Surviving MSS- Old Testament Manuscripts, Psalms and New Testament Manuscripts of Christians of Saint Thomas

Surviving MSS- Old Testament Manuscripts, Psalms and New Testament Manuscripts of Christians of Saint Thomas 4.45/5 (89.09%) 11 ratings

This is a list of surviving MSS of Christians of Saint Thomas, pertaining to the Bible excluding Biblical lectionaries and commentaries of Holy Scripture. The list is based on the catalogue compiled by J P M Van Der Ploeg. Cor-episcopica Vander Ploeg is a Dominican, who has studied and examined the sources in Kerala and libraries in Europe. He is an internationally well known scholar who has published many books.

 East Syrian copy of Pentateuch, written 1828 in Pallipuram, North West of Parur preserved at Syro Malabar Arch bishop library. This was written by Jospeh ( a laymen) at the Church of Saint John, the Baptist.

East Syrian copy of Pentateuch, written 1828 in Pallipuram, North West of Parur preserved at Syro Malabar Arch bishop library. This was written by Jospeh ( a laymen) at the Church of Saint John, the Baptist.

1. Old Testament Manuscripts

According to Van der Ploeg, the collection of Syriac MSS of Old Testament is not very big in Kerala. This is partly due to the arrival of printed edition in 1823 ( Syriac OT- Lee) which made the old MSS superfluous, there by causing its disappearance in the last one and half centuries. The books of Old Testaments were certainly copied in Malabar before Sixteenth century, but no MSS of that time has been preserved. According to Van der Ploeg, Kerala Syriac MSS belongs to an authentic Syriac ( mostly East Syrian) tradition which enhances the value of manuscripts which are copied in a remote part of the Syriac tradition.

1. Codex. Vatican Syraic 4

This was completed on 16.02.1556, and this contains the texts of the Prophets. This was copied by a Priest, who was the disciple of Mar Jacob, the Metropolitan Bishop, in the Church of Mar Sabor and Mar Prodh in the village of Parur.

2. Codex. Vatican Syriac. 2&3

This contains many books of the Old Testament. Both the Volumes were copied in 1558 AD. This was copied at Angamali, in the Church of the blessed Virign Mary, “ Mother of light and life” by the priest and monk named Geevarghis.

3. Cambridge Bible

This is the oldest known Biblical MSS someway connected with Kerala. This is preserved at Library of Cambridge (U.K.) University. It contains both Old and New Testaments, the Old Testament part is described in the List of Old Testament Peshitta Manuscripts, 1961 and also in Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts. (1037 -1043).

The handwriting is identified by FC Burkitt as “the Estrangela of the Tur-Abdin”. According to Burkitt, the text is thoroughly Jacobite; for this reason it cannot have come to India prior to 1665.1

It was presented to Dr. Claudius Buchanan in 1836 by Mar Dionysios 1 (+1808) and it may safely be dated from the end of the l2th century. This is also known as Buchanan Bible. According to J P M Van der Ploeg, it may have been the cherished possession of one of the Jacobite Bishops who came to the country from the Middle East. It may also have been brought to Kerala because it contained books which were lacking in the New Testament Canon of the Church of the East.2

4. Other Cambridge MSS

Among the MSS Buchanan brought to Cambridge, there are other Biblical MSS and according to Wright, all of them date from the 17th- 18th Century. Following are the details.

4.1 Three copies of Pentateuch

According to Wright, this was copied not before 18th century. According to Burkitt, this was considered not earlier than 17th century.

4.2 Other Cambridge MSS

This contains texts of four major Prophets & twelve minor ones. This was copied in 1682 by a Priest named Geevarghis in the village of Mattam near Thrishur. Another one dated 1734 contains many books and was copied at a Carmelite monastery.

5. Ernakulam Syro Malabar Library

There is an East Syrian copy of Pentateuch, written 1828 in Pallipuram, North West of Parur. This was written by Jospeh ( a laymen) at the Church of Saint John, the Baptist.

According to Van der Ploeg, in the same library there is also another in complete Pentateuch written in 16/17th century in a very bad state of preservation.

6. Library of Pampakuda- Konat family

 Jacobite text in East Syriac. 1803.

Jacobite text in East Syriac. 1803.

All the books of OT are preserved here. Some are dated from 1753, 1767, 1783, 1804, 1887. Some of the books are described as partly “Nestorian”. There are Psalters which are dated 1753 and 1767 AD written in West Syriac. According to Van der Ploeg, it seems that the owners of Konat Library at Pampakuda tried to have at least one complete set of all the Old Testament books before the printed edition came in 1823 AD.

7. Metropolitan of Perumpally- Mulanthuruthy

According to Van der Ploeg, the Syrian Orthodox Bishop Giwargis Gregorious had in his possession a complete OT or part copied in East Syriac. The beginning and end were the lost parts. According to van der Ploeg it may be dated 17/18th century

8. CMI, Kuravillassery

At the CMI novitiate Kuravillassery in Trishur has an East Syrian Biblical OT MS copied in 1734.

9. Syro Malankara Trivandrum

According to Van der Ploeg, there is a 484 page Biblical MSS with some non Biblical text copied in 1816 at Seppad ( between Allepy and Quilon) . There is also a copy of Judith dated 1734.

2. Psalms

There are many manuscripts with Psalms, which had a prominent place in East Syriac daily Canonical office for which printed manuscripts were not available for a long time. A shortened Syro Malabar bravery was published only in 1857. All these editions present the traditional liturgical Psalter of Church of East with the canons of Mar Aba. Mar Aba was the Patriach of Church of East from 540-542. This represent a tradition of fourteen centuries. The East Syriac Psalter was replaced by Jacobites a century and half ago.

1. MS Syriac-25 Paris

This is supposed to be the oldest liturgical Psalter from Kerala. From a Syriac text found in the Psalter, it is concluded that it was complied in 1504 by the famous Mar Jacob, Metropolitan Bishop of Malabar. This is in East Syriac and according to Van der Ploeg this is of around 1650.

2. Cambridge –Oo-1.22

This Psalter follows the liturgical text with Diampoor corrections. According to Wright this was copied in 16/17th century.

3. Dharmaram College

Dharmaram College, Bangalore has an East Syriac Psalter which was completed in 1731 by a Jacobite deacon, son of a laymen and disciplne of a famous Malpan at Mulanthruthi. According to Van der Ploeg, the writer may be a member of Konat family.

4. Syro Malabar Thrishur Bishops Library

There is an East Syriac liturgical Psalter ( MS No-38) copied CA 1800. There is also another small volume containing Pslater and liturgical texts and another volume with canons of Mar Aba.

5. Thiruvalla Malankara Bishop library

At Thiruvalla there is a liturgical Psalter with various texts. Its mostly in East Syriac and at the end there are some liturgical prayers in West Syriac ( a proff that it was used by Jacobites) and a note with date 1753 AD.

6. Konat Library, Pampakuda

Konat Library has two East Syriac Pslaters and two West Syriac Pslaters all copied between 1750 and 1800.

3. New Testament

When the Portuguese arrived in Malabar, they noted that the Christians of Saint Thomas posseded Syriac copies of New Testament which was not completely identical with their own Latin text. The decrees of Syond of Daimpoor ( Action –III, Decree 1-3), states the Canons of Books according to the Council of Trent. The decree also makes a note of the books which are lacking. According to Van der Ploeg, the remarks of the Syond of Daimpoor are partly conformed by the surviving manuscripts.

The collection of New Testament is not very big and nearly all of them are in East Syriac. Accrding to Van der Ploeg, “In the most tradition minded community, the Jacobite one, East Syriac script could not be read by most Deacons and Priests after 1825, except by those who has learned it in earlier years; the printed books (West Syriac characters)made manuscripts superfluous.”

In the Catholic Community, the passages required for Eucharistic celebrations were printed in the ones used from 1774.

1. Vatican Syriac Codex 17

This is the oldest Malabar copy of the surviving New Testament. It was written by Mar Jacob and completed in 1510 AD.

2. Library of Mar Ivanoius College, Trivandrum

Part of the Colophon ( 1563 AD) preserved at Mar Ivanoius College Trivandrum. The Colophon says that it was copied in 1563 by a discipline of Mar Jacob, Metropoliten of Hindo, Sin ( China) and the entire East.

Part of the Colophon ( 1563 AD) preserved at Mar Ivanoius College Trivandrum. The Colophon says that it was copied in 1563 by a discipline of Mar Jacob, Metropoliten of Hindo, Sin ( China) and the entire East.

This is the oldest copy available in Kerala. The Colophon says that it was copied in 1563 by a discipline of Mar Jacob, Metropoliten of Hindo, Sin ( China) and the entire East. When the Book was copied the Bishop probably might have been away but he was not forgotten.

3. Cambridge Collection

Among the MSS Buchanan bought to Cambridge, there are some New Testament Biblical MSS belonging to 17th /18th century.

Oo. 1.25- A copy of New Testament four gospels and Acts in East Syriac. Codex seems to have been copied in 17th/18th century. This has a Roman style.

4. Konat Library

According to Van der Ploeg, there was only one handwritten copy New Testament in Konat Library, preceded by some “Questions and answers” a well-known genre Literature of the Nestorian literature. The date may be 17th century; in East Syriac. There are at least 10 printed copies of the NT in the same library; the printed edition
(with indications of the liturgical passages) supplanted the manuscripts in the Jacobite Church of Malabar.

5. Library of the University of Leiden

In the library of the University of Leiden, there is an East Syriac copy of the four gospels given to the public library of the town by a former Dutch commander of Ceylon. The script in East Syriac shows that it was copied in Kerala in the 17th century. Besides this book,the University possesses two manuscripts of later period, the first one containing the four Gospels, the second Acts and St Paul. According to Van der Ploeg, at the end of the 2nd volume there are some words which must have been written by someone who was acquainted with the Jacobite liturgy. Though it is written is East Syriac, the two books were copied by members of the Jacobite community.

6. Library of the Archbishop of Syro Malankara

In the library of the Syro Malankara Archbishop of Trivandrum, there is a book of the Four Gospels in East Syraic probably copied in the second half of the 17th century. Another MS probably copied East Syriac c1700 contains Acts of the Apostles. There is also a third volume copied probably in Ca 1750.

7. Library of Catholic Bishop of Thriruvalla

This Library has three copies of handwritten copies of the New Testament. The first one was copied in 1794 by a Jacobite at Kunnamkulam. The second and third book is also in East Syriac.

8.Oxford Library

The Bodleian Libray at Oxford posses a New Testament copied in 1733 and 1734.

Note About Sources: Based on the Cataloge prepared by JPM Van der Ploeg and published in the book” Saint Thomas Christians and their Syriac Manuscripts”.

This is a revised article as of August 09/2009. The old article titled “The Lost Aramaic Bible of Syrian Christians of Kerala” was a re production from K R N Swamy, columnist on heritage, culture in the Deccan Herald dated April 11 2004. This was about the Cambridge Bible. Please read discussions for details.

Pictures:

Picture 1- East Syrian copy of Pentateuch, written 1828 in Pallipuram, North West of Parur preserved at Syro Malabar Arch bishop library. This was written by Jospeh ( a laymen) at the Church of Saint John, the Baptist.

Picture 2- Jacobite text in East Syriac. 1803.

Picture 3- Part of the Colophon ( 1563 AD) preserved at Mar Ivanoius College Trivandrum. The Colophon says that it was copied in 1563 by a discipline of Mar Jacob, Metropoliten of Hindo, Sin ( China) and the entire East.

Footnotes
  1. FC Burkitt- “The Buchanan Manuscripts at Cambridge” []
  2. JPM Van der Ploeg- “The Syriac Manuscripts of Saint Thomas Christians”-Page-46 []

Author: NSC- Admin

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143 Comments

  1. What a fantastic piece of history?!

    Why don’t we try to bring at least a copy of the manuscript back to Kerala and keep it here with us?

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  2. Marvelous!, Incredible!
    We must bring a copy of the manuscript to Kerala and preserve it.
    I could also understand that the “Peshista Bible” which were used by our Great, Great, Great Grand Parents in aramaic is kept in a Monastry at Mount Sinai. Actually the worship has changed to Sunday from Saturday lately under influence. Ofcourse, we also must observe the old tradition.
    Actually, we are the lost sheep from the 12 tribes. St. Thomas came to India in search of these lost sheeps.
    I congratulate the author(s) of this site for the tireless efforts.

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  3. yes george..

    u r thinking on the correct path…
    we are lost sheeps..
    and the time is near for our revival….
    even if others didnt open their eyes atleast 12000 per tribe will revive (revelation of st john)

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  4. You should get the back Bible back to Kerala.

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  5. Dear Nair,

    There are very few people really interested in the Aramaic Bible. We need to once again bring our old good values and heritage into our lives. Can we succeed. WE are today, totally free from ‘traditions’.

    No body wants tradtions. Simply bringing back the bible without matching traditional values weill be useless.
    It is better that it stays in the U.K.

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  6. Dear George Mathew,

    I would differ from your view point.

    It should be the other way round. Instead of first bringing back our cultural values before the Peshitta Bible, we should bring back the Peshitta Bible first and the rest of the things will be taken care of.

    This is because the Peshitta Bible has a long history and heritage of preserving the original values. Whenever and wherever this Bible was found out, it has changed the course of history.

    Historically the Syriac Peshitta Bible and the Greek Manuscripts came from the single source.

    Today there are even Bible scholars who argue that the Apostles, since they were Aramaic speaking, first wrote the New Testament in Aramaic (Peshitta) and later got them translated into Greek as Greek was the international language of the Roman world.

    Wherever these original Peshitta and Greek manuscripts were found we see less corruption in the churches.

    The Greek church as well as the Nazranis were less corrupted when they kept their respective Bibles.

    Today there are even historians who claim that the famous Renaissance of Europe that saved it from the Dark Ages was a direct result of the spread of these Greek Bibles. When the Turks attacked and conquerred Byzantium in the 14th Century the Greek Christians escaped and went to western Europe with their Greek Bibles there. These Greek manuscripts got diffused among the Waldensians, a sect known as heretics by the traditional churches. However even their opponents agreed they were more pious.

    Later on Erasmus used these Greek Manuscripts and compiled a text which later was known as Textus Receptus or Received Text which differed from the Alexandrian Texts which were corrupted by Gnostic and other philosophies.

    It is based on this Received Greek Text that Martin Luther started his Protestant Revolution.

    It is also claimed that William Tyndale who translated the Bible into English used Erasmus’ Greek Text as his source which later “caused” indirectly the Anglican Church split. (80 % of King James Bible is Tyndales’ own translation). Tyndale was burnt for such translations before the Anglican revolution!

    So before bringing the Peshitta Bible we should consider all these historical facts and decide whether we need another revolution in here.

    I personally believe that the nazranis have all split into different denominations and today nothing can bring them back into one fold. Even Syriac language is unable to bring them back into one fold.

    If at all anything can bring them together it will be the Peshitta Bible considering its background.

    Also, it is good to remember that prior to Portuguese Padroado, we had Peshitta Bible with us and all the Mar Thoma Christians were one ethnic group. After Padroado we lost our Bible and lo, we are various denominations today shamelessly fighting among ourselves providing entertainment to outsiders.

    Let us have a brainstorm session for unity.

    Post a Reply
  7. The problem makers are not outsiders. In all the nasrani churches the main problems are created by some section of insiders only. Earlier time they used to get this done with the help of colonizers . Now its been done by action councils of priests. The problem for unity is there should atleast one sect who does everything properly. Each of these sects are going in different direction with in and with respect to each other.

    Keeping people educated is one option, Brining back Peshita Bible can also be part of that.

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  8. Most of our churches have two rival groups.When the problem between them become acute, the bishop may change the priest and appoint a new priest to solve the problems.As soon as he lands a new group emerges and he will be the undisputed leader of the new group.Then the earlier rival groups merges and forms an “anti-achan” group.Then this story repeats .
    We nasranies have a highly inflated (baloon like) ego and priests are no exception.The root cause of all the church problems is the clash of egos and not issues

    Can the peshita bible alone save us ?
    Is it so different from the Greek transalations?
    The Maronite church (another syrian family church in communian with Rome) is using it for centuries.

    I think our Lord’s words are clear in the bible versions we are using.Though peshita bible was here before the arrival of Portughese, it was beyond the access of common man as only select priests knew syriac.They took no initiative to transalate it into malayalam.
    The important thing about peshita bible is that it is a piece of evidence that shows our connections with east (or west) Syrian church and thus part of our syriac heritage .

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  9. Let me point out one historical errors in this article:

    It is stated that ” In 1498, the Portuguese came to India, bringing with them the tenets of the RC Church.” The truth is that the Portuguese came with a blind belief that everything that did not conform to Roman Rite (Latin rite) was anathema. It is not true that the nasranis did not accept the pope as the head of the church. (They were of course not in direct communion with pope then).

    It is again stated that “the Portuguese were determined to remove the influence of the Patriarch of Antioch from the Indian Church and wanted the Indian Christians to transfer their allegiance to the Pope in Rome.”
    The above statement is a false. The nasranis were never ever in communion with the Patriarchate of Antioch. They were in communion with the Persian church. This church had its own patriarchate in Selucia-Ctesiphon in Iraq. This is the Eastern Syrian (Chaldean Syrian) church following the ancient Syriac liturgy; a liturgy distinct from Antiochean except that both used Syriac variants as liturgical language. The “puthencoor” secessionists had tried to mask and falsify history to justify their position. The Antiochean patriarch got a foothold in Malabar when the secesssionists requested him to send a bishop to ordain bishops for them.(that too the monophysite Patriarch; one among the five patriarchs claiming the throne). Thus they have now a rite that is different from the ancient east syrian liturgy that prevailed here from first century till the Portuguese times.

    What Archbishop Menezis tried to destroy was all the Syriac books mainly the liturgical books in the hope of erasing the so-called nestorian heresy. (Today both monophysite and nestorian churches’ teachings have been jointly corroborated as being essentially the same as that of the Roman Catholic church but differing only in terminology).

    Let us look at history honestly and not twist it to defend our position.

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  10. Dear Joseph George,
    Yes! first the BIblle should be brought to Kerala and then the other things will follow. That sounds nice but the ‘other things’ that follow will be a serious row as to who should ‘own’ the bible.

    Are we united enough to undertake the safe keeping?. Perhaps something like what we did in ‘Nilackal’ can be done. Are our church leaders listening? Why not get started/organized and get back this priceless treasure. … and make sure to thank England for safegaurding our great treasure for so long.

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  11. I believe every priest of the Orthodox Church and other users of the Peshitto already have copies of this very book, since that is what Buchanan did with them. You can still buy a copy of this (i.e., copies made from our version of the manuscript) from the United Bible Society (in their Foreign Bibles division). I have an English translation of the New Testament (again, taken from this Peshitto) that I got from Gorgias Press.

    Now, as for getting the actual version — please! How is that going to happen with all our factions vying for the book. The two major inheritors of the book (the Jacobites and the Malankara Orthodox, since it was after all our bishop Dionysius that gave the book to Buchanan) will definitely not agree — and then throw in the other factions, and a whole amount of nothing is gonna happen!

    But there is something that can be done that would be more useful for you and I (the commoners who probably wont even get to see the original) … does anyone here go to school or work at Cambridge? Can you inquire about getting electronic copies made? Perhaps we can all pull together, donate a bit of cash, and get a high quality digital scan of the original (i.e., with all the editorial marks, notes, etc) put online. That would be a great way to preserve out heritage.

    That way, when the next tsunami comes, or the next superasteroid, or whatever, we won’t have to worry about the original getting lost — we’ll already have scans of it. Man, the scribes of yesterday would kill for our technology…

    Just an idea…

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  12. Oh another thing … the Introduction to the Syriac New Testament that I mentioned earlier is a very good read. There is a quote from Buchanan on how when he was traveling through Malabar (Mavelikara specifically) he hear the tolling bells of the church (St. Mary’s Orthodox) and immediately forgot that he was in a Hindu land. It’s very interesting and paints a fascinating, but brief, picture on how our land was back them.

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  13. Dear Xavier,

    I agree that the article has problems … It obviously must have been ghost-written by some one who is of the West Syriac rite. Or the author was sloppy and got all his info from a single fourth-hand source.

    But hold on … to say that the Patriarch of Antioch never had any connection with Malabar is too sweeping, and so final. Proof that we *never* had a connection — where is it?

    Yes, the bulk of the evidence from the literature that exists in Malabar is that we had East Syriac connections. The SRITE project demonstrates that. However, the Persian Church was not only “Nestorian”. There were a group of Jacobites who had a Church in Persia as well (they call them the Madenhoyo, “Easterners”). It is possible that there were outcroppings of that group in Malabar too. Is there proof? No. But they also used an east syriac script. The use of an east syriac script does NOT mean that we were all of the Church of the East. The Madenhoyo Jacobites used East Syriac as well.

    This is hearsay, but I’ll still include it. According to some who have seen the Buchanan Bible in Cambridge (the Bible mentioned in the article), there are references to Mar Severios — a Jacobite Patriarch — and references to Mary as the Mother of God. Do I know this for sure? No — I want to see the evidence (kind of why I suggested the above project to get a digital copy of that Bible!). But it’s an interesting piece of info that makes me hesitate to make generalities like “We never had a connection to the Patriarch of Antioch”.

    How about this? How did Mar Thoma I (the Archdeacon who wrote to Antioch to request help) even know to write to Antioch? I thought we were ignorant Christians, cut off from the world in Malabar, only in communion with the Nestorians? Apparently the (improperly named) Puthencoor knew about the oriental orthodox patriarchates in Alexandria and Antioch, as well as the one in Babylon. Who told us about these guys? The Portugese? The Nestorians?

    The West Syriacs have a different rite from the East Syriacs, for sure. But to say that the only rite in Malabar was the East Syriac is an overstatement. The literary evidence only goes to 1200 AD or so (and it is East Syriac). There are reports (Panteus I think) of people in Malabar revering Dioscorus (who was a Monophysite hero) … so maybe the community was mixed.

    Finally, if we want to talk about twisting things … why is it that every Syro-Malabar/Catholic writer insists on the term secesssionists for the so-called Puthenkoor? The term is ambiguous. The Syro-Malabar Church is a recent invention, created by the Portuguese. They secceeded from the Church of the East. Okay, you can claim that we were under the Chaldeans. But the Chaldeans only came into existence themselves in the 15-16th century — again, they seceeded from the Church of the East. To call the Puthenkoor, “secesssionists” — to call them the “new” allegiance is a bit of twisting itself because everyone (except for the Church of the East) made a new allegiance in the 16th century. If you want to claim that we were Nestorians (so-called) before the 16th century — then you must simultaneously admit that the Syro-Malabar (being in union with Rome and not the East) is also a new allegiance. If you want to claim that we were in communion with Rome from the beginning … then you have an extremely over-active imagination, because there was no such thing. The use of the East Syriac liturgy just gives the Syro-Malabar the impression of antiquity — in reality they are a product of missionary activity, like all eastern Catholic groups (excepting of course, the Maronites) that split from the far-older Orthodox groups.

    PS: Yes the Monophysite Patriarch is only one of 5 claiming the throne; but you can basically throw out 3 of them because they are foreign intruders installed by missionaries during the last 500 years. The only two legitimate ones are the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, who represent two lines that split over Chalcedon. The Syriac Orthodox Church still possess the bulk of the old monasteries of the Antiochene Church back when it was undivided; the Greeks have been absorbed by the Byzantine Church. The situation is sort of like in Kerala, where the Syro-Malankara claim the title Catholicos — absurd, of course, and with no historical justification. I’m waiting for the day when the Mar Thomites claim a Catholicate! Of course, I know better — they are too busy doing more important things than to bother with those trivialities!

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  14. Dear John Mathew

    Madenhoyo Jacobites with their East Syriac engaging in missionary activities in Malabar are very romantic thoughts just like the thought that before the Syond of Diampoor all Bishops who came to Malabar coast are Chaldeans or like never broken direct communion of Syro Malabar with Rome.I just call this being very romantic.

    There is not even one place where Madenhoyo Jacobites were engaged in Missionary activities. Assyro- Chaldeans missionary activities are very well documented and it did not end with Malabar.

    On the terminology of using Nestorians, it is mostly used by Latins/ Jacobites and Protestants. Church of East did had Nesotiran influence for a very limited time. If you consider that limited Nestorian influence to give a stamp as Nestoiran then why do limit that to one party ? What should be the equivalent word to call churches including Syriac Orthodox Church and others who went on different directions. Though most of the modern Christian churches are Chalcedonian, in the 5th – 8th centuries AD the ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology was not always certain. The Jacobite church went too far in ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology.

    Syriac-speaking Christians looked to Edessa in East Syria as their center and from 4th century onwards Edessa is the center of Syriac Christianity. The formation of separate Chaldaean Patriarchate happened only in 1552 but there were sporadic contacts with the Assyro- Chaldeons ( Church of East or Nestorians) and Rome until the 13th century. In fact the final communion in materialized in 1552 was started in 11th century with a short communion and break off. There were Bishops visiting Rome and announcing communion and on return in Persia dennocing the communion. The political reason in Persian empire was a major hurdle and problem. The situation was identical to todays Kerala landscape among Methran Kashi and Bava Kashi.Shift of alleginace was so common.

    Coming to the Kerala situation after Coonan cross oath, from 1653 to 1665 the dissident faction under Archedocon were using East Syrian liturgy. The gradual introduction of West Syrian forms started only after 1665, that too over a period of time. Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel has been brought here by Dutch. Dutch does has knowledge about Eastern Christians. Had Dutch been not here in Malabar coast we might not even had west syrian presence in Kerala.

    Why Puthenkoor are called secessionists is basically because of this reason. Before the Syond of Diampor the Bishops who were here are Chaldeoans and the liturgy and other forms used are East Syrian. From 1653 to 1665 both the factions were using East Syrian vestments and the gradual change happened with Puthenkoors. In this way you can say Syriac Orthodox Church India is the recent invention of Dutch.( I am talking about the old Syriac Orthodox Church in India ( not specifically about Methran Kashi or Bava Kashi)).

    I am also interested in knowing how do you define the legal heirship to all the factions in Puthenkoor. Who represnts the old Puthenkoor in legitimate sense ? As part of the heavy Antiochnisation the Puthenkoors lost most of the prevailing traditions. The widely popularized recent Throne of St.Thomas has been given to Mar Thoma Church long time back.

    On the real Patriach of Antioch and claims of sole legitimate successor to the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul.

    The major claiments are the following,

    Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, Assyrian Church of the East, Maronite Church , Syriac Orthodox Church ,Syriac Catholic Church, Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

    Greek Orthodox Church has more legitimate claim. The Maronite claims a never broken communion with Rome.
    I hope you are aware of the The Council of Florence, Council of Basle, Council of Constance. In fact reunion was even achived in some of these councils but were short lived and some of the Eastern Catholic churches who are claimants for the title of Patriach of Antioch are results of the short lived re union. Basically they hold also claim as being a faction with legitimate claims.

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  15. Dear NJ,

    To be sure, I don’t believe that we were anything other than in communion with the Church of the East, pre-Portuguese. However, to call them successionists and by extension to claim the Syro-Malabar maintain the old ways is false. The Syro-Malabar are a new invention — a Uniate Church in India. They may use parts of the East Syriac liturgy (after their foreign administrators gracefully *allowed* them to), but appropriately modified so that it remains compatible with the Romans.

    The Church of the East, however, has a better claim than any to maintaining the old allegiance. But somehow I don’t think Pazhyakoor exclusively refers to them in common usage.

    On the throne at Antioch: there are 5 (the Assyrians don’t claim it).
    And I don’t see how you can say only the Greeks have a legitimate claim: the Greek and the Syriac lines split off due to Chalcedon. If you are pro-Chalcedon you may like to claim the Greeks are more legit. I’m neutral on the issue: I would say that the Greeks and the Syriacs have an equal claim, although much of the ancient heritage is only preserved by the Syriacs. The Syrian Catholics and the Greek Catholics can be dismissed as late-coming schismatics, with no claim to antiquity. The Maronites … sure, but since they are in communion with Rome, they acknowledge the head of that See as their primate, with their “Patriarch” being nothing more than a vassal of the Pope. The Patriarchate of Antioch is an independent Patriarchate: to claim that a vassal of the Pope (Maronite, Melkite Catholic, Syrian Catholic) can hold that position legitimately is weak.

    You ask: “Who represents the old Puthenkoor in legitimate sense?”

    The answer is simple: since the Puthenkoor new allegiance was to the Patriarchate of Antioch, the followers of that form of Christianity are the legitimate heirs. That is, the Syriac Orthodox and the Malankara Orthodox. The people who left them, joined communion with other groups, leaving the Puthenkoor allegiance (the Syrian Catholics joining Rome, and the Mar Thomites becoming Protestant).

    And the Puthenkoor lost our traditions? How so? Just because we adopted a new liturgy? Okay fine, let that be so. But the other traditions we hold: we take to the old names even more so that the Syro-Malabar (who themselves are comfortable adopting Latin names), we follow the Pessaha customs, etc. At even a superficial level we still look like and behave like our West Asian brothers with our bearded married priests who speak copious Syriac fearlessly. It is a fallacy to say that just because we adopted a new liturgy (which was required because the Church of the East was in no position to help, and the Chaldeans and the Syro-Malabar were using a modified liturgy in communion with non-Easterners– the Romans) we haven’t maintained the cultural practices of our ancestors. We even honor the old Qadishangal whereas the Catholics just replaced them.

    To be sure, all communities have become heavily modified … which is why I object to the Pazhaya/Puthenkoor distinction: it implies that the Pazhya have maintained the old ways while the Puthen have rejected them. When the only fact is that both have lost many aspects of the old ways. The so-called Puthenkoor just decided to scrap their allegiance to foreign aggressors whereas the Pazhayakoor dutifully obeyed their foreign masters.

    But tell me … is it true or not that the Puthenkoor rebels wrote to Antioch and Alexandria for help? If true, then how did they know about Antioch and Alexandria to begin with? Moreover, if not, then you’re saying the Patriarch of Jerusalem would just up and come to Kerala because some Dutch told him to? Please — how do you figure that?

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  16. Dear John Mathew,

    Since the Mar Thoma I sent letters to Antioch, how can we presume that we had connections to the Church of Antioch? He might have sent letters to all the eastern churches known to them but only the Antiochian church responded. I do not think the Nasranis at that time were so stupid that they did not know much about the churches in the Middle East? Since we had strong trade connections etc, they knew about other eastern churches and wrote to them. As Antiochian church had not much people under them and as they got a chance to get a good number, they tried to use their opportunity!!
    Do you know, in 1665, Mar Gregoriose had arrived in Kerala. Did he ordinate the Mar Thoma I as a Bishop? No. Mar Thoma I to Mar Thoma V all died without getting a legitimate Bishopric ordination. It was only in 1772 the Puthencoor leaders get a legitimate Bishopric ordination – Mar Thoma VI was ordained as a Priest and as a Bishop by Jacobite Bishops Mar Yohannan and Mar Gregoriose, as Mar Dionocius. The Jacobites even did not accept the Priestly ordination of Mar Thoma VI !! (Even before this, in 1663, Parambil Chandy methran from Pazhayacoor community became a Bishop and ordained at Kaduthuruthy church. He was accepted by 64 out of 110 Nasrani churches fully and 20 partly. Only 26 out of 110 joined the Mar Thoma I. So, the vast majority of Nasranis were in Pazhayacoor, besides they continued to use the Chaldean liturgy. That was why; they were called Pazhayacoor and the other party as Puthencoor. It should be noted that no one has tried to question this names so far!!).

    Antiochian church was interested in getting a faction of Nasranis. (Just like the Portuguese and the British and the Dutch). That was why the Puthencoor faction had to wait until 1772 to get a Bishopric to one of their leaders. So, please do not tell us that the Antiochian church was helping the Nasranis. They were also like Portuguese; they antiochianised the Puthencoor even without a synod of Diamper. Once Mar Thoma VI got the Bishopric ordination, he tried to join the Pazhayacoor. He wrote to Bishop Francis Sales etc and it was by the result of this that Kariattil Thoma Malpan and Paremmakkal Thoma Malpan went to Rome to negotiate with Rome and Kariattil Thoma malpan was ordained as a Bishop from Rome, got all authority to receive Puthencoor back to Pazhayacoor and came back, but on the way, he died in Goa, before reaching Kerala. If Mar Joseph Kariatti had returned to Kerala, the history of Nasranis would have been different!! ( Varthamanapusthakam)

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  17. Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    Regarding the consecration of bishops:
    de Campo was only made a *titular* bishop by Sebastiani as a last ditch effort to preserve Roman rule over the Nasranis *after* the Dutch started to kick out the Portuguese imperialists and colonizers. de Campo made his title out to be more than it is, and revisionist historians make him out to be one of the first bishops of native origin — but his position was in title only. The Syro-Malabar were under Roman domination having foreign bishops for the better part of the last few centuries, and having little autonomy until it was graciously granted to them the last century.

