The Mural tradition of Kerala Churches

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The mural paintings remained a major medium of public communication for over a thousand years. Great cycles of religious stories were spread across the walls of ecclesiastical structures almost as Christianity became state religion in west and at a similar period in east. Pope Gregory the Great ( 590-604) is said to have encouraged the pictographic forms as the ideas conveyed are universally communicable. For a long time in history pictures, inscriptions worked together as an explanatory symbiosis of Christianity.

St. Mary’s Church Kottayam Cheriyapalli mural paintings
St. Mary’s Church Kottayam Cheriyapalli mural paintings

Historical discussions of visual story telling began in the beginning of nineteenth century. This article examines some of the Mural paintings in Kerala Churches. (( Collected from different sources- SARAS and other sources ))

Many Kerala churches have century old murals to decorate their walls. Most of these are done in Kerala style. There are famous Altar and Madhbaha decorations in Ollur, Kanjoor, Kottayam, Alangad, Koratty, Chengannur, Akaparambu, Paliakkara, Pazhuvil, Thumpamon, Palai, Kaduthuruthy and Mulanthuruthy.

The huge Angamaly paintings of Hell and the Last Judgement are incomparable contributions of Kerala to the world mural heritage. The mural paintings of Cheppad, Piravam, Paliakkara, Angamaly,Akaparambu, Kanjoor, Ollur, Pazhaji and Vechoor deserve world recognition for their artistic excellence and skill of execution. (( Prof.George Menachery Articles ))

The centuries old jute panels which decorate the ceiling of the Ollur Church are 300 squre feet each in size. The walls and ceillings of the Chancel and the nave of that church are so fully covererd with exquisite frescos and murals that one is reminded of Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. . (( Prof.George Menachery Articles ))

The roots of the extant mural tradition of Kerala could be traced as far back as the seventh and eighth century A.D. It is not unlikely that the early Kerala murals along with its architecture came heavily under the influence of Pallava art.

 St. Mary’s Church Kottayam Cheriyapalli mural paintings
St. Mary’s Church Kottayam Cheriyapalli mural paintings

The churches of Kerala contain paintings which depict characters and scenes from Christian mythology. The paintings of Virgin Mary in the churches at Edappalli and Vechur are of deep religious significance to the devotees.

The Orthodox Syrian churches at Cheppad at Mulanthuruthi contain interesting murals. The outer walls of the Kanjur church have a huge mural which depicts the scene of a battle fought between the armies of Tipu Sultan on the one side and those of the English East India Company, aided by the bare – footed local militia, on the other.

Here is a brief list collected from different sources about Murals. (( Please contribute to expand this article to cover most of the old mural paintings ))

1. St. Anthony’s Forane Church, Ollur and the Shrine of St. Raphael

There are large numbers of frescoes, murals – both Kerala and western style murals, woodwork, metalwork, ivorywork. Ollur church is also famous for the large number of exquisitely carved sacred images in wood. One of the reputed possessions of the church is the more than thirty- foot tall wooden rostrum or Pushpakkoodu which have sculptures in the round and relief of the evangelists and saints in addition to interesting representations of the flora and fauna of Kerala.
The artistic wood carvings in the church some are to be found on the three altars, the beams, and in the cupola.

The gold and silver crosses, the gold candlesticks, gold kasa and pilasa, gold censers, huge bronze vessels, bells, monstances, tabernacles… are some of the artistic works in the church in various metals.

2. Mar Sabore and Afroth Church.

Chenganoor Wooden Door
Chenganoor Wooden Door

The centuries old Syrian-Jacobite church is situated at Akapparambu near Ankamali(Eranakulam). The present Church is only a replacement or perhaps and enlargement of the ancient structure.On the upper halves of the walls around the alter are some remarkable beautiful frescoes, surely the best example of church murals of Kerala.

Satan tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden, Prophet Elijah handing over his mantle to Elisha before ascending to heaven, mosses on mount Sinai with the tablet of the ten commandments, Sabore and Afroth engaged in theological arguments with Namboothiri Brahmins are among the interesting murals here.

3. St. Mary’s Church, Kanjoor

There are two large frescoes on either side of the main door of the church. Apart from this there are several oil paintings around the alter. The two frescoes are commemoration of the defeat of tippu’s marauding army when it sought to plunder the church in 1790.

While one mural has captured the fierce and bloody encounter between tippu’s troops and the combined forces of British cannons and native infantry, the other is a victory march of the letter. Grue some details like a corpse of one of the marauders pitch forked at the end of a British bayonet bring out the horror and the mercilessness of war. This fresco is thus significant from a historical perspective also.

4. St. Mary’s Church, Angamaly

St. Mary’s Church, Angamaly Picture- Hell
St. Mary’s Church, Angamaly Picture- Hell

The age old painting inside the church is with natural materials. The painting depict Heaven and Hell on either side of the wall. The two altars show the paintings of Gee Varghese Sahada and Behanan Sahada, the fight between David & Goliath and the Arc of Noah. The main alter has paintings from Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

5. St. Mary’s Church Kottayam, Cheriyapalli

St. Mary’s Church Kottayam, Cheriyapalli mural paintings
St. Mary’s Church Kottayam, Cheriyapalli mural paintings

The architectural style of the church is European, with galleries, pillars, cornices and pediments. The walls are adorned with beautiful murals made in oriented and western styles on bibical and non bibical thems. The mural paints on the wall depict various Christian stories and are as old as the church itself.
The church and surrounding places are steeped in history being in the times of the Thekkumkoor kings.Cheriyapalli has some fairly large comparatively fine murals.

There is a painting of the last Supper, Judas accepting the silver for his betrayal, Jesus’ disciples waiting for him in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus being whipped and dragged publicly. His trial, Pontius Pilate, washing his hands after condemning Christ to the cross, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mother with the body of Christ on her lap and Christ’s ascension are the other frescoes here.
But here what we cannot help noticing is the color of Christ’s robe, which is ochre rather than white. Ochre in Hindu concept is a color related to mysticism and spirituality.

6. St.George Church, Aruvithura

St. George Church, Aruvithura Altar
St. George Church, Aruvithura Altar

The Church which was built facing the west according to the Oriental liturgical traditions has many murals in the interior of church.

7. Paliakkara Church

The architectural style seems to be largely based to the prevailing style of Syrian Christian churches of that period in many respects.The “winged” facade of the church and the figures carved on the facade represent a unique style of Church architecture which have all but disappeared from this part of Kerala.

The murals on the eastern wall of the altar has attracted many tourists and continues to be the subject of study for numerous students and teachers of History. These murals which have been reasonably well preserved are of very high quality .They have been painted using natural vegetable dyes with natural components and represent the last few among this generation of murals in Kerala.

These murals depict the major events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth. Below these murals there is a huge picture of St.George the patron Saint of the Church.To either side of this picture of St George there is a picture of the twelve apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. The names of the Apostles is seen written in Syriac below this painting.

The construction of the roof of the Church is different and unique. On either side of the big wooden girders supporting the roof , one can see small figures of tigers and elephants.
During the process of renovation of the Church in 2005, inscriptions were found on the wall above the Baptismal Font, and this can also be seen at different places on the walls of the Church.

8.Kadamattom church

The establishment of the Kadamattom church ranges from the 4th to the 10th century. It is believed that in AD 865 Mar Abo, a Persian prelate established the church with the help and permission of a Kartha, the then local ruler of Kadamattom .Kadamattom Church has many murals in the interior of church.


Picture -1,2. St. Mary’s Church Kottayam Cheriyapalli mural paintings
Picture -3 Chenganoor Wooden Door
Picture -4 St. Mary’s Church, Angamaly Picture- Hell
Picture-5 St. Mary’s Church Kottayam, Cheriyapalli mural paintings
Picture-6 St. George Church, Aruvithura Altar

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  1. Blessy says

    Thanks for this brief collection.this is not complete, there are many other would be great if you guys can make a collection of the christian murals with photographs.Sadly not much is written about our mural tradition.

    1. Gheevarghees says

      Of the 100 odd churches of 1599 atleast a dozen still have large or small collections of Murals. Four of the best examples are Cheppad, Paliekkara, Angamaly, and Akapparambu. (Cf. articles and books by Prof. George Menachery, e.g. The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. II, 1973; The Nazranies, 1998; Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage, 2005.) Also articles on the site Most of the above mentioned murals are as old as or older than the Temple murals of Kerala. There is a slight possibility that the Cheppad murals might be earlier (believed to be of the 14th Century), perhaps due to the residence of the French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani de Severac as the first Bishop of Quilon, who was appointed by the Bull “Venerabili Fratri Jordano”, by Pope John XXII, on 21 August 1329. For a large number of photographs of these murals vide the works mentioned above.

    2. Gheevarghees says

      The book on Malabar Church by Michael Geddes, London, 1694, from “the Nazranies” Ed. G. Menachery is available on the net at >BOOKS page. The article “Christian Contribution to Art and Architecture” of India published in “Christian Contributionto Nation Building” Ed. Ponnumuthan, Aerath & Menachery 2002? is available at

    3. Kunjethy says

      Pl. cf. George Menachery, “Pallikalile Chitrabhaasangal,” Pazhama 2, for dozens of Mural paintings from a dozen or so Kerala Nazraney churches:–MAY–13_file.pdf

  2. Philip Jacob says

    The Kerala mural tradition died with these famous practitioners and today’s mural artists labor in obscurity. Hope that we will atleast have the wisdom to preserve what all existing today.

  3. Fr. Sebastian Chittilappilly says

    Interesting. Can some more pictures and architecture details on the original syrian churches in Kerala ,be uploaded .

    1. Gheevarghees says

      A few pictures from Prof. George Menachery’s forthcoming Malayalam book may be viewed at Address SARAS, Ollur, 680306

  4. Ishlr says

    Great Site.You guys should encorage other bloggers to write more about each churches.


    I have a doubt about Kadamattom Church. In this church history written that ‘ Mar Abo’ is also know as ‘Mar Sabor’ . But I think two are diffrerent. Mar abo, Guru of ‘kadamattathu Kathanar’, related to Thevalakkara Orthodox church and Mar sabor related to Kadeesha church , Kollam. Please clarify my doubt with evidence , if you have.Thanks

  6. Admin says

    Dear Alexander Vaidain,

    I have corrected the same. Its Mar Sapir or Sabor and Mar Prodh or Proth.

    Le Quien ‘Oriens Christianus’ Paris 1740 col. 1275 gives the year 880 as the date of Mar Sabor and Mar Prodh at Quilon as Bishops came from Persia for the St. Thomas Christians. Le Quien and other historians make mention of them as workers of many miracles and Syrian Christians held them in great veneration. ((De Souza ‘Oriente Conquistado’ Lisbon 1710 II. Conq. I. div. II. para 16))

    Le Quien says that “These bishops were Chaldaeans and had come to Quilon soon after its foundation. They were men illustrious for their sanctity, and their memory was held sacred in the Malabar Church. They constructed many churches and, during their lifetime, the Christian religion flourished especially in the kingdom of Diamper.” ((Le Quien ‘Oriens Christianus’))

    Many of the Churches in Kantheesngal has been renamed to ‘” All Saints ” or in the name of Italian brothers by Archbishop Menezes at the Synod of Diamper.

    They started the Malayalam era and built Quilon to the Port city.

    I dont know how ‘kadamattathu Kathanar’ is linked. Mar Sapir is traditionally known as the Bishop of Quilon and Mar Prodh as of Kodungaloor.

  7. manjesh alex says

    Its said that Mar Sabor came on A825 from persia along with Mar proth..As we know Mar Abo came on same period..coz its said that mar abo established kadamattom church in the period od ad 865..(almost same period..)
    Abo means mar abo could be a name called to mar sabor..

    its stated in may places that mar sabor has build or renovated many churches in kerala which includes thevelakara(at kollam) church.this church is built in 4th century..and mar abo whom everyone belive guru of kadamattom kathanar take his eternal rest in thevelakara church..

    there is no other evidences of any foreigners on that period than mar sabor and proth..

    so i storngly feel that mar sabor and mar abo are same..

    am i right ?

  8. Dwight Longenecker says

    The communication of history in a colourful and lively manner is always interesting. The close-knit Syrian Christian community, and their influence in the cultural landscape of India is something which is very fascinating.

    Histories and memories always had the best stories to tell. Stories that were inspirations and eye-openers, stories made of realities and half-truths. And stories that could unfurl in movements and melodies. The story of Nazranis is definitely such a story.

    As we see this history, like most others, is dramatic and eventful. It’s just that it is neither talked about extensively, nor featured regularly in creative endeavours.

    In a multi-religious and dominantly non-Christian background, the continuation of practices of these religious beliefs in harmony with each other deserves more attention.

  9. Mathew George says

    Dear Admin,
    Will you please explain about “kantheesangal”?

  10. John Mathew says

    In case Admin is busy or your need is immediate Wikipedia has an article on this.

    “Katheeshangal” is the Malayalm-Syriac word for “the Holy ones” … referring to saints (plural).

    Pre-Diamper (and since continued in the Orthodox Churches) this refers to Mar Sabor and Mar Aphroth.

    Post-Diamper the above was changed to refer to the martyrs Saints Gervasis and Prothasis of (I believe) Milan.

    I think the etymology is something like:
    “Katheesh-” = Syriac (and I suppose Malayalam, by adoption) for “holy”
    “-angal” = Malayalam for plural
    (but since I’m not a Malayalam speaker, I might be a little off…).

  11. John Mathew says

    A question regarding murals:

    Since we were originally of the East Syriac tradition, which is not in favor of images of people in the Church (or am I wrong) … how did these murals end up in the altars of our ancient Churches!

    Or were these murals drawn after the rise of Roman influence in the East Syrian Church (i.e., are they post-15th century) or after the rise of Roman and West Syriac influence in the Malabar Church (i.e., are they post-16th century)?

    Similarly, I was reading the Decrees of Diamper, and noticed they referred to our incorrect use of Hail Mary, attributing that to Nestorian influence. But Nestorians don’t use Hail Mary — so how did that come up in the Malabar Church?

    Was it something unique to Malabar’s East Syriac Church?

  12. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear John,

    Murals are very distinctive in ancient Syrian churches in Kerala. Church of the East does not use any icons in the church. According to an article of Mar Immanuel III, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, in, the church art from the Church of the East are probably lost due to the negative influence from Islam. From AD 630s, Islam became the major religion in Mesopotamia. We do not know much about the pre 630 periods.

    In Kerala, most of the ancient churches were renovated by the Portuguese to purify from Nestorianism. Even, churches under the Puthencoor were also under Roman church for about 100 years and all were renovated to match with the Portuguese norms. I have visited an ancient Jacobite church near Thrippoonithura where I found it similar to my own parish church.

    We can see lot of murals in Champakulam church which was established in AD 427 but was rebuilt many times. According to various rock inscriptions in and around the church, we can assume that, around 1151 AD,the church was rebuilt. Then, in 1821, the Madbaha- sanctum sanctorum was rebuilt- probably under Portuguese influence as we can see images of Portuguese soldiers etc on the altar. On a wooden beam across the church, we can see “this sheelanthy was built by Thamalloor Itty Kuruvilla Kathanaar in AD 1730”. That sheelanthy looks very similar to other beams in artistic perspective. Therefore, we can assume that it was probably replaced in 1730. That means the the art and murals were there before 1730.

    Therefore, we can assume that those murals were created between AD 1151 and AD 1730. Still, it is not clear whether these were under Portuguese influence or not. Obviously, those are not similar to the images on the altar which are very obviously Portuguese influence.

    There are many Indian looking murals in Nasrani churches- recently, I have watched a BBC programme “Doubting Thomas” where they have shown some ancient murals from Kerala churches. Hindu temples also hold murals. It may be Indian cultural influence. The murals may be something unique to Malabar Nasrani churches.

    Regarding the prayer Hail Mary. Many of our ancient churches are dedicated to St Mary- Kuravilangadu, Manarcaud, Champakkulam etc. So, Nasranis had a great dedication to Mother Mary. I do not know the situation in CoE.

    Does Jacobites use Hail Mary ? If not, and if the CoE also did not use Hail Mary, then it may have come from the Catholic influence. As I have mentioned in my postings, the immediate pre Diamper period, Nasranis were affiliated to the Catholic side of the Assyrian Church-either Mar Sulagha branch or later the Alghosh line .When Mar Sulagha Branch parted away from the Roman Pope, the original Alghosh line of the Patriarchate of the Church of the East became Chaldean church. This might explain the use of Hail Mary by the pre Diamper Nasranis.

    BTW, where did you get information about the decrees of the Synod of Diamper. Please post the references.

    1. Gheevarghees says

      For an almost complete description of the Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Diamper cf. Michael Geddes, London, 1694, probably the first English book about the Malabar Church. Hugh reproduces it in his History of Christianity in India Vol.II, 1839. The work is fully reprinted from the original 1694 copy of “The Nazranies”. i.e. Vol. I of the Indian Church History Classics, Ollur, 680306,1998, Ed. George Menachery, still available I suppose). The Jornada, Coimbra, 1606, by Gouvea gives more information on Archbishop Menezes’ travels than on the Decrees of the Synod. An English translation of the Jornada has been now published from Kochi.

  13. John Mathew says

    Dear M. Thomas Anthony:

    I was reading a copy of the decrees of Diamper as reported in a book that I found on Google books. I no longer remember the author — I think it was “History of Christianity in India”, which had the Decrees in its appendix. I believe it’s after Act III Decree 14 (regarding the banned books), but I was reading without keeping track of my point in the book.

    By the way, yes, of course, all Oriental Orthodox (including the Jacobites) use Hail Mary.

    With respect to the Church of the East, despite their use of the term “Mother of Christ”, their devotion to St. Mary is (according to an article I read by Sebastian Brock) no less than that of the Orthodox or Catholics, with countless churches devoted to Mart Mariam, and must religious poetry too.

    This is one reason why I’m such a rabid anti-Mar Thomite — their leaders are under the mistaken view that the devotion to St. Mary, masses for the dead, etc., are purely due to Roman Catholic influence. For one, just because something is of RC origin, doesn’t make it bad. But beyond this, many of the things they criticized the Orthodox as being “Catholic impurities” were in fact present in the Malabar Church from ancient times (it appears). So, rather than being a “purification”, the Mar Thomites were nothing more than a Protestant movement in Malabar.

  14. Admin says

    Dear Manjesh Alex

    The Kadamattam Church is believed to have established between 4th to the 10th century. I don’t know if Mar Abo, a Persian prelate came in 4th century. I don’t recollect reading about that. Since many of the records are lost we can not completely rule out the possibility.

    If the church is established around 850, then certainly it would have been Mar Sapir or Mar Sabor as suggested by you.

    Another closely similar name we have records is of Mar Avu who seems to be Mar Jacob Abuna who came in around 1540.

    It would be great if you have more information to share. I remember that you have been searching on this for long time.

  15. Admin says

    Dear Thomas Antony

    That was very informative with Champakulam church. I also agree that Murals are something very unique with our churches. I heard somewhere that we had used peacocks earlier us a symbol of resurrection in Iconography. I don’t know how validated the statement is. I think some of the murals are a true representation of Eastern Iconography with the influence of local culture.

    I don’t know if you have already read this interesting entry by Sujith Philip Sharbtho. There are some pictures also which are photographed by him.

    On restoration in SMC, may be you might have already read this. “ PROPRIA IN THE HOLY QURBANA” The Nazrani, we can see Dr Varghese Pathikulangara CMI educating on some of the efforts.

  16. enarsea says

    W.r.t. the note on St. George, may I post this letter from Prof. George Menachery:
    Some stray & hasty) thoughts on SAINT GEORGE and the Eastern Churches of INDIA

    Patronage and remembrance

    Prior to the revision of the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, the feast of “St George, Martyr” was celebrated as a Semi-Double feast (see General Roman Calendar as in 1954), and later as a Commemoration.

    This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as it was in 1962, following the reforms of Pope John XXIII. Since 1969, his feast was downgraded to an optional memorial; the solemnity of his commemoration depending largely upon local observance. However, Traditionalist Catholic and “Traditional Catholic” communities want to see the continuation of the Commemoration of St. George and the celebration of his feast as a Semi Double Feast i.e. the feast day of “Saint George, Martyr”, on April 23, either as a Semi-Double feast or Commemoration. Let this article be a clarion call to all Catholics and others who believe in the sanctity of St. Georgr and his powers of intercession to petition Pope Benedict XVI to restore the place of St. George in the Roman Calendar.

    St George is very much honored by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    The Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body that encompasses national jurisdictions such as the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox etc…., wherein he is referred to as a “Great Martyr”.

    Overall. His major feast day is on April 23 (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian calendar

    The Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and took force in 45 BC. April 23 currently falls on May 6 of the modern Gregorian calendar

    The Gregorian calendar is the calendar that is used nearly everywhere in the world.

    The Russian Orthodox Church , also known as the Orthodox Catholic Church of Russia, is that body of Christians who also celebrates two additional feasts in honour of St. George: one on November 3 (November 16) commemorating the Consecration of the Cathedral dedicated to him in Lydda during the reign Constantine the Great (305-337) with the relic trasferred to this church when the church was consecrated, The other feast on November 26 (December 9) for a church dedicated to him in Kiev. Kiev, also written as Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part.


    There are numerous churches dedicated to Saint George in India, officially the Republic of India, in South Asia.The devotion to St. George is very popular in India (especially in Kerala).

    Kerala in the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India is a unique destination where millions of Christians practise Eastern Orthodoxy and Syrian Rites.

    Facts About Oriental Orthodoxy

    The term Oriental Orthodoxy here refers to the communion of Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only the first three ecumenical councils, and Eastern Catholicism, such as the Syro Malabar Church and the Syro Malankara Church in India.

    In Kerala

    There are countless shrines to St. George in Kerala, India. For example,
    Puthiyathura, one of the famous pilgrim centers of Saint George, is in India. Here they celebrate his feast on the first Saturday and Sunday during the month of May. A huge number of people from Kerala and Tamilnadu visit this church on this special occassion. And everyday a lot of people visit and pray for their wishes. There is also a belief in Kerala, contrary to the teaching of the church, that Saint George is the brother of the Indian deity Kali. Kali is a goddess with a long and complex history in Hinduism . She is venerated in various forms all over India. In Kerala she is often Bhagavathi.

    Note from Prof. G. Menachery: With regard to St. George Sahada.

    The following may be interesting. I hope I have not already shared this info.! [at least in an article].

    George is the most popular or common christian baptismal name in Kerala. George includes, of course, Varghese, Verghese, Geevarghese, Varu, Varuthunny, Varappan, Varachan, Kunjuvareed, Kunjivaru, ….

    It is funny that just because the Vatican took a somewhat negative view on St. George’s history – although George is an Eastern Saint of high repute down the centuries- some Churches and persons are reluctant to give this most reputed and renowned name to their adherents or children!!!

