Formation of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church (Protestant Doctrine)

Context of Formation

The origins of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, which embraces a Protestant doctrine within the Syriac liturgical tradition, are deeply intertwined with ecclesiastical disputes and political interventions in the Malankara Church during the late 19th century.

Withdrawal of Support for Mathew Mar Athanasius

Following the Patriarch's intervention, the government of Travancore withdrew its support for Mathew Mar Athanasius, the pro-Anglican bishop who was the official metropolitan of the Malankara Church. Mathew Mar Athanasius and his successor Thomas Mar Athanasius did not participate in the 1876 Synod of Mulanthuruthy, leading to their excommunication from the Malankara Jacobite Church by the Patriarch.

Refusal to Relinquish Office

Despite the excommunication and loss of governmental support, Mathew Mar Athanasius refused to vacate his office or to recognize the authority of Metropolitan Mar Dionysius V, appointed by the Patriarch. In 1877, as per succession plans, Thomas Mar Athanasius replaced Mathew Mar Athanasius as Malankara metropolitan and took control of the church properties.

A protracted legal battle ensued between Mar Dionysius V and the pro-Anglican Bishop Thomas Mar Athanasius over the seminary and other church properties. The definitive judgment by the Travancore Royal Court of Final Appeal on July 12, 1889, favored Mar Dionysius V. The Court recognized Mar Dionysius V as the legitimate metropolitan of the Syrian Jacobite Church in Malankara, ordering Thomas Mar Athanasius to relinquish the metropolitan insignia and surrender all church properties and funds.

Emergence of an Independent Church

Following this judgment, Thomas Mar Athanasius and his supporters, comprising three parishes, chose to form an independent church known initially as the “Reformed Party.” This group later adopted the name “The Mar Thoma Syrian Church.” The church maintains the Syro-Antiochene liturgical tradition, modified to align with Protestant doctrines.

Growth and Expansion

Over time, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church expanded across India and internationally. It is currently led by a Major Archbishop, encompasses 13 dioceses, and has about 1.1 million members. This church symbolizes a unique blend of Syriac liturgical practices and Protestant theological principles.

history/malankara_syrian_orthodox_church_from_its_inception_until_the_time_of_reunion/formation_of_the_mar_thoma_syrian_church_protestant_doctrine.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/22 06:55 by smcc