    Don’t forget, the *real* Pazhayakoor — the Church of the East in Kerala — split off from you because Rome ignored your requests to have a Chaldean liturgy. And they maintain the really old allegiance — that to the Patriarch-Catholicos of the Assyrian Church of the East, which are the people who we used to be aligned with before all of the Uniate stuff started to creep into Asia.

    From what I’ve read about your church’s state, even now your more traditionalist bishops run into quite a bit of opposition from others from your community (the Nasrani Catholics) for his efforts to bring things back in line with (at the very least) the Chaldeans.

    Mor Gregorios did consecrate Mar Thoma I a bishop. Many communities faltered after the Coonen Cross revolt (and *before* the arrival of Mor Gregorios) due to (1) the power of the Portuguese, and (2) the propaganda being spread by the Catholics regarding the improper first ordination by the 12 priests. *However* things were a lot better (with few defections until Mar Ivanios of 1920) after Mor Gregorios ordained Mar Thoma I.

    And then Mar Thoma I and Mor Gregorios consecrated Mar Thoma II. Mor Ivanios Hidayatulla consecrated Mar Thoma III and IV. And so on. Sorry Anthony … but our bishops were consecrated and accepted by the Patriarchate of Antioch (an older Patriarchate than Rome, incidentally, and most importantly a *Syriac* one) far before the Romans *allowed* Indians to be consecrated as bishops with anything other than in name only.

    Yes, Mar Dionysius wanted to join the Pazhaykoor. So what? We’ve had several bishops who have left the Orthodox faith for foreign ones (Mar Ivanios and his friends, Mar Athanasius, etc). That’s their personal decision. Fortunately he didn’t — although I doubt the mass of people would have followed him. (Otherwise, yes indeed, the community would be different with *no one* in Kerala having any connection to an ancient Eastern Church — with everyone being *converts* to Catholicism, adopting foreign European names, like many in your community. At least with the Jacobites in Kerala, there is continuity with the old Eastern ways. And that, a continuity of substance as they are Syriac ways.)

    The Antiochization of the Puthenkoor is not a big deal. Both the East Syrians and the West Syrians have a common cultural and linguistic heritage. At least the common eastern faith (with reliance on Eastern fathers) and culture was not altered. The opposite is true with the Syro-Malabar. You’ve been latinized *culturally* as well as religiously, and most of your attempts to revert to at least a shell of your past have been thwarted by your leaders in Rome. As far as I know, no Orthodox people adopt names like Abdul, or whatever else they name people according to the local TurAbdini culture. However, plenty of Catholics adopt names such as Robert or Francis or Xavier or whatever other European names they’ve adopted due to Western missionary influence (not that there is anything wrong with that: to honor St. Francis is a beautiful thing — I merely wanted to illustrate the point that you’ve been culturally modified, despite your reintroduction of the East Syriac liturgy, modified of course).

    Regarding the questioning of the terms Pazhayakoor and Puthenkoor: you may not have heard of people disagreeing with the terminology (since it is absurd: the Pazhayakoor retain a *modifed* liturgy and are vassals of a Western pope, while the Puthenkoor were at least underneath Syriacs, following an eastern faith), but I have seen articles in historical journals expressing surprise at the terminology. I’ll see if I can find the citations and place them here.

    But here is my point:
    The Syro-Malabar can *not* claim the name Pazhayakoor because:
    -they are under the Roman Pope, which was a *new* thing for our people
    -they may now use the Liturgy of Adai and Mari — but it has been modified from that of the original
    -they were administered by European bishops for most of their history
    -they set up their churches in a manner different than the Church of the East (e.g., the Church of the East forbid the use of statues)

    And similarly, I would *never* call the Jacobites Pazhyakoor either because:
    -they are aligned with the Jacobite Patriarch, which is new as well
    -they use the Liturgy of St. James (although, we use it in form which has never been modified for the benefit of Protestantism of Catholicism)
    -they also set up their churches differently that the Church of the East

    The only community that can claim, without being scoffed at, the term Pazhayakoor is the Church of the East in Kerala. *They* retain everything that all of our ancestors believed in.

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  18. Dear John Mathew,

    I am sorry if I was wrong about the consecration of Mar Thoma I to V. I was quoting the information from a book. Later I checked various websites. But I am curious why Mar Thoma VI had to be reconsecrated as Mar Dionocious? (I am not questioning you).

    I agree with you that the east Syrian Church of Trichur is the real Pazhayacoor. I had an opportunity to attend a marriage in their main church in Trichur a few years ago. That church looked very similar to my parish church in Champakulam. I do not remember well about the liturgy. Their church is the result of the so called Rochos and Melus schism. It should be noted that most of the Trichurian Nasrani Catholics were under Melus schism and Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar worked very hard and stayed in Trichur for many months to get them back, now, the Trichurian Syro Malabars are the most resistant about returning to our East Syrian traditions (along with Ernakulam). Again, they were with Syro malabar till 1870 etc. So, 1659 to 1870s, who was pazhayacoor ? And now, Syro Malabar is an independent church with its own canon law, its own synod,its own head of the church but in communion with the Universal Catholic Church, alongwith the Roman Church. So, we are not under anyone.

    Regarding the connection to Rome in the pre Portuguese period.

    In the records of Roman Church, it is seen as an Indian Bishop in 1122, visited Rome via Constantinople and received palium from the pope. ( Tisserant, Opus cit., P22, foot note 2)

    1329, Pope John 22 sends a Bishop called Jordanus to Quilon but he died on the way.

    1329 John D Maringoli visited Quilon as a representative of the Pope Clement IV and received a big sum of money from the Nasranis. So, roman pope was not something new for nasranis.

    These are the reasons why people think that there was at least some indirect connection with Rome in the past. Otherwise, why would we all come under the pope for some time? Again, in the Coonan cross oath, the oath was not against Rome.

    Ignatius Mar Ahathalla came to India and sent a letter to the Archdeacon claiming that he has received the authority from the Pope to rule the Nasranis. Why did he have to claim that he has the authority from the Pope? The oath of Coonan cross was also not against the Pope of Rome- it was against the Jesuits.

    As far as I understand, so far, the Vatican curia has not ratified the synod of Diamper. Many times, Rome was compelling our old leaders to return to the old traditions but our leaders were resistant! What Menesis could not do was done by our own leaders.

    There are only 4 churches in the world who claim the heritage of St Thomas the apostle- they are Persian, Indian, both were established by St. Thomas himself and Chaldean and Edessan, both were established by Mar Addai and Mari, the disciples of St. Thomas the apostle. That is the reason why we had connection with these east Syrian churches.

    Antiochian church was established by St. Peter. It has no apostolic heritage of St. Thomas. It is a sister church of the Roman Church! Only similarity with Antiochian church is that they use another dialect of Syriac as their liturgical language.

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  19. Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    I’ve heard about the connections to Rome you’ve reported, and would like to one day check it out further from the sources, because I read them from a Catholic writer and to be perfectly frank, I don’t trust most of their historical works. I do believe that the Church of the East and Rome used to send missions to each other (as did the Syriac Orthodox—we even sent our Patriarch who helped develop the Gregorian calendar). For example, Rabban Bar Sauma, I believe, traveled to Rome. Some of it had to do with forging alliances to topple various enemies, and not due to intercommunion. So it’s not impossible that we knew of Rome. Although, by the same token, Jacobite missionaries used to travel with Nestorian ones (I’m using this term as a shorthand; I’m not saying that the Assyrians were Nestorians), so our ancestors might also have known of the Patriarch of Antioch.

    Regarding the story of Mar Ahatalla … well, everything is pretty much a story. Not much is known of him. Various sides make various stories. The story you recited is common amongst Catholic “historians”. Jacobite “historians” tell a different story. No one has anything meaningful — and unbiased — to say about him. Does anyone out there have any info on who he actually was based on evidence?

    The Coonen Cross Revolt was against Latinization at the very least. But are there details on it? Nope … stories by both sides. The Orthodox say it was against the forced allegiance to the Catholic Church … the Syro-Malabar say it was only against Latinization. Obviously a sizable chunk of people back then felt strongly in both directions. (And we can dismiss the majority of people that went to the Syro-Malabar because the Portuguese were *in power* in the North. Who would, in their right mind, go to the looser? But note that in the southern districts of Kerala and inland the Orthodox are in the majority — maybe that was because the Portuguese didn’t have much power in the south…?).

    To say the Syro-Malabar are an independent Church is a stretch: they are under the Pope of Rome. Now this is where both of us will irreconcilably disagree, but I will state my perspective:

    The notion that the Church of Rome is a Universal Church is a notion restricted to the Roman Catholic Church. No other apostolic Church claims Universality and no one accepts anyone else’s universality. Every church that is apostolic (the Church of Rome, the Church of Antioch, the Church of Alexandria, the Church of Edessa, …) claim to be a *part* of the Universal Church. However, the Roman Pope, by virtue of his political power claimed Primacy over all. This is contentious — none of the Orthodox Churches accept this. Only the Roman Catholic Church accepts this. The Syro-Malabar are a part of the Roman Catholic Church … that is, they went from being under the Catholicos-Patriarch of the East to being under the Patriarch/Pope of Rome. They are still *under* the Pope. They are not autocephalous, they are autonomous. They are like the Jacobites of Kerala — they are an autonomous branch of the Church of Antioch, but they are not autocephalous.

    Now, we were never autocephalous in Kerala — none of us. We were always underneath some foreign bishop. The only thing I’m saying is that: pre-Portuguese, we were under the Catholicos-Patriarch of the East; after the Portuguese, some went under the Pope of Rome, and others went other the Patriarch of Antioch. The point: both are *new* allegiances.

    The Antiochian Church and the Church of Rome (the Roman Catholic Church) were *both* established by Saint Peter. So how are you (or us Syriac Orthodox) being reasonable in claiming descent from St. Thomas. Sorry, but the *only* church in Kerala that retains that heritage is the Church of the East — every other Church has deviated in some way (the Syro-Malabar have deviated as you accept many Latin customs and follow the Pope of Rome; us Orthodox, as we follow the Patriarch of Antioch). We may be genetic descendants of the original followers of Thomas, but religiously we have diverged.

    Finally, one big quesion …

    How can you call the Church of the East (and the events leading up to its formation) a schism! They went from being under your new allegiance to being under the old allegiance. In many ways the work of Rocos, etc, (although they were Chaldeans…), eventually ended up being very positive as it resulted in a re-establishment of the original Church in Kerala. Only the Syro-Malabar claim this as a negative schism that had to be fixed by having priests correct the action! If you take an unbiased look at history, this was the only positive event in Nasrani history after the Portuguese!

    And all of us so-called Nasrani should put our money where our mouth is: let’s all join the Church of the East, forsaking the new allegiances to Rome and Antioch, and re-connect with our ancestral Church.

    Who’s up for that? I’m sure no one is. We all follow the faith of our fathers, and not our great-great-great… grandfathers. I’m Syriac Orthodox. I don’t care if my ancestors way back were Nestorians. I’m not going to that Church. Before that they were Hindus or Jews, and before that they were Animists and Idol Worshippers. But I could care less — my father is Orthodox, and so am I (and like many Syriac Orthodox, we probably have some genetic ancestry from that Church because there were small scale immigrations to Kerala by the West Syrians in the past few centuries). But, I’m not going to make excuses and claim that the Orthodox in Kerala were the original church (although *that* is far more likely than the claim that we were all in Union with Rome in the beginning!).

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  20. Dear Thomas Antony

    According to the catholic encyclopedia the first who informed the world of the existence of Thomas Christians was Friar John of monte Corvino in 1292.

    Friar Jordanus a dominician visited in 1321 and Odenic of pordenone in 1324-1325 period. Both of them reported that the Malabar Christians were extremely hostile to them and were Christians only by name .All of them were on the way to China and visited the Malabar coast by chance .
    This clearly shows that Rome was not aware of Malabar Christians until the visit of Corvino and didn’t show much interest even after coming to know about their existence. The reason is they were heretical Nestorian Christians. That is why both Jordanus and Pordenone planned their visit for China and not Malabar.

    But all of them baptized some people here. Corvino reported that the inhabitants prosecuted Christians. It seems what he meant by the inhabitants was the Malabar Christians and used the word Christians for the newly baptized people .Jordanus also reported that the local Christians were extremely hostile to them.All these clearly shows the Roman Church was completely alien to Malabar Christians at that time

    Once Jordanus returned to Rome he was ordained as the bishop for kollam. But he didn’t visited Malabar again. By the time Marijoli visited a very small group were aware of Catholic Church and he got much a better reception. All these visits paved the way for Portuguese and Jesuits to start their work.

    Some of the Syrian catholic historians make great efforts to prove that “koonan kurrisu satyam” was not against the Pope and only against the Jesuits. Almost 99% of the nasranies participated in this revolt .But then Latin church had the support of Portuguese army and Cochin Raja. So many are forced to return to the Latin church including Parampil Chandy Cattanar one of the leader of the revolt .Many others including Arch deacon and Anjilimoottil Ittythomman cattanar, the other leaders of the revolt, fled to the south. The group which were retuned to the Roman church were named as “pazayakoottukar”. Nobody dared to ask why because of obvious reason.

    Regarding Ignathius Ahathalla,well he was imprisoned as soon as he landed here and his life was under threat.So even if this story was true he might have told so to save his life .Some people say he was killed by the Porthghese

    The so called pazayakoor faction remained Latinized in liturgy and vassal and can’t ordain any bishop without the permission of Rome for many years. Even recently a bishop who commanded much respect by all factions of Thomas Christians were denied the top post of the church because some people thought he will be a threat to the Latin church.

    Things are much worse in the other side of the story ie “puttencoor”. Court case, Police and street fight are all become a daily affair. Thus it is time we consider these puthencoor, pazayakoor issues as obsolete.

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  21. Dear M. Thomas Anthony:

    One more thing: now to start, I’m certainly not interested in supporting the thesis that the Jacobites had a presence in India prior to the arrival of Mor Gregorios in the 17th century. I don’t know that. There’s no evidence for it.

    However, I will say this, prior to the Nestorian Schism which separated the East Syrian Church of the East from the rest of Orthodox Christendom, who do you think the ecclesiastic head of that Church was? It was the Patriarch of Antioch. There were five Patriarchates back in that time (you know ‘em: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome), and the Church of the East got their standing orders from Antioch. It was only after the schism that they broke ties with Antioch and created their own Catholicate. Yes, St. Thomas may have started them, but they were administered by Antioch.

    So based on that, the Jacobites in Kerala in establishing a link with Antioch have decided to maintain a link with the *original* church … the Church of Antioch.

    Not that I think that was *why* they did it (well, I don’t know *why* … no one wrote that anywhere) … but it certainly goes to show that the acceptance of Antioch was *not* on par with the Syro-Malabar acceptance of Rome. Rome never had a connection with the East Syrian Church (unless you want to say that they all followed Nicene Christianity, but everyone that counts does that). Antioch on the other hand, was the mother church of the Persian church. (And Antioch also claims itself to be a “Universal Church” (a claim which is rejected by everybody, just like the Roman claim).)

    Just though I’d mention that.

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  22. ı hope you are very fine and happy also.I have got a holy Bible,that
    around years old and written with gold on deer skin in Sryiac
    language.It is 28 pages.Ithink,you are an intersting in it too much.Any way I
    want to sell this rare holh Bible now. I will send to you 28 pages photos .
    from TURKEY

    PS-We are waiting your answering.Thanks mr AHMET

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  23. from the written history and hearsays we know these things..

    *the church was established by st.thomas.
    *up to the arrival of portugese the malankara church setup was unique and different.
    *the rituals and beliefs had nothing in common with the roman catholic church.
    *at least we can say it was having some connections with the middle east.
    *during the time of portugese the entire church was under roman rule..
    *nealy 100 years of roman rule created the roman church in malankara
    *in the early years the present syromalabar church was under latin metrans.
    *those who didnot want to stay with the latins were the syrians(putencoor)
    *in early years pazhamkoottukar were called romans and puthencoors were called syrians.
    *later the latinised church faction slowly changed their name to syromalabar.
    *now saying that it is east syrian .. any way almost same to jacobites…
    *regarding the patriarchs of antioch…which one is real successor….the answer is rome can make any parallel patriarchs if they want and they will make it the right one(eg. rite in kerala)

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  24. Dear Jogy Mathew,

    Yes you are right, but your statements need some extensive amendments.

    “The rituals and beliefs had nothing in common with the roman catholic church”
    may be amended as -there were so many differences in rituals and beliefs of Nasranis with the Roman Church, as there are/were so many things in common also.

    “ the early years of the present Syro Malabar church was under latin metrans” should be amended as- the early years of the present Syro Malabar church and the present Orthodox /Jacobite churches using antiochian liturgy all were under latin metrans.

    “ those who did not want to stay with the latins were the Syrians(puthencoor)” should be amended as- those who revolted and broke away from the latin church were the Puthencoor Syrians, as the Pazhayacoor Syrians(Romo Syrians) were also not happy to be under the latin rule and that was why, they became evolved into the present Syro Malabar church. Most of the Nasranis joined the Koonana Cross oath but a significant number- majority returned to roman side due to (1)political reasons-Portuguese influence on the local kings, (2)the fact that the Mar Thoma I did not have a legitimate Bishopric where as Parambil Chandy Metran on the Pazhayacoor side had a legitimate Bishopric,(3) the whole church was under latin bishops for long time and many people were grown up under the latin bishops and they had legitimate bishopric and then why going along with a pseudo bishop etc.

    “ in the early years, pazhamcoor were called romans and puthencoor were called Syrians” to be amended as Pazhayacoors were called “Romo Syrians” and later “Chaldeo Syrians” when the Puthencoor adopted antiochian liturgy and then “Syro Malabar” when Chaldean bishops Rokos and Melus created a split in Pazhayacoor.The puthencoor were called as Puthencoor from the beginning as after many years under latin bishops, Puthencoor broke away keeping the same old east Syrian liturgy and rite but no legitimate bishopric where as Pazhayacoor stayed under the many years of latin rule without changing the allegiation, keeping the same East Syriac liturgy and rite under the leadership of Parambil Chandy Metran with legitimate bishopric.When the Puthencoor adopted a new liturgy and affiliation- the antiochian liturgy – the name became more appropriate for the time.

    “now saying that it is east syrian .. any way almost same to jacobites…” is also not true. We were always East Syriac until part of the Nasranis were antiochianised. So, the “now saying” is inappropriate.
    “…anyways almost the same to jacobites…”needs more explanation. I can’t understand what you are saying.

    “regarding the patriarchs of antioch…which one is real successor….the answer is rome can make any parallel patriarchs if they want and they will make it the right one(eg. rite in kerala)” The first part is true. In the present world, political and financial power is everything and influencial people can do anything.But what is the context of “eg. rite in kerala” ? St Thomas Christians in Kerala now follow different rites, Jacobites, Mar Thoma, Syro Malankara and Indian Orthodox follow antiochian rite, Syro Malabar and Chaldean church of Trichur follow East Syrian rite, etc.This statement needs more explanation.

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  25. Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    I disagree with Jogy’s over-simplification of our history, and his incorrect statements pertaining to the Syro-Malabar. I didn’t respond because I knew you would.

    However, in your correction, I noted some problems as well.

    1. Regarding Latin Bishops:
    The Orthodox/Jacobites were only under Latin bishops upto the Koonen cross revolt. After that, we were under native bishops. Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, by all indications, did consecrate Mar Thoma I and II as legitimate bishops — their “pseudo-bishop” stage only lasted from the Koonen Cross period to the arrival of Mar Gregorios in the 1650s. We were not under any Latin bishops as long as the Syro-Malabar Church was.

    2. Regarding your term “Antiochian Rite”
    This terminology is non-standard and misleading. By saying that the Puthenkoor are of the “Antiochian rite” whereas the Syro-Malabar are of the East Syriac rite, it appears—falsely—that the former are not of a Syriac rite. This is incorrect. The rite of the Puthenkoor is more accurately called the West Syriac rite.
    The West Syriac rite is a blend of the original Greek Rite of St James (although some claim the original as being composed in Syriac) and the large corpus of Syriac prayers, hymns, etc. of the Oriental traditions. If you were to open up an East Syriac prayer book and a West Syrian one, you would find very similar prayers. The East Syriac rite is a compact rite, as are the Greek Rites of Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople. The West Syriac rite (as used by the Jacobites, Orthodox, Maronites, etc.) is a gigantic one, in which the Greek and the Syriac traditions are essentially merged. Our liturgical calendars are very similar, as are our fasts, and patristic fathers.

    There is no less “Syriac” in the West Syriac (“Antiochian” to use your misnomer) rite than the East Syriac rite. The hymns of Ephraem abound in the West Syriac rite. But, rather than Narsai and the other East Syriac fathers, we use the hymns of Mar Jacob of Serug and Mar Baleus—both bonefide Syriac fathers.

    It should also be noted that the East Syriacs and the West Syriacs are largely one people with a common culture (at least in ancient times).

    But yes, the Puthenkoor did adopt a new allegiance: one to the West Syriac Patriarch of Antioch and not to (1) the Patriarch-Catholicos of the East (Nestorian) (2) the Chaldean Patriach or (3) the Pope of Rome. The oldest allegience is to (1), and next to (2) (for a brief period). The Patriarch of Antioch *and* the Pope of Rome are both new allegiances.

    But I feel the terminology is still accurate because the Puthenkoor adopted a new Rite, the West *Syriac* one, while the Pazhayakoor retained much of the East Syriac (although, modified to include Latinizations and allegiance to Rome, as well as the Filoque clause of the 11th century).

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  26. Dear Thomas Antony

    ‘’’’’’those who did not want to stay with the latins were the Syrians(puthencoor)” should be amended as- those who revolted and broke away from the latin church were the Puthencoor Syrians, as the Pazhayacoor Syrians(Romo Syrians) were also not happy to be under the latin rule and that was why, they became evolved into the present Syro Malabar church. Most of the Nasranis joined the Koonana Cross oath but a significant number- majority returned to roman side due to (1)political reasons-Portuguese influence on the local kings, (2)the fact that the Mar Thoma I did not have a legitimate Bishopric where as Parambil Chandy Metran on the Pazhayacoor side had a legitimate Bishopric,(3) the whole church was under latin bishops for long time and many people were grown up under the latin bishops and they had legitimate bishopric and then why going along with a pseudo bishop etc.’’’’’’’

    It is quite interesting to read the history repeatedly from Thomas Antony.Your parambil chandy story, koonen cross oath, birth of syro Malabar church, legitimacy of latin bishops- all are quite interesting.

    If you understand the history of malankara church , many of the explanations which you put forward do not fit in the right place.

    # There were no such100 years rule by Romans

    # There were no such split taken place in the malankara church

    # Koonan kurishu sathyam was attented by a handful of people from in and around kochi

    # Marthoma l had legitimate bishopric and he also had a position called Malankaramoopan which more authenticate his position while Parambil chandy’s position was a cheep substitution.

    # Puthenkoor were called SYRIANS and pazhayakoor called ROMO-SYRIANS(please verify records)

    # Antiochianisation is not true, syrianisation /aramaicisation is the word to be used

    # Malankaranazranies used Aramaic liturgy of St. James

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  27. Dear Jeevan:

    It seems your understanding of history is contaminated with Puthenkoor propaganda (note: I am a member of the Puthenkoor myself) — some of the “points” you mention above do not have any basis in fact.

    1. Mar Thoma I did have a legitimate position, due to his consecration by Mar Gregorious. But so did Alex De Campo: he was consecrated by the Latins as a legitimate bishop.

    2. There most certainly was a split in the community as *you* yourself indicated: Syrians v. Romo-Syrians (or Puthenkoor v. Pazhayakoor).

    3. The Nasranis used the *Syriac* liturgy of St. James only after Mar Gregorios came, and even then, it was only fully adopted much later. (Syriac is not equal to Aramaic; it is really a descendant of Aramaic).

    4. Antiochization, syriacization and aramacization are *ALL* innaccurate for what happened to the Puthenkoor. More accurately, it can be called “west syriacization” or “patriarch of antiochization”.

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  28. Hi John,

    Were you waiting for me to reply so that you can find fault with my agruement ?
    Anyway, thanks.

    I did not mean that west syriac is less syriac or Puthencoor is less syriac. I always appreciated the courage of the then leaders of the Nasranis who consecrated a Bishop by laying hands by 12 Priests. But, I have to say, in the history, Pazhayacoor showed a bit more syriac heritage than others. In the post Diamper period, due to latinisations etc, SMC developed some indigenous syriac chants. I learned this point while studying about Qambel Maran CD and the research of Rev Dr Palackal about syriac music tradition in Kerala. When latin missionaries wanted to introduce some latin prayers/ services, as latin was not acceptacle to Pazhayacoor community, our leaders translated them into syriac chants. This unique feature was a surprise to me as syriac was not our mother tongue and we had people here to write syriac songs.( Note that Kadavil chandy kathanaar was a great poet). See my article about Qambel maran CD. Are there any examples of development of indigenous syriac songs in any other syriac Christian community in Kerala ?

    Regarding ruled by latin Bishops, I agree with you, what I meant was both were under latin Bishops for some time.

    Regarding Bishopric of Mar Thoma I, I have a few reservations. I have commented in this forum earlier that the Puthencoor had to wait until 1773 to get a Bishop consecrated from them. Recently, while reading the varthamana pusthakam by paremmakkal Thoma Kathanaar, published by Oriental Institute of Religious studies in Kerala, vadavathoor, Kottayam, I found a letter written by Mar Dionycius on 12/03/1772 to Pope of Rome sent through Mar Kariatti and Parammakkal requesting to recognise him as a Bishop of all Nasranis, stating that Mar Thoma I did not receive a Bishopric Consecration from the Antiochian Bishops, he continued with the Consecration by 12 priests. When Mar Thoma IV became the next Mar Thoma, the Jacobites and the Roman catholics commented that he did not have a legitimate Bishopric and hence he was reconsecrated as Mar Dionycius receiving ordination as a priest and Bishop.( Jan 1772 at Niranom). This letter was translated from the library of the Sacred Congregation for the Propaganda of faith in Rome.This was part of the missing 14th and 15th chapters of the Varthamana pusthakam.
    Does this mean that Mar Gregoriose and other jacobite Bishops in Kerala did not give a Bishopric consecration to Mar Thoma I to VI, until the Puthencoor community were ready to accept the Antiochian liturgy and rite ?

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  29. To Jeevan,

    Sorry, I am a bit late and John has already intervened ahead of me.

    “There were no such100 years rule by Romans”- then how many years ? Tell us.

    “There were no such split taken place in the malankara church”- then what was it ?What term would you call it ?

    “Koonan kurishu sathyam was attented by a handful of people from in and around kochi”- I do not know, I haven’t seen any records showing attendance of Koonan Cross oath. What I said in my response was most of the nasranis joined the Coonan Cross oath. That doesn’t mean that all of them were there to attend the oath.

    “Marthoma l had legitimate bishopric and he also had a position called Malankaramoopan which more authenticate his position while Parambil chandy’s position was a cheep substitution.” Regarding the first part of the sentence, please refer to my reply to John Mathew.Second part- malankara moopan, Mar Thoma I was the then archdeacon. The malayalm term was jathikku karthavyan.It can be interpreted as malankra moopan also if you want. He was already the jathikku karthavyan or malankra moopan as you say, then why did he want a Bishopric by laying hands by 12 priests ? Why did he/the community requested other Eastern churches to consecrate him as a Bishop ? Regarding the last part of your sentence, (Parambil chandy’s position), I do not want to comment because that does not deserve a reply.

    “Puthenkoor were called SYRIANS and pazhayakoor called ROMO-SYRIANS(please verify records)”- did I tell anything other that that ? Please read my response once more .

    “Antiochianisation is not true, syrianisation /aramaicisation is the word to be used”- we were already syriac or Aramaic, then what is another syriacisation ? We were East syriac. There was a change over from East syriac to West Syriac ( antiochian) and that was why I used the term antiochisation. If you want, I am happy to amend it was West Syriacisation.

    “Malankaranazranies used Aramaic liturgy of St. James”- since when ? Any documentary evidences ? I agree with you, if you say, malankara nasranis used St james liturgy since 1773

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  30. Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    1. “But, I have to say, in the history, Pazhayacoor showed a bit more syriac heritage than others.” I think this is debatable. On the Puthenkoor side we do have Konatt Malpan and other Syriac scholars who did contribute to the general body of Syriac literature. Of note is Konatt Malpan who was enough of a contributor/scholar to warrant mention from Patriarch Afrem Barsoum’s encyclopaedic work “The Scattered Pearls: History of Syriac Literature and Sciences”. Note: Barsoum seems to have been a bit of a racist (note: this is second-hand unconfirmed data) and is quite dismissive of Indian Syriac scholars in general, so mention by him is quite an honor. The point: we in the Puthenkoor have a great tradition of Syriac Malpans.

    Now, did the Puthenkoor translated foreign (Latin) hymns into Syriac? No, obviously not. We seem to have been a little purer in what we admitted into our Church: pure west Syriac rites and hymns.

    I think both communities developed in different ways: none were pure adherents of the old ways. Both gave up Nestorianism. The Pazhaya added Latinizations, and the Puthen adopted a new Syriac rite. To be honest, the first time I learned that there were “Syriac Catholics” other than the Syro-Malankara was only a few years ago (when I went to Edathua and saw a Syriac icon there and decided to research how a Syriac icon would be in a Roman Catholic Church). Prior to that I though that, based on the Romo-Syrians I’ve met (with names like Xavier, Francis, Robert, etc., and going to pure Latin Churches here in the West) the Romo-Syrian community was fully Latinized. That is, based on the Romo-Syrians I met, I never realized you guys even maintained Syriac! So I think the term of “more Syriac” is highly relative and dependent on where you are. For example, are there any Syrian Pazhayakoor in Kollam? Aren’t they all basically Latin now?

    2. Re: the canonicity of Mar Thoma I, etc., ordination. I guess I’ll have to go and look at the documentary evidence. The period of the 18/19 centuries were pretty messed up for the Puthenkoor, depending on which bishop happened to come from Antioch. Some would claim the predecessor as being invalid, etc. So, for every bishop that claims legitimacy, there are reports to claim illegitimacy. The situation is the same nowadays, with both Orthodox factions claiming the other to have descended into heresy.

    3. I didn’t wait for your reply to criticize you. I agree with you on many historical points. And on the points I disagree with you, it is usually only one of degree and not polarity.

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  31. but i have some more doughts…

    * the malankara people accepted the the syrian tradition while the romosyrians were following the latin style…(in 1600ad the uneducated people of malankara were not much bothered about west or east syriac…there was only only one question …whether latin or syrian…
    *in laymans eye i would rather say syromalabar church is getting closer to jacobites in all aspecs…you can say you are reintroducing the east syrian way…
    *the east syrian church is nestorian (influenced in malankara)..so you will follow the same…
    *in laymans way of using puthencoor and pazhayakoor…the pazhayakoor were called roma and the puthencoor were called syrians…i think it was because the kaiveppu the romosyrians received was from latin…then how can it be a legitimate one as per the marthoma nazranis…

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  32. dear john,

    I have seen the same eagle with two heads in kothamangalam marth mariyam palli (1300 years old).

    what is the significance..what it represents

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  33. Dear Jogy,

    The eagle with two heads in an ancient symbol, used by many cultures. With respect to Christianity, it was used in the Orient by the Armenians, and in the East by the Byzantine (Greek Orthodox) Empire.

    It may have had other uses … but I’m curious as to how it ended up in Kerala!

    You can check wikipedia; I believe it has a good article on the two-headed eagle.

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  34. Dear Jogy,

    From what I’ve learned, it appears that although the Pazhayakoor were under Latin bishops for a long time, they retained the basic East Syriac liturgy. But the best source would be an actual Syro-Malabar Catholic: Antony, could you confirm this?

    As Antony mentioned, the Pazhayakoor had a strong distaste for Latin, and so translated everything fed to them by the Latin bishops from Latin into Syriac.

    Some of what you’re saying seems to be reminiscent of standard Puthenkoor storytelling. I think you should surf around this site — we’ve had this debate several times and you can see both sides.

    The basic story is:
    1. we were something (likely a mixture of several communities, including Nestorians and Manichaeans) from the 1st to 12th centuries
    2. we were Nestorians
    3. we were Chaldeans and Nestorians
    4. we were Latinized Syrians
    5. we split into a Latinized Syriac community accepting Latin authority, and a Latinized Syriac community rejecting Latin authority
    6a. the former developed into the modern Syro-Malabar Church
    6b. the latter developed into the modern Orthodox/Jacobite Church, after adopting the West Syriac liturgy and the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch
    7. several other schisms form both communities created the current state of affairs

    This story is pretty much uncontroversial amongst the Syro-Malabar (correct Antony?), “Chaldean” Church of the East, and the Malankara Orthodox.