    Pl. remember that there are so many Georges in Kerala not because it is the name of the Patron Saint of England. The other popular names in Kerala before the west arrived here were Kuriakose or Cyriac or Kurien, Kuriakku, Kuriappan, Kuriachan and perhaps Thomas – Thoma, Thomman, Thommy.

    It might appear strange but is true that while the English patron saint’s name is the most popular in Kerala, in England itself the most popular and most common baptismal or Christian name is that of the father of Kerala Christianity viz. Thomas. Of course we have all heard about the Thomas Cromwells, Thomas Beckets, Thomas Carlyles, the Thomas Mores…. All because King Alfred the Great of England, by the way the only English king designated “THE GREAT” was able to win his war only after he promised to St. Thomas that if he won the war he would send offerings to Peter in Rome and to Thomas in India. and this is well documented in the Anglosaxon Chronicles. After he won the war he probably encouraged devotion to this most helpful saint – Thomas, and today it is the most popular name in England.

    Even the phrase Every TOM, Dick, and Harry begins with the name of Thomas.

    The popularity of “THOMAS” in England was verifified by Prof. George Menachery in 1975 from the British Census Reports of Various years in the British Museum Library – now the British Library.

    St. George is the patron saint of many old churches in Kerala. Here are some that readily come to mind: St.George’s Forane Church, Edappally ( AD 503 ); St. George’s Church, Karingachira ( 722 AD); St.George Forane Church, Aruvithura ( 1st centaury ); St. George Church, Kadamattam (1st centaury ); St. George’s Church (Valiyapalli), Kottayam ( 1550); St. George Church, Edathua ( 1810 ); St. George’s Church, Angamally; St. George’s Church, Kumbalangi; St.George Church, Puthuppally; St.George Church, Muthalakodam; St. George’s Cathedral, Thozhiyur; St. George’s Church, Chandanapally…

    St. George became so popular in Kerala perhaps because Kerala was infested with snakes and many including many early Brahmin settlers fled the land for fear of snakes. The existence of ever so many Sarpa Kavus and Snake temples in Kerala speaks volumes for the early fear of snakes in Kerala.

  17. Kurien Koshy says

    travelogue on Kadamattathu church.

  18. John Mathew says

    According to Christian Inculturation in India by Paul M. Collins it seems the mural tradition in Kerala was product of Portuguese influence.

    Don’t know how much of a scholar Collins is.

    Can anyone find the source of the claim that the Cheppad murals are 600 years old? That would predate the Portuguese no? Any art historians out there?

  19. John Mathew says

    For more on the Cheppad murals:, Cheppad Mural Video

    Can some Catholics please take a look, and see if the art looks Catholic? In my opinion, these murals have some Syriac attributes (comparable to Rabbula Gospel pics), but also have Catholic ones (e.g., the triangular halo on the picture of God).

    But then again, I’m no art history expert…

    I still have a hard time believing these are pre-Portuguese…

  20. Alphy says

    John, I agree with you the murals does not seem Pre-Portugese, especially when I noticed the final shot of Mary, crowned Queen of Heaven.

    This is what I have found from 1

    “The Coronation of the Virgin or Coronation of Mary is a subject in Christian art, especially popular in Italy in the 13th to 15th centuries, but continuing in popularity until the 18th century and beyond. Christ, sometimes accompanied by God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, places a crown on the head of Mary as Queen of Heaven. In early versions the setting is a Heaven imagined as an earthly court, staffed by saints and angels; in later versions Heaven is more often seen as in the sky, with the figures seated on clouds. The subject is also notable as one where the whole Christian Trinity are often shown together, sometimes in unusual ways. Although crowned Virgins may be seen in Eastern Orthodox icons, the coronation by the deity is not. Mary is sometimes shown, in both Eastern and Western Christian art, being crowned by one or two angels, but this is considered a different subject.”

    The scentence “Although crowned Virgins may be seen in Eastern Orthodox icons, the coronation by the deity is not. ” struck out

    Similar pics at 2 3

  21. John Mathew says

    RE: Our murals.

    Here’s an icon with angels in a Syriac Orthodox Church in the Middle East.

    Flicker Photos

    So I guess our pictures of angels are based on Syriac motifs. Or is this a general Christian design?

  22. M Thomas Antony says


    Why cannot western church use icons of angels ? I have seen many pictures and sculptures of angel faces similar to our churches in the west also.

    Angels are very important in latin worship also. When Syro Malabarians sing “Chrovee srappeen mar unnatha doothanmar….”, the latin church say “cherubins and seraphins”.( cherubin is Chroven and seraphins are srappens ) . The “Priests for latinisation in the name of Indianisation” are a bit shy to sing chrove srappee…… now a days knowingly or unknowingly that the latin church also remember them in the Holy mass.

    I do not remember where, I have read recently about the names of the angels and I think Chroven and
    Srappens are names of a big group of angels.

    There is an article in Wikipedia about angels and besides christians, there are several other religions also consider angels including Islam. Gabriel, Michael etc are in Islam also. The Hindu belief- kaalan- must be the angel of death in Hinduism.
    According to Swami Vivekananda’s theory of jeevatma and paramatma, all humans, if they do good things in their life, become paramatmas who can travel any distance beating time and space- classical description of angels !

  23. John Mathew says

    Antony: I didn’t say that *angels* per se are only in the Eastern/Syriac tradition. I meant those specific artistic representations (i.e., the designs) that are found on that picture (e.g., head and wings w/o the body).

    But I also asked the question in that post: is this a general Christian motif?

    If you’ve seen that particular motif in Western icons, that’s great. I’m not an art scholar, and was just looking around for evidence that our murals have some eastern input. As it stands, I find it hard to believe that our murals are pre-Portuguese (i.e. pure Syriac or Indian).

    The Syriac tradition (West for sure, because I know it in detail, but also perhaps the Eastern) is quite fond of angels, and has detailed theories on the various classes of angels. This is perhaps due to the proximity to Zoroastrian lands, where angels were also very important. Some claim the Jews absorbed the Zoroastrian angelic tradition.

  24. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear John,

    See the angels on these pictures.

    These are sculpture decoration- three dimentional- on altars etc with angel head only, with wings seen in many old Nasrani churches both Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor. I have seen this in Europe also. I think these are Portuguese influence.

    The mural you have shown also is similar- head only with wings.

    Therefore these may a general Christian motif. But these are seen in ancient churches only.

    Wikipedia says that cherubim and serafim hide their body with the wings. We can see the face and wings only. Cherubim have 4 wings and seraphim have 6 wings each.They are the highest rank of angels and very close to God. Cherubim may be with the head of man, ox, lion, eagle etc and may be many eyed. Some scholars think that they were derived from Assyro Babylonian culture- shedu-human headed winged bulls. Seraphim are human faced with 6 wings.

  25. Vinod Kuriakose says

    Is that this is common in all traditions ?

  26. Kurien Koshy says

    Dear Antony

    Similar icons as shown in the photos are there in Byzantine. This would be general as in any Christian art.

    From- Christian Iconography

    The choirs of holy angels are nine in number, according to St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and are divided into three orders,

    First Order.—Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim.

    The Thrones are represented as fiery wheels surrounded by wings. These wings are filled with eyes: the whole figure symbolises a ruyal Throne. The Cherubim are represented with a head only, and two wings.
    The Seraphim with six wings, two of which rise towards the head, two descend to the feet, two are outspread for flight; they bear the flabellum in each hand, with this inscription : ” Holy, holy, holy.” Thus they appear to the prophet Isaiah.
    How to represent the Tetramorph.—They have six wings, angel’s face and headsurrounded by nimbus; hi then- hands they hold the Gospels against their breast. There is an eagle between the two wings that rise above their head, and a lion by the right wing, and an ox by the left. These three symbolic animals look upwards, and hold the Gospels between their feet. Thus the Tetramorphs appear to the prophet Ezekiel.

    Second Order, surnamed Government.—Dominations, Virtues, Powers.

    They wear albs down to the feet, golden girdles and green stoles. They wear rings of gold upon the right hand, and hold X seal in the left:

    Third Order.—Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

    They are represented in soldiers’ dress with golden girdles. They hold javelins with hatchets in their hands. The javelins end in lance-heads

  27. Angel says

    Check this link for photos of Seven churches. Included are the Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine, Cross carved into interior wall, Saint Mary’s Syrian Orthodox church at Thiruvithancode, Tamil Nadu, St. Thomas Ecumenical International Dialogue Centre, Nilackal (Chayal), Syro Malabar Church Malayattoor, Kokkamamngalam Syro Malabar Church.

  28. John Mathew says

    RE: Iconography in the Church of the East
    (aka refuting the distortion of protestants regarding the CoE).

    I’ve got it! I found an excellent scholarly article that looks at various pieces of literature, prayers, etc., from the Church of the East during its heyday (around the 7th century or so), and *yes* the Church of the East *indeed* did use iconography.

    This is of great relevance in Kerala, because one of the absurd claims of the ignorant protestant schismatics in the Puthenkoor — Abraham Malpan and his ilk — was that the “veneration of images” in Kerala was an introduction by the Latinizers in the 16/17th century, and that the “original” Church was “pure” (where “pure” is a variable term by which Protestants denote anything that is similar to their own heterodox faith). Malpan’s claims were *wrong*.

    Of course, this is no surprise to any of us who have studied Eastern Christianity in any level of detail. The regard for St. Mary, the saints, the martyrs, prophets, the dead, etc., are *all* vestiges of the earliest forms of Christianity, and are *not* later introductions due to the absorption of paganism. But it’s nice to get some scholarly corroboration.

    Finally, this is a good warning to those who read articles by Claudius Buchanan or Asahel Grant and take that to be the “gospel” truth. Those Protestant missionaries to the East were notoriously “Low Church” — that is, they were defined more by their hatred of Papism, than by any principles they themselves held. They were thoroughly uneducated in matters of Church doctrines and history — they only knew that they hated the Pope and anything that seemed “Popish” (papist). Anyways, to read these people without a critical mind, is to be led astray by ignorance.

    Okay, now for the good part, the reference is:

    Herman Teule, “The Veneration of Images in the East Syriac Tradition “, in Die Welt der Go¨tterbilder

  29. PAILY says

    But the puthenkoors are not having the tradition of the worship of icons.

  30. John Mathew says


    You have no basis on which to make that statement. The majority of the Puthenkoor *do* venerate icons (your use of the term “worship” is inaccurate and misleading).

    All eastern Churches—Syriac Orthodox/Catholic, Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic—have a tradition of venerating icons. With some the tradition is living, with others (the CoE) the tradition declined.

    The point: the Puthenkoor veneration of icons was not due to “Roman” force — it is an intrinsic part of Syriac Christianity. Only the Mar Thomites — a minority sect, who left the orthodox faith for the heterodoxy of Protestantism — do not have a tradition of icon veneration.

  31. PAILY says

    For the last three hundred years puthenkoors rejected the use of images;even they don’t know what is an icon either.

  32. John Mathew says

    Paily must be dreaming, or he’s ignorant of facts and unaware of the old Orthodox/Catholic Churches in Kerala with wall paintings, etc. The only people in Kerala who reject images, iconography, etc., are the Mar Thomites and Protestants — both of whom are not bonafide Syriac Christians but rather the product of western Protestant missionary action.

    One of Abraham “Malpan” and co.’s problems with Orthodoxy was the use of images — hence, images must clearly have been an aspect of the Puthenkoor: otherwise what would Malpan have been rebelling against.

    1. Anoop says

      Oh John Mathew,the great purveyor of Syriac Christianity!
      Marthomites are in every sense Nasranis whether you like it or not

      1. toms Thomas says

        Well said Anoop! Some of the Orthodox people think that Marthomites are aliens!!

  33. PAILY says

    A narration about the Putenkoor syrians of Malabar-
    The present Jacobites of Malabar condemn equally the Tenets of errors of Arius, Nestorius, and the bishops of Rome.1 They hold the belief that the Bread and Wine in the Eucharist become the Real Body and Blood of Christ, and give communion in both kinds mixed together. They pray for the dead, practise confession, make the sign of the cross, and observe fasts. But they reject the use of images; honour the Mother of Jesus and the Saints only as holy persons and friends of God; allow the consecration of a married layman or deacon to the office of priest; and deny the existence of purgatory. In their Creed they follow the Council of Nicaea (325 A.d.). They believe in the Trinity; assert the One Nature and the One Person of Christ, and declare the procession of the Holy Ghost to be from the Father, instead of from the Father and the Son.

  34. PAILY says

    Orthodoxy has nothing to do with the church wall paintings/icons.Orthodoxy means straight/true faith.
    veneration of icons/church wall paintings are traditional practices.Orthodoxy is purely based on bible and its a faith not a traditional practice.

  35. PAILY says

    Did anybody seen any putenkoor syrian kissing an icon/image in the name of reverence or praying towards an icon/image?

  36. John Mathew says

    Paily you’re knowledge is distorted, and of doubtful accuracy.

    “Orthodoxy” is the “true faith” and is continuous with the old Church of the fathers. Maintaining Apostolic traditions *is* most certainly a part of that.

    What you are saying (“Orthodoxy is purely based on bible and its a faith not a traditional practice”) is Protestantism not Orthodoxy. Sola fide and sola scriptura are not Orthodox doctrines, they are Protestant heterodoxy.

    You say: “Did anybody seen any putenkoor syrian kissing an icon/image in the name of reverence or praying towards an icon/image?”

    Yes. In fact, your father Abraham Malpan (or was it Athanasius?) is famous for what he did in Maramon. In that Church (a former Orthodox one), there used to be a procession honoring a Patron saint in which people used to kiss an icon (image) of the Saint with reverence. Abraham/Athanasius threw that picture into a well.

    The use of images in Kerala by the Orthodox and Catholic Puthenkoor and Pazhayakoor is well established, and old. Our oldest Churches are adorned with paintings and icons. And the use of icons and imagery by the Syriac Catholics and Orthodox of the Middle East is also well established. Iconography and images didn’t come by Roman influence—the Syriac Churches have one of the oldest traditions of iconography, if not *the* oldest. Read about the Mandylion, and the Rabbula manuscripts. These are Syriac iconographic traditions.

    The West Syriac Church (Jacobites) in the Middle East most certainly *does* use icons; go and look at their monasteries in the Middle East, Jerusalem, Europe, and of course India. There was some doubt about the East Syriacs—and the scholarly article I cited clears that up too. Both Syriac traditions use icons and are not iconoclastic.

    Your Protestant author (“but they reject the use of images”) was mistaken. This is not so hard to believe. Many Protestants when they came to both Kerala and the Middle East were quite romantic and hopeful that they would meet some ancient Protestant-like peoples in the East. And they wrote drivel that advanced those ideas—works by C. Buchanan and A.Grant are the best examples of this.

    Later when more scholarly writers decided to look into matters they found quite the opposite. I have quite a bit of venom reserved for the foolishness and ignorance of Buchanan and A. Grant, but this is *nothing* compared to the vitriol that they own countrymen had for the ignorant and misleading work they produced. Of course, in India, we have certain segments of the population who lack rational, intellectual faculties—they people form the nucleus of the groups that were to later become the Mar Thoma and CSI Churches of Kerala. Ignoramuses who lapped the ignorance that the Low Church Anglican missionaries spewed.

    If you would like to actually learn about the original Syriac Churches, East and West (i.e., “Nestorian” and “Jacobite”), you need only consult the work of scholars (not religious scholars, academic ones) such as Sebastian Brock, to learn what the Syriac Churches were like. In most matters of faith, practice and traditions, these Churches were no different from their Roman and Greek brothers.

    Note: in Kerala, after the Jacobite Fathers came to the Puthenkoor, there was a rejection of 3D statues. This is true, and may be what caused your author to assume that we rejected all images. The Eastern Church never had a tradition of statues; some in the East were violently opposed to images. In Kerala, when Mar Ivanios came in the 17/18th century, he provoked quite a bit of controversy and enmity when he smashed the 3D statues in many Puthenkoor Churches (needlessly in my opinion; the statues should have been given to the Pazhayakoor rather than destroyed) — but these were replaced by standard eastern images (2D icons). Go into any Jacobite/Orthodox Church anywhere in the world. There will *always* be an icon of Marth Mariam. And most will also have one of the local Patron. These are venerable and old traditions—don’t try to rewrite history here.

  37. PAILY says

    Ofcourse there are murals ,paintings and carvings in Putenkoor churches,but are not venerated.Even putenkoors started to use the images a few years ago that too not at all venerated. This I am telling not from bookish knowlege,but from 60 years of real life knowledge.There were muthappans and like things in odd churches,which canot be generalised.
    The people are the living examples of the tradition; ask them whether used to kiss the icons/pray towards them.

  38. PAILY says

    None of the Putenkoor churches use any icons/images in the madbha; instead they use the cross only , that too with out crucifix , a symbol of risen christ. Putenkoors use photos of saints on church walls/in house now a days but never venerate them nor kiss them . Even in procession they used to carry only the cross.Books are only reportations,if you want to get the real idea,go enquire the people.

  39. PAILY says

    Let other puthenkoor syrians comment about this.

  40. John Mathew says

    Paily, whether you have 60 years of “experience” is of no importance; Malankara Christians are often saturated with ignorance about matters of religion, regardless of age. There is nothing in either Orthodox or Catholic or Church of the East dogma that prohibits veneration of icons — absolutely nothing. Orthodox altars often do have small icons on them of St Mary or other patron saints. If all you experience is Mar Thomitism, then you are not experiencing genuine Syriac Christianity but only a paltry mockery of it.

    My ancestral home in Kerala (thoroughly Orthodox with no Catholic ancestry, and certainly no Protestant heterodoxy) has icons from well over 60 years ago. Your experience as a 60 year old in Kerala is clearly a closed experience, offering very little in this discussion. Sorry for the bluntness, but there’s been enough bias and propaganda from Protestant pseudo-Syrians that has been distorting our faith and history for too long. Enough.

  41. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear John,

    Is the article you have mentioned above- Herman Teule, “The Veneration of Images in the East Syriac Tradition “, in Die Welt der Go¨tterbilder- available free on the web ?
    If so, could you give us the link also please.

    BTW, there is an international conference on “Research on the Church of the East in China and central Asia” in Austria in June 09 and it seems that Fr Baby Varghese is presenting a paper there.-

  42. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Re-veneration of statues in Malankara nazrani churches.

    It is astonishing to read that Malankara Nazranies used to venerate statues/icons in their pallies. On what basis this fellow put forward this idea. Is it on the basis some propaganda books or some real life practices?

    Is having an icon a proof of worship; then one need to check this man’s head

    Icons are paintings not statues. Veneration of statues /crucifix is practices of romo-syriyans. They use icons for the purpose. But malankaranazranies never venerate any icons, statues or use them in prayers. It is true that nowadays pallies put paintings of Yesu, Mariyam and saints on the wall but not used for veneration. Malankaranazranies use crosses for the purpose. Their madhbahas have carvings, paintings etc. but not for venerating them.

    We have historical writings about the early pallies and its practices before the arrival of Portuguese. Malankara nazrani pallies used only cross in madhbaha. The structure of the thronos is not provided with space for any icon for the veneration purpose. Some of the present built churches keep a painting of Yesu on the wall behind the thronos. It has nothing to do with church prayers. The thronos structure is well decorated with carvings in old pallies.

    A simple visit to any pre-Portuguese Romo-syrian palli like Udayamperoor or Pala will show how they have re-constructed the thronose to accommodate these statues. These are hard proofs which cannot be manipulated by any amount of propaganda. (ECHUKETTIYAL MUZHACHIRIKKUM)

    Portuguese/Roman influence in some of the pallies originated (forced) the practice of statue veneration which avoided after koonen kurisu sathyam.It is interesting to note that the statues of mulanthuruthy palli are kept in palli store room till now. This great historical reporter can contact the palli authorities for a better bargain on behalf of Romo -Syrians.

    The practices of icon worship exist in some orthodox churches of the east does not mean Malankara Nazranies practiced it. They are a separate entity with unique culture and tradition. The blind enmity towards protestants force this camouflaged entity a basher of great scholars like Buchanan .Rome has always produced cooli writers to down play the traditions and cultures of the east.

    The great tradition of Malankara Nazranies cannot be snatched from them with any amount of camouflaged writings. Equating Malankara Nazranies with Romo Syrians will not surpass their wretched history till 1988 A.D. when they turned towards east side for Qurbana(half of them still reject it)
    My humble request to this propaganda /cooli writer is to think and apply your logical mind before abusing others. I am really sorry, but I have no other choice.

    Dear Paily,

    Please do not use word”puthencoore”to refer MALANKARANAZRANIES because the term itself was propaganda by Rome. Originally the word’” puthencoore’” was referred to Romo- syrians, but one of the Latin bishops in charge of romo-syrians manipulated it.

  43. John Mathew says


    I assume you’re referring to me as a “cooli”. Interesting choice of words. I have my own for you: ignoramus.

    I’m not a Roman; I don’t read “propaganda” by authors of any affiliation. I read scholarly works, most often by people who couldn’t care less about religion and who have very little vested interest other than an interest in history. And I never said anything about statues, you illiterate imbecile!

    I was talking about *icon veneration*, you moron. And if your only proof about our Church in ancient times is the various Churches that exist now, then you’re relying on a hollow structure. Of the Churches we have now, none have any justified claim to antiquity. All of them carry great claims (e.g., estd 52 AD, 400 AD, 1000 AD, etc) but they’ve all been rebuilt as anyone can plainly observe. So, if we wish to learn about our Church in the distant past we can’t rely on archeological evidence, because as of yet such archeological evidence does not exist in Kerala—there is nothing *ancient* in Kerala that is Christian, apart from the Pahlavi crosses. The only evidence we have is (1) the Pahlavi Crosses (note, Jeeven, you fool, that the crosses were inscribed with *Pahlavi* a foreign language of the Persians, not an Indian language) (2) the literature of the 13th-16th century that is mostly Nestorian with a little Chaldean influence towards the 16th century, (3) the copious East Syriac literature from the Middle East that shows that the Indians had tremendous intercourse with the “Nestorian” Persians, and heavily supported the East Syriac Catholicos. Again, in a simple form so a person with your lack of intellect could comprehend: *NO* evidence of an indigenous tradition in Malankara, *PLENTY* of evidence for East Syriac traditions in Malankara. Before you respond, re-read this, you fool, and try to comprehend. Perhaps ask your school teacher or babysitter to explain to you what this means. Idiot.

    Malankara may have had it’s own traditions — we don’t know for sure — but they were, ecclesiastically, under the CoE. And so anything that pertains to the ancient practice of the CoE most certainly pertains to Malankara. Unlike the Jacobites, who encouraged liturgical diversity, the CoE did not tolerate great diversity: the rites and practices were generally regularized across the geographic extent of the CoE.

    Yes, when the Portuguese came in the 1500s they may have noticed a lack of icons or images. As Teule points out, the CoE’s use of icons occurred during its glory period (pre-10th century). After that, the Islamic conquest made the use of icons very problematic in the Middle East. Prior to the 10th century, however, the CoE had no problems with icons and their veneration.

