Mar Thoma VIII
Malankara Church.
Enthroned July 2, 1809.
Reign ended January 26, 1816
Predecessor Mar Thoma VII
Successor Mar Thoma IX
Personal details
Birth name Thoma
Died January 26, 1816
Buried Puthenkavu Palli (now St.Mary's Orthodox Cathedral)

Mar Thoma VIII was the Metropolitan of the Malankara church in Kerala, India from 1809 to 1816. Unlike previous Metropolitans (bishops) of the Malankara church he was not from the Pakalomattom family, but was only related to that family. He was a man of vision. It was during his time Malankara church opened the first formal educational institution, in Kerala. With the opening of Kottayam Suryani Seminary, modern education dawned in Kerala.


While Mar Thoma VII was at Kandanad (near Kochi) he fell seriously ill. He did not get time to call a meeting of the church leaders to select his successor. So he invited one of his relatives Thoma Kathanar, to his bed side, laid his hands on him, prayed and consecrated him as Mar Thoma VIII on July 2, 1809. Two days later, on July 4, Mar Thoma VII died and Mar Thoma VIII took charge of the Malankara church.

Meeting of the church leaders

It was necessary for him to get the approval of the people to be a Malankara Metropolitan. For this reason soon after becoming Malankara Metropolitan, he convened a meeting of the representatives of the parishes at Kandanad, on September 14, 1809. In that meeting they,

  1. unanimously accepted Mar Thoma VIII as Malankara Metropolitan and presented him with the insignia, a ring.
  2. selected Philipose Ramban from Kayamkulam and Pulikottil Ittoop Ramban from Kunnamkulam as advisers to the Metropolitan.
  3. agreed to use the interest received from Vattipanam, for opening of a Seminary.
  4. accepted a written constitution for the church. (This is known as Kandanad Padiola.).[1]. [2].

Vattipanam. (Fixed deposit)

For Malankara church, Mar Thoma VII, on December 1, 1808 deposited as loan in perpetuity a sum of 3000 Poovarahan with the government of Travancore through Col. Maccaulay the British resident. The first installment of interest was due on December 1, 1809. It was paid to Mar Thoma VIII. But there were complaints that the interest was not used for opening the seminary.

To decide to whom the next installment of interest is to be paid, Coln John Munroe, Dewan (prime minister) of Travancore convened a meeting of the leaders of the parishes at Kollam, the capital of Kerala. It was decided to pay the interest to Pulikottil Ittoop Ramban. According to the decision, government of Travancore paid a sum of Rs.3360 to Ittoop Ramban..[3]

First education institution in Kerala


Leaders of the church decided to have the Seminary at Kottayam. The government of Travancore provided tax free land and the foundation stone was laid in February 1813. The work went on very fast and classes began in March 1815.

Qualified teachers to teach various subjects were also appointed. They were Maramon Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan (Syriac), Konattu Varghese Malpan (Syriac), Kozhikode Kunjan Assan (Sanskrit), Poet Laureate Chekottu Kuruvilla Assan (Malayalam) and from Kochi Mose Esarphathi (Hebrew & Greek) were the first teachers of this first education institution in Kerala. By 2000 Kerala became the most literate state in India.[4]

Last days

The meeting convened by Coln John Munroe, Dewan (prime minister) of Travancore took the decision to give the interest of the Vattipanom to Ittoop Ramban, instead of giving it to the Malankara Metrapolitan. This decision of Coln Munroe was a great blow to Mar Thoma VIII. It also angered the Governor of Madras, who reprimanded Coln. Munroe.

Because of all these he fell sick and was bed ridden. For a better treatment he left Ankamali and went to Niranam. Knowing that his end was nearing, he called his uncle Kadamattathu, Iype Kathanar to his bedside, laid his hands on him, and consecrated him as his successor, Mar Thoma IX.

Though at Niranam he was given great care and better treatment, Mar Thoma VIII died on January 26, 1816 and was interred at Puthenkavu. The funeral service was conducted by his successor Mar Thoma IX.

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See also


  1. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1. P.232-236.
  2. Ittoop Writer, ‘’Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram’’. (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam) Page 155-157.
  3. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1. P.237.
  4. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1. P.241.

For 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

External links

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