Patriarchate Of India- An Appraisal Of The Evolution Of The Episcopal Hierarchy Among Thomas Christians Of Malabar

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Patriarchate Of India- An Appraisal Of The Evolution Of The Episcopal Hierarchy Among Thomas Christians Of Malabar

Christianity in India

Thomas Christians of India are one of the most ancient Christian communities in the World. Apostle Thomas founded the Church in India in the first century itself. Tradition says that Apostle Thomas landed at Kodungalloor in AD 52 and founded 7 and half communities in the Malabar coast. Even though there is no solid historical evidence of this, considering the available historical, archaeological evidences and logical thought, many researchers and historians have concluded that the visit of Apostle Thomas is possible. There are solid grounds for believing that there was a Christian community that existed in Kerala in the very early period.

The arrival of Apostle Thomas in North West India is now accepted as historical, especially after the discovery of coins with the name of the Parthian King Gondophoros in the region, which validate the story in the apocryphal Acts of Judas Thomas.1 After a critical study about the apocryphal work ‘Acts of Judas Thomas’ J N Farquhar, who was a Professor of Comparative Religion in Manchester University argues that the legend of Thomas Apostle coming to Musiris where a large number of Jews, Greeks Romans and others lived and preached the Gospel and founded Christian communities among them, or in simple words, the Apostolate of Thomas in South India is on balance of probability, is distinctly on the side of historicity.2

The widespread presence of Pahlavi inscribed granite crosses in south India are the most ancient antiquities available about the history of Thomas Christians in the region. They denote the presence of a Christianity related to Persia. Eminent Pahlavi scholar B T Anklesaria has commented that the most ancient of these crosses, the one found at Alengadu could be of AD 340 or earlier but later than AD 302, (depending on the style of the letters and use of adjuncts, comparing to the styles seen in the ancient coins excavated, manuscripts and inscriptions). As the Pahlavi language died out by AD 650, many of the scholars put the age of these crosses as AD 650.3

East Syrian Connection

Thomas Christians have always been under the jurisdiction of more advanced Christianity in Mesopotamia and Persia. There are hints from ancient literature that Apostle Thomas had sent letters to the Church in Edessa from India. Cureton in ‘Ancient syriac documents’ comments about Apostle Thomas’ letters received in the Church of Edessa. J N Farquhar, after critically analysing the possibilities, states that as there was a Bishop in Edessa from the time of Mar Addai, and there were no Bishops In India, the Christians would have corresponded with them and recognised the supremacy of Edessa.4

There is plenty of documentary evidence to show the connection of the Church in India to the Church of the East. Alphonse Mingana, after studying numerous ancient documents and manuscripts, commented that “any attempt to speak of early Christianity in India as different from the East Syrian church, is, in our judgement, bound to fail”.5

Early Christian Church.

The Early Christianity was evolved in three different cultures- Syriac, Greek and Latin.6 Syriac Christianity evolved as a separate strand alongside the Latin and the Greek.7

It is believed that Aramaic was the language of our Lord Isho M’shiha and his disciples. It was the language of early Christians. The early Christians were Syriac speaking. But later, Christianity developed in Jerusalem and Antioch in a Hellenised culture and hence Greek became the official language.8 Greek language and hellenic culture, during the time of Isho M’shiha, was like English language and American culture today. Thus, the development of the primitive church was rooted in Greek language and hellenic culture. Alexandria and Constantinople were the Great Centres of Greek Christianity.

Rome was the centre of the Christianity in Latin. Latin was the language of the West. Irenius preached the gospel in Latin in Lyons. By second and third century, enough writings and documents including translations of the gospel were produced in the west in Latin.

Evolution of East Syriac Church.

Aramaic or Syriac was the language of our Lord Isho M’shiha and his disciples. It was in the same language that the angels spoke to Marth Mariam( Saint Mary), Mar Yawsep ( Saint Joseph), and Zacharias, the father of Yohannan Mamdana( John the Baptist). It was also the same language that broke out from heaven when our Lord Isho M’shiha was baptised in the river Jordan. Thus, Syriac was the language of heaven in which the mysteries of the salvation of human kind was revealed.
Many of the Aramaic words are still preserved in the Bible, even after several translations to translations into different languages and cultures. Examples are ‘Amen’, ‘Maranatha’, calling God almighty as ‘Abba’ (Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6)and the last words of Our Lord Isho M’shiha on the cross- ‘Eloi, Eloi (actually Elahi) lama sabachthani’ (Mark 15:34)

Syriac Christianity evolved around Edessa and adjacent parts of Mesopotamia. The Syriac school at Edessa and Saint Ephraim of Edessa nurtured the early Syriac Church. All the ancient Syriac churches were founded by either Thomas the Apostle or his disciples. The Assyrian Church in Mesopotamia was one of the very first Churches founded in Apostolic times. Acts of Apostles mentions about the presence of Assyrians on the day of Pentecost . (Acts 2,9) Very ancient Syriac writings such as ‘The Doctrine of Addai’, ‘The Chronicles of Arbela’ and ‘The teachings of the Tweleve Apostles’ mention that Saint Thomas sent Thaddeus and Mari to preach Abgar Ukkama the Black, the King of Assyrians at Osrhoene (Edessa).9 Eusebius, the father of Church history also witnesses in AD 325 that he personally searched the state archives of the Assyrians in the capital city of Edessa and found official records of this Apostolic visit .10 Apostle Thomas is believed to have gone to Parthia and India to evangelise.

The Church of India and The Church of Persia claim to be founded by the Apostle Thomas himself. South Indian tradition supported by a large number of ancient writings talk about the Apostle’s visit to South India. The Church of Fars also claim that their church was founded by Apostle Thomas.11 Thus, the Churches of Edessa, Seleusia-Ctesiphon of Babylon, Persia and India constitute the Thomasine Churches and these Syriac churches consolidated under the banner of the Church of the East due to their linguistic and cultural relationship. They were interlinked from the early period itself.

But the East Syriac Church, the communion of early Syriac churches which happened to be under the Persian empire did not want to be under the Patriarchate of Antioch which was in the Roman Empire. This had political influence due to the feud between Persian and Roman empires. Initially, the Church of the East- the Syriac church was supported by the Patriarchate of Antioch even in the midst of political strifes. But, for survival, the leaders of the Church of the East adopted a nationalistic strategy and declared independence from the Patriarch of Antioch and declared their Catholicose as the Patriarch of the Church.

Evolution of Hierarchy in India

Initial period

Apostle Thomas might have consecrated Priests and Bishops for Thomas Christians. Tradition names two Bishops Kepa and Paul whom the Apostle consecrated. But no solid evidence available.12

Was there a local congregation and priestly ministry in the early period ?

Photius in his ‘Bibliotheca’ quotes Arian Philostrogius about Theophilus, the Indian in AD 354, ‘Thence he sailed to other parts of India , and reformed many things which were not rightly done among them; for they heard the reading of the Gospel in a sitting posture…..’13 This quote confirms about presence of a faithful congregation, regular celebration of liturgy where Gospels were read and thus, presence of at least a Priestly ministry. We have to assume that the congregation was indigenous on the account of the peculiar practices found among them such as receiving the Gospel reading in sitting posture. Mingana says ‘There is hardly any reasonable doubt , therefore that the Christian community in India in about AD 354 was an indigenous community, not much in touch with the practices prevalent in Graeco Roman Churches , and was somewhat similar to the East Syrian Church before the time of the Catholicose Papa’.14

Cosmas Indicopleustes who travelled during the period AD 520-525 vouches that there were Christian congregations in Taprobane(Ceylon) in the Indian sea and also in the land called Male( Malabar) where pepper grows. He also found Bishops in Kalliana( Kalyan) and Dioscoris(Socotora) who were appointed from Persia.15 The author of Periplus of the Erythrean sea also confirms about the pepper trade from Musiris,(Kodungalloor) Cottonora( Kuttanadu) and Barake (Purakkadu port).16

So there should not be any question about the identity of Male in the writings of Cosmas Indicapleustes. Cosmas Indicapleustes also clarifies that there were Christian Churches among the Indians besides Bactrians, Huns, Persians, Greeks and so on confirming that the Christian community was native Indians. ‘….and also among the Bactrians and Huns and Persians, and the rest of the Indians, and among the Persarmenians and Greeks and Elamites, and throughout the whole land of Persia, there is an infinite number of churches with Bishops and a vast multitude of Christian people , and they have many martyrs and recluses leading a monastic life. Note the usage ‘and the rest of the Indians’. In contrast, Cosmas Indicapleustes clearly states that the native people in Ceylone were different from the Christians.17

Dependence on the Church of Fars for Episcopal Ministry

Chronicles of Seert narrates that Mana, the Bishop of Rewardushir ( Fars- South Persia) wrote religious discourses, canticles and hymns in Pahlavi language and translated the works of Diodore and Theodore of Mopseustia into Syriac and sent them to India and the islands of the sea.18 This shows the ecclesiastical connection of the Indian Church with that of Fars. The recent excavation of Pahlavi Psalter from Turfan in China which is now kept in the museum of Berlin validates this information from Chronicles of Seert.19

Missionary Bishops

Bishop is the English word for the Greek word Episcopa. Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. They are consecrated members of the clergy who oversee a local church. They are teachers of the Doctrine of the Church20, ( Mathew 28:19) priests of the divine worship and ministers of governance.21 In the ancient church, it is narrated that Bishops were elected by the clergy and the community. As the position of a Bishop in the Roman Empire gained importance and even power, this gradually changed and the Emperors started influencing the election of Bishops. As the Bishop of Rome gained importance, the powers and influence exerted by the Emperors shifted to the Popes.

Church of the East was called the Church of Fire due its intense missionary zeal. As missionary activities increased, the church started sending missionaries to other places to spread the gospel, they sent teachers and Bishops from the mother church. The Great Syriac schools were in Edessa (second century) and Nisibis. Thus, the Bishops who are the official teachers of the doctrine of the church would have been from these great centres. This would explain the reasons for the Bishops for the Church of Malabar coming from Babylon and Persia. Examples are seen in western Church also. Archbishop Theodore who was the Archbishop of Canterbury(AD 668-690) was from Tarsus, near Antioch. He was a monk in a monastery in Rome and was consecrated as a Bishop and sent to England.

We can see people from India had gone to Babylon to study in these great Schools. Mingana describes about Daniel, the Indian Priest who was in Edessa, was involved in translation of Pauline Epistles from Greek into Syriac.22 Indian Priest Daniel might have been consecrated as a Bishop in one of the provinces of the Church of the East.

The first Bishop of India seen in historical documents is Bishop David of Basra in about AD 295. Mingana thinks that the seat of Bishop David of Basra could have been somewhere in the Malabar Coast.23 The second bishop seen in the history is Bishop John of Persia and India who attended the council if Nicea (AD 325) Mingana also narrates about Bishop Joseph of Edessa who was sent by the Catholicose of the East to Malabar in AD 345.24

The Church of Fars was elevated as a Metropolitan Church by Patriarch Isaac (AD 399-410) or Patriarch Yahb Alaha (AD 415-420)25 Thus, the Church of India became under the jurisdiction of the Church of Fars and Bishops were consecrated by the Metropolitan of Fars from time to time since then.

Metropolitan of India

Patriarch Isho Yahb III (650-660) in a letter, accused the Metropolitan of Fars ( South Persia) that he denied Episcopal consecration to Indian church for simony. ‘ Remember with these, O our God loving brother, that as you closed the door of the Episcopal ordination in the face of the many peoples of India and you impeded the gift of God for sake of perishable gains….’26

This letter confirms that there existed in India a regular hierarchy attached to the Church of Fars. This dispute might have been caused by the Metropolitan of Fars asking money for Bishopric consecration. It may imply that, until that time, the prelates were Indian natives and the Indian church community had to pay a lump sum of money to the Metropolitan of Fars to get consecration. Somehow, the Catholicose Patriarch at Selucia-Ctesiphone was informed of this situation that necessitated him to intervene.

Ibn Al Tayib mentions that Patriarch Isho Yahb II (628-643) raised the Indian Church to a Metropolitan Church with some six to twelve suffragans under him, as the number of Christians increased significantly in the region. This would separate the Indian Church from the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Fars, but directly under the Patriarch, as a Metropolitan cannot be under another Metropolitan. The Metropolitan of Fars did not like this idea to detach the Indian Church from his jurisdiction and this could be the reason for the dispute challenging the authority of the Patriarch Isho Yahb III .27 It seems that the decision could not have been implemented due to the resistance from the Metropolitan of Fars.
To rectify this situation, Patriarch Isho Yahb III or the next Patriarch Sliba Zacha raised Indian Church into a Metropolitanate, independent of the Church of Fars and directly put under the Patriarch.28

Patriarch Thimothy I(780-823) in his letter give us a hint that the Metropolitan was selected locally by the people in the presence of suffragan Bishops and was enthroned by placing the letter of the Patriarch on his head.29 This confirms that Metropolitans were elected and enthroned locally. There is a possibility that they were native Indians.

Independent Metropolitanate- A Particular Church

Synodical canons of Abdisho narrates that the Metropolitans of India, China and Samarkand and other remote lands were exempted from attending the general synods of the East Syrian Church.30 Patriarch Theodosius (852-859) stipulated that the Metropolitans of India and China need report to the Patriarch only once in six years rather than every year for the other Metropolitans.31 These show that the Patriarchate of Seleusia-Ctesiphon seems to have considered the Indian Church as a Particular Church with a certain autonomy.

Metropolitan and Gate of all India ( Metropolitan u-Thara d- kollah Hendo)-The Throne of Saint Thomas

The Metropolitan of the Church of Saint Thomas was called Metropolitan and The Gate of All India- Metropolita u thara d kolla Hendo. The term ‘Gate’ means Great authority.32 The Syriac manuscript written in A D 1301 in Cranganore- the Vatican Syriac Codex 22- use the title ‘The Metropolitan of India’.

‘This holy book was written in the Royal, renowned, and famous city of Shingala in Malabar, in the country of India, in the church of the illustrious martyr Mar Cyriacus- May all the faithful be helped by his prayers ! Amen. …..And in the time of the Bishop Mar Jacob, Metropolitan and director of the Holy see of the Apostle Saint Thomas , that is to say, our director and the director of all the holy church of Christian India…..’33

Here, the usages- ‘the director of all the holy church of Christian India’- and ‘Metropolitan and director of the Holy see of the Apostle Saint Thomas’ are important, as they denote the concept of the Throne of Saint Thomas and a Quasi Patriarchal status.

Fr Campori S J wrote in AD 1607- ‘according to the information gathered from several Chaldean books and from well known facts, the Bishop of the Serra ( Malabar) was always an Archbishop and is the oldest in the whole of India. Its Archbishops and Prelates were always called Archbishop Metropolitan of All India and of its confines.’34

The last Chaldean Bishop, Mar Abraham who was resident in Angamali used the title ‘All India’ in his letters to the Patriarch.35 Bishop Francis Ros, the very first Latin Rite Bishop of Saint Thomas Christians and Bishop Palliveettil Chandy, the first native Bishop of Catholic Syrians are also reported to have used the title ‘Metropolitan of All India’.

Metropolitan of Angamali, the ‘Rambba d Kolhon Apeskope u Metropolite’- Superior of all the Bishops and Metropolitans.

When the second Chaldean Patriarch Mar Abdisho appointed Mar Abraham as the Metropolitan of Angamali, he conferred the title ‘Rambba d Kolhon Apeskope u Metropolite’- Superior of all the Bishops and Metropolitans.36 . Mar Abdisho in his decree nominating Archdeacon George of Christ as the Bishop of Palayur and Suffragan to Mar Abraham, seems to have authorised Mar Abraham to assemble all the Metropolitans and Bishops and also to elect and consecrate Bishops.37 By this, the Metropolitan of Angamali was given autonomy and authority over other Prelates. Until then, the Metropolitans did not have an assigned seat. This may be a Roman Catholic influence, as this is the first Bishop appointed by the Catholic Chaldean Patriarch, immediately after its formation. So, now, the seat of Metropolitan and Gate of All India has been fixed at Angamali.