    The Jacobites do not generally believe it because they claim continuous Jacobite allegiance (unprovable).
    The Mar Thomites do not believe it because they claim some “primitive Christianity” untouched by any doctrine (totally untenable — but what else would you expect from Protestant converts).
    And as for the remaining communities — who really cares about the Malabar Independent Syrian Church or the Syro-Malankara anyways…?!

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  35. yes it is very difficult to get an unbiased historical interpretations…

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  36. Dear John,

    1 Yes, Marthoma l did have a legitimate position not because of Mar Gregorios. It is because of his selection as a leader of Malankara nazrani community. He had been consecrated by laying hands by 12 priests. If you say it is not legitimate then we have to go back to 1st century practices of Christendom or the practice of kahnooso& shimshono or look back to THE BIBLE itself (please read post 8692).

    2 John, what do you mean by a split? Is it when the two factions have comparatively equal (at least 20% of them) number of people? In that case it was not a split. The vast majority sided with Marthoma and the number of Romo-Syrians was under thousand. They are mainly from the family of those so called priests whom are ordained deliberately by Menesis before the DeAmperithana synodo of 1599.Also note the work of Jesuits and Carmelites which helped in creating today’s syro-malabar church.

    3 I know that Syriac is not Aramaic. But how far it differs? When did the linguistic shift started? What was our liturgical language in the first five centuries in malankara? There is a possibility that Malankaranazranies used YACOB’S TAKSA since it was the first one formulated by early church fathers.

    4’’’“patriarch of antiochization”’’’’’ what an avial term! It seems you always propagate an AVIAL history to please every one.

    Dear Thomas Antony,

    1 Malakaranazranies never ruled by Romans as you put forward. Menesis tried hard to control them by visiting their churches. But could not do so because of resistance by the brave Nazranies .Many of the churches rejected to receive him .But he ruled feeble Romosyrians since he was the man who created the Romo-syrians.

    2 At the time of Coonan kurisu sathyam malankara was divided in to many nadukal and many Malankaranazranies never even heard of the oath. Eg. kunnamkulam Nazranies. Now the case was this, how can you say that the majority joined the oath?

    3Jathikku karthavyan/arch deacon is a term invented by western/coe missionaries/prelates for to degrade the position of malakara mooppan. The continuous mental exploitation/propaganda by westerners (Jesuits/Carmelites) forced the malankaranazranies ask for a re- consecration which was otherwise unnecessary.

    4 ‘’’’’’’Regarding the last part of your sentence, (Parambil chandy’s position), I do not want to comment because that does not deserve a reply.’’’’’’ Yes it deserves a replay. Parambil chandy’s position was a substitution.

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  37. Dear Jeevan:

    1. Mar Thoma’s position may have been valid to some Nasranis, but to the broader communion of various Orthodox and Catholic Churches, it was not valid. Our Church does not exist in a vacuum! If so, then anyone could claim his position as legitimate in his own eyes. For example, to the broader Orthodox/Catholic community, the Mar Thomite Church is an illegitimate Church with illegitimate orders that no one regards as being valid (ecumenical kindness notwithstanding). However, they claim some bogus legitimacy based on the fact that they feel they are legitimate and maintain some connection to the first (Orthodox) Mar Thomas. This is unacceptable to Orthodox/Catholic Churches — one must have a valid ordination to be legitimate.

    Mar Gregorios made Mar Thoma’s position legitimate.

    2. Your position on the Romo-Syrian side is questionable, since they are a gigantic 3 million strong community nowadays. Where did they come from then? By all historical books I’ve read, it seems the Nasranis split into two factions. If not, how do you and your alternative history books explain the existence of the Syro Malabar and Chaldean Churches in Kerala?

    3. Re: Mar Yacob (St James) Liturgy. Show me the proof! There is *NO* evidence for *ANY* West Syriac documents in Kerala prior to Mar Gregorios. And even then we were translating the West Syriac Takhsa (even that term is EAST SYRIAC!) into East Syriac, until the 18/19th century. Sure anything is possible, but without evidence *anything* doesn’t belong in a historical discussion.

    4. Re: “patriarch of antiochization” The term is accurate. We (Puthenkoor) shifted allegiance from the Catholicos-Patriarch of Babylon to that of Antioch. And if you’ve noticed my posts, I rarely seem to be able to please anyone.

    5. If you have any historical evidence pertaining to our Church in the old days, please share, and point us to the references. You write interesting stuff, but a lot of it wreaks of the same propaganda I received years ago from Orthodox priests.

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  38. Dear Jogy,

    The only Indian connection with a double-headed eagle is the Mysore Royal family of Wodeyar whose emblem is found: GGPHT

    I doubt that is connected to the Churches you’ve seen the symbol in though…

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  39. Dear John,

    The Pazhayacoor remained in Roman side because

    (1) last part of our pre Diamper period, we were with the Chaldean faction of the East Syrian Church which was in communion with Rome. That was why, even the Puthencoor also used the name of Pope to legitimate things, for eg, even MarGregoriose was received in Kerala as a patriarch sent by Rome !!( Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India)

    (2) as I mentioned earlier, political pressure from Portuguese,

    (3) consecration of Alexander De campo- Parambil Chandy Metran (1663) before the arrival of Antiochian Bishops to help the Mar Thoma I This created two rival factions, one lead by Parambil chandy metran who had legitimate Bishopric and Mar Thoma I who was still waiting for help from Eastern churches, until 1665. This gave Parambil Chandy Metran an early lead.

    (4) Coonan Cross oath was against Jesuits (meelil ee parisha ullidatholam sampaaloor pathiri marude keezhilirikkukayilla- we would not be subject to the jesuits) ( Fr Placid Podipara- Koonan Kurishinu mumbu- Before Coonan cross oath)and hence, to pacify things, Carmelite missionaries arrived on the Roman side which also helped Parambil Chandy Metran.

    Even in Synod of Diamper, the Portuguese could not introduce latin liturgy, they had to satisfy with some modifications to eradicate the so called Nestorian elements. After the Coonan cross oath and the revolt, they became a bit hesitant to continue with latinisations and that might have helped the Pazhayacoor to keep the east Syrian liturgy and rite. I think, later, the new generation of priests and Bishops trained by the Roman Catholic missionaries introduced more latin practices in the Pazhayacoor including translating latin prayers into syriac etc. Still, the SMC continued the Qurbana in Syriac until 1960s. In the last 100+ years, two schools of thought persisted among SMC leaders- one for more east Syriac tradition in a wish to go to pre Diamper period who viewed SMC as an independent Eastern Catholic church rather than the view held by the other group as a simple rite in the Roman catholic church using a separate liturgy and they wished it needs to be in par with the latin liturgy over time. The first group were successful in getting SMC recognised by Rome as a Sui irus church with a head of the church and synod with powers but the second group became stunned about it and they still do not know how to use the new status of the church and the powers of the synod.

    Regarding Nestorianism, even Church of the East had shredded off their nestorianism in the very early period. Now everybody thinks that it was a difference in the interpretation. “the second meeting of Syriac Dialogue was a welcome clarification of the Church of the East’s understanding of the term qnoma: whereas in Syrian Orthodox usage, qnoma corresponds to Greek hypostasis in the Chalcedonian Definition of Faith, for the Church of the East it has a very different sense, corresponding instead in meaning to Greek idiotes, or ‘particularity’ (which explains why the Church of the East speaks of ‘the two Natures and their qnome/particularities’). Unfortunately European scholars have all to often translated qnoma in East Syriac texts as ‘hypostasis’, or even ‘person’, thus giving rise to serious misunderstandings”. ( Syriac dialogue Vienna pro oriente 1996. Ref. Sebastian Broke, The syriac churches and dialogue with catholic church.)

    11 November 1994, the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV, and Pope John Paul II were in a position to issue a Common Declaration of Faith which states,

    “the same God the Word, begotten of His Father before all worlds without beginning
    according to His divinity, was born of a mother without a father in the last times according to His humanity. The humanity to which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth always was that of the Son of God Himself. This is the reason why the Assyrian Church of the East is praying to the Virgin Mary as ‘the Mother of Christ our God and Saviour’. In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as ‘the Mother of God’ and also as ‘the Mother of Christ’. We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety”

    Ref. Sebatian Broke, The Syriac churches and dialogue with catholic church

    Dear Jeevan,

    Your point 1- if the Nasranis were not under Roman Rule, why did the “brave resistant nasaranis” participate in the synod of Diamper and underwent latinisations ? and why a Coonan Cross oath ?

    Your point 2- You may be right , Kunnamkulam nasranis may not have heard about Coonan cross oath, that does not mean that rest of the nasranis were not aware of it.So, what is your point ? majority were not supportive of Coonan cross oath or even Coonan cross oath itself was a myth introduced by the Roman catholic Missionaries or the Church of the East as you argue?

    Your point 3- “Jathikku karthavyan”- means administrator of the caste- even in the current Kerala community, you can understand the status of the General Secretary of Nair service Society and SNDP yogam. Are you going to tell that those posts also were influeced by the Church of the east and European Missionaries ? .Your “malankara mooppan/ elder” title can be interpreted as “jathikku karthavyan”. Please note that the term “malankara Mooppan” appears in Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan’s book,Christianity India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church.. published in 1952 where as the term “jathikku karthavyan” is seen in “Varthamana Pusthakam” written in 1786.

    Your point 4 – what I meant was your denigrating statement does not deserve a reply. Now, what do you mean by parambil chandy metran’s position was a substitute ? He was consecrated as a Bishop before Mar Thoma I.

    Dear Jeevan, we all need to understand that this forum is for the unity of Nasranis. We need to understand and accept each other. I can also accuse so many things about Puthencoors or others but that will only widen our gap. I am sorry to say that you seem to close your eyes onto certain facts and open your eyes widely to certain facts/misrepresentations.We have to look for something in common and discuss those differences and understand each other.

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  40. the catholicos patriarch of babylon was under the patriarch of antioch until 498 ad. ultimately the authority binding the east is the patriarchate of antioch..

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  41. also it is quite funny to see that pazhayakoor remained in the east syriac liturgy. if it was like that why did the assyrians(surai) left them.

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  42. Jogy:

    The Catholicos-Patriarch of Babylon *was* under Antioch. *Was* is a *long* time ago. Incidentally, so were the primates of Armenia and Georgia, but they *all* declared/became independent. Antioch no longer controls *any* of those Sees. In fact, apart from the Jacobites of India, Antioch really controls nothing substantial anymore. Genocides and conversions managed to substantially decimate the Jacobite Church in the Middle East (which is possibly one reason why Antioch is so interested in Kerala…).

    Next, regarding the Pazhayakoor and the East Syriac Liturgy. There is nothing funny there — even in Mesopotamia there is an East Syriac Church of the East that is independent and under their own Catholicos-Patriarch, and another Chaldean Church that is in communion with Rome. Consult the posts by M. Thomas Anthony or Wikipedia to understand how the “Surais” arose in Kerala— it was as a result, ironically, of activity by Chaldean (Catholic) prelates from the Middle East!

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  43. if we were under assyrian nestorics–why the old churches in malankara holds st.marys name.
    what is the concrete evidence to prove it.

    who is the pazhayakoor ,the syromalabar or the nestorais

    when did the parallel patriarchate of rome started..whether it is a legitimate one

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  44. remember that the original patriarchate is an independent one.

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  45. Jogy:

    The Assyrian Church of the East (so-called Nestorians) have the same devotion to St. Mary as the Orthodox and the Catholics. Repeat: their theological position has absolutely *NO* bearing on their reverence of St. Mary. The hymns of Ephraem are as much their tradition as it is the tradition of the West Syriacs. And if you look at the works of Narsai, they liturgies, and their rites you will find the same reverence and love for Mary, the same request for her intercessions, as you will find in any Orthodox/Catholic rite. But don’t take my word for it (and don’t be so lazy!): go to http://www.archive.org where you’ll find copious amounts of material on the East Syriac rite (in English) which you can read for yourself.

    One should not confuse their use of the term Christotokos (Mother of Christ) as an attempt to downplay the significance of St. Mary. The Protestants (as well as ignorant Orthodox/Catholics) use this often to “prove” that the so-called Nestorians were allied to the Protestants in their rejection of Mary’s significance. However, this is due to pure ignorance of the actual facts.

    Jogy, go and study the work of Sebastian Brock who’s done much study of the Syriac tradition. In his introduction to a translation of (the Jacobite) Mar Jacob of Serug’s poetry on St Mary, Brock makes it quite clear that the Assyrians were no less than the Orthodox in their adoration of Mary.

    More to the point: *MANY* Nestorian Churches are in the name of St Mary. Their main cathedral in Trichur and several (if not the majority) of Middle Eastern Churches of the Church of the East are in the name of Marth Mariam.

    If you want proof that we were originally East Syriac Christians (first “Nestorians” and then Chaldeans) you need only consult the SRITE project. Summary: *all* of the old Syriac documents of Kerala are in East Syriac. And most of them are bonafide Nestorian texts. Next: consult the proceedings of the Synod at Diamper. No mention of Jacobites in Kerala, or any other sect other than the “perfidious heretical Nestorian faith”. Next: for the first century after the contact between Kerala and the Jacobites, we were translating their texts into East Syriac! And our liturgy was a hybrid one consisting of Jacobite, Roman and Nestorian components.

    If one wishes to prove Nestorianism in the original Nasrani Church, it is *absolutely* dead simple.

    If one wishes to prove Jacobitism (or any other Christian sect) in the original Nasrani Church, it is virtually impossible.

    Regarding the latter, I’m an expert because I tried quite hard and in vain for a long time. I am Orthodox, and one of my first historical tasks in studying our history was to obtain conclusive proof that my ancestors were Jacobites. I read the BS by the various “scholars” of my Church and of the Jacobites and the Syro-Malankara on the matter — endless attempts to prove that we were Jaocbites by using useless bits of non-evidence and the most moronic theories. I gave up because I couldn’t prove it. Then I looked at our history with a blank slate — no prejudices. And then on assembling the evidence in as objective a way possible (for me), the truth of our Nestorian origins was apparent.

    To answer your question: the Pazhayakoor are *any* Syriac Christians in Kerala of the East Syriac rite. I.e., the *OLD* rite.

    Regarding the parallel Chaldean patriarchate, just go and read wikipedia or this site; no need to ask questions that have already been asked (and re-asked) ad nauseum.

    Regarding legitimacy: there is no point in answering this question in a forum with such a diversity of affiliations. You’ll get nothing but noise.

    Regarding your point on the “original patriarchate” being independent: I have absolutely no clue on what you are trying to say. But it seems like irrelevant noise.

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  46. Dear Jogy,

    Sorry, I am late- busy with work.

    As John has mentioned, all these are discussed several times here. I assume that you are new here and you have missed all those. I will give you a concise account of the origin of the Chaldean Church of Trichur- The Indian diocese of the Assyrian Church of the East.

    In the last part of the Pre Diamper Period, the Nasranis were affiliated to the Chaldean faction of the Church of the East which was in communion to Rome. After the synod of Diamper and Coonan cross oath, both the Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor communities continued the same East Syriac liturgy and traditions but with different affiliations- Pazhayacoor to Patriarch of Rome directly rather than through the Chaldean Patriarch to Rome and Puthencoor later to Patriarch of Antioch. Even though the Puthencoor adopted West Syrian liturgy and affiliation to the Patriarch of Antioch, they also wanted to go back to East Syriac Liturgy.

    The Pazhayacoor community sent several petitions to the Chaldean Patriarch of Babel in communion with the Pope of Rome to send Bishops. But the Portuguese missionaries opposed to it and exerted pressure on the Chaldean Patriarch through Rome not to interfere with the Church in Kerala. A representative group even visited the Chaldean Patriarch in Bagdad under the leadership of Kudakkachira Anthony kathanaar and Thondanattu Anthony kathanaar.When they were even ready to approach the Assyrian Patriarch, the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Joseph Audo consecrated Mar Thomas Rokos as a Bishop for Pazhayacoor in 1860 and sent to Kerala and was received by large mass of Pazhayacoor. By the time, the Portuguese missionaries exerted pressure on the Chaldean Patriarch to withdraw Rokos back and started propaganda against Rokos that he is coming against the wish of the Pope. As many of the Pazhayacoor priests were educated by the missionaries, it was easy for them to win the clergy. Fr. Chavara Kuriakose Elias etc worked hard among the common people against Mar Rokos to win the Pazhayacoor back to the side of the Missionaries.

    At last, the Chaldean Patriarch withdrew Mar Rokos but he refused and thus it became a schism. In 1862, Mar Rokos returned to Iraq. I think, at this point, Thondanattu Anthony kathanaar went to Iraq with Mar Rokos and requested the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Audo to consecrate him as a Bishop but he refused due to the opposition of Rome. He then approached the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Ruwel Shimun in Mosul and got consecrated as a Bishop as Mar Abdisho in Mar Shallitha Cathedrel in Quochanis and returned to Kerala, but he was not accepted by many in Pazhayacoor as he was consecrated by the Assyrian patriarch who was not in communion with the Pope..

    Then due to further requests by Pazhayacoor community, the Chaldean Patriarch sent another Bishop Mar Elias Melus to Kerala in 1874 and Mar Abdisho joined him and became in communion with Rome. The Missionaries opposed Melus also and forced the Chaldean Patriarch to withdraw him also. Melus also refused to obey the patriarch and thus the movement became a schism. Again, with the help of Pazhayacoor clergy who were trained by the Missionaries, they fought with the movement and Nidheerickal Mani kathanaar was in the front of the anti Melus fight and won the community back to the side of the missionaries but a group in Trichur remained with Melus.

    Melus also returned in 1882 but as Mar Abdisho had been consecrated as a Bishop by the Assyrian Patriarch, he then led the movement and they became affiliated to the Assyrian Church but kept the name Chaldean as the original movement was for communion with the Chaldean church.

    I think Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Nidheerickal Mani kathanaar joined the missionaries to prevent a split among the Pazhayacoor which would definitely weaken them and they would loose the bargain power against the missionaries as Nidheerikal Mani kathanaar was a great leader and fighter against the rule by the missionaries and was a promoter of the fraternity with the Chaldean church.

    Ref.
    1 website of the Church of the East in India under nestorian.org
    2 Changanacherry athiroopatha innale, innu, ( History of the arch diocese of Changanacherry)Ed . Jacob Nellikkunnathu,1998

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  47. Dear Thomas Antony,

    1 What do you mean by the rule? When I say Malankaranazranies never had been ruled by Romans I mean they never took orders from Romans .The Romans were not in a position to administer their day to day affairs since Malakara moopan were totally against any infiltration in their temporal matters. It is true that the moopan and some of the kasisas attended the synod but the orders passed by the synod were not acceptable to them. The malakaramoopan acted as the real power centre despite all politics played by the Menesis side. Many times Menesis asked for the audience of the moopan with the help of Portuguese, but he avoided it by leaving the territory where Portuguese had influence .To avoid the influence of Malankara moopan, Menesis directly contacted the individual parishes and tried to exercise the power but he could not do so because of the naïve attitude shown by most of these parishes.

    Latinization-I am not quite aware of the latinization of Malankaranazranies. As far as I know they continued to practice their old customs such as Nombukal,Perunnalukal,Jewish Christian names, Pally architecture, Pally administration(pothuyogam,kudumbapllikal)Practice of jyothisham,Burial practices(40 days pela,shradham),.

    Koonan kurishu sathyam was a sudden outburst against Rome caused by the death of Mar Ahatallah .it was participated by Nazranies in and around Kochi.

    2’’’’’majority were not supportive of Coonan cross oath or even Coonan cross oath itself was a myth introduced by the Roman catholic Missionaries or the Church of the East as you argue?’’’’’I never said this. You are misleading the discussion I said and repeat that koonan kurisu sathyam was attended by a handful of people in and around Kochi. It was not represented by whole of Malankara. There were parishes without any knowledge of this oath for months in malankara.

    3 Again you are misleading the discussion. Malankara moopan is the prime position in kahnooso-shimshono model of Malankara nazrani administrative set up .It has nothing to do with SNDP OR NSS .What I am saying that the western missionaries misunderstood the position called MALANKAR MOOPAN and compared this position with their western model of administration and equated this position to said Arch deacon position (present in their church).This is kind of degrading of position of Malankara moopan. This misunderstanding of position is from the time ofcoe/Portuguese and the Governodor copied it in his Varthamanapusthakam. I am sorry I have no knowledge about Yuhanon Marthoma’s book.

    4 How did Parambil Chandy methran get his position? Every one know that the Dutch captured Kollam in 1661,Kodungaloor in1662and Kochi in1663.Immediately after the capture of Kochi ,the Dutch ordered all foreign priests and monks in their jurisdiction to leave the country. Before leaving the shores of Kochi, Bishop Joseph consecrated Chandy kathanar with the title of Alexander De Campo on February1; 1663.That is why it is a substitution. There is no comparison with Malankara moopan Thomas since he was raised as the head of the church (Nazranies) with the title of Mrthoma I on May 22, 1653.

    5 Yes, Thomas I am for unity. But I am not ready to manipulate history for unity. I consider Rome and Portuguese as a colonial invader, who happened to came across the people called Nazranies when they were in search of resources .They used this people to achieve their objective in this third world. They destroyed most of the historical evidences for their benefit and tried to subjugate this first century church. Unfortunately Rome still continues this policy of subjugation in the east by creating new Patriarchates and Catholicates. The unity is only possible when the Rome changes its position.

    Dear John,

    1 Legitimacy of Marthoma I’s position is not depending on what other churches’ opinion. If you are more concerned with what others think, you might not be able to uphold your position in this world. Today Malankara Nazranies are well recognized in whole world of Christendom .Marthoma church as a part of Malankara nazrani community has its own position in Christendom .I repeat again that the Marthoma I’s legitimacy is not come from Mar Gregarious but from his position as Malankara moopan and kahnooso-shimshono model of Malankara church administration. This practice is from St.Thomas itself (I suppose)

    2 Yes, most of the history books talk about split, but how can there be a split when only a handful of people sided with Rome. In order to understand the situation we need to study some demographics of that time. What was the population of Nazranies at that time? Different sources give different counts on this matter. But everyone is of the opinion that the total population may not exceed two lakhs .That means out of two lakhs, a thousand of them sided with Rome. This was the situation at the time of koonan kurisu sathyam .Now what happened after that? Jesuits and Carmelites started working amongst the Nazranies. But one should remember that they have already started their mission among Hindus .There were conversion from Ezhavas, Parayas&Arayas at that time. The same Portuguese bishops looked after the affaires of these Roman Catholics along with those Romo-syrians under the guidance of Goan arch bishop. These bishops have shown no difference to these new Catholics and tried to unite them under Rome. They tried to promote /imitate the Romo- Syrian culture among these new converts from Hinduism. These people attended the same churches of the Romo- Syrians and followed their dress code and life style .Many of the Romo- Syrians objected but of no use. In order to make this mixing work they reconstructed the churches in roman way and renamed these churches .Roman aim was to create credibility by increasing the number of Romo-syrians by all means.

    At the same time missionaries started to lure the Malakara Nazranies by money, power, position etc. This is apparent in many of the old parishes. If you survey the old parishes, many of the old church belong to Malankaranazranies and the newer ones constructed to accommodate the Romo- Syrians converts. They also started a propaganda campaign of seven St. Thomas built churches in order to create credibility in their action. These actions have increased the number of Romo Syrians considerably. Rev. George Milne Rae put the numbers (approximate) as 330000 for Malankaranazranies and 110000 for Romo-syrians during end of sixteenth century. The conversion has taken a momentum in the seventeenth century and end up in present day position.

    The syro- Malabar church is built on the floor of the separated malankaranazranies by Roman bishops with lots of inputs from ezhavas, parayas&arayas. Today the syro-malabar consists of a large number this new converts and that is why their number is over three million. It is also remembered that a considerable number of the Nazranies are today members of Latin Catholic Church. This is because of the joint administrative set up they had in the beginning.

    Today the population of syro- Malabar church concentrated on the coastal belt or near about areas with few exceptions while the population of malankaranazranies mainly concentrated on the old capitals or market places of Malankara.

    3 I am not rejecting the east Syriac influence in our history. Yes, large phase is known for its predominance. But what about the first five centuries of our history .Which was the liturgy used by us during this period? Please not that the Nestorianism came much later in the church of the east. Theophilus the Indian talk of the correction he did to our church indicate some kind of Arian connection, also need to be considered before jump into conclusions. Analysis on the basis of edicts of Udayamperoor synod will not prove the status of the malankaranazranies (as Nestorians) during the first five centuries. It is also noted that the history does not throw any light on the allegiance of Mar Sabor and Mar Phrot, either to the Maphrianate at Tigris or the Patriarchate at Baghdad.

    4 Can you please specify the’ wreaks of the same propaganda ‘in my postings? I think I give enough logic and reasoning in my posts. Yes, you are welcome to point out if it is otherwise.

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  48. Jeevan:

    Too much to respond to — and I think it takes a Syro-Malabar member with access to their Churches details to give the best response. But two small points:

    You speak of our retaining our Church architecture, etc. What are you talking about? Almost every Nasrani Church is built in the Portuguese style that was imposed in the 16th century. What Church remains that has not been built in some kind of European style? Note the bulk of our “old” Churches all have the standard Portuguese facade.

    You write: “Today Malankara Nazranies are well recognized in whole world of Christendom .Marthoma church as a part of Malankara nazrani community has its own position in Christendom.”

    1. The various churches are “well-recognized” for various reasons. The Syro-Malabar constitute one of the largest groups in the Roman Catholic communion, and maintain an old Syriac rite. The two Orthodox churches constitute large groups in the Oriental orthodox communions and maintain old Syriac rites. And all have been very active. So, yes, we are “well-recognized” — but this is also due to the fact that we are members of bonafide “Christian” communions. We are not lone cults without any connection to the rest of Christianity.

    I note that Mar Thoma Church is *not* at all accepted by any “true” Christian communion. Both the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches rejected the validity of the Marthoma orders, sacraments, etc. They are without any validity in the strictest sense (ecumenical kindness aside, since it is meaningless without acceptance of the actual orders!). The Mar Thoma are indeed a lone cult that just started out of nowhere. The only people who accept them are similar cultists: Protestants, Pentecostals, evangelicals and the rest of the non-Orthodox non-Catholic “innovations” that plague modern western Christianity.

    The rest of what you write has no evidence. It may be “logical” but you are writing new innovative history. If you have actual evidence, show it. Otherwise, you’re just spinning a story. Even a cursory read of the SRITE project will show that before full Antiochization, the Puthenkoor were using a liturgy that contained Roman, Jacobite and Nestorian aspects. The best evidence we have is the Nestorian/Chaldean connection during the 12-15th century, then we were Romanized during the 15-17th centuries, and then slowly Antiochianized during the 18-20th centuries. There is little evidence to prove how we operated and what we believed before that. Some romantics (like me, formerly) like to spin all sorts of stories about Alexandrian-style ordinations, the old Jewish Christian affialization, allegiance to the Jacobite Maphrianate, etc. ALL of these have no evidence at all. None. If you have some, provide it.

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  49. so u think the original faith in malankara was nestorianism. for then how can any one claim to be a st,thomas cristian with out following that.

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  50. Dear All,

    Jeevan has not answered any of my questions directly, instead, he is surfing through it with some twisted stories. He is just writing something without any evidence or reference.
    “The rest of what you write has no evidence. It may be “logical” but you are writing new innovative history. If you have actual evidence, show it. Otherwise, you’re just spinning a story” Thanks John, very correct indeed.

    Even Jeevan has no logic. For example, his argument about the number of SMC that the number of Pazhayacoor were very nominal-(he has an exact figure of 1000 !!) and the current 3.5 million is due to the efforts of missionaries by converting the so called “lower caste Hindus” to the Pazhayacoor is indigestible and ridiculous. You cannot sell this idea to anybody who has at least some knowledge about Christianity in Kerala. We all know that the Portuguese wanted to convert all Syriac Christians to Latin.

    (When there was a conflict with a Portuguese padre called Panteago in 1516 in a Nasrani church at Cranganore, the Portuguese Governor advised the Nasrani representatives that even Hindus, Muslims and Jews all over the world adopt the same faith and rituals and the Christians of Malankara also should adopt the Latin rituals and practices. )(Mundadan, History of Christianity in in India).

    We saw the same attitude in the Synod of Diamper also. THEN WHY WOULD THEY CONVERT MORE PEOPLE TO THE PAZHAYACOOR WHEN THE PAZHZYACOOR WAS STILL USING THE EAST SYRIAC LITURGY AND PRACTICES? The missionaries and the Roman authorities were actually restricting the activity of Pazhayacoor between the two rivers in Kerala- Pampa and Bharathapuzha to contain this “error/pollution”. Those people who move out of this area were not allowed to use the east Syriac liturgy and forced to adopt Latin rite until 1955. So, your theory is unbelievable and not logic.

    All know that the Syriac Christianity in Kerala is/was based on some ethnic feelings also. Even when the Pazhayacoor were administered by Latin Bishops in Latin dioceses, they had a separate administrative set up and separate parishes with different liturgy and practices. Initially, all Syrians including Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor were in Archdiocese of Angamali under Chaldean Bishops- Read about the synod of Angamali in 1583 by Mar Abraham. The Latin missionaries wanted to make Angamali as a suffragan under the Archdiocese of Goa. When Mar Abraham died in 1597, they succeeded in it. . In 1599, Francis Ross was appointed as the Bishop of Angamaly for the whole Mar Thoma Nasranis and made it a safragan diocese of Goa. In 1600, The Angamaly diocese became under Padruado- under the King of Portuguese. In 1608, Angamaly was elevated as arch diocese again and separated from and made equal to the archdiocese of Goa. Later, Ross moved his head quarters to Cranganore and it became the arch diocese of Cranganore.

    In 1624, Stephen Britto became the Archdiocese of Cranganore.
    In 1641, Francis Garcia became the Bishop of Cranganore.
    In 1647, Bishop Garcia appointed a Portuguese priest Fr. Jerome Furtado as the vicar general of Cranganore and downgraded the archdeacon.
    In 1652 Mar Ahatalla in Mylappore.
    In 1653- Coonan Cross oath

    So, until 1653, the whole Syriac Christians were under Latin Bishops. The new converts were called Latin Catholics and they were under the diocese of Cochin.

    After the Coonan Cross oath, the Pazhayacoor were kept under the Cranganoor archdiocese and the Puthencoor under Mar Thoma I Read by recent previous postings about how, large number of Syriac Christians left the Mar Thoma I and joined Parambil Chandy Kathanaar.(post 9626). At that time out of 110 Nasrani parishes, 64 fully and 20 partially accepted Parambil Chandy metran and 26 accepted Mar Thoma-I (A double regime in the Malabar church, Thomas pallippurathu kunnel).

    Jeevan’s quoting of Milne’s numbers is absolutely wrong and he might have meant it as the number of Syriac Christians vs. Latin Christians. So, read the book once again and quote the sentence he used. (I have downloaded his book from archives and going to read it). When the Latin hierarchy was established by Rome, Pazhayacoor were admitted in Verapoly archdiocese with Latins also but the Syriac parishes were separate using east Syriac liturgy and Latin parishes were separate using Latin liturgy with separate vicar general for Syrians. So, even when there was mixing on the top administration, both the communities were separate. BECAUSE OF THIS MIXING, THE PAZHAYZCOOR ACTUALLY LOST SOME OF ITS PEOPLE TO LATIN RITE. SO, OUR NUMBER WOULD HAVE BEEN HIGHER. When Syro Malabar hierarchy was established, the new converts and some of the Syrians who became part of Latin due to mix up were put into the Arch diocese of Verapoly and the Syrians were separated into the vicariates of Kottayam and Trichur.

    Now, I think after he does not have any logic arguments, he is trying to denigrate SMC as lower or lowest caste !! I am not interested in caste. I have never considered myself as upper caste or superior to any other human beings. Now, in the last 10 years, I have been living in a modern world where all humans are considered equal.

    I do not think we Christians would talk about race or caste. “Church is to be seen as a spiritual tradition, not as a mere ‘cultural’ or ‘ethnic’ reality”.( Arch Bishop Joseph Powathil, Clarifications given to the Paper presented by Archbishop Henry D’Souza of Calcutta in the CBCI Meeting held in Tiruchirapalli from 4th to 14 January 1982. Christian Orient (March June 1982) 50-59. )

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  51. Dear Thomas,

    ‘’’’’’’’Jeevan has not answered any of my questions directly; instead, he is surfing through it with some twisted stories. He is just writing something without any evidence or reference’’’’’’’’ Please, please read my post. It contains 5 points addressed to you and 4 points addressed to John. Those 5 points addressed to you are answers to your points raised by you through your post no.9626, right. Now you owe me an apology.