    Take a minute, Jeevan, and try to think. Don’t rely on your bias and your own unsubstantiated beliefs, but look at evidence. Of course, I know this is falling on deaf ears: you are, basically, a moron who believes in what you believe, truth be damned. (e.g., weren’t you the ignoramus who claimed that the Liturgy of St James was practiced in Kerala from ancient times?).

    So I write this response only to counter your stupidity, and not to debate you. It’s impossible to debate an idiot—and, based on what you write, you most certainly are a definite idiot. An idiot who claims Claudius Buchanan to be a “great scholar”! Even latter British scholars looked at Buchanan as nothing more than an ignorant simpleton whose woeful lack of Church knowledge made him believe various fictitious accounts of Malankara history (ref: Burnell). There are great scholars to be found in all religions — but Buchanan and Grant were definitely not among them. Nothing they wrote is of any scholarly value; they wrote propaganda to bring the Protestant “reformation” to Kerala (or, in the case of Grant, the Middle East).

    If you are a Mar Thomite, you are behaving as one would expect. But if you are Orthodox, Jeevan, then you are nothing short of a vile insult to Orthodoxy. There is currently a severe infection of crypto-Protestants in the Orthodox Church (both Jacobites and Malankara Orthodox), that is threatening to cause a great schism one day. If you are one of these, then please leave the Church and join the Mar Thomites or Pentecostals where your ignorance will be appreciated. But please, at the very least, shut up and stop spewing unsubstantiated myths. Whatever I am, at the very least I have scholarly documentation to substantiate what I say. You have nothing other than the idiotic stories your ignorant teachers infected you with.

  44. PAILY says

    Dear john,
    There is no icon veneration culture among the malankara jacobites right now. Could you please explain with proof /examples when they used to venerate icons ?

  45. John Mathew says

    Dear Paily:

    I think I understand the problem here: it is one of vocabulary, and not one of concept.

    Let’s be clear: veneration does *not* equal worship.

    a) Idol-worshippers worship idols, and images. They hold the image to *be* God itself. I’ve never met an idol-worshipper, but have read they existed millenia ago.
    b) Catholics and Orthodox Christians venerate icons (images) of Jesus, the Saints, Prophets, etc.
    c) Muslims venerate their scriptures
    d) Jews do as (c) and also venerate the tombs of their ancestors and teachers (I believe Muslims also do the latter)

    Venerate does not mean worship — venerate means to show honor. The Orthodox and the Catholics honor their saints. The Orthodox and Easterners in general utilize two dimensional depictions of saints, Jesus, etc. The Catholics utilize both two and three dimensional depictions. Two or three dimensions, neither “worship” the representation.

    The idea that icon veneration *equals* worship is a false teaching spread by *low Church* Protestants. Note, I qualified this. High Church Protestants (e.g., high Church Anglicans) sometimes also utilize icons. However, the low Church “evangelical” section of Protestantism is rabidly opposed to iconography, and claims that the others commit idolatry and “worship” the icons. This is untrue: the Orthodox and the Catholics *worship* God. They venerate the saints, and honor images of the saints.

    As the article by Teule clearly states, the Church of the East explained the veneration of images to Muslims as equivalent to the Muslim veneration (not worship) of images of their scriptures.

    Now, as for “proof” of the Orthodox veneration of icons, you need only go to any Orthodox Church. Icons abound, and the faithful often say a prayer in front of the icon/painting of their patron, sometimes annointing themselves with the oil from the lamp in front of their patron, often touching the icon itself. This is veneration. It is not worship.

    Paily, if you are Orthodox, then I fail to understand how you could not know this. Hence, I suspect you are not Orthodox, but rather, have the misfortune of being born a Mar Thomite. I say misfortune not because I believe you are inferior, no. I say misfortunate because your community was done a great disservice by the low Church evangelicals who taught your forefathers distorted teachings. If only your ancestors had good influences — say from real Orthodox teachers, or at the very least, *high Church* Anglicans, your people would not have been bathed in the profuse ignorance they exude at every opportunity.

  46. George Mathew says

    Dear All,

    The growing body of evidence is that the Malankara Nasrani history has been perverted and twisted to suit powerful churches.

    Almost every month, I am stumbling upon newer and newer evidence that we have not been told the truth. Just take the subject of the name ‘Mammen/Maman’ which is a common name amongst us. I was surprised to learn that ‘Mammen/Maman is a Sephardic Yehudi family name from N. Africa. I was all the while thinking that ‘Mammen’ is the same as ‘Oommen’, ie. Thomas.

    While we are looking at St. Thomas converting Jews and Hindus into Christianity in Shingly, the DNA people are now studying Sephardic Yehud connection with the Malankara Nasranis. To make matters most complicated, the Cohens have now come in. Where did these guys come from? I understand that all things pale into insignifcance when the Cohens come to the scene.

    Did ancient Malankara attract so many Cohens? Cohens lead while others follow. We will have to study Malankara Nasrani history from henceforth with fresh eyes.

    Truth is evading us, we are lost. All that we thought as truth, now seems garbage.

  47. John Mathew says

    Malankara history gets perverted most often by people with little to no knowledge of matters making silly “observations” with little or no context.


    1) Hey, look, the Nasranis have Jewish names like Thomas, John, Jacob, Joseph, etc. They must have been Jews. (Of course, I could say the same about practically any culture that follows an Abrahamic religion. Say, the Filipinos, the Italians, the Mexicans, etc.)

    2) Hey, look at Looks like Mammen is also an Anglo-Saxon name! Perhaps there’s an Anglo-Saxon connection we should look at? Or perhaps the Anglo-Saxons were a lost tribe. Or maybe, perhaps, the various “Mammens” are of completely different, varying origin. I remember some idiot was once trying to convince me that “Gewargis” was somehow related to “Borghese”. There is no shortage of overly-simplified “observations” like this. Of course, anyone with any cross-cultural knowledge would be able to see through such junk.

    And as for Malankara Church history, the main distortions are glaringly obvious. Church X claims it is the oldest, Church Y claims it is the true faith. A detailed look at the actual evidence that exists — literary records — easily sets the record straight.

    This issue of Cohen J2 haplogroup being found in our people is great. It is scientifically objective evidence—no reliance on variable traditions, just pure evidence. But, the J2 Cohen group is only one of many strains we have in our populace—and I don’t know what you mean by “all things pale in comparison when the Cohens come in”. What does this mean? Do you negate the validity of the various other groups that form our collective ancestry? We already know:

    a) Jews were in Kerala
    b) Jews intermarried with Christians
    c) Persians were in Kerala and intermixed with Indians (ref: the letters of the East Syriac Catholicos that says the same)
    d) Syriacs/Assyrians were in Kerala (ref: (1) the various families around Kollam/Kallada; (2) Mar Andrews and his brother’s descendants)
    e) and of course, let’s not forget the dominant strain: bona fide ethnic Indians, who intermarried with all of the above and maintained a generally welcoming culture for (a)-(d) to come to and prosper in

    Or is it only the Jewish side that has any merit? This sounds an awful like Hitler: only the “Aryans” made worthwhile contributions to humanity, and so only they ought to be the masters of the world (or Europe, at least).

    Just because you tested J2 Cohen does not mean we were all Jews. It doesn’t even tell you *which* of you long chain of paternal ancestors was of the Jewish. Your J2 ancestor could have immigrated to India as a Syriac Christian. Or he could have came as a Cohen priest. Or, he could have been descended from Aarons father’s brother and was an outcast idol-worshipper. You don’t know with possibility is true — all you know is that you descend from a Y chromosomal “Aaron” or from one of his forefathers. That’s why, when you read more about the J2 Cohen marker, there are percentages given.

    Stop trying to make everything look like a bloody conspiracy. Those idiots posting wikipedia pages making the Nasranis and the Knanaya look like Jewish Christians —when in reality we were Syriac and Persian Christians, with *NO* evidence of purely Jewish practices (and when in reality the Knanaya are not even the ones testing positive for Semetic ancestry!) — are doing enough distortion.

    Nasrani history is screwed up, but only if you read Nasrani Church historians or any of the many peanuts in the gallery who have nothing but vacuous “observations” to offer. Rather, if you take a scientific attitude and look at the sources critically, you’ll see our history is quite clear—Church of the East, until the 16th century. And yes, of course, it seems that the Jews (the Black Jews) and the Nasranis had close connections. But as far as I’ve read, the conversion was always Jew -> Christian, and not the other way around.

  48. M Thomas Antony says

    Re Jeevan’s comments about the so called “wretched history” of Romo-Syrians,

    I can see the basic ideas in most of his postings are hatred, mainly towards Catholics, hatred towards SMC as they claim that they are Syriac Christians. He has great difficulty in accepting the fact that Mar Thoma Nasranis(St Thomas Christians) were East Syriacs before Portuguese arrival and before Coonan cross oath and difficulty in accepting SMC as the largest group of Mar Thoma Nasranis.

    I remember, in Dec 08, he disappeared without providing evidences supporting his theory that Syro Malabars are converted Christians.

    “…. The point about conversion will be covered in next post.”, Jeevan Philip, dated 22/12/2008, post 10009.
    If he could not provide any evidence, he should have apologised for providing false informations before returning to the forum.

    Now, see his post dated 30 04 09.

    “………Equating Malankara Nazranies with Romo Syrians will not surpass their wretched history till 1988 A.D. when they turned towards east side for Qurbana(half of them still reject it)……..”.

    He would not have used these words if he knew anything about Syro Malabar church. In the past also he has posted that the love for Syriac among SMC is a recent invention.

    Read the words of Edavalikel Philippose Cor episcopa, the Kathanaar at the Great church at Kottayam, in Travancore, in the book, The Syrian Christians of Malabar, page 24: James Parker and Co, Oxford and London, published in 1869 about the Pazhayacoor.

    “……..and those Churches which could not be reclaimed by Mar Evanious still
    continue Romish : yet their Liturgy is to this day in the Syriac.”.

    I do not know where Jeevan lives. Either he does not know anything about Syro Malabarians or he is ignorant.

    SMC was always using Syriac in their liturgy. We have never used Latin liturgy. We have accepted some Latin prayers, only after translating them into Syriac. Even from the time of Synod of Diamper, the Pazhayacoor group used the East Syriac liturgy in Syriac, (modified by the Portuguese but keeping the anaphora of Addai and Mari), celebrating the Qurbana facing the east/altar. The Puthencoor was also using the same liturgy- with the same modifications by the Portuguese- until 1773 period when they adopted the new Antiochene liturgy.

    Vast majority of SMC continued to celebrate Qurbana facing the altar until 1999 when the Holy Synod of the SMC decided to celebrate the Qurbana facing the people on the introductory phase, until the start of the Anaphora and then the remaining part facing the altar as there was disagreement with a minority – dioceses in Ernakulum and Trichur -who started celebrating the Qurbana facing the people in par with the Latin church, probably from 1960s when the liturgy was vernacularised.

    So, Jeevan’s statement of the indication that the SMC started celebrating Qurbana facing the east only in AD 1988 is false.

  49. Varghese Paul says

    People who are addicted to icons in the Church have not under stood this part of the 10 commandments–Exodus 20:4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” !!! In their sunday categism books, the Syro-Malabar has edited out the command about “idol worship” and added an additional command on “adultery” in its place to make up the number of 10.

  50. John Mathew says

    Varghese Paul, do yourself a favor and at try to flush the ignorance from your limited mind: read for a decent presentation of the facts.

    There are two points of view on the issue, the Orthodox/Catholic one and the Fundamentalist one. Both claim to adhere to the scriptures.

    Finally, I know Protestants such as yourself have some idea that only you know the Bible, but please, show some humility. The Orthodox and Catholics have a long tradition of high scholarship in Biblical matters, and do not use modified, abbreviated scriptures as your people do. To say that the Catholic catechism is trying to fool its people by “erasing” a commandment is one of the must idiotic things I’ve read. Are you being serious?

  51. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    I must not debate here or anywhere anymore, pardom me. But you know me as much as I know you.

    You wrote: ‘…But as far as I’ve read, the conversion was always Jew -> Christian..’

    I must correct one thing. There were no convertions at all, the Yehud accepted Yeshu and became a complete Yehudi, it was not ‘Jew to Christian’ but ‘Jew to Nasrani’. We did not use the word ‘Christian’ until recently.

    The West and the Arabs influenced us to call ourselves ‘Christians’. Shingly was a town full of Yehud, atleast 25,000 about 1000 years ago but only less than 5000 Jews (white, black, emancipated slaves etc.) left for Aliyah (Jewish return to Israel) in the 1950s. About 30 Jews now live in Kerala. Where are the 2 or 4 million Jews who should have been living? Did they die by the plauge? Did Tipu Sultan kill them?

    To know about the missing, you must know about ‘Constantine Christianity’ and the ‘Inquisition’. Without knowledge about these two, it is useless to study ‘Malankara Nasrani’ history.

    During the research, the Kochi Jews told Prof. Nathan Katz that their members joined the Nasranis, implying that is the reason why they were miniscule in numbers. We Nasranis failed to grasp the importance of this confessions of the Kochi Jews. We choose not to hear it, because this is not what we want to hear.

    John! as you know, it is no use trying to convince another person who does not want to believe. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to do the convincing.

  52. Benney says

    Veneration of Icons / Statues in thronose is not right because the common people misintrepet that it is for worship . For showing honour it can be used any where else other than thronose . The cross placed in Thronose is the qurbana peedam where the priest celebrate the qurbano .

    The probability of Nazranis become Israelis are more than that of Syriac people .

    1, The name Nazrani is for Israelis who accept jesus
    2, There are Israeli colonies in various parts of kerala from BC
    3,The discovery of beni israeli from the western cost of India
    4,The language for documentation by cochin jews is also aramaic
    5, Syriac christian immigrants maintained a seperate status within Nazrani Community .

  53. John Mathew says


    You wrote:
    “Veneration of Icons / Statues in thronose is not right because the common people misintrepet that it is for worship.”

    To be blunt, *who* are *you* to say this? The practice of iconography on the altars is an *old* one and one that transcends sectarian boundaries (except for Protestantism, which is a heterodox innovation anyways). The Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and — as I’ve discovered from H. Teule’s work — the Church of the East, have all used iconography.

    Scholars with (I would estimate) far greater powers of intellect and theological understanding than yourself have considered this issue quite carefully over the centuries, and have had no problem with this.

    If the common people are idiots and misinterpret things, then the common people are idiots — the error is theirs, and they should seek knowledge in order to rectify their error. For someone to claim the practice is wrong based on their own ignorance of facts is absurd.

    Please consider studying the actual issue and doctrines before offering you asinine pronouncements.

  54. John Mathew says


    You wrote: “I must correct one thing. There were no convertions at all, the Yehud accepted Yeshu and became a complete Yehudi, it was not ‘Jew to Christian’ but ‘Jew to Nasrani’. We did not use the word ‘Christian’ until recently.”

    Really? And you have historical evidence to support this? Please, spare us your fantasies, and give facts. I can support my assertions with literary evidence? What can you offer to support your statement?

    You wrote: “The West and the Arabs influenced us to call ourselves ‘Christians’.”

    More garbage from your repository of ignorance.

    You wrote: “To know about the missing, you must know about ‘Constantine Christianity’ and the ‘Inquisition’. Without knowledge about these two, it is useless to study ‘Malankara Nasrani’ history.”

    Georgy, once again, you sound like a young school child that has discovered a smattering of facts that you’re trying to come to terms with. Your entire understanding of Christianity is so marred by ignorance, that anything you wrote is practically useless. The Jews in Kerala converted to Christianity (Syriac Christianity) because of various factors. It was conversion because there is no evidence for Judaism practiced amongst the Nasranis. *No* evidence. On the other hand we have ample evidence of Qurbanas, and the various Syriac/Christian feasts and fasts.

    You wrote: “John! as you know, it is no use trying to convince another person who does not want to believe. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to do the convincing.”

    Georgy, your ignorance is manifest, and here is yet another demonstration. You speak of the Holy Spirit not knowing that the Jewish Christians highly objected to the Trinity. Trinitarian Christianity was one of the many points of diversion between Jewish Christianity and Gentile (that is syriac, coptic, greek, roman, etc.) Christianity.

    You think everything is one big conspiracy. This is the price of ignorance George. No one doubts that the Nasrani community includes Jews. The J2 Cohen marker is a strong indicator of this. But that is a “racial” marker — it tells NOTHING of the *faith* of the people who possessed that marker.

    If the Nasranis were once Jews, we would have some significant trace of that! Circumcision? No. Kosher? No. What do we have to support your thesis? Pesaha? That’s a Syriac custom too — in fact, the term “pesaha” as we use it is a Syriac word. You have no proof, no evidence, no nothing, to suggest that Judaism was the former religion of the Nasranis or that we practiced some form of Jewish Christianity.

    I on the other hand can site numerous pieces of literary evidence (and have sporadically throughout my posts) to demonstrate that our community was in constant contact with East Syriac Christianity from the 5th to the 16th century.

    What can you show? Nothing. All you can do is report your observations, and quote ambiguous facts that do not demonstrate anything.

    Yes, we all know our history is screwed up. And we know that if we read the histories of our own sectarian scholars we’ll be misled. But the situation is not as dire as you would lead us to believe. There’s ample evidence in the body of literature that shows us what the truth is—we were East Syriac “Persian” Christians in terms of faith. In terms of race we have a diversity of inputs, which, includes Semetic Jewish ancestry.

  55. Benney says

    John Mathew
    Theology is not a static branch . Dont believe blindly what the early scholars did . they are also humans they can also make errors while interpreting divine scriptures . They also have vested interests like the historians .
    The Romans killed Galilio Galili for saying the truth that earth is round . Later every body accept his finding .
    My point is that Icons used in the centre point of worship will mislead the people . They can be used in other places to show honour .

  56. John Mathew says


    Believe what you want about the early Fathers and Doctors of the Church. The point is, the Thomas Christians were orthodox before the influence of protestant heterodoxy in the 19th century, and as orthodox Christians they *most likely* would not have had problems with iconography. If you don’t like icons, or have some mental weakness that causes you to worship an image when you see it (as opposed to contemplating the meaning of the image), then you should — by all means — not look at them.

    And to introduce Galileo in this discussion is to take things far besides the point: Galileo’s conflict with the Church was due to the Roman Catholic Church trying to extend it’s reach into the realm of secular science. It is not a theological matter and is not general to Orthodox/Catholic Christianity — e.g., the Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox Churches have never claimed to have authority to speak on scientific matters and, except when such matters cross into ethical territories, do not comment on them.

    (note: the statement “orthodox” above is not sectarian, but refers to the general canonical nature of Roman/Greek/Oriental/Persian Christianity, versus the heterodoxy of Protestantism, Gnosticism, etc.).

  57. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    RE-veneration of icons in Malankaranazrani churches

    Now what are the evidences John put forward

    COE used to venerate icons, so Malankaranazranies also did it. This is the only point you cold put for ward. This is all based on the edicts of Udayamperoor synod and some earlier letters. The relations we had with COE prelates are only visiting relations. The letters or other literatures available with us do not provide any concrete evidence that Malankaranazranies were subjugated by COE .I have posted much about this subject earlier. There are many other practices Malankaranazranies follow other than the orthodox traditions of the east. That is exactly making them MALANKARA NAZRANIES a separate entity.

    Your all point revolves around the subjugation theory or Assyrian migrant theory. I totally reject these both as your day dream. Your all arguments are based on this .The evidences you put forward are documents related with Udayamperoor synod and some earlier letters. These all are including in the time frame of 13th to 16th century. You are not ready to look beyond this time frame. I have raised some questions related with prelates before Udayamperoor synod. (Post no.4618&4932) You answered with your immigrant theory (post no.4624 in prelates of Nazranies till the synod of udayamperoor).

    Do you agree with me that malankara Nazranies existed before 13 th century? Then what made them exist. How did they originate? You proudly talk of Persian cross and Pahlavi language. How did the Pahlavi come on these crosses? Why didn’t there any Aramaic inscriptions. Now I attract your kind attention to the Tharissapalli shasanam, in which the witnesses signed in three languages-kufiq, Pahlavi and Hebrew ;why?but more important is the lack of any carvings ,images or statues during this period .If the coe is subjugated Malankaranazranies and practiced icon veneration there would have been some kind evidences like carvings, images or statues. Unfortunately we find nothing till now.

    I cannot strongly put forward St. Thomas origin theory because of lack of evidence. But I only suggest a possibility. The other thesis of Persian migrant origin is also possible. But if we look at the Persian origin then we must have some kind of Persian cultural hangover (names, dishes etc.) which is not at all exist. More over the limited cheppeds available indicate multi ethnicity. S o we can go back to the first proposition .St.Thomas or some Thomas worked among the people who are familiar with the Semitic culture. These people were settled near the great trading port called Muchri. If that is the case the fist group of Malankaranazranies followed the very same Jews culture. (Is it why the fermented dishes introduced in malankara?)So there is no question of veneration of icons in early period of Malankaranazranies.

    Yes our pallies re-built many times. So what, the new structures would not have changed in total. The structure might have been the same until Portuguese .there are pretty good number of old churches like kadamattam, chattukulangara, chengannur etc. still indicate the style .These pallies do not provide any space for icons in their madhbaha. It is very difficult to believe that these churches avoided the space for icons while they were re-built. If it is so whose initiative was that? Truth was other way around .Malankaranazranies never used to venerate any form of icon other than cross. It is still practiced by them. Anointing with oil in front of an icon cannot be considered as veneration. Actually thukku vilakku/nila vilakku/kalvilakku is an integral part of a malankara nazrani palli and it is usually kept inside the church or out side in the poomukham not in front of an icon.

    There are many scientists whose findings are considered of no importance(now), but they are still considered as scholars. This is also same with field of social science. Take the case of Max Muller who introduced Vedic culture to the world, considered a great scholar even if his linguistic observations are now considered inaccurate. This is same with Buchanan whose some observations may be wrong, but his work is considered as important.

    Yes, I referred you as a camouflaged cooli writer. I have my own reason to call you. Read your posts care fully .Many places it is contradicting each other .You are repeatedly stating that you are an orthodox .One need not repeat it if he is. Your posts are blindly supportive to romo-syrians. You try to equate orthodox and catholic point of view as one while actually they are opposite. Your posts are directing to one conclusion that malankara Nazranies have no separate identity other than Romo Syrian. You deliberately down play the amount of struggle they did to continue and preserve their identity. The sufferings malankara Nazranies had from Portuguese /Roman authorities in the name of Christianity is not easily forgettable. Now all Romo Syrian propagandist historian want to down play the importance of koonen kurishu sathyam, Marthoma IVth sufferings, and sheep stealing policies of Rome etc.

    Since you are very keen to know my church allegiances, I want to reveal it for your satisfaction. I born in an orthodox family of north Travancore, but I am not a practising Christian and not a believer of Paulian Christianity. So there is no need to change the church. My interest in malankara nazrani history is based on Indian nationalistic view. I have much differences with both factions of malankara Nazranies respect with church history, palli administrative policies etc. I am totally against western model of church administration.

