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Malankara Metropolitans

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Malankara Metropolitan was a title created by Colonel Macaulay the British Resident of the Travancore state, in 1808 for the purpose of paying the interest of a trust fund known as Vattipanam. In the first receipt issued on December 1, 1808, by the British resident it is written, ‘’… agreed to pay in Travancore, as long as the Ancient Church lasts, to the Metropolitan or Metran, or any other regularly constituted prelate annually the interest of the above amount at 8 percent … ‘’ [1] The first Metropolitan to receive the interest was Mar Thoma VIII.(1809-1816). In 1808 there were two Metropolitnas, Mar Thoma IX and Mar Thoma X, So the government of Travancore had to select a regularly constituted Metropolitan for the purpose of paying this interest. The first one to receive this title was Mar Thoma X, Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious I (Dionysious II)


Following Metropolitans received the title and the interest of the ‘’Vattipanam’’. This title was life long, or till they abdicated. The years in which they received the interest is given in brackets.

  1. Mar Thoma VIII. (1809-1816).
  2. Mar Thoma X. Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious I (Dionysious II) (in 1816 for 9 months),
  3. Mar Philoxenos II, Kidangan.(1816-1829).
  4. Mar Thoma XII. Cheppad Philipose Mar Dionysius (Dionysius IV) (1829-1852).
  5. Mar Thoma XIII, Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (1852-1877).

Malankara Metropolitans

Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan was the last one to receive the title Malankara Metropolitan by a proclamation from the Travancore government. After 1877, every denominations in the Malanakara Church started claiming that their prelate as the Malankara Metropolitan.

Malankara church

The Malankara Church claims that it was established by Thomas the Apostle, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Maliankara, a place near Muziris, (now known as Pattanam, near Cochin on the Malabar Coast), where Thomas the Apostle first landed in Kerala in 52 AD, was the headquarters of the Church from the first century. (Malankara is cognate of this name Maliankara).

Malankara Jacobite Church

The Church that was known as Malankara Jacobite Church was split into two in 1909. One of the factions continued its relation with the Patriarch of Antioch. The other faction invited Patriarch Ignatius Abdul Masih II of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who ordained Murimattathil Paulose Mar Ivanios as Baseliose Paulose as Catholicos of the East. The ceremony was held at St. Mary's Church, Niranam on 12 September 1912 with much jubilation and joy. Baseliose Paulose was the first Catholicos and from then on that Church was known as the Indian Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. [2] The other faction under Patriarch of Antioch came to be known as the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church

First fifteen centuries

During the first fifteen centuries, each parish appointed its own elders (Edavaka Mooppen). These elders met together and elected their Elder (Malankara Mooppen). Laying of hands on the Malankara Mooppen was by twelve Edavaka Mooppens. Names of Malankara Mooppens (elders) from first century till 1597 are not known. Tombs of five of them can be seen at Kuttaram Palli at Kuravilangad.

Malankara Mooppen, Portuguese period

Geevarughese Kathanar, of Pakalomattom family was the Malankara Mooppen during the Portuguese period. He was the head of the church from 1597 to 1637 and attended the Synod of Udayamperoor (Synod of Diamper). He was succeeded by Kuravilangad Pakalomattom Parampil Thomas Kathanar. It was during his time in 1653 The Great Swearing (Koonen Kurisu Sathyam) was held.

Prelates from 1653 to 1877


After the Great swearing (Coonen Kurisu Sathyam), the parish elders (Edavaka Mooppens) of the Church met together and elected Kuravilangad Parampil Thomas Kathanar as Malankara Elder (Malankara Mooppen). He was the first Mar Thoma. (Malankara Metropolitan.)


Mar Thoma VI (Dionysious I), the first one to get consecrated by bishops from Antioch was given the episcopal title Mar Dionysious I. Mar Thoma X (Dionysious II), Mar Thoma XI (Dionysious III) and Mar Thoma XII (Dionysious IV) also had this title because they were consecrated by bishops of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church.

Later Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious II (Dionysious V) and St. Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril (Dionysius VI) were consecrated by Patriarch of Antioch.

Thus when a bishop of the Malankara Church was consecrated by a bishop of another church he was given the episcopal title Dionysious, a Graeco-Roman name.

Malankara metropolitans

Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitans

See also:Catholicos of the East

Malankara Marthoma Metropolitans

Malankara Throne.

The throne was used for the consecrations of the Head of the Malankara Church. It was used at the time of consecrations of Mar Thoma I (in 1653) to Mar Thoma XXI (2007) except for that of Mar Thoma XIII, Palakunnathu Mathews Mar Athanasios. It is now in the possession of the Mar Thoma Church.

Further reading

  • Rev.Dr.Joseph Cheeran, Adv. PC.Mathew Pulikottil, K.V.Mammen Kottackal. (2002). Orthodox Sabha Charitravum samskaravum. (History and Culture of the Orthodox Church).

See also


  1. Receipt issued on December 1808, (ME. Virchigam 18, 984), by Colonel Macaulay Resident of the Travancore.
  2. Rev.Dr.Joseph Cheeran, et al. (2002). Orthodox Sabha Charitravum samskaravum. (History and Culture of the Orthodox Church). P. 855-858.
  3. Rev.K.C.Varghese Kassessa. (1972). History of Malabar Independent Syrian church.(Mal). Page 62.

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