    Now your recent post is an answer (can’t say an answer, it is an emotional outburst) to the point no.2 addressed to John.’’’’’’’’’’ Even Jeevan has no logic. For example, his argument about the number of SMC that the number of Pazhayacoor were very nominal-(he has an exact figure of 1000 !!’’’’’’ once again I request you to read my post without emotions and then react .By that time I will answer to your those points in your emotional outburst. Also please remember I am not a racist.

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  52. Dear Jeevan,

    See my post 9588. I could not find any answers to that in your reply 9603.

    My post 9626

    Your point 1- if the Nasranis were not under Roman Rule, why did the “brave resistant nasaranis” participate in the synod of Diamper and underwent latinisations ? and why a Coonan Cross oath ? Where is the answer ? Read about Synod of Diamper. It was well attended by the Archdeacon, priests and 4 laymen each from each parish. If nasranis were not under Rome why there was a Coonan cross oath ?

    Your point 2- You may be right , Kunnamkulam nasranis may not have heard about Coonan cross oath, that does not mean that rest of the nasranis were not aware of it.So, what is your point ? majority were not supportive of Coonan cross oath or even Coonan cross oath itself was a myth introduced by the Roman catholic Missionaries or the Church of the East as you argue?

    I was asking you what is your point ? Was majority of nasranis supportive of the Coonan cross oath or not ? No answer yet.

    Your point 3- “Jathikku karthavyan”- means administrator of the caste- even in the current Kerala community, you can….

    I said, the Malayalam term was jathukku karthavyan, which may be interpreted as moopan. This is equal to the position of the General secretary of NSS or SNDP yogam.
    You haven’t provided any references about this malanakara moopan. Instead, you are stating something else. I can provide so many references about jathikku karthavyan. Babel patriarch Thimothy I in a letter addresses the archan of India (Mundadan) The term jathikku karthavyan is seen in an ancient document from kothamangalam about Archdeacon ittykuriathu. (J Kollamparambil, The archdeacon of all India).I have found the term Mooppan only in Yuhannon Marthoma’s book but you have admitted that you are not aware of that book.

    Your point 4 – what I meant was your denigrating statement does not deserve a reply. Now, what do you mean by Parambil chandy metran’s position was a substitute ? He was consecrated as a Bishop before Mar Thoma I. We do not know whether Mar Thoma I was consecrated by any Antiochian church Bishops or not as there is a letter found which was written by mar Dionycius stating that none of my predecessors had a legitimate Bishopric and that was why, I received a reconsecration by the Antiochian church bishops in 1772 ( my post 9587)

    In 1663, Parambil Chandy metran was a Bishop but Mar Thoma I was not a bishop and waiting for Antiochian Bishops to come and consecrate him.You are saying he does not need a Bishopric consecration as he is the malankara moopan. But he wanted a Bishopric consecration as he requested many eastern churches for help. You have not produced any references for malankara moopan. Again, he was already the moopan/archdeacon. So what is new ?

    …. then why did he want a Bishopric by laying hands by 12 priests ? Why did he/the community requested other Eastern churches to consecrate him as a Bishop ? (my post 9688) No answer yet, instead, you are putting forward something else.

    Your answer 5-Now, from your post 9895, who is twisting the history ? Any references for your arguments ?

    Your argument about the numbers of pazhyakoor-Thomas Whitehouse in his book “Lingering of light in a dark land-researches into Syrian church of Malabar”, says the number of Romo Syrians were 100, 000, independent Syrians 50,000 and latins 50,000.in 1787. Again, it says 86 parishes with Romosyrians and 30 with Mar Thoma I. In the book “Missionary enterprise in the east” Richard Collins says in 1873, the number of Syrians and romosyrians almost equal. Roulini in 1745 says out of 128 churches, 15 latin and 113 syrian churches, of which 30 are schismatics- Puthencoor- that means 83 pazhayacoors and 30 puthencoors. Du Perron 1758- 31 syrians, 57 Romo Syrians and 20 mixed churches. Mar Dionycius told Buchanan in 1806-“I am the father of 54 churches”.

    George Milne Rae in 1892 says – The relative proportions of the Puthencoor and palayacoor being probably then as now about 3 to 1. He does not think that the proportions have changed over 250 years from Coonen Cross oath period till 1892 which disprove your conversion theory in 17th century. He also admits that the numbers are “may be” as it was not from a trustful source. Whitehouse states-“some strangely exaggerated statements as to the numerical strengths of Syrians in former times having found their way into print, and being repeated by one writer after another…..”

    Edavalickel Philippose Chor Episcopa in his book “Syrian Christians of Malabar “(1869) explains about 84 years of papal rule and describes why Puthencoor is called Puthencoor. He states clearly who are palayacoorcar. This was written in 1869 and there is no conversion theory in it.

    Re – Coonan Cross oath, the same Thomas Whitehouse’s book says “ Their numbers were so great that all could not touch the cross when they took the oath, they tied long ropes to the cross itself and those in distance held some part of the rope as the medium of connection with one another and the sacred symbol, in the sight of which they pledged themselves to united action in defence of their religios rights and liberties”

    You are not answering anything. Every post, you are producing new theories with no supporting evidence or logic

    I am still saying that you close your eyes onto certain facts and open your eyes widely to certain facts/misrepresentations.

    All the books I have quoted above are written by non catholic/anti catholic authors. Many of them came to Kerala and did some research. None of them reported anything supporting your conversion theory.

    You have to remember that when Pazhayacoor had Portuguese missionaries to help(but we were fighting with them), Puthencoor had other- Dutch and British missionaries (as friends) to help and there are quotes in the above mentioned books about increase in the number of churches and number of people with the help of missionaries.

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  53. Jogy:

    You wrote: “so u think the original faith in malankara was nestorianism. for then how can any one claim to be a st,thomas cristian with out following that.”

    My response:

    1. It’s not a matter of whether I think we were Nestorians. All the evidence we have (literary, reports by travelers, the Synod at Diamper, etc.) points to us following “Nestorianism” as of the 15th century. This is not opinion, Jogy. It’s verifiable *fact*.

    2. What is a “St Thomas Christian”? The Church of the East claims Thomas at the progenitor of their Church, since Thomas, and later Adai and Mari supposedly evangelized the Eastern lands (Assyria, Parthia, etc.). The Catholicos-Patriarch of Selucia claims to start from St. Thomas. The Eastern fringe of the Syriac Orthodox Church (Jacobites) also claims to continue the lineage started by St Thomas via the Maphrianate/Catholicate of the East (which was their attempt at “re-establishing” a “canonical” (i.e., Miaphysite Orthodox) line of bishops to serve the Eastern Christians who rejected the teachings of the Church of the East). So by this all East Syriac Christians (Church of East/”Nestorian” and Catholic Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Catholic) are St Thomas Christians, but so also are the Eastern Christians of the West Syriac Rite (the so-called Madhenhoyo Jacobites).

    Now you can also add the hoard of Gnostic and other “cults” that claim to follow the St Thomas tradition too. In fact, “Thomasine traditions” seems to be an attractor for all sorts of “innovators” (… mostly freaks …) who desire to create a version of Christianity that is off the mainstream but still retains the pretense of being “Apostolic”. For example: the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, the “Apostolic Orthodox Church” (check these ridiculous posers out on the net!), and various other groups (often appropriating the term “Nasrani” as well).

    The point: a St Thomas Christian does not imply that one is of the East Syriac rite. The West Syriacs also contain a faction that considers Thomas as their founder.

    But at the end of the day what is a Saint Thomas Christian as distinct from any other group of Catholic/Orthodox Christians? All of us use liturgies and prayers written centuries after the last apostles died. No one maintains the oldest traditions — the Church is an organic entity that has developed considerably over the centuries. There is no specifically Thomasine tradition that is, in any significant way, different from Petrine tradition, or that of any other apostle: in fact there is no Petrine tradition either. Our religion was authored more by the Doctors and Fathers of the Church that existed during the first five centuries than by any apostle.

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  54. Dear Thomas,
    I have arranged this post with your questions first and then my previous answers along with new explanations for your better understanding.

    (I) ‘’’’’’’’’ Your point 1- if the Nasranis were not under Roman Rule, why did the “brave resistant nasaranis” participate in the synod of Diamper and underwent latinisations ? and why a Coonan Cross oath ? Where is the answer ? Read about Synod of Diamper. It was well attended by the Archdeacon, priests and 4 laymen each from each parish. If nasranis were not under Rome why there was a Coonan cross oath ?

    My answer no.1 in post9605’’’’’’’’’’’’’1 Malakaranazranies never ruled by Romans as you put forward. Menesis tried hard to control them by visiting their churches. But could not do so because of resistance by the brave Nazranies .Many of the churches rejected to receive him .But he ruled feeble Romosyrians since he was the man who created the Romo-syrians.’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

    Answer no.2 inpost9895’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’1 What do you mean by the rule? When I say Malankaranazranies never had been ruled by Romans I mean they never took orders from Romans .The Romans were not in a position to administer their day to day affairs since Malakara moopan were totally against any infiltration in their temporal matters. It is true that the moopan and some of the kasisas attended the synod but the orders passed by the synod were not acceptable to them. The malakaramoopan acted as the real power centre despite all politics played by the Menesis side. Many times Menesis asked for the audience of the moopan with the help of Portuguese, but he avoided it by leaving the territory where Portuguese had influence .To avoid the influence of Malankara moopan, Menesis directly contacted the individual parishes and tried to exercise the power but he could not do so because of the naïve attitude shown by most of these parishes.

    Latinization-I am not quite aware of the latinization of Malankaranazranies. As far as I know they continued to practice their old customs such as Nombukal,Perunnalukal,Jewish Christian names, Pally architecture, Pally administration(pothuyogam,kudumbapllikal)Practice of jyothisham,Burial practices(40 days pela,shradham),.

    Koonan kurishu sathyam was a sudden outburst against Rome caused by the death of Mar Ahatallah .it was participated by Nazranies in and around Kochi.’’’’’’’’’IS THIS NOT ANANSWER? I think I have covered all points you mentioned.

    Your new point’’’’’ It was well attended by the Archdeacon, priests and 4 laymen each from each parish.’’’’’please read any book deals with synod of Diamper in detail. Menasis gave priest hood to many people in udayamperoor(38)and kaduthuruthi before the synod (Tissarent:Eastern Christinity).The total number of such priests were closer to hundred .These all new priests attended the synod. This hurried action was to create a falls majority in the synod.(Kralathile nazrani christhianikal by P.V.Mathew)

    (II ) ‘’’’’’’’’’ Your point 2- You may be right , Kunnamkulam nasranis may not have heard about Coonan cross oath, that does not mean that rest of the nasranis were not aware of it.So, what is your point ? majority were not supportive of Coonan cross oath or even Coonan cross oath itself was a myth introduced by the Roman catholic Missionaries or the Church of the East as you argue?
    I was asking you what is your point ? Was majority of nasranis supportive of the Coonan cross oath or not ? No answer yet.’’’’’’’’

    Answer in post9895’’’’’’’ 2majority were not supportive of Coonan cross oath or even Coonan cross oath itself was a myth introduced by the Roman catholic Missionaries or the Church of the East as you argue?’’’’’I never said this. You are misleading the discussion I said and repeat that koonan kurisu sathyam was attended by a handful of people in and around Kochi. It was not represented by whole of Malankara. There were parishes without any knowledge of this oath for months in malankara’’’’’’’’. My point is very clear here. IS THIS NOT AN ANSWER?

    Answer to Your new point ;Yes majority of Nazranies were in support to the koonan kurisu sathyam.

    (III) ‘’’’’’’’ Your point 3- “Jathikku karthavyan”- means administrator of the caste- even in the current Kerala community, you can….
    I said, the Malayalam term was jathukku karthavyan, which may be interpreted as moopan. This is equal to the position of the General secretary of NSS or SNDP yogam.
    You haven’t provided any references about this malanakara moopan. Instead, you are stating something else. I can provide so many references about jathikku karthavyan. Babel patriarch Thimothy I in a letter addresses the archan of India (Mundadan) The term jathikku karthavyan is seen in an ancient document from kothamangalam about Archdeacon ittykuriathu. (J Kollamparambil, The archdeacon of all India).I have found the term Mooppan only in Yuhannon Marthoma’s book but you have admitted that you are not aware of that book.’’’’’’’

    Answer in post no.9895’’’’’’3 Again you are misleading the discussion. Malankara moopan is the prime position in kahnooso-shimshono model of Malankara nazrani administrative set up .It has nothing to do with SNDP OR NSS .What I am saying that the western missionaries misunderstood the position called MALANKAR MOOPAN and compared this position with their western model of administration and equated this position to said Arch deacon position (present in their church).This is kind of degrading of position of Malankara moopan. This misunderstanding of position is from the time ofcoe/Portuguese and the Governodor copied it in his Varthamanapusthakam. I am sorry I have no knowledge about Yuhanon Marthoma’s book.’’’’’’

    It seems you have not understood my answer.the word ‘’‘jathikku karthavyan’’’is derived from sanskrit and the word in Malayalam has later day origin since the modern Malayalam language itself originated during 14 th century period. This means the term jathikku karthavyan is not older than15 th century. In that case this word is a translation of arch deacon and have a later day origin. The term moopan has a dravida origin and a larger antiquity. Now I have a doubt that why is there no syriac word for your arch deacon when all other position have syriac substitution.Is it because of a later day origin of this term. Archan/Achchan is most probably not a short form of arch deacon because the term arch deacon is an English word. The English language itself came with British .More over we have a Malayalam word for arch deacon-Arkadiyokon

    (IV) ‘’’’’’’Your point 4 – what I meant was your denigrating statement does not deserve a reply. Now, what do you mean by Parambil chandy metran’s position was a substitute ? He was consecrated as a Bishop before Mar Thoma I. We do not know whether Mar Thoma I was consecrated by any Antiochian church Bishops or not as there is a letter found which was written by mar Dionycius stating that none of my predecessors had a legitimate Bishopric and that was why, I received a reconsecration by the Antiochian church bishops in 1772 ( my post 9587)’’’’’’’ NOW YOU ARE MIXING THE POST NO.9626&9587 .

    Answer 1in post9895 ‘’’’’’How did Parambil Chandy methran get his position? Every one know that the Dutch captured Kollam in 1661,Kodungaloor in1662and Kochi in1663.Immediately after the capture of Kochi ,the Dutch ordered all foreign priests and monks in their jurisdiction to leave the country. Before leaving the shores of Kochi, Bishop Joseph consecrated Chandy kathanar with the title of Alexander De Campo on February1; 1663.That is why it is a substitution. There is no comparison with Malankara moopan Thomas since he was raised as the head of the church (Nazranies) with the title of Mrthoma I on May 22, 1653’’’’’’’’

    Answer 2 ‘’’’’’’’But knowingly or unknowingly Kariyattil failed to represent the proposal to Rome in right perspective. Rome rejected the proposal. Rome’s proposal was not acceptable to the Valiyamar Divannasiyos and he rejected it out rightly. Before getting any conclusion on this one should analyze it with documentation available. The documentations related with this subject are(1)Varthamanapusthakamby Paremackil Thomman kathanar (2)Manuscripts/copies of letters(3)Niranam Granthavari-which include diaries ofMarthoma VI .many historians produces copies of the letters which said to have been written by Marthoma according to their side. I think these letters have no historical value. But it is interesting to note that the governodor’s book certainly can give some credible information, but unfortunately we get very little Information from this book. It is interesting to note that the kathanar himself give us the information in chapter47 that the book contain the details about the Marthomas letter on chapter(padam)13,14,15( publishers says it is damaged ) .since the situation is this we are left with nothing but to study available documentation .Here comes the importance of work like one conducted(conducting)by ISTVAN PERCZEL. Their initial study suggests that the letters produced(MarthomaVI’s) in different languages have serious differences in content. One should check this difference with related documents such as NIRANAM GRANDHAVARI. Again we have to compare this result with incidence took place after their Rome expedition to get the truth.’’’’’’’I think you understand the answer or read the post in full.(post no.7956 in general talk)

    ‘’’’’’’’then why did he want a Bishopric by laying hands by 12 priests ? Why did he/the community requested other Eastern churches to consecrate him as a Bishop ? (my post 9688) No answer yet, instead, you are putting forward something else’’’’’’’

    ‘’’’’’ Answer in post no.9616: The continuous mental exploitation/propaganda by westerners (Jesuits/Carmelites) forced the malankaranazranies ask for a re- consecration which was otherwise unnecessary. Laying of hands by 12 priests was a practice of early Christendom , which was known to malankaranazranies.’’’’’’
    I think I have cleared my position .The point about conversion will be covered in next post.

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  55. RE: the Jeevan Philip M. Thomas Antony debate

    Is there any point to this debate? Jeevan Philip is obviously deficient in his understanding of our history.

    For example, consider his comment: “Latinization-I am not quite aware of the latinization of Malankaranazranies.” This is well documented! The Puthenkoor used a hybrid liturgy composed of Chaldean, Jacobite *and* Roman portions (ref: SRITE project).

    Next: “As far as I know they continued to practice their old customs such as Nombukal,Perunnalukal,Jewish Christian names, Pally architecture, Pally administration(pothuyogam,kudumbapllikal)Practice of jyothisham,Burial practices(40 days pela,shradham),.”

    More absurdity. Fasts (Nombukal), feasts (Perunnalakul), Old & New Testament names, burial practices are *general* Eastern Christian characteristics! They are not specific to Nasranis. The Romans also have fasts and feasts! Our Pally architecture was Portuguesized back in the 15/17th centuries, and seems to have never recovered. Has Jeeven even seen an old Nasrani Church? They all have the standard Latin facade. And much of what has been built recently is heavily Westernized.

    Jeevan seems to have an affection for third-hand sources of dubious merit. In his earlier posts on the pseudo-Alexandrian connection, I dismissed many of his sources as being of poor quality. Jeevan, why don’t you read some more books, and not just the obvious propaganda you’re citing?

    I think this debate is meaningless, as it is clearly lop-sided: M. T. Antony is much closer to actual fact than Jeevan’s Puthenkoor fantasies. Moreover, no new info is being provided: the same old facts to counter the same old myths.

    By the way Jeevan, you wrote: “Now I have a doubt that why is there no syriac word for your arch deacon when all other position have syriac substitution … More over we have a Malayalam word for arch deacon-Arkadiyokon ”

    Arkadiyacon is *Greek* and not (like most Nasrani terms) Malayalam. The Syriacs use the Greek term as well. This is nothing strange: the Syriacs use other Greek words as well, Christos, episcopos, anaphora, kurieleison, etc., etc.

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  56. Dear John,

    Thanks for your nice words

    1 Is this based on marthomaVI’s liturgical book kept in Piramdom dayara showing interesting blend of Jacobites, Chaldean and Catholic service or you have any other source of information ?Please give source? Before judging on the basis of Marthoma’s book one should at least study the ordeal he went through under Mathootharakan and Paremakkil governodor at Thathampally. He was under house arrest for 32 days and forced to celebrate Qurbano using patheera. Any one with common sense can understand that Catholic/Latin portion of his liturgical book is from that period .It is quite obvious that Marthoma would have copied those portions in order to celebrate Qurbano in Roman way to satisfy Mathootharakan and party. How far it is right if we judge on the basis of this single manuscript? There may be some influence of Latin tradition had existed (like icons in Mulanthuruthy pally for a brief period) in and around Kochi but not as whole in Malankara.

    2’’’’’More absurdity. Fasts (Nombukal), feasts (Perunnalakul), Old & New Testament names, burial practices are *general* Eastern Christian characteristics! They are not specific to Nasranis. The Romans also have fasts and feasts! Our Pally architecture was Portuguesized back in the 15/17th centuries, and seems to have never recovered. Has Jeeven even seen an old Nasrani Church? They all have the standard Latin facade. And much of what has been built recently is heavily Westernized.’’’’’’’’ What absurd are you talking? Did I say that they do not have fasts and feasts? Why do you twist the words? I just wanted to say that Malankaranazranies continued the old fasts and feasts like those one before the arrival of Romans. The Romo Syrians have changed/included more feasts according to the Latin tradition (Feast of St. Sebastian, St. Francis etc.).

    Jewish-christian names: Malankara Nazranies follows the practice of Jewish-Christian names while Romo syriyans have Roman names like Sebastian, Francis etc. (please refer one of your earlier post in which yours self quoted)

    Burial practices :Do the Romo Syrians have practices like 40 days pela (fasting),shraddham ,lighting oil lamp for40 days where the dead body is kept in the home etc.

    Palli administration: Do the Romosyrians have kudumba pallikal or an effective pothuyogam? W ho is the owner of the palli in Romo Syrian tradition (read Joseph pulikunnel)

    Practice of jyothisham: Traditional Malankaranazrani family practice avoidance of rahu and write jathakam etc.

    Pally architecture: Traditional Malankaranazrani palli has four box structures. They are Athivishudha sthalam (madhubaha), Vshudha sthalam (where altar boys stand), Prakaaram (where people stand), &Poomukham. All pallies of malankaranazranies built facing east .Now how many Roman pallies have this kind of structure. First of all they started constructing churches facing any direction. John please go and see the churches at udayamperoor, pala etc. All romo Syrian churches have two box structures i.e.madhubaha (you cannot say it a madhubaha) and prakaram except pre Portuguese ones. Many of the malankaranazrani churches had entrance like temples, but fools in Malankaranazranies forced to change it. Eg.Akaparambu pally. (I don’t know it exist with any other church)

    ‘’’’’’’’Has Jeeven even seen an old Nasrani Church?’’’’’’’’’ No, I live in Tanganica!…….Man; you should go to Kunnamkulam and have a look at Arthat pally!

    3’’’’’’ Arkadiyacon is *Greek* and not (like most Nasrani terms) Malayalam. The Syriacs use the Greek term as well. This is nothing strange: the Syriacs use other Greek words as well, Christos, episcopos, anaphora, kurieleison, etc., etc’’’’’’’’ I agree; I am not a Greek scholar .But my point still exists. The term’’ Arch deacon, Jathikku karthavyan ‘’is an invention of fifteenth century.

    4 ‘’’’’’Jeevan seems to have an affection for third-hand sources of dubious merit. In his earlier posts on the pseudo-Alexandrian connection, I dismissed many of his sources as being of poor quality. Jeevan, why don’t you read some more books, and not just the obvious propaganda you’re citing?
    I think this debate is meaningless, as it is clearly lop-sided: M. T. Antony is much closer to actual fact than Jeevan’s Puthenkoor fantasies. Moreover, no new info is being provided: the same old facts to counter the same old myths.’’’’’’’’’’’ Do I need to answer this, John? When are you going to grow up? Please, please stop judging others.

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  57. Jeevan:

    No problem — the words were well-deserved.

    1. RE: the fact that the Puthenkoor liturgy had Roman and Chaldean portions. I’ll let M. Thomas Antony comment on this. My evidence comes from the Srite project which mentions the books of Mar Dionysius. You write: “Any one with common sense can understand that Catholic/Latin portion of his liturgical book is from that period.” No not so fast Jeevan. In general, Eastern prelates do not have Roman liturgies in their common books, and vice versa. Where did Mar Dionysius learn about the Roman liturgy to be able to perform it? Back in those days, there must have been close enough association between both communities so that the Roman liturgy was known to us in some detail. M. Thomas Antony mentioned that the service books of many Puthenkoor churches (in the old days, before the days of Mar Athanasius and the greater control exerted by the Syriac Orthodox over the Malankara Church) were shared with the Romo-Syrians. Perhaps he can offer some more details.

    2. Your original point then (about fasts and feasts) is null. You said we maintained the old feasts, but don’t deny that the Romo-Syrians too maintained the old feasts (including the Syriac Rogation of the Ninevites feast). What exactly was your point then? Why mention feasts and fasts?

    By the way, just to dispel yet more of your (copious) ignorance: St. Sebastian is not solely a Roman Catholic Saint — he is a general Christian saint.

    Re: burial practices and jyothisham: M. Thomas Antony can respond to this.

    Re: Pally architecture: I agree that the Puthenkoor probably adhered better to the Syriac traditions regarding Church architecture (of course, that is totally void nowadays). Perhaps this is due to the fact that our “leaders” during the 17-19th centuries were actual Syriacs and Nasranis, and not Latins or Latinized Nasranis. But one can’t deny that almost all of our “old” Churches have the Portuguese-style facade. Even Arthat Church has the Latin facade—and Arthat was one of the notable rejectors of Diamper! One of the few Churches of the Puthenkoor that doesn’t have the Portuguese facade is the one in Thiruvithamcode, but it is a rare exception. In general, Western Gothic and Latin styles pervade our old Churches. And the new Churches have no trace of Syriac or Eastern heritage in the external architecture.

    Re: Jewish-Christian names. What are you talking about? You’ve never met a Catholic named Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Mathew, John or Thomas?

    Yes, the Catholics in Kerala also use non-Biblical names like Francis or whatever. But us Puthenkoor (and the Pazhayakoor too) also use names like Kurian (Kuriakose, Cyriac, etc.), George (Varghese, etc.), Andrew and Alexander (Chandy, etc.) which are not Jewish-Christian names. They are Greek names. Your point of Jewish-Christian names is meaningless at any rate: all Christians, eastern and western, use names from the Bible in addition to their own local cultural names.

    3. You say: “But my point still exists. The terms Arch deacon, Jathikku karthavyan is an invention of fifteenth century.”

    I don’t care about the latter term, but the former (Archdeacon) is an actual position in the East Syriac Church (and many old Churches), so I highly doubt that it is an invention of the fifteenth century.

    I’m not interested in further debating this with you Jeevan because you are so drenched in myths and alternative “history” that it is more annoying than edifying to have to engage in a discussion with you.

    Perhaps M. Thomas Antony could provide some more sources (beyond mine, the Srite project) regarding the common liturgical practices of the Puthenkoor and Pazhayakoor in the 16/17th century. Was it Antony that mentioned Mar Andrews (Kallada Bava) stayed in a Pazhayakoor Church for some time? Perhaps this is another indication of the blurry line separating both communities back in the old days?

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  58. Dear John,
    Yes, I do agree. There is no point in discussing these subjects with you since you have not cared to answer or tried to understand them except twisting words or asking Mr. Thomas Antony to explain.

    1‘’’’’in the old days, before the days of Mar Athanasius and the greater control exerted by the Syriac Orthodox over the Malankara Church’’’’’’ Now you are going back to much older days! The church shared many things in early church fathers period. Please do not bring those things for the sake of argument.

    2’’’’’’’’By the way, just to dispel yet more of your (copious) ignorance: St. Sebastian is not solely a Roman Catholic Saint — he is a general Christian saint.’’’’’’ ’Argument for the sake of argument. Malankaranazranies do not celebrate feast in the name of St. Sebastian, St. Augustine etc.

    3’’’’’’ But one can’t deny that almost all of our “old” Churches have the Portuguese-style facade. Even Arthat Church has the Latin façade’’’’’’’ Yes church needs to have walls and roof every where in the world. I have given the level of architecture .Open your eyes and see, that’s all.

    4’’’’’’’’Jewish-Christian names. What are you talking about? You’ve never met a Catholic named Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Mathew, John or Thomas?’’’’’’Again twisting the point! ‘’’’’’’’’’’’’ But us Puthenkoor (and the Pazhayakoor too) also use names like Kurian (Kuriakose, Cyriac, etc.), George (Varghese, etc.), Andrew and Alexander (Chandy, etc.) which are not Jewish-Christian names. They are Greek names.’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’ Jewish-Christian names mean Jewish as well as early Christian names like you stated. Malankaranazranies also use typical Hindu names like Perumal.

    What I understand from your earlier posts that you have a talent in arguing for the sake of arguments. Please read your posts; in many places they are contradicting each other. HISTORY is not reporting references but applying your mind logically with alternate possible evidences like sociological studies, cultural studies, demographics, archeological studies, linguistics etc.

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  59. Project Canterbury
    The Assyrian Church
    By Mr. Athelstan Riley
    A Paper read at the Wolverhampton Church Congress, October, 1887.

    As Christianity gradually spread eastwards from Antioch, the Christians on the borders of Persia began to be known as the “Church of the East,” and their chief bishop, or primate, as the “Catholicos of the East,” who took rank as sixth in the Catholic Church, immediately after the five great Patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. This primate was immediately dependent on the Patriarch of Antioch, by whom he was invested with the dignity of the Catholicate, and this continued until the rise of the Nestorian heresy in the fifth century. In 431, Nestorius and his teaching having been condemned by the third Oecumenical Council (of Ephesus), the Church of the East threw in her lot with the arch-heretic, and was formally cut off from communion with the Catholic Church; shortly afterwards the Catholicos of the East assumed the further title of Patriarch.

    The ecclesiastical discipline–so indispensable to every Church–was perfect. Once a year, or in the case of remote provinces once in five, each Metropolitan was bound to visit the Catholicos at Bagdad, to personally give an account of his stewardship, and to receive the counsels of his Patriarch

    church of the east
    Episcopate of Papa.—Though it extended rapidly elsewhere, the church made little progress in the capital, and there was no bishop there, and only a few Christians, till late in the 3rd cent. In 270 Akha d’Abuh’, bp. of Arbela, joined with others in consecrating Papa to that see, and this man became its first bishop since the days of Mari. In later days legend supplied the names of earlier holders of what had then become a patriarchal throne, and indeed made Akha d’Abuh’ himself one of the series, and told how in a.d. 170 he was recognized by the four “western patriarchs” as the fifth of the band.

    Papa, as by of the capital, soon claimed to be the chief bishop of the church, its catholicos; the claim was favoured by the circumstances of the time, as in his days all the “greater thrones” were obtaining jurisdiction over the lesser sees within their sphere of attraction, and the patriarchates so formed were soon to be recognized at Nicaea. The conditions of melet life also tend to produce some one head, through whom the government can deal with the people. Papa, however, so claimed the honour as to produce irritation, and a council met in 315 to judge his claim. It was very adverse to Papa, who refused in 750anger to bow to its decision. “But is it not written, ‘He that is chief among you . . .’?” said one bishop, Miles of Susa. “You fool, I know that,” cried the catholicos. “Then be judged by the Gospel,” retorted Miles, placing his own copy in the midst. Papa, in fury, struck the book with his fist, exclaiming, “Then speak, Gospel!—speak!” and, smitten with apoplexy or paralysis, fell helpless as he did so. After such a sacrilege and such a portent his condemnation naturally followed, and his archdeacon Shimun bar Saba’i was consecrated in his room.

    diaphysites and monopphysites
    Monophysite Controversy.—The bulk of Persian Christians were Dyophysite in creed, but there was a Monophysite minority, organized under bishops (or a bishop) of their own, and including many monks. This body was recruited by the enormous “captivities” brought from Syria in 540 and 570. In 612 they were strong enough to make a daring and nearly successful attempt to capture the church hierarchy. The patriarchate was then vacant (Chosroes had been so annoyed by the substitution of another Gregory for the Gregory whom he had nominated to that office, that he had refused to allow any election when that man died in 608), and when petition was made for the granting of a patriarch, the Monophysites, whose interest at court was powerful, petitioned for the nomination of a man of their own. They had formidable supporters, for Shirin, the king’s Christian wife, and Gabriel, his doctor, were both of that confession.

    A deputation of Dyophysites came to court to endeavour to secure a patriarch of their own colour, and a most unedifying wrangle over the theological point followed, Chosroes sitting as umpire. Of course, neither side converted the other, but the occasion was important, for from it dates the employment of the Christological formula now used by this church, viz. “two Natures, two ‘Qnumi,’ and one Person in Christ,” the repudiation of the term “Mother of God” as applied to the B.V.M., and the acceptance of the nickname “Nestorian” now given them by the Monophysites. Ultimately the Dyophysites saved themselves from the imposition of a Monophysite patriarch, at the cost of remaining without a leader till the death of Chosroes, and the Monophysites organized a hierarchy of their own.

    During the long wars between Chosroes and Heraclius, and the anarchy that followed in Persia, the ” Nestorian” church has naturally no recorded history, yet at their conclusion it was once more to have formal relations with the patriarchate and church of Constantinople.

    Drift into Separation.— In the year 628 its patriarch, Ishu-yahb II., was sent as ambassador to Constantinople, and he was there asked to explain its faith, and was admitted as orthodox. He was, however, attacked on his return home, on suspicion of having made unlawful concessions, and not all the efforts of men like Khenana and Sahdona could shake the general conviction on each side that “those others” were somehow wrong. The two men named laboured to shew the essential identity, under a verbal difference, of the doctrines of the two churches, but the only visible result was the excommunication of both peacemakers.

    Then the flood of Moslem conquest drifted the two churches apart, and the bulk of organized Monophysitism between them hid each from the other.

    The separation of “Nestorians” from “orthodox” was a gradual process, commenced before 424, and hardly complete before 640. In that period, however, it was completed, and the “church of the East” commenced her marvellous medieval career in avowed schism from her sister of Constantinople. Whether her doctrine, then or at any time, was what the word “Nestorian” means to us, and what is the theological status of a church which accepts Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon, but rejects Ephesus, are separate and difficult questions. [MONOPHYSITISM; NESTORIUS (3).]

