Syro-Malabar Church

Coordinates: 9°58′56″N 76°16′35″E / 9.9823°N 76.2763°E / 9.9823; 76.2763

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Syriac: ܥܸܕܬܵܐ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐ
Malayalam: സീറോ മലബാർ സഭ
Seal of the Syro-Malabar Church
AbbreviationSMC
TypeSelf-governing Church (sui iuris)
ClassificationEastern Catholic
Orientation
Scripture
Theology
  • East Syriac theology
  • Catholic theology[2]
PolityEpiscopal polity
GovernanceHoly Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church
PopePope Francis
Major ArchbishopRaphael Thattil
AdministrationMajor Archiepiscopal Curia[3]
Parishes3,224
RegionIndia and Nasrani Malayali diaspora[4]
Language
LiturgyEast Syriac RiteLiturgy of Mar Addai and Mar Mari, Qudasha of Mar Theodore and Qudasha of Mar Nestorius[5]
HeadquartersMount Saint Thomas, Kakkanad, Kochi, India
Territory
  • India,
  • with diaspora in the U.S., Australia and Oceania, Europe, UK, Canada, and the Middle East
FounderSaint Thomas the Apostle by tradition[6]
Origin
  • 1552 (initial unification with the Catholic Church),[7]
  • 1887 (modern foundation)[8]

Malabar, India
Separated fromChurch of the East[9]
Branched fromSaint Thomas Christians[10][11][12][13]
Members
Clergy
Official websitesyromalabarchurch.in
Official News Portalsyromalabarvision.com

The Syro-Malabar Church, also known as the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church,[a] is an Eastern Catholic Church based in Kerala, India. It is a sui iuris (autonomous) particular Church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, including the Latin Church and the 22 other Eastern Catholic Churches, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO).[16][17][18] The Church is headed by the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar, Raphael Thattil.[19] The Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops canonically convoked and presided over by the Major Archbishop constitutes the supreme authority of the Church. The Major Archiepiscopal Curia of the Church is based in Kakkanad, Kochi.[20] Syro-Malabar is a prefix reflecting the church's use of the East Syriac Rite liturgy and origins in Malabar (modern Kerala). The name has been in usage in official Vatican documents since the nineteenth century.[21]

The Syro-Malabar Church is primarily based in India; with five metropolitan archeparchies and ten suffragan eparchies in Kerala, there are 17 eparchies in other parts of India, and four eparchies outside India. It is the largest of the Saint Thomas Christians communities, with a population of 2.35 million in Kerala as per the 2011 Kerala state census[15] and 4.25 million worldwide as estimated in the 2016 Annuario Pontificio.[14] It is the third largest sui juris Church within the communion of the Catholic Church and the second largest Eastern Catholic Church after the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.[22]

The Church traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[23][24][25][26] The earliest recorded organised Christian presence in India dates to the 4th century, when Persian missionaries of the East Syriac Rite tradition, members of what later became the Church of the East, established themselves in modern-day Kerala and Sri Lanka.[27][28][29][30] The Church of the East shared communion with the Roman Imperial Church, within Nicene Christianity, until the Council of Ephesus in the 5th century, separating primarily over differences in Christology and for political reasons. The Syro-Malabar Church employs a variant of the East Syriac Rite, which dates back to 3rd century Edessa, Upper Mesopotamia.[31] As such it is a part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.[32]

After the schism of 1552, in a period of fragmentation of the Church of the East due to internal struggles, a section of the Church of the East entered communion with the Holy See of Rome, forming what became the modern-day Chaldean Catholic Church. Throughout the later half of the 16th century, the Malabar Church was under Chaldean Catholic jurisdiction. Through the Synod of Diamper of 1599, the Malabar Church was made directly subject to the authority of the Latin Catholic Padroado Archbishopric of Goa and the Jesuits. After a half-century of administration under the Goa Archdiocese, dissidents held the Coonan Cross Oath in 1653 as a protest. In response, Pope Alexander VII, with the help of Carmelite missionaries, was by 1662 able to reunite the majority of these dissidents with the Catholic Church. The Syro-Malabar Church descends from the Saint Thomas Christians who first aligned with the Catholic Church at Synod of Diamper[33] and those who reunited with the Holy See under the leadership of Parambil Chandy during the period between 1655 and 1663.[34][35] During the 17th and 18th centuries the Archdiocese of Cranganore was under the Syro-Malabar, but it was later suppressed and integrated into the modern day Latin Archdiocese of Verapoly.