Patriarch of India- the testimony of Joseph, the Indian

Joseph the Indian, the famous Indian Cathanaar who visited Europe and the Pope in AD 1501 with Cabral, talks about the Patriarch of India. Joseph was interviewed by the House of Lords of Venice where he explained the hierarchical structure of the Church of Malabar. ‘They have a Supreme Pontiff called Catholica, twelve Cardinals, two Patriarchs, Bishops and Arch bishop’s. Joseph also mentioned that he was ordained as a Priest by this Catholica. Joseph clearly confirms that this Catholica appoints Patriarchs, one for India and one for China.38

We can see from History that Joseph was ordained by Catholicos Simon, the Patriarch of the East, in AD 1490.The famous Syriac letter of the three Bishops Mar Yohannan, Mar Yakkob and Mar Denha in AD 1504 to the Patriarch of Babylon testifies this fact.39

Here, Joseph is clearly stating the hierarchical relations and structure of the Saint Thomas Christians. Their Supreme Pontiff is the Catholicose at Babylon. Under him twelve cardinals. It is unclear, if this position is called Cardinal exactly, as Cardinal is a title in the Roman Church. We can assume that there was a twelve member council immediately under the Catholicos. This reminds us about the 12 canonists under Paremmakkal Thomman Cathanaar, the Governor of the Catholic Syrians.40

In the history, we can see Mar Ahathalla comes with a claim that he was a Patriarch for Thomas Christians appointed by the Pope in AD 1653.41 Kallada Mooppan- Mar Andrews also arrived in AD 1676 with a claim that he was a Patriarch.42 These two persons were accepted by the community which confirms that such a title was in use in India. G Schurhammer also comments that the head of the Indian Church was sometimes referred to as Patriarch in a wider sense.43

Lost dignity.

When the Portuguese arrived in Malabar, they found a flourishing Christian community there, lead by Bishops from Babylon. The initial period was friendly but later, they began to find mistakes in the faith of the Thomas Christians and accused heresy . They forced the Thomas Christians to conform with Roman rite. The Thomas Christians resisted against this religio cultural invasion. Even when they yielded with the spiritual authority, they vehemently resisted for any change in their rite. The Portuguese missionaries, as a last resort, convened a diocesan synod at Udayampeeroor( Diamper) in which, they forced the Archdeacon and the Cathanaars to obey to the decisions of the synod which was meant to Latinise the Church of Saint Thomas. Synod of Diamper was definitely a forceful and illegal invasion of Portuguese Missionaries into the affairs of Saint Thomas Christians. The Archbishop of Goa had no jurisdiction over Saint Thomas Christians. Without any special mandate from the Roman Pontiff, he forcefully entered the Archdiocese of Angamali and convened the Diocesan Synod of Diamper. The conduct of the synod was invalid and illegitimate. The Christians were intimidated and threatened with serious punishments to make them obey.44

After this infamous Synod of Diamper in 1599, the Church of Saint Thomas Christians became subjected to Latin rite Bishops and the historic connection with the Patriarchate of Chaldeans was broken. The Portuguese Missionaries downgraded the ancient Church of Christians of Saint Thomas into a mere suffragan of the Archdiocese of Goa of Latin rite. Later, due to the resistance of Saint Thomas Christians, the Metropolitanate was reinstated and Archdiocese of Kodungalloor was created with Western Prelates.45 Even though the Thomas Christians were subjected to Latin rite prelates in Latin Rite hierarchy, the community consolidated under the leadership of the Archdeacons as a separate rite with its own liturgy and traditions. The Missionaries began to Latinise their rite of worship and tried to eliminate the authority and status of the Archdeacon and thereby dishonour the status of their ancient Church of Malabar. The community secretly tried to get Prelates from the Patriarchate of Chaldeans and other Eastern Churches. The missionaries used their political power to prevent Thomas Christians from contacting any Oriental Churches and they even arrested and deported Mar Ahatalla, a Bishop of Syriac Rite who arrived in Mailappore in AD 1653.46

The Great Revolt and the unfortunate Division- Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor

The Thomas Christians rose up and revolted against the Portuguese in AD 1653 in the historic Coonan Cross Oath and consecrated the Archdeacon Palliveettil Thomas as the Bishop of Thomas Christians. This revolt was nearly complete and that shocked the Missionaries.47 Rome intervened and Carmelite Missionaries were sent to win the Thomas Christians back. Carmelites could convince the majority of Thomas Christians that the consecration of the Archdeacon Thomas was invalid as the consecration was conducted not by any Bishops, but by twelve priests only. Rome appointed Carmelite Missionary, Joseph Maria Sebastiani as the Bishop for Saint Thomas Christians. Many leaders of the community rejoined the missionaries. Due to political reasons, Portuguese Missionaries had to leave the country and they consecrated Palliveettil Chandy Cathanaar as the Bishop for the Catholic Thomas Christians in 1663.48 Thus, the majority of Thomas Christians consolidated under the native Bishop Palliveettil Chandy, keeping their Syro Chaldean rite of worship.

As Bishop Palliveettil Chandy was legitimately consecrated as a Bishop, Archdeacon Thomas tried to get a legitimate Bishopric consecration. He sent letters to different Eastern Churches. Due to political reasons, many of them were helpless. Archdeacon Thomas started negotiations with the Jesuites for a submission without humiliation.49 In AD 1665, a Syrian Prelate Mar Gregorius arrived in Calicut. This raised the hopes of Archdeacon Thomas and strengthened his position and he withdrew from the negotiations.

The community became explicitly divided between Bishop Chandy and Archdeacon Thomas. Those who remained in status quo- continued the previous 100 years of communion with the Rome were labelled as Pazhayacoor- the old loyalists and those who aligned behind the new Bishop Mar Gregorius were labelled as Puthencoor- the new loyalists.50

Evolution of the Thomas Christians after the division.

Evolution of Pazhayacoor

The community of the Thomas Christians who continued the status quo- remained in communion with the Rome – the Catholics of Syro Chaldean rite became the Syro Malabar Church. After Bishop Palliveettil Chandy, the Catholic Syrians had to continue under Latin Bishops until 1896. But, they continued their struggle for independence, autonomy and to protect their Syro Chaldean Rite.

Many of the Latin trained cathanars were loyal to the Roman Catholic Authorites and the Missionaries. But the community as a whole was unhappy.

There were several attempts for reinstating the jurisdiction of the Chaldean Patriarch. Several letters and delegations were sent to Babylon. Due to resistance of the Roman Catholic Missionaries, Chaldean Patriarchs were helpless. In AD 1797, a four member delegation was sent to the Chaldean Patriarch (Patriarch of the Chaldean rite) in Bagdad by Paremmakkal Thomman Cathanaar, the Governor of the Catholic Syrians.51 As a result of this, one of the members of the delegation, Paul Pandari was ordained as a Priest and then consecrated as a Bishop with the name Mar Abraham and was sent to Malabar in AD 1798. Later, in AD 1861, Mar Thomas Rokos and in AD 1874, Mar Elias Melus, both were sent from the Chaldean Patriarch in Babylon, on the request of the Catholic Syriac Christians. All these created some minor divisions, but Rome instructed the Patriarch of the Chaldeans to recall these Bishops. Some of the followers of Mar Melus eventually contacted the Patriarch of the non Catholic Church of the East- Patriarch of the Assyrians- and formed the Church of the East in India.

The prominent leaders of the Pazhayacoor were for status quo and were resistant to leave the communion with Rome and hence remained obedient to Rome, as did the Patriarch of Chaldeans. The community continued their struggle to have a hierarchy of its own rite- the Syro Chaldean rite- with native Bishops. Seeing the success of Mar Rokos and Mar Melus, Rome sent a few Apostolic visitors to study the situation. Rev Leo Meurin S J in 1875 and Rev Igantius Pertico in 1876 arrived in Malabar.52 As a result, the Hierarchy of Catholics of the Syro Chaldean rite was restored in AD 1887 with the erection of Kottayam and Trichur vicariates for the Catholic Thomas Christians, separating them from the Latin rite Catholics.53 In 1896, native Prelates were appointed in Kottayam and Trichur vicariates and also in the newly created Ernakulam vicariate.54 In 1923, Ernakulam vicariate was elevated as an Archdiocese and the Church became a Metropolitan Church.55 In 1992, Syro Malabar Church was elevated to a Major Archiepiscopal Church with Padiyara Mar Anthonius I as the first Major Arch Bishop.56 Initially, the Major Arch Bishop of Syro Malabar Church was not given the full powers as specified in the Oriental canon Law due to the differences existed in the church.

The first and second Major Archbishops were nominated by the Supreme Pontiff, the Pope of Rome. During the time of the second Major Arch Bishop Vithayathil Mar Giwargis I, the Holy Synod of Syro Malabar Church was given full powers including election of the Father and Head of the Church.

In 2011, after the sad demise of Vithayathil Mar Giwargis I Bava, the Holy Synod of Syro Malabar Church canonically elected a new Father and Head of the Church and Alencheril Mar Giwargis II Bava was enthroned as the new Major Archbishop. This is the first time, the Syro Malabar Church was executing the powers to elect its Father and head of the Church, thereby recapturing the lost status of ‘Metropolitan and the Gate of All India’.

In this evolution of Syro Malabar Church, one cannot forget the efforts and sufferings of many forefathers of the community. To name some of them, Paremmakkal Thomman Cathanaar, Cariattil Mar Yawsep Metropolita, Nidheerickal Mani Cathanaar and Rev Dr Placid Podipara. The Thomas Christians fiercely fought against the foreign missionaries to preserve their rite and liturgy. During the evolution of Syro Malabar church in a strongly latinised environment, it was Rev Dr Placid Podipara who guided the church and the leaders in the right path to preserve our Apostolic Christianity. As a Consulter of the Holy See, he argued for the legitimate rights of Syro Malabar Church as a Particular Church and the right for expansion of its territory of jurisdiction and for correction of its mutilated liturgy. The Syro Malabar church would have evolved into a mere offshoot of the Latin rite in Kerala without the efforts of Rev Dr Placid. . Without having the awareness of our identity, the Church would have gone to a path of merging with the Latin rite terminating the existence of the Catholic Thomas Christian rite of Malabar.57

Evolution of the Puthencoor- The Jacobite Syrians.

It is believed that Mar Gregorius consecrated Archdeacon Thomas as a Bishop. Thus, a succession of Mar Thoma Metropolitans lead the Puthencoor commmunity. They used the same Syro Chaldean rite. They could reinstate some of the Syrian traditions abolished by the Synod of Diamper, but continued the Latinised Syro Chaldean rite, as people were resistant to change, in a volatile situation of power struggle to control the community by Mar Chandy and Mar Thoma Metropolitans. The new way of celebrating the Liturgy by Mar Gregorius raised dissatisfaction and Archdeacon Thomas had to persuade him to use the local rite.58. Thus, Mar Gregorius was not in a position to introduce the new Antiochian rite among the Puthencoor community.59

Several Prelates from the Patriarchate of Antioch came to Malabar. They wanted to subjugate the Puthencoor to the Patriarchate of Antioch. But the Mar Thoma Metropolitans resisted and wanted to keep their hereditary succession. But they had to yield to the Prelates from Antioch due to political reasons.

1 The Roman Catholic authorities always propagated that the Bishopric consecration of the succession of Mar Thoma Metropolitans were illegitimate.60 The Prelates from Antioch also started bargaining with Puthencoor community and accused that these consecrations were invalid. They wanted full submission of Puthencoor to the Patriarchate of Antioch. Thus, Mar Thoma VI received valid consecration from Antiochian prelates Mar Ivanios and Mar Gregorius who arrived in AD 1751 and received the name Mar Dionysius I, as per the Antiochene tradition. But Mar Dionysius I also was not ready for a full submission.

2.In AD 1705, Mar Gabriel arrived in Malabar from the Patriarchate of Assyrians. A large number of Puthencoor and Pazhayacor joined him as he used the original rite. After his death, all of them returned to their own groups. Mar Gabriel weakened the position of Mar Thoma IV. This might have forced him to seek help from the Patriarchate of Antioch.

3. Later, the Protestant Missionaries influenced the Puthencoor community and caused unrest. To tackle this, the Mar Thoma Metropolitans wanted an affiliation to a Major church. Always their first choice was the Pazhayacoor community, as a united community, it would be a strong force, but due to the strong opposition from the Latin Missionaries, the Pazhayacoor community and the leaders were helpless, not to forget the efforts of Paremmakkal Thomman Cathanaar and Kariattil Youseph Metropolita in the 18th century and Nidheerickal Mani Cathanar in the 19th century.

Thus, the Puthencoor community had to submit to the Church of Antioch and adopt Antichene rite gradually.

The Antiochian Prelates arrived in 1751 tried to create a group among Puthencoor to favour them and used every opportunity for that. They consecrated Kattumangattu Kurian rampan as a rival Bishop with the name Mar Coorillose in AD 1772. This was the beginning of Thozhiyur Church.

The Anglican Missionaries influenced the Puthencoor community. This created some division. In order to get rid of the Protestant influence, Mar Dionysius IV had to accept the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch in Malabar.( Mavelikkara padiyola) Later, some of the Puthencoor community joined the Anglican Church and formed the CMS and then Church of South India. Still, the differences in opinion continued. In 1843, Mathews Mar Athanasius was consecrated as Bishop by the Jacobite Patriarch in Antioch, as a rival to the traditional Mar Thoma Metropolitan Mar Dionysius IV. The subsequent division created Mar Thoma Syrian Church which follow the principles of Protestant reformation.

The Puthencoor community always had differences on the account of the authority of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch. The Mar Thoma Metropolitans did not want to be under the temporal jurisdiction of the Church of Antioch. Mar Dionysius V even negotiated with the Roman Catholic Church for a reunion with Pazhayacoor to form a single church along with Nidheerickal Mani cathanar of Pazhayacoor. They all failed. Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mar Abdulla came to Kerala in 1909 and claimed his jurisdiction over the Puthencoor. Mar Dionysius VI did not agree with it. The Patriarch excommunicated Mar Dionysius VI and consecrated more Bishops on his side. Thus the community split into two.- one favouring the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch and the other opposing to it. Mar Dionysius VI contacted an ex Patriarch Abdul Messiah II who was a deposed Patriarch who arrived in Kerala in 1912 and consecrated a few Bishops and enthroned a Catholicos as the Head of the Church-the Catholicos of the East. Later, both parties had some reconciliation and in 1931, the excommunications were withdrawn and both recognised each other. In 1964, due to differences among the two groups, the Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mar Igantius Yakkub III established a Catholicos for the Jacobite faction also.

In this volatile circumstances, a group of Puthencoor community under the leadership of Mar Ivanios Metropolitan, joined the Catholic Communion in AD 1932. They are called Syro Malanakra Church. They continued to use West Syriac Liturgy. They are now, a Sui iuris Church in the Universal Catholic communion with a Major Archbishop as the head. The Holy Synod of the Syro Malankara Church has decided to call their Major Archbishop, a Catholcos.

The Supreme Hierarchs of Thomas Christians today.

a. The Pazhayacoor-(The Old loyalists, The old Rite-East Syriac Rite)

Syro Malabar Church

The Syro Malabar Church today is a Sui iuris Church in the Universal Catholic Communion. They have a supreme Synod of Bishops who appoint Bishops, make decisions about the liturgy and practices and elects their Father and Head of the church- the Major Archbishop. They accept the Pope of Rome as the supreme Pontiff. They use the Syro Chaldean liturgy today which is one of the most faithful to the ancient East Syriac Liturgy that was in use by Al Quosh Patriarchs before the Chaldean division of AD 1552.61

The Church of the East in India.

They are part of the Church of the East. They use the East Syriac Liturgy. They function as a province of the Assyrian Church of the East with a Metropolitan.

b. The Puthencoor ( The New Loyalists, The New Rite- The West Syriac Rite)

The Jacobite Syrian Church.

They are part of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. The head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India is named as a Catholicose. They use West Syriac Liturgy. Their supreme Pontiff is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the Catholicos as the Father and Head in India.

The Indian Orthodox Church

The Indian Orthodox Church is an autocepahalus Church with the Catholicos as its Universal Father and Head. They use West Syriac Liturgy.

Mar Thoma Syriac Church

An autocephalus Church lead by a Metropolitan. They are reformed Syriac Christians on the Protestant principles. They use modified West Syriac liturgy.