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  60. catholic encyclopedia on western rite-

    The Syrian Catholics use the same rite as the Jacobites. But (as is the case with most Eastern Rite Catholic Churches) it is better organized with them. There is not much that can be called Romanizing in their books; but they have the advantage of well-arranged, well-edited, and well-printed books. All the great students of the West-Syrian Rite (the Assemani, Renaudot, etc.) have been Catholic.. The lessons only are in Arabic. It was inevitable that the Syrian Liturgies, coming from Monophysite sources, should be examined at Rome before they are allowed to Syrian Catholics.

    The West-Syrian Rite has also been used at intervals by sections of the (schismatical) Malabar Church. Namely, as the Malabar Christians at various times made approaches to the Jacobite Patriarch or received. Most of Malabar has now returned to the Nestorian communion; but there are still Jacobite communities using this rite among them.
    The rite used by the Jacobite sect in Syria and by the Catholic Syrians is in its origin simply the old rite of Antioch in the Syriac language.

    The oldest Jacobite Liturgy extant is the one ascribed (as in its Greek form) to St. James. It is in the dialect of Edessa

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  61. As for the 12th century, there is an authoritative record now safely maintained at Cambridge University, which clearly indicates the ties of Malankara Church with that of the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch in the period. This is the Bible written in Estrangela script during the time of the great Patriarch Michael (1199). This book, which was in Malankara from the 13th century, was presented to Dr. Claudius Buchannan, one of the earliest protestant missionaries who came to Kerala in 1807, by the then Malankara Metropolitan Mor Dionysius the Great. It contained special Gospel portions for reading on the feasts of the Mother of God and the Gospel readings for the Holy Mass on Saturdays in lent. There are in the notes contained in the book, very respectful references to Mor Sevarios, the famous Patriarch of Antioch. All these would show that this book was not Nestorian because they do not venerate Mor Sevarios, nor do they call St. Mary as Mother of God.

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  62. RE: the Buchanan Bible and the 13th century

    Fact: Yes, the Buchanan Bible is most likely a Jacobite Bible.
    Fact: Yes, it does appear it was written in the 12th century.

    However, there is no evidence to support that it was in Malankara from the 13th century.

    Like most (if not all) West Syriac documents in Kerala, it might have been brought to Malankara in the 17th century (or after) when the Syriac Orthodox prelates started to come to Kerala.

    There is no evidence (correct me if I’m wrong) that suggests the Buchanan Bible was in Kerala pre-17th century.

    Try again Jogy …

    (By the way, we also have a copy of Bar Hebraeus’ canon of Church Law in Kerala, written shortly after Bar Hebraues’ death in the 13th century. But that doesn’t prove anything either — it was, by all indications, brought to Kerala by one of the Syriac Fathers who came to help the Puthenkoor in the 17th+ century).

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  63. Mr. John Mathew,
    what a pathetic answer from u ..alas…
    you cant reject it man….how ever u try hard….

    trust the words of Dionusios the great ….he told buchanan that this bible is with us from ancient times ..by saying this he was telling with pride that malankara naranis were having bible from ancient times. okay you may reject this saying he was a jacobite man…

    //There is no evidence (correct me if I’m wrong) that suggests the Buchanan Bible was in Kerala pre-17th century.?//

    this is quite a nonsense question…. can u prove st.thomas visited kerala….u can’t prove it. the see of the persian catholicate extended up to afganistan itself shows that st.thomas preached there during the time of gudnpher.. can u prove st.thomas came to kerala with solid concrete evidence?

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  64. Jogy:

    Detach your emotions and biases for a moment, and try to think, if you can.

    I am not anti-Jacobite — I *am* Jacobite/Orthodox. However, I reject propaganda from *any* group/historian, if it flies in the face of provable facts. Myths are nice for feeling good about one’s Church, but they don’t satisfy the urge for history.

    I don’t care about whether St Thomas came to Kerala. I’m more interested in getting a defensible history of the Nasranis. Yes, a *defensible* one — one that has solid justification that I can put to a critical historian to establish that our history is in fact history and not myth.

    And for this, the most logical reasonable place to start is now (2009) and go backwards. Why? Because it’s easier. It’s too hard to start at Thomas and move forward—there’s 1500 years of basically dark ages from the supposed 52 AD arrival up to the Portuguese (except for a scattering of anecdotal evidence).

    So starting now, and going back we find plenty of evidence for the idea that we were first East Syrians, and then after the 17th century, the West Syriac rite arrived. There is *no* evidence that the West Syriac rite existed in Kerala before the 17th century. Or can you provide some proper evidence, and not b.s. posted on a propaganda site?

    RE: the Persian crosses. There is nothing about the inscription that is definitively Jacobite or Nestorian. So to try to prove pre-17th century Jacobitism in Malankara due to the Persian Cross inscriptions is fruitless.

    RE: Mar Dionysius and the Bible. Mar Dionysius was not a historian, and did not have the tools for history. He was centuries separated from the Bible he possessed. He could claim all he want, but it does not produce evidence that will convince a historian. He may have been true, or false. I don’t know—but it does not make for evidence. Most historians and scholars believe that, like all West Syriac docs in Kerala, the Buchanan Bible just arrived with the other treasures that the West SYriac fathers brought in the 17th century and later. And there is nothing in the Buchanan Bible per se that indicates it was written in KErala, or when exactly it was brought to Kerala. It could have been brought in the 12th, or it could have been brought in the 17th. There is *nothing* to establish which. So relying on either is fruitless in establishing a defensible history.

    I am not “pro-East Syriac”. The East SYriac origin theory is the only properly defensible theory. The West SYriac origin theory is only accepted by *one* community in Kerala—pro-Patriarch Orthodox (Jacobites). Personally, I don’t care about the Bava/Methran fight. But I do care about history, and I have a strong (almost hateful) aversion for any attempt to distort history for political means—even if my own side is doing it.

    If you lack the capacity for logic, reason, and lack an appreciation for provable history (versus mythical stories and fairy tales), that’s fine for you. But some of us here want evidence so when we run our mouths we don’t look like imbeciles when an actual historian critiques us.

    Now, calm down, forget your biases, and actually think (with whatever menial mental faculties you may possess) about this:
    how does the existence of a 12th century West SYriac Bible in Malankara prove that Malankara had relations with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate in the 12th century? (This, if you can understand what you read and write, is what the author whom you *copied* is actually saying. Utterly moronic.)

    To make it simpler for you, since you obviously need help, consider this:
    does the fact that ancient Mesopotamian documents are preserved in museums and homes in the US prove that ancient Mesopotamians were in the US? No. There is another plausible answer: that the documents were written in Mesopotamia in ancient times, and then brought to the US at a later date.

    That latter explanation is simpler, defensible, and probably accurate.

    We can apply a similar argument to the Buchanan Bible issue. And since there is *NO* other evidence of West Syriac connections in KErala prior to the 17th century, it satisfies Occam’s razor too—i.e., it is the *simplest* explanation.

    I was corresponding with Istvan Perzcel a while back, because I was looking for documentary evidence of West Syriac literature in Kerala from ancient times (back then I was sick of the unconvincing Jacobite propaganda I was reading and wanted hard evidence to definitively *prove* that we were originally Jacobites and not Nestorians—ah, my good old naive days!). And he told me that based on his research, the earliest West Syriac docs come from the post-17th century. He also mentioned that the earliest Puthenkoor copies of West Syriac rite material was copied in the East Syriac script! So it appears that based on current available evidence there is *NOTHING* to prove that we had West Syriac origins, when we consider the literary evidence. What’s left then?

    Jogy, I’ve written quite a bit to respond to your ridiculous posts. You falsely claim that I haven’t (e.g., you mention my “pathetic” answer). This leads me to suspect that you either have diminished intellectual capacities, or that you are illiterate (the latter seems apparent, considering the manner in which you “write”, if one can call your posts “writing”). I suggest you learn a little more about logic, history, evidence, and reading comprehension. It would help to ensure you stop looking like a plagiarizing fool with nothing but propaganda to contribute (like another person who posts noise on this forum).

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  65. RE: the Persian crosses. There is nothing about the inscription that is definitively Jacobite or Nestorian. So to try to prove pre-17th century Jacobitism in Malankara due to the Persian Cross inscriptions is fruitless.

    Mr. John mathew,

    I dont care whether u are jacobite or orthodox but i mind what you say.
    i noted that u are simlpy writing rhetorics rather than analysing things.
    for sure u are not a good scientist in history since u are pre occupied.and not ready to analyse every thing possible. I thought that u were a learned man…sorry…i am leaving…

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  66. Jogy:

    Note: I am not the admin of this site; I’m only one person who posts to it.

    Next, it’s obvious that you either can’t read, or can’t analyze. If either of the two capacities existed in you, you would not claim that I am merely writing rhetoric without analysis—my posts are immensely logical, at the very least. My only fault is an extreme form of conservatism: that is, I, unlike you and some others, do not entertain fairy tales, unless they have proof or evidence. I demand proof before I’m going to accept anything. You seem to demand nothing other than an aesthetically-pleasing story. Good for you; perhaps when you graduate from the primary school that is your mind, you will eventually learn to start *critically* examining facts, and rejecting stories that have no proof.

    Also note that while there are several possibilities that *may* explain events of the past, only a select few of those possibilities are historically *defensible* using actual *evidence*. Science is about *pruning* the tree of possibilities to include only those leaves that have empirical evidence. *EVIDENCE* is the key. *Anything* may be possible, that is without doubt. But history (and most disciplines) is not about the possible, it is about what *is*. Don’t worry — one day, you may become sufficiently enlightened as to be able to comprehend this. Until then …

    You have posted certain “possible” explanations. However, the grounding for those possibilities are far less solid than the grounding for other possibilities—this is why the actual history books on this subject (i.e., those that are by scholars and not by apologists or mental children, such as yourself) speak about the “Nestorian” or East Syriac origins of the Christians of St. Thomas in Kerala (or the “Nasranis” as we call them). This position has *copious* evidence to support it.

    Again: the basic summary of what I’m saying, simplified so that you can understand it without much taxing of your limited intellect:
    1. *Anything* is possible, but only *some things* actually occurred.
    2. In order to determine the latter, one must look for which possibilities have solid, objective, incontrovertible evidence.

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  67. The above discussions have prompted me to make a premature post here since it has substantiated an understanding which I have been pondering for some time.

    Often we boastfully say that the land of Malabar had trade and other connections with many west Asian and Middle Eastern peoples. We have even dug up gold coins from the time of Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar (Octavian). Throughout the A.D. period (church period) several traders, visitors, conquerors and tourists came here and some of them even wrote accounts of what they experienced.

    Yet, when we discuss on the church heritage of East versus West we sink suddenly to a very myopic outlook.

    For example, an East apologist tends to say to the effect, “Yes, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks etc came here from ancient times but NO bishops from Rome, Antioch, Alexandria etc ever came here”!!!

    At the same time a West apologist tends to say to the effect, “Yes, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks etc came here from ancient times and the bishops who came from East were under the jurisdiction of Rome/Antioch”!!!

    Ah, no one cares for the facts except regurgitating worn out propagandas!

    I do not get surprised when historians from all groups say that bishops from their parent churches in Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople etc visited here in ancient times. Yes, many visitors and tourists came here on friendly visit. That is not impossible to believe.

    But………whether they had administrative/jurisdictional authority on the Malabar Syriac Christians…………. That is the million dollar question.

    [For the time being I am letting the history I read to sink into my mind (I am comparatively new to the detailed church history) before starting to analyze it objectively.]

    There is still debate going on whether the COE was an offshoot of Antioch and whether COE was under the “understood” authority of Antioch. It is even possible (I am not sure) that initially COE had some administrative connection with Antioch.

    However, the historical references I read showed me that when the COE had friendly administrative relations with Malabar Christians, the latter were NOT under the “direct” or “indirect” rule from Antioch or Rome!

    Consider this, there was a time when Julius Caesar from Italy conquered and ruled Britannia. After 1.5 millennia the Britannia conquered and ruled India for several centuries. Will it be politically correct to say that India was “indirectly” under the rule of Italy through Britain?! (Even the Italians will be surprised to learn this).

    Why do I say this?

    The Latin Bishop Alexander Menesis had tremendous patience and perseverance. He traveled widely all over Malabar visiting local kings and the Syrian churches. He was kicked out from some of the churches. Still he insisted on visiting all the churches in his effort to call up a magnificent Synod.

    Menesis after all his visits write the following decree in 1599 Action VIII (Of the Reformation of Church Affairs) 29th Decree:

    Whereas ALMOST ALL the churches of this Diocess are WITHOUT PICTURES, which was the effect of their being governed by Nestorian Hereticks, who do not allow of the healthful use of sacred images; therefore the synod doth command,…………shall be to set up some images,…………….., if the church has any side-altars, they shall also have images set up in them,”

    Since Menesis wrote the above decree after an extensive visits to “almost all” churches of Malabar, it becomes very clear that the Malabar Church was an out and out Nestorian (without the negative connotation) church under the COE without any direct or indirect administrative/jurisdictional authority EXCEPT occasional friendly visits from different places.

    But history shows that Antioch had icons and Rome had both icons and statues from ancient times!

    Again, I could be wrong. Knowledgeable oppositions are sought to test the above.

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  68. Dear Joseph George:

    RE: icons. Yes, that’s one of the many elements that indicates an East Syriac connection. However, there are some outliers—ref. the NSC articles on the Kerala mural traditions showing that the Churches at Cheppad, Angamale, and maybe some others do have images in the alters.

    My question is: were those Churches in fact built before the connections with the icon-friendly Roman Catholic and Syriac Orthodox Churches? If so, were the *murals* painted before the RC/Orthodox arrival? If *not*, then perhaps they were due to the iconographication instigated by the R.C. and Orthodox clerics in the 16th and later centuries.

    If so — something is fishy … or perhaps, our people being so far off from Mesopotamia, were allowed some local “variation”…

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  69. Dear joseph george,

    you may cosider the following…
    1)the church of antioch established an eastern catholicate in tikrit when nestorian schism arised,to protect orthodoxy and to administer the othodoxy in the east.

    2) regarding iconography..the syrian churches donot have a tradition of using icons on the altar.(both eastern and western) .

    3)the nestorians crosses from right to left. is this reported by menesis the magnificient…?

    4) the nestorian churches have only one altar..but the syrian orthodox churches have a main altar and two sub altars.

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  70. on what basis you claim/brand the unique crosses found in kerala and mylapore as persian/marthoma/nestorian cross…any evidence to prove this branding?

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  71. Jogy:

    Why the term “Persian cross”?

    Simple: the inscriptions are in PAHLAVI, a Persian language.

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  72. Regarding Jogy’s response to Joseph George:

    2. “regarding iconography..the syrian churches donot have a tradition of using icons on the altar.(both eastern and western) .”

    Yet, the Orthodox Churches at Cheppad and Palliakara and Angamale are drenched in murals, some behind the altar facing the people.

    4. “the nestorian churches have only one altar..but the syrian orthodox churches have a main altar and two sub altars. ”

    Obviously not: see “Ref 9a.136 One of the 15 altars in the chapel.” at page “http://inculturation.chi.ac.uk/viewcat.cfm?subCatId=81″.

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  73. dear john mathew,
    your answer is partial;
    it is better to be branded as assyrian cross rather than calling it a persian cross. why do people brand it as a marthoma cross?simly because it is found in mylapore?

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  74. Iconography in Church of the East was lost by the negative influence of Islam. If you look into the ancient Mesopotemia, they had a very rich and beautiful culture of pictures and sculptures. The East Syriac church might have had iconography etc before Islam. The Indian church was not under Islamic persecution and that will explain why we had iconography in our ancient churches. I have heard that when the Portuguese rebuilt our ancient churches, in one of them, they could not destroy the madbaha and hence they kept the original in and built the new one in front of it. William Darlymple’s BBC programme “The Doubting Thomas” clearly shows a church in Kerala with new altar covering the ancient one just behind it with Indianised icons ! As John has commented (post 10739), it may be a local variation as the murals show Indian iconography.

    The three altar- “madbaha” and “thronoses” seen in old churches in Kerala are seen in Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor churches. Could they be something imported by the Portuguese ? Many churches in the Europe also has the same structure. The Syriac Orthodox churches in Kerala might have got that during their period under Latin rule. What is the situation in the Syriac Orthodox churches in the middle east ? If they also have the same, then this may be from Greek influence on both Roman and Orthodox churches ?

    Re Jogy’s comment about the Eastern Catholicate in Tikrit. Actually, the Jacobites in Persia are conversions from East Syriac church by the missionaries from the church of Antioch due to the condemnation of the accused Nestorianism. “AD 540- monophysite revival of Syria and the east by Jacob Baradaeus (c 500-578), appointed missionary bishop of Edessa, organises west Syrian Jacobite church, becomes monophysite apostle to Asia for 35 years (c 542-578).(Ref. “World Christian trends ad 30- ad 2200”, David Barrat, Todd M Johnson,Christopher Guidry) The East Syriac church used the East Syriac liturgy- anaphora of Addai and Mari from the very beginning. If the Catholicate established by the Church of Antioch continued using the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, we could have concluded that they are a group just wanted to continue the allegiance with the church of Antioch, against the decision of independence by the CoE. But that was not the case.

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  75. Jogy:

    The name Persian, I think, comes from the fact that the language, Pahlavi, is a Persian language, not an Assyrian one. Of course, the Assyrians in the Persian Empire used Pahlavi for many centuries.

    I think the cross is an “Assyrian” one — that is, it was a product of the Syriac Church — but the term Assyrian is contentious even amongst Syriacs. Some Syriacs call themselves Arameans (since Syriac is actually the language of the Aramean people, and not the original language of the Assyrians), while others call themselves Arameans.

    As for why it’s called a “Mar Thoma Cross” or a “Nasrani Menorah” I don’t know. I doubt the latter two terms have any justifiable historical basis… so I just call it a Persian cross due to the Pahlavi written on it (and I think most conservative scholars agree in that respect).

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  76. Dear thomas antony,
    //The Pazhayacoor remained in Roman side because

    (1) last part of our pre Diamper period, we were with the Chaldean faction of the East Syrian Church which was in communion with Rome. That was why, even the Puthencoor also used the name of Pope to legitimate things, for eg, even MarGregoriose was received in Kerala as a patriarch sent by Rome !!( Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India) // by thomas antony.

    your explanation is not straight forward.the uniate chaldean church was formed in 1551 and by this short time it is not possible to convert the nestorians present in malankara to the uniate caldean church. this is a twisting to show the kerala christians had a connection with rome from ancient times.

    it is not the syromalabar but the assyrian church in kerala is the pazhayakoor. why syro malabalar church stood with the latins is because of the force from the latin metran. and forsure the bishop chandy ordained by the latin metran cannot claim the lineage of syrian christians in kerala.the syrian christians only accepted the syrian metrans and their kaiveppu…thats why the putherkoors accepted any metran from middle east. since accepting the latin kaiveppu , how can u claim a east syrian tradition?

    the people in malankara were under forced latin rule for 50 years…thats why the Puthencoor also used the name of Pope to legitimate things..the bad remainings of the latins among syrians….

    please see this,
    By all accounts the Chaldean church came into existence in 1551 because of a dispute in the Assyrian “Church of the East”, the dissidents formed a separate church under the leadership of Yohanna (John) Sulaga, a monk of Rabban Hormizd located 30 miles north of Nineveh. This church was recognized by the Roman Catholic church and was later called Chaldean.

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  77. Hah! Here we go again with the Chaldean vs Nestorian thing … perhaps we should generate a FAQ so that the same old facts don’t need repeating or defending.

    1. The fact that the Kerala Nasranis were originally of the Church of the East (so called “Nestorians”) isn’t really disputed by anyone who has any grasp of the evidence.

    2. Next, that we were associated with the Chaldeans (i.e., Catholics) at around the time of the coming of the Portuguese shouldn’t be disputed either. Check out: http://www.srite.de/ where Dr. Perczel pieces together a detailed sketch of our history based on documentary/literary evidence. It seems that the schism in the East Syriac Church in West Asia did percolate over to Malabar—that is, prelates of both factions visited and administered us during that contentious time. And it seems that the last East Syriac bishops to administer us were Chaldean, if not initially, at least eventually.

    3. Now, whether Mar Ahatallah and Mar Gregorios claimed to come in the name of the Pope of Rome, or the Pope of Alexandria or the Patriarch of Antioch or the Patriarch of Babylon (either of them) is unclear. (Although, I think the former was a Nestorian/Chaldean; that latter most definitely was Syriac Orthodox/Jacobite, so I doubt he came in the name of anyone other than the Patriarch of Antioch—that’s what logic dictates, at least.) Catholic writers assert a pro-Roman view, while Orthodox writers assert a non-Roman view. Do we have the original documents that prove either view? No. So let’s stop conjecturing … For every Joseph Thekkedathu we also have a David Daniel who will show a purported pro-Antioch/pro-Oriental history. As far as I can see, nothing certain exists.

    4. Did the Puthenkoor indeed use the name of the Pope of Rome to legitimatize things? I don’t know — is there incontrovertible, non-partisan evidence for this?

    5. Jogy states “by this short time it is not possible to convert the nestorians present in malankara to the uniate caldean church.”

    Sure you’re right, in a sense. However some clarification:
    a) Were the Christians of Malabar even homogeneous (i.e., was “conversion” of all the Nestorians even needed)? I don’t think so. From the proceedings of the Synod of Diamper, it is clear that the Christians were scattered, with the outlying groups often ill-served by the prelates and clerics (in fact, I admire the Latins for at least trying to *help* us in ensuring all Christians were properly served the sacaements). Plus, some of us were East Syriac, others were probably Manichaean, and some others were something else entirely (check out Whitehouse, for his description of an outlier community in Kayamkulam that eventually merged with the Hindus in the 17/18 century).

    b) Was there any functional difference between the Chaldeans and the Nestorians? No, not really. A few words here and there. And since our people probably didn’t know much Syriac, they probably didn’t notice the substitutions (if there were substitutions— perhaps the Archdeacons and the parishes close by, made some mods, but I doubt the outliers even got the news).

    And in general, if we can take Bar Hebraeus’ word for it (he was an undeniable scholar, after all), there’s very little difference, essentially, between the Jacobites, Nestorians and the Catholics.

    c) Did our people even care about theological differences? I doubt it! The ease with which our people have gone from Nestorian to Chaldean to Latin to Jacobite to Protestant to Evangelical to whatever should easily demonstrate that our people have very little knowledge or concern for theoretical nuances…
    This is unfortunate, in general (due to the last two transformations), but true.

    So, yes, Jogy, you’re probably right. A fullscale conversion of the Nasranis probably didn’t occur in a visible way … but that’s because we were scattered far and wide. It is certain, however, that the Administrative Center of our Church in Angamaly did sway from Nestorian to Chaldean. See the Srite site, or just read the bio of the last few East Syriac bishops. I think all sides agree that the evidence suggests that they were, undeniably, Chaldean.

    Lastly, Jogy writes regarding the Chaldean affiliation: “this is a twisting to show the kerala christians had a connection with rome from ancient times.”

    I don’t see how our Chaldean affiliation in the 15/16th century can be used to show that we were in communion with Rome from ancient times. After all, to admit that we were Chaldeans in the 15th, one must also admit that we were Nestorians a century (and more) before. And the Nestorians were certainly *not* in communion with Rome since the council of Ephesus. Yes, there were some Patriarchs that expressed a desire to regain communion with the five old Patriarchs — but by the same token, there were also anti-Patriarchs in the other Patriarchates that accepted various other heresies. The main fact is that the main line of Patriarchs of the East (Babylon, etc.) were not in communion with Rome until the 15/16th centuries.

    (Let’s not talk about who is legitimate or not since there’s no objective, non-partisan answer. Oh wait, there is: I believe the Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Church of the East all accept the validity of each other’s vital orders. So in that sense, all are legitimate (although, none are in communion with each other). On the other hand, the Protestants and universally held to be illegitimate, in terms of the validity of their orders…).

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  78. Dear Jogy,

    “your explanation is not straight forward.the uniate chaldean church was formed in 1551 and by this short time it is not possible to convert the nestorians present in malankara to the uniate caldean church. this is a twisting to show the kerala christians had a connection with rome from ancient times.”

    Has anyone claimed that Kerala Christians had a connection with Rome from ancient times ?

    All we have discussed here is- Kerala Christians had connections with the Church of the east from ancient times, later after the split in the CoE in 1552, we had Chaldean uniate connections, after the Synod of Diamper, the Kerala Syrian christians were under latin Roman catholic Bishops, after the Coonan cross oath and its aftermaths, the community split into two, one kept the connection with the Roman catholic church but fighting with the Portuguese missionaries and kept the old liturgy- east syriac liturgy- and practices with some modifications from the synod of diamper and the other continued the old east syriac liturgy modified in the synod of diamper and practices but were gradually forced to adopt a new liturgy- west syriac liturgy of the church of Antioch.

    If you read the official web site of the Indian Orthodox Church, you can read the same as above.

    Re. who is Pazhayacoor- we had a lot of discussion about this. I think the most important certificate of who is Pazhayacoor is of Edavalickel Philippose cor episcopa, (the cathanar of great church of kottayam, travancoore).- in the book The Syrian Christians of Malabar, Philippoose cor episcopa was questioned by Rev Howard clearly, why the other party is called palayacoor and your party is called Puthencoor. This discussion was in 1869 and hence it is more authentic.

    You are talking about Nestorians. I think it is incorrect to state as Nestorians.I think I have discussed this issue here before.The accusation of Nestorianism seems to be a misinterpretation of ideas in a multiplex of languages. Nestorius was considered by the Church of the East as a representative of diophysite Christological tradition who was unfairly condemned at the council of Ephesus in AD 431. For Oriental Orthodox, Nestorius was an arch heretic who divided Christ and taught that there were two separate sons, the son of God and the son of Mary.

    Prof Sebastian Broke in his paper, writes “As a result, one important outcome of the second meeting of Syriac Dialogue was a welcome clarification of the Church of the East’s understanding of the term qnoma: whereas in Syrian Orthodox usage, qnoma corresponds to Greek hypostasis in the Chalcedonian Definition of Faith, for the Church of the East it has a very different sense, corresponding instead in meaning to Greek idiotes, or ‘particularity’ (which explains why the Church of the East speaks of ‘the two Natures and their qnome/particularities’). Unfortunately European scholars have all too often translated qnoma in East Syriac texts as ‘hypostasis’, or even ‘person’, thus giving rise to serious misunderstandings”. ( Syriac dialogue Vienna pro oriente 1996. Ref. Sebastian Broke, The syriac churches and dialogue with catholic church.)( I have quoted the above paragraph before also in this forum).

    The Church of the East did not take part in the synod of Ephesus because they had declared independence from the Western Communion in the synod of Persia in AD 424 itself and due to the political situation where the Persian empire and Bysentine empire were in opposition.

    Collins and Kendal write in a paper-“ It has often been called ‘Nestorian’, a name the Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV has expressly asked not to be used because of various negative overtones that name has come to imply. The appellation refers to
    the Council of Ephesus in 431, which condemned Nestorius (then Patriarch
    of Constantinople), insisted on the unity of Christ as one divine
    acting subject and proclaimed Mary as Theotokos or Mother of God.
    Although the isolation of the Assyrian Church of the East from the rest
    of Christianity is often represented as going back to that date, hostility
    between Rome and Persia was more decisive than the Council of Ephesus
    in isolating the Church of the East from the Western communion. A Persian
    synod of 424 had already made a kind of declaration of independence
    from the West; and the Persian Church simply did not participate
    in the conciliar business of the fifth and sixth centuries”. (Overcoming Christological differences- Collins and Kendal Heythorpe journal vol 34 issue 3)

    Modern research has discovered a book written by Nestorius, known as the Book of Heracleides,(Bazzar of heraclides- extracted and edited from manuscripts as Liber Heraclides, P Bedjan, Paris 1910) in which he explicitly denies the heresy for which he was condemned. Rather, he affirms of Christ that “the same one is twofold,” an expression not unlike the orthodox formulation of the Council of Chalcedon (451). This points to the high degree of misunderstanding which characterized the entire controversy.( H Griffith Elwell Evangelical Dictionary, http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/nestoria.htm).

    Whether Nestorius was wrong or the actual Nestorius was not that was interpreted by others or not, the actual Christology of the Church of the East was written by Babai the Great (551-628) which is clearly distinct from the accusations directed on Nestorius. In his book, ‘Book of the Union’, Babai the Great teaches that the two qnome (essences, or hypostases) are unmingled but everlastingly united in the one parsopa (personality) of Christ.( Wikipedia article about the Church of the East)

    According to some interpretations, the origin of this belief is mostly historical and linguistic: for example, the Greeks had two words for ‘person’, which translated poorly into Syriac, and the meanings of these terms were not even quite settled during Nestorius’s lifetime.(Wikipedia- Nestorianism)

    Was Malabar Nasranis, Nestorians ? Jonas Thaliath- The Synod of Diamper-quotes a letter by Fr Dionycio in 1570 in which he writes about Nasranis- these people accepts nicean creed, holy trinity and their equality, single personality and dual natures in Jesus, agree the Pope of Rome as the head of church and believe Babel Patriarch receives his authority from the Pope.( Quoted from Changanacherry athiroopatha innale, innu, Ed.Jacob Nellikkunnath,1998)

    Malabar Nasranis were accused as Nestorians by all the foreign churches came here to conquer her- The Portuguese Roman Catholic, The Antiochian church, The British, the Dutch etc.They all wanted to purify the Nasranis. The Synod of Diamper, the conversion to the West Syriac rite of Antiochian church, reformation etc.

    So, the CoE in 1552 was not Nestorian, and there might have not much difference between CoE and the Chaldean uniates.
    (Chaldeans were not as latinised as Syro Malabar. Even with much latinisations in Syro Malabar, even today, in Syro Malabar Qurbana, you cannot find the word “Christ”. Every where it is “The Lord” and “Iso Mshiha”. So, if the Chaldeans were not latinised as SMC, you may not find much difference from the CoE.)

    Again, John has stated about the Chaldean uniate connections. Also read the article about Jordana of Dom Alexis…. And the discussions under it.

    You are talking about kaiveppu and tradition and lineage. It is so complicated. You will never get an answer. Everybody can tell that we are real lineage and tradition, but no one is real. Latin kaiveppu comes from Peter, ( Church of Rome)west syriac kaiveppu also comes from Peter. ( Church of Antioch).

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  79. “Malabar Nasranis were accused as Nestorians by all the foreign churches came here to conquer her- The Portuguese Roman Catholic, The Antiochian church, The British, the Dutch etc.”

    Oh come on! … You can’t seriously include the Antiochian Church as a group that came to Malabar to “conquer” the Malabar Church. They didn’t come here except at the request of a faction of the Malabar Nasranis. And they didn’t conquer or force the Puthenkoor to do anything. The Puthenkoor seems to have willingly gone to the West Syriac rite. Unless you have some evidence to suggest that the Puthenkoor were forced to the West Syriac rite?

    Unlike the Portuguese, the British or the Dutch, the West Syriacs were not imperialists, or colonizers. They weren’t even missionaries. They were just plain old Assyrian/Aramean Christians — monks, bishops, and a few Catholicoi/Maphrians.

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  80. dear john,
    your obsevation is in the right and unbiased way.why puthencoors went to the west syriac is to be noted.
    the tradition was the acceptance of the syrian metrans from the middle east.it may be from alexandria/antioch/constantinople but not from rome since it was a western one. the kerala christians were tortured by the latin metrans to accept the rome.but the syrians didnot ever accepted the latin kaiveppu as genuine as per their tradition.in retaliation the rome played a clever powerplay propaganda saying that the the syrian bishop has not a valid kaiveppu. many of the surians returned to the latin faction believing this.there arised a need for a proper kaiveppu. either west or east it doesnt matter at all since all are syrians.

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  81. Jogy:

    I don’t think there was ever any rejection of the validity of Roman ordinations — this was not the reason for the Puthenkoor going to the West Syriac Patriarchate. We were essentially Romans for about a century, and we continued to use Roman elements in our rites, Church decorations, status/icons, etc., for quite a while. So I doubt we, all of a sudden, viewed the Romans to be heretics with an invalid Apostolic succession. Even to this day, the Romans, Greeks, and Orientals view each other as having valid succession, and valid orders.

    I think it was simply a matter of wanting Syriac/Oriental leaders, not Portuguese ones.

    Let’s not exaggerate things … Did the Latin authorities really torture the Nasranis? I doubt it. I know I’ve heard this many times before, but I think it is just propaganda. If the Latin bishops engaged in torture and other vile tactics, then I doubt the majority of the community would remain with the Latins when an alternative arose (first the West Syriac arrival, and then the Roccos/Melus split). Moreover, I doubt our Hindu kings would have allowed such physical aggression against their subjects.