    Tail piece

    “”’Ignoramus, imbecile, idiot, moron, fool””””; good keep it up, it shows your culture.

  58. John Mathew says


    You write: “Your all point revolves around the subjugation theory or Assyrian migrant theory. I totally reject these both as your day dream.”

    “Subjugation theory”? What is this? Some of your nationalistic political ideology shining through? I never mentioned subjugation; to be in communion with a Church that is “foreign” is not subjugation. Perhaps in your warped world view, but not in any objective sense.

    The idea that Assyrians, Jews, Persians, etc., came and intermixed with the Kerala Christians is not a day dream. It is well supported by literary evidence. And no, my literary evidence doesn’t start at Udiamperoor. I don’t really care about Diamper because by then — the 16th century — the Nasranis and the CoE in West Asia had both decayed considerably. It is a fact that the Portuguese re-invigorated our community and rescued it from oblivion. You see that as a disgrace; I see that as nothing. It is a fact and so I accept it. You, being influenced by your nationalistic worldview assign it a negative score. That is your own subjectivity leaking through.

    The letters of the Catholicoi/Patriarchs of Babylon to the community in Fars and Kerala exist in published form. I have read these (and not second hand distorted out-of-context quotes) and see that there is documented evidence of close contact. There is only a “dark ages” for people who don’t know Syriac — if you can read Syriac you can read the evidence for yourself.

    You write: “I am not a practising Christian and not a believer of Paulian Christianity. … My interest in malankara nazrani history is based on Indian nationalistic view.”

    Okay. As to the former point, I don’t care. But you finally admit your bias: you’re viewing things from a political viewpoint. You can’t admit to a Syriac history, or a Persian one, or a Roman one, or whatever, because it grates at your nationalism. Well, that’s your problem. I don’t care about such things. I want facts and I want history. If the history is uncomfortable, then too bad, I have to accept it. Way back when I was younger, I may have had such biases. But now, I want truth, not self-aggrandizing fiction to bolster my political worldview. I have no problem accepting practices, ideas, and theories of different cultures.

    I may write things supportive of the Romo-Syrians. That is because they are facts. I have no problem in acknowledging that the Romo-Syrians use a form of the old rites. Why should I? It’s a fact. Of course, I also know that their historians are as retarded and defective as those of the Puthenkoor. All are like you in a sense: they want to bolster their own worldviews. Their histories diverge not because of increased quality of information but merely because of different worldviews: I have no time for such idiocy, and I wholly reject it. But, if I come across evidence that “supports” the Romo-Syrians (or any community), I will of course acknowledge it. Facts are facts.

    Anyways, there’s no point to this debate. You view things through a biased lens. At first I thought your were just a Protestant trying to carve out a “dogmatically-acceptable” origin (no images, no connection with the catholic/oriental churches, etc.), but now you admit that you are a nationalist and view our history through such a lens.

    I thought the fall of the various “great” political ideologies in the 20th century would have discredited such silliness (i.e., infecting scholarly pursuits with political theories and worldviews), but I see the message still hasn’t arrived in your parts.

  59. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Re-Thomas Antony and his comments (post 14706)

    Yes he is writing about my post regard with SMC and its formation. Important points were covered with respect to it during that time. Now Thomas Antony is in arms based on my sentence’’ the point about conversion will be covered in next post’’’

    ‘’’’’’I remember, in Dec 08, he disappeared without providing evidences supporting his theory that Syro Malabars are converted Christians.’’’’’’’You are twisting my post here. My statement was this””””””” The syro- Malabar church is built on the floor of the separated Malankaranazranies by Roman bishops with lots of inputs from Ezhavas, Parayas&Arayas””””””it makes lot of difference .Following posts covered some of the related points.

    I deliberately avoided posting related with this subject because Thomas Antony takes it personally and emotionally. More over the essence of the discussion should be positive without disturbing any body emotionally or abusing any one. I never took this subject voluntarily rather an answer to john’s enquiry. My post 9895(10009, 10084&10109) give ample logic about this subject.

    ‘’’’’’’’’’’’Your argument about the numbers of pazhyakoor-Thomas Whitehouse in his book “Lingering of light in a dark land-researches into Syrian church of Malabar”, says the number of Romo Syrians were 100, 000, independent Syrians 50,000 and latins 50, 1787. Again, it says 86 parishes with Romosyrians and 30 with Mar Thoma I. In the book “Missionary enterprise in the east” Richard Collins says in 1873, the number of Syrians and romosyrians almost equal. Roulini in 1745 says out of 128 churches, 15 latin and 113 syrian churches, of which 30 are schismatics- Puthencoor- that means 83 pazhayacoors and 30 puthencoors. Du Perron 1758- 31 syrians, 57 Romo Syrians and 20 mixed churches. Mar Dionycius told Buchanan in 1806-“I am the father of 54 churches”.’’’’’’’’’’THIS is from your post. Any logical conclusion from it? These books are not ample evidences to disprove my statement since they are contradicting each other .these authors have limited knowledge about Malankara nazranies except Buchanan. His count is in terms of churches which is not at all sufficient to understand the demographics of Malankara Nazranies with respect to Romo- Syrians.

    ‘’’’’’’’Jeevan’s quoting of Milne’s numbers is absolutely wrong and he might have meant it as the number of Syriac Christians vs. Latin Christians.’’’’’’Thomas Antony’s post 9949

    ‘’’’’’’’George Milne Rae in 1892 says – The relative proportions of the Puthencoor and palayacoor being probably then as now about 3 to 1. He does not think that the proportions have changed over 250 years from Coonen Cross oath period till 1892 which disprove your conversion theory in 17th century. He also admits that the numbers are “may be” as it was not from a trustful source.’’’’’’’’Thomas Antony’s post 9985

    Thomas Antony has the habit of changing position in his posts and he often foul play for the benefit of his positions .In many posts he make statements as if he is not knowing/he is an authority to put an argument (baseless) forward to mislead the reader and down play the actual facts to protect his vested interest. Here in first post he state that the numbers are absolutely wrong without consulting the book then he change his positions with his own manipulative explanations.

    I never said the conversion was limited to 17th century rather my statement was this”””” The conversion has taken a momentum in the seventeenth century and end up in present day position.’’’’’’’

    About George Milne Rae ‘s book please turn to page no.377under heading’’ Notes to chapterXVI’’it is clearly written’’’’ IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN FROM THE CENSUS REPORTS AN EXACT CLASSIFICATION.THE NUMBER OF JACOBITE SYRIANS MAY BE TAKEN AS APPROXIMATELY 330000,AND THE NUMBER OF ROMO SYRIANS AS110000.THE NUMBER OF PROTESTANT SYRIANS IS COMPARATIVELY SMALL.’’’’’’’(an old copy is with me) we can consider George Milne Rae as a credible author since he worked in India for quite some time unlike other authors who just visit , gather some information and write a book.(please read the’’ preface’’ of the book.)The information given in this book is collected during midsummer vacation in1870 as specified in the preface. (……….Malankaranazranies and 110000 for Romo-syrians during end of sixteenth century………in post 9895, please read this as’’ end of nineteenth century.’’’)Now what can we get from this? From the Coonen kurisu sathyam to 1870 period the roman missionaries was able to make the Romo- Syrians number up 110000.How it is done I need not to explain .Now how are you going to explain the growth of population from this end of the nineteenth century to present day .If you take all Malankaranazranis (ie both factions of Orthodox, Marthomites, and Thozhiyoor) put together will not make any where near to the number of smc today. It is logical to think that smc is built on the floor of the separated Malankaranazranies by Roman bishops with lots of inputs from Ezhavas, Parayas &Arayas.

    There are many other evidences I can put forward in favor of my statement. Also please note that there is a sudden population reduction taken place incase of backward communities of Kerala during this period with respect to geographical region pertaining to Christian missions.

    I am sorry to repeat this. HISTORY is not reporting references but applying your mind logically with alternate possible evidences like sociological studies, cultural studies, demographics, archeological studies, linguistics etc.

  60. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Re-the wretched history of Romo-Syrians (reply to Thomas Antony’s post 14706)

    I stated that the Romo –Syrians were celebrating Qurbana like the Latins celebrated. I am not concerned whether they used some prayers of Latins or not in their Qurbana here. Any one who lived during 80 ies and have a reasonable quality of observation would have noticed the change in their practices. The voice /pronunciation of celebration itself changed dramatically from” parathi chollal” (mimicrists of kalabhavan used to imitate this) to likes of Malankaranazrani style .they were celebrating it facing people till 1988 when the Chaldeanisation accepted by arch diocese of Changanacherry and Pala. It followed by Kothamangalam. But strongly rejected by Ernakulam and Trichur. Priests used to wear Latin capas during this period but changed to full length capas like malankara Nazranies do.

    This has been a matter of discussion during my college day’s .I was a student of ST. Berchmans, Changanacherry during 1982-83 and was an inmate of ST. Thomas hostel. We used to discuss Bible, church matters etc. these discussions ended in my eviction from the hostel along with two Malankaranazranies and two Nairs. More over I noticed the year as 1988 in one of the Qurbana kramam in Malayalam while I was attending a SMC Qurbana in Delhi during 1994(it was specifically mentioned that this new kramam was adopted from 1988).There also we had discussions about this.

    I had an opportunity to attend the function of Mar Varkey vithayathil becoming the head of SMC during 1998(I think it is in 1998) in Ernakulam basilica palli. It was a graceful function attended by many bishops. One of the important dignitaries was Malankara moopan Marthoma Mathews II Catholicos of the east. It was quite interesting to note the speech of bishop Thumkuzhi (I think it is Thumkuzhi) in which he spoke about the practice of Malankara sabha. If one wanted to become a bishop in Malankara sabha ,he first become a shemmashan, then to a dayara pattakkaran then to a rambachan .More over he needs to be elected by Malankara association. If again he wanted to be Malankara moopan he again needs to undergo the election process and become the head of the church. But in smc a priest can be a major arch bishop heading the church overnight like in our church. Why I am stating this is to show the spilt in smc with respect to celebration of qurbana in Chaldean way o r Latin way. Bishop Mar Powathil was the strong contender for the post was rejected by Rome only because he was the propagator of Chaldean way of qurbana while Thumkuzhi and group strongly against it. So Rome found a middle man-just a priest to protect its interest. That is the situation in smc with respect to Chaldean way or Latin way.

    Now take little time and make a survey about smc churches, its practices, construction and background. You need not blindly argue with me. From 1980 I am a keen observer of different denominations .Do you have any idea that how many of smc churches constructed facing east? How many pallies uses veil in front of madhubaha? How many smc churches have madhubaha? How many smc pallies have four box structures? (Now they have started imitating Malankara Nazranies).how many smc pallies have thukku vilakku/kalvilakku/nilavilakku? How many smc pallies have equipped to celebrate Chaldean raza? Have you ever visited pallies like Udayamperoor and Pala where they have constructed Latin model pallies avoiding the malankaranazrani pallies?

    I never said smc were not using Syriac in their liturgy but in Latin way. you should discuss liturgical issues with your own brothers of Ernakulam and Thrissur .But please don’t make wrong comments about Malankara Nazranies liturgy since I have discussed this matter in my earlier posts.

    I am giving a copy of the letter sent by all bishops of smc during 1938 to Rome requesting that Chaldean Missal and breviary not to be restored. This is quite enough to show that they were not using qurbana kramam in Chaldean way.

    CHALDEAN MISSAL AND BREVIARY NOT TO BE RESTORED ( ( Petition of Syro- Malabar bishops) Archbishop’s house, Ernakulam-1, India 6th December, 1938.

    To His Eminence Cardinal Tisserant

    Your Eminence, His Excellency the Delegate apostolic of the east Indias has communicated to us your letter Port No.4130dated January17, 1938 addressed to him regarding the Chaldean Missal and Breviary. We the Ordinaries of the Syro- Malabar Hierarchy, assembled here in our annual conference yesterday and today have given very careful attention to Your Eminence’s communication and beg to submit that if it be your mind that we should change our existing missal and Breviary which have been in use for centuries, thus bringing about momentous changes in our Syro-Malabar Rite, it would be a regretful surprise to us and to the flock entrusted to our care. We desire on this occasion to bring to Your Eminence’s kind attention Prot No.7403, dated 25th September 1897, from the sacred Congregation of the propaganda Fide per “Gli Affari Di Rito Orientali” (a copy of there of is sent herewith) and respectfully request that Syro Malabar Rite already confirmed by the holy See continue without any change and without any connection whatever with the Chaldean patriarchate. Kissing your Eminence’s hand with profound veneration and deep respects, We remain Your Eminence‘s most humble and obedient servants sd Abp kandathil 2 Bp chulaparambil 3 Bp vazhapilly 4 Bp kalassery.

    ‘’’’’’’’ Vast majority of SMC continued to celebrate Qurbana facing the altar until 1999 when the Holy Synod of the SMC decided to celebrate the Qurbana facing the people on the introductory phase, until the start of the Anaphora and then the remaining part facing the altar as there was disagreement with a minority – dioceses in Ernakulum and Trichur -who started celebrating the Qurbana facing the people in par with the Latin church, probably from 1960s when the liturgy was vernacularised. ‘’’’’’this statement is itself contradictory. you seems to agree that half of the smc followed the Latin way of celebrating qurbana .I know your above statement is like beating around the bush, but for God sake accept the facts that is SMC used celebrate qurbana in the Latin way till 1988 when they turned towards east side for qurbana (half of them still reject it).it is interesting to note that those SMCS celebrate qurbana in malankara nazrani way (now) still not doing so because the majority of the smc church are not facing the east. ‘’’’’’’’’’’’I can see the basic ideas in most of his postings are hatred, mainly towards Catholics, hatred towards SMC as they claim that they are Syriac Christians. He has great difficulty in accepting the fact that Mar Thoma Nasranis(St Thomas Christians) were East Syriacs before Portuguese arrival and before Coonan cross oath and difficulty in accepting SMC as the largest group of Mar Thoma Nasranis.

    ’’’’’’’’’’’ I strongly oppose to your statement that I have no hatred towards any Christians including Catholics .I have always accepted the east syriacs influence in Malankara nazrani history (post 9895, various other posts). Yes I do not think smc is the largest group of Nazranies since it has an aviyal origin, but have a considerable number of separated Malankara Nazranies with Latin cultural hangover. If you conceder that telling truth is hatred, I cannot help it.

    TAIL PIECE I want to thank Thomas Antony for bringing an old post and giving an opportunity to express my ideas here .It is also helped Admin to remember some of my old posts .My apologies for late in answering these posts It is because of time constraints .

  61. Admin says

    Dear Jeevan Philip

    Your post – 15508 about Syro Malabar population and the statement that the present population of Syro Malabar consists mainly of the people converted after the Coonan cross oath is a creative conclusion by overtly relying on Anglican sources. 16th or 17th centuries are not dark ages in Saint Thomas Christian history. There are much better, and may be more reliable information available from Paulinus, De Anquetil, Raulin etc

    Let me also make it a point that people from backward or forward classes joining the Saint Thomas Churches is a very good sign. Indeed if there are conversions en-mass, in all the churches or only in few, it is a very good sign and it shows the importance of oriental ethos and vitality of the Church.

    The books I have read so far did not indicate any such a large scale movement. I would appreciate if there is any information available to suggest other wise till the beginning of twentieth century. We do see a change from the middle of twentieth century.

    Jeevan has been very creative to even suggest which communities got integrated in to the Catholic Syrians side. Can he share some details on how he identified the communities which converted in to Syro Malabar and in which places? I would suggest you to read about Latin Church in Kerala.

    I also want to state that, the history is more documented in Catholic side in comparison to the limited documentation available before the arrival of British in the Jacobite side. In addition to the different travelogues, there is a lot of archive information available from Rome as well as local sources which in fact very clearly documents most of the incidents. Some of these are available to general public now. So we have many literatures of Seventeenth or Eighteenth centuries and we just need to search and find those.

  62. Admin says

    Among the Catholic Syrian fold

    After the Coonan Cross ( 1653) , by 1662 the Catholic Syrians had around eighty-four churches and they were under Carmelites. They gradually came under the Padroado and Propaganda Fide bishops. None of these missionaries had any interest in adding folks to the Chaldean rite. Parallel Latin hierarchy was initiated through out their areas and the converted folks were added to the Latin Church. Portuguese missionaries did large scale evangelization in Kerala in comparison to other Colonialists. After the fall of Portuguese power in 1663, the Catholic missionaries continued doing the same but the people were added in Latin rite.

    Some of the Latin missionaries who came to India in earlier centuries questioned the wisdom of creating a separate Latin church in India. I have read about the Apostolic Administrator of Coimbatore, Marion Bresillac. He had send letters to Rome suggesting that it’s a wrong approach to create Latin Church in India, where there are Christians from Apostolic times. There were missionaries who were of the opinion that, the Church in India need to be strengthen the existing church than creating parallel hierarchies here.

    Anyway, till 1882, conversions were very limited in the Catholic Syrian side. Only from 1882 onwards we can see a major change in the attitude. Here also,this was at the initiative of few priests who had evangelization as a top priority. The approach was to build a small church near by to the Syrian Catholic parish for their use. This (in the beginning of twentieth century) was not successful due to a number of reasons and the people joined the Latin Church when a church under Latin hierarchy was built in these locations.

    There are churches under Latin hierarchy through out the Syro Malabar eparchies in Kerala ( double jurisdiction in practice).

    We can see a very positive change from the later half of the twentieth century. Syro Malabar Church now has mission eparchies through out India. I have not so far collected the exact break up in the mission areas.

    Among the Jacobites

    What I understand is that the situation was similar amongst Jacobites too until 1882.

    Among the Jacobites, when their association with Anglicans ended, a number of Jacobites joined the Anglican Church in 1836. These Syrian Christians from Jacobite side formed around 12% of the population in the old Anglican diocese of Travancore and Cochin, which is now incorporated in Church of South India ( Leslie Brwon) .

    One of the prominent conversions in the Jacobite side was that of Alvarez and his folks in 1887. But after his death most of them joined back the Latin Church.

    After the formation of Mar Thoma Church, the evangelical association also did some conversion and has some 12,0000 converts from backward classes by 1980, mostly organized in to separate parishes at that time. ( Leslie Brown)

  63. Admin says

    Population & travelogues

    The Carmelites after their arrival by 1662 got around eighty-four churches under their allegiance, leaving only thirty-two churches to the Archdeacon Thomas who was ordained as Mar Thoma 1.

    The present Syro Malabar and Chaldean Church originates from these eighty-four churches ( few churches went to latin control later) ,while the Jacobites, Orthodox, Mar Thoma, Syro Malankara roughly comes from the thirty-two churches.( CSI when it was formed has some Jacobite as members- I am not sure any churches were involved )

    In 1663, the Dutch after defeating the Portuguese took control and expelled the Carmelites. The Carmelites had provided a list of eighty-four churches as under them to the Dutch Governor.

    In 1704, a Jesuit was appointed as Bishop for the See of Cranganore by Pope. The Catholic Syrians refused to acknowledge the new archbishop and sent a petition to Rome that they preferred to remain under the Carmelites. In this petition they mentions that their were seventy-one churches in complete submission and eighteen in partial union (i.e., the parish was divided and part had submitted to Rome), while only twenty-eight churches remained altogether separate ( with Jacobites ).

    The French traveller Anquetil du Perron, who visited Malabar in 1758, offers the following statistics regarding the number of Christians on the coast. This information he had obtained from Bishop Florentius, Carmleite bishop of Malabar. He tells that the bishop believed the total number of Christians to amount to 200,000; of these 100,000 were Catholic Syrians, another 50,000 were of the Latin Rite. Both these were under his jurisdiction, while the revolted Syrians who may be classed as Jacobites, were under Mar Thomas VI and numbered 50,000.

    Whitehouse in pp 234 “Lingerings of light in a dark land: researches into the Syrian church of Malabar” uses the data from Paulinus of St. Bartholomew who came to India as a missionary in 1774.

    The statistics Paulinus mentions of 1774 is 90,000 Catholic Syrians with sixty four churches and Jacobites as 50,000 with thirty two churches.

    Till the end of nineteenth century with the arrival of Chaldean / COE bishops and priests some churches often shifted their allegiance.

    The liturgical changes happened among Jacobites only by end of nineteenth century and till that time there were also people, priests, churches etc shifting allegiance between Catholic and Jacobite.

    The involvement of Chaldean bishops in Malabar was stopped only after indigenous hierarchy was made in Syro Malabar.

    It is because of these reasons the number of churches under Pazhayacoor and Puthencoor are differently quoted in some travelogues. Here in comparison to Churches and Population. I would say that, the number of churches in these accounts seems to be more reliable than the population. Even today we are not able to get correct population among many denominations.

    I don’t know which source George Milne Rae used for his quotation for population. Leslie Brown says that Rae give an impartial account and that he doesn’t know Malayalam. In the introduction of his book, Leslie Brown mentions that sources were limited for the earlier Anglican works. Since there is no information about the sources of Rae’s statistics, cant comment on them and this is the only account which differs from earlier accounts.

    I would also suggest that while arriving at conclusions based on Anglican sources one also has to understand the purpose it is written. Some of the earlier Anglican authors never came to India. Their sources were Portuguese writing and the theme of the write up is mostly anti roman. Geddes never came to India. Hough relied on Geddes and La Croze. Whitehouse also followed the same theme on anti-roman behavior.

    I would suggest to cross verify when you take Anglican sources as primary information to arrive at conclusions.( Leslie Brown mentions the theme of Anglican works in his book and I think he only quotes the population figure from Paulinus which was used also by Whitehouse.)

    As we see the number of Churches among Catholic Syrians and Jacobites were mostly in 2:1 ratio.

  64. Admin says

    Dear Jeevan Philip

    In Post – 15509, your observations about Syro Malabar Church is mostly erroneous. This is not very surprising as we all arrive at conclusions based on the little information we have. Anyway the good thing is that, we can all improve our understanding through discussions.

    The first statement about Qurbana facing east – This topic is very often discussed amongst Syro Malabar church members. First and foremost, the practice of Qurbana facing people was introduced in Latin Church only after 1965. ( Second Vatican Council doesn’t forbid Mass facing East in Catholic Church but the new practice was introduced in Latin Church as an innovation).

    I hope there is no need to talk about the situation in Syro Malabar Church before 1960’s as Qurbana was celebrated facing East in Catholic Church also. It is after the Second Vatican Council, Qurbana facing the people was introduced in some diocese ( Ernakulam) of Syro Malabar. This was done with out the approval from authorities ( Rome). Other eparchies like Changanassery, Palai, Kanjirappally etc continued the old practice of Qurbana facing the East.

    There are many Roman documents from 1960’s onwards directing that the eastward direction is of particular significance in the East Syrian liturgical tradition to which Syro Malabar belongs. According to these directions, the new introduction in Ernakulam is not a contribution towards Indianisation but it furthers the latinisation of the Syro Malabar Church. Even though this practice in Ernakulam started after 1960, there is a tendency to cling to the existing practice even if that is abusive to the liturgical tradition. This is because of lack of awareness, theological understanding among the priests and laymen. To be honest, this is a similar situation in other denominations as well.

