3/1/18 – Indian Orthodox Malankara Church
“ By the Father, Son and Holy Ghost that henceforth we would not adhere to the Franks, nor accept the faith of the Pope of Rome, nor any foreign rule.” – From the Event of Leaning Cross Oath of 1653.
On January 3rd, 2018 Orthodox Christians in India commemorate the 365th anniversary of the Oath of the at the Leaning Cross (Koonan Kurushu Sathyam) the historic pledge by Marthoman Nazaraniz (present-day Oriental Orthodox Christians – Indian Orthodox Malankara Church and Syriac Orthodox Churches in India)against Roman Catholic Papal imperialism and tyranny.
The St. George Orthodox Leaning Cross Church
The St. George Church of Mattancherry, one of the oldest churches in India has played a significant role in the historic event that shaped the leadership of the Malankara Church, as it is today. The history of Mattanchery Church is closely connected with Mar Baselios Sacrella Maphriyono, the Bishop of Aleppo Town in Bravua. Mar Gregorios Yuhanon who came to India along with Baselios Sacralla Maphriyono ordained Kattumangattu Abraham Ramban (Monk) as Bishop Mar Kurilose in AD 1772 in this church. However, Mar Kurilose was not accepted both in Travancore or Cochin. He then moved to Malabar and established a church called the Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Malabar Swathantra Syrian Church) also known as Thozhiyoor Church. Subsequently, there was a dispute over the possession of the Mattancherry Church and the Dutch governor who heard the case finally gave the verdict in favor of Veliya Mar Dionysius, then the Malankara Metropolitan (Mar Thoma VI). In later years Fort Cochin and Mattancherry Churches were amalgamated to form one Parish. This church remained closed for 20 years following disputes but finally opened its doors again in 1997. The church is also known as “Mattancherry Muri” or “Erimeghapally” and is presently under the direct control of the Malankara Metropolitan.
The Koonankurishu Pally is a revered pilgrim center. It has a paramount position among other Orthodox churches as it is home to the holy remains of St.George. It was built on the land where the historical Koonankurishu Oath took place. The land has become sacred with the footprints of the Persian Prelates, first Catholicos Mar Thoma 1 and our other forefathers of the Malankara Orthodox faith. The church was consecrated in 1751 and was renovated later in 1974 under the initiative of Late Lamented Metropolitan His Grace Yuhanon Mar Severios of Cochin Diocese.
The church elevated to Class A category falls directly under the control of Malankara Metropolitan. A council headed by the Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan, assisted by Metropolitan of Cochin Diocese carries out the administrative duties of the Mattancherry Church. Considering the historical importance of the Koonankurish Pally, the Holy Synod elevated the status of the Church and declared it a historic monument as well as a pilgrim center.