    And when you write “western” you’re also not being very accurate: all of them, the Churches of Babylon, Edessa, Antioch, Alexandra, Constantinople, and Rome are to the West of India. And physically, they all probably looked the same to us too — i.e., white!

    FYI: I don’t there’s any record of us going to Constaninople. They were Chalcedonians, after all — and hence not congruent to Oriental Christianity. There probably isn’t any record of Alexandrian connections either …

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  82. Dear John,

    I am happy to withdraw the word “conquer” with respect to the Church of Antioch, but, read the following paragraphs from the official website of Indian orthodox church-www.malankaraorthodoxchuch.in

    “From 1665 under Mar Thoma I a relationship with the west Syrian Patriarchate was established when there arrived at their request a certain Gregorios. Again in 1685 two bishops of that persuasion came. From 1751 also present three bishops from there. These West Syrian bishops’ presence was helpful to preserve and strengthen the Malankara Orthodox Church’s desire for Syrian identity and internal freedom as an Indian church against the encounters of the Roman Catholicism Romanization. But, on the other hand, this relation in the cause of time became harmful to that church similar like that had happened during the Portuguese period through Roman Catholicism. That church since 1653, which was continuing in East Syrian ecclesiastical qualities was damaged and taken over to the West Syrianization through the presence and actions of the West Syrian bishops. Moreover, the West Syrian Patriarch seeing the plightful condition of this church tried, several times to have control over it like papacy, especially in church jurisdiction thus endangering its desire to preserve national freedom and administrative independence. But till 1876 the leaders of this Indian church was able to desist all such attempts. As the result from time to time there were divisions, quarrels etc. Therefore, the West Syrian connection of Malankara Orthodox Churches did not help much the latter to develop and strengthen as a free church in Kerala with its own national identity. The West Syrian church too due to its centuries oppressed conditions under Muslim rule had lost appropriate vision of Christianity. Hence all the troubles in their relation with the Indian Orthodox church.”

    “As the Portuguese had done in 1599 by extracting submission to Rome from the Indian church the West Syrian Patriarch from the beginning of the Indian Church’s relationship with him desired similar submission of the Indian church to him”

    “When Mar Thoma V refused a rival metran was consecrated against him getting a group of supporters from the adherents of Mar Thoma V. In 1772 the appointment of Thozhiyoor metran secretly by Gregorios was another attempt in the same direction”. (History is repeating- similar to consecration of Parambil Chandy metran)

    Synod at Mulanthuruthy in 1876.-(repetition of synod of Diamper!)

    “The Synod of Mulanthuruthy was an important milestone in the history of the Orthodox St.Thomas Christian in the 19th Century. This Synod represents inauguration of an official relationship of a section of the Orthodox with the patriarch of the West Syrian Church. This Synod was called and Presided over by Patriarch Peter IV of the West Syrian Church. 103 churches of the Orthodox presented there but the churches followed Athanasius did not participate saying that this Patriarch has no right. So the Synod was the meeting exclusively that of the Dionysian party.
    The Synod decided to adhere closely, with the West Syrian doctrinal, liturgical and Church disciplinary norms. And resolved a registered deed to be executed in this regard and presented to the Patriarch declaring the official adherence of this Indian section with the Patriarch accepting his jurisdictional claims. But unfortunately this registered deed was not executed and given to the Patriarch although the patriarch expected that would take place soon. Knowing that he was deceived thoroughly by Dionysius V he reacted as he desired. He consecrated 6 bishops of his own accord himself without the consent of the church or of Dionysius V, taking from each of them registered deed, to ensure and strengthen but also over their dioceses. Indeed it was these new bishops formally and systematically not only West Syrianized their dioceses but also stabilized the jurisdictional claims of the Patriarch thereafter. Dionysius V was ignored by the Patriarch seeing that he was a threat and was against his plans regard to the Indian Church. Thus patriarch Peter organizing an independent hierarchy of his own in the Dionysian followers he left to Syria.”

    The effects of the Synod of Mulanthuruthy.

    “One, the faith, liturgy, episcopacy, church polity, church disciplines etc. of the Orthodox of India were became or were carried away to that of the West Syrian Church. Two, the church administration became like that of the West Syrian Church. Three, the patriarchal supremacy, was enforced upon the Orthodox of India. Four, the patriarch did not desire to strengthen Dionysius V, whom had invited him to India. But tried to weaken him and to degrade his status as Malankara Metropolitan. Five, by rescinding the royal proclamation in favour of Athanasius, by calling the Synod of Mulanthuruthy and enacting resolutions therein, by consecrating bishops and dividing the Church as dioceses, etc the patriarch made it clear that he, indeed, was the head of the Orthodox in India. Moreover, this church thereafter was forced to believe that it was to help Dionysius the Patriarch did all those things. Indeed the patriarchal Supremacy was well established by all those actions. Dionysius was placed in dilaphidated and voiceless state. Six, it could not been seen anything done either by the patriarch or by the Synod of the Mulanthuruthy to heal the divisions between the reform groups and their opponents. The creators of all such divisions were the actions of the West Syrian Patriarchs from time to time. He tried his best to exploit the pathetic situation and those who relied on him were cleverly brought under his supremacy and those who opposed were banished. Thus creating sad situations and exploiting the divisive condition thereby found in the church he stabilized his power. The reform group as well as their opponents were responsible to this. Seven, the impact of the Synod of the Mulanthuruthy and that of the judgement of the Royal Court were highly disastrous on the sense of history of the St.Thomas Christians in India. These held at one stroke that the St.Thomas Christians from ancient times were under the West Syrian Patriarch whether this could be substantial or not was not the concern there neither of the patriarch nor that of the representatives present in the Mulanthuruthy Synod or that of the reform group. Because of the patriarchal support to them both to Athanasius and later on Dionysius to they blindly distorted their own history. Moreover, even in the 20th century since then the Orthodox had to remain in darkness about the fact and figures of their own ancient church in India. What they were forced to maintain was a few myths and useless things about their own past and about their connection with the Patriarch. As the result the Orthodox and the reform party themselves had tried to distort and ignore their own history. Together with these that Indian Church deteriorated to a miserable condition of knowing not what it was in the past. No church anywhere else around the Globe had undergone such a painful plight due to the deliberate and unwise actions of their own”.

    This looks very similar to the Synod of Diamper. See how the treated Mar Dionycius just similar to the portuguese treated the Archdeacon.

    Again, Thomas Whitehouse in “Lingering light in a dark land- page 225-226” explains the import of three Jacobite churchmen by Mar Thoma IV promising to pay 4000 rupees to the Dutch to help them as an offering from the faithful. The Dutch undertook the task, and on 23/04/1751, three Jacobite bishops Basilius, Gregory and John arrived with two Syrian priests.
    “These churchmen from Syria were received with great pomp, and had large expectations, but when, by and by, the question of payment was mooted, the native bishop then living, Mar Thomas VII, refused to incur their cost of their expedition, because they after all, declined to consecrate him though this was the chief inducement in sending for them, and had virtually set him aside, though the acknowledged head of the Syrian community in Malabar……..
    …The Syrian narrative frequently referred to the three bishops who came in Malabar in 1751, tells us that in the space of nineteen years after their arrival, there were disputes about different things about them and the Syrians.

    This narration from 1873 also proves that the relation of Puthencoor with the Church of Antioch was very stormy and they refused to consecrate Puthencoor Bishops before embracing the West Syriac rite. The community and leaders were not happy for this and hence they refused to pay the money. Does this prove that west syriacisation was against the will of the community and its leaders? Then can’t I say that it was forceful and they conquered the community?

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  83. Dear All,

    Thanks for the responses to my fledgling thoughts on COE.

    Even before I started out about this “no pictures” stand of the COE, I too had the same doubts about the murals! So I read a third time Admin’s article on Murals. But it does not say since exactly when we had murals. We have possibilities that these are 2 or 4 or 10 or 15 centuries old yet we are not sure.

    And here is my astonishment. When Menesis wrote that decree after extensive visits of Malabar churches, he does NOT have any doubt about what he wrote; that “almost all” churches in Malabar “do not have pictures” (by this he meant icons and statues, the traditional objects for veneration)!!!

    The question is which one is more authentic; the possibilities or Menesis’ first hand account (I am just thinking loudly).

    Is it because he did not care about murals because the murals ‘generally” were never objects of veneration? (Even the Jerusalem Temple among the most orthodox Jews who were not supposed to venerate or worship any man made things, according to Bible, had sculptures and figures of angels and other things). Was he only mentioning about icons and statues, the conventional objects of veneration? Or was he telling lies?

    Or could it be that the church buildings were really old but the murals were made after the influence of the western forces? The article on murals talks about depiction of European soldiers, wars of Tipu Sultan, some western style murals, similarity of Vatican’s Sistine Chapel etc.

    What I meant was that the church building could be really old but the mural paintings were not ancient. What immediately comes to my mind is the wailing wall of Jerusalem. The wall is said to be older than 2000 years. But in the photos I can see certain shrubs growing on the wall which could not be older than 100 years!

    Again, the article also talks about certain renovation on the Malabar churches during the Portuguese times. For example, here is a quote on Mar Sabor church, “The present Church is only a replacement or perhaps an enlargement of the ancient structure”.

    Also M Thomas Antony says in his post under the same article, “In Kerala, MOST of the ancient churches were RENOVATED by the Portuguese to PURIFY from Nestorianism. Even, churches under the Puthencoor were also under Roman church for about 100 years and ALL were RENOVATED TO MATCH with the Portuguese norms” (emphasis added by me).

    Lastly, we need to carefully remember that the efforts of the Portuguese to Latinize everything did not start in 1599 with the Synod! It started exactly 100 years before in 1498, ever since Vasco de Gama came here. In fact the Synod of Diamper was in final phase of the Portuguese efforts!

    So, many things can happen in these 100 long years.

    One more fact; even the Chaldean side of the COE had a very minimum influence of iconography from the Latin world in the 16th century and we used to receive bishops from this side also immediately prior to the Synod period. So murals could be a partial result in this period from a combined effect of the Portuguese-Chaldean influence?

    Dear JOHN MATHEW,

    The above are some of my reasoning on your queries. It seems that we need a thorough historical research on this. Also I thank you for answering Jogy on my behalf.

    Dear JOGY MATHEW,

    Since John has answered you I have no comments from my side. Since you did not defend your side (icons on altar and 1 / 3 altars) in your subsequent post (post 10754) I believe you agree with his statements!

    Dear M THOMAS ANTONY,

    You said, “The East Syriac church might have had iconography etc before Islam”.

    That is a big “MIGHT HAVE HAD”! I think logically the reverse is the fact. A rolling stone gradually collects weight! Christianity started out as a “simple” (hence the wrong term “primitive” by modern church historians) sect of Orthodox Judaism with strong dislike for icons and statues. You do not find any of these things in the Acts of the Apostles. (Sorry, a correction, you do find them in the Acts but that is among the pagan Greek societies).

    I read in the net somewhere that even the minimum iconography among the Chaldean East Church in the M.E. started only in the 16th century.

    You also said, “If you look into the ancient Mesopotemia, they had a very rich and beautiful culture of pictures and sculptures”.

    Not only ancient Mesopotamia, most of the world cultures like Egypt, Greece, India etc have all these.

    But these things did not creep into Orthodox Judaism, the starting point of Christianity something which obviously astonished scholars of ancient history.

    However, my point is not about the theological aspects of the iconography of the Church. What I pointed out was the historical fact that the lack of icons and statues in the Malabar church shows clearly that the pre-1498 Nasrani church was neither under the direct/indirect control of Antioch (as the Orthodox “historians” claim) nor under the direct/indirect control of Rome (as the Latin “historians” claim) WITHOUT denying the fact that many friendly people came here and stayed for visit from several Patriarchate churches.

    [Dear Thomas Antony, I have another doubt. Please bear with me. Islam spread very fast throughout in the Middle East and Persia. How come they abolished iconography from COE only and not from other eastern churches like Antiochian church?]

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  84. Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    We both know that reading “official” Church histories is a fool’s game — i.e., each Church in Kerala has it’s own political position, and historical accounts by each Church are severely colored by these positions.

    The Malankara Orthodox Church wants to maintain this concept of a national Church, an autocephalous Indian Church. We both know that this is a novel idea — i.e., even prior to the 16th century, we were not a national, autocephalous Church, but rather a metropolitanate of the East Syriac Church. There’s not even any evidence that we even had our own (i.e., local, Nasrani) bishops, just a *mere* archdeacon. I guess the Christians in Bombay (Kalyan) and Patna and China had it better with their own bishops (maybe).

    At any rate, the MOC has a vested interest in presenting our Church as a truly independent one, but subjugated by various “foreign” colonialists throughout it’s history. To that end, their newer histories tend to vilify the West Syrians, painting them as similar to the Portuguese (since, invoking the Portuguese/Roman Catholics seems to induce a negative reaction in most Puthenkoor). So I wouldn’t take their history at face value at all. It is propaganda (the inverse propaganda to what Mr. Jogy Mathew has reported).

    The early Syriac clerics who came to Kerala (Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, Mar Ivanios, and the two Maphrians Mar Baselios Yeldho and Mar Baselios Shalkrullah) were not imperialists at all. At least there’s no evidence that they were imperialists, since there was no conflict that surrounded their arrival.
    They consecrated many native bishops in Kerala (the Mar Thoma I-… line were all consecrated by them).
    And slowly, West Syriacization happened. Not as an ominous revolutionary step, but as a sequence of small steps, slowly over two centuries. The East Syriac rite is missing many things that the West Syriac rite has (since the West Syriac is a blend of the early proto-Syriac rite that is common to both the West and East Syriacs, plus some Byzantine and Jerusalem Greek stuff), such as certain sacraments, Hail Mary, and many post-Ephesan developments. So the West Syriac clerics and the Puthenkoor backfilled our rite to include the missing elements. And slowly as the influence from the W.S. continued, more and more was changed and morphed over.

    By the time of the Synod at Mavelikara and Mulanthuruthy, however, the situation was grossly different. Protestantism infected the Puthenkoor due to the Dutch and British “assistance” and the Puthenkoor made the mistake of asking the Patriarch to come, and essentially take over to purge Protestantism and reestablish Orthodoxy. This was the beginning of many problems. If you want to say that the W.S. conquered the Puthenkoor in the 19th century, that would be more accurate—but even then, since when is it conquest when party X takes over party Y at the *request* of party Y???

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  85. Dear Joseph George:

    I would say Meneses’ account is probably more accurate than the boasting of various Church historians!

    Which is unfortunate, because I was really hoping that those old murals in our Churches were something from ancient times and not just post-Latin post-Jacobite additions.

    Although, one article pertaining to the Cheppad Church claims that archeologists have dated the murals to 600 years. However, without a proper citation, I guess we can’t give that must credence.

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  86. dear joseph george,
    //However, my point is not about the theological aspects of the iconography of the Church. What I pointed out was the historical fact that the lack of icons and statues in the Malabar church shows clearly that the pre-1498 Nasrani church was neither under the direct/indirect control of Antioch (as the Orthodox “historians” claim) nor under the direct/indirect control of Rome (as the Latin “historians” claim) WITHOUT denying the fact that many friendly people came here and stayed for visit from several Patriarchate churches.//

    your opinion may be correct wrt rome but u cant say that wrt to antioch at least up to 400 AD. the catholicate was started by babai around this time and the names added before that are all legendary figures.and also see when the east and west rites formed. we can roughly say like this..

    from AD 52—AD 700—THE FAITH WAS EASTERN ORTHODOX(NON CALCEDONIAN)
    AD700-1550——-EASTERN NESTORIAN(NON CALCEDONIAN)
    AD 1550-1650— LATIN CATHOLIC FAITH(CALCEDONIAN)
    AD 1650 ONWARDS—-1) LATINISED SYRIANS OWING ALLEGIANCE TO THE UNIATE CALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SEPERATED FROM THE ANCIENT CALDEAN CHURCH IN 1550.

    2)THE LATINISED SYRIANS REVOLTED AGAINST THE LATINS AND FOLLOWED THE EAST SYRIAC TRADITION FROM TIKRIT(ORTHODOX FAITH)..LATER TURNED WEST SYRIAC OWING ALLEGEANCE TO THE SYRIAN ORTHODOX(JACOBA) OF ANTIOCH.
    3) LATER SOME FACTION FROM THE PUTENCOORS REPUDIATED IT AND FORMED INDEPENDENT MARTHOMA CHURCH.(A HYBRID FAITH OF ORTHODOXY AND PROTESTANT)
    4) A BISHOP LEFT THE ORTHODOX FAITH AND JOINED CATHOLIC FAITH CALLED MALANKARA SYRIAN(ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH)
    5)A GROUP FROM PAZHAYAKOOR REVOLTED AGAIST THE LATINISATION AND OWED ALLEGIANCE TO THE EAST SYRIAC NESTORIAN PATRIARCH( ANCIENT CALDEAN CHURCH OF THE EAST–NESTORIAN)

    NOW WE CAN SEE WHY THE THE PAZHAKOORS ARE CALLED SO AND PUTHEKOORS ARE CALLED SO.

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  87. dear joseph george,
    the altars ,menesis found is a matter to count. for sure there was no roman inflence before the portuguese came..why did nestorians built it? it is reasonable to think that it was a orthodox church.in othodox churches (syrian orthodox also) there is a practice of munninmel kurbana which is a unique one.

    dear john mathew,
    2. Next, that we were associated with the Chaldeans (i.e., Catholics) at around the time of the coming of the Portuguese shouldn’t be disputed either. // your posting..10836

    hoe can u say this? before the coming of portuguese we were nestorians..then how can be become catholic? more over after the coming of portuguese there are evidences of the arrival and deport of caldean bishops. a meagre uniate catholic church formed by a metran from the ancient caldean church in 1550 canot claim the lineage or the works of nestorian church in malabar. it may be a friendly visit to kerala as you say many jacobites monks and metrans visited kerala.its nothing more than that.

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  88. dear thomas antony,

    This narration from 1873 also proves that the relation of Puthencoor with the Church of Antioch was very stormy and they refused to consecrate Puthencoor Bishops before embracing the West Syriac rite. The community and leaders were not happy for this and hence they refused to pay the money. Does this prove that west syriacisation was against the will of the community and its leaders? Then can’t I say that it was forceful and they conquered the community?// by thomas antony.

    the one you quoted is not from a trusted source.(from indian othodox church) these things are the creations of the indian orthodox church to claim auto cephaly and the affirm the st.thomas throne
    theory.
    you are awere of the church fued in puthencoors(bava and metran)_.view these under this context.

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  89. Dear Jogy:

    You write: “before the coming of portuguese we were nestorians..then how can be become catholic?”

    The schism in the East Syriac Church was reflected in Malabar since *both* factions from the Middle East sent representatives to Kerala. It is a fact that the last bishops from the East Syriac tradition to arrive and administer the affairs in Kerala belonged to the Chaldean (i.e., Catholic East Syriac) Church. That is a fact.

    As for your attempt at writing history above: you are confused and have no idea of what you are talking about. The Eastern Orthodox *are* Chalcedonian. They were united with the Roman Catholics upto the 11th century, when the Church of Rome added some new doctrines (Papal Primacy, Filoque, etc.) that the conservative Church of Constantinople (and it’s allies) promptly rejected.

    The Oriental Orthodox Churches are non-Chalcedonian.

    The “Nestorians” are non-Ephesan.

    The Orthodox Church of Tikrit is *NOT* East Syriac. It is West Syriac. The Maphrianate/Catholicate of the East (Mosul, Tikrit, etc.) was West Syriac. One knows this because the 12th century books of Bar Hebraeus are in existance and we can see what liturgy he used. You can go and download this and read it to gain some more, much-needed, knowledge.

    You write some more absurd garbage with:
    “a meagre uniate catholic church formed by a metran from the ancient caldean church in 1550 canot claim the lineage or the works of nestorian church in malabar. it may be a friendly visit to kerala as you say many jacobites monks and metrans visited kerala.its nothing more than that.”

    1. That “meagre” Church is now the *majority* Church that uses the East Syriac liturgy! (The canonical non-Ephesan East Syriac Church of the East is a mere fragment of what it used to be.)

    2. It was not a friendly visit. They were made metropolitans of the Church in India, and administered it with the archdeacons. I bet the archdeacons probably didn’t even know or care about the schism in West Asia.

    3. Stop trying to write history. a) You’re bad at it, possessing only a faint knowledge of the facts. b) You have too much bias; you are obviously anti-Catholic and have great difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that we were Chaldean and then Roman for about 200 years. Get over it: it happened, and there’s nothing wrong with it. If anything the major problem that the Puthenkoor must purge is it’s closeness to Protestants (including the Mar Thomites), not Catholics, since the Protestants faith is actually heterodox, while the Catholics are more or less (from our perspective) canonical (despite their penchant for innovations).

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  90. I think Jogy’s understanding of History has some problems as John has several times mentioned. See his posting 10880.
    He is completely confused in between orthodox, Nestorian and Church of the East. I do not know whether he knows the difference between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental orthodox. He thinks that CoE is Eastern Orthodox ! See his timeline-
    AD 52-700- eastern Orthodox !! Eastern Orthodoxy was evolved in post 1000AD. I think he meant it as CoE
    AD 700-1550- eastern Nestorian !! There was no Eastern Nestorianism. CoE was accused nestorianism in AD 430 period. After the Period of Babai the Great, (ad 551-628)one cannot accuse CoE as Nestorian.
    1550-1650- latin catholic faith- we have never followed latin catholic faith.

    Shall I rewrite it like this ?

    AD 52- AD 1552- CoE
    AD 1552 onwards- CoE to Chaldean patriarcate-Jurisdiction under Rome
    AD 1563- Under latin rule/administration but East Syriac rite Roman Jurisdiction
    AD 1599 Pazhayacoor status quo , Puthencoor- self rule with East syriac rite.
    AD 1772 Puthencoor West syriac rite, Connection with the Church of Antioch
    AD 1876 Puthencoor under the jurisdiction of Church of Antioch- Synod of Mulanthuruthy
    AD1896- Pazhayacoor self administration and East Syriac rite.

    Again, you must understand the CoE Patriarcates switched their allegiance to Rome and back while the original Patriarcate joined Chaldean at the end ! So, all the so called CoE present today whether it is in India or Persia, was under the jurisdiction of Rome at some period.

    Re. my quote about the relation with the Church of Antioch, I have quoted the IOC and also Thomas Whitehouse (who visited Kerala, visited almost every nasrani churches and interviewed so many people and wrote his book) His account is more trustworthy. There were problems with the relations with the church of Antioch. That will explain why Mar Thoma VI had to be reconsecrated with a different name. Mar Thoma VII also wanted to be reconsecrated and he even approached Mar Gabriel, the CoE Bishop when he was dying at Kottayam ( as per Thomas Whitehouse’s book)

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  91. Dear Joseph George,

    I was not contradicting you. Nobody knows whether CoE had iconography before islam or not. I got that information from a Chaldean website where they are explaining why they do not have church art.

    “Unlike the Byzantine, Roman and Coptic Churches, the Chaldean Church has no distinctive liturgical arts traditions in decorating its churches, but borrows heavily from the Byzantine and Roman traditions. The Assyrian Christians, however, eschew all representational art in their churches, possibly under the negative influence of Islam.” http://www.byzantines.net/epiphany/chaldean.htm

    This is their own explanation.

    Re murals in Keralan churches, at least there are two references to me to say that there were murals before Portuguese interventions.
    1 verbal account from my mother that one of the churches she know- Kuravilangadu or Ramapuram, where the Portuguese could not destroy the old altar where they made the new one just in front of the old, where the old one is also seen with murals.
    2 William Darlymple’s BBC documentary- “The Doubting Thomas”, he shows a church with a new altar covering an old one where Indianised murals behind the new altar..

    I may be wrong as I have not seen any of these but I have the video of the documentary.

    This may an Indian variation as John has commented.

    “Christian Inculturation In India” by Paul Collins,says that “the church decorations by wall paintings were through the influence of Portuguese settlers. This development or evolution of Syrian tradition generally does not employ representational art or icons as in Greek orthodoxy, is something which may be traced to European or Hindu influences.”

    “The mural tradition of Kerala is ably represented in churches in Kerala. Many pictures depicted on the walls of the churches may be older than the well known Mughal or Rajput paintings.”( Christian Contribution to art and architecture in India- Prof George Menacherry

    Re iconography in ancient Christians- I have read that the St Luke has made a Picture of Mother Mary and many apotles carried a copy of it and it is claimed that St Thomas the Apostle brought a copy of it with him and the picture of Mary at St Thomas Mount in Chennai is a replica of that. So ancient church used icons.

    You may be right, rolling stone collects weight, I think because of the prominence of Greek and Latin, Christianity outside the CoE got many things from the European pagan religion.

    Again, why iconography was lost in CoE alone, I do not know, we need to study the politics and influence of Islam in Persia and other places at that period. Antioch is in Turkey, how much was Islamic prominence in there compared to Persia at that time? . Let someone else try to explain.

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  92. SYRIAC-The Character or Form of Writing.

    The forms or characters of the written Syriac are various. The form called Estranghela is the oldest of all, so scholars say. According to Assemani this word Estranghela comes from a Greek word meaning ‘round’; but as it is hard to see where the roundness comes in, others derive the word from an Arabic compound meaning “Gospel-writing.” This latter opinion seems more probable. [See Philip’s Syriac Grammar. Introduction p. 6; also O’Brien. p. 24.]

    But another simpler form, which is not much different from the Estranghela, was introduced by the Chaldeans owing to the facility with which it may be written. Perhaps because the Nestorians first employed this peculiar form it is called the Nestorian character. It is in general use among the Syro-Chaldeans of Babylon, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Malabar &c., Indeed, some historians indiscriminately called all those, who used this Estranghela, Nestorians.

    A third character similar to the second but doubled in writing, is called “Double Character”.

    Finally a fourth character which is written in orbicular form is called Psitha i.e., simple character, which is generally used by all Occidental Syrians, viz., Catholic pure Syrians of Antioch, Syro-Maronites of Lebanon, Syro-Melchits of the East, and all Monophysites or Jacobites of Antioch and Malabar.

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  93. dear mr.thomas antony,
    I think Jogy’s understanding of History has some problems as John has several times mentioned. See his posting 10880.
    He is completely confused in between orthodox, Nestorian and Church of the East. I do not know whether he knows the difference between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental orthodox. He thinks that CoE is Eastern Orthodox

    hahaha! see this in NSC. PESHITTA BIBLE!

    The Bible was originally in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, and early in the fifth century AD, St Jerome translated it entirely into Latin. While this version of the Bible, known as the Vulgate Bib-le, is the main authoritative version used by the Roman Catholic (RC) Church, there is another version held by a branch of Christianity that had established itself at Antioch in Syria. Its version of the Bible is supposed to have been brought to Malabar in India, as Christianity dates back to first century AD here, following the arrival of St Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Christ. The archbishops of the Malabar Church had been nominated by the Patriarch (Head of the Eastern Orthodox Church) from Antioch and the Syrian Christian sacrament of Malabar forms one of the most ancient liturgies in the world. The Syrian version of the Bible differs from the RC version and is considered to be the original Bible, as it was brought to India before AD 325, the year when the Christian Council at Nice, decided to codify the Bible according to the RC version.

    SO I AM FAR BETTER THAN THE CREDIBILITY OF THIS PRO CATHOLIC PROJECT!

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  94. WHO MADE PESHITTA BIBLE! LET US SEE THIS!

    Another important Syriac work is the Peshitta, the Syriac translation of the
    Holy Bible, it is one of the oldest translations of the Bible and its Old Testament
    displays a clear Jewish influence. The Peshitta is recognized as the authorized
    version of the Sacred Scriptures by all the churches of the Assyrian Christians,
    including those in India. The word Peshitta (Pshitta is a more accurate
    transliteration), in Syriac means ‘simple’ or ‘plain’. Through the Peshitta it is
    possible to read the entire Bible in the language of Christ and his disciples. The
    Peshitta may have been translated by the Jews of Babylon and Assyria for their
    own use (as a Targum) or it may have been translated or revised by the Christian
    community with Jewish assistance.

    Assyrian tradition recorded by the Jacobite historian Bar-Hebraeus says that it was translated under the command of King Abgar, by disciples from the Holy Land.

    REF-(http://www.oxuscom.com/ch-of-east.htm#_ftn7

    you think that this peshitta was the creation of east syriac people.
    then see this study …who used peshitta…

    SYRIAC-The Character or Form of Writing.

    The forms or characters of the written Syriac are various. The form called Estranghela is the oldest of all, so scholars say. According to Assemani this word Estranghela comes from a Greek word meaning ‘round’; but as it is hard to see where the roundness comes in, others derive the word from an Arabic compound meaning “Gospel-writing.” This latter opinion seems more probable. [See Philip’s Syriac Grammar. Introduction p. 6; also O’Brien. p. 24.]

    But another simpler form, which is not much different from the Estranghela, was introduced by the Chaldeans owing to the facility with which it may be written. Perhaps because the Nestorians first employed this peculiar form it is called the Nestorian character. It is in general use among the Syro-Chaldeans of Babylon, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Malabar &c., Indeed, some historians indiscriminately called all those, who used this Estranghela, Nestorians.

    A third character similar to the second but doubled in writing, is called “Double Character”.

    Finally a fourth character which is written in orbicular form is called Psitha i.e., simple character, which is generally used by all Occidental Syrians, viz., Catholic pure Syrians of Antioch, Syro-Maronites of Lebanon, Syro-Melchits of the East, and all Monophysites or Jacobites of Antioch and Malabar.

    REF- INDIAN CHRISTIANITY

    si its clear that it was jacobites who made it. it was done before 200AD during the time of king abgar.

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  95. Jogy, you’re a joke.

    Your arguments, reasoning and attitude are juvenile, and you have no concept of the matters that you are speaking of.

    The Peshitta is used by all Syriac Churches, whether independent or in communion with Rome. E.g., the Church of the East and Syriac Orthodox are in the former category, while the Chaldeans, Syro-Malankara, Syro-Malabar, Syrian Catholic (Mid East), and Maronites are in the latter category: all use the Peshitta.

    The Peshitta is not the exclusive “property” of the Jacobites. The Jacobites, per se, weren’t even arount in 200 AD. The schism that resulted in the Jacobite/Melkite split occurred later.

    Moreover, whatever idiot is claiming that the Peshitta came to Kerala in 325 AD, on the basis of the Buchanan Bible, should do us all a favor and shut up. The Buchanan Bible was dated by scholars to be from the 12th century; most likely, it was brought over by the Syriac Orthodox bishops during the 17-19th centuries.

    The tradition of Abgar is that— a tradition. There are many false traditions out there. They are feel good things invented to make one group feel happy about themselves. Only an utter idiot takes such things at face value.

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  96. mr.john mathew,
    Moreover, whatever idiot is claiming that the Peshitta came to Kerala in 325 AD, on the basis of the Buchanan Bible, should do us all a favor and shut up. The Buchanan Bible was dated by scholars to be from the 12th century; most likely, it was brought over by the Syriac Orthodox bishops during the 17-19th centuries

    i think you may be correctly knowing who brought it here..please make another guess.. really i feel pity on you .

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  97. mr .john mathew,
    the church of the east was under the jurisdiction of antioch during 200AD. YOU KNOW THAT!
    the east syrian liturgy is belonging to the assyrian church . this assyrian church and syrian orthodox church starts from the same mother church of antioch. what this latin roman catholic has to do with the addai mari liturgy? are they following this genuine one in their churches? why they try to claim we were following this liturgy all the way?

    i can tell you a truth. if they were willing to follow this caldean liturgy ,there wouldnot have been a coonen cross oath. they used latin litugy for 300 years and you claim that they are the real followeres of eastern rite . then what about the caldean church of thrissur?

    ultimately after research you may say that pope deputed st.thomas to india!

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  98. Jogy:

    I never said the Chaldeans (Mid East) or the Syro-Malabar are using the “original” liturgy. As far as I know, their version still contains Latinizations, and modifications due to the period of “Latin rule”—which is why a significant fraction of them are agitating to remove the Latinizations and restore the liturgy to a more pure Oriental form, which less Latinizations. I believe Rome is in favor of this as well. It’s some partisans in India who object.

    What I’m saying is that the Chaldeans (Mid East)and Syro-Malabar are at the very least *using* the Liturgy of Adai and Mari, in some shape or form. Of course, the Chaldeans/CoE in Trissur are probably using the Liturgy in a form closer to the original: I don’t think anyone doubts that.

    The Church of the East, Armenia and Geogia were all under Antioch originally. But they all declared independence. What is your point? That doesn’t mean that the CoE rites were developed in Syriac in Antioch and them imported to the CoE. It’s the other was around!