    Changanassery eparchy to this day continue the age old practice according to the liturgical tradition. Other eparchies which celebrated Qurbana facing the east until 1999, now follow the Holy Syond order of Syro Malabar Synod of 1999. Thomas Antony has already mentioned this in detail in his posts. Jeevan’s point of view is a misrepresentation.

    The Restoration in Syro Malabar Church according to the genuine liturgical tradition included many things around the theological, ecclesial and liturgical identity of the Church. Pontifical, Qurbana, Sign of Cross etc are some of them.

  65. Admin says

    Restoration of the Qurbana, Pontifical and about letter by Mar Kandathil in 1938

    The assumptions which Jeevan has arrived upon, is again wrong with respect to the letter of Mar Kandathil in 1938. Syro Malabar Church used latinised Chaldean liturgy in Syriac language until the Qurbana was restored in 1960.

    I think when the hierarchy ( 1923) was created in Syro Malabar, the indigenous bishops like their predecessors were afraid that Chaldean Patriarch might take control over Malabar. There are good reasons for this, as there were many petitions to Rome in earlier decades from people wanting a restored Chaldean rite . The Petitions of 1888, 1899 etc from the priests of all diocese of Syro Malabar demanded restoration of pure Chaldean rite. What I could read from the letter Jeevan quoted together with consideration of the happenings in 1920-1940 is that, Bishops were afraid that the Chaldean Patriarch would exert more influence in Malabar. The Syro Malabar Church itself was earlier called as Syro Chaldean Church.

    Restoration of the Pontifical

    The earliest attempt for restoration according to the genuine liturgical tradition was started in Syro Malabar in 1888. In the initial stage of restoration, the Syro Malabar bishops had a very little role. All the efforts for restoration in Syro Malabar Church came from Pope and Congregation of Oriental Churches.

    In 1908, the Syro Malabar bishops requested Pope Pius X to approve the Syriac translation of the Pontifical they are preparing. In 1920, the Apostolic delegate pointed out the inappropriateness in using a Pontifical in latin with an ordination Qurbana in Syriac for priests, bishops etc.

    Before 1920, a translation reached Rome but was rejected because of the grammar, literary style and terminology etc. In 1932 Mar Kandathil, bishop of Ernakulam obtained copies of Pontifical from the Chaldean Patriarch.

    In 1932, Mar Kandathil again raised the question of translation and requested for a good translator from Rome or Iraq etc. The congregation of Oriental Churches was not in favor of translations from Roman books. They asked an authority of that time, Rene Graffin for a translation and he said he will never do that even if ordered to by a superior as it is wrong to translate from Roman books for this Church.

    The then Congregation of Oriental Churches Secretary, Korolovsky and the Consulters Placid and Tisserant agreed to this. A commission headed by James Voste restored the Pontifical according to the liturgical tradition and was confirmed by Pope Pious XII on 9th July 1939. The indigenous Syro Malabar bishops did not play any constructive role and what followed was delay in printing the Malayalam copies.

    Restoration of the Qurbana

    In 1938 Cardianl Tisserant, the then Secretary of congregation of Oriental Churches informed the Syro Malabar bishops the intention of Holy See to restore the Qurbana and divine praises according to the genuine liturgical tradition. In reply, the Bishops objected to the restoration and requested that Romanised liturgy be continued with out change. That response is very understandable in the background of training the Bishops received and the situations of the period. Mostly the secretaries of missionaries were elevated as indigenous Bishops and they continued to follow the policies of missionaries. ( Some details are there in few previous posts of Thomas Antony )

    The letter Jeevan quotes is from this period. The letter was the response send to the Secretary of Congregation of Oriental Churches, Cardinal Tisserant by Mar Kandathil, bishop of Ernakulam . The result was that the restoration process came to a standstill.

    In 1953, the Bishops conference formed a liturgical committee in Ernakulam headed by Mar Tharayil but their main interest was to shorten the Qurbana, reduce prayers, make further changes to conform to Roman style etc.

    Taking note of this development A Raes requested the involvement of Rome saying that the formation of Bishops in Syro Malabar separated them from their rite. Placid Podipara also requested the intervention of Rome stressing that Rome has to take initiative to restore Qurbana according to the original liturgical traditions.

    Secretary of Congregation of Oriental Churches, Cardinal Tisserant visited Kerala in 1953. In 1953, Pope Pious XII nominated a commission to edit the texts of the Qurbana and divine praises.

    So the Qurbana restoration started again in 1953. By restoration of the Qurbana, it means removing the romanisation impacts of the liturgy.A restored Syriac taksa was approved by 1960. From 1958 onwards priests studying in Rome used the restored Syriac taksa of 1960 ( Syriac taksa published from Alwaye in 12 May 1960) . Till 1962, Qurbana in Syro Malabar was celebrated in Syriac language . The first Malayalam Qurbana was based on the restored taksa ( Malayalam taksa -3rd July 1962- This taksa exist in Syriac, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi and Telgu) . The restoration was partial and since then there have been improvements in language and at time abuses. There are different taksa’s approved and available in circulation ( Taksa of 1968, Taksa of 1970 for North Indian missions, Taksa for Solemn Raza 1986 ( What Pope John Paul celebrated at Kottayam on 1986), Solemn and Simple Qurbana of 1989 etc)

    It is very improper to make any conclusion just by looking at the year of print or approval date of the book. ( I heard that the guru, Sebastian Paul Brock, who is acknowledged as the foremost and most influential academic in the field of Syriac language today is doing a translation for an English Qurbana. If SMC synod approves this taksa, it might have a future approval date. So its incorrect to conclude based on the imprint dates)

  66. Admin says

    Voice/pronunciation of celebration – There are abuses and these happen in every churches. In Syro Malabar Church as far as I know this is limited to Ernakulam. It is very natural for some priests to get motivated by Kalabhavan ( I think the influence is from Fr. Abel ( I can be wrong)). But at the same time, the songs in the Qambel Maran was also in use in SMC. Another reason can be the initiative undertaken by Mar Parecattil in Ernakulam.

    Major Arhbishop- I can not agree with what Jeevan wrote. People were expecting Mar Powathil as the head of the Syro Malabar Church. Since there was lot of petty local politics a compromise candidate emerged later. Mar Vithayathil was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator in 1996, and elevated as Bishop in 1997. He was made the Major Arch.Bishop in 1999.

    SMC Churches- May be Jeevan can take a look at this link for some churches in Changanacherry,Tellicherry, Kalyan, Belthangady,Kanjirapally, Palai, Thiruvananthapuram etc.I think you should keep in mind that SMC is very big in comparison with other Saint Thomas Christian denominations. Parish priests, trustees etc plays their role in local constructions.

    Chaldeanisation – Even in the beginning of 19th century, people called themselves as “Chaldean” or “Syro- Chaldean” in the present Syro Malabar Church. The Vicar Apostolic of Malabar, Mar Pazheparambil calls himself as a priest of the “Syro Chaldean Church of Malabar” in a letter written to Pope Pius X in 1903. This is the name we can see in many of the liturgical books published up to 1952. Other names used interchangeably are Chaldean, Syro Chaldean, Syro- Chaldeaic, Syro- Oriental, East Syrian, Oriental Syrian etc. In the Pope’s bull of 1953 erecting the Eparchey of Thalassery, the name of the Church is mentioned as “Chaldeo- Malabar”. It would be interesting to mention that when Cardinal Parecattil was appointed as President of the Pontifical Commission for Oriental Canon Law, he was mentioned as “Metropolitan of the Chaldeo- Malabar Ernakulam”. The name “ Syro- Malabar” came in to use from 1887 slowly replacing other names. Jeevan’s remarks about Chaldeanisation and acceptance by Changanacherry in 1989 etc are far from truth. His observations are the results of propaganda.

    Wretched history/ “avail” etc- If we seriously study the liturgical development in other denominations of Saint Thomas Christians we can see rapid changes and the influences from many quarters. May be the developments which are caused by different theological influences would be more extensive in other denominations than in Syro Malabar. Some people are reluctant to accept facts and acknowledge the same. Let’s be honest and no church need certificate from anyone of us. Jeevan, can critically examine other Saint Thomas Christian denominations also and see for yourself what you can find out.

  67. M Thomas Antony says

    Regarding Jeevan’s postings.

    All of you may remember we discussed the same issue in Dec 08 under the article, Lost Aramaic Bible of Syrian Christians of Kerala.

    He is just repeating what he has said already. No new information. I had contradicted all of his arguments. (Please read my posts under the topic Lost Aramaic bible…….posts 9949 and 9985 etc). Then he left the forum stating that he will provide more details later.

    The only new thing in his post 15508 dated 19/05/09 is that “please note that there is a sudden population reduction taken place incase of backward communities of Kerala during this period with respect to geographical region pertaining to Christian missions”. He is not providing any details of this. Who said this, on what basis, are there any data available? No answer. How can we conclude that all those population integrated into SMC only? What is the credibility of this information?

    As he has posted the same arguments again with many derogatory comments about me, I am forced to repeat what I said in December 08 again to clarify things. SORRY

    Regarding the numbers of Puthencoor and Pazhayacoors, I had quoted a number of authors in Dec 08. Only George Milne Rae claims that Puthencoor are more in numbers. All the others reported that Pazhayacoor were majority. But Jeevan consider Milne Rae as the only credible author .Even George Milne Rae himself admits


    This doesn’t mean anything. He has reported what he was told by someone. He, like all other protestant missionaries came here to help and support puthencoor to keep them away from the Roman church. So, he might have got this number from another Jeevan Philip. As the Admin has commented, he even did not know Malayalam.

    Thomas White house has reported that the number of Puthencoors was exaggerated by some authors. Thomas White house, a protestant missionary who, instead of hearing from his friends, visited a large number of old nasrani parishes, both Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor and wrote his book. I was surprised that he has even visited my own parish church – Champakulam Kalloorkkadu church also. Whitehouse states-

    It is true, after the Coonan cross oath, vast majority were with the Archdeacon. But later, a large number joined Parambil Chandy metran due to various factors I have mentioned here many times-

    1 Mar Thoma I was still waiting for a legitimate Bishopric consecration from eastern churches and Parambil Chandy was consecrated as a Bishop by the Portuguese. This led a large number joining him, as the Portuguese ridiculed the Mar Thoma as a bishop without a legitimate bishopric.

    2 Political reasons – Portuguese bribed and influenced the local kings and the kings forced the nasranis to join Parambil Chandy- example, my own parish at Champakulam. Champakulam and Kudamaloor were under the king of Purakkadu, who ordered us to go and join the Parambil Chandy faction.

    3. The Jesuits were replaced by Carmelites.

    So, the whole environment was favouring the Pazhayacoor at that time which made them majority. This fact has been reported by most authors, including many protestant authors also who were friends of Puthencoors and helping to build their numbers by missionary activities.

    Whitehouse (1787) – Romosyrians 100 000, Independent Syrians 50 000, Latin’s 50,000

    Richard Collins (1873) – number of Syrians and Romosyrians are almost equal.

    1892 Milne Rae- Romosyrians 11 0000, Jacobite Syrians 33 0000

    (Jeevan might want to apply his theory here and find how the numbers of Jacobite Syrians changed from 1787 through 1873 until 1892 compared with the Romo syrians)

    Number of churches are also important.

    Whitehouse (1787) Romosyrians 86, Mar Thoma I – 30

    Roulini (1745) – 15 Latin, 113 Syrian, out of which 30 are schismatics-puthencoor.
    That shows 83 Pazhayacoor and 30 Puthencoor.

    Du Perron (1758) 31 Syrian, 57 Romosyrian 20 mixed
    If you add the 31 Syrians and 20 mixed, we get 51—Buchanan’s quotation- about Mar Dionysius-“I am the father of 54 churches”

    So, all the available reports are against Jeevan’s theory.

    Yes, the Portuguese missionaries were involved in missionary activity and they wanted to get more people to their church-Latin rite, not the Syrian rite. They were trying to isolate and restrict the Syrian rite. Even today, that is true. So why would they convert people to Pazhayacoor which they thought as an error, rather than joining people to their own rite? How did the Latin rite formed? If they were adding people to Syrian rite, there would not be a Latin rite in Kerala.

    The SMC activity was restricted between river pamba and bharathapuzha. It was only recently, it became opened up a little more. The initial migrants of SMC to northern Kerala were to join the local Latin Church.

    Regarding his post about how SMC celebrated Qurbana before, I think he has to open his eyes. All he has written is wrong. He claims that he has been following various denominations closely. As far as I know, even the Latin church in Kerala started celebrating the Qurbana facing he people only after 1968- Second Vatican council reforms.( Selvister Ponnumuthan, The spirituality of basic ecclesial communities in the socio-religious context of Trivandrum/Kerala, India,1996) So, how can we imagine the SMC was celebrating the Qurbana facing the people until 1988?

    Now, the Latin church is going back to ad orientum.

    I visited a SMC parish in a remote rural village in Calicut- Anakkampoil in 1986 and was surprised to see the priest celebrating the Qurbana facing the people and when I asked the parishioners, they said this is the new practice since the new Qurbana was established and inaugurated by the Pope John Paul II in 1986. They were celebrating the Qurbana facing the altar until then and the Latinising Priests used the opportunity to change the practice to favour their groupism.

    See the evidence from Trichur-“According to Thrissur Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy, although facing the altar has been in practice for many centuries in the East and the West, the original mode of the eucharist celebration was `around the altar,’ the Mass being the commemoration of the Last Supper. This is the rationale for the Mass facing people.” The Indian Express, Sunday, June 29, 1997.

    Let the Trichurians tell us when they started celebrating the Holy Qurbana facing the people.

    Re. his mention about the rejection of Chaldean mass by SMC in 1938.We have discussed this many times here. That is not a new information to anybody follow the discussions here. Is he using that letter to prove that SMC was not using the Chaldean mass? The whole of Nasranis were Latinised by the synod of Diamper and the East Syriac liturgy was modified. Both Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor were using the same modified version. (Until the puthencoor adopted the new West Syriac liturgy).When Rome realised that it was wrong, they urged the Bishops to go back to Pre Diamper liturgy. (Full restoration). The Latin trained prelates did not want to go back, instead wanted to keep status quo. But I think Rome introduced the fully restored liturgy in 1962 but after the Second Vatican Council II reforms, which allowed vernacularisation and local inculturations, the Prelates used this opportunity to dilute the liturgy in 1968. The 1986 version was the reintroduction of 1962, which was nothing new. When the Puthencoor switched the liturgy to west Syriac in 1770s, the Pazhaycoor continued the modified East Syriac liturgy which was nearly fully restored in 1962.

    Now, after reading his last two posts, I can understand why he is so angry about SMC. His own words-“during my college day’s .I was a student of ST. Berchman’s, Changanacherry during 1982-83 and was an inmate of ST. Thomas hostel……these discussions ended in my eviction from the hostel along with two Malankaranazranies and two Nairs”.
    That bad experience has not healed yet. He may be getting some comfort by this activity. Let us pray the Lord to heal him from that hurt.

    As Admin has commented, if other communities have integrated to whichever factions, it shows the vitality of the St Thomas Churches. Let me remind you the words of Arch Bishop Mar Joseph Powathil, (Clarifications given to the Paper presented by Archbishop Henry D’Souza of Calcutta in the CBCI Meeting held in Tiruchirapalli from 4th to 14 January 1982. Christian Orient (March June 1982) 50-59. )


  68. John Mathew says

    M. T. Antony and Admin:

    Is there any point debating with Jeevan? He has already stated (1) that his worldview is one of Indian nationalism and (2) that history is an interpretive science.

    If that’s the case, there are infinite *possible* histories—and there’s little point in debating their veracity. History is not about what is *possible* but what *actually happened*.

    On the other hand, if we take history to be more scientific, that is, the uncovering and reporting of facts found—not from abbreviated history books and propaganda/vanity pieces—but rather from evidence such as artifacts, literature, archeology, etc., then we can debate and present new evidence.

    And on that note — why do we even care about the last four hundred years? The last four centuries is *modern* history, and pretty boring (although eventful), and fairly well known.

    Let’s go deeper into the past. Not necessarily the ancient past … let’s start with the medieval and look at the 10th – 13th centuries … Any interesting info there? Many authors from both the Pazhayakoor and Puthenkoor talk about the “Indian” traditions of the Nasranis. But apart from a lot of talk, I’ve seen no substance. What are these supposed Indian traditions?

  69. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Dear Admin,

    You have stated following points in your post

    1 Paulinus, Du perron, Raulin are better sources of information than Milne Rae

    I wonder what made you think in this way .Just because you think it helps to disprove my statement. For the time being I am agreeing with you .Take the data provided by Paulines and Duperron. Duperron gives us the number as 100000 for Romo-Syrians, 50000 for Malankaranazranies and 50000 for Latins in 1758. Paulines give us the number as 90000 for romo-syriyans and 50000 for Malankara Nazraniesin 1774, rite. Now compare it with present day population of respective group.SMC has a population of 37 lakhs(some data shows above 40 lakhs) , Malankara Nazranies put together all denominations(both factions of orthodox; marthomites , thozhiyoor and malakaranazrani portion of population of CSI church,syro- malankara church.) has a population of 22 lakhs and Latin Catholics has a population of 14 lakhs. Now take the rate of growth over the years from mid 18th century to present day. The rate of growth of Romo-syriyan and Malankara Nazranies are more or less the same. But what about the growth rate of Latins. The population of Latins must have been some were around 20 lakhs without any further conversion from mid 18th century. It is unlikely because you are the one who proposes the maximum conversion to Latins. More over the population of Malankaranazranies at the time of Portuguese (around 1650s) noted as 2 lakhs (Robert Eric Frykenberg, Mathias Mundadn, Joseph Thekkedath) which all together goes against these demographics. That is why I am totally against these data.

    Now you take the data of church count which I think least represents the actual population. How are you going to assign number of people to each church? There can be a palli with 3000 members to a palli with 100 members. It does not make any logic. Also note the various counts with respect to pallis of these authors do not give any logic
    Now take the data of George Milne Rae which give more logical figure if we compare with population during 1650s. He is the first author who took a serious study about Malankaranazranies.He had not been carried away by the fascinating stories of Malankaranazranies and had a logical approach to the study. He ended up in suggesting that the story of St. Thomas origin is questionable! This means that he was not favoring malankaranazranies any way. He was a missionary to India and taught in Madras .Some of the students he taught were from Nazranies. He paid a visit to malankara during the summer vacation in1870.He states in his preface’’’”’’’’’’’’’’ at length I was led into more fruitful fields of inquiry. I explored the primitive traditions concerning St. Thomas , with a view to ascertain the origin and value of the local tradition………I became acquainted with the result of archaeological research and Dravidian scholarship relevant to my subject ……..finally I acquired possession of copies of the documents, evidence of witness, and the decision of judges …….I was anxious to offer facilities for criticism to educated members of the Syrian community ,from whose views on the origin of their church I strongly differed……..many of the chapters there for have been entirely recast; is now submitted to the kindly consideration of scholars and the public as a contribution to the history of Christianity in India’’’’’’’’’’ Admin ,what are you talking about this author? Do you always have this kind of myopic view? Please read the book before judging the author.

    2 History is more documented in catholic side

    Your next point gives an idea about the way in which you look at the history. Malankara nazrani history is documented by all groups of people. The classification on the basis of catholic-non catholic sources/groups is may be not a correct approach. It is true that Malankaranazranies were not keen in keeping their history well documented but the treachery conducted on them by Parangies should not be taken lightly as far as this is concerned.

    I suggest that a classification on the basis of foreign/Malankara nazrani or colonial /non colonial would be more accurate and give more reasonable picture. Parangies documented what ever they heard from locals and manipulated or modified to suit their interest in Malankara. The search regarding St. Thomas tomb at mylapore itself shows the intention of this colonial power. It is obvious that the Parangis came first and they became the first documenters of malankara nazrani history. Dutch followed by Brits took the following positions. It is not the data, but quality of it is more important as far as history is concerned. That is why the memorable work like George Milne Rae is far superior to the garbage produced by propaganda/colonial official writers.

    Now take the case of documentation by Malankara Nazranies which include the different plates, various thaliyolas, different letters, Buchanan bible etc. Tharissapalli plates are with malankaranazranies (Kottyam pazhayaseminari&Pulathin aramana) best collection of west Syriac documentation is in Konattu library (pambakkuda has certainly the richest library of Syriac manuscripts in kerala-J.P.M.Van derploeg.o.p.), pambakkuda, best collection of east Syriac documentation is with coe (Nestorian) Trichur. what are the other important centers library – library of Kottaym pazhaya seminari ,library of Thozhiyoor ,library of makankara catholic bishop,Trivandrum&thiruvalla(all documents taken by MAR IVANIOS when he switched allegiance from orthodox to Roman church).I am not forgetting the library of Mannanam,arch bishop Ernakulam,bishop house Trichur etc. But these are comparatively smaller collection when we compare with Malankaranazrani side.

    Have you ever thought that why Malanjkaranazranies have the Tharissapalli cheppedu with them? (Not with romo-syrians).Last but not least is the NIRANAM GRANDHAVARI.Many of the stories of malankaranazranies as well as Romo Syrians are finds root in this (Many of these stories are erroneous).

    3 Catholic missionaries added people in Latin rite not in Latinized Romo-Syrian rite.

    For the sake of argument I agree with this. But where is the population growth as one expects if the argument is right. Their population is around 14 lakhs as denoted by them. Demographics suggested by Paulinus/Duperon indicate that their population must have been around 20 lakhs even without further conversion from mid eighteenth century. That means there is a gap of 6 lakhs population of Latin rite members without further conversion. There must have been very large growth if your statement were correct.Where did this population goes? That means either the data by these authors is wrong or the hypothesis itself is wrong.

    Now what was the situation of Romo-syrians at that time? They were ruled by all roman/Portuguese bishops whom are eagerly laying foundation of the Roman church. The objection to Latinisaton was very limited that is why they remained with the roman side. If they were proud Nazranies or if they had considerable number of Nazrani population they would have been objected to the roman bishops and formed a proud group of Nazranies under Malankara moopan. That is not happened because they were suppressed by another group whom were new to the traditions of Malankara Nazranies actually formed Romo Syrian population. That is why these roman bishops could change the name of the pallies to Latin saints or Latinized Syrian saints name. New perunnalukal was added in the name of Latin saints without any resistance. They adopted many Latin names for their children forgetting old traditions without any difficulty. These all indicate a supportive group existed among Romo-Syrians which are from backward communities of Kerala.

    If none of these missionaries had interest in adding folks to the romo-syrians side; why did they follow the policy of Latinisation? Why did Carmelites, Jesuits worked among malankara Nazranies? They could have concentrated the work among Latins to increase the number. That means they were badly in need of the number to make Syro- Malabar a credible roman church. The current population of Latins shows that the prime importance was given to Romo-syrian church rather than the Latin Church.