Syro Malanakara Church

This is a Sui iuris Church in the Universal catholic Communion. They have a supreme synod of Bishops who elect their Father and Head of the Church- The Major Archbishop. They have named their major Archbishop as Catholicos. They use West Syriac Liturgy.

The Malabar Independent Syrian Church- Thozhiyur Church

Autocephalus Metroplitan Church in Kerala. They use west Syriac liturgy.

Thus we have 3 Catholicoses now, the Indian Orthodox, the Jacobite and the Syro Malankara. They are claiming the Catholicos position of the East Syriac Church while using West Syriac liturgy and practices. The actual title of the West Syriac rite was Maphriana.

The Syro Malabar Church is lead by a Metropolitan with some quasi Patriarchal powers ( The Major Archbishop) which was the original status.

The Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the Malabar Independent Syrian Church are autocephalus Churches lead by a Metropolitan.

Scope for a Patriarch of Thomas Christians

There are seven denominations of Thomas Christians exist today. Many of these individual churches can declare its hierarchical head as a Patriarch.

It is unlikely that the Jacobite Church in India and the Church of the East in India- The Chaldeans of Trichur consider to declare their head as Patriarch as they are already under their respective Patriarchs- the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Patriarch of the Assyrians.

Syro Malabar Church and Syro Malanakara Churches can have their Pontiffs as Patriarchs as the Universal Catholic Church has Eastern Patriarchs but unlikely in the present scenerio. Moreover, the title of Major Archbishop is almost equal to that of a Patriarch.

The Indin Orthodox Church, The Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the Malabar Independent Syriac Church are autocephalous and can declare their Pontiffs as a Patriarch at any time as they wish.

Conclusion

There is a scope for a Patriarch of Saint Thomas Christians. It is very unlikely that all the different denominations of Saint Thomas Christians would unite together at any time. But, they can come under confederation or communion of Thomas Christians under a single Patriarch with different Catholicoses and Major Archbishops under him. The Churches in Communion with the Universal Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and different autocephalous churches can be part of this confederation which will be practical move for the unity of Thomas Christians. Let us hope for that day when all the children of Apostle Thomas come under a Patriarch.

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Author M Thomas Antony can be reached by email at – m dot Thomas dot antony at live.co.uk.
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Footnotes
  1. 1. Pius Malekkandathil, Saint Thomas Christians: A Historical analysis of their origin and development upto 9th century AD, in Saint Thomas Christians, and Nambudiris Jews and Sangam Literature, Ed Bosco Puthur, LRC Kochi 2006, p 2 []
  2. 2. J N Farquhar, Apostle Thomas in South India, Bulletin of John Rylands University Library, Vol xi 1927 p 49 []
  3. 3.B T Anklesaria, The Pahlavi inscription on the crosses in Southern India, in The Journal of K R Cama Oriental Institute, Bombay, vol 39, 1958, p80 []
  4. 4. J N Farquahar, Thomas in South India, Bulletin of John Rylands University Library vol XI 1927 p 37 []
  5. 5.Alphonse Mingana, Early spread of Christianity in India, The Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol 10 p440 []
  6. 6 Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil, ‘Syriac tradition; Authentically Asian form of Christianity’, Inaugural address of the World Syriac Congress at Kottayam,4th September, 1994 []
  7. 7. Dietmar W Winkler, The “Apostolic Church of the east”, a brief introduction to the writing of church history and to terminology, in ‘The Church of the East; A concise History, Wilhelm Baum, Dietmar W Winkler Rutledge,p2 []
  8. 8.J Oswald Dykes, From Jerusalem to Antioch, London, 1874, pp 412-415 []
  9. 9. Stephen Andrew Missick, Mar Thoma, the Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church and the Christians of Saint Thomas in India, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, vol XIV, No 2, 2000, pp35-36 citing Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Eds. The Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325: Ante Nicene Fathers vol 8 Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publications 1994, p657-672. []
  10. 10.Stephen Andrew Missick, Mar Thoma, the Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church and the Christians of saint Thomas in India, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, vol XIV No 2, 2000, pp35-36 []
  11. 11. Bar Hebraeus, Chronicles Ecclesiasticum.iii 169-171 cited by A Mingana, Early Spread of Christianirty in India, The Bulletin of John Rylands University Library, p 467 []
  12. 12..Rev. Dr. Placid Podipara, The Hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church, Collected works of Rev Dr Placid J Podipara, vol 1 p 662 []
  13. 13. A Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity in India, The Bulletin of John Rylands University Library vol 10 p 458 []
  14. 14. A Mingana, opus cit.p 459 []
  15. 15. A Mingana, opus cit. pp 461-2 []
  16. 16. Periplus of the Erythrean Sea Part II containing an account of navigation of the ancients from the Gulf of Elana, the red sea to the land of Ceylon, William Vincent DD, 1805
    “ In conformity with this system, we find, that throughout the whole which the periplus mentions of India, we have a catalogue of the imports and exports only at the two ports of Barugaza and nelkunda, and there seems to be a fixed distinction between the aerticles appropriate to each. Fine muflins and ordinary cottons are the principal commodities of the first, tortoise shell, pearls, precious stones, silk, and above all pepper seems to have been procurable only at the latter. This pepper is said to be brought to this port from Cottonora, generally supposed to be a province of canara, in the neighbourhood of nelkunda, and famous to this hour for producing the best pepper in the world except that of Sumatra.”
    Indian geographical Journal Vol V, VI p236-238 suggests that Barake was on the mouth of river Baris which is the River Pamba and Nelcynda was an inland city on the river. Barake exports pepper from Nelcynda. According to Periplus, Nelcynda was 500 stadia away from Musiris and 120 stadia from Barake. These distances are fairly correct if we take Nelcynda to be Niranom and Barake to be Purakkadu. []
  17. 17. A Mingana, Early spread of Christianity in India, The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10, p 462-463 quoting J W Mc Crindle, Chritian Topography of Cosmas, an Egiptian Monk,, Hakluyt Society 1907 pp 118-121 []
  18. 18. A Mingana, Early spread of Christianity in India, The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10 p 460 []
  19. 19.Pius Malekkandathil, Saint Thomas Christians; A Historical analysis of their origin and development upto 9th century AD , in Saint Thomas Christians, Nambudiris Jews and Sangam literature, Ed Bosco Puthur, LRC Publications, Cochin, 2006 p42 citing Gerd Gropp, Christian maritime trade of Sassanian age in the Persian gulf, p 85 and E Schau, Vom Christentum in der Persis, pp 960 ff []
  20. 20. Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV, De ref., ch. iv; Encyclical of Leo XIII, “Sapientiae christianae”, 10 January, 1890; “Acta Sanctae Sedis”: 1890, XXXII, 385. cited in Catholic encyclopaedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02581b.htm accessed on 10 Jan 2012 []
  21. 21. Code of canon law of Roman Catholic Church, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P1D.HTM accessed on 10 Jan 2012. []
  22. 22.Alphonse Mingana, The Early Spread of Christianity in India, The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10pp459-460 []
  23. 23 Chronicles of Seert as cited by Alphonse Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity in India , The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10p495. []
  24. 24..Alphonse Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity in India, The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10 p 496 citing S Giamil, Genuine Relations pp 578-579 []
  25. 25 .Ibn Al Tayyib quotes that it was Mar Isaac who elevated the Church of Fars to a Metropolitan Church. East Syrian Canonist Adbisho narrates that the Archbishopric was created and organised by Patriarch Yahb Alaha- as cited by. A Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity in India , The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10p 496 []
  26. 26. A Mingana, Early spread of Christinity in India, The Journal of the John Rylands Library vol 10 p464 []
  27. 27. A Mingana, op cited p496-497 []
  28. 28. Rev Dr Placid Podipara, The Hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church, in Collected works of Rev Dr Placid J Podipara CMI vol I p666 citing J S Assemani, Bibiliotheca Orientals III p346 []
  29. 29.Rev Dr Placid J Podipara, opus cit. p666 citing Corpus christorum christianorum, textus, 167,pp119, 118;versio 168,pp120,121 []
  30. 30. A Mingana, op cit. p488-9 []
  31. 31. T P Elias, East Syrian Missions to Asia with special reference to Malabar coast from Sixth century to Sixteenth century AD and its influence on Indian Religions Society and Culture, Doctoral Thesis of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India, p 292 []
  32. 32. Rev Dr Placid Podipara, The Hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church, in Collected works of Rev Dr. Placid J Podipara CMI vol I p666 citing Paulinus S Bartholomeo, India Orientalis Christiana, Roma, 1794, p 88 []
  33. 33. A Mingana, Early Sperad of Christianity in India,The Bulletin of John Rylands University Library, Vol 10 p 501) []
  34. 34. Placid Podipara, The Hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church, CH IV, in Collected Works of Rev Dr Placid Podipara, vol I p667 -668 citing Archives Roman of the Society of Jesus., GOA, 65 f 4 []
  35. 35. Rev Dr Placid Podipara, The Rise and decline of the Indian Church of saint Thomas Christians, in Collected works of Rev Dr Placid J Podipara, vol I p795 citing Jesuite Archives, Rome, Goa, 65, f 5 []
  36. 36. Mar Abdisho’s letter to the Arch Bishop of Goa on 24/08/1567. The original in syriac is preserved in ARSI Gallia 95-1, f 197.See fascimile in Documenta Indica vol II p 41. Italian translation in A Rabbath, Documents inedits pour servir a l’histoire du Christianisme en Orient II Paris, Leipzig 1910, pp432-434 cited by Jacob Kollamparampil, Sources on the Hierarchical structure of the Saint Thomas Christian church in the pre diamper period, p 171, in ‘The life and nature of Saint Thomas Christian church in the pre diamper period’, ed B Puthur, LRC Kochi, 2000 []
  37. 37. Mar Abdisho’s decree dated 25/08/1567. Portuguese translation in ARSI Goa, 1011, f 463, J Wicki, Documenta Indica VII,pp703-705 cited by Jacob Kollamparampil, , Sources on the Hierarchical structure of the Saint Thomas Christian church in the pre diamper period, p 171, in ‘The life and nature of Saint Thomas Christian church in the pre diamper peroiod’, ed B Puthur, LRC Kochi, 2000 []
  38. 38. Narrations of Joseph, the Indian, Ch 5 Italian, Latin and Dutch texts, Antony Vallavanthara, India in 1500 AD pp168-9,231. []
  39. 39. Alphonse Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity in India, The Bulletin of John Rylands University Library, vol 10 p468, H Hosten, The Saint Thomas Christians of Malabar AD 1490-1504, Kerala Society Papers series 5 Ed T K Joseph,pp225-226 []
  40. 40. Antony Vallavanthara, India in 1500 AD, foot note 72, p274 []
  41. 41. Joseph Thekkedathu, The troubled days of Francis Garcia, pp 51-52 []
  42. 42. Thomas Whitehouse, Lingerings of Light in the dark land, being researches into the past history and the present condition of the Syrian Church of Malabar, Thomas Whitehouse, p 199 []
  43. 43. G Schurhammer S J, The Malabar Church and Rome during the early Portuguese period and before,Trichinopoly, 1934, F29 cited by Rev Dr Placid Podipara, A short History of Malabar Church, in Collected works of Rev Dr Placid J Podipara, vol I p265 []
  44. 44. Jonas Thaliath, The Synod of Diamper, pp172-173 []
  45. 45. Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India, Vol II p75 []
  46. 46. Joseph Thekkedathu, opus cit pp94-95 []
  47. 47. Joseph Thekkedathu, opus cit pp 91-94 []
  48. 48. Joseph Thekkedathu, opus cit pp96-100 []
  49. 49 .Joseph Thekkedathu, opus cit p100 []
  50. 50 .Fr K M George, The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church; Historical self understanding and identity, Some ecumenical considerations, M Kurian Thomas, Niranam Grandhavary []
  51. 51 .Archivum Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide, Acta 168, f. 183 cited by James Puliyurumpil, Pandari Seesma, p 35 []
  52. 52 . Rev Dr Placid Podipara, The Syrian Church of Malabar and its Catholic communion, in Collected works of Rev Dr Placid Podipara CMI vol I Ed.Rev Dr Thomas Kalayil CMI p32) []
  53. 53. Leo XIII Quod jam Pridem, 20 May 1887, cited in Marthomma Christianikalude Sabha Noottandukaliloode, (Mal), Rev. Dr Kurian Mathothu, Rev Fr Sebastain Nadackal, Palai, p111 []
  54. 54. Pope Leo XIII, Quale Rei Sacrae, 11 August 1896, cited in Marthomma Christianikalude Sabha Noottandukaliloode, (Mal), Rev. Dr Kurian Mathothu, Rev Fr Sebastain Nadackal, Palai, p114 []
  55. 55. Pope Pius IX, Romanae Pontifices, cited in Marthomma Christianikalude Sabha Noottandukaliloode, (Mal), Rev. Dr Kurian Mathothu, Rev Fr Sebastain Nadackal, Palai, p115 []
  56. 56. Pope JohnPaul II, Quae majoris christi Fidelium, 16 December 1992, cited in Marthomma Christianikalude Sabha Noottandukaliloode, (Mal), Rev. Dr Kurian Mathothu, Rev Fr Sebastain Nadackal, Palai, p126 []
  57. 57. Willaim Macomber, History of the Chaldean Mass, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies,vol XI No 2, p 81 reprint of Worship, Vol.51, No.2 (1977) 107-120. []
  58. 58 L W Brown, The Indian Christians of Saint Thomas, p111 []
  59. 59 M Kurian Thomas, Niranam Grandhavari, padanavum samshiodhanayum, Sophia books, Malayalam, p32 []
  60. 60. Mar Thoma I had to regularise his consecration from Mar Gregorius. The historians are divided if Mar Thoma I had consecrated his successor in his lifetime. Mar Gregorius died before Mar Thoma I. When Mar Thoma I died, his brother took over as Mar Thoma II. Unfortunately, he died within 6 days of occupying his position. His nephew became his successor with the same name Mar Thoma II as he knew that his predecessor Mar thoma II did not have a valid consecration, as there was no other Bishops present when Mar Thoma I died in AD 1672. It is obvious that this second Mar Thoma II might not have had a consecration as his predecessor had a sudden unexpected death within 6 days of occupying the position. Hence, he tried to to join the Pazhayacoor and negotiated with the Jesuites who offered him the Archdeacon’s position of the whole community under Bishop Palliveetiil Chandy. But, Mar Chandy was unwilling to offer him any position as Mar Chandy wished to keep his nephew Mathew(Archdeacon Kunju Mathai) , the then Archdeacon of the Catholic syrians, in his position. Later, in AD 1681 Mar Andrews- Kallada Mooppan consecrated Mar Thoma II as a Bishop. Even though Mar Andrews claimed as a Patriarch, it became revealed that he was not even a Bishop, but only a priest from Aleppo. ( Joseph Thekkedathu, p 103, Jacob Kollamparampil, The Archdeacon of All India, p176-177 quoting APF CP vol 30, f 336, M Kurian Thomas Niranam Grandhavari p200- discusses and disputes about the tradition that Mar Thoma I alongwith Kallada Mooppan consecrated two Mar Thoma Metroplitans) Thus, there were serious doubts about valid episcopal consecration of two consecutive Mar Thoma Metropolitans after Mar Thoma I.) []
  61. 61 Willaim Macomber, History of the Chaldean Mass, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies,vol XI No 2, p 81 reprint of Worship, Vol.51, No.2 (1977) 107-120.Macomber states that the 1960 version of the Syro Malabar mass was one of the most faithful versionsto the Al Quosh version. When the Syro Malabar Church revised the liturgy in 1968 with the introduction of the liturgy in the vernacular, this was diluted with more added Latinisations. These were reverted in the 1986 version which is officially in practice now. Sadly, this official version is not used everywhere in the Syro Malabar Church today. []

Author: M Thomas Antony

I am a Medical Doctor practicing as a General Surgeon. Studying about Syriac Christianity, especially Thomasine Christianity has been a passion for me. I was stimulated by NSC Network to learn more through its articles and discussions.

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58 Comments

  1. Well said, article. Congratulations !!! God bless you !!! I agree with your conclusion. I am keeping prayers for the unity of St. Thomas Nasrani Christians under the leadership of one Patriarch.

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  2. n the history, we can see Mar Ahathalla comes with a claim that he was a Patriarch for Thomas Christians appointed by the Pope in AD 1653.41 Kallada Mooppan- Mar Andrews also arrived in AD 1676 with a claim that he was a Patriarch.42
    Do not say things which you do not understand as history. Kallada Moopan was neither a patriarch nor even a Christian. He was a witchcraft, drunkard, impostor, Muslim who was expelled from Aleppo and came to India with his goons. He continued drinking, his brothers did harlotry. They made a plot when the church committee of Mulanthuruthy decided to kick him out. The Kapyar closed the doors of the church when he went out, but the goons got inside the church through a secret door, when Anthrayos knocked the door and cried “Mar Thoma”, they opened the church, put undergarments in the mouth of the sexton and killed, put his body at the back water. The sexton was a martyr. Anthryayos was kicked out of the church, Marthoma II complained against him, moved to Piravom, Kaduthuruth-they did ntoaceept, and reached Kallada. He made an impression and continued drinking. He started to climb coconut trees and drank the coconut toddy. At last the tapper kept poison in the toddy. He drank it and fell into the river. Kallada people took his body and started festival.

    Do you want any proof from Jacobite side or Catholic side?

    Do not say things you do not know exactly.

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  3. Yes, i like and support your conclusion. Being a syro malabar catholic, i wish this would be reality one day. Sadly, no progressive initiatives are taken from any of the st.thomas church’s authorities.

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  4. This is not going to happen, since the Syro-Malabar people are trying to prove themselves to be a subsidiary of Church of East. They are also doing their best to Hinduize their church by using Saffron cassocks and Rudraksha rosaries. On calenders issued by Changanassery Archdiocese, they have even depicted heaven’s door with ‘Trishool’. So they may prefer a ‘Thantri’ or a ‘Swami’ rather than a patriarch.

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  5. dear paul,what u have said about syro malabar church following churh of the east is factually incorrect,instead they have beome a subsidiary of the europeans ,which cannot be undersatandable.what is more embarrassing is that they dont show any allegiance towards their syrian christian brothers ,instead they always show allegiance towards pope.most of them are not aware of the fact that they are syrian christian first and catholic only second.being in chennai,i am aware of the fact that they are not part of any ecumenism functions here ,but all the other syrian christian churches are.this is sheer arrogance from their side.at some point of time in future they will be answerable for this.the syro malabar church is the only impediment for the unity of syrian church.they are also trying to indianise their church ,which cannot be accepted in any way.

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  6. The syro malabar church has lost its traditions and customs. The congregation as a whole needs a revival to these customs. It is Worth that the Syro Malabar church has its own jurisdiction in india. There must be provisions for establishing bishoprics overseas under the Major archbishop itself

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  7. Concerning the Patriarchate for Syro-Malabar Church discussion the doctoral work of Mar Paul Chittilappilly in the late 1960s must command our attention. A portion of his research on the topic may be read in the article “Patriarchal Dignity for the Syro Malabar Church,” in The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, Vol. II, 1973, p.119 Col.1 to p.122 Col.2. Maybe somebody could copy the excellent article for the NSC.

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  8. —quote—
    The community became explicitly divided between Bishop Chandy and Archdeacon Thomas. Those who remained in status quo- continued the previous 100 years of communion with the Rome were labelled as Pazhayacoor- the old loyalists and those who aligned behind the new Bishop Mar Gregorius were labelled as Puthencoor- the new loyalists.
    —unquote—

    100 years of communion with Rome?
    The communion imposed by the Synod of Diamper (1599) and ended with Coonen Cross Oath (1653) makes it only 53 or 54 years!

    If the Yohannan Sulaqa episode is being considered in this 100 year calculation:
    1. Do you consider the Shimun line of CoE (of Yohanna Sulaqa) as the true/legitimate successor of CoE (currently Asyrian Church of the East) as against the Eliya Line (currently Chaldean Catholic Curch).
    2. Did the communion not break in 1592 with the reintroduction of hereditary succession? At least the Rome stopped recognizing the Shimun line, no?

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  9. The formal communion with the Church of Rome started with the arrival of Mar Joseph Sulaqa in AD 1555 period. He was appointed by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Abdisho. After him, Mar Abraham came over. Due to the influence of Portuguese, Mar Abraham had to join in communion with the Rome. Mar Abraham returned after the first round of deportation with a bull from the Pope assigning him as the Metropolitan of Angamali.
    Even before Mar Joseph, we had Mar Jacob who arrived in AD 1504 who was in good relations with the Roman Catholic Missionaries. The Latinisations started with Mar Jacob. He allowed the Portuguse Missionaries to enter into our churches and preach. The Vincentian Seminary in Cranganore of 1541 is an example.
    So, there was a communion for 100 years.
    Even if it is only 54 years, it is still very important. It is a generation of Nasrani people.

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  10. There was indeed a communion with Roman Catholicism, but the most accurate representation would be that it was through the Portuguese and formally started with Synod of Diamper (1599). An attempt to portray a picture that St. Thomas Christians became part of the Church of Rome through the Church of the East would be a very weak one and fraught with several contradictions and inconsistencies on a deeper analysis.

    For instance,

    1. If one argues that in the schism of 1552, in the CoE, Yohannan Sulaqa faction (who accepted the Pope) was legitimate and therefore our acceptance of bishops sent by this faction was legitimate (and that this entered us all into communion with Rome), then the communion should have been very brief and ended by 1592 (by the action of Rome), and St. Thomas Christians should have continued to be in communion with this line which evolved into the current Assyrian Church of the East (not in communion with Rome).
    2. On the other hand, if the Alqosh line/Eliya line was the legitimate one, then St. Thomas Christians would all be in communion with Rome today but one would have had to wait till 1830 (Yohannan VIII Hormizd) for this to happen.
    3. Then there is also the question of how much pro-Rome the East Syriac bishops who were received in the last few decades of 16th century. Was the acceptance of Roman supremacy by Shimun line a theological and liturgical union with Roman Catholicism by Church of the East or a brief tactical/political exercise.
    Fact: There were no theological/liturgical changes that the East Syriac bishops carried out in the liturgy of St. Thomas Christians in the last few decades of 16th century
    Evidence: Observations in the Synod of Diamper regarding the theology and the liturgy of St. Thomas Christians
    Implication: St. Thomas Christians were in communion with the Church of the East till the Synod of Diamper and not with Roman Catholicism

    You are right that 54 years is a long time. It is indeed a generation. Point then is that the ‘old loyalty’ / ‘pazhaya koor’ is a reference to the 54 year old loyalty to ‘Roman Catholicism and the Pope’ that the St. Thomas Christians gained through the Portuguese (which a generation were used to). In their eyes, it is indeed ‘old loyalty’. If it was plainly East Syriac liturgy that was the ‘old loyalty’ then why would the ‘Archdeacon party’ be called ‘puthen koor’ much before they ‘in practice’ accepted West Syriac liturgy. Would Mor Gregorious Abdul Jaleel have looked less Syriac than Carmelites in appearance?

    Neither SMC nor Orthodox/Jacobite have any more claim over CoE heritage than the other or an other denomination of St. Thomas Christian. Both have lost it and perhaps not for the worse. The CoE heritage itself is decayed and in ruin due to several twists and turns of history. SMC and Orthodox/Jacobite are better off in their own current forms. Historic revisions in search for unity may lead only to more schisms and fragmentation. Need is only for enlightened action by members of both community within their ranks. Urgently required in Orthodox/Jacobite to stop the silly Sabha case spill over to streets. Also required to some extent in SMC to ensure that inclination to a particular liturgy or heritage does not lead to Orthodox/Jacobite type fights and schism in future. Need is also for developing good ecumenical relationships between all the churches of St. Thomas Christians.

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  11. Dear John,

    The Prelates who arrived since AD1555 were in communion with the Roman Church. There is no contradictions or inconsistencies. But, I would not say that the communion was like todays Catholic communion.

    Legitimacy of the factions in the CoE is not an issue here. Whoever was in communion with Rome were only allowed to work in Malabar once the Portuguese influence was strong. It seems that the Roman Catholic Church sent missions to Babylon also at the same time period. They tried to convert the CoE in Babylon also. The missions in Babylon might also have a role the split in the CoE in 1552.So, all these were a planned effort.

    As we can see, the last period of Mar Jacob who arrived in AD 1504 was lenient to the Portuguese.
    The next Prelate Mar Joseph was appointed by the Catholic Patriarch and came over here with a liturgical text approved from Rome.(Historical fact. This text was a valuable source of research for many people like William Macomber) The next Bishop Mar Abraham received pallium from Rome and appointed by Pope as the Metropolitan of Angamali. Assigning seat for a Bishop was not a custom from Babylon. After Mar Abraham, the Thomas Christians were under Latin Prelates. So, whatever happened to Sulaqa line after that, we were not involved in that, as we did not have any connection with them.

    Mar Denha Simon who was condemned in the Synod of Diamper was in explicit communion with Rome. His successor, Simon X had some problems with Rome, but he did not join the Al Qosh Patriarchate. He re established communion with Rome in AD 1619. We can see in the history that Simon XI had sent letters to Pope in AD 1653 and Simon XIII sent his letter of communion to Pope of Rome in AD 1670.
    After this, the communion seems to have discontinued probably because Rome preferred Mar Joseph in AD 1681.

    In 1672, Mar Joseph, the Archbishop of Diarbakir withdrew communion with Al-Qosh Patriarch Mar Elias IX and went to Rome in 1675 and became Patriarch of Chladeans in AD 1681 . The successors of Mar Joseph continued communion with Rome until Joseph IV.

    The last Al Qosh Patriarch Mar Elias XII ‘s brother John Hormizdas became a Catholic. When Elias XII died, he occupied that position. When Mar Joseph IV, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch died, John Hormizdas took over the seat as the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch by merging the Al Qosh Patriarchate with the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate. Thus, the Simon line of Patriarchate bacame the only non Catholic Patriarchate and was later called the Assyrian Patriarchs. we can see the rival Patriarchates switched their affiliation each other.

    All the factions of the CoE today was in communion with Rome at somepoint and underwent latinisations. The Joseph line of Patriarchs were more latinised. But the Simun line later got influenced by the Anglican Church and they also changed their liturgy. So, there is no legitmate successor for the CoE today.

    Your arguments to show that the Church of saint Thomas Christians were not in communion with Rome before the Synod of Diamper are immature.

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  12. I am waiting for the day of uniting the Saint Thomas Christians. God, please make it soon. Its very painful to see the fights of Saint Thomas Christians and the tease of Gentiles.

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  13. Hello,
    “‘All syriac churches were founded by St.Thomas or his deciples.”
    Why did you make such an assertion? The Syriac Orthodox church was not founded by St.Thomas. It was founded by St.Peter . Is there any evidence to prove your statement that all syriac churches were founded by St.Thomas? I request to go through the history of the Church of the East. Church of the East says it was founded by St.Peter.

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  14. Dear Jessop,

    I am happy that you have raised this issue. I wanted a proper discussion about this, but nobody was interested.

    As I understand, the initial Christians were Syriac speaking. Later, when Christianity spread outside, non Jewish people were also became Christians. As Greek was the prominent language and culture, the initial church was Hellenised. Thus Christianity developed in Greek culture in Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople.

    Syriac Christianity evolved around Edessa. Liturgy of Addai and Mari was the rite of Edessan Christianity. The Bishop of Edessa was under the jurisdiction of Antioch where the liturgy was in Greek.

    Bishop of Eddessa had to go to Antioch to get consecrated. As we know, due to political issues, East Syriac Christians found it difficult to go to Antioch and they became independent and their Metropolitan became the Catholicos of Selusia and later Patriarch. Thus Seleucia became the centre of East Syrian Christianity.

    During the synod of Ephesus (431), Rabulla, the Bishop of Edessa joined Antioch and Selusia became the so called Nestorian. We have to assume that the Church of Edessa continued their East Syrian rite even though they were separated from the East Syrian church.

    After the Synod of Chalcedon(451), the Church of Antioch divided into Chalcedonians and anti chalcedonians- those who agree with the Chacedonian synod and those who disagree. The Synod of Chalcedon decided that that Christ is in full divinity and full humanity. For the Syriac Christians who rejected Selusia, this was felt as similar to what Nestorius said and hence was not acceptable to them.
    The non chalcedonian syrians held another synod in AD 512 and declared Severus as the rival Patriarch against Flavian II who was a chacedonian. Thus the Patriarchate of Antioch divided into anti chalcedonian Syriac Orthodox under Patriarch Severus and pro chalcedonian Greek Orthodox under Patriarch Flavian II.
    The Syrians who accepted the Chalcedonian synod later evolved into Maronite church AD 685. ( John Maron was elected as the Patriarch of Antioch but was rejected and overthrown by Bysentine Emperor and installed another Patriarch- (Mechite vs Maronite)

    Thus the Syriac Christians split into three-

    1. Those who did not accept the Council of Ephesus and continued the East Syrian rite- the Selucian Church- The East Syrian Church.

    2 Those who agreed the council of Ephesus but rejected the council of Chalcedon- the Syriac Orthodox church of Antioch.

    3 Those who accepted the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedone- The Maronite Church.

    Those who accepted the Council of Ephesus might have continued their East Syrian liturgy, but due to the heavy influence of Greek from the Patriarchate of Antioch, the West Syrian rite was evolved and they started using Greek Liturgies translated into syriac leaving Liturgy of Addai and Mari. We don’t see Syriac Orthodox Bishops with a name Yohannan which is actually a syriac name, but they use Greec-ised name Ivanios.

    So, East Syriac Church is the mother church of all Syriac Churches. As Apostle Thomas is the founder of East Syriac Church, we can say, Apostle Thomas is the founder of all Syriac churches.

    Church of the East is believed to be founded Saint Thomas the Apostle. They count Mar Thoma as their first Primate.

    ‘The Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotemia’ listened to Saint Peter on the day of Pentecost’ doesn’t mean that Peter has found a church in Edessa or Babylon. ‘The Church which is in Babylon’ as seen in I Peter V 13 seems to have mislead some to suppose that St Peter while he was a Bishop of Rome visited Babylon. ( Podipara, The Church of Selusia and its Catholic Communion ch 2)
    Doctrine of Addai, The Chronicles of Arbela, and the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles mention that Apostle Thomas sent Thaddeus and Mari to preach Abgar Ukkama, the King of Assyrians at Osrhoene. ( Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson, Eds. The Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325: Ante Nicene Fathers vol 8 cited by Andrew Stephen Missick, Mar Thoma:The Apostolic foundation of the Assyrian Church and the Christians of saint Thomas In India, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies Vol XIV No 2, 2000 p35-36). Eusebius, the father of Church history states that he has personally searched the state archives of the Assyrians in Edessa and found official records of this Apostolic visit. (Christian Frederick Cruse, Translator. The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, cited by S A Missick, p36).

    There will be difference in opinions and controversies. I would like to hear other versions of this issue, which will be educational to all readers.

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  15. Dear Thomas,

    In your entire comment, there is a deafening silence of the Jewish Nazerenes who were not part of the Nicene Synod. I suspect, that your concept of ‘Syriac Christianity’ means and only includes those who have accepted the Nicene Synod.
    True, almost all church history books talks about the Jewish Nazerenes to have died out by the 4th or 5th Century AD. But can their spirit be crushed down and erased?
    In all your writings and comments of the last several years, the existance of such a Jewish Nazerene spirit and the need for the revival of such spirit (which certainly was much in Mar Thoma, for he amongst the many Apostles is the most known to have pursued the Jews with the Gospel to the ends of the world) seems totally abscent.
    You seem to be impressioned that the ‘survivors are the victors and the absentees are the loosers’. This rule applies to human history but not to Church history.