    What you don’t understand is that the Syriac tradition was developed in the East, Edessa. When the Jacobite schism arose, it was an ethnic as well as a theological schism: the people who split were ethnically different. Antioch originally contained both Greek and Syriac peoples. When the split occurred, the Syriac peoples split. They translated the liturgy from Greek into Syriac (this is the scholar’s view at this point), and imported Syriac songs, hymns, poems, from the Eastern tradition. You seem to think that Antioch was Syriac all the way back. That is not supported by history at all. It was solidly Greek for a long time. The West Syriac rite is younger than the Greek, and contains elements from Greek elements from Antioch, and Syriac elements from the East (Edessa and further). This statement is based on currently available fact. It is uncomfortable to us “pro-Syriacs”, but discomfort is often a product of learning truth, and dispelling propaganda.

    Re: The syro-Malabar. I used to think that they were all Latins. That was the way in which some Orthodox writers presented history. However, on doing some research, I found that although heavily Latinized, the Syro-Malabar continued to use Syriac all throughout their period of foreign rule. Quite admirable, in my opinion, when you consider that the Puthenkoor, without any political/military pressure to induce them, abandoned the old rite and jumped onto the West Syriac rite. The latter fact is, again, uncomfortable, and hard for us West Syriacs to swallow, but it seems to be a fact supported by evidence.

    So who do you think brought the Buchanan Bible to Malankara? Who cares what you think… it’s probably based on tradition and not fact anyways. Scholars say it’s a 12th century Bible, and it supposedly has Jacobite annotations, written in Mesopotamia. The first recorded arrival of a West Syriac prelate to Malankara is in the 17th century. What does Logic then dictate? Nothing from AD 300 remains in Kerala. Hell, nothing from AD 1000 or AD 1200 remains. Our oldest manuscripts are from the 15th century, with Assemani reporting a 13th/14th century one in the Vatican library.

    Do you even own a Peshitta? Go and buy one from Gorgias Press, and read the introduction by George Kiraz, who is a bonafide Syriac scholar, and a Syriac Orthodox member.. You’ll learn about the multitude of Syriac translations of the Bible, of which the Peshitta is the most commonly used because it is the “simplest”. And you’ll get an idea of the dates. Stop reading propaganda off the internet, unless it’s based on solid sources.

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  99. dear john mathew,
    #########What I’m saying is that the Chaldeans (Mid East)and Syro-Malabar are at the very least *using* the Liturgy of Adai and Mari, in some shape or form. Of course, the Chaldeans/CoE in Trissur are probably using the Liturgy in a form closer to the original: I don’t think anyone doubts that.#####

    yes true and a fact! the surais of thrissur are the real heirs of the ancient COE. The syro malabar catholics may be using the east syrian liturgy( i never seen ) in a subtle form ,but they are not the real heirs of our tradition which prevailed before the coming of portuguese. ( according to nsc we were nestorians) . they belong to the caldean uniate church( which you say outnumber the COE,yes true!).
    why i mentioned this because many roman catholics think (or made to think)that they are following the real tradition (by making some way connecting to rome)and the jacobites are antiochianised.
    ie. moved from east syriac to west syriac. they dont think about how much they had been latinised and moved away from the oriental tradition.

    may be we were east syriacs; but own known tradition is a better and unique one than the unknown tradition! ( i would rather say the east syriac chanting, symbolism, mystic in no way can match the west syrian one) .many syromalabarians are learning these things from the jacobite orthodox even though they will not accept it publically!

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  100. Jogy:

    The West Syriac tradition is a mix of the original Greek tradition with Syriac added in after the split of the Antioch Greeks and the Antioch Syriacs.

    The East Syriac tradition *is* the Syriac tradition, with very little Greek.

    You need to study the Syriac tradition and history some more.

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  101. yes right, west syriac is more inflenced by greek . so what? even the jacobite peshitta is influenced by greek !

    can you say the malabar tradition was identical to the east syriac nestorian tradition?

    until and unless it is proved that the whole of malabari nasaranees were nestorians , there is enough room to claim for the west syriac tradition also.

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  102. Jogy:

    I have no problem with Greek! I only mentioned the high mix of Greek in the West Syriac tradition because you seemed to have been denigrating the East Syriac tradition by claiming it is “no match” to the West Syriac one. The East Syriac tradition is quite admirable, in that it preserves many ancient Semetic forms that have since evolved away in the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

    Now, as far as I know, the earliest texts were possess in Malabar are of the East Syriac rite. Every scholarly work on this topic very clearly states this, e.g., the Srite project, various works written in the 18/19th century, the proceedings of Diamper, etc.

    There is *nothing* that supports the claim that the Malabar Christians used the West Syriac rite before the arrival of Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel. We don’t have definitively Jacobite monuments, texts, inscriptions, etc. The only definitive evidence we have are East Syriac books from the 15/16th century. The Persian Crosses have Pahlavi on them, and their inscriptions are generally Christian, so at the most we can say is that they are Christian. (But they are so similar to the Nestorian Crosses in China … that the balance is tipped more in favor of a Nestorian origin than a Jacobite one).

    Or do you have some evidence for the latter?

    Do you understand this Jogy? There is *NO* evidence for your claim, none. I wanted to believe that claim long ago, and searched for evidence in the literature only to find nothing. The only evidence out there points to the East Syriac tradition.

    I’ve mentioned this before: science and history are about what *IS* based on current evidence, and not what *can be*. If you want to talk possibilities, then the door is open to any of a number of possibilities (e.g., Manichaeanism, primitive Jewish Christianity, pagans/lapsed Christians, etc., etc., etc.). And there are any number of idiots out there who are claiming each of those, and perhaps more (e.g., the idiots who wrote the wikipedia page about the Nasranis claiming we were Jewish Christians, the Mar Thomites who claim we were “primitive Christians” that were spoiled by the Roman Catholics, some Latinized Catholics who claim we were Manichaeans, some Malankara Orthodox who claim we were under some “throne” of St Thomas, some Jacobites who claim we were under the Patriarch of Antioch, some Knanaya who claim we were Jewish Christians under the Patriarch of Antioch/Babylon, etc., etc.). These are idiotic theories with no basis in fact, and are often advanced by small minded individuals with no concept of proof. This kind of intellectual masturbation should be regarded for what it is: totally unfruitful and unable to result in the birth of verifiable historical facts.

    Once evidence arrives that gives any of those *possibilties* some basis, then we can start talking. But until then let’s take your comment, i.e.,
    “there is enough room to claim for the west syriac tradition also.”
    for what it is:
    an absolutely silly, juvenile, ignorant, idiotic statement.

    By all means, come up with and present some evidence if you want to advance this theory—in fact, if you find this evidence I would be the first to congratulate you, since the West Syriac tradition is my tradition, and I’ve spent more time and effort studying its rites and language than studying any other tradition.

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  103. Dear John,

    You said,
    “The West Syriac tradition is a mix of the original Greek tradition with Syriac added in after the split of the Antioch Greeks and the Antioch Syriacs.”
    Could you please explain this a bit more? What do you mean by split of the Antioch Greeks and Antioch Syriacs?

    My understanding is, Syriac Christianity in the beginning was East Syriac only. When the so called Nestorian schism arose, to counter that, monophysitism evolved. The Monophysite Antiochian Christianity sent missions to Persia (Jacobus Baradaeus) to purify the Nestorians and converted some of them to Monophysitism and changed their liturgy to St James’ liturgy which was translated to Syriac. This was the origin of Antiochian Syriac Christianity. Am I wrong ?

    Was Antiochian Christianity “syriac” from the beginning?

    Or was it the Syriac Antiochian church that sent missions to Persia?

    Please enlighten us.

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  104. dear john,
    with some east syrian books of 15/16 th century how can you predict that the whole of malabar were nestorians from 1st century to 15 th century?

    about the the estrangela/pahlavi crosses, both scripts are diffrent from the nestorian script and jacobite script. so we are not defInite in this aspect.,

    Is there any nestorian script peshitta discovered any where in kerala? at least a jacobite script peshitta was there.
    but the inscripted christology is orthodoxy!

    Again mentioning about the three altar churches in malabar by the portuguese. who might have probably used it?

    I wont deny the influence of nestorianism in malabar. BUT it can be suspected that the creed and customs were not identical that of the nestorians.

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  105. Dear M. T. Antony,

    I’m not an expert (obviously) but my understanding is that the revolt that tore the Church of Antioch apart was as much due to ethnic differences (Melkites-> Greeks, Jacobites/Miaphysites -> Syriac) as it was due to theology.

    I don’t know when the East and West Syriac linguistic divisions arose. They are one “Aramean/Assyrian” people, ethnically, that were split via Empire (Roman v. Persian) and Christology — but exactly when the languages diverged, I can’t say. Do you have any ideas on this?

    What I do know is that Mar Ephrem bore two descendants: Mar Narsai, who was the main poet of the East Syriacs, and Mor James of Serugh, who was the main poet of the West Syriacs. I’m sure the languages didn’t diverge that early! I think the specifically “Jacobite” language evolved later in the 7th century, when Mor James of Edessa added more Greek vowels to the Syriac abjad (making it probably the most readable Semetic language, by us vowel-loving Indians/Westerners!!!).

    We do know that the Church of Antioch, was in the old days, responsible for the Church of Selucia-Babylon, and some Catholic scholars (who are generally well-informed, in my opinion) claim the East Syriac rite was an early offshoot of the Antiochene family of liturgies. I’ve been trying to study the East Syriac prayers and comparing them with our West Syriac ones … I’ve only really started this.

    I don’t think it is entirely accurate that the Syriacs of Antioch sent “missions” to Persia to “convert” Nestorians. They were one people, ethnically, and I’m sure there were those (e.g., Maruta and his followers) who wanted to maintain the faith of Nicene, Constantinople and Ephesus. That was what Jacob Baradaeus accomplished: the creation of an “orthodox” (i.e., followers of the first three synods) Church for those in the East who wanted to follow that. He didn’t evangelize to a new, unknown group of people: those people in the East were his brother Syriac people. (Though, these brothers have been quite vile to each other…).

    So, the main point is that the Church of Antioch was comprised of Greeks and Syriacs. What their original language was is shrouded in mystery. The Liturgy of Mar Yacob as we have it today was most likely translated to Syriac from Greek. But what the absolute original was composed in — who knows? If it was indeed St. James’ (or some of the early century Jewish Christians) who composed it, then Aramaic is likely, since *that* was their language back then. All I can say is these are contentious claims, that are obscured by the fact that we possess very little evidence of the first few centuries — certainly no manuscripts of anyLiturgy from that far back.

    And the origins of the West Syriac tradition, as distinct from the East Syriac, would start, I would say, from Mar Jacob of Sarug (451-521 AD), at the very latest. His ancestor, Ephrem, is common to both. While he is only of the West Syriac rite, and his contemporary, Narsai (ca. 399-502AD) is only of the East Syriac rite.

    A final note: the basic liturgy of the West Syriacs is derived form the old Greek rite of Antioch. But the inner prayers (Promion & Sedros) and hymns are all, as far as I know, pure Syriac, composed by either Ephrem, Jacob of Serug and Mar Balai. Moreover, our Shimmo (“Book of Common Prayer”) is probably entirely Syriac. And again, comprised of Ephrem/Serug/Balai. These works, which dwarf the actual liturgy, are not translations from Greek.

    So it’s not as easy as simply saying that Jacob Baradeus was the starting point of West Syriac Christianity. At least, by my reading of our history.

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  106. syriac :-
    The origins of the Syriac script are shrouded in mystery. It was orginally used as the medium for the extensive religious literature of Syrian Christians. In 489 AD there was a schism between the east Syrian followers of Nestorius in Persia and the west Syrian followers of Jacob of Edessa. Over the years, the scripts used by the two groups started to diverge from each other. The Nestorian’s script was known as Nestorian while the Jacobite’s script was known as Serto (linear) or Jacobite. A version of the Nestorian script is still used for religious writings by Christians in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
    Many other scripts developed directly or indirectly from the Syriac scripts, including Nabatean, Palmyran, Mandaic, Parthian, Pahlavi, Sogdian, Avestan and Manichean.

    aramaic:-
    Aramaic, a Semitic language that was the lingua franca of much of the Near East from about 7th century BC until the 7th century AD, when it was largely replaced by Arabic. Classical or Imperial Aramaic was the main language of the Persian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires and spread as far as Greece and the Indus valley.
    After Alexander the Great destroyed the Persian Empire, Aramaic ceased to be the official language of any major state, though continued to be spoken widely. It was during this period that Aramaic split into western and eastern dialects.
    Aramaic was once the main language of the Jews and appears in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is still used as a liturgical language by Christian communities in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and is still spoken by small numbers of people in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Syria.
    Aramaic has also been written in versions of the Latin, Hebrew and Cyrillic alphabets, though the Syriac is the most widely used script to write Aramaic.

    Syriac, an eastern dialect of Aramaic spoken by Christians in the lands in between the Roman and Parthian empires between the 1st and 12th centuries. Syriac is still used used nowadays as ritual and literary language by speakers of Neo-Aramaic in Syria. It is also used for sermons in Syrian churches in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
    Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, a diverse group of Eastern Aramaic/Syriac dialects spoken by about 200,000 people mainly in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey. The Syriac, Latin and Hebrew scripts are all used to write Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.

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  107. CONSTANTINOPOLITAN CREED ( jacobites)

    I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things
    visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made;

    Who for us men, and for our Salvation, came down from Heaven, and was Incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made Man, and was crucified also for us, under Pontius Pilate. He suffered, and was buried, and the third day He rose

    Again according to the scriptures, and ascended into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and shah come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead,
    whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets; and I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
    and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

    assyrian COE CREED–

    We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, visible and invisible;
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, First-born of all Creation,
    begotten of his Father before all worlds, and not made, very God of very God, being of one substance with the Father, by whom the worlds were framed and all things created;

    Who for us men, and for our Salvation, came down from Heaven, and was Incarnate by the Holy Ghost, and was made Man, and was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary,
    and suffered and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was buried and the third day He rose, as it was written, and ascended into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the. Father, and shall come again to Judge both the quick and the dead.

    And in one Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who proceedeth from the Father, the Spirit that giveth life; and in one Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church; and we acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sin, and in the resurrection of the body and the life eternal.

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  108. Jogy,

    You seem to be either retarded or are incapable of thinking. Here’s a simplification:

    1. The evidence says that at the time of the Portuguese we were Nestorian/Chaldean Catholic.

    2. There is no evidence for any other rite in Malabar. The Buchanan Bible you speak of is not proof since it could have been brought by Jacobite prelates post-1650: there is nothing suggesting otherwise. As you agreed, the Pahlavi Crosses are inconclusive.

    Based on 1 and 2, we can say that the theory that we were Nestorian has far more support than the theory that we were Jacobites, Manichaeans, Jewish Christians, etc.

    But 1 and 2 is not all there is. We have sporadic testimony from (1) Cosmas Indicoplaeutus, (2) Patriarch Timothy, (3) Assemani, about the connection between the CoE and Malabar. On the other hand there is *NO* testimony from the Jacobite Patriarchs or Maphrians or anyone else on this topic, pre-1650.

    This is it for me. You’re in a mental loop, incapable of fathoming logic. Or you are a troll. If the latter, then I’m a fool for indulging your manifold stupidity.

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  109. Dear M. T. Antony:

    West Syrian Liturgical Theology By Baby Varghese (some of it available at Google Books) seems to have a good outline of the development of the West Syriac liturgy from its sources. There were many traditions and variations that the geographically-distribited West Syriac Orthodox Church employed, broadly grouped into two: the Western (Jerusalem & Antioch, Edessa) and the Eastern (Tikrit, Selucia-Ctesiphon). The Eastern branch seems to have had strong influence from the East Syriac rite (whose development the book doesn’t go into … perhaps you could refer me a good source on that). I believe the Malankara Orthodox / Syriac Jacobite rite in Kerala is derived from the Western West Syriac rite, since the Eastern West Syriac community was probably non-existent by the 18/19th century.

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  110. Dear M. T. Antony:

    Check out: The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West By Robert F. Taft (partially on Google Books), which refers to another article that discusses the relationship between all Syriac rites on p. 239.

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  111. Dear M. T. Antony:

    Here is a seemingly excellent article that you may enjoy, pertaining to the East Syriac rite, which also discusses its relationship to the proto-Syriac rite (of which we have no direct evidence, it seems) from which both the West and EastSyriac rites derive:
    http://www.jaas.org/edocs/v11n2/macomber.pdf

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  112. Dear john,
    I read your pompous verbal diarrhoea.
    You stated that we were Nestorians/caldean catholics whilst the coming of the Portuguese.
    Dou you mean we were Nestorians and /or caldean catholics?
    When was the caldean catholics formed?
    1551: When patriarch John Sulaka goes to Rome and professes his Catholic faith, many Nestorians follow him. Others do not accept his conversion. The Catholic branch comes to be called Chaldean, or Chaldean Catholic.
    When was the udayamperoor synod ?
    Syond of Diamper (Udayamperoor) convened on June 20, 1599 .

    So in between 1551 and 1599 we Malabar people converted to caldean catholic? Is there any rationale?

    Okay , taken granted that they converted to caldean catholics with in this 48 years; then

    Dou you rememember the magnificient Menesis insisted all the priests to dessert their wives?

    So ,you are trying to say the caldean catholic priests were married?

    Again you say we were Nestorians, okay, then

    When was nestorianism evolved?

    Its after the 4th century and when it might have possibly reached Malabar?

    You say the jacobite peshitta found in Malabar might have reached here after 1600 s—this your
    pre occupied view.

    Could you find out any Nestorian peshitta?
    Could you find out anything specifically to prove that we were Nestorians /caldean catholics?
    Not only me, everybody is interested to hear that !!!!!

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  113. Dear Jogy

    I do miss the points you are trying to raise. See everyone one knows when Synod of Daimpoor happened or When Portuguese came or When was Nestorianism condemned etc. The impact of these on us have been discussed multiple times and are there any extra evidences you have to suggest it another way.

    Chaldean / Nestorian – Catholic Possibilities

    First up of all, this Chaldean / Nestorian has been interchangeably used in history and later on the term got fixed on who ever joined Catholic Church as Chaldean.

    I think you were under the impression that some one got converted to Catholic Church in 1551 and hence they became Chaldeans and there was a conversion drive followed in Malabar. As such there was nothing called conversion anywhere in Mesopotamia or in Malabar. Even in the letters send to Malabar Pope explicitly requests Chaldean prelates to convert “heathens” not his flocks.

    See, here the whole thing is receiving Pallium. It is a very commonly read statement that there were no Catholic Patriarchs of Seleucia from the time of Babaeus to that of Simon Sulaka (1553).

    You can only validate these contentions, If you read Asseman, Le Quien, Guriel, Samuel Giamil and others

    The following are some quotations from their work,

    Marimme, who sat on the throne of Seleucia for four years (758-762), abjured Nestorianism and joined the Roman communion during the Pontificate of Stephen III.

    In 1226, Mar Sabar Jesu V, the Patriarch of the Chaldaeans, sent his profession of faith to Rome through his vicar Ara. It was also signed by the Archbishop of Nisbis, two other Archbishops, and three Bishops.
    This interesting document may be read in the book of Samuel Giamil.

    In 1247, Mar Makika II requested communion with Rome and sent his profession of faith through his legate Andreas to Pope Innocent IV.

    In 1304, Mar Jabalaha III (1281-1317) sent a letter to Pope Benedict XI, containing his profession of faith and requesting reconciliation with the Catholic Church.

    It should be noted that, at the confirmation of Sulaka as Patriarch of Seleucia in 1553, the Pope Julius III declared that the discipline and liturgy of the Syrians had already been approved by his predecessors Nicolas I (858-
    867), Leo X (1513-1521), and Clement VII (1523-1534).

    The same Pope also made mention of the former Patriarch Mar Simeon Mama, as ‘Bonae memoriae’ of good memory, Patriarch of Assyria.

    Among the five manuscript books of Chaldean Pontifical conserved in the Vatican Liberary, Rome, the first was transcribed in Mesopotamia, 1529, with the translation of some portion from the (Latin) Roman Pontifical, by Patriarch Mar Simon VI Mama predecessor of Mar John Simeon Sulaka. This fact clearly shows that the said Patriarch Mar Simeon Mama was in communion with Rome; otherwise he would not have taken the Roman Pontifical .

    There are many references and I don’t know if you followed the discussion of Thomas Anotony and John Mathew about the manuscripts written by Nidhiry Mani Kathanar. If you read more about the Patriarchs of Church of East and there writings then you can see what they talks about Pope etc.

    I have actually read only few of these works in full and there are many more. Its interesting to go in to details and I can tell you that there is nothing strange in this.

    Malabar – Portuguese arrival and Prelates

    This Mar Simeon Mama whom we discussed was the successor of Patriarch Mar Simeon Elia who sent Mar Jacob ( who arrived in 1502 AD) and his companion Bishops to Malabar. They were admitted by the Portuguese Missionaries at Cannanore to celeberate Mass on their altar. One of these Prelates, ie, Mar Jacob, was praised for his faith and sanctity as a true Catholic prelate by St. Francis Xavier and recomended to John III King of Portugal. You can read some details about the prelates who came after Mar Joseph and Mar Abhraham in the Prelates article.

    What difference would it make in practical purpose if the prelates were under the authority of Chaldea or traditional Patriach of Church of East in Malabar ?

    There are many books which discuss these in detail. There are also a large number of documents available right from Mar Jacob who was the prelate in 1502 AD. If you have any interest, do read these up for better understanding of this period.

    About Priestly Celibacy- There are married priests in few eastern catholic churches even today. What relevance it has to the subject ?

    About the Buchaan Bible- I have not read any systematic study on this. I have read about this in the book published by Mar Ivanious when he was in Jacobite Church and a critique of that. I have also read what John Mathew mentioned as brought to Kerala in eighteenth century by some authorities such as (Sebastian P. Brock).

    About St. Thomas Cross- Modern studies show that the Pahlavi engraving is of some where in 7th century. What is your understanding of Christianity in Kerala in seventh century ?

    If you have something to share on West Syrian connection or any references, please do so. At the same time please also read up the various discussions.

    I understand that all the arguments make it confusing to some extent. May be as suggested earlier, we can think of adding an FAQ as a wiki or as articles where every one can update.

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  114. Jogy doesn’t seem to be ready to accept other people and their opinions. See his derogatory comments. I do not know what he is trying to prove.

    He is not aware that many Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests. I think Chaldean Catholics also have married priests. According to one web site, at least 20% of Catholic priests are married globally- Eastern Catholic priests, those priests who joined Catholic Church from Anglican Church etc who were married already. He is now trying to prove something on the basis that Menesis ordered the then Nasrani priests to leave their wives!

    (I think the problems with Eastern Catholic churches in Kerala are that they were made Sui iuris status only many years after their formation. They were practically functioning as a few dioceses with a different liturgy. Hence, they were following the Roman Church’s rules as before even after they are made Sui iuris churches).

    Celibacy and continence of Priests is not an obligatory rule even in Roman Church. It is not a doctrine but only a discipline. A Pope can remove that rule. If the Holy Synods of Syro Malabar and Syro Malankara churches decide, they can revoke the rule. The second largest Church in the Catholic Communion, the Ukrainian Catholic Church (10 million strong) allows married priests ever since the beginning. The Byzentine Catholic Church, Maronite, etc are other examples.

    Jogy is still talking about Nestorian etc. Actually it is a derogatory term to the Church of the East. They no longer teach the so called doctrine of Nestorius. They follow the doctrine of Babai the Great. (551-628). Even the Doctrine of Nestorius itself is not what it is accused, according to latest studies.

    Again, he is talking about “Jacobite Peshitta” and “Nestorian Peshitta”.

    I wish if he put his arguments if any, with logic so that we all can learn or at least it will stimulate us to read further.

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  115. Dear M. T. Antony:

    You’re in the UK, right? Any chance of dropping by Cambridge and taking a look at the “Buchanan Bible” yourself? Perhaps there must be a scholarly write up over there that discusses it’s history.

    In the mean time I’ll try to dig up the following reference and see what it says:
    “The Syriac Buchanan Bible in Cambridge : Book Illumination in Syria, Cilicia and Jerusalem of the later Twelfth Century”

    I already know what the scholars say though … that Peshitta was written in the Middle East and brought to Kerala post-17th century during the Jacobite missions. But still, it would be nice to take a look at the book — perhaps it’s been digitized over there?

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  116. Dear John,
    I have made some initial contacts and will be able to use the library and talk to the curators re Buchanan Bible. Unfortunately, it is in a fragile state and we won’t be able to view it. They provide a microfilm presentation.They also provide microfilm/electronic copies of some of their manuscripts, I am not sure whether I will be able to get an electronic copy of it untill I meet the curator.
    They also have a number of Persian manuscripts from India donated by the East India Company. I will find a day in the next few weeks and have a look on all these and get maximum information.

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  117. Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    Wow — that is excellent — thank you very much for doing this!

    Based on what I’ve read, the scholarly opinion of the Buchanan Bible seems to be that it was brought to Kerala after the 17th century by the Jacobite prelates. But by seeing it first hand (or at least the electronic / microfilm) we can probably confirm / deny this.

    But what really interests me far more are your mention of “Persian” manuscripts. Are they bonafide Pahlavi documents? (Reference: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/mpersian.htm)

    There seems to be an annoying trend in Kerala Christian historians to confuse “Persian Christianity” with “Syriac Christianity”. While the Persian Church was of the East Syriac rite, it is important to realize that it the earliest intercourse we had was with Persian-speakers and not Syriac speakers (as per Cosmas Indicoplaetus). There is no evidence of (Christian) Syriac literature or inscriptions in India prior to the 13th century—the Pahlavi inscriptions are the oldest Christian inscriptions (ref: A.C. Burnell in Indian Antiquary, etc.).

    If the curator has actual “Persian” (Pahlavi) documents, I believe an electronic copy would be invaluable to us. And to Eastern Christianity in general — since the Persian Christian story (i.e., those ethnically Persian Christians of the East Syriac Church) is tied with ours.

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  118. I have heard that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain 90% Hebrew and only 10% Aramaic & Greek.
    Some of the scrolls where not published until recently in the Facsimile Edition available on the Internet.
    This would mean that Jesus could have been speaking much more in Hebrew than previously thought.
    Of course there are a lot of Aramaic words in the NT and He did speak in Aramaic but not as much as one might have thought.

    If this claim is true, then that famous Gospel of St. Mathew scroll that our traditions say Thomas Sleeha brought with him was more probably (i.e. 90% chance) in Hebrew & not in Aramaic/Suriani that is so dear to our hearts!!

    By the way, I am from Trissur…. It the Assyrian church is now split between the Ancient Assyrian and the more Catholic Assyrians (not the Chaldiens). All my pride about them (catholic Assyrians) holding to the tenants of their ancestors from the earliest times evaporated when I saw that they are using the modern Assyrian bible which is not even a direct translation form the original famed Peshita!!

    Only the Syrian orthodox still uses the original though in the western script… its true to the original 100%

    Another trent among Assyrians that is of concern to me is to equate Syrian/Eastern Christianity with Assiranism. Which of course, is incorrect.

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  119. Dear Varghese Paul:

    1. Could you please tell me how the mix of Hebrew/Aramaic in the DSS gives any conclusive result about what Jesus himself spoke?

    2. According to scholars (and not unsubstantiated traditions) the Gospels were written far later than when St. Thomas was supposed to come to India, so I doubt he brought a Gospel of St. Mathew. And as for its original language, there’s no definitive proof. Most scholars say Greek, and some say Hebrew, while others Aramaic.

    3. I agree that the Church of the East has problems. This ethnocentric “Assyrian” label that they added recently is ridiculous and a historical offense — especially for a Church that was once (long ago during their glory days) so cosmopolitan and multicultural that it attracted people of many ethnicities: Persians, Indians, Chinese and Central Asians, in addition to Aramaic/Assyrian peoples.

    But your statement “Only the Syrian orthodox still uses the original” is also incorrect. There is no one original of the Peshitto — in fact, the Peshitta/Peshitto is not an original but a translation. And it was but one of a long series of translations of the Bible from Greek/Hebrew into Syriac. And there were several such translations made too–several Peshittas. If scholars can not come to a conclusion as to which one is the “original” *translation* then I highly doubt you can claim the same.

    And finally, as for your lost hope that the CoE of Trichur is clinging to the original precepts of our fathers, I have a few comments:
    1) compared to all other Syriac Churches, they are using the most faithful texts to the originals, so in this respect they cling to the “original” pre-Diamper precepts very faithfully
    2) despite (1) the CoE in general has suffered greatly due to persecution and oppression, especially since the 12th century. So I don’t think any modern CoE parish is a 100% faithful replica of the old CoE — e.g., see my earlier post about CoE iconography (they don’t seem to use icons now, but in the past the CoE most certainly venerated icons).

    Even the Syriac Orthodox Church suffer from similar problems — although we seem to be far better off than the CoE which suffered far greater oppression. Originally we had two vibrant liturgical traditions, and Eastern one and a Western one; however, the Eastern tradition is basically nonexistent (unfortunately too — the Eastern tradition was a prolific one that was a bridge between the East Syriac and West Syriac traditions). And each tradition had several local variations, with copious literature, poetry, hymns, etc. But nowadays all Syriac Orthodox / Malankara Orthodox use the same/similar versions—the old variations are preserved in MSS and may be used by various priests who have such MSS, but in general the Orthodox Church is too homogeneous, with the old diversity replaced by conformity to a single standard. Too bad.

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  120. Michael:

    You can read Sebastian Brock’s ““Christians in the Sasanian Empire” or Buck’s paper that I’ve mentioned elsewhere on NSC (“How Persian was the Persian Church” is the basic title; freely downloadable) for more info on the diverse communities of Christians in the Persian Empire.

    Regarding these communities there were:
    1) “Nestorians” (i.e., Syriac Christians who did not accept Ephesus) who were a part of the Church of the East (the East Syriac Church)
    2) “Jacobites” (i.e., Syriac Christians who accepted the first three councils; non-Chalcedonian) who were organized under a Maphrianate/Catholicate; they followed a unique—and prolifiic—liturgical tradition, with East and West Syriac influence
    3) “Melkites” (i.e., Chalcedonian Christians — Greeks — who lived in the East either due to forced displacement or for other reasons).

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  121. Dear John Matthew,

    (1) You are not sure if one can conclusively prove if Jesus spoke in Hebrew or Aramaic.

    Well, Dead sea scrolls reveal a lot about the language the people who where using them! Actually, there is not point in getting them if you don’t know Hebrew! You will have to look for Aramaic to find it. People have tried to water down this find labeling these people as heretic group in Judaism as there was no proof that they participated in the temple worship. But, that bubble has now burst after the Temple treasury scroll that was also among the finds was opened.

    These people who used these scrolls where wiped out by the Romans in AD60 the Titus sacked Jerusalem. That means one can conclusively say it is a fossil of the language used in Judea exactly in the time the N.T. was written.

    As now all of DSS have been released in a Facsimile edition recently: Google: “Facsimile Dead Sea Scrolls” and go to Amazom .com) Almost 90% of the Dead Sea Scrolls (not including the O.T.) is in Hebrew. And the remaining 10% is in Aramaic & Greek.
    This discovery does cast some serious doubts on weather Christ really spoke in Aramaic.

    Anyway, no one can deny that many Aramaic words can be found in the Greek N.T. However, it is possible because of the close connection between Aramaic and Hebrew that some of these Aramaic words can be also used in Hebrew. Even today native Hebrew speakers use some Aramaic words.

    And at the same time it is also true that some words in NT are clearly Aramaic. And Aramaic outlasted Greek as a spoken language in the Middle East. This could have happened due to Islamic conquest of the entire Middle East and Islam’s insistence on Arabic, And Arabic being closer to Aramaic than Greek.

    (2) The Church of the East is connected to the Addi & Marri Liturgy very intimately. I love this eastern liturgy and the eastern Aramaic pronunciation very much. Unlike the Greek bible versions, in the east we did not have several Aramaic bibles except some minute differences between eastern & the western versions of Peshita. But the Catholic Assyrian Church of the East has new bible that they say is a translation from the eastern version is not actually faithful to the eastern version at all.

    (3) In fact, just like there is a highly revered original King James translation in English, there is a highly venerated first King Agbar translation in to Aramaic. Now, why all this fuss! Well, from the translation one can tell how the best scholars of the time interpreted the Greek (I mean the meanings of Greek words not just the Grammar) It also helps to decide which are the more reliable Greek manuscripts.

    (4) The Assyrian church is tied to a King Agbar in Eddessa to whom supposedly Jesus him self had written a letter saying that Jesus will send some one to the King to heal him. (And I have seen this letter but have not fully believed it yet) And the legend says He did send someone. The king was healed and consequently his kingdom (ie Eddesa) became a great center for early Syriac Christianity. The Peshitta is said to have been translated in Eddesa from Greek & Hebrew originals.

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  122. Dear Varghese Paul:

    You write: “Unlike the Greek bible versions, in the east we did not have several Aramaic bibles except some minute differences between eastern & the western versions of Peshita.”