    The conversion among malankaranazranies was a distant dream in those days as like today. They were much like Hindus practicing all sorts of superstition and untouchability. Conversion was started from Mookancheril thirumeni through sleeba dasa samooham/Powrasthya suvishesha samajam. We all know what the state of affairs is today.

    ‘’’’’Apart from trying to entice the Syrian Christian community to Latin usages and to come under Vatican control, European missionaries were also instrumental in bringing about conversion among non- Christian peoples of Kerala……..few of the converts were Brahman s, many more were Nairs but vast majority came from the lower castes. When Albuquerque offered financial inducement, application for baptism increased considerably…….the raja of Cannanore was similarly unhappy about conversion .in 1507 he wrote to king Manuel of Portugal—-it is my desire that certain sections of the people in my kingdom whom I and my Nayars hold as slaves and who belong to two castes, TIYANS and MUCUAS, may not be converted to Christianity; nor should Nayars and Brahmans. The conversion of slaves will give rise to conflicts between them and my vassals. The Nayars derive their income from them and do not want to loose it.’’’’’’’’(Christianity, colonialism, and Hinduism in Kerala by Penelope Carson).

    The above statement along with points I stated indicate that SMC is built on the floor of the separated Malankara Nazranies with lot of inputs from backward class of Kerela.

  70. JEEVAN PHILIP says


    I am sorry to state that you are not answering to the points I rose rather taking about liturgical commissions and evolution of smc’s name. I have very little interest in all these. The main point was the letter sent by all bishops of SMC clearly stating CHALDEAN MISSAL AND BREVIARY NOT TO BE RESTORED. What is it mean? We are talking about MISSAL and BREVIARY .When a group of bishops taking about missal and breviary means missal and breviary not kadalippazham or dharbhapullu. A man with common intelligence will not sent a letter like this if missal and breviary practiced by SMC were Chaldean one.

    ‘’’’’’’’’’’ What I could read from the letter Jeevan quoted together with consideration of the happenings in 1920-1940 is that, Bishops were afraid that the Chaldean Patriarch would exert more influence in Malabar.’’’’’’’’’’

    Please refer to another letter sent to Mar Louise Pazheparambil from Rome on25/09/1897 port. No.7403 which clearly says that………………. I REQUEST YOUR LORDSHIP,THERE FORE,TO WARN PLAINLY AND REPEATEDLY THE PREIST AND PEOPLE OF YOUR VICARIATE THAT THE DECISION TAKEN BY THE HOLY SEE WITH REGARD TO THE SYRIAN CHURCH ARE IN FACT IRREVOCABLE;THAT THE IDEA OF THE ANNEXATION TO THE CHALDEAN PARTRIARCHATE HAS BEEN CATOGORICALLY REJECTED BY THE POPE AND THERE FORE SHALL NEVER BE REALISED AT ALL;THAT EVEN THE VERY THOUGHT OF AN ATTEMPT OR ANY APPEAL WHAT SO EVER MADE(TO THE HOLY SEE) FOR THIS PURPOSE WILL BE CONCIDERED AS AN ACT OF INSUBORDINATION AND REVOLT………….Yes Admin ,what do you think about this? Why would any bishop be afraid when he gets a letter from his supreme pontiff? Quite interesting to not that the bishops of smc sent a copy of this letter along with the letter requesting Chaldean missal and breviary not to be restored. That is why I state that smc were not following Chaldean qurbana kramam.

    ROME PROCLAIMS AGAIN THAT THE IDENTITY OF THE SYRO-MALABAR CHURCH IS NOT CHALDEAN-During the first Vatican council the Patriarch of the Chaldean church made a request to bring the syro- Malabar church under its supremacy. But Rome cut right refused this request saying that this church was not under the Chaldean church. The document relating to this order is still kept in Rome. (Arch bishop thoomkuzhi-Sunday shalom July, 2002.)

    ROME REFUSED THE DMAND FOR THE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHALDEAN CHURCH-In 1895 petitions were still being forwarded to the Chaldean catholicos ,Abdisho V.Khayyath, asking him to see to it that the smc be attached to the patriarchate of Babylon. This affair was brought before the Holy See. Rome however acted wisely and well in deciding that the St. Thomas Christians were to remain directly dependent on the Holy See. (Cardinal Eugene Tissarent, Eastern Christianity in India p.120)

    THE END OF CHALDEAN RELATION SHIP WAS A BLESSING TO SMC-……..What spiritual advantage would have been if Malabar had come under Chaldean jurisdiction? For the Chaldean church no longer possessed good priests or suitable candidates for the episcopacy……. (Cardinal Tissarent, Eastern Christianity in India)

    SMC HAS NO PATRIMONY WITH CHALDEAN CHURCH-Thoomkuzhi has quoted from the writings of Leo Peter Kearkels the Apostolic Nouncio of India. ’’’’’SMC is neither a branch nor evolved from a branch of the Chaldean church’’’’’’. (Sunday shalom 2002 July 7)

    These all details from catholic sources. Now why would any body be afraid? This shows that a group in SMC was trying to re-establish the qurbana kramam which was strongly opposed by another group. The situation is not changed so far.

    The second point I stated was SMC pallies are not equipped to celebrate Chaldean raza .All pallies of SMC except pre-Portuguese ones do not have MADHUBAHA , covering VEIL and FOUR BOX STRUCTURE ie ATHI VISHUDHA STHALAM(MADHUBAHA),VISHUDHA STHALAM(where alter boys stand),PRAKARAM (WHERE PEOPLE STAND),and POOMUKHAM.. Majority of the pallies are not even facing the east. In this case how can any one believe that you have followed Chaldean missal and breviary! ’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’ I think you should keep in mind that SMC is very big in comparison with other Saint Thomas Christian denominations. Parish priests, trustees etc plays their role in local constructions’’’’’’’’’’’ whom do you think responsible for the construction of Malankara nazrani pallies?

    Have you attended any Qurbana celebration by Mar Powathil the architect of Chaldeanisation? Have you listened to his voice/ pronunciation.’’’’’’’’’’ Chottayile Sheelam Chudala Vare’’’’’’’’’ Stop blaming Ernakulam for all the problems of SMC. Every one changed so we have also changed-this attitude will not give any reasoning or logic to the various actions/changes/adoptions to the qurbanakramam of SMC

    I can understand your feelings with respect to the speech of Mar thoomkuzhi. He was opening his mind pointing towards the state of affairs of SMC. It is also to be kindly noted that Thoomkuzhi was from anti-Chaldean group. Any way every one heard the speech and could understand what it is meant. If we read this incident along with the statement made by Thomas Antony in his post about the 1999 decision of the SMC synod regarding the kramam ,I think we can probably understand the situation here. You are agreeing that Mar Varkey Vithayathil was a compromise candidate. In that case why shouldn’t he adopt to a mixed Kramam like Thomas stated. This is most likely what happened in order to pacify the two warring factions of SMC. The qurbana kramam which was consulted at Delhi may be an earlier adoption in1988. Any way I am sure about the practice of SMC since I have attended SMC QURBANA many times in various locations such as Changanacherry ,Pala ,Thodupuzha ,Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam, Ernakulam,Delhi etc. from 1980.The other thing I noticed was the use of Latin Capas by SMC priests.

    I have to look for details about the change after 2nd Vatican council as stated by you .I know that 2nd Vatican council allowed the eastern churches to go back to it roots, But as far as Latin church is concerned need solid evidences. Also need to study the practices of Latin Church during various periods. Though I searched for information in the net, I was not able to get any thing related with the change in practices.

  71. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Re Thomas Antony’s comments in post15621.

    Previous posts cover most of the points with respect to Thomas Antony’s emotional outburst .I am sorry I have to do this because he was misinterpreting my silence which I think clearly clarified in my post 15508.Iam not interested in personal allegations to prove ones point. One could check any of my post from beginning .But Thomas categorically stated that I have hatred towards Catholics which I think is outrageous. I stated about my eviction from the hostel (not from college) to show that this matter was discussed among the students and I remember the change of Kramam clearly. But he has again misinterpreted the whole thing. Any way I have no hard feelings.

    Any body who is a serious reader of these posts can see that I never used any foul language to any one even though some one here repeatedly used it against me. I called one person a camouflaged cooli (it is not a derogatory word which means a camouflaged paid writer-a practice in the net) writer and had given reasons for terming him.

    The observations I present here is not for to please any one. I usually follow the facts and try to analyze the matter with other possible evidences. If anybody wants to disprove it by facts and figures I whole heartedly welcome it. Because I am not a believer of traditional malankaranazrani history. This I have stated in my posts regarding Palayoor stories, coonen kurishu sathyam, subjugation of malankaranazranies, and evolusion of episcopacy in malankara etc. That means I do not revolve around church allegiances.

    YES about the various data; Thomas states that Milne Rae‘s data is wrong, on what grounds my dear. I could give some more data respect with this which slightly favor the Milne Rae’s data .A letter sent to Dutch by Mar Gabriel (1721) put the number of pallies as 20 under Carmelites and 44under malankaranazranies’’ Dutch in Malabar ‘’by Wisher describe like this about MarthomaIV

    ’’’’’’’’’’’’’´He is a black man, dull and slow of understand. He lives in great state and when he came to the city to visit the commandant ,he was attended by a number of soldiers, in imitation of the prince of Malabar……According to his own account he has 45 churches under his own authority.’’’’’’’’’’’

    Again Collins put the number is almost equal for the both parties (1873).Which count are you gong to consider as reflects the truth. You need to do some kind of analysis to verify the facts of these data. Please study my analysis with respect these data (post) and do your analysis and let me know the findings. Don’t jump into conclusions before that.

    If Malankaranazranies were using the same Qurbanakramam ,why would VALIYAMAR DIVANNASIOS (MARTHOMAVI) repented and celebrated qurbana for 41 days after his 32 days of imprisonment by Mathoo tharakan and Paremakkil Thomman kathanar.(read post 7956-I don’t want to repeat). Were did you get the information about the change of kramam among Malankaranazranies were from 1770.It was from KALLUNGATHARA PADIYOLA (1843—kollavarsham 1019 kanni 3rd Friday) the detailed documentation available-Mathews mar Athanasius methrapolitha by j.Varghese Shirasthadar vol.1 p.67, Keralathile Nazrani kristhianikal vol.2 p 372 by P.V Mathew.).

  72. M Thomas Antony says

    Now, it looks like Jeevan’s argument has twisted again.

    “The rate of growth of Romo-syriyan and Malankara Nazranies are more or less the same. But what about the growth rate of Latins.”

    Now, he is not concerned about the number of SMC but that of latin rite. He thinks, the number of Romosyrians and Jacobite Syrians grew in the right proportion but the Latin rite Catholics numbers are too low. How does it prove that it was due to conversion into SMC? Romo Syrians and Jacobite Syrians grew equally as he has suggested, then where is the conversions ? Or both converted and added people to their own sects equally.

    To prove his new theory, he has projected Romosyrian numbers very high and Jacobite Syrians numbers too low. All the sources claim that SMC come about 3.4 millions, IOC about 2.5 millions, Jacobites about 1.2 millions, (it has been argued that these two factions are counting the same people twice) and Marthomites, thozhiyoor, Syro malankara etc.

    Re the numbers of churches and people, most of the authors reports that Romosyrians were majority over Jacobite Syrians. The odd man is Milne Rae. On what grounds we can trust his statistics when he himself admits that there were no census data available and these numbers “may be taken as” …. ?

    Those authors, who looked into the number quoted by others and mentioned in their book – those who reviewed the already published data – like Whitehouse, Stephen Neill etc (This gives them more authentication than those who reported their own numbers.) reports that Romo Syrians were majority.

    See what Stephen Neill say in “History of Christianity in India”.

    “Attempts to calculate the number of St Thomas Christians and their parishes which adhered to the rival bishops cannot be more than tentative since our authorities contradict one another at every point……………When all factors have been taken into consideration, the figure of two thirds to Chandy and one third to Thomas may be regarded as acceptable. But it seems that the larger churches and those nearer to the main centres of civilisation adhered to Chandy; strong support for Thomas lay in the remote areas, and among those less influenced by the contacts with the west.”

    (Please note that he confirms Chandy had larger churches compared to Thomas which also attests the numbers taking into account of the statistics on number of churches reported by all authors.)

    Again, look at the years also.

    Whitehouse (1787) – Romosyrians 100 000, Independent Syrians 50 000, Latin’s 50,000
    Richard Collins (1873) – number of Syrians and Romosyrians are almost equal.
    1892 Milne Rae- Romosyrians 11 0000, Jacobite Syrians 33 0000
    The proportion is inverted which also raise suspicion of the credibility of the data by Milne Rae.

    Regarding the numbers quoted by Jeevan with respect to Mar Gabriel’s letter.

    Mar Gabriel was sent by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch to gain the Nasranis under him. He arrived in 1708. Large number of people from Pazhayacoor and Puthencoor accepted him as he was from the original rite. He controlled majority of churches at some point when he was the only Bishop existed in Malabar, when Arch bishop John Rebeiro passed away.

    “ Mar Gabriel informed Visscher, the Dutch chaplain that of the original 64 churches in the doicese, the Syrians had 44 and the Carmelites 22. He doubtless underrated the strength of the Romosyrian party, but probably had in his mind only the old churches over which his predecessors had exercised authority” ( Whitehouse).

    Mar Gabriel resided in churches at Changanacherry, Chengannur, Kottayam etc and ordained priests from Pallippuram, Callurcaud etc. (Paulinose). Changanacherry, Callurcaud(champakulam) and Pallippuram are Romo Syrian churches. Therefore, the word “Syrian” in his letter does not necessarily mean that they all were Jacobite Syrian.

  73. M Thomas Antony says

    “If they were proud Nazranies or if they had considerable number of Nazrani population they would have been objected to the roman bishops and formed a proud group of Nazranies under Malankara moopan. That is not happened because they were suppressed by another group whom were new to the traditions of Malankara Nazranies actually formed Romo Syrian population” -Jeevan’s post.

    Quite interesting about his ignorance. He is totally ignorant about the history of Pazhayacoor after the Coonan Cross oath. History of Mar Kariatty, Paremmakkal Thoma kathanar, Angamali padiyola in 1787, history of Pandari Paulose, etc, shows the efforts of the Pazhayacoor to retain the old tradition and rite. If Jeevan’s arguments were correct, then why did Mar Thoma I to VI all tried for reunion with Pazhayacoor? They would not have wanted to join a party where original Nasranis are a minority.

    I think the legitimate Bishopric was a factor for keeping more people with Parambil Chandy Kathanaar. His consecration raised hope in many communities that this will continue. When the missionaries appointed a European as Parambil Chandy’s auxiliary, there were lot of dissatisfaction among the Pazhayacoor and churches like Manarcaud, Puthuppalli, and Piravom etc left Pazhayacoor and joined Puthencoor.

    I have already explained other factors which gave advantage to Parambil Chandy over Parambil Thomas.

    Regarding the rite of split parties.

    “At first, the supporters of Thomas welcomed Gregory with enthusiasm, believing him to be a bishop of the same tradition as those who had come to rule over in the earlier years. Noting some difference in his manner of celebrating the mass, they began to be suspicious. But Thomas persuaded Gregory to adapt himself to the local rite, the same rite that had been adopted at Diamper and was used by both the palayacoor and Puthencoor. This Gregory agreed to do, except that he would not use unleavened bread in the celebrating of Holy Mysteries. The followers of Thomas did not realize that the newly arrived Bishop was about to introduce among them a theological revolution……..” (History of Christianity in India, Stephen Neill.)

    This also proves that there were discontent among the Puthencoor about the new Bishop and liturgy which also might have favoured more people to stay with the Chandy faction.
    There is much documentation stating that the Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor were using the same liturgy for many years until full adoption of west Syriac rite.

    Regarding the way in which SMC celebrated Qurbana before 1960s, just ask our older generation. I think Jeevan is not understanding the complex politics in SMC, that is why he is persistently arguing that Chaldean was new. This period is not very remote and all documentations are available in various places about the modified East Syriac liturgy. I hope that Jeevan would recede from his argument that SMC was celebrating Qurbana “ad pupulum” until 1986.

    To show that Chaldean rite and name are not new to the Pazhayacoor-

    In 1895, a letter was sent under the leadership of Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar against the use of “Syro Malabar” instead of “Syro chaldaic” in one of the documents from Rome.
    “That we who have been known from time immemorial as Malabar chaldeic Syrians, and belonged to the same rite are now called by the vicar apostolic as Malabar Syrians and an address to this effect have been sent to the Holy See and a reply is said to have been received under the new appellation. This change of our national name is contrary to the ………” ( An account of a very important period of the Catholic Syrian Christians of Malabar Rt. Rev. Mgr. Aloysius Pazheparambil 1920)

    Jeevan has quoted a few articles from Sunday Shalom.
    (A few years ago, Shalom published an article stating – why did God allow humans to reproduce by dirty activities – Mlechhtha. Again, they have published articles stating that Persian crosses are not suitable to keep in the churches and not venerable !!).

    I think Jeevan is catching the wrong end in SMC history. He needs to study more and may be a good idea to write a letter to the author of the articles he quoted in Sunday shalom for clarification.

  74. M Thomas Antony says

    Sorry, regarding conversion,

    “The intransigent stand taken by the old converts, the Syrians, forced the Portuguese to allow in the Romo Syrian Church, the use of Syriac liturgy. They brought together the social equals, the paravan, the valan,the marakkan, and the mukkuvan converts to form the Latin catholic church………..

    ……..The proselytisation activities of the Portuguese and their reclaiming a considerable segment of its followers served as an eye opener for the Jacobite church from the organizational stand point. The story of St Thomas was more actively propagandised and the conversion independent of the Portuguese and the English had begun by the Syrian church in full swing. One of the centers of the Jacobite proselytisation was Kunnamkulam which was visited by Francis Buchanan in 1800 AD. A Jacobite priest from Antioch having “very high jewish features” had been working as the leading force of conversion. The priest informed Buchanan that he had a chronicle exhibiting predecessors from St Thomas and although he promised that he would give a copy of it to the visitor, he used all tactics to retract from his word. “The sect formed by conversion “said Buchanan “entirely resembled the aborigines of the country and when the slaves were converted, they were bestowed upon their liberty and their daily or monthly wages” This fact was suppressed by the Priest probably fearing that conversion might be attributed to “the circumstances more than apostolical virtues”. Nevertheless the converts were rapidly increasing and the priest was daily gaining proselytes to the Jacobite church. (A Social History of India, S N Sadasivan)

    ………..“The census commissioner in 1891 J A Baines who watched the process of conversion has made the rule that “where there is more oppression, there is more conversion”. The missionary Samuel Mateer identifies Muvattupuzha, Thodupuzha, Pathanapuram, chengannur and chertala as the centers of low castes. The fact that except cherthala, all the other places became Christian majority taluks tends to affirm the extent of proselytisation they have witnessed…………….(All these palces are strongholds of Puthencoor.

    …………The Jacobite Syrian church which from the very beginning evinced special interest in ezhava conversion by electic choice, persuaded and baptized no less a person than the son of the brother of Sree Narayana Guru, the renowned spiritual leader of Kerala which as expected served as an impetus to several ezhava families to swell the ranks of the Syrian church………….

    ………..In a circle of two kilometres radius taking the junction of Kallumala in Mavelikkara taluk as the centre, there could be traced 86 families of converts to Christianity from the ezhavas of whom, 18 were Syrian Christians, some of them were kuravas in their first generation of conversion, 50 belonged to CMS without a Syrian stamp, and the remaining to other denominations including the Pentecostal missions. A place where Rev Joseph Peet had carried on with his proselytisation activities, Mavelikkara had been extremely tolerant of conversion…. (A social history of India, S N Sadasivan).

  75. Admin says

    Dear John Mathew

    What you said about the last four centuries as *modern* history, and pretty boring (although eventful), and fairly well known is true. This is also the period with lot of Partisan material and the period is documented to a great extent.

    I hope that Jeevan have some concrete information about Evangelization. I had tried to collect this. Dr. Placid has written that, 4 families did evangelization before the arrival of Portuguese. Caste and social order was sacrosanct, till the temple entry proclamation in Kerala. Conversion was from high castes until Col Munro came to picture. All I could gather was lower caste conversion happened among Saint Thomas Christians after Col Munro’s involvement. Jeevan, here surprises me with stories out of air. I don’t understand how he arrives at conclusions.My knowledge in evangelization in Syro Malabar is limited to the initiates undertaken by few priests. I was just hoping that I could get some more details and information.

    About 10th to 13 th century – This is again with not much of documentation. What I understand on Indian traditions is that, its completely different from what Catholics does in the name of Indianisation. There were many Hindu influenced practices like Pulakuli, Pollution etc. In Synod of Diamper proceedings we can see some of these getting banned.

  76. Admin says

    Dear Jeevan

    Response to your post -15706. I am just adding to what Thomas Antony already mentioned. I don’t understand what you are trying to suggest on Population. Most of the assumptions you base and the data you use to further these assumptions are completely wrong. There is lack of knowledge about Latin rite in Kerala and about Syro Malabar Church History. You are still in Anglican write up mode and don’t know the history of Jacobite side properly. I don’t know how you make theories with just considering a quotation or a letter and ignoring all the other evidences. I would suggest you to do a proper research before making theories.

    1. About the Population

    You again state that in Syro Malabar Church there are many backward communities. At some point you were even creative in suggesting which communities were there. To substantiate this, all you have is an un sourced quotation from Rae on population and few partisan erroneous theories.

    Then you quote, Penelope Carson and say this proves SMC is created with lot of backward class of Kerala.

    Did Penelope Carson or any of the book which talks about conversions of 16th century says this ? What is the evidence ? What do they have to link this to Syro Malabar Church ? This quotation which is there in many books are about Latin rite in Kerala. Latin rite in Kerala consists of many sub classes in each diocese. If you don’t even have any basic idea about Latin rite, please read some history before making theories.

    Portuguese did evangelization and the converted were added to the Latin rite. Latin rite in Kerala consists of many sub divisions in each diocese level. These difference in the diocese level, were very visible till few decades back and can even now be seen in marriages etc. I have actually read many accounts from the published archive information about the relationship between Latin rite and Syrian Catholic rite.

    In Syro Malabar Church Northern Indian Missions started, only after 1962. Till 1887, the Syrian Catholic leaders were busy with autonomy and their priorities were different.

    Even in CSI ( The Syrian Anglican congregation which started after 1836 split when some Jacobite joined Anglicans after the end of Mission Help ) , the first Pulaya was baptized only in 1854, and this was delayed because of the difficulties it might create for the Syrians in Anglican fold. For the evangelizations happened in other denominations, separate churches were constructed for them as was the practice among Catholic side. The Nasranis relations with Hindu population started derailing only after CMS converted in large numbers later and made claims that the converts are “equivalent to Syrians” These activities caused tension in many places and slowly the different arrangements with Hindus and the Nasranis place in Hindu Caste order disintegrated. From 1882, there were mass conversion of Ezhava’s to Nasranis. The earlier initiative on conversions were first influenced by Col. Munro’s polices of (grant) among Syrians and the denominations quest for a modern face. At times later on these were by the initiative of few priests. This came to a standstill with the Temple Entry proclamation.