After they had spent over two centuries under the hegemony of the Latin Church, in 1887 Pope Leo XIII fully separated the Syro-Malabar from the Latin Church (the Archdiocese of Verapoly remained as the jurisdiction for Latin Catholics). He established two Apostolic Vicariates for Syro-Malabar, Thrissur and Changanassery (originally named Kottayam), and in 1896, the Vicariate of Ernakulam was erected as well, governed by indigenous Syro-Malabar bishops. In 1923, the Syro-Malabar hierarchy was organized and unified under Ernakulam as the Metropolitan See, with Augustine Kandathil as the first head and Archbishop of the Church.[36] The Syro-Malabar Church in effect became an autonomous sui iuris Eastern Church within the Catholic communion.[37]

The Syro-Malabars are unique among Catholics in their inculturation with traditional Hindu customs through Saint Thomas Christian heritage. Scholar and theologian Placid Podipara describes the Saint Thomas Christian community as "Hindu in culture, Christian in religion, and Oriental in worship."[38] The Church is predominantly of the Malayali ethnic group who speak Malayalam, although there are a minority of Tamils, Telugus, and North Indians from the various eparchies outside Kerala. Following emigration of the Church's members, eparchies have been established in other parts of India and in other countries to serve especially the diaspora living in the Western world. There are four eparchies outside of India, located in English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States. Saint Alphonsa is the Church's first canonized saint, followed by Saint Kuriakose Chavara, Saint Euphrasia, and Saint Mariam Thresia. The Syro-Malabar Church is one of the two Eastern Catholic Churches in India, the other being the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which represents the faction of the Puthenkoor that returned to full communion with the Holy See of Rome in 1930.[39]

History[edit]

A diagram showing the history of the divisions among the Saint Thomas Christians.

Pre-Coonan Cross Oath[edit]

It is believed that the Saint Thomas Christians in Malabar came into contact with the Persian Church of the East in the middle of the 4th century. Saint Thomas Christians looked to Catholicos-Patriarch of the Church of the East for ecclesiastical authority.[40] Although the bishops from the Middle East were the spiritual rulers of the Church, the general administration of the Church of Kerala was governed by the indigenous Archdeacon.[41] The Archdeacon was the head of Saint Thomas Christians.[42] Even when there were more than one foreign bishop, there was only one Archdeacon for the entire community.[42]

The Church of the East Patriarch Shemon VII Ishoyahb's unpopularity led to the schism of 1552, due to the patriarchal succession being hereditary, normally from uncle to nephew. Opponents appointed the monk Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa as a rival patriarch. Sulaqa's subsequent consecration by Pope Julius III (1550–55) saw a permanent split in the Church of the East; and the reunion with Catholic Church resulted in the formation of the modern-day Chaldean Catholic Church of Iraq.[43][44]

Thus, parallel to the "traditionalist" (often referred as Nestorian) Patriarchate of the East, the "Chaldean" Patriarchate in communion with Rome came into existence. Following the schism, both traditionalist and Chaldean factions began sending their bishops to Malabar. Abraham of Angamaly was one among them. He first came to India in 1556 from the traditionalist patriarchate. Deposed from his position in 1558, he was taken to Lisbon by the Portuguese, escaped at Mozambique and left for his mother church in Mesopotamia, entered into communion with the Chaldean patriarchate and Rome in 1565, received his episcopal ordination again from the Latin patriarch of Venice as arranged by the Pope Pius IV (1559–65) in Rome. Subsequently, Abraham was appointed by Pope as Archbishop of Angamaly, with letters to the Archbishop of Goa and the Bishop of Cochin.[45]

In 1597, Abraham of Angamaly died. The Catholic Portuguese padroado Archbishop of Goa, Aleixo de Menezes, downgraded the Angamaly Archdiocese into a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Goa and appointed the Jesuit Francisco Ros as Bishop of Angamaly. Menezes held the Synod of Diamper in 1599 to bring the Saint Thomas Christians under the complete authority of the Latin Church.[34]