    This is wrong. Go and do some more research into the various Bibles of the east and you’ll find out how totally wrong you actually are.

    Several Aramaic Bibles do in fact exist; ref: Diatesseron, Philoxenean, various Peshitta, etc. Remember, the Arameans/Assyrians were a pagan people originally, who, like the Greeks, converted to Christianity. And over the centuries several translations from Greek and Hebrew into Syriac occurred. In fact, the Peshitta is the vulgar (i.e., common language) translation of the Bible. Mor Philoxenus d’Mabbug made a translation, as did many other scholars of the East and West Syriac Church. To say the situation was homogeneous in the non-Greek East is wrong. The Jacobites had maintained heterogeneity for a long time, with each monastery having differing rites. The Nestorians, being a stronger Church with political power (at various times), consolidated eventually and tried to maintain one rite.

    Many like to claim the Syriac Church (east or west) as being some kind of “pure” Church, uncontaminated by the impure Greeks. This is silly at best, and ethnocentric bigotry at worst; you can find this sort of fanaticism in the unscholarly rants of some fanatical orientophiles at http://www.peshitta.org, for example. In fact, there was plenty of intercourse between the Greeks, and the west and east syriacs. Nestorius and Theodore were Greeks themselves, and brought Greek liturgies to the East where they were translated into Syriac. The Greeks also took much from the Syriacs. The ancients seem to have been far more enlightened than many of us nowadays: borrowing literature from each other, and even from pagans, as they saw fit.

    But it is true that the Syriac Churches also maintain many Semetic attributes (note: by Semetic, I mean general Semetic). The poetry that is found in the hymns and prayers of the Jacobites and Nestorians are very Semetic, and are remnants of pagan Akkadian and Sumerian literary styles. In fact, compared to the Greeks, Copts and Latins, who use the poetry of David copiously in their rites, the Syriacs do *not* do this: rather, they use their own hymns, poetry, sedre, etc., by Ephrem, Jacob d’Srug, Narsai, etc.

    There were also Jewish converts to Christianity who merged with the Syriac peoples as well — bringing with them old translations of the scriptures from (lost) Hebrew manuscripts.

    So, one can not say either:
    (1) the Syriac East is “pure”, untouched by Greek thought
    (2) the Syriac East is totally indebted to the Greeks

    Other notes:
    1) You’ve quoted some stories about the origin of the Peshitta. All I will say is that those are stories, with no substance or proof. The Peshitta was developed far after King Abgar’s time; later chroniclers simply retroactively placed the date of translation to Abgar. No one with any appreciation for proof and evidence subscribes to such stories.

    2) You write: “And Aramaic outlasted Greek as a spoken language in the Middle East. This could have happened due to …”

    No need for speculation. Here’s the reason:
    Aramaic was the lingua franca of the East, before the Greeks came and after the Greeks left. Everyone spoke it: the conquerors (Assyrians, Persians) and the conquered (the Arameans, whose language it was). It was dispersed far and wide throughout the East, and was the common tongue—much like English is in India. Pahlavi has strong influence from Aramaic, for example. Syriac scholars did a lot of work in translating Greek works into Syriac, and then, when Arabic rose as the cultural standard, translated those works into Arabic. Our modern link to Greek comes from the Europeans who studied the Arabs, who studied the Syriacs, who studied the Greeks. Anyways, the rise of Arabic culture was the end of Syriac in the East.

    As for whether Jesus spoke Hebrew or Aramaic. Who knows? I merely said you can not conclusively say either. The DSS is a nice piece of evidence. But the known fact that Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Middle East is another piece of contrary evidence. My point: let’s not be Aramaic fanaticists or Hebrew fanaticists, especially since we don’t know anything for a fact.

    The use of Syriac in the Oriental Churches is *not* because Jesus spoke Aramaic. It is because the Syriac Church was the Church of the pagan Syriacs who converted to Christianity. They used their original language, much like the Greeks used Greek and the Latins used Latins. Fanatics now claim that “we use Jesus’ language” as if that was the only thing that justifies their faith. This is nothing but pure silliness and falsity.

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  123. “Assisi” i.e. Dear John Matthew,

    Thanks to all that information. And thanks for reading what I had written.

    First of all let me make some comments on language of Jesus. The evidence suggests to me that He spoke in a different dialect heavily influences by Hebrew (because His bible and several standardized prayers were in Hebrew). But let Syriac (not Assyrian) may be as close as one can get Jesus’ language. This is admonishment from Jesus Himself in Rev3:2 “Be watchful, and strengthen * the things which remain *, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”

    It is true that Assyrians had political power but they had to pay tribute to the Turks. They had a certain system of civil code as well. This Assyrian civil code could have been used by the Nasrani Kings here in Kerala. It is just a speculation.

    What I said about King Abgar Version was an unnecessary exaggeration. Syriac as you might know is a dialect of Aramaic. The Aramaic in which most of the Book of Daniel is written cannot be called Syriac although it is Aramaic. This is the likely type of Aramaic that was Judeans where familiar with. The oldest Syriac writing known is from the second centaury. We don’t have any Syriac in the Dead Sea scrolls. (But we do have Aramaic ones!)

    As a matter of fact from my experience as some one who has tried to learn Aramaic. Compared to a English (or Greek) speakers, it is a lot easier to learn it if you where a Arabic speaker or a Hebrew speaker in order to learn the language unless you are uniquely gifted. My friends tell me that in Iraq it is offensive to wear a t-shirt with English words written over it. But it is probably not as offensive to have some Assyrian written on it. It may surprise you to know that even today in the Middle-east there are 100% Muslim villages with 100% of the people speaking in some Assyrian/ Aramaic dialect. But I think it will be a bit harder to find Greek speaking Muslim villages.

    During the time of Christ Aramaic was like Hindi & Greek was like English. Today almost any Keralite can understand both Hindi & English Movies. Similarly, St. Paul’s audience in most places he went would have understood him regardless of whether he spoke in Aramaic or Greek. In Kabul Museum in Afghanistan there was an exhibit of a photo of an ancient inscription on a rock which was in Kandahar of an edict by Emperor Ashoka of India in both Aramaic and Greek! It was dated around 300 BC. The script used to write Aramaic was the same in Dead Sea scrolls – the Hebrew script. By the way the current Hebrew script is ancient Aramaic script. (This has now disappeared from the museum)

    Did not St. Jerome translate the Latin Vulgate directly from Greek and Hebrew like the great Scholars who translated the first standardized Syriac Vulgate, the Peshita? Also, where is Greece located? In Europe or in the Middle East? The Septuagint, the famous Greek Old Testament, did not the Roman Catholic Church have it all the while?

    Of course I know that the church of the east had connections with the Greeks. My parents pronounce Jesus name “Esho” according to the eastern pronunciation which is very similer to Greek “Isas” but the western pronunciation of Jesus is “Yaesu” which is more Hebraic.

    Of course I know that there are several versions of the bible in Syriac. My point was none of them was as widely used by various different people like the * Pshitta *.

    Here is a quote from book called Assyrian Church Customs by Surma D’Bait Mar Shimun (Who was the sister of Mar Shimun)

    “…The version of the Scriptures invariably used in our church is the * Pshitta *. This is freely used in their own homes by all our people who can read. The local dialects of our people vary so much, that it is impossible to provide any one * vernacular Syriac *) version of the Scriptures. The version in * Umri Syriac * printed by the Amrican Mission is actually is less intelligible on the Moiuntains than is the “old language” of the Pesshita…”

    Here, you have a virtuous Assyrian woman supporting the idea of one version in the *old language* of Pesshita! Modern Assyrian is a vernacular Syriac. Obviously, in the Assyrian church also the bible version was standardized like in the Syrian Orthodox Church. Only, difference is the Assyrians has replaced the old sandernd by a new standard in a *vernacular* which * sadly * happens to be Modern Assyrian. Why * sadly *? Because this will make the church exclusive to Assyrians! Our historic connection (as Indians) was to the Church of the East which used the * old language * like the sister of Mar Shimun likes to call it.

    Here is another quotation from the Aramaic bible I am using…
    “The text of the Aramaic is taken from The Syriac New Testament and Psalms, published by United Bible Societies, *specifically* the Bible Society in * Turkey *. In 1905 the British and Foreign Bible Society published an edition of the Gospels in Syriac, reprinted by permission from a revised text of the Peshitta Version which had been prepared by the late Rev. G.H. Gwilliam, B.D., with a Latin translation and critical apparatus, and issued by the Clarendon Press in 1901. This is a critical text of the Peshitta that was completed from a collation of manuscripts at the British Museum Library. It is known as a “western” text of the Peshitta and therefore varies to *a small degree* from other eastern versions of the Peshitta.”

    Here, what is the Bible Society in Turkey doing with the * Western* version! After all, turkey is not in the West. Are they not better of using the Eastern version? Actually, this version that I have does not have any vowel markers to denote pronunciation. Why am I talking vowel markers here? Because, originally like in the * modern * Hebrew in Israel today, Aramaic was written without any vowel markers (by the way Arabic was too), the reader whether western or eastern could read it with full understanding though in slightly different accents.

    Do you * really * want the * old * diversity and unity? Paradoxically, though with out some standardization we cannot have this unity. The common thread that tied the various peoples in the Church of the East was the standardized elements… the peshitta, the rite etc…

    Let me give you a verse that is different in the “Kitava Kadisa” (Bible) in Modern Assyrian but identical in both eastern and western script. In Matthew 25:1 Both eastern and western versions say: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be compared to ten virgins, those who took their lamps and went out for the arrival of the bridegroom and bride.” But all the Greek versions and the Modern Assyrian say: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be compared to ten virgins, those who took their lamps and went out for the arrival of the bridegroom.” The “arrival of the bridegroom and bride” is changed to “arrival of the bridegroom”! What is the motive for making this change? Well, one can only guess.

    The liturgy of the Qurbana of Addi & Marri has a lot of biblical basis to it. For example, there is a particular order in which the prayers are to be said. The Latin rites start with “Mia Culpa” like the “sinner who stood out side the synagogue because he considered himself unworthy to enter inside” but the Eastern liturgy starts with Praises and Thanksgiving because the Lords prayer starts with adoration “Our Father in Heaven… Let Your name be kept Holy!” Here, you see that the church of the east believed that all the Christians are Saints where as in the middle ages the Roman church would have burnt people who claim they are saints with out the approval of Vatican as heretics! The church of the east has the priest facing the east and the two (usually) “shamashans” (deacons) one on either side of the priest. This is again following the bible very closely because shortly after His resurrection on the way to Emmaus Jesus walked with His two apostles explaining from the prophets about the death and resurrection of the Messiah. People who really understand the liturgy also understand the theology “Rasa” (mystery) of the church when these liturgies where instituted. I think the Latin rite is the opposite of the Eastern rite in some respects. Further, the Roman & Greek cultures have much in common. In Hebrew the same word “Kittim” can mean either Rome or Greece. Also, an Aramaic word for Rome also means dirt!!! So, in this theological sense the one is more “pure”. I know this is can be an embarrassment to some friends in the Syro-Malabar group who have foolishly mutilated the liturgy. They changed the “Vishuda Qurbna” three times when I was in school.

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  124. Assisi i.e.” Dear” John Matthew,

    Thanks to all that information. And thanks for reading what I had written.

    First of all let me make some comments on language of Jesus. The evidence suggests to me that He spoke in a different dialect heavily influences by Hebrew (because His bible and several standardized prayers were in Hebrew). But let Syriac (not Assyrian) may be as close as one can get Jesus’ language. This is admonishment from Jesus Himself in Rev3:2 “Be watchful, and strengthen * the things which remain *, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”

    It is true that Assyrians had political power but they had to pay tribute to the Turks. They had a certain system of civil code as well. This Assyrian civil code could have been used by the Nasrani Kings here in Kerala. It is just a speculation.

    What I said about King Abgar Version was an unnecessary exaggeration. Syriac as you might know is a dialect of Aramaic. The Aramaic in which most of the Book of Daniel is written cannot be called Syriac although it is Aramaic. This is the likely type of Aramaic that was Judeans where familiar with. The oldest Syriac writing known is from the second centaury. We don’t have any Syriac in the Dead Sea scrolls. (But we do have Aramaic ones!)

    As a matter of fact from my experience as some one who has tried to learn Aramaic. Compared to a English (or Greek) speakers, it is a lot easier to learn it if you where a Arabic speaker or a Hebrew speaker in order to learn the language unless you are uniquely gifted. My friends tell me that in Iraq it is offensive to wear a t-shirt with English words written over it. But it is probably not as offensive to have some Assyrian written on it. It may surprise you to know that even today in the Middle-east there are 100% Muslim villages with 100% of the people speaking in some Assyrian/ Aramaic dialect. But I think it will be a bit harder to find Greek speaking Muslim villages.

    During the time of Christ Aramaic was like Hindi & Greek was like English. Today almost any Keralite can understand both Hindi & English Movies. Similarly, St. Paul’s audience in most places he went would have understood him regardless of whether he spoke in Aramaic or Greek. In Kabul Museum in Afghanistan there was an exhibit of a photo of an ancient inscription on a rock which was in Kandahar of an edict by Emperor Ashoka of India in both Aramaic and Greek! It was dated around 300 BC. The script used to write Aramaic was the same in Dead Sea scrolls – the Hebrew script. By the way the current Hebrew script is ancient Aramaic script. (This has now disappeared from the museum)

    Did not St. Jerome translate the Latin Vulgate directly from Greek and Hebrew like the great Scholars who translated the first standardized Syriac Vulgate, the Peshita? Also, where is Greece located? In Europe or in the Middle East? The Septuagint, the famous Greek Old Testament, did not the Roman Catholic Church have it all the while?

    Of course I know that the church of the east had connections with the Greeks. My parents pronounce Jesus name “Esho” according to the eastern pronunciation which is very similer to Greek “Isas” but the western pronunciation of Jesus is “Yaesu” which is more Hebraic.

    Of course I know that there are several versions of the bible in Syriac. My point was none of them was as widely used by various different people like the * Pshitta *.

    Here is a quote from book called Assyrian Church Customs by Surma D’Bait Mar Shimun (Who was the sister of Mar Shimun)

    “…The version of the Scriptures invariably used in our church is the * Pshitta *. This is freely used in their own homes by all our people who can read. The local dialects of our people vary so much, that it is impossible to provide any one * vernacular Syriac *) version of the Scriptures. The version in * Umri Syriac * printed by the Amrican Mission is actually is less intelligible on the Moiuntains than is the “old language” of the Pesshita…”

    Here, you have a virtuous Assyrian woman supporting the idea of one version in the *old language* of Pesshita! Modern Assyrian is a vernacular Syriac. Obviously, in the Assyrian church also the bible version was standardized like in the Syrian Orthodox Church. Only, difference is the Assyrians has replaced the old sandernd by a new standard in a *vernacular* which * sadly * happens to be Modern Assyrian. Why * sadly *? Because this will make the church exclusive to Assyrians! Our historic connection (as Indians) was to the Church of the East which used the * old language * like the sister of Mar Shimun likes to call it.

    Here is another quotation from the Aramaic bible I am using…
    “The text of the Aramaic is taken from The Syriac New Testament and Psalms, published by United Bible Societies, *specifically* the Bible Society in * Turkey *. In 1905 the British and Foreign Bible Society published an edition of the Gospels in Syriac, reprinted by permission from a revised text of the Peshitta Version which had been prepared by the late Rev. G.H. Gwilliam, B.D., with a Latin translation and critical apparatus, and issued by the Clarendon Press in 1901. This is a critical text of the Peshitta that was completed from a collation of manuscripts at the British Museum Library. It is known as a “western” text of the Peshitta and therefore varies to *a small degree* from other eastern versions of the Peshitta.”

    Here, what is the Bible Society in Turkey doing with the * Western* version! After all, turkey is not in the West. Are they not better of using the Eastern version? Actually, this version that I have does not have any vowel markers to denote pronunciation. Why am I talking vowel markers here? Because, originally like in the * modern * Hebrew in Israel today, Aramaic was written without any vowel markers (by the way Arabic was too), the reader whether western or eastern could read it with full understanding though in slightly different accents.

    Do you * really * want the * old * diversity and unity? Paradoxically, though with out some standardization we cannot have this unity. The common thread that tied the various peoples in the Church of the East was the standardized elements… the peshitta, the rite etc…

    Let me give you a verse that is different in the “Kitava Kadisa” (Bible) in Modern Assyrian but identical in both eastern and western script. In Matthew 25:1 Both eastern and western versions say: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be compared to ten virgins, those who took their lamps and went out for the arrival of the bridegroom and bride.” But all the Greek versions and the Modern Assyrian say: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be compared to ten virgins, those who took their lamps and went out for the arrival of the bridegroom.” The “arrival of the bridegroom and bride” is changed to “arrival of the bridegroom”! What is the motive for making this change? Well, one can only guess.

    The liturgy of the Qurbana of Addi & Marri has a lot of biblical basis to it. For example, there is a particular order in which the prayers are to be said. The Latin rites start with “Mia Culpa” like the “sinner who stood out side the synagogue because he considered himself unworthy to enter inside” but the Eastern liturgy starts with Praises and Thanksgiving because the Lords prayer starts with adoration “Our Father in Heaven… Let Your name be kept Holy!” Here, you see that the church of the east believed that all the Christians are Saints where as in the middle ages the Roman church would have burnt people who claim they are saints with out the approval of Vatican as heretics! The church of the east has the priest facing the east and the two (usually) “shamashans” (deacons) one on either side of the priest. This is again following the bible very closely because shortly after His resurrection on the way to Emmaus Jesus walked with His two apostles explaining from the prophets about the death and resurrection of the Messiah. People who really understand the liturgy also understand the theology “Rasa” (mystery) of the church when these liturgies where instituted. I think the Latin rite is the opposite of the Eastern rite in some respects. Further, the Roman & Greek cultures have much in common. In Hebrew the same word “Kittim” can mean either Rome or Greece. Also, an Aramaic word for Rome also means dirt!!! So, in this theological sense the one is more “pure”. I know this is can be an embarrassment to some friends in the Syro-Malabar group who have foolishly mutilated the liturgy. They changed the “Vishuda Qurbna” three times when I was in school.

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  125. *INTERESTING NEWS*

    The Khaburis Manuscript is a copy of a second century New Testament, which was written in approximately 165 AD (internally documented as 100 years after the great persecution of the Christians by Nero, in 65AD). Given its origins, this would make it a copy of the oldest known Complete New Testament manuscript. And its in Aramaic!

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  126. I have revised this based on the catalogue compiled by J P M Van Der Ploeg. There is another article by Father Hambye SJ “ Syriac Libraries of Kerala ( Malabar) Some notes and comments” which I could not get a copy. I will also add about the MSS about Biblical lectionaries and commentaries of Holy Scripture later. Do share information about other catalogues, if any.

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  127. Shlomo l-kulkon,

    Although I am a Syriac scholar, I am also aware of many refernces to Isho`a Meshiha which occur in the Vedas and in ancient Buddhist manuscripts written in the Pali language. In particular, there is a life of Isho`a Mishiha in Pali which has not been edited. This apparently survives in several Mss in Northern India and Tibet. These two early literary sources may also contain references to the early spread of Christianity in India, but as far as I know these sources have not been explored. Why is that do you think? :)

    Best regards,
    Steven.

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  128. Steven,
    Can you provide some citations to the references? I’ve heard that some Puranas have similar Biblical references; however I dismissed theseas the ramblings of an overenthusiastic Christian — it does sound.a little fanciful.

    Ardent Christiians like Max Muiller and others from Europe in the 19th century studied Indian Hindu and Buddhist texts yet never made these observations.

    Since you are a scholar, if you could provide some references many of us would probably follow up as this is interesting.

    Thanks

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  129. Dear John Matthew, Dear All,

    Yes of course, I would be pleased to mention my sources. However, I cannot say whether the following two websites are genuine, or accurate. They do nevertheless contain cross-references. My skills do not extend to Pali or Sanskrit, so I cannot check these claims very well. Let the reader beware!
    http://www.atmajyoti.org/sw_unknown_life.asp
    http://www.salagram.net/Jesus-Went-To-India.htm

    A few comments of my own, for what these are worth:
    The Pali life of Christ is interesting in parts. The account of the trial and crucifixion of Christ is very different to the one in the gospels, but nevertheless it may have some historical features. For example, in the Pali account, it is the Jewish leaders who washed their hands during the trial, not Pilate. This detail interested me, because the idea of washing the hands for ritual cleansing was certainly in Jewish culture, but I am not so sure that it featured in Roman culture, (remember that Isho`a was criticised by the Jewish leaders because he did not wash his hands before meals).
    The references to Isho`a in the Vedas cannot be 5,000 years old. Rather, if these references are genuine (and they might be at least partly reliable) they date from the time of Christ and they must have been added to the more ancient Vedic context, by later interpolation. In my view, if he really evangelized in India, the apostle Thomas must have encountered the Brahmins and IMO, it is very credible that some traces of that religious encounter could have been written in Sanskrit and included in the Vedic tradition.

    I would be interested in your views and literary-historical comments on these data.

    Concerning 19th century European Christian scholars. In common with many 20th and 21st century Christians, perhaps they were not interested in oriental Christianity, but only in the Romanized and Hellenized forms of the faith? This prejudice is all too evident in the theological literature of that period and the same prejudice is still common today, (and as a Christian interested in Syriac studies, I have encountered it more than once myself).

    Best wishes,
    Steven.

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  130. Dear Varghese Paul,

    I regret that the Khabouris codex of the Peshitta is not as old as you say. It is however a very nice Ms copy of the Peshitta NT. The script used is a beautiful East-Syrian Estrangela, datable on palaeographic grounds to the 9th or 10th century AD. The script includes the East Syrian vowel points, used to help readers vocalize the Syriac text correctly when they read it our in church. The complete manuscript has been imaged and the pages can all be viewed on-line. I have referenced and described this Ms with other Syriac Mss available on-line here:
    http://www.syriac.talktalk.net/On-line-Syriac-MSS.html

    If you doubt my word about the date of the Estrangela handwriting, there are plenty of examples of other manuscripts linked to on this page, both older and younger ones to compare with the handwriting used in the Khabouris codex.

    Best regards,
    Steven.

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  131. Thanks Steven. I look forward to going through this. Personally, I never believed the story that St Thomas came to India. I think the lack of any evidence that brings Christianity in India to the pre-5th century era is a serious blow to any claim that Indian Christianity has apostolic origins. As well, I’ve always been disappointed that, for all the big talking done by Indian Syrian Christians, we really have nothing to show for our Christianity other than our existence, and a small number of artifacts. Whereas, the Chinese Christians, despite their current non-existence, have a beautiful corpus of literature (the Jesus sutras) that show how they amalgamated Oriental Christianity to their own hyper-oriental culture.

    In India, we merely have verbatim copies of the East Syriac liturgy — which points more to immigration as opposed to apostolic evangelization, to my eye.

    So … needless to say, I’m very interested in looking into what you’ve brought up.

    By the way, since you’re a Syriac scholar, could you please comment on the Buchanan Bible … as you may know, there are some people (a large group, actually) that point to this as proof of the antiquity of the West Syriac rite in India.

    The reasoning goes:
    1. The Buchanan Bible was in India for “a 1000 years” (as of the 18h century)
    2. The Buchanan Bible has annotations that indicate clear origins in the West Syriac (and not the East Syriac community)

    hence, the Indians were West Syriac for at least 1000 years.

    What this reasoning ignores is:
    1. The Buchanan Bible may not even be 1000 years old (i.e., the 8th century). I believe Brock and other scholars give it a date in the 12th century
    2. The Buchanan Bible was written in the Middle East, according to many scholars (Brock, etc.)
    3. There’s nothing that establishes that the Buchanan Bible was not brought along to India with other MSS by the West Syriac prelates of the post-17th century era.

    I just wanted to get “scholarly” corroboration as to points 1 and 2. Hopefully to kill this ridiculous faulty meme.

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  132. Dear John Mathew, Dear All,

    The Buchanan bible is in the Cambridge University Library. Today it is in very poor condition, showing signs of decay. It has been described in the following catalogue. A digital facsimile of this catalogue is available on-line using the link supplied, (see volume 2, page 1037 onwards):

    Wright, William & Cook, Stanley Arthur 1901. ‘A catalogue of the Syriac manuscripts preserved in the library of the University of Cambridge’ 2 volumes. Cambridge University Press. Reprinted Gorgias Press, 2002.
    Link: http://cpart.byu.edu/?page=99&sidebar

    According to the description published in the catalogue, the Buchanan bible is a 12th century West-Syrian Ms of the whole bible written in Serto, (a later and more cursive form of Syriac script). The estimated palaeographic date is supported by two dedications to the Jacobite patriarch Michael the Great found in the margins, (patriarch Mor Michael Rabbo died in AD 1199). The catalogue description is worth reading, as there are many more interesting details to be found there.

    Best wishes,
    Steven.

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  133. Dear Steven,

    Thank you very much for your scholarly response with link to the very capable English translation of the Peshitta NT done by Paul Younan. That is a very remarkable work indeed!

    Another similar translation from the HRV Scriptures for your analysis and comments: Matthew 19:24 (also seen in Mark 10:25 & Luke 18:25)

    KJV reads:
    24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    HRV Scripture reads:
    24 And again I tell you: it is easier to pass a large rope through the eye of the needle, than to bring the rich into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The HRV translator-author (Rabbi) James Trimm explains that “the word for “camel” in the Aramaic manuscripts is ”GAMLA” which can mean “camel” but can also refer to a “large rope,” which is certainly the meaning here”. I believe Paul Younan also has used “large rope” rather than “camel” for this passage, and again this modified translation appears to make better sense! Your views/comments, Stephen?

    Best regards,

    Kuruvilla Cherian

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  134. Dear Dr Kuruvilla Cherian,

    Regarding Mt 19.24 and parallels in Mk 10.25 & Lk 18.25: ‘…it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom…’ etc.

    I have seen this claim about gamlā being a misreading before, when it was made by G. Lamsa, but I don’t follow his logic (if there is any, he did not explain). Rope is ḥavla in Syriac and this word is quite well attested, both in middle Judean Aramaic and in Syriac. To my eyes, gamlā and ḥavlā are quite different words when written in Syriac Estrangela script, or in ‘Hebrew’ square script.* It is possible that gamlā was a misreading of ḥavla, especially if the ink used to write ḥavla was damaged and partially effaced, but personally I do not think this misreading is very likely. Also, I have not yet found any manuscript evidence, or patristic quotations which support an original reading with ḥavlā. Mar Aphrahat for example, writing in the early 4th century knew this reading with gamlā, (Wright 1869, page 372, line 16).

    Best regards,
    Steven.

    *What we know of as Hebrew square script is in fact an Aramaic script, but that is beside the point made here.

    Reference:
    Wright, William 1869 ‘The homilies of Aphraates the Persian sage’ Williams & Norgate, London & Edinburgh. This book is available on-line. Link: http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/CUA,111224

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  135. Dear Steven,

    Thanks for your reply and your interesting perspective of the proper word usage in Mt 19:24, Mk 10:25 & Lk 18:25.

    In the Peshitta Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament at http://www.peshitta.org/ (by Paul Younan, I understand) in all the three places the choice apparently is “rope”. However, I could not find his reasoning for choice of “rope” over “camel”.

    In the HRV Scriptures, Rabbi James Trimm too has chosen “rope” over “camel”. I remember having seen his reasoning for the choice, in the full text version of his translation; I will look it up again and let you know.

    Best regards,
    Kuruvilla Cherian

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  136. Dear Dr Kuruvilla Cherian,

    Again, regarding Mt 19.24 and parallels in Mk 10.25 & Lk 18.25: ‘…it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom…’ etc.

    Having established reasonably well from Mar Aphrahat and since then from other Syriac authors I did not cite, that gamlā was originally in the Syriac gospel text, I have now had a look at a few more Syriac dictionaries accessible on http://www.dukhrana.com, to see whether there are any alternate meanings of gamlā which could explain the translation ‘rope’ made by Paul Younan and others. Sure enough, in the 10th century east-Syrian Syro-Arabic lexicon of Hassan bar Bahlul, he reports on column 500 that gamlā can mean the thick rope used to tie up boats. The same is reported by Toma Audo in his east-Syrian Syro-Arabic lexicon called the Treasury of the Syriac Language on page 146.

    So, the missing logic is that gamlā also means a heavy nautical rope used to tie up boats and hence this saying of the Lord, can and should be translated from the Syriac:

    ‘…it is easier for a ship’s rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom…’

    Now this saying makes complete sense. But look what this little gem also tells us about the Greek texts of Matthew, Mark and Luke! What language must the Greek texts of these 3 gospels have been translated from, to arrive at ‘camel’ in all 3 of these verses? So which came first, the Peshiṭta Syriac or the Greek?

    :)

    Best regards,
    Steven.

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  137. Dear Steven,

    Since you have resolved the”GAMLA” mistranslation issue, I suppose it is not necessary to post Rabbi Trimm’s reasoning for the choice of the word “rope”… Here’s another translation example for your analysis and comments: regarding “Simon the leper” as seen in Mt. 26:6 & Mk. 14:3.

    Mt. 26:6

    The King James Version Bible reads:
    “6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,”

    The Hebrew Roots Version Scripture (Rabbi Trimm) reads:
    “6 And as Yeshua was in one Beit Anyah, in the house of Shim’on the jar merchant,”

    The Peshitta Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament (Paul Younan) apparently reads:
    “6. And when Yeshua was in Beth-Anya in the house of Shimon the potter”

    Mk. 14:3

    The King James Version Bible reads:
    “3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head”

    The Hebrew Roots Version Scripture (Rabbi Trimm) reads:
    “3 And while He was in Beit-Anyah, in the house of Shim’on the jar merchant, while eating, a woman came who had with her an alabaster jar of ointment of pistachio, the best, very costly: and she opened it and poured it on the head of Yeshua”

    The Peshitta Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament (Paul Younan) apparently reads:
    “3. And while he was in Beth-Anya in the house of Shimon the potter while reclining came a woman who had with her an alabaster vase of perfume of nard the best very expensive and she opened it and poured it upon the head of Yeshua”

    Regarding the translation, Rabbi Trimm has commented that as any Bible student knows, lepers were not permitted to live in the city (Lev.13:46). Since ancient Hebrew and Aramaic were written without vowels, there was no distinction between the Aramaic words GAR’BA (leper), and GARABA (jar maker or jar merchant). Since in this story a woman pours oil from a jar, it is apparent that Simon was a jar merchant, or jar-maker, and not a leper. Paul Younan uses the word “potter”, which is apparently comparable to “jar-maker” and not to “leper”. So this is another instance of mistranslation, perhaps. Your views and comments, Steven?

    Best regards,
    Kuruvilla Cherian

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  138. Dear Dr. Kuruvilla Cherian,

    Thank you for taking the trouble to write up these verses.

    However, in my opinion the use of this word Garbā in these verses cannot help us to decide textual matters . Trimm’s suggestion that grāvā = vessel, skin, jar or jug implied Shem`on was a ‘jar maker’ is tenable, but it is very speculative. This ambiguity does exist, but I don’t think it is possible to prove that the coincidence of Shem`on Grāvā/Garbā’s name or nickname with a jar of perfume mentioned in the same passage is anything more than a coincidence. This observation would be more significant if the word grāvā was used in the Syriac text to describe the vessel the perfume came in, but it isn’t.

    Besides, there is a third possible explanation for this word; Grāvā or Garbā may have been part of Shem`on’s family name inherited for several generations.

    Best regards,
    Steven.

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  139. Dear Dr. Kuruvilla Cherian,

    Thank you for taking the trouble to write up these verses.

    However, in my opinion the use of this word Garbā in these verses cannot help us to decide textual matters. Trimm’s suggestion that grāvā = vessel, skin, jar or jug implied Shem`on was a ‘jar maker’ is tenable, but it is very speculative. This ambiguity does exist, but I don’t think it is possible to prove that the coincidence of Shem`on Grāvā/Garbā’s name or nickname with a jar of perfume mentioned in the same passage is anything more than a coincidence. This observation would be more significant if the word grāvā was used in the Syriac text to describe the vessel the perfume came in, but it isn’t.

    Besides, there is a third possible explanation for this word; Grāvā or Garbā may have been part of Shem`on’s family name inherited for several generations.

    Best regards,
    Steven.

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  140. I posted a reply and tried again, but both just disappeared.
    Best regards,
    Steven.

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  141. Pazhaya Koor , Puthiyakoor , all are nasranies, and syriac was the oldest language of kerala if you look the history the Sanskrit and Malayalam came later , may be tamil was exist , the words like , dhawani pavadai ( gold bordered skirt) “dawani” in syriac golden , also “Marthandan” means martha + andavan ( jesus)

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  142. Syriac is far from being the oldest in Kerala. Pahlavi, Hebrew and Arabic have earlier attestation.

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