    If your real intention is to find out Evangelization’s – the level and at what quantity conversions happened in Saint Thomas Christian Community, there is no need to make assumptions based on the non available data of “population” till this day.

    As I said 16th to 20th centuries are not dark ages. One only need to find out the evangelizations happened and at what locations and denominations and who took the initiatives ? Do some research and don’t be surprised if you find more conversions in other denominations.

    I found it very hard to find the sources you use for the Population in your recent Population comparison and a gap of Six lakhs in Latin rite Christians. The Source you should take for statistics of Catholic Population is the Pontifical Yearbook (Annuario Pontificio) published yearly by the Vatican Central Statistics Office. You state that Latin rite population in Kerala is 14 lakhs. What is the source of this estimate ? You have to take a look at the Pontifical Yearbook and tabulate the population of the 11 diocese of Latin Rite in Kerala. I have not done this but what I understand is the population is between 19-22 lakhs as of 2008.

    For Syro Malabar Population also you have to consult the Pontifical Yearbook. According to the 2008 Pontifical Yearbook, the Population is 3,947,396.This is the total Population of 27 eparchies and the total population of the 13 eparchies in Kerala is around 3,700,000. ( – Page 5)

    The Syro Malankara Church Population based on the 2008 Pontifical Yearbook is 413,513.

    To validate what you stated we need to know the authentic population figures from other denominations. I don’t know of any authentic method to calculate the present day population of Jacobite/ Orthodox/ Mar Thoma. (other factions has negligent numbers). My understanding is that the generally given Population of other denominations are in high level and mostly inflated figures.

    If one wants to seriously study the demography, all these estimates from denominations need to be validated.( with Census data on religion statistics etc ). To get an idea of how complex is this you can take a look at K. C. Zachariah. I don’t think he has used many Population quotations available and also don’t know what is the source of his calculations.

    The Population figures of Syro Malabar and Syro Malankara may be cross verified from eparchies in parish level for a sample size. I am not aware of any method to get any proper figure count to verify from other denominations in lower levels.

    Since 1950, State doesn’t count Population based on denominations. Adding to the lack of proper estimate from other denominations, it makes it to relay on rough estimates and provide very limited options to cross verify.

    In case of Syro Malabar Church we can see from the published eparchy level statistics that the Percentage growth from 1990 to 2000 is 17% and 2000 to 2008 is 16 %. There are many factors which influence the growth rate and with out proper information from other denominations one can not arrive at any conclusions.

    I did not suggest to assign Population to Churches. How can one do that when we don’t even know the Population today ? The number of Churches would give an idea about the total strength of factions. What I understand is none of the earlier Population estimates are based on very proper and very authentic data collection. I take the number of Churches more in to account since it is fair to assume that the information Paulinus, Raulin etc provide is after their survey at churches.

    Then there are 17th and 18th century account on Population of Catholic Syrians in some of the reports in the Pontifical Archives, Vatican.

    If there were any major conversions in any denominations, let’s turn back pages and acknowledge those Jewels who had evangelization as top priority,. I have already mentioned this in Posts 15561, 15562.

    Rather than discussing theories which doesn’t have any validity, I would really appreciate if you state hard information like when, where and who did the evangelization and then assign it to any denomination. ( See Post – 15562 ). Suggesting to provide hard evidence before making claims are not emotional comments. Lets take locations as mentioned by Thomas Anotny and take a look at those.

    We just need to do some research and don’t be surprised if you find more conversions in other denominations.

    This is good and In fact, evangelization and their integration to community makes us good. What Thomas Antony quoted as from Mar Powathil earlier is the perfect thought.

    If you remember, John Mathew in one of his posts has very clearly said about the ethnic mix up in Church of East. It is said that there was even a Patriarch who was Chinese. Syriac Christianity has always added people from different cultures/ races.

  77. Admin says

    2. Catholic missionaries added people in Latin rite

    This is not my theory. This is what I understood by reading different books ( all of them). I have mentioned earlier in another posts that when Portuguese missionaries started evangelization, the local kings put many hurdles and the properties of those converted were confiscated by the Raja’s. In some localities, the missionaries has to take prior permission before evangelization

    Latinization is not something which was just among Catholic Syrians in Sixteenth or Seventeenth century. I dont think that Latin traditions are bad. The statement that latinisation was accepted in Syro Malabar Church because of converts shows your lack of understanding Jacobite history before the end of nineteenth century. Does this only applies to Catholics ? The reconciliation agreement which the Dutch government, helped to execute between Mar Thoma V and the Antiochien bishops ( Mar Ivanios, Mar Baselios, Mar Greogorios) in 1754 states that the customs and rituals existing in the Syrian Church should not be changed. Eg. The Catholic custom of shaving the beard and priests wore small caps etc ( Court of the Final Appeal, Case III of 1061). I will write more in the response to what you mentioned about Mar Thoma VI and Qurbana Kramam.

    It was actually the missionaries who jeopardized many of the re union movements.

    What I understand is after the Anglican Church was formed in Kerala with in decades after split, inter marriage among CSI and Jacobite became common. This is because of some what common background among the people. Inter marriages between Catholic Syrians and Jacobite were very common till the time of Anglican influence . There is even an Eighteenth century Pastoral letter from a Carmelite Bishop addressing Catholic Syrians discouraging this practice. Due to the lack of a shared common background, there are not many inter marriages between Latin rite and Catholic Syrians even today. May be you can read, what’s written even by Anglicans on this subject.

    3. About Milne Rae

    Should we need to talk again about Milne Rae. As quoted, he himself doesn’t vouch for what he said on population. He doesn’t mention his sources. Its completely different from what we know of other sources. Paulinus, Du perron, Raulin are better sources of information than Milne Rae is because of the sources they provide on Population and the information they provide on each churches in their accounts. It is an acknowledged fact even by later Anglican authors that earlier Anglican works relied on very limited information. There is no dwarf of partisan information after the split in to factions after Coonan Cross Oath. So essentially it depends on what sources you use.

    There are many other write up’s of some antiquity in different languages. John Mathew has mentioned that in one of his posts earlier. We need to know multiple languages to make proper sense of the history.

    Taking an unsourced quotation from Milne Rae is not the way to do a proper demographic study.

  78. Admin says

    4. Documentation- Indian MSS before and after 16th century

    What I stated in Post- 15561 is “ History is more documented in Catholic side in comparison to the limited documentation available before the arrival of British in the Jacobite side. In addition to the different travelogues, there is a lot of archive information available from Rome as well as local sources which in fact very clearly documents most of the incidents. Some of these are available to general public now. So we have many literatures of Seventeenth or Eighteenth centuries and we just need to search and find those.”

    The above statement doesn’t mean that Catholic Syrians were good in maintaining documentation. I don’t have this view. It just mean that there are lot of archive information majorly from 16th century onwards in Pontifical Archives, Vatican ( These are letters, report, responses, complaints, petitions, short books send to Rome by bishops, delegates, missionaries, local priests and lay) which gives a proper picture comparing to the very less documentation in Jacobite side.

    Some of these include, letters from Archdeacon Gee Varghese ( 1628, 1634), Letters of Archdeacon Thomas ( 1656) , Letters from 4 Latin priests swearing that what Archdeacon wrote in his letter is true ( 1657) etc. Some of them are in Malayalam Garshuni ( In Malayalam language written in Syriac Characters. ( Letter of Mathai Archdeacon (Pazhayakoor ) in 1701 ( Such MSS also exist in Cambridge, Leiden )

    Of course one has to examine, evaluate, conform and cross verify the contents with other references. This collection is enormous and can not be even compared with any other travelogues or accounts.

    Indian MSS before 1599

    What you stated as Malankara has more documentation is again wrong. Only very few Syrian- Indian origin MSS written before 1599 has survived till this date, Nearly all of them are in Vatican library ( 7- MSS, starting from 1311 till the period 1599- including a Bible written in 1510 by the Chaldean Bishop Mar Jacob) . Translations of this are available in Assemani and Giamil but the problem is one has to know latin to make sense out of it.

    The one Indian Syriac MSS before 1599 is at Paris and another one is at the Major Arch Bishop House of Syro Malabar Church (East Syriac Nomocanon by Abdisho of Soba, copied in 1563 explicitly for Mar Abraham). There is also another liturgical book (Kashkol) written in 1594, which is commemorating Mar Abraham, the last Chaldean Metropolitan of the Church in the collection at Metropolitan’s Palace of the Chaldean Syrian Church, Thrissur.

    Then there were the 17 East Syriac books which were burnt during the Syond of Diampoor.

    This is all I know of prior 1599 Indian- Syriac MSS. (I was planning a write up on Syriac- Indian MSS. This list is based on the information I could collect so far.)

    MSS After 1600 AD

    Apart from the collection at Pontifical Archives, there are some Syrian- Indian MSS after 1600 preserved in public libraries in Europe mainly Bodleian, Paris, Leiden, British Museum and Cambridge. Some of the local MSS except the ones at Major Arch Bishop House , Ernakulam and Chaldean Syrian Church, Thrissur are from a later period- 1600 AD. (Excluding the West Syriac Nomocanon at Konat Collection ( 1290 AD ), which is not of Indian origin).These local MSS information’s are mentioned in the Srite project website. There are other collections with few families mostly of 18th century. The local collection mostly makes up late centuries.

    Lets first collect the information before we start claiming !

  79. Admin says

    6. The Quilon Plates -Tharissapalli Cheppedu

    On your question why Tharissapalli cheppedu possession is with Old Seminary Kottayam and Tiruvalla Bishop office ? Why not Catholics ?

    Ours is as always an interesting story. As you know it was the Chaldean Bishop of Angamale, Mar Jacob give it for safe custody to Portuguese. After their surrender of Cochin fort to Dutch, Portuguese were not allowed to take anything belonging to the Church. When Dutch left Cochin fort to British later, they handed over all the documents to British. Mr. Vam Spall had authenticated the vouchers for that. Many of the books/ manuscripts written by Portuguese and Dutch in this collection were burnt by British later on.

    According to Captain Charles Swanston ( In Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in January 1883) Colonel Macaulay, was able to locate the Plates using these vouchers.It doesnot need to mention to whom Colonel Macaulay should hand that over. Colonel Macaulay handed over the Six plates to the Jacobite Metropolitan and that’s how it came in to Jacobite possession. All of them remained together till the time of Mar Mathew Athanasius. In the disputes between Mar Mathew Athanasius and Mar Dionysius, the former produced only 4 plates in court and said that they were all that he had with them. It may be that the other two plates were lost or that they were withheld by interest parties.

    The 4 of the Plates, which Mar Dionysius got through court are at Old Seminary, Kottyam. We did not had any information about missing two plates until Gopinath Rao, later on in the middle of nineteenth century (?) found those at the palace of Mar Titus II, Tiruvalla and they are now at the Metropolitanate in Tiruvalla.

    Who ever has it is not because of not anyone’s preservation skills and i dont think it matters who hold this now.

    7. Why did Mar Thoma VI repent and celebrated Qurbana for 41 days ?

    What you have written in Post -7956, is the usual apologetic stuff I have read. The information you provided is not correct. Do you think that re –union movement only started with Mar Thoma VI ?

    Mar Thoma VI in June 11th 1799, with the presence of people from Pazhayacoor, Puthencoor, Chaldean Bishop Mar Paul Pandari ( He was part of the delegation in 1796 to Chaldean patriarch of Mosul, Mar Joseph IV and was ordained by Mar John Hormez who was the Administrator of the Patriarchate as a Titular bishop for the monastery of St. Behnan, near Mosul and he reached Kerala back in 1798 ), Gubernador Kattakayam Abhraham Malpan etc made the Profession of faith to Catholic Church. He also stated that he has accepted the Udayamperoor Synod and celebrated Qurbana with unleavened bread ( Fr. Bernarnd says it was at June 22nd) . After Six months in December he went back on his submission and was fined Rs.20000 rupees for his conduct. The court realized Rs. 5000 by sale of his possession and the balance was eventually paid.

    The 41 days Qurbana celebration Mar Thoma VI had to do later on from his flocks has nothing to do with Qurbana Kramam. It was full of chaos for a Six month period.

    The Gethsemane Dayro has the personal liturgical book of Mar Thoma VI (Mar Dionysius I ) from the end of the eighteenth century, showing an interesting blend of Jacobite, Chaldean and Catholic services.

    Dr. Placid Podipara had in his possession the divine office copied in 1734 under Mar Thoma V, which was same us what Catholic Syrians used at that time except some slight verbal changes which indicate relation with Jacobites. ( Leslie Brown also writes this. I don’t know where it is now. May be at Mannam Monastery or at Chethipuzha Ashram )

    The personal Pentateuch which is written in East Syriac characters of Mar Thoma VI (Mor Dionysius I) is at Syro Malabar Major Archbishop House in Ernakulam.

  80. Admin says

    Dear Jeevan

    In response to your post- 15707. In your earlier posts you mentioned that Chaldeanisation was accepted in Syro Malabar Church in 1988. There is not an iota of truth in most of your observations. I provided some details about the restoration of the Qurbana and Pontifical in Syro Malabar Church so that you understand what you are talking about. In fact I did not enumerate these in details as it is very lengthy. I have not referred many books out of the many studies conducted on each of these topics and hence cant give a complete picture. As mentioned earlier, the restored Qurbana was celebrated in Syro Malabar Church in 1962 ( from 1958 in Rome).

    I mentioned few details about Syro Malabar Church’s earlier name so that you understand how stupid is the “Chaldeanisation” term, which you have used multiple times in your post. What I have provided was to clarify your misunderstanding. Once you read atleast few of the in depth studies, you will realize the hollowness of your arguments.

    You mentioned that you don’t have any interest in knowing these, then why do you care to write erroneousness theories !

    I would suggest that you try to get some details before making improper conclusions.

    I think these kind of confusions are because our topic of discussion were mostly on ancestry. I will try to include some articles about what happened in each century wise. I don’t have that much time to refer every event of the pretty eventful period and hence the delay.

    Summarizing what you mentioned in post 15707.

    1. The Qurbana celebrated by Syro Malabar Church before 1962, were not Chaldean. The Inference is based on the “interpretation” of the letter send by the Syro Malabar Bishops to Rome.

    2. The letter send from Rome in 1897, clearly mentioned Chaldean Patriarch has no role in Malabar and Rome has no intentions to bring Syro Malabar Church under the Chaldean Patriarch. Then why should the Bishops be afraid ?

    3. Other remarks about SMC Taksa, Church construction, 2nd Vatican council etc

  81. Admin says

    1. The Qurbana celebrated by Syro Malabar Church before 1962, were not Chaldean.. The Inference is based on the “interpretation” of the letter send by the Syro Malabar Bishops to Rome.

    I hope you are pretty much clear about the Qurbana celebrated in Syro Malabar Church after 1962. The Qurbana Taksa before 1962 is not something one need to infer by looking at a letter or church construction or any other things. We have many copies of the Taksa before 1962 available ! The simplest and the most logical way is to compare the text of the Taksa before 1962 with the Chaldean Taksa !!

    The Taksa before 1962 in Syro Malabar is a Syriac Taksa. I have not compared this. I here choose the easiest way, ie, to refer the books written on these topics. I can state that you are completely wrong. This is actually a complex topic. With out a great understanding of the liturgy of Addai and Mari it doesn’t even make any sense to look at these in detail to understand what changes happened. I am not competent enough to do that.

    There are many studies conducted on the liturgy of Malabar by academicians in and outside the Syro Malabar Church.

    One of the first study is done by Fr. Peter Le Brun in 1716. R.H Connolly ( “Work of Meneses” ) did a very through study in 1941 with the available documents of that time and left no doubt about the identity of two ( Malabar – Chaldean) liturgies. Leslie Brown also in his book mentions how identical the liturgies are. ( I think his source is R H Connolly). F C Burkit has also studied about this. Some of the other scholars who have done very detailed studies with respect to the latest documents are D. Webb ( Versions of the Malabar Liturgy, Mar Joesph Sulaqa et La Liturgie Syro- Malabare, Gouvea’s Version of the Nestorian Liturgy etc) , H. W. Codrington ( The Malabar Liturgy and Synod of Dimaper, The Chaldean Liturgy etc) Macomber etc. Kindly refer these.

    Dr. Pathikulangra, Dr. Mannooramparambil, Dr. Vellian etc has also studied and written a lot about these.( Hundreds of articles and books). You can refer any of the books written by them to get a proper idea.

    I can say any person who has some basic understanding about Qurbana of Addai and Mari, wouldn’t make such a statement of proving by letters as Jeevan has done. Depending on the Alqosh or Urmia standard text you choose to compare the Syro Malabar Church’s Syriac Taksa before 1962, one can find some changes. These are mostly, what we know and these changes have taken place in the three centuries and are pretty much recorded and already noted by scholars. Very detailed study from different points of view can be seen in the scholars work whom I have quoted earlier. But in Identity both are nothing but same.

    To make things more clear, am just mentioning some of the information, so that these kind of blunders can be avoided. As mentioned earlier, I am not claiming to be an expert and I am not qualified to comment on liturgy

    The Older hudra MSS contained three Anaphora for use in Chaldean Church. Mar Esai Hudra also contains three Anaphora. ( Macomber – “The oldest known text of the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari”). It is generally accepted that the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, Nestorius and Theodore were in use among Saint Thomas Christians at the time of Synod of Diamper. ( Mundadan- “History of Christianity in India” p-199, Kanichikatil- “Divine liturgy in the vision of Narsai” p-107)

    Lets look at the documented evidences we have before the Synod of Diamper,

    We know about Mar Joseph, who was send to Malabar by the Chaldean Patriarch in 1556. He died at Rome in 1569.He has left a number of manuscripts in Rome. These are parts of the Vatican Library. The Vatican Syr. Codex 45, 46, 66 are that of the Pontifical, Missal and Rituals. These provide as some valuable information about the liturgy which was in use before the Syond of Diamper in Malabar.

    We all know Archbishop Menezes on his tour before the Syond of Diampoor attended Qurbana celebrations based on the Taksa which was in practice at that time. We know that at the Syond of Diampoor liturgy was corrected. I think we don’t have any copy of this corrected liturgy but we will see that this is not strange. This corrected liturgy was printed in each editions of Gouvea. After these corrections, this is very much the same liturgy of the Apostles Addai and Mari. ( As suggested by scholars- Webb has pointed out printing mistakes in Gouvea after he compared the Taksa text with other MSS of the period)

    The changes made by Syond of Diampoor are there in the decrees of Synod of Diampoor proceedings.

    Apart from those changes by the Synod, what I could read is there were only two variations in the Taksa of Malabar printed in Gouvea with that of Apostles Qurbana of Addai and Mari.

    These are the following,

    1. Formulae of Institution (Formulae of Institution, was also there in Vatican Syr. 66 written by Mar Joseph before the Synod in ca 1569)

    2. Order from the lections to the creed is different. (Scholars such as Webb “Gouvea’s Version of the Nestorian Liturgy”, H. W. Codrington suggest that there were a disorder in the text Gouvea used. According to them, it can also be a printing error in Gouvea. )

    To conclude, what was corrected in Synod of Diamper was the same Apostles Qurbana of Addai and Mari in its entirety.

  82. Admin says

    We see that liturgy was corrected by Menezes and was printed in Gouvea. Was this ever used in Malabar ?

    It never came in to use in Malabar. Fr. Placid mentions that the corrected rite as printed by Gouvea was never in actual use by the Church. That would be the reason why there aren’t any copies other than what is printed in Gouvea.(?). With regard to Taksa and Divine Praises, the lack of sufficient books and the impossibility of making new ones prevented it from getting destroyed during the destruction at the Synod of Diampoor.

    In 1601, Franics Roz became the first Latin prelate of Saint Thomas Christians. He was well versed in Syriac and Malayalam. He made further changes in the liturgy in the order in conformity with the Latin rite.

    There are ancient Catholic Syrian Manuscripts which contain the ordinary of the Qurbana and rubrics for the Raza ( most solemn celebration) which mentions the Second Diocesan Synod of Angamali celebrated by the first Latin Arch Bishop Franics Roz ( 1601-1624) of Saint Thomas Christians in 1603. This manuscript is preserved at Carmelite Monastery, Mannanam.( 68 Pages- which contains text of the Qurbana, rubrics for the most solemn celebration called Raza- The title of the text is “ The Order of saying Raza in the Indian Church clarified by Mar Franics in the Syond of Angamale on the forth month of the forth year of his Administration”

    This was some 50 years before the Coonan Cross Oath. I am not sure if the order in the manuscripts of Qurbana of 1603 has the same order of the prayers before the Syond of Daimpoor ie, Vat Syriac Codex 65.(?) Anyway, we see that it was used by all Saint Thomas Christians in 1603.

    In 1606, Bishop Roz codified ‘ Diocesan Statutes” which gives a better picture of the Malabar Church after the period pertaining to Syond of Diampoor.. This MSS is at Vatican library ( Codex Borgiano Indiano No-18).

    The Syriac title is “ Thukasa d’maritha Thomaytha d’hendo which means Statutes of the Thomite fold in India. The Malayalam title is Malankara Mar Thoma Sleeha Edavakede Kalpanakal meaning Statutes of St. Thomas fold of Malankara Church. This is written in Malayalam of Sixteenth century with a slight mixture of Syriac and Tamil. ( A copy of this is in Manjumel Monastery but not complete)

    Matheiken mentions that , The Malabar Qurbana remained altogether Oritental in general arrangements and almost entirely so in its texts and formulae. Romanisation effected to an extent more in the externals. ( For a detailed study please refer the book by Matheiken “Malabar Liturgy in the Light of the Roszian Statutes”. This ‘ Diocesan Statutes” were brought to light recently by J Matheiken. This MS has 142 folios and the detailed study and authenticity of the content can be read in this same book)

    What happened afterwards to the Liturgy ?

    My understanding is both the Pazhyacoor and Puthencoor continued the use of Roz version of liturgy. As mentioned according to the Scholars this is very identical to the earlier liturgy which was in use and different from what Menezes has worked on.

    Following are some changes happened henceforth.

    In 1757, Propaganda considered reprinting the draft Menezes had left, but ten years later they decided that the opposition to change would be too great for it to succeed.

    In 1768, Propaganda ruled that the name of the Chaldean Patriarch should be removed and that there should be elevation immediately after the consecration.

    With these changes the Taksa was printed in 1774 and came in to use. This missal printed in Rome in 1774 was substantially that of Archbishop Roz celebrated in 1603 and agrees with Addai and Mari more closely than what was printed by Gouvea.

