Mar Thoma III
Malankara Church.
Enthroned 1686
Reign ended April 22, 1688
Predecessor Mar Thoma II
Successor Mar Thoma IV
Personal details
Died April 21, 1688
Buried Kadampanad Valia Palli (now St.Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church)

Mar Thoma III was the third metropolitan bishop who sat on Malankara throne and lead the Malankara Church from 1686-1688. His leadership was only for a short time. With great respect people called him Valiappooppen (Great Grandfather)


On the South Western coast of India lies a small state known as Kerala It was here in the first century, Thomas the Apostle arrived to preach the gospel to the Jewish community. Some of the Jews and locals became followers of Jesus of Nazareth. They were known as Malabar Nasrani people and their church as Malankara Church. They followed a unique Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition which included several Jewish elements and Indian customs.

In Malankara (Kerala) St. Thomas did not appoint any bishops, but an elder (Mooppen in Malayalam) was selected to lead the people. The parish leader was called Edavaka Mooppen and the church as a whole had a Malankara Mooppen. This was the tradition till 1653.

Canons of the Synod of Diamper, Malayalam versions [1] use these titles throughout the report except in three places where they use the Latin word archidiāconus.[2][3] There is no chance for the Malankara Church to use this Latin word. Portuguese were not familiar with Malayalam word Malankara Mooppen and so they might have used Latin word Archidiāconus. The Malaylam name Jathikku Karthavian, given by some historians was not used in the Malayalam version of the canons.


After the great swearing in 1653 it became necessary to appoint a bishop. For this purpose a special chair was made and the first bishop of Malankara church was enthroned. This throne used for the consecration of Mar Thoma I, is in the possession of the Mar Thoma Church and is kept at Tiruvalla. It has been used in the installation of every Mar Thoma Metropolitan, to this day, so that the continuity of the throne of Mar Thoma is ensured.This was the throne used for the consecration of Mar Thoma III.

Early life.

Kuravilangad is a town located in the Kottayam district of Kerala, South India. The town is situated in the Meenachil Taluk, about 22 km north of Kottayam. Pakalomattom family was one of the oldest families at Kuravilangad. The third Mar Thoma was from this family. He grew up as a man of prayer.


Mar Thoma II died suddenly on April 14, 1686 and he was laid to rest inside Niranam church. The leaders of the Malankara Church selected Mar Thoma III as his successor. At that time Mar Ivanios Hidayuttulla who arrived in Kerala in 1685 was the only bishop in Malankara. So Mar Ivanios consecrated Mar Thoma in 1686.


Malankara church had comparatively a peaceful time during his tenure. It was during this time some members of Karingachira parish joined the Catholics. But majority of them supported Mar Thoma III and rejected the authority of Roman bishop Joseph Sebastani.[4]

In those days traveling from one place to another was very tedious and it was mainly by river. Yet Mar Thoma III tried to visit as many parishes as possible.

Last days

Kadampanad is a very fertile land near Adoor in the Pathanamthitta district. Christians there believe that they came from Nilakkal (a first century Christian settlement) and built a church there in AD 325 known as St.Thomas church. Later it was named as St.George's Valia palli.

It was to this church, Mar Thoma paid a visit in 1688. While he was there, he died suddenly on April 21, 1688 and was laid to rest at Kadapanad church.

Preceded by
Mar Thoma II
Metropolitan of the Malankara Church
1686 - 1688
Succeeded by
Mar Thoma IV

See also


  1. Five of the Malayalam versions were available in 1952.
  2. Daniel, K.N. Canons of the Synod of Diamper, prepared using five of the available Malayalam versions.
  3. Antonio de Gouvea (1606) Jornada do Arcebispo Aleixo de Menezes quando foy as Serra do Malaubar.
  4. Letters sent to Batavia. Dutch Records

Further reading

    1. Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan, The Most Rev. Dr. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church.. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
    2. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. (2003). ‘’Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History’’. London, England. ISBN 81/900854/4/1
    3. Chacko, T.C. (1936) Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charithra Samgraham’’. (Concise History of Marthoma Church), Pub: E.J. Institute, Kompady, Tiruvalla.
    4. Eapen, Prof. Dr. K.V. (2001). ‘’Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram’’. (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
    5. Ittoop Writer, (1906). ‘’Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram’’. (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam)
    6. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008) Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla
    7. Danil, K.N. (1952). Udayamperoor Sunnahadosinte Canonukal. (Canons of the Synod of Diamper), CLS. Tiruvalla.

External links

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