Centenary celebrations of Indian Orthodox Church begin

3/11/2011

KOTTAYAM: The Catholicate of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is now in its 100th year of formation. It was on 15th September 1912, at the St Mary’s Church founded by St Thomas in Niranam, that Mar Ivanios Metropolitan was consecrated as the first Catholicose of Malankara Church with the title Mar Baselios Paulose I.

The year-long celebrations connected with the centenary of the church commenced on Wednesday. Baselios Marthoma Didymos I inaugurated the centenary celebrations at Parumala, near Tiruvalla, on the final day of the Parumala church perunnal (festival).

“We have organized a year-long programme as part of the celebrations. Each diocese will conduct meetings and classes about the Catholicate,” said Fr Dr Johns Abraham Konat, Priest Trustee of the Orthodox Church. “We will be publishing books on the history of the Catholicate,” he added.

He also said that the fight for social justice would be intensified. “We will step up our fight against social evils like alcoholism, drug abuse and racial discrimination.” The human resource department of the Catholicose will also conduct classes on Christian parenting.

The year-long celebrations would conclude next September with a grand function that will most probably be held in Kochi, said Fr Konat.

Malankara Orthodox Church is a prominent house of worship of the Syrians Christians who have a history of nearly 2000 years in India. The centenary celebration of the church is expected to showcase the historical and cultural significance of the church and its people.

The first stage of the apostolic ministry in the Malankara Church is dated from the time of St Thomas to the middle of the fourth century when the authority of the church came into the hands of archdeacons. The second stage is the period of the reign of the archdeacons, which started from the middle of the fourth century and lasted till the 16th century. The third stage is from when the archdeacon was elevated to the position of a Bishop by the community with the name Marthoma I, in 1653.

Since then the head of the community was known as Marthoma Metrans, who were later bestowed the status of Malankara Metropolitan. In 1912, after the Patriarch of Antioch, in a religious turmoil, interfered and suspended the Malankara Metropolitan demanding complete surrender, the church consecrated the senior metropolitan as its head with the name Catholicose. Baselius Marthoma Paulose II, the eighth Catholicose, is the head of the church now.

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