Coonan Cross Oath[edit]

The oppressive rule of the Portuguese padroado eventually led to a revolt in 1653, known as the Coonan Cross Oath.[46] The Thomas Christians including their native priests assembled in the church of Our Lady at Mattancherry near Cochin, formally stood before a crucifix and lighted candles and solemnly swore an oath upon the Gospel that they never again accept another European prelate.[47][48] The exact wording used in Coonan Cross Oath is disputed. There are various versions about the wording of oath, one version being that the oath was directed against the Portuguese, another that it was directed against Jesuits, yet another version that it was directed against the authority of Latin Catholics.[49]

Post-Coonan Cross Oath[edit]

After the Coonan Cross Oath, the leaders of Saint Thomas Christians assembled at Edappally, where four senior priests Anjilimoottil Itty Thommen Kathanar of Kallisseri, Palliveettil Chandy Kathanar of Kuravilangad, Kadavil Chandy Kathanar of Kaduthuruthy and Vengoor Geevarghese Kathanar of Angamaly were appointed as advisors of the Archdeacon and on 22 May 1653 Archdeacon Thoma was proclaimed as bishop by the laying on of hands of twelve priests.[50] After the consecration of Thoma I, The information about this consecration was then communicated to all the churches. The vast majority of churches accepted Thoma I as their bishop.[51]

At this point of time, Portuguese authorities requested direct intervention of Rome and hence Pope sent Carmelite Missionaries in two groups from the Propagation of the Faith to Malabar headed by Fr. Sebastiani and Fr. Hyacinth. Fr. Sebastiani arrived first in 1655 and began to speak directly with the Thoma I. Fr. Sebastiani, with the help of Portuguese, gained the support of many, especially with the support of Palliveettil Chandy, Kadavil Chandy Kathanar and Vengoor Geevarghese Kathanar. These were the three of the four counselors of Thoma I, who had defected with Francisco Garcia Mendes, Archbishop of Cranganore, before the arrival of Sebastaini, according to Jesuit reports.[48]

The Carmelite missionaries succeeded in convincing a group of St.Thomas Christians that the consecration of Archdeacon as bishop was not legitimate and Thoma I started losing his followers. In the meantime, Sebastiani returned to Rome and was ordained as bishop by Pope on 15 December 1659. Between 1661 and 1662, out of the 116 churches, the Carmelites claimed eighty-four churches, leaving the native archdeacon Thoma I with thirty-two churches. The eighty-four churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has descended.[52]

The other thirty-two churches and their congregations represented the nucleus from which the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church), the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, the Marthoma Syrian Church, and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church have originated.[52] In 1663, with the conquest of Cochin by the Dutch, the control of the Portuguese on the Malabar coast was lost. The Dutch declared that all the Portuguese missionaries had to leave Kerala. Before leaving Kerala, on 1 February 1663 Sebastiani consecrated Palliveettil Chandy as the Metran of the Thomas Christians who adhered to the Church of Rome.

Thoma I, meanwhile sent requests to various Oriental Churches to receive canonical consecration as bishop. In 1665 Gregorios Abdal Jaleel, a bishop sent by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, arrived in India. The independent group under the leadership of Thoma I which resisted the authority of the Portuguese padroado welcomed him.[53] Abdal Jaleel consecrated Thoma I canonically as a bishop and regularised his episcopal succession. This led to the first lasting formal schism in the Saint Thomas Christian community.[54]

Thereafter, the faction affiliated with the Catholic Church under Bishop Palliveettil Chandy came to be known as Pazhayakuttukar (or "Old Allegiance"), and the branch affiliated with Thoma I came to be known as Puthenkūttukār (or "New Allegiance"). They were also known as Jacobite Syrians[55] and they organized themselves as independent Malankara Church.[54] The visits of prelates from the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch continued since then and this led to gradual replacement of the East Syriac Rite liturgy with the West Syriac Rite and the Puthenkūttukār affiliated to the Miaphysite Christology of the Oriental Orthodox Communion.

