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SEERI is sponsored and supported by the Archeparchy of Tiruvalla of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. However,its aims and objectives, are distinctively ecumenical. The Institute is situated on Baker Hill, Kottayam, Kerala. It is named after St. Ephrem, the great Syriac theologian poet – saint, aptly described as “the Harp of the Holy Spirit”. It was inaugurated on September 14, 1985 by his Holiness Mar Thoma Mathews I, Catholicos of the Orthodox Syrian Church. It works in close collaboration with all Churches, particularly those that share the Syriac patrimony. SEERI seeks to foster and deepen the mutual understanding of these Churches through close collaboration in the study and search of their common heritage.
SEERI has come up in response to a deeply felt need. In India today there are seven Churches, with a total membership of ten million, which share the ancient Syriac patrimony, each with its own centre for the training of the clergy. There was, however, no institute yet in India for advanced teaching and learning of the Syriac language and heritage; nor was there any place in India where manuscripts, documents, source books etc. necessary for such study and research, are available.SEERI has been conceived and established to fill this void. It seeks to be a teaching-learning centre as well as a centre for research for scholars and students of Syriac literature, history, worship and traditions.