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The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

In the late 18th century, a Syrian prelate from Jerusalem ordained a local monk as bishop, but he was not accepted by the Malankara Metropolitan. This bishop then fled to the north and established his own group of followers at the village of Thozhiyoor. Less than 10,000 faithful make up this church today, which is called The Malabar Independent Syrian Church of Thozhiyoor. While preserving its oriental heritage, this group has links with the Mar Thoma Church and increasingly with the Anglican Communion.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church administers the Orthodox Theological Seminary at Kottayam, which was founded in 1815 and now has about 140 students. New facilities have recently been built, including the Sophia Centre for the theological training of lay men and women, and a School for Liturgical Music affiliated with Kottayam’s Mahatma Gandhi University. The St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary was opened in Bhilai in 1995 to train priests to serve parishes and missions in north India. It moved to Naghpur in July 1999. The church also operates 24 arts and sciences colleges, three engineering colleges, 240 schools, 30 hospitals and 35 orphanages, and several mission centers.

This church also has a modest monastic tradition. There are four communities of men that follow a monastic rule and eleven for celibate priests and laity without a definite monastic order. Altogether there are 18 monasteries with a total of 210 monks. There are also 13 convents where a total of 200 nuns live a dedicated life of service and worship.

His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, the Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese, has his offices at the Indian Orthodox Church Center, 2158 Route 106, Muttontown, NY 11791. A new Diocese of Southwest America was officially inaugurated on June 13, 2009, under the pastoral care of Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius (3703 Chesterdale Dr., Missouri City, TX 77459). The Northeast diocese has 41 parishes in the US and three in Canada; the Southwest Diocese has 49 parishes. The Malankara Orthodox Church has a single diocese for the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa headed by His Grace Metropolitan Thomas Mar Thimothios. It has about 30 parishes altogether (contact Fr. Thomas P. John, Cranfield Road — Brockely, London SE4 1UF). There are also seven parishes in Australia and two in New Zealand which can be contacted through Fr. Joseph at 73 Little George Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia. The church also has a number of parishes in the Persian Gulf area because of the large number of guest workers from India in the region.

Location: India, small diaspora
Head: Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II (born 1946, enthroned 2010)
Title: Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan
Residence: Kottayam, Kerala State, India
Membership: 2,500,000

Last Modified: 10 Dec 2014

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