Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church

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Valia Palli (Old Church) in Kottayam, Kerala

The Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church (English Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church ) is an ancient oriental church , which can be attributed to the Thomas Christians (a total of estimated 3.5 million).

It forms the autonomous " Catholic of India" within the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch . After the Patriarch, the head of the church is the Catholicos “of India”, currently Mor Baselios Thomas I (ordained July 26, 2002). It is the prerogative of the Katholikoi to consecrate the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

This church is to be distinguished from the Malankara Orthodox-Syrian Church ( Indian Orthodox Church ) and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church , both of which are not under the patriarch of Antioch.


The interior of the Valia Palli (Old Church) in Kottayam , Kerala

The greater part of the Thomas Christians approached the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch from the 17th century and were subsequently under their own metropolitan. During the British colonial rule, the Mar Thoma Church, unified with the Church of England, split off in 1888 . In 1912, the importance of the Thomas Christians within the Syrian Orthodox Church was enhanced when the office of Maphrian was re-established in Malankara by a branch of the Church that was separate from the Patriarchate. The Maphrian alias Catholicos of the East was the second highest dignitary of the Syrian Orthodox Church; in the Middle Ages he resided in the Iraqi city of Takrit . In 1932, the Syro-Malankar Church , united with Rome, split off from the Syrian Orthodox Church of India . The branch of the Syrian Orthodox Church of India, striving for independence from the Antiochian patriarchate, established the “Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church” in 1934, but the schism was temporarily ended in 1964 and a common hierarchy was established under the “Catholicos of the East”. However, under the eyes of Catholicos Basil I (1965–1975), tensions revived when the Catholicos assumed the title of "Successor to the Throne of the Apostle Thomas". The conflict intensified when the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch dispatched a patriarchal assistant who was not acceptable to the Indians in 1972. When the patriarch excommunicated Catholicos Basilios Augen I in 1975 and in turn consecrated Paulose Mar Philoxenis as Baselios Paulose II (1975– † 1996) to Maphrian (Catholicos), the break was carried out. The supporters of Basilios Augens, who resigned in 1975, elected Mor Basilios Marthoma Mathews I (1975–1991; † 1996) to the Catholicos and established the autocephalous Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church , while the rest of them as a partially autonomous "Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church" under the The sovereignty of the patriarchy remained.

The current Catholicos, Mor Baselios Thomas I , was elected at the synod of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church (patriarchal faction), of which he was previously president, on December 27, 2000 and after a renewed church constitution on June 26, 2002, and was elected by the Patriarch on Dedicated July 6, 2002.


The church is divided into:

  • Eight dioceses in Kerala , one of which reports directly to the Catholicos, one currently under the administration of the Catholicos, one currently under the administration of the Archbishop for the rest of India, two more vacant with a designated successor.
  • An archdiocese for the rest of India : Archbishop is Mor Themotheos Thomas Muriyankal.
  • An archdiocese for the USA and Canada : Archbishop Mor Tithos Yeldho.

She maintains a seminary in Udayagiri.

Individual evidence

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