Portuguese Influence, Establishment of Latin Rite and Coonan Cross Oath (1597 - 1653)

Early Portuguese Arrival and Interaction

Initial Contact: The arrival of Portuguese explorers and missionaries in the early 16th century marked a new chapter in the history of the St Thomas Christians. The Portuguese, upon discovering a thriving Christian community in India, initially maintained cordial relations, partly influenced by political and trading interests. Shared Communion: The Portuguese and the St Thomas Christians initially engaged in 'communication in sacris,' a practice of sharing religious rites and services, reflecting an initial period of harmony and mutual respect. Shift in Portuguese Policy

Establishment of Diocese of Goa: The creation of the Diocese of Goa in 1533, and its subsequent elevation to an archdiocese in 1558, signaled a shift in Portuguese policy towards the St Thomas Christians. The Portuguese began efforts to integrate them into the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

Accusations and Tensions: The Portuguese started to accuse the St Thomas Christians of heresy and schism. This period saw increasing attempts by Portuguese religious and political authorities to bring the St Thomas Christians under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church and the Portuguese Padroado system.

Synod of Diamper and Its Aftermath

Synod of Diamper (1599): Archbishop Aleixo de Menezes, leading the Church in Goa, convened the Synod of Diamper in 1599. This council sought to align the practices and beliefs of the St Thomas Christians with those of the Roman Catholic Church. It resulted in significant changes, including the suppression of Syriac liturgical traditions and the introduction of Latin liturgical practices.

Papal Decisions: Following the synod, Pope Clement VIII issued a decree that suppressed the independent metropolitan status of the St Thomas Christians, making them a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Goa. In 1600, the apostolic letter 'In supremo militantis' imposed the Portuguese Patronage over the Indian Eastern Christians.

Coonan Cross Oath and Its Significance

Rising Discontent: The growing discontent among the St Thomas Christians culminated in the Coonan Cross Oath of 1653. This event, taking place at the Church of Our Lady of Life in Mattancherry, witnessed the community under the leadership of Archdeacon Thomas Parampil and prominent priests, vowing not to obey Archbishop Garcia or any other Jesuit authorities.

Historical Impact: The Coonan Cross Oath is a landmark event, representing a definitive break from Portuguese ecclesiastical authority. It marked the beginning of a significant schism within the St Thomas Christian community, leading to the formation of two distinct groups: those who continued under the Roman Catholic Church (Pazhayakuttukar) and those who sought to maintain their traditional faith and autonomy (Puthankuttukar).

history/malankara_syrian_orthodox_church_from_its_inception_until_the_time_of_reunion/portuguese_influence_establishment_of_latin_rite_and_coonan_cross_oath_1597_-_1653.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/30 05:49 by smcc