The Pazhayakuttukar faction continued with the Catholic Communion and preserved the traditional East Syriac (Persian) liturgy and Dyophysite Christology. They were also known as Romo-Syrians[55] or Syrian Catholics. They also used the title Malankara Church initially.[b] Following the death of Palliveettil Chandy in 1687, the Syrian Catholics of the Malabar coast came under the parallel double jurisdiction of Vicariate Apostolic of Malabar under Roman Catholic Carmelites and Archdiocese of Cranganore under the Padroado. Thus many priests and laymen attempted to persuade the Pope to restore their Chaldean Catholic rite and hierarchy 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.[57]

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 1790, 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.[57]

Angamaly Padiyola, a declaration of the Pazhayakūr gave the history of Saint Thomas Christians up to 1787 and advocated for the appointment of a native bishop that adhered to the local traditions.[58]

Latin Catholic Carmelite clergy from Europe served as bishops, and the Church along with the Latin Catholics was under the Apostolic Vicariate of Malabar (modern-day Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Verapoly). In 1887, the Holy See established two Apostolic Vicariates, Thrissur and Kottayam (later Changanassery) under the guidance of indigenous Syro-Malabar bishops, and named the Church as "The Syro-Malabar Church" to distinguish them from the Latins.[37] The Holy See re-organized the Apostolic Vicariates in 1896 into three Apostolic Vicariates (Thrissur, Ernakulam, and Changanassery). A fourth Apostolic Vicariate (Kottayam) was established in 1911 for Knanaya Catholics.

Restoration of the Syro-Malabar hierarchy[edit]

In 1923, Pope Pius XI (1922–39) set up a full-fledged Syro-Malabar hierarchy with Ernakulam-Angamaly as the Metropolitan See and Augustine Kandathil as the first Head and Archbishop of the Church. In 1992, Pope John Paul II (1978–05) raised the Syro-Malabar Church to Major Archepiscopal rank and appointed Cardinal Antony Padiyara of Ernakulam as the first Major Archbishop.[59]

The Syro-Malabar Church shares the same liturgy with the Chaldean Catholic Church based in Iraq and the independent Assyrian Church of the East based in Iraq, including its archdiocese the Chaldean Syrian Church of India. The Syro-Malabar Church is the third-largest particular church (sui juris) in the Catholic Church, after the Latin Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.[60]

The Catholic Saint Thomas Christians (Pazhayakūttukār) 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 Syriac Catholic hierarchy was restored on 21 December 1923 with Augustine Kandathil as the first Metropolitan and Head of the Church with the name Syro-Malabar.[61]

Faith and communion of Syro-Malabarians[edit]

The Saint Thomas Christians received their bishops from the Church of the East/Chaldean Church until the end of the sixteenth century, when it was stopped by the Portuguese Latin authorities in 1597, after the death of Metropolitan Archbishop Abraham of Angamaly.

2020s[edit]

In 2021, the Syro Malabar Synod of Bishops announced that the celebration of the Qurbana according to the Second Vatican Council reform: the liturgy of the word would be celebrated coram populo, while the rest of the Qurbana would be celebrated facing the altar. After hearing this announcement, many priests of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam–Angamaly announced that they would continue their public facing Qurbana. Pope Francis appointed Cyril Vasiľ as the Pontifical Delegate and Andrews Thazhath as Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese in matters of solving the crisis but was unsuccessful. On December 7 2023, Pope Francis wrote in a letter to George Alencherry accepting his resignation as Major Archbishop of Ernakulam–Angamaly. He also accepted the resignation of Andrews Thazhath as the Apostolic Administrator and appointed Bosco Puthur, due to Thazhath being the Archbishop of Trichur and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India. Pope Francis then made a video message to the people of Ernakulam-Angamaly asking them to only do the Uniform Mass starting Christmas and saying there will be punishment for those who do not. When Christmas came, only 290 Churches of 328 Churches held the Uniform Mass. The Vatican is now currently discussing further action.[62][63][64]

On 9 January 2024, Raphael Thattil was elected as major archbishop by the Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops. Pope Francis confirmed the election, with Thattil now heading the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.[19]

Liturgy[edit]

As per the East Syriac tradition, liturgical day of the Syro-Malabar Church starts at sunset (6 pm). Also the worshiper has to face the East while worshiping. This is not followed after Latinization.[65]

Inside of a Syro Malabar Church
Inside of a Syro Malabar Church

According to the East Syriac (Edessan or Persian) tradition, the following are the seven times of prayer:

  • Ramsha (ܪܲܡܫܵܐ‎) or the Evening Liturgy (6 pm)
  • Suba-a (ܣܘܼܒܵܥܵܐ‎) or the Supper Liturgy (9 pm)
  • Lelya (ܠܸܠܝܵܐ‎) or the Night Liturgy (12 am)
  • Qala d-Shahra ( ܩܵܠܵܐ ܕܫܲܗܪܵ‎ ) or the Vigil Liturgy (3 am)
  • Sapra (ܨܲܦܪܵܐ‎) or the Morning Liturgy (6 am)
  • Quta'a (ܩܘܼܛܵܥܵܐ‎) or the Third Hour Liturgy (9 am)
  • Endana (ܥܸܕܵܢܵܐ‎) or the Noon Liturgy (12 pm)

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 Catholic Church. The most solemn form of Holy Mass (Holy Qurbana) is Rāsa, literally which means "Mystery".

Rite of Renewal of Holy Leaven (Malka)

Restoration of East Syriac liturgy[edit]

The Mystery of Crowning during a Syro-Malabar wedding

East Syriac liturgy has three anaphorae: those of the Holy Apostles (Saints Mar Addai and Mar Mari), Mar Theodore Mpašqana, and Mar Nestorius. The first is the most popularly and extensively used. The second is used (except when the third is ordered) from Advent to Palm Sunday. The third 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 same pro-anaphoral part (Liturgy of the Word) serves for all three.

In the second half of the 20th century, there was a movement for better understanding of the liturgical rites. A restored Eucharistic liturgy, drawing on the original East Syriac sources, was approved by Pope Pius XII in 1957, and for the first time on the feast of St. Thomas on 3 July 1962 the vernacular, Malayalam, was introduced for the celebration of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana.[66] Currently they celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Addai and Mari and the Anaphora of Theodre in mostly Malayalam, with Syriac and English influences.

Besides the Anaphora of Mar Addai and Mar Mari being used currently in Syro-Malabar liturgy, there are two more anaphorae known as Anaphora of Theodore and Anaphora of Nestorius. That the Anaphora of Theodore which was withdrawn from use after the Synod of Diamper (a large number of churches used it up to 1896) is being used again in the Syro-Malabar Church after 415 years is indeed an important historical reality. In a way the Syro-Malabar church rejected the Synod of Diamper. Pope Pius XII during the process of restoration of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana in 1957 had requested the restoration of the Anaphorae of Theodore and Nestorius.[67] The draft of the Anaphora of 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 recognition 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.[67] After almost 420 years, the Anaphora of Nestorius was used by Syro-Malabar Catholics.[68] The aftermath of the so-called Synod of Diamper was that any texts related to Nestorius were systematically burnt by the Jesuits, who represented and ruled the Latin Church of India in 1599. In a way, the SyroMalabar church rejected the Synod of Diamber (Udayamperoor) by restoring the Anaphora of Theodore and Anaphora of Nestorius.

Liturgical latinisation was furthered in 1896 by Ladislaus Zaleski, the Apostolic Delegate to India, who requested permission to translate the Roman Pontifical into Syriac. This was the choice of some Malabar prelates, who chose it over the East Syriac Rite and West Syriac Rite pontificals. A large number of Syro-Malabarians had schismed and joined with Assyrians at that time and various delayed the approval of this translation, until in 1934 Pope Pius XI stated that latinization was to no longer be encouraged.[69] He initiated a process of liturgical reform that sought to restore the oriental nature of the Latinized Syro-Malabar rite.[70]

In 2021, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church adopted a uniformed manner of celebration liturgies, removing the practice of facing versus populum during the Liturgy of Eucharist. Following this, there has been sustained dissent by some clergy and laity in the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly.[71][72][73][74]

Liturgical calendar[edit]

The Syro-Malabar Church has its own liturgical year, structured around eight liturgical seasons:

  1. Suvara (Annunciation)
  2. Denha (Epiphany)
  3. Sawma Rabba (Great Lent)
  4. Qyamta (Resurrection of the Lord)
  5. Slīhe (Season of Apostles)
  6. Qaita (Summer)
  7. Elijah-Cross-Moses (Elijah-Sliva-Muse)
  8. Dedication of the Church (Qudas-Edta)

Syro-Malabar hierarchy[edit]

List of ecclesiastical Heads[edit]

Chaldean Metropolitans of India[edit]

Native bishops after Coonan Cross Oath[edit]

Heads of the restored Syro-Malabar hierarchy[edit]

Major archbishops[edit]

Syro-Malabar major archiepiscopal curia[edit]

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

The curia of the Syro-Malabar Church began to function in March 1993 at the archbishop's house of Ernakulam-Angamaly. In May 1995, it was shifted to new premises at Mount St. Thomas near Kakkanad, Kochi. The newly constructed curial building was opened in 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 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (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.[76]

The members of the commissions are ordinarily bishops, but include priests. For judicial activities there is the major archiepiscopal ordinary tribunal formed in accordance with CCEO which 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 it part by part in Synodal News, the official Bulletin of this Church. There are statutes for the permanent synod and for the superior and ordinary tribunals. 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.[76]

Provinces, (Arch)Eparchies and other jurisdictions[edit]

Syro-Malabar bishops at the Generalate of Sisters of the Destitute

There are 35 eparchies (dioceses). Five of them are Archeparchies (of major archbishop) at present, all in southern India: Ernakulam-Angamaly, Changanacherry, Trichur, Tellicherry, and Kottayam.

These have another 13 suffragan 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 further eparchies outside the canonical territory of which Adilabad, Bijnor, Chanda, Gorakhpur, Jagdalpur, Kalyan, Rajkot, Sagar, Satna, Faridabad, Hosur, Shamsabad, and Ujjain in India are with exclusive jurisdiction. The St. Thomas Eparchy of Chicago in the United States, St. Thomas the Apostle Eparchy of Melbourne in Australia, Eparchy of Great Britain, and Eparchy of Mississauga, Canada enjoy personal jurisdiction.[23]

Proper Ecclesiastical provinces[edit]

Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church from 1999 until his death in 2011

Most believers of this church are organized under five metropolitan archeparchies (archdioceses), all in Kerala, and their suffragan eparchies.

Exclusive jurisdictions[edit]

Personal jurisdictions[edit]

Outside India[edit]

Syro-Malabar Religious Congregations[edit]

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.

Active are:

Prominent Syro-Malabar churches[edit]

Minor basilicas[edit]

Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal churches[edit]

Statistics[edit]

The number of Syro Malabar Church institutions and personnel[78]
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

29

2,981

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

670

5

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
Personnel
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 2016 Annuario Pontificio pontifical yearbook, there were about 4,189,349 members in the Syro-Malabar Church.[23]

List of prominent Syro-Malabar Catholics[edit]

Prominent Syro-Malabar leaders[edit]

Saints, Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God[edit]

St. Joseph's Syro-Malabar Monastery Church, Mannanam, where the mortal remains of Kuriakose Elias Chavara are kept.

Saints[edit]

Beatified people[edit]

Venerables[edit]

Servants of God[edit]

Candidates for canonization[edit]

  • Fr. Emilian Vettath CMI

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Syriac: ܥܸܕܬܵܐ ܩܵܬܘܿܠܝܼܩܝܼ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐ (Syriac: ܥܸܕܬܵܐ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐ, Malayalam: സീറോ മലബാർ സഭ)
  2. ^ "In the travelogue Varthamanappusthakam (dated to 1790) written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar, the author uses the terms Malankara Pallikkar,Malankara Idavaka,Malankara Sabha etc. to refer the Syrian Catholic community.[56]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Peshitta | Syriac Bible". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 9 September 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  2. ^ East Syriac theology : an introduction. Satna, M.P., India : Ephrem's Publications. 3 September 2007. ISBN 9788188065042 – via Internet Archive.
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  26. ^ 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.
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  41. ^ Brock, Sebastian P. "Thomas Christians". e-GEDSH:Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022. Although India was supplied with bishops from the Middle East, the effective control lay in the hands of the indigenous Archdeacon.
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References and bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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