    This liturgy got further changes by gradual latinisation and was in use till 1962 in Syro Malabar church until it was restored in 1962. There are many books on this topic available to study for those interested. From my experience one has to have a decent understating about the Liturgy of Addai and Mari to make benefit from the detailed studies. ( To start with, I would suggest “Studies on The Anaphora of Addai and Mari” by Bosco Puthur, “Anaphora of Mar Theodore and Mar Nestorius” by LRC. For a comprehensive study please use, “Chaldeo-Indian Liturgy Volume I to IV” by Dr. Pathikulangra)

    Jacobites also followed the same liturgy. It is said that it was Mar Kurilos, who has changed this liturgy to Saint James Liturgy.

    The letter which Jeevan quoted is nothing but a petition against the restoration of the Qurbana in Syro Malabar Church. I have earlier explained where it comes in the restoration picture. It is not something which can be looked at independently with out even knowing the details. One really has to have lack of common sense to make irreverent claims based on this. I have already mentioned in earlier post very briefly why was such a letter send to Rome and what was the result.

  83. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Dear Admin &All

    The population analysis with respect to Nazranies

    I am sorry to state that Thomas is not getting my point in the study with respect to the population of Nazranies. I hate to repeat it, but have no other option.

    I am not making any new theory here. Let check the data given by Whitehouse. The rate of growth of Nazranies over the years from mid-eighteenth century till present date with respect to different groups is to be checked to verify the acceptability of these data. When we compare this we find that the growth of population with respect to Romo- Syrians and Malankara Nazranies are more or less same. But the rate of growth with respect to Latins is much lesser. Why this phenomenon does take place? the astonishing thing which we observe here is that even without further conversion the population must have been some where around 20 lakhs. But it is Thomas and Admin’s argument that Catholic missionaries added people in Latin rite not in Latinized Romo-Syrian rite. In that case the population growth must have been much more as compared to Romo-syriyan growth, which is not true, why?

    Here is my analysis. There are four options we have. I am comfortable with all options; only thing is that you have to explain it to me. Option no.1– the data as well as the hypothesis are right. Then explain it to me that why the population of Latins is so less as compared with Malankaranazranies since both has been reported population strength of 50000 each. Also accommodate space for your hypothesis that Catholic missionaries added people in Latin rite not in Latinized Romo-Syrian rite.

    Option no.2 –the data is right, the hypothesis is wrong .that means the missionaries added people to Latinized Syrian rite which again indicate that the data is wrong.

    Option no.3-the data is wrong, the hypothesis is right. Then we have to search for other sources of information like Milne Rae and apply the hypothesis there which again gives negative result.

    Option no4-both is wrong .that means we have to search for other data and apply the opposite of the hypothesis. In this case the data with respect with Milne Rae seem to be more accurate.

    Now Thomas claims that I have inflated the population of SMC. Let Thomas read the post of Admin (15906) and sort it out by himself. As far as Latin population is concerned, I followed the information given by their respective sites on the net. Out of 11 dioceses, 7 dioceses give respective figures of population in their site .in order to get the rest I consulted the diocesan data furnished to the holy see by the diocesan curias concerned -1995(1331265) I calculated the rate of growth with respect to the current data (of the dioceses which have current population figures) and calculated the current figures of those dioceses which do not have current population figures by applying the same rate of growth. This has given me the number as1367787.I added an upper correction figure of 32213 to arrive 14 lakh .I think I am not deflating the figures. As far as the data with respect to Malankara Nazranies are concerned ,we have to rely on insider sources .This also can be checked with the population of respective areas where the malankara Nazranies have concentration. You can see the population figure of 22 lakhs for Malankara Nazranies is not deflated if we consider the total population of Christians in Kerala.

    This population comparison is not a serious study as you suggested .I know that we need more detailed information for this purpose. But it indicate the level of correctness of these data. Since we have opposing data we need to check the veracity of this information.

    I am not suggesting you to assign population to pallies rather consider the pally counts. How can this reflect the actual population? There is no logic in this argument that the number of pallies reflects the population.

    The data collected by various authors (Paulinus, Whitehouse etc) are from secondary source as you stated while Rae’s data are primary (as noted in his preface). Collin states that the population is almost equal. I don’t understand why you people are adamant in suggesting the above authors are correct .what is the reason behind it? More over did these authors categorically state that their data are correct? Whitehouse takes the data from Paulinus and Duperron depend on Bishop Florentius of Carmelite bishop of Malabar .Kindly note the background of these sources in order to ascertain the validity of the data!.

    If we take Collins data (equal) is correct then how are you going to explain the current population figures? In that case you have to agree that the hypothesis suggested by you is wrong. That means these data are more or less imaginative.

    The reason why I suggest Rae’s data is more correct that it give us a comparatively clear picture with current population figures. More over George Milne Rae was the first author who did a balance study about Nazrani History. He was not carried away by any of our imaginative stories .Other wise you provide me with some good logic to disprove my suggestion than talking about Anglican works or conversion by CSI missionaries

    We can see Latinization is mainly applicable to Romo Syrians when we study the history of Nazranies during 17th to19Th century. Malankaranazranies followed their old traditions more vigorously after the coonen kurishu sathyam. Mar Thoma-Antiochene compromise (1754) acknowledged Mar Thoma as the Malankara moopan and that no priest will be ordained without the permission of Mar Thoma .In returns he agreed the supremacy of the patriarch. How can one compare a tactical agreement by Mar Thoma with latinization policy of Rome/Portuguese among Romo-syrians.

    Now take the geographical distribution of malankara Nazranies vis-a-vis Romo Syrian. Malankaranazrani population is concentrated either old capitals or old market places while Romosyrian population is in and around coastal region (except few cases).

    Another important thing one needs to consider is the population of Nazranies during Parangies. There is a consensus among historians that population of Malankara Nazranies around mid 16th century was around 2 lakhs. If we compare this figure with Whitehouse/ Duperon‘s, we will not be in a position to explain why there is no growth (rather reduction) in population (even after a hundred years) .This also indicate that the figures noted by Duperron /Whitehouse have some serious error in it.

  84. JEEVAN PHILIP says


    I have compared documents with respect to MALANKARA NAZRANI VS ROMO SYRIAN not with respect to malankaranazrani vs Rome. How can you compare malankara Nazranies with Rome & their allies with that amount of money and power? If you want to compare please do it with Malankaranazranies vs Romo-syrians. That comparison makes it more logical and reasonable. Of course one must remember that majority these documents with Rome either forcibly taken or purchased. You must be remembering what the arrogant Menezes did in his visit to various malankaranazrani pallies before analysing this subject.

    However I don’t want to waste my time on this subject since an excellent work is done by J.P.M VAN DER PLOEG O.P in his book called THE SYRIAC MANUSCRIPTS OF ST.THOMAS CHRISTIANS .He covered all possible libraries including Vatican library; Rome, university library; Cambridge, Bodleian library ; Oxford ,Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris ,university library;Leiden ,Municipal university library; Amsterdam ,Archives of the congregation of the propaganda ;Rome, and Archives of the society of Jesus, Rome. Detailed information is available with respect to the libraries of Kerala is also given. So there is no point in detailing of all MSS since the book is sufficient for a serious reader.

    You are only talking about colonial collectors details; rather you should check it with authorities like Van Der Plog before taking claims. Interestingly he was Dominican priest. He clearly state that Pampakuada (Konattu) has certainly the richest library of Syriac manuscripts in Kerala.

  85. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Tharissapalli cheppedu.

    Yes Tharishappalli cheppedu is not originated from Mar Jacob. have you ever read the book called JORNADA OF DOM ALEXIS DE MENEZES (of course you did a book review).Turn to page389 in which the writer talk about the Teualecare (Thevalakkara palli)visit of Menezes ……..…….and before leaving the Christians brought to show him big olas of copper written in diverse characters, which contain many privileges and incomes which king who founded Coulao gave to the church which was built there by the two who came from Babylonia ,Mar Xapor and Mar Prodh as we have said above ,which olas are retained by Christian of this church as an invaluable treasure …………read yourself .now tell me why are you so myopic in observing history. This is from a catholic source.

    Above narration shows that the cheppedu belongs to tharissapalli ie THEVALAKKARA PALLI and now it is in the legitimate hands. Is this also applicable to IRAVI KORTHAN CHEPPEDU (of course it is not an exclusive nazrani cheppedu) Also kindly note that the KOLLAM in those days was not kollam of today but KUREKKENI KOLLAM i.e. KAYAMKULAM. Man we need to do a lot of serious research before jump in to conclusions.


    When one find difficulty in answering he try to defend himself declaring it as ‘’’usual apologetic stuff’’’’.since I have clearly describe about the back ground and incidence relating to mar Thoma VI arrest(post 7956) ,there is no need to repeat it .What admin says is not logically or analytically correct. Why should Mar Thoma VI be fined for? It is interesting to here that the fine was for his conduct. How many cases one could see in Kerala history that court fined for ones belief?

    Do you know that there were three negotiation regards with unification of malankaranazranies at Chengannur, Kayamkulam and Niranam.All these discussion had taken place at Mar Thoma’s residence. This itself shows the interest shown by the Romo- Syrians.They were badly in need of a malankara hierarchy .The pathetical condition of Romo-syrians forced them to go after Mar Thoma.

    It is quite interesting to observe that many pro-Romo-syrian historians produce many versions of MARTHOMA VI’s letters. But recent observation by ISTVAN PERCZEL (SRITE) regarding these letters state that their initial study suggests that the letters produced in different languages have serious differences in content. It is also noted that the Varthamana pusthakam by paremakil thomman kathanar can certainly give some information related with these letters as he himself state on the chapter 47 that chapter (Padam)13,14,15 contain details about the letters. But the publisher says that is damaged. When we read this along with ISTVAN PERCZEL observations, one could easily find who is manipulated the documents (for more evidences one could again consult NIRANAM GRANDAVARI)

    One should study the position of Thachil Mathoo tharakan regards with political/administrative set up during this period to understand the gravity of the situation. He was no.3 in the line of administrators after the king and divan of Travancore. He could do whatever he wanted in the matters of administration. He was the one who sent Pandari Paulose to Chaldean Partriarch for the consecration.

    What happened to Pandari Paulose the so called methran?He became mad after he was poisoned by Carmelites and he started celebrating qurbana without holy sacraments(Niranam grandhavari) .Dom Jose De Soledad(Mamballi Methran)who was a party to the Mar Thoma VI’s arrest was expelled from Malabar because his alleged killing of a priest. Kattakayath Avirah kattanar was also lost his governador position.

    Every body knows what happened with Mathoo tharakan. Tharakan was caught (kollavarsham 974 midhunam 12) by people from Anchuthengu and cut his ears and brought him to Thiruvanathapuram. His house at Thathampalli was razed to the ground (using elephants) byVelu thambi dalava (kollam982, thulam 10) He was again charged with revolt against Britishers and sentenced for death (1809). .His death sentence was reduced to compensation of money with the influence of arch bishop Raymond of Joseph O.C.D. vicar app. Of verapoly. Br.Leopold in his book’’’ Keralathile Latin kristianikal’’’ state that this money was used to meet the expenses of students of Pazhaya seminary, Kottayam by the order of resident Manro. Ittup writer also state that an amount of Rs 2000/-was received by Pazhaya seminary in his book ‘’’’’suriyani kristhyanikalute sabha charithram.

  86. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Now you are taking another route to answer the points I raised in my post through the comparison of liturgical books used by romo-syrians with Chaldean original thaksa. Here you state that there is not much difference exist between them .how far this approach is correct? It depends on the MSS/books we have. How many corrected books we have with us? Where did we get these books from? We need to find these answers before the comparison.

    Kindly note that there are different thaksas found from various places of malankara. Can we suggest that all these practiced in malankara? Did malankara practice a uniform thaksa ?A well organized /structured church like SMC is not practicing a uniform thaksa even today, then how can we suggest that Romo Syrian practiced Chaldean thaksa(under mighty force like Rome).

    It is agreed by contemporaries like Mathews Dias a Latinized ST.Thomas Christian, Fr.Dionysio, the Rector of the cochin college, Fr.Melchior Carneiro, Barretto, Monserrate Soledade, Pentiado, Joseph the Indian and Barbosa that the Indian priests (kathanars) were celebrating the holy Eucharist in a way totally different from that of Chaldean bishops. (Fr.Jacob Vellian & Fr.Varghese Pathikulangara in the ‘Eucharistic Liturgy in the Christian East’ p255-256)

    The point I stated in my post was that SMC turned towards east for celebrating qurbana from 1988.for the support of my point I quoted letters from bishops & Rome. These letters categorically states that the kramam which used by SMC was not Chaldean .There is no need to down play these letters .Actually the kramam was a Latinized one. A small group in SMC was eager to restore the original Chaldean kramam instead of the Latinized one
    But Joseph pulikkunnel says that the attempt of chaldeanization started in 1985.’’’’’’’’ in1985 congregation of oriental churches ignoring the majority view of the bishops and members of the church imposed the liturgy of the Chaldean church on the St. Thomas Christians and declared it as its tradition’’’’’’’

    ‘’’’’’’’’ the SMC had a claim to be declared as a major Episcopal church even in 1970.But a small minority of bishops has been objecting to the elevation with the connivance of the congregation for the eastern churches .the stand taken by the congregation was that unless the bishops agree for the Chaldeanisation of the church, the church would not be allowed the status of ‘sui juris’. ‘’’’’’’’’’’’’

    ‘’’’’’’’’’’IMPOSITION OF CHALDEAN LITURGY—–Then in 1986, over ruling the opinion of the vast majority of the bishops, oriental congregation imposed the Chaldean liturgy as the legitimate liturgy of the Nazrani church!!!!! ‘’’’’’’’’’’’’

    Now I have to make a correction here that the adoption of Chaldean liturgy by SMC was in1986 not in 1988(as noted in my previous posts). A hue and cry erupted in the church when the Romo- Syrians learned of the insult meted out to them by the congregation. Pop came to know the revolt and appointed the ‘Archbishop White Commission’. Those who are interested to know more about please read IDENTITY OF NAZRANI CHURCH OF KERALA by Joseph Pulikkunnel.

    Not only the clergy but the laymen also were worried. Proff.K.M. CHANDY an eminent member of the church and formerly Governor of Gujarat petitioned to Pop on2/1/1992. ‘’’’’’’’’’’with deep anguish and distress over the present state of affairs in the SMC I am approaching the Holy See with the request for fresh look at the RECENTLY INTRODUCED LITURGY which has provoked great resentments among the laity in general as also a large section of the clergy.’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

    Whether this Latinized kramam followed east facing celebration method or west (people) facing one till 1962, are to be checked. The palli architecture and madhbaha structure indicate a west facing one. They were not using the veil in front of madhbaha .most of the pre-diamper churches under romo-syrians were reconstructed to accommodate statues. Their madhbahas also altered to suite the Latin tradition. There is a possibility that Kochi and surrounding areas followed west facing while Changanachery followed east facing method for some time and later turned to people facing method. I understand that SMC QURBANA was in vernacular from 1962. But they followed people facing worship till 1986(as stated by Joseph Pulikkunnel) when pro-Chaldean group got permission from authorities for east facing worship. This has created a split among SMC that one group favouring Chaldeanization and other group against it.

    The things are much clear now. My suggestion is to stop propagating stories which have no base. You will not be able to hide the truth with this kind of propaganda .open your mind towards other supportive evidences which are plenty out there.

    ‘’’’’’’’I have already mentioned in earlier post very briefly why was such a letter send to Rome and what was the result’’’’’’ Admin,.you are making mockery out of your bishops.

  87. Admin says

    Dear Jeevan

    In your recent comments – 16311 to 16314, you have repeated the same arguments again. You should know that by now, repetition of erroneous observation will not make it a fact. As I have stated multiple times, many books investigating these topics in detail are available to us today.

    Let me finish what I was doing earlier. The following posts are in continuation of 15905.

    2. The letter send from Rome in 1897, which clearly mentions Chaldean Patriarch has nothing do in Malabar and Rome has no intention to bring Syro Malabar Church under Chaldean Patriarch. Then why should the Bishops be afraid ?

    This is actually a good question. Why should any Bishop be worried, when there is an order from Rome ! Well, you should not have asked this, if you had looked at the turbulent history after the Coonan Cross Oath.

    This was not the first time in history that such a communication came. Shortly after the Syond of Diampoor, the Chaldean Patriarch was asked not to interfere in Malabar. He did ask the question that why only in Malabar they have the error ! Why the Chaldeans in Mesopotamia doesn’t have the same error !

    Even with these restrictions we could see that Chaldean Patriarch was involved in Malabar. Bishops were send periodically to Malabar. Some times, these has been done very tactfully. Some of the Bishops who came after the Coonan Cross Oath are Mar Simon , Mar Gabriel, Denha Jona, Mar Paul Pandari, Mar John Guriel, Mar Rocos, Mar Mellos etc and many others as priests.

    After the Coonan Cross Oath, among the Pazhayacoor there were activities for having an indigenous hierarchy here. In fact the Chaldeans has also helped, a number of times as well. In 1796, there was a joint delegation send by Catholics and Jacobite to the Chaldean patriarch of Mosul, Mar Joseph IV. The Patriarch had died by that time. When the delegation reached there, it was Mar John Hormez who was the Administrator of the Patriarchate. Mar John Hormez, ordained Mar Paul Pandari as a Titular bishop for the monastery of St. Behnan, near Mosul. He can not ordain him directly for Malabar because of the restrictions from Rome. They reached Kerala back in 1798.

    So even with the restrictions and orders, you can see that there was active involvement of Chaldean Patriarch in Malabar till an indigenous hierarchy was formed in Syro Malabar Church.

  88. Admin says

    In 1886, the Padroado jurisdiction over whole Malabar was suppressed and Vicariates were created.There was also demand to have Bishops from Chaldea and many Petitions were sent for this purpose. Some of them are, Petition from Kallorkad Church to the Holy Father in 1894, Petition of 76 Suriani Priests in the name of whole Syro Chaldean Church to the Holy Father in 1895 etc. ( See the following book for more details Varicatt – “ The Suriani Church of India and her quest for Autochthonous Bishops”) .

    In 1895, a letter was sent under the leadership of Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar. I think this request was not for asking Bishops from Chaldea. ( Post-15876).

    The quotation from Cardinal Tissarent was basically about this period where he questions the benefits, that the Syro Malabar Church can get by being under Chaldean Patriarch again. This is from the book “Eastern Christianity in India. A History of the Syro-Malabar Church from the earliest time to the present”. I would suggest that, please read the book and see where the quotation fits in.

    In 1895, the Vicar Apostolic of Kottyam Bishop Charles Lavinge and his secretary Fr. Louis Pazheparambil submitted a petition that members of the church are not Syro Chaldeans but Syro Malabarians.

    In 1896, the Aposotlic delegate in India Zaleski suggested not to use the name Chaldean to refer Church in India. There were protests against this in Malabar. ( See the book A C O Deleg- Suriani Malabar 1889-1900) .

    The indigenous prelates were appointed from 1896. These indigenous Bishops of the Syro Malabar Church were very much aware of the injustice done to the Church. They knew that if Rome changes the decisions it has taken, it might cause problems for them. This can be the most prominent reason for their lack co operation and interest on restoration when an indigenous hierarchy was created. This is my personal opinion and the reason why I stated may be they were afraid.

    I am not aware about any petitions after the indigenous hierarchy was created in Syro Malabar for wanting to be under the Chaldean Patriarch. In the books of Fr. Placid, who can be called as the modern Father of the Syro Malabar Church, we can read that he advocated for the complete restoration of East Syriac traditions more than anyone but was not in favor of being under the Chaldean Patriarch. In fact he opposed the same idea.

    Being under the jurisdiction of Chaldean Patriarch and restoring the Chaldean rite in authentic way are two different things.

    But we can see that in order to avoid the latter, the rumor that the Church is going to be under the Chaldean Patriarch again was widely circulated. I have heard that in 1940’s-1950’s, there was a rumor to the effect that, there were effort from the Chaldean Patriarch to rule Malabar. Even in 1980’s such an opinion was active for confusing the people.

    What I understand is, in the turbulent period after the split till 1897, the Syro Malabar church has very well experienced the problem of not having indigenous rulers. That experience wont make her to compromise in having an indigenous hierarchy. If we compare 1897 onwards we can see this approach has provided good results. Syro Malabar Church has produced many Scholars on Eastern Christianity after its autonomy. It is the third largest sui-iris Church in Catholic Communion. Some of the liturgists today are world class scholars. ( I have read this from some well know Orientalists)

  89. Admin says

    3. Other remarks about Taksa, Church construction, 2nd Vatican council etc

    Church Construction

    I have already given you a link of some churches. There are many new churches constructed properly. Apart from that, there are even new Churches which look like Ship. There are places where people want to demolish the old one and construct variety of new models !!

    I think your statement on sanctuary Veil was influenced by an article written by Thoomkuzhy. It is a reality that there are Bishops, Priests who think that they are better than Early Church fathers, that they are better equipped to change the practices set by early church fathers. I have no words to explain them. Here you state that no church has veil and hence Raza can not be celebrated. The list of churches you gave and what you suggested is wrong. Then you state this proves that Chaldean taksa was not used earlier to 1962. Your statement is again incorrect as was explained in earlier comment.

    In reality Syro Malabar Church had a tradition of sanctuary veil till the introduction of the 1962 liturgical text with vernaculisation. ( Kanichikatil- “To Restore or to To Reform”). All the Churches had veil till 1962 and things started changing afterwards. “The Order of the Holy Mass of the Syro Malabar Church 1981” clarified the confusion created on Veil ( in 1962 ?) and clarified that it need to be there. The Raza Taksa does has provisions for veil. But in 1986, the Syro Malabar Bishops Conference resolved that sanctuary veil for celebration is not compulsory for the Simple form of the Qurbana. In the “Direction on the Solemn and Simple form”, RDSML, it is left to the discretion of the local ordinary about the Solemn and Simple form Qurbana celebrations. As Raza Taksa has provisions for sanctuary Veil, I think technically you are right in saying Raza can not be celebrated in churches where Veil is not there.

    As far us I understand, the hypothesis you built using this information till 1962 etc and everything else are wrong. You are just using some of the quotations from the articles which came out as part of the politics with your own adaptations.

    If you are interested in more details please refer the following– “Church and Celebration, The Interior of a Church or Chapel in the Chaldeo-Indian Tradition” by Denha Services, “Liturgical Identity of the Mar Toma Nazrani Church” – Dr. Geo Thadikkatt; “Directives of the Solemn and Simple forms”, RDSML, “Beyond East and West”- R Taft. “General Instructions on the Solemn Raza”, RDSML or what has been used, details from the MSS of 1603- “The Order of saying Raza in the Indian Church clarified by Mar Franics in the Syond of Angamale on the forth month of the forth year of his Administration”.

    About your comments- I don’t know what made you to make such remarks against John Mathew. John actually has been very clear and quite consistent on what he was writing. If you look back he has criticized a number of things. He has been correcting the wrong hypothesis and mis quotations every one was putting forth. Most of the things he has written about Eastern Christianity are from very proper sources. He has been very clear on this. Is that what made you to suