some 70 lengthy articles by different experts on the origins, development, history, culture ... of these Christians, with some 300 odd photographs). Vol. 1, 1982. Vol. 3, 2010.
  • Mundadan, A. Mathias. (1984) History of Christianity in India, vol. 1, Bangalore, India: Church History Association of India.
  • Podipara, Placid J. (1970) "The Thomas Christians". London: Darton, Longman and Tidd, 1970. (is a readable and exhaustive study of the St. Thomas Christians.)
  • Philip, E. M. (1908) The Indian Christians of St. Thomas (1908; Changanassery: Mor Adai Study Center, 2002).
  • Aprem, Mar. (1977) The Chaldaean Syrian Church in India. Trichur, Kerala, India: Mar Narsai, 1977.
  • Menachery, Professor George. (2000) Kodungallur – The Cradle of Christianity In India, Thrissur: Marthoma Pontifical Shrine.
  • Menachery, Professor George & Snaitang, Dr. Oberland (2012)"India's Christian Heritage". The Church History Association of India, Dharmaram College,Bangalore.
  • Acts of St. Thomas (Syriac) MA. Bevan, London, 1897
  • Tisserant, E. (1957) Eastern Christianity in India: A History of the Syro-Malabar Church from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Trans. and ed. by E. R. Hambye. Westminster, MD: Newman Press.
  • Michael Geddes, (1694) A Short History of the Church of Malabar together with the Synod of Diamper, London. Ed. Prof. George Menachery in the Nazranies i.e. The Indian Church History Classics I, 1998.
  • Puthur, B. (ed.) (2002): The Life and Nature of the St Thomas Christian Church in the Pre-Diamper Period (Cochi, Kerala).
  • T.K Velu Pillai, (1940) "The Travancore State Manual"; 4 volumes; Trivandrum
  • Menachery G (ed); (1998) "The Indian Church History Classics", Vol. I, The Nazranies, Ollur, 1998. [ISBN 81-87133-05-8].
  • Menachery, George. Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage.SARAS 2005 Ollur.
  • Palackal, Joseph J. Syriac Chant Traditions in South India. Ph.d, Ethnomusicology, City University of New York, 2005.
  • Joseph, T. K. The Malabar Christians and Their Ancient Documents. Trivandrum, India, 1929.
  • Leslie Brown, (1956) The Indian Christians of St. Thomas. An Account of the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1956, 1982 (repr.)
  • Thomas P. J; (1932) "Roman Trade Centres in Malabar", Kerala Society Papers, II.
  • Marco Polo.(1298) LATHAM, R. (TRANSL.) "The Travels" Penguin Classics 1958
  • Bjorn Landstrom (1964) "The Quest for India", Double day English Edition, Stockholm.
  • Francis Eluvathingal (ed), Syro-Malabar Church Since the Eastern Code, Mary Matha Publications, Trichur, 2003.
  • Francis Eluvathingal, "Patriarchal and Major Archiepiscopal Curia in the Eastern Catholic Legilations based on CCEO Canons 114–125" ORISI, Kottayam, 2009.

External links

  • Syro-Malabar Church
  • Archdiocese of Thrissur
  • Archdiocese of Kottayam
  • Archdiocese of Changanacherry
  • Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly
  • Archdiocese of Tellicherry
  • The website for Synod of Diamper
  • Indian Christianity : Books by Geddes, Mackenzie, Medlycott, &c.
  • Syro malabar mission in Chennai
  • Syro Malabar Church in Australia
  • Nazraney Heritage
  • Syro Malabar Church in Qatar
  • Syro Malabar Matrimony
  • Article on the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church by Ronald Roberson on the CNEWA web site
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