The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, is the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Kerala, India. It is part of the Syriac Orthodox Church, with the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, as its supreme head. The local head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in Malankara is the Catholicos, Baselios Thomas I, ordained by and accountable to the Patriarch of Antioch. In 2003 it was estimated that the church has 1,200,000 members globally.
Although the church is officially named, Jacobite Syrian Christian Church it is commonly called the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. Other names that are in common use are Syrian Orthodox Church in India,Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, Malankara Jacobite Church, Syriac Orthodox Church in India, and Malankara Jacobite Church. The Church is sometimes referred as Patriarchal faction or Bava faction, because of the disputes with the Methran Faction.
In 2000, a Holy Synod ruled that the name of the church in English should be the "'Syriac Orthodox Church". It had been, and often still is today, called the "Syrian Orthodox Church". The church in India uses the term "Jacobite" or 'Bava Faction' as a way to distinguish themselves from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church or Methran Faction.
In Kerala, the church members follow a complicated social modality intermingling traditions of Syrian, Catholic and Hindu traditions. Many of the customs and traditions of this group are borrowed from traditional practices of upper caste Hindus including specific rituals involving marriage, death and caste-related observations in relation to other Christians and lower-caste Hindus.
Jewish-Syriac liturgical time is used to mark the observations of fasting and prayer and the preparation for the Eucharist.[clarification needed] However, the Malayalam Calendar is used to make the more recent religious events such establishment dates of churches, houses and gravestones. This practice is increasingly superseded by the standard Western Gregorian calendar. The Malayalam numbering of calendar years is 825 years less than the standard.
Thomas the Apostle is credited by tradition for founding the Indian Church in 52 A.D. This Nasrani faith had many similarities to Judaism, and, owing to the heritage of the Nasrani people, developed contacts with the non-Chalcedonian religious authorities of Edessa, Mesopotamia.
The local church maintained its autonomous character under its local leader. When the Portuguese established themselves in India in the 16th Century, they found the Church in Kerala as an administratively independent community. Following the arrival of Vasco de Gama in 1498, the Portuguese came to South India and established their political power there. They brought missionaries to carry out evangelistic work in order to establish churches in communion with Rome under the Portuguese patronage. These missionaries were eager to bring the Indian Church under the Pope's control. They succeeded in their efforts in 1599 with the `Synod of Diamper'.The representatives of various parishes who attended the assembly were forced by Portuguese authorities to accept the Papal authority.
Following the synod, the Indian Church was governed by Portuguese prelates. They were generally unwilling to respect the integrity of the local church. This resulted in disaffection which led to a general revolt in 1653 known as "The Coonan Cross Oath". This demanded administrative autonomy for the local church. Since it had no bishop, it faced serious difficulties.
It appealed to several eastern Christian churches for help. The Antiochene Syrian Patriarch responded and sent metropolitan Mar Gregorios of Jerusalem to India in 1665. He confirmed Marthoma I as the bishop and worked together with him to organize the Church.
Dioceses of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
- Malabar Diocese (Syriac Orthodox Church)
- Knanaya Archdiocese
- Middle East
- Malankara Archdiocese of Europe
- Patriarchal Vicarate of Ireland
- Patriarchal vicarate of Germany & Central Europe
- Australia & New Zealand
- Simhasana Churches
- EAE Churches
- Honavar Mission
- Malankara Archdiocese of North America
- Malankara Jacobite Syrian Youth Association
- Malankara Jacobite Syrian Vanitha Samajam
- Malankara Jacobite Syrian Sunday School Association
- Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary
- Mor Gregorious Jacobite Students Movement
Bishops of the Church
The church has 27 Indian bishops & Catholicos:
The North American, Europe Archdiocese, Knanaya Archdiocese, Simhasana, Evangelical Association are under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch. Of these, the last two had been formed as autonomous bodies in the early 20th century, to escape from the onslaught of civil court cases arisen from disputes with the rival Orthodox Church of India(Malankara Orthodox Church).
The Knanaya diocese (today an archdiocese) was formed in 1910. Its jurisdiction extends to all Knanaya Jacobite people throughout the world. The diocese was formed in recognition of the endogamous character of the Knanaya people. It was also intended to recognize the leadership and sacrifice of the Knanaya people in establishing and maintaining since 345 A.D. the (Antiochan) orthodox faith in Malankara. The Knanaya Archbishop is a member of the Synod of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, but is part of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.
- List of Orthodox Churches
- List of Patriarchs of Antioch - to 518
- List of Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs of Antioch - list from 518
- Saint Thomas Christians (Syrian Malabar Nasrani)
- ↑ Fahlbusch, Erwin; Lochman, Jan Milic; Mbiti, John S.; Vischer, Lukas; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (2003). The Encyclopedia Of Christianity (Encyclopedia of Christianity) Volume 5. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 285. ISBN 0-8028-2417-X.
- ↑ Content of The Patriarchal Boola No E 149/02 dated July 5, 2002, issued by the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatious Zakka I Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
- ↑ History of Christianity. Vol.1. By Kenneth Scott Latourette, page 80
- ↑ Kochi Diocese
- ↑ Kottayam Diocese
- ↑ Niranam Diocese
- Jacobite Syrian Church Organization
- Malankara Syriac Voice by Mor Behnan Study Circle
- SyrianChurch.org: Malankara Syriac Christian Resources
- Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Network
- SyriacChristianity.org: Malankara Syriac Resources
- Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Association
Dioceses and Churches
- Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America
- Kochi Diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Church
- Kottayam Diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Church
- Niranam Diocese of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
- Viswasa Samrakshakan, a Fortnightly of Jacobite Syrian Christians
- Shroro - The Syriac Orthodox Christian Digest
- - Malankara Syriac Voice