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  16. Callurcatta church- Kalloorkkad Church , is in Champakulam in Alleppey District

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  17. Hello Thomas Antony,
    ——————————————————
    ****************As I understand, the initial Christians were Syriac speaking. Later, when Christianity spread outside, non Jewish people were also became Christians. As Greek was the prominent language and culture, the initial church was Hellenised. Thus Christianity developed in Greek culture in Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople.****************
    ——————————————————
    Were initial Christians Syriac speaking? Initial Christians were Jews or Gentiles in Israel. Did they spoke Syriac? The language spoken by Jews , Jesus and his disciples were Hebrew as it the language of the Jews. However because of the multicultural and multilingual nature of that society, Greek and Aramaic was also spoken especially as the common tongue of the ordinary people. The Jews preferred Greek preferred over Aramaic , although this is a controversial matter. The Aramaic was the language of the Assyrians(Aramaic) or Syrians(Greek). Thus when you say Syriac It is nothing but in Greek.
    The Christians from Roman Empire migrated to Persian empire in 3rd century AD and this may the start
    of Christians in the Persian empire. Addai and Mari was the founder of this church and not St.Thomas. This liturgy started to develop in its nuptial form in 3rd or 4th century only.

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  18. Hello Thomas Antony,
    ——————————————————
    Those who accepted the Council of Ephesus might have continued their East Syrian liturgy, but due to the heavy influence of Greek from the Patriarchate of Antioch, the West Syrian rite was evolved and they started using Greek Liturgies translated into syriac leaving Liturgy of Addai and Mari. We don’t see Syriac Orthodox Bishops with a name Yohannan which is actually a syriac name, but they use Greec-ised name Ivanios.

    So, East Syriac Church is the mother church of all Syriac Churches. As Apostle Thomas is the founder of East Syriac Church, we can say, Apostle Thomas is the founder of all Syriac churches.

    Church of the East is believed to be founded Saint Thomas the Apostle. They count Mar Thoma as their first Primate.
    ——————————————————
    Syrian (greek) or Assyrian (Latin) are the language spoken by the Akkadians(group of people) of Syria. You think that West Syriac is Hellenized and not a true Syriac; and East Syriac a true Syriac because of using a non helenized form.

    I will tell you an example. In North America , the Sri lankan Tamils say they are the true Tamil people because they speak true Tamil with out any change , while Indian Tamil is affected by other languages. So as per your reasoning, Sri lankan Tamil is the Mother of all Tamils in the world. !!!!!!!!
    If you wish to believe like that, it is OK.

    The East Syriac church was formed only in 3rd century and its founders are Addai & Mari. If St.Thomas is the founder of that Church , You must give enough believable evidences. The Patriarchate of Antioch , Rome , Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem have enough evidences. You should also note that the Catholicos of Selucea was a self proclaimed catholicos in the initial stage, that too started only in 3rd century.

    Could a church started in 3rd century be a mother church?
    All languages in the world are changing. There is no pure thing. If you believe that East syriac is the pure form and west syriac is impure…that is a belief only. The east syriac is a variant of the original syriac and west syriac also is a variant. Please donot assert absolute orignality to east syriac.
    These were the dialects of the people. There is nothing original in the case of Language. It is constantly changing.
    We all know that the Patriarchate of Antioch is the mother church of all Syriac christians as you agreed , for many centuries east syriac bishops were consecrated from this Patriarchate. So whether east Syriac or West Syriac , Patriachate of antioch was the mother church of all Syriac Christians. Later they split off from it.

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  19. Hello Thomas Antony,
    “‘Church of the East is believed to be founded Saint Thomas the Apostle. They count Mar Thoma as their first Primate.”
    ——————————————————
    A traditional belief can be cannot be correct. But other than traditional belief, there are no solid evidences to prove that. Actually Assyrian church want to believe like that. We have no objection.

    It is the same like the story of st.Thomas in India. It is a belief and no solid evidences. Even though I am a Syrian Christian , my personal belief is that the Indian thomas is nothing other than Thomas of Cana. Any people can believe as they like as per their reasoning and interpretation of the history unless there is solid evidences to prove that.
    After all I don’t think St.Thomas is a MUST HAVE for Syrian Christians to survive.
    If he came to India-good
    If he didn’t came – no problem
    Belief can be logical and reasonable OR a BLIND belief
    Any way I don’t want to believe in conclusions raised from errored data.

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  20. Dear Thomas Antony,
    You say the Greek liturgy was translated to Syriac in west Syriac Church. We all know that the most ancient New testament books were in Greek and later translated to Syriac. What is your opinion about this?
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    You would like to believe that the present Palur palli is the same ancient one. What are the other known recorded facts about this church. I heared that this church was named St.Thomas church in 19th century and before that it was St.Kuriakose Church. Is my understanding correct? If it were so important church like Kuravilangad or Kadamattom or Mulanthuruthy or Chattukulangara, Some important persons would have burried there. Is there any account of such things?

    I will give you another account of blind belief. If you go to Malayattoor you can see the foot print of St.Thomas. These all things are happening
    why? may be the institutionalized church badly needs money. By propagating blind beliefs like this it is achievable. Sorry like Buddha, Jesus simply smiles seeing all this.

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  21. Jessop wrote (Post 250429): “We all know that the most ancient New testament books were in Greek and later translated to Syriac….”
    Who are the “we all” you mentioned about? I for one do not quite subscribe to that view, and I believe there are other thinking Nazranee Syriac Christians too.

    Jessop also wrote (Post 250394): “Any way I don’t want to believe in conclusions raised from errored data”
    If you really meant this, you should examine the possibility that at least some, or perhaps even all, of the original manuscripts of the New Testament books were first written in Hebrew or Aramaic (or Syriac).

    I am attaching part of an article titled “Which language was the Gospel first recorded in: Hellenistic Greek or Semitic Hebrew/Aramaic/Syriac?” that was written for and was published in “Yuvadhara”; I thought this may be of interest at least to some who are inclined to think for themselves.
    ———————————————————————————————————
    Introduction
    Christ, after His glorious resurrection, is recorded in the gospels as having instructed his disciples to
    spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. This has come to be known in Christian tradition as
    “The Great Commission”; the most familiar version is depicted in Mathew 28:19-20:
    19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
    Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you
    always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
    Christ had earlier also taught thus, as recorded in Mathew 5: 16-17:
    16 So let your light shine before the sons of men, in order that they may see your good works: to
    honor your Father which is in heaven.
    17 Think not, that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish,
    but to fulfill.
    This clearly implies that the Gospel has to be not only preached but also lived in a way that would lead
    others to believe in Christ and honor our Father in heaven. This would mean preaching and living the
    Gospel as it was preached and taught by Christ, the revelation of God the Father in human form, in first
    century Israel. Before venturing out to preach and live the Gospel in different nations and cultures of
    today, one has to first try to understand what exactly was taught by Christ. The best and most reliable
    source for this, for present day followers of Christ would obviously be the original first century writings
    of the apostles, translations of which are available as the New Testament.
    The Gospel message as recorded in the New Testament can be understood best if the reader has proper understanding and appreciation of the world and culture into which it first came. The cultural, economic, political, religious and social backgrounds of the early first century constituted the context in which the revelation of God in Christ occurred; wrong or improper understanding of the context could lead to wrong translations and misguided teachings. Some offbeat Christian sects try to spread misguided teachings and poor or incorrect translations of the New Testament; this often does more harm than good to the cause of spreading the Gospel as Christ instructed, and maintaining unity of faith among the body of Christ.
    Different translation versions of the Gospels and the New Testament exist. It should therefore be helpful
    to first try to understand what were the original manuscript language(s) and cultural setting in which the
    original manuscripts were written by the apostles, and try to understand the writings from that language
    and cultural perspective.

    Languages used and cultural setting during the first preaching of the Gospel
    For believers in Christ who have grown up in cultures and languages different from that in which the
    Gospel was first preached 20 plus centuries ago, a reasonable and legitimate question would be, “have
    we been able get a proper understanding of the first century writers of the Gospels”? To find an answer
    to this, one has to first know:
    a) Which language would Christ have used for the preaching of the Gospel, and in which cultural
    background?
    b) Which language(s) were used for the original writings / recording of the Gospel by the apostles?
    One can compare the various translations of the Gospel and New Testament that currently exist, analyze
    differences if any in the context of the culture and language of first century Israel to see which version
    makes better sense and thus a reliable conclusion can be made about which language the Gospels were first written in.
    Christ first preached the Gospel in a cultural setting quite different from that of the majority of His
    present day followers. In order preach and live the Gospel as Christ intended, and to not inadvertently
    preach a gospel different from what Christ taught, it is necessary to understand Christ’s teachings in the
    language He used and the cultural background He taught in. The language and culture definitely was not Greek.
    History tells us that the people of Israel in Jesus’ time spoke Aramaic and this has been supported by
    archaeology. The Jewish people in general have never lost sight of their Semetic heritage and language,
    from the years of their captivity in Egypt to the Babylon captivity and till today. Hebrew was their
    language till the great dispersion; subsequently the sister language Aramaic began to replace Hebrew.
    However, Hebrew continued to be used for religious purposes, and is the spoken language in modern
    day Israel. The common language and culture during Christ’s time in Israel thus was Semitic –
    Hebrew/Aramaic. The terms and language which the apostles and their associates used for spreading
    Christ’s teachings was that which was used in the common life of their day.

    Language(s) used for the original recording of the Gospel
    Western Christianity generally holds the view that the New Testament was originally written in Greek,
    (Hellenistic Greek primacy) though there is no adequate proof to substantiate this view. The fact that
    numerous manuscripts of the New Testament written in Greek were found is not adequate proof for
    Greek primacy, just as the later existence of numerous New Testament manuscripts in Latin or English
    do not prove Latin or English primacy. Christianity really began as an Eastern religion and there are
    scholars of Eastern Christianity and Semitic languages who have expressed the view that the New
    Testament books were originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, which are sister languages (Semitic
    language primacy). According to experts, most terms used for recording Jewish commentaries and
    tradition are easily identifiable between these two languages. Syriac developed as a dialect of Aramaic,
    and therefore all the three Semitic languages – Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac – are related.
    Several New Testament translations from Semitic language sources are available now. It may be
    beneficial to compare a current popular English version of the New Testament based on Greek
    manuscripts, with English versions from Semitic (Hebrew/Aramaic/Syriac) manuscripts – to see which
    of them could provide better understanding of the text of the New Testament, void of possible
    mistranslations / tampering / western cultural adaptation.

    (The rest of the article deals with a comparative analysis of some passages from 3 New Testament versions:
    a) The King James Version
    b) The Peshitta Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament by Paul Younan, a native Aramaic speaker
    and Aramaic scholar par excellence, and
    c) The Hebraic-Roots Version Scriptures containing The Tanak and Ketuvim Netzarim, translated out of
    the original Hebrew and Aramaic by Messianic/Nazarene Rabbi Dr. James Scott Trimm.
    Some examples of possible mistranslation from Greek sources, and comparison of
    the corresponding translation from Semitic (Hebrew/Aramaic/Syriac) sources have been discussed, and the conclusions these point to have been outlined)

    Kuruvilla
    ([email protected])

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  22. I’ve spent some time studying the Middle Aramaic dialect spoken in Palestine in the 1st century and the Syriac dialect which was already spoken and used in inscriptions by the 1st century in Galilee and in the parts of Syria Marya Isho` spent most of his time teaching. Both dialects are very similar. At that time and place, Syriac and Middle Aramaic were little more than accents of the same language which were understood by both Jews and Gentiles native to that area. The commonality of language at that time and in that place stemmed from a long period of Persian rule which had ended a few centuries before, (4th c. BC). The Persian period was the period when the use of classical Hebrew declined. It was still used in religious discussions by scholars and later in the Temple ritual when Herod (an Edomite) had it rebuilt, (it was likely still in construction when Isho` taught there. I suspect this, because he wrote in the builder’s dust at one point and Josephus talks about its construction also).

    Given the historical context I have just described, Marya Isho` would not have been understood if he had taught the native local folk in Greek. The Sadducces knew Greek because they were the Jewish party of that period who favoured Greek culture. The Roman occupiers knew Greek. Greek was mostly the language of those who oppressed, criticised and murdered Marya Isho`. Syriac and the Middle Aramaic were languages used by most of the people he taught, though in some of the Temple discussions he probably spoke some classical Hebrew, especially when he was quoting from and interpreting the Torah or the Prophets.

    During the historical period covered by the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, Christianity did not yet exist. At that time it was one amongst many Jewish sects. When people followed Marya Isho` or believed his message (the gospel) at that time, they were not changing their basic religion. They were Jews before and they remained Jews afterwards. The initial spread of our faith happened as the spread of a Jewish school of thought within Jewish societies around the world, including the Jewish communities in Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia and India (etc).

    Eastern Syriac Christianity is essentially a continuation of this distinctive Jewish school of thought as a separate (two-sided Christian and Nazarene) religion. However, down the centuries eastern Syriac-speaking Christianity has been subjected to many Greek cultural intrusions, especially by the mechanisms codified during the Greek-dominated synods of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (433) and Chalcedon (451).

    Best wishes,
    Steven Ring.

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  23. Hello Kuruvila,
    ——————————————————
    Jessop wrote (Post 250429): “We all know that the most ancient New testament books were in Greek and later translated to Syriac….
    Who are the “we all” you mentioned about? I for one do not quite subscribe to that view, and I believe there are other thinking Nazranee Syriac Christians too.
    ——————————————————
    You have the right to believe in your own conclusions built from the data you have gone through. However the problem with these types of analyses are that we are not approaching the data with an open mind. In most cases we search for data which could lead to a conclusion which keeps us happy. Not all the real facts make us happy and we are not interested to pay attention to facts which won’t make us happy. This is the case in general including myself.

    I have gone through the article provided by you. I am not against him making his own conclusions from his own interpretations of the subject.

    I used “we all know ” as a general usage to express the view. I know that people have different opinions. However when a majority of the people believe in one thing , that usage is not quite wrong , I think. Please take it in that way and not get offended .
    ——————————————————
    The fact that numerous manuscripts of the New Testament written in Greek were found is not adequate proof for Greek primacy, just as the later existence of numerous New Testament manuscripts in Latin or English do not prove Latin or English primacy. –From the article provided by you
    ——————————————————
    See how the author of the article approaches this subject. He agrees that many of the earliest manuscripts available are in Greek and he says it is a fact. Then he compare Latin and English to Greek to nullify the positive position of the above fact. Think that Greek was the Lingua franca in that region after Alexanders invasion. Many of the most ancient manuscripts are in Greek means it is pointer towards a direction. The Aramaic used in the Old testament is limited to a few verses in Genesis, Jeremiah and Ezra. Think that Aramaic is a very old language and its usage is limited in Old testament. Then how can any one think that new testament was in Aramaic?
    The logical thing is to think that new testament was written in Hebrew. However the common street language of the people was Greek , not classical greek but koine greek. The new testament was written years after Jesus was crucified. Considering the lingua franca of the region was Koine Greek and many of his deciples were not great orators or writers or educated, possibility is towards greek.
    Any way it is still a controversy . Either Hebrew or Greek ; Aramaic is less possible. Why? As a very old language, not much used in old testament , then how can we say new testament is written in Aramaic?

    Aramaic and Syriac are not same.

    Another thing is Aramaic is not Syriac and Syriac is not Aramaic ; just like Tamil is not Malayalam and malayalam is not Tamil . But they are closely related.

    Considering all these facts , there are more chances that that New testament has been translated to (Neo) Syriac fro Greek/ Hebrew. Any way East or West Syraic churches received its holy scriptures either from Greek or Hebrew. Whats big deal about it?
    ( Until 500BC Greek was written from right to left!!!!!)

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  24. Dear Jessop,

    Judea during Isho’s timeline was ruled by Rome and Rome was heavily leaning towards Hellenism. About 150 years before Isho and 150 years after Isho, there were rebellions after rebellions in Judea. It was very famous for rebellions. The Zealots (who were comprised of various organized and unorganized groups- similar to the rebel opposition in Syria today) were waging constant war on the Romans. The Temple priesthood was hated for it was well known that the Temple preists were Herod’s men and Herod himself was on his throne because of Romes approval of him.

    Herod was not a popular king as the people rejected anyone outside the line of David to rule over them. I think nationalism was very high during Isho’s time and most were eagerly looking for the Messiah and some leaders even claimed themselves to be the messiah. The Macaubees were highly against Hellenistc Syria and (false) messiah Bar Kochba was heavily against Rome. In short during the about 300 years between these two people, Judea/Palestine was under Hellenistic rule but the masses were very strongly rebelling against the Hellenism.
    The Acts tells us that there were indeed Jews who were not circumcised and were Hellenistic and were from Greece, but these were an insignificant number. The Pharisees (though one can see them as negative people in the Bible) were highly nationalistic too and deeply loved the Jewish traditions and heritage. We owe much to Judaism today because of the Pharisees. The desecendents of the then Pharisees are much of today’s Jewry. Their extreme love of Judaism had kept Judaism alive even until this day.
    Bottom line, I would say that you are much wrong in stating that Greek was the street language. It is like saying English is the street language in Kottayam. Overwhelming evidences prove that you are wrong.

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  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZzaJtoEjHA&feature=related

    Check it out at 1.03 minutes when the man (murdered man’s son) quotes the terrorists as saying ‘.. go see how we killed the Nazerene..” Why use the word ‘Nazerene’? Here is proof as to us Malabar Nazerenes being of kin with the Iraqi Nazerenes! This is what Asahel Grant also said in his book ‘Nestorians- The Lost 10 Tribes of Israel’. I have never heard an Iraqi ever say that he is a Nazerene, except in this vedio. Most of them deny that they are Nazerenes and I always suspect that they said it out of great fear, for being of Hebrew/Jewish heritage in an Islamic country means ‘death’.

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  26. I must further clarify that the Koran uses the word ‘Nasarah’ for Christians and not ‘Nazerene’ as the dead man’s son in the vedio says. Nasarah was used to denote Coptic, Roman, Greek , Iraqi Christians etc.. No Coptic , Roman or Greek Christian ever calls himself ‘Nazerene’ or were they ever addressed so.
    To the best of my knowledge the word ‘Christian’ is never used in the Koran.

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  27. Dear Mathai Varghese,
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Bottom line, I would say that you are much wrong in stating that Greek was the street language. It is like saying English is the street language in Kottayam. Overwhelming evidences prove that you are wrong.-
    (You said )
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————
    I agree that you have difference of opinion as Greek was the street language . If I am wrong in stating the then street language was Greek, you must give believable evidences to prove your side.
    Majority of the people in the world including learned people believe that NT was originally written in Greek . We cannot say that they are dullards.

    The English bibles like KJV certainly had been translated from the earliest manuscripts.
    Recent research on this subject gives a direction that the earliest original manuscripts were primarily in two languages , the Hebrew (OT)and Greek(NT). Aramaic was used in a limited extend in OT. So we can say three languages were used.

    Who is the Messiah offered in the OT? Was his name given in the OT?
    As the name of the offered Messiah appears in NT , it was always in Greek NOT in Hebrew. Why his name is in Greek not in Hebrew? This is a significant point to consider. To get around this some
    people say original manuscript was in Hebrew and then translated to Greek.
    However, they miserably fails to substantiate their claims.

    Knowingly or unknowingly, every time when you say Christ, Eso , Syriac or Arch deacon you are saying greek words.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————–
    “”That Jesus’ name was pronounced by the Greeks as Iesous almost goes without saying. The Greek language was very common in Israel. It was, after all, the official language of the Empire. All of the coins in Israel had Greek writing on them, and even a synagogue has been found with Greek writing inscribed on it. Of 168 inscriptions found in Palestine, archeologists found that 114 of them were written exclusively in Greek. Even Jewish stone coffins (ossuaries) had Greek inscriptions on them. Surely Jesus knew Greek, and spoke it when interacting with Greeks. When Jesus spoke to Pilate (which most definitely spoke Greek) at His trial, there is no evidence that a translator was needed.”‘
    (taken from a source-unfortunately don’t remember the source(but can find out). -Quoted just for reading to understand the general situation)

    “”Most of the quotations in the NT from the OT are not direct translations from the Hebrew Scriptures, but quotes from the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the OT. Even Jesus quoted from the LXX. Just one example to prove this is Jesus’ quotation of the OT in Matthew 15:8-9. Had He been quoting the Hebrew Scriptures the force of His argument would not stand (In the Hebrew it says that the fear of God was taught by the commands of men, whereas the LXX says that men are teaching the commands and doctrines of men). He was basing His argument from the LXX translation, which was commonly used by the Jews in the first century. The NT writers not only had a knowledge of Greek, but wrote all of the NT books exclusively in Greek.””
    ( Quoted from a source which I don’t remember -just for reading to understand the situation)

    These all gives a clue that the commoner language might have been Greek.

    I am just asking you what the Overwhelming evidences that proves I am wrong?????????

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  28. Dear Jessop,

    I am very much disappointed with your comment. I thought you are going to initiate a very healthy and educative discussion about the Syrian churches. I have to say, either you did not understand my argument or you are doing a captious criticism.

    Let me clarify.

    Church of Antioch was founded by Saint Peter. It was evolved in Greek culture and the liturgical language was Greek.(Syriac Church of Antioch was evolved only in AD 512 when Severus was enthroned as a rival Patriarch against Flavian II by the integration of syriac speaking monophysites by the works of Jacob Baradaeus.) So, it cannot be the mother church of Syriac Christians.

    Syriac speaking Christianity evolved around Edessa.

    Church of Edessa and Church of Antioch are different in terms of politics, rite and liturgical language.

    Politically, Antioch was in Roman Empire and Syriac speaking Christians were mostly in Persian Empire and the associated political feud made them enemies. (Edessa was independent of Greco Roman Empire until AD 216 when Romans conquered Edessa and took over control. That is the reason why Church of Edessa moved over to the side of the Church of Antioch later, leaving the communion with the Church of Selusia.)

    Antichene Church was evolved in Greek culture and rite where as Early Syriac speaking Christians were Semitic and their rite was Eastern Syriac- Liturgy of Addai and Mari.

    Liturgical language of Antiochene church was Greek where as Aramaic was the liturgical language of Easter Syriac Church.

    (Edessa was the only centre of early Christian life where the language of Christian community was other than Greek. The Church of Antioch in Syria , one of the oldest of these communities was, so far as we know, was wholly Greek- F C Burkitt, Early Eastern Christianity ) So, Edessan Christianity was independent of the Church of Antioch in all terms except jurisdictional point of view.

    From the history, we can see East Syrian Christianity evolving around Selusia and their prelate becoming the Catholicose of the East and later Catholicose- Patriarch of the East.

    Re Church of the East was founded only in 3rd century and how can it be a mother church.

    I think you are arguing like this in terms of Nestorianism. I do not think anyone is foolish enough to think that before Nestorian controversy, there was no East Syrian church. Nestorius was not a Syriac speaking Christian at all. Nestorius was the Archbishop of Constantinople. He was initially supported by the Church of Antioch also.

    The East Syrian church existed from Apostolic times. Please refer to the legend of King Abgar the Ukkama sending an embassy to our Lord Isho Mshiha and the reply. It may only a legend, but ancient documents are there narrating these stories.

    Syriac Christianity evolved around Edessa. Edessan Church was founded by Mar Thaddeus- Mar Addai who was a disciple of Apostle Thomas. Apostle Thomas got the lot for eastern kingdoms. It is believed that Apostle Thomas sent Thaddeus( Mar Addai) to Edessa. ( No proof other than the ancient legends and the writings of oral traditions of the local people written in 3-4 -5 centuries AD.)

    Thaddeus sent Mar Mari to Selusia. Thus, Thaddeus- Mar Addai was the founder of the Church of Edessa and Mar Mari, the founder of Church of Selusia.

    Authors are of the opinion that there was a Syriac speaking Church existed in and around Edessa in the very early period of the history of Christianity.

    Chronicles of Edessa speaks of a Christian church in AD 201 in Edessa which was destroyed in a flood.
    After the Roman conquest of AD 216, a new stream of Christians came in the Edessa from Antioch who are mentioned in Ephraim the Syrian’s writings as a new sect Palutians. ( Palut) So, there were christians in Edessa and Mesopotamia even before the efflux of Christians from the Greco Roman Empire. This means Edessan Christianity evolved independent of Antioch.

    According to Fortesque and Burkkitt, the first bishop if Edessa we know for certain is Kona who built a church in Edessa in AD 313.

    Re Translation of Gospels from Greek.

    The Early syriac church did not use gospels in the services until the time of Bishop Rabbula of Edessa. Many authors are of the opinion that the Old testament of Peshitta was directly translated from Hebrew into Syriac, depending upon the usages of language, place names etc. The new testament was probably translated from Greek, probably by Bishop Rabbulla of Edessa. The early syriac speaking church used Tatian’s diatessaran in the liturgy, not the four gospels. Dietassaran was a narration of four gospels into one. Anyway, the Bible and new testament books were decided by the Churches of Greco Roman Empire. So, no wonder, the new testament was translated from Greek. But that does not mean that they changed their liturgy/rite

    Re Authenticity of Syriac rite/ language.

    We are not discussing about the authenticity of Syriac language. My comment was to state that the Syriac Christians who supported the council of Ephesus- the non Nestorians/Monophysites- when they evolved into the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch(Jacobite) , they had to change the liturgy and had to translate the Antiochene liturgy into Syriac. Fortesque narrates the Greek forms still preserved in the Saint James’ Liturgy- stumenkalus, kurie elison, sufia, prushumen etc. Rev Dr Baby Varghese of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church writes- ‘With the liturgical reforms of Jacob of Edessa, Greeco Antiochene rites began to replace the original Mesopotamian liturgical tradition preserved by the non chalcedonians in Persia. In their commentaries on Baptism and the Eucharist, the west Syrians followed the style and method of the mystagogical works of the Greek fathers , which was probably accepted as more convenient for instruction both in the parishes and in the monastic schools.’

    So, we can say that the east syriac church preserved the rite of the early syriac speaking church.

    Paul D Younan writes – ‘Christian manuscripts in Eastern Aramaic are written in the ancient script called Estrangela (round, thick set) with no vowel markings. After the fifth century A.D., two different scripts developed. In the West, a script (of which half the letters no longer resemble the Estrangela), called ‘Serto’ (strophe) is used, with five capital Greek letters for vowels, written on their side, above or below the letters. In the Eastern script, called ‘Madinkhaya’ (Eastern) or ‘Swadaya’ (Contemporary), only five of the twenty-two letters have been slightly modified. To indicate the seven vowels there are various accents, with two different strokes to indicate the semi-vowels, resembling the Jewish systems of Tiberias or of Babylon’. ( http://www.peshitta.org)

    Does this not mean Eastern syriac language preserved their semitic identity where as Western Syriac dialect was evolved in Greek influence ?

    Re Self proclaimed catholicose.

    Yes, it is true, the Patriarchate of the Church of the East was a self proclaimed Patriarchate. Do we know of any other Patriarchates that is not self proclaimed ?

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  29. Dear Mathai Varghese,

    Thanks for your earlier comment 248719 dated 31/10/2012. I can understand your argument. I can only write what I know and have read. I would like to extend my learning into those early gnostic sects also.

    Dear Jessop,

    Is Isho not an aramaic word ?

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  30. Dear Thomas Antony,
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————
    I am very much disappointed with your comment. I thought you are going to initiate a very healthy and educative discussion about the Syrian churches. But, sorry to say you did not have that intention. I have to say, either you did not understand my argument or you are doing a captious criticism.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————–Disappointment’s happens when we come to know the facts are against our wishful thinking. This happens to everybody including you and me.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————

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  31. Dear Thomas Antony,
    This is the partial reply to your post no: 256081
    ——————————————————-
    You said you are disappointed with my reply. I cannot write to make you always happy. I am writing based on my knowledge , reasoning and with evidences. When you refute it, you may give proper reasoning and evidences .

    Your opinion is that Church of Antioch was using Greek language and hence not qualified to be called as mother church of Syrian Christians.

    In Roman times, Antioch was the principal city of Syria, and the fourth largest city of the Roman Empire, after Rome, Ephesus and Alexandria.

    Who were the Syrians or Assyrians?

    Let us look into this. For this we have to understand one thing. Who are the Syrian Christians. Syrian Christians are Assyrians , a group of people in Syria and they are ethnically different from Arabs. Assyria was their empire. Their language was Aramaic(Latin) or Syriac (Greek). They followed another religion in olden days , however in the 1st century AD , the Assyrians in the in the City of Antioch accepted Christianity and started a church in Antioch in AD 37(?) presided by St.Peter. We all know that Bible says these people were called Christians for the first time in the world. Thus we can say the Mother church of all Christians in the world is the Church of Antioch (Evidence- Holy Bible NT). Whether they used Greek Scriptures or Greek liturgy doesn’t matter at all. They were called Syrian church (in Greek ) because they were Assyrian people–because of their ethnicity not because of using a
    language.PLEASE NOTE THE DIFFERENCE. THEY WERE CALLED SYRIAN CHURCH OR ASSYRIAN CHURCH NOT SYRIAC OR ASSYRIAC CHURCH WHY? Because the church was named after their ethnicity NOT beacause of Aramaic or Syriac language. They translated holy scriptures and Liturgy originally evolved in Greek into Aramaic (Remember there are different Aramaic, so don’t think that all Aramaic are same. Same just like different English used at different periods over world wide)

    How can you say that these Assyrian people were PRACTICING Greek Holy Mass. Just like we people used Syriac Holy mass , they also used Syriac holy mass . Lot of Greek terms are included in the liturgy means it was translated from Greek. We know that the earliest liturgy -the St.James liturgy was in Greek because it was evolved Jerusalem and Jerusalem commoner language was Greek. The Jews were using Greek at that time. Holy scriptures were translated to Greek. This doesn’t make the Jews Greek. They are Jews only by their ethnicity and their language is Hebrew. This is the case with Assyrians also. Their church in Antioch might have used scriptures and liturgy translated from Greek. This doesn’t make them Greek . They are Syrian Church because they are Assyrians by the ethnicity.

    Please note that many Syrian churches in Iraq used/ uses Arabic for holy mass and other church matters. This won’t make them Arabic Church. They are Syrian Christians by ethnicity.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————
    Assyria was also sometimes known as Subartu, and after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late seventh century AD variously as Athura, Syria (Greek), Assyria (Latin) and Assuristan. The term Assyria can also refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were centred. The modern Assyrian Christian minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians (see Assyrian continuity).[2][3

    Courtesy: Wikipedia for general reading to understand who are the Assyrians or akkadians
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
    ( Con’td)

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  32. Dear Thomas Antony,

    You said
    Church of Antioch was founded by Saint Peter. It was evolved in Greek culture and the liturgical language was Greek.(Syriac Church of Antioch was evolved only in AD 512 when Severus was enthroned as a rival Patriarch against Flavian II by the integration of syriac speaking monophysites by the works of Jacob Baradaeus.) So, it cannot be the mother church of Syriac Christians.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Please read my just earlier post to understand who are Syrian Christians and Syrian church. There was no Syriac church of Antioch at that time. Until 21st century it was called Syrian Orthodox Church. The church was named so because of of the Assyrian Ethnicity not because of any language used. Since the language associated with their ethnicity is Syriac they used it for liturgical purposes.It is same like the Jews used Hebrew.But even if the Jews uses Greek language they won’t become Greek. Thats all.
    What you explain in the above paragraph is the evolution of Syrian Monophysites from the already present Syrian church. What about other Syrian Diaphysites? They were all called Syrian church whether there Mono or Diaphysites.

    Church of the East( East Syrian Church ) was a fully dependent on church of Antioch. Not only it depended the Church of Antioch for Consecration of Bishops but also it was an ideological slave of the Church of Antioch. Church of the East or East Syrian Church followed/s ANTIOCHIAN SCHOOL OF THOUGHT. ( As per intellectual property rights of the Patriarchate of Antioch.( virtual) ) . Church of East has no independent ideology of its own. Even then you wish to call it the mother church of Syrian christians??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    You call call it like that if it makes you happy. Just forget about the facts and just believe it as you wish. This will make you happy.

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  33. Dear Thomas Antony,

    You asked me whether Isho is Aramaic or Greek. Definitely it is from Greek. The Greek called the Messiah as “iesous” . This was later translated to Syriac (East& West Syraic ) as Eeso/Isho.

    In Aramaic Messiah is called “Yeshua” . English Jesus came from this. In malayalam we call Yeshu.

    Arkadiyokon- Definitely Greek – If the claim is that East Syriac was never polluted with Greek names, You must admit that Arkadiyokons of Malankara were West Syriac followers. Arch deacon George of the Cross was a West Syriac follower then??????. More research is needed in this matter . We can presume that along side of the Nestorian church , there were Monophysites in Kerala. I request people who are interested in this matter to do a research in this aspect.
    Is there any Archdeacon /Arkadiyokon ecclesiastical post in East Syriac Church?
    I think there is Arch deacon / Arkadiyokon ecclesiastical post in Syrian Orthodox church.
    If any body knows better please reply.

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  34. Isho` is a Hebrew name Marya Isho` shared (for example) with Isha`ya whom westerners know as the prophet ‘Isaiah’. Both names derive from Isha`, which is a Hebrew root word which means to rescue. If you wish, you can look it up using the Aramaic lemma search engine on http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/ where it is correctly shown as a Hebraism.

    According to an ancient 4th century travel diary written by a woman called Egeria, at that time the church in Antioch was bi-lingual and used both Greek and Syriac in the services because half the congregation only understood Syriac. I have a note about this diary with references to the sources I used under AD385, see my site (click on my name above).

    The question of the Gospel’s primary language is a big deal. This question is very important, because if it is really so that the Greek has been translated from Middle Aramaic or Syriac originals, then what else apart from the language was changed during this translation? Quite a bit I’m afraid. There are many places where the Syriac NT (which retains traces of Middle Aramaic wording and grammar foreign to Syriac) agrees with the Old Latin translated version against the Greek and there are other places where the Greek translation is defective and instances of ‘translator confusion’ like this, show beyond reasonable doubt that the Greek gospels are a secondary translated version. This may not be what western scholarship wants to hear, but evidence along the lines I have just summarized shows that this is the case. I have given a detailed example on a textual criticism website which you can look up if you so wish: http://tcg.iphpbb3.com/forum/64774768nx21631/new-testament-variants-discussion-f20/mark-227-sabbath-made-for-man-t216.html

    I have given several other examples of famous gospel passages where the Greek translator modified the meaning of the original whilst he was translating. See the following list: http://www.syriac.talktalk.net/syriac_gospel.html

    Best wishes,
    Steven.

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  35. Messiah’s name was first called in Greek not in Hebrew. See my post : 256003. This is a significant point to consider. Hebrew name and Aramaic name were from Greek “iseous”. A lot of research was was done in what language our Messiah’s name was called first. Majority learned theological scholars opines that Messiahs name was first called in Greek language. This was later translated to other languages. Isho in Hebrew is also a translation from “iseous” in Greek

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  36. Dear Thomas Antony,

    Yes, it is true, the Patriarchate of the Church of the East was a self proclaimed Patriarchate. Do we know of any other Patriarchates that is not self proclaimed ?

    Your return question is quite interesting to me. When we say self proclaimed, we have to understand that it was not done unanimously. There were controversies about it. Remember that this position was ratified by the universal synod in 4th century only. Could you equate this position to other early formed patriarchates?
    All other patriarchates were started by the Universal Synod of the then church . That why it is unique. I hope now you got the idea of a self proclaimed Katholicos . You may be noted that “Katholicos” is nothing other than Greek. If you are a Christian you cannot avoid Greek. This is because it was not merely a language, but a “culture” was recorded in that language . We all now know that facts with help of that language. Thank Greek. God chosen Greek language to call his son as Jesus and holy scriptures were first recorded in that language. It is just like Arabic for Muslims.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————
    Authors are of the opinion that there was a Syriac speaking Church existed in and around Edessa in the very early period of the history of Christianity.

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  37. Jessop quotes an analysis for Mt 15v8-9 he found somewhere, which necessitates a response I think, because the author he quoted states that Marya Isho` must have used the Greek LXX and not the Hebrew in order for his point about corrupt teachers to have made sense. I will quote from Jessop’s post and then present my analysis of the Hebrew OT, the Palestinian Aramaic Targum Jonathan to the Prophets, and the Peshitta Syriac OT:

    Quoting Jessop who was quoting someone who wisely chose to be anonymous;
    “”Most of the quotations in the NT from the OT are not direct translations from the Hebrew Scriptures, but quotes from the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the OT. Even Jesus quoted from the LXX. Just one example to prove this is Jesus’ quotation of the OT in Matthew 15:8-9. Had He been quoting the Hebrew Scriptures the force of His argument would not stand (In the Hebrew it says that the fear of God was taught by the commands of men, whereas the LXX says that men are teaching the commands and doctrines of men). He was basing His argument from the LXX translation, which was commonly used by the Jews in the first century. The NT writers not only had a knowledge of Greek, but wrote all of the NT books exclusively in Greek.””

    Unfortunately for our author, both the Palestinian Aramaic Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 29:13 and the Syriac Peshitta OT also support a reading of Isaiah 29:13 where those who propagate human teachings are condemned, (not those who propagate teachings by rote). So, rather than prove that Maraya Isho` must have used a Greek LXX source when he quoted Isaiah in Mt15:8-9, these attestations in Palestinian Aramaic and Syriac show that Marya Isho` could also have been quoting from an Aramaic translation of the OT (‘Targum’ means ‘translation’ in Aramaic).

    I believe this is enough to demolish our author’s argument completely, because I have shown that there is another explanation based on our Lord’s use of an Aramaic translation of the OT which would not need any explanation from a Greek source in the LXX version of the OT. Of course, if the ordinary people of Palestine spoke only Aramaic every day as I maintain, then Marya Isho` would have quoted the scriptures from the Aramaic translation of the OT the people were familiar with, as it was used in the synagogue services and readings from the prophets which they heard every week.

    Targum Jonathan and the Peshitta OT texts are on-line at http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/ and anyone can read them (navigate to the passage and click on the words to get their translations in English). E.g.: To get Targum Jonathan to Is29:13, select ‘Search the CAL textual databases’ then check the ‘Palestinian Aramaic’ radio button and click submit. Then select ’51012 TgJ Is’ then chapter 29 then scroll down to 29:13 to get the verse in question. To get the Peshitta Syriac text, select Syriac instead of Palestinian Aramaic, then ’62012 P Is’ and so on.

    Syriac is an Aramaic dialect by the way. I’m not sure why people keep saying it is not.

    Best wishes,
    Steven.

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  38. Dear Jessop,

    The presence of the Zealots, the Pharisees, the Esseenes prove that the Jews were leaning towards Orientalism and not to Hellenism. The Zealots not only killed/murdered the Romans, but also those Jews who were collobarating with the Romans, for instance with the Roman/Herod appointed tax collectors. In Isho’s inner circle of twelve (I think the word Apostle is Greek in origin) one was a tax collector (Matthew) and another was a Zealot. In the normal course Simon the Zealot would have cut the throat of Matthew.
    Barabbas (son of the father/Father?) was popular with some of the Jews, though he was declared a murderer and the NT says that Barabbas was an insurgent. Mark 15:7 “..A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising..” Here insurgency implies, insurgency against Rome.
    That whole place in that 300 years was full of insurgency, on and on and on and on and on and on….Herod the Great was one ruler of Judea/Palestine, but after him, the other herods did not have the status of ‘kings’ but tetrachs.

    Pilot directly ruled Jerusalem at the time of Isho’s death was highly exposed to Roman ways, but all other regions like Gallilee, Idumea, Samaria was ruled by herods.
    Now it is possible that Samaria, not being of Jewish domination, Decapolis being directly ruled by the Romans would have been less Jewish. Bottom line, Jerusalem, though mightighly under Roman yoke, gave very stiff resistance to Hellenism.
    The Pharisees, were fanatically set in their Jewish traditions of kosher and non kosher, the Zealots attacked from behind upon the Romans and their sympathizers, the very less numbered but influential/respected Esseenes had a very different view of being Israel, but they were certainly not Hellenized. My personal view is that the Esseenes were possibly the most enlightened group on earth along with the Brahmins, Jains and the Buddhists. Esseenes were so original that no pagan Hellenism could have been there.
    Hellenism thrived on slavery, war, sport, wealth, while the Esseenes pratically threw out into the garbage all of these slavery, war, sport, wealth etc.. I include the Greek language when I use the word ‘Hellenism’. It is very difficult to divorce Greek language from Hellenism.

    YOu will have to do a lot more of research into where Greek dominated Isho’s timeline-geoline. I have responded by a ‘No’, but without historical proofs that you have asked for, However, I have presented to you ‘commensence’ Indeed there was Hellenism everywhere, but Greek was not the language of the streets in Isho’s time-geo line.

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  39. Dear Jessop,

    You wrote ‘..is nothing other than Greek. If you are a Christian you cannot avoid Greek…’

    Because the NT was or was not written in Greek, because Isho used Greek words like ‘hades’ or ‘centurion’ or ‘Ceasar’, does not mean that faith in the Jewish Messiah should be Hellenized.

    One can understand the Jewish Messiah, pnly if one thoroughly understand Judaism.
    Matthew 5:17 “..Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

    It is better that the gentiles/Hellenistics get grafted into the Hebrew olive tree, rather than being risked planted as a ‘stem stump’ without roots in an olive field. There are rooting hormones, stem cell technology etc.. which may make a branch stump takes root, but it is very difficult.

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  40. Dear Jessop,

    You wrote “..We all know that Bible says these people were called Christians for the first time in the world. Thus we can say the Mother church of all Christians in the world is the Church of Antioch (Evidence- Holy Bible NT). .”

    If at all there was anything called ‘Mother church’, it was the one at Jerusalem, led by James the Elder, possibly the brother of Isho. Remember, the apostles fanned out in all four directions. This is one of the greatest proofs of Isho’s ressurection (explosion of great energy from Jerusalem).
    There is overwhelming evidence that Mar Thoma moved East of Jerusalem and was much to do with Persia and India. Persians highly detested Hellinism (Hellinism implied Hellenistic sports like wrestling and homosexuality and wrestling was sported by stark naked men and all this was very detestable to the Persians and the Indians (?). So, we can by commensense say that Mar Thomas missionary work was not involving Greek. We also notice that Mar Thoma’s path of believers were and are called ‘Nazerenes’, unlike Peter’s, Mark’s, John’s etc.. Are not the Nazereans followers of Isho? Is not Greek abscent from the Persian CoE?
    Greek/Hellenism came into Malabar only after AD 1500 after contact with Antiocha and the West. Before that it was Syriac and that too ‘Eastern Syriac’.

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  41. Dear Jessop,

    I was unhappy not because you do not agree with my arguments, but on your captive criticism. If you do not agree with me and produce evidence, that will inspire me studying further. Myself and all the readers here will be happy then. But, I have not seen any evidence or references for your arguments.

    Our discussion was about the mother church of Syriac speaking Christians.

    Your argument now is Syriac church means Syrian ethnicity not language. Syrians in Antioch became Christians in AD 37 and founded a church and hence that is the mother church of Syriac Christians.
    Can you produce any references or citations for this ?

    As I understand, Christianity evolved in three different cultural streams- Greek, Latin and Syriac. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. If it is ethnic, how can we say that we, the Thomas Christians of Malabar are Syriac Christians ? Why are we still using Syriac rite ?(translating into Malayalam language since 1960s . Arabs also translated the syrian liturgy into Arabic, but they continued the syriac rite.) Christianity is not an ethnic group. Even the early Christian communities accepted gentiles also. Church of Antioch started with Jewish people but the gentiles became the majority. That was how, it became Greek.

    All the books I have read states that Edessa was the centre of Syriac speaking Christianity and Antioch Greek speaking Christianity. Thus Syriac rite and Greek rite evolved. Syriac speaking Christians would have moved over to Antioch when Edessa was captured by Roman Empire. But they were minority. They were part of the Church of Edessa. Church of Edessa lost its supremacy over East Syrian Church, once Edessa was captured by Romans in 3rd century , to Selusia as Edessa became part of the rival Roman Empire.. Later, Bishop of Edessa broke ties with the rest of the Church of the East and moved over to Church of Antioch. These are the Syriac Christians of Antioch. They were of East Syrian rite.

    Do you have any citation showing that Syriac Christianity means Christianity of ethnic Assyrians, not Christianity with a Syrian rite or liturgy ?

    Do you have any evidence to show that Church of Antioch was founded by Assyrian people who were Greek speaking ?

    If the initial Christians of Antioch were Greek speaking Assyrian people, why did they have to translate the Greek liturgy into Aramaic instead of continuing the Greek liturgy ?

    I did not say that the Assyrian people in Antioch celebrated Holy Qurbana in Greek. I understand that the Assyrian people in an around Antioch were using East Syrian liturgy and were part of the Church of Edessa. It was Bishop Rabulla of Edessa who moved over to Church of Antioch after the synod of Robber. The Church of the East describes him as a traitor. He was supportive of the Synod of Ephesus and anti Nestorian. He broke ties with the rest of East Syriac Christendom and joined sides with the Church of Antioch. They are the Syriac Christians of Antioch.

    What is the evidence for usage of Syriac language for liturgy in the Church of Antioch excluding the Edessan Christians of Antioch, before the evolution of Syriac orthodox church of Antioch ?

    Are there any evidence to say that the Church of Edessa used St James’s liturgy translated into Syriac before the synod of Ephesus ?

    What was the rite and liturgical language of Syriac speaking Christians in Antioch before the synod of Ephesus ?

    What about the Majority of Syriac Christians evolved around Edessa and Persian Empire? Are they also Syriac Christians ? What is your evidence to say that Edessan church and CoE was heavily dependent on the Church of Antioch ?

    Until the end of second century, Edessa was outside Roman Empire but within the Parthian suzerinity. Romans took over Edessa in AD 216. Then the rest of East Syrian Christians consolidated under Selusia. CoE was always within an enemy empire of Church of Antioch. So practically, this dependence would not work. That was why, CoE declared its Catholicose a Patriarch.

    On a wider sense, we can say CoE uses the Christology of Antioch, but they had more differences than similarity. The Monophysite Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Diaphysite CoE were rivals on Christological point of view.

    ‘Antioch in Syria was a centre , not of Syriac speaking culture, but of Greek culture. After Christianity became the established religion of the Roman empire, monasteries of Syriac speaking communities were established within or near the walls of Antioch, but it was essentially a Greek city’.( P 45 F C Burkit, Early Eastern Christianity).

    Fortesque writes- ‘On the other hand, it is, no doubt, true that the authority of Antioch in these distant East Syrian lands was rather theoretic than practical. Edessa is a long way off. Moreover, its development, long before the schism, already shows signs of peculiar features, of a want of close cohesion with the Mother Church, such as often makes an all too easy beginning for schism. Language made a difference. Antioch was mainly Greek and became more and more so, as did the cities near it in West Syria. Its liturgy was celebrated in Greek, at any rate in the cities. Preachers, such as St. John Chrysostom, spoke Greek ; at Jerusalem St. Cyril taught his catechumens in Greek. At Edessa and in the East there is no Greek at all ; everything, including the liturgy is Syriac. And the East Syrian liturgy, though one might classify it remotely as Antiochene, was celebrated so far from its original source, was so little confronted with the later use of Jerusalem- Antioch, that it developed into a special rite, hardly recognizable as having any connection with that of West Syria. If we use later language (never actually applied to this East Syrian Church) we may describe the Metropolitan of Edessa as the almost independent Exarch of East Syria and (at first) of Persia, having a vague dependence on the distant Patriarch of Antioch.’ ( The Lesser Eastern Churches, p 37)

    Please note the citation from Rev Dr Baby Varghese in my previous comment showing that the new rite replaced the old rite of Mesopotemia.

    So, all these shows that the East Syrian rite was the mother of all Syriac speaking churches in the world.

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  42. Dear Jessop,

    Your comment-
    “You must admit that Arkadiyokons of Malankara were West Syriac followers. Arch deacon George of the Cross was a West Syriac follower then??????. More research is needed in this matter .”

    This shows your ignorance of the history of the Thomas Christians in Malabar.

    You also wrote-”We can presume that along side of the Nestorian church , there were Monophysites in Kerala. I request people who are interested in this matter to do a research in this aspect.”

    This really shows where you are leading us to, with your discussions. I am sorry to say that there were so many people raised this argument in the past, but no one could find any supportive evidence so far.

    Another bad news- Arch deacons were common in the history of CoE from the early period. But the Archdeacons of Malabar had a very strong and glorious position compared to that of the CoE.

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  43. Dear Steven,

    Re your reference about dual liturgy in Antioch in 4th century- Greek and Syriac. Would those Syriac speaking Christians in Antioch not be part of the Church of Edessa/followers of Bishop Rabulla ?

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  44. Dear M Thomas Antony,

    You asked whether the Syriac speaking Christians in Antioch were followers of bishop Rabbula and under the see of Edessa? Well, Rabbula did not become bishop of Edessa until AD 411, about 26 years after Egeria wrote her impressions of the church in Antioch, (details and references can be found here: http://www.syriac.talktalk.net/chron_tab4.html). Antioch was an important bishopric and its congregations would not have been subject to Edessa which was less important, but governed locally by the Antiochene leadership. I am afraid I don’t have any evidence for that to hand.

    Due to several large deportations of Christians from Syria back to Persia during campaigns waged by the Persian Shah, there were also similar dual language bishoprics in Persia throughout this period. My chronology cited above, contains details about these deportations and dual language churches.

    Best wishes,
    Steven.

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  45. Dear Thomas Antony,
    You asked me, If it is ethnic how can we people in Malabar are Syriac Christians?
    I have a correction. We were called Syrian Christians ans not Syriac Christians. Govt.of India accepted term is Syrian Christian not St.Thomas Christian. This is because the Syrian Christians from Mesopotamia migrated to Kerala and they were called Syrian Christians . They were Assyrians. Jew conversion and Brahman conversion are mere stories only. – a myth. Just like the myth of St.Thomas in India. If it makes you happy, you can believe in it.
    Syrian Christians were accorded a high status in Malabar compared to other Christians because of their ethnicity only not because of any language. This was true until recently. After Portuguese, a lot of lower Hindu strata people joined Syrian church . Now it is called Syriac church and no more Syrian ethnicity associated with it (theoritically)

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  46. Dear Thomas Antony,
    Edessa( Greek)Urha-( Aramaic ) is in Turkey and was always under the Patriarchate of Antioch. You are splitting West Syriac and East Syriac and trying to attribute East Syriac with Nestorian church and West Syriac with Syriac Orthodox church. The School of Edessa was a part of Syrian Orthodox church. When the Syriac church split into Nestorian and Monophysites, the monophysites had a Office in Tigris and a Maphrain was there until it was run over by Muslim rule.

    So before the theological split, the Syrian church was under the Patriarchate of Antioch only. Only in 424 AD it became a canonical separate church.So what is West Syrian and East Syrian ? As you say it is based on language, when was Nestorian/ Madnaya script developed? Esrtrangela is considered classical syriac. Did Madnaya script ever used in School of Edessa? Was school of Edessa was a part of the Church of the East(Nestorian)? Before Nestorian Schism , was the church of east called COE or something else?

    Why are you trying to run way when I say the early Church of East was an Administrative and Ideological (follows theology of the Antioch School) SLAVE of the Patriarchate of Antioch?
    When was Church of East canonically formed? When was the Patriarchate of Antioch was formed?
    What is your evidence that everything was Greek in West Syriac Church in early days?
    Wht are the earliest available literatures from Madnaya syriac? Whether it pre dates the West Syriac Serto form?

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  47. Dear Jessop,

    With all respect, I have to say that you have not presented any evidece/references/citations supporting your arguments so far.

    Without answering any of the questions I have raised, you are asking more questions. Who is running away ? Come to the point, and give supportive references.

    If you read my comments in the last few days, you can find the answers to the latest questions you have asked with references.

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  48. Dear Thomas Antony,
    I am not running away from your questions. In fact I need more time to respond. How can I run away when I see just traditional beliefs are presented as FACTS to the public? People create history to accomplish their
    wishful thinking. History is not always what has happened. It is created through the eyes of the historians.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
    EDESSA- from Catholic Encyclopaedia

    The exact date of the introduction of Christianity into Edessa is not known. It is certain, however, that the Christian community was at first made up from the Jewish population of the city. According to an ancient legend, King Abgar V, Ushana, was converted by Addai, who was one of the seventy-two disciples. (For a full account see ABGAR.) In fact, however, the first King of Edessa to embrace the Christian Faith was Abgar IX (c. 206). Under him Christianity became the official religion of the kingdom. As for Addai, he was neither one of the seventy-two disciples as the legend asserts, nor was he the Apostle Thaddeus, as Eusebius says (Church History IV.13), but a missionary from Palestine who evangelized Mesopotamia about the middle of the second century, and became the first bishop of Edessa. (See DOCTRINE OF ADDAI.) He was succeeded by Aggai, then by Palout (Palut) who was ordained about 200 by Seraphion of Antioch. Thenceforth the Church of Edessa, until then under that of Jerusalem, was subject to the metropolitan of Syria. The aforesaid relations with Jerusalem and Antioch caused in important Syriac literary movement at Edessa of which the city long remained the centre. Thence came to us in the second century the famous Peshitto, or Syriac translation of the Old Testament; also Tatian’s Diatessaron, which was compiled about 172 and in common use until St. Rabbula (Rabulas), Bishop of Edessa (412-35), forbade its use. Among the illustrious disciples of the School of Edessa special mention is due to Bardesanes (154-222), a schoolfellow of Abgar IX, the originator of Christian religious poetry, whose teaching was continued by his son Harmonius and his disciples. (See BARDESANES AND BARDESANITES.)

    See what Catholic Encyclopedia says: The aforesaid relations with Jerusalem and Antioch cause in important Syriac literary movement at Edessa.

    Will you accept Catholic Encyclopedia as an Evidence? or you think they are just dumbos?
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————
    None of the learned men never stated that St.Thomas as the 1st bishop or overseer of the Edessan church.
    This is a fact.
    How ever When a Catholicate was started in Seleucea(named after Seleuces a Greek emperor), they wanted to associate an apostle to that Catholicate. That was their wishful thinking NOT fact. You also know the fact . However your wishful thinking is to associate St.Thomas to that Catholicate and there by creating a history that East syrian church was started by St.Thomas . This is called hiding the real truth and creating history. You must admit and clearly state that Addai might have started that church and NOT St.Thomas.
    In my coming posts I will tell you how people creates history based on their wishful thinking.

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  49. Dear Thomas Antony,
    See what Catholic Encyclopedia says,

    The exact date of the introduction of Christianity into Edessa is not known. It is certain, however, that the Christian community was at first made up from the Jewish population of the city. According to an ancient legend, King Abgar V, Ushana, was converted by Addai, who was one of the seventy-two disciples. (For a full account see ABGAR.) In fact, however, the first King of Edessa to embrace the Christian Faith was Abgar IX (c. 206). Under him Christianity became the official religion of the kingdom. As for Addai, he was neither one of the seventy-two disciples as the legend asserts, nor was he the Apostle Thaddeus, as Eusebius says (Church History IV.13), but a missionary from Palestine who evangelized Mesopotamia about the middle of the second century, and became the first bishop of Edessa. (See DOCTRINE OF ADDAI.) He was succeeded by Aggai, then by Palout (Palut) who was ordained about 200 by Seraphion of Antioch. Thenceforth the Church of Edessa, until then under that of Jerusalem, was subject to the metropolitan of Syria. The aforesaid relations with Jerusalem and Antioch caused in important Syriac literary movement at Edessa of which the city long remained the centre. Thence came to us in the second century the famous Peshitto, or Syriac translation of the Old Testament; also Tatian’s Diatessaron, which was compiled about 172 and in common use until St. Rabbula (Rabulas), Bishop of Edessa (412-35), forbade its use. Among the illustrious disciples of the School of Edessa special mention is due to Bardesanes (154-222), a schoolfellow of Abgar IX, the originator of Christian religious poetry, whose teaching was continued by his son Harmonius and his disciples. (See BARDESANES AND BARDESANITES.)

    The aforesaid relations with Jerusalem and Antioch caused in important Syriac literary movement at Edessa of which the city long remained the centre.

    Could you agree with what Catholic Encyclopedia says?

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  50. Dear Jessop,

    I have noted your quote from Catholic Encyclopedia.

    Does it say that Antioch was the centre of Syriac Christianity and mother church of all Syriac Churches ?

    Does it say that Syriac Christianity is the Christianity of ethnic Assyrians and not the Christianity in Syriac tradition ?

    Does it say that Church of Edessa used Saint James’ Liturgy from the beginning ?

    I am waiting for your ‘facts’. If you present ‘facts’ with evidence, the readers will accept it.

    Your comments that there could be Monophysites in Malabar before the arrival of Portuguese, connection of Archdeacons with Antioch and even mention that Archdeacon Giwargis d Mshiha of Malabar was west syriac in rite and so on are the best examples of wishful thinking.

    Many a times, I have seen your posts accusing me that I have categorically confirmed that Apostle Thomas was the founder of Church of Edessa / CoE / Malabar Church and I have stated that Church of Edessa / CoE was never connected to Church of Antioch. May I request you to read what I presented in my write up and comments carefully once more without prejudice, before jumping into conclusions ?

    Whatever I have written, I have produced the reference. Even when you are asking for evidence repeatedly in each and every post without looking at what I have written, you have not produced any references. Instead you are stating your wishful thinking as facts.

    I am open minded and visiting here to learn from others.

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  51. I think Jessop should stick to the subject. Thomas Antony is talking about Antiochean Syriac liturgy being mostly a Greek liturgy and that the East Syriac Church has a true Syriac liturgy. Instead of countering that argument with proper references he is bringing in specious arguments and no citations. This is a matter that I think not even Antiocheans have no disputes about. A few Puthencoor Nazranis in their earnestness to prove that they are the true descendance of the ancient Nazrani church are taking pains to interpret history.

    It is preposterous to claim that the Archdeacons followed Antiochean liturgy. There is not a single piece of evidence to antedate Antiochean influence in Malankara. There are however several evidences to prove the continued use of East Syriac liturgy even upto Mulanthuruthy Synahdos(1876). e.g. A letter of Marthoma V (1728-1764) to Dutch governor written in 3 June 1729 talks of differences between his followers and Mar Gabriel’s. He does not talk anything about the liturgical differences. It was a gradual acceptance. It was not until 1836 Mavelikara Synahdos that Aniochean liturgy was accepted in toto. (less than 180 years old in Malankara). There are several MSS in East Syriac with the Puthencoor. In fact what the West Syriac bishops did was to remove traces of Latin influence among them rather than East Syriac traditions. It is not right to write acrimoniously to a poised piece of writing. Much of Jessop’s comments are like the pot calling the kettle black. After all East Syrian liturgy is the only non-Greek liturgy in Christendom. Let us value it at least for what it is. Nobody is going to convert to CoE because he accepts a historical fact!

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  52. Thought I would just mention one of the pioneering articles on “Patriarchal Dignity for the Malabar Church” by HE Dr. Mar Paul Chittilappilly that was published in the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. 2, 1973 ed. George Menachery , alias The Thomapedia 2000 [Chittilapilly Paul

    CHITTILAPPILLY, Paul:Patriarchal Dignity for the Malabar Church: pp.119-122] which was based on his doctoral thesis written in Rome. It may be read with profit by those who have not read it already.
    -Prof. George Menachery

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  53. Dear Thomas Antony,
    Does it say that Syriac Christianity is the Christianity of ethnic Assyrians and not the Christianity in Syriac tradition ?
    Please read this.
    Second Dark Age: 1300 A.D. to 1918 A.D.
    The Assyrian missionary enterprise, which had been so successful throughout the Asian continent, came to an abrupt end with the coming of Timurlane the Mongol. The indiscriminate destruction leveled by Timurlane against the civilizations he encountered put to a permanent end the Assyrian missionary enterprise. A large segment of the Assyrian population escaped the ravages of Timurlane by fleeing into the Hakkary mountains (present day eastern Turkey); the remaining Assyrians continued to live in their homelands (presently North Iraq and Syria), and Urmi. The four Assyrian communities, over time, begin defining themselves in terms of their church affiliation. The western Assyrians, all of whom belonging to the Syrian Orthodox Church, began identifying themselves as “Jacobites”. The remaining communities belonged to the Assyrian Church of the East. After the division of the Church of the East in 1550 A.D., the Chaldean Church of Babylon, a Roman Catholic Uniate, was created, and members of this church began to call themselves Chaldean. By the end of the nineteenth century, these three communities no longer saw themselves as one and the same.
    Ref: http://www.aina.org/brief.html
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Does it say that Antioch was the centre of Syriac Christianity and mother church of all Syriac Churches ?
    Does it say East Syriac was the mother of all Syriac Churches? It is just your wishful thinking only . Could you quote any authentic sources for your assertion?

    Why I said Antioch is the mother because-
    Church od Edessa was a daughter of Antioch in administrative matters
    Church of Edessa was a daughter of Antioch in Ideological matters
    As Catholic Encyclopedia says, Church of Edessa was subjected to Metropolitan of Syria.
    Syrian christians are nothing but Assyrian Identity.Indians got that name from the immigrated Syrians.
    Now a days its just a name only as Syrians got mixed with local population in Kerala.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Dear Xaviour Kulangara,
    What you think about the Syro Malabar church? Is it a uniate church like the chaldean church in the middle east? What is your opinion about that?

    If jacobites were puthencoors, What to call about Syromalabar church & Chaldean church?
    Uniate in English is called Puthen coor or puthenvadikal. Am I right?

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  54. Dear Thomas Antony,
    Does it say that Church of Edessa used Saint James’ Liturgy from the beginning ?
    —————————————————————————————————————
    Read Catholic Encyclopedia -East Syrian rite

    It says, many people consider the liturgy of East syrian church is developed from Antiochene.

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  55. Dear Thomas Antony,
    Your comments that there could be Monophysites in Malabar before the arrival of Portuguese, connection of Archdeacons with Antioch and even mention that Archdeacon Giwargis d Mshiha of Malabar was west syriac in rite and so on are the best examples of your wishful thinking.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————–
    My wishful thinking?
    Just read- Catholic Encyclopedia -West Syrian rite. It says…
    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 bishops from him, so did they at such times use his Liturgy. Most of Malabar has now returned to the Nestorian communion; but there are still Jacobite communities using this rite among them.

    I think western Catholic historians are dumbos. They should actually learn from malabar historians ,how to create history from scratch with our wishful thinking.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————
    With out much evidence, the wishful thinkers of some churches wanted to create history. How ever such things won`t last long . See what is the state of Brahman conversion theory now. I have seen St.Thomas converting brahmans in the present palayoor church [old St.kuriakos church( is it greek?)

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  56. Dear Thomas Antony,
    Please read this

    First conquered by the Greeks, and ruled by the Seleucids from 302 until 130 B.C.E., Edessa fell into the hands of the Parthians and, finally, the Romans in 49 C.E. Although Edessa was proclaimed a colonia in 214 C.E., the thought and culture of Orhay, like the culture of the entire oikoumene, remained Greek. The coins of Edessa bore legends in Greek. The wealthy families of the city sent their sons to study in Antioch, Beirut, Alexandria, and Athens. The greatest Edessan philosopher, Bardaisan, was predominantly influenced by Greek thought.

    Ref:www.nestorian.org/the_school_of_edessa.html

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  57. Dear Jessop,

    “It says, many people consider the liturgy of East syrian church is developed from Antiochene.” !!!

    Is it an evidence ?

    “The West-Syrian Rite has also been used at intervals by sections of the (schismatical) Malabar Church.”

    I do not think you understand the history well. Note the usage “schismatic malabar Church”. What does it mean ? All the Western Authors use this term to denote the Puthencoor faction- those who separated from the then Roman Communion. So, this mention is about the post Coonan Cross Oath. Yes, it was only after the Coonan Cross Oath (AD 1653) that the West Syriac rite was introduced to Malabar. You may read the first few paragraphs in the same page to get a bit more information about the west syrian rite and its origin. (I can see there are a few inconsistencies in the article quoted.)

    Your references from websites -nestorian.org and aina.org are also of similar quality and with no meaning in the context.

    Are these the kind of “evidence” you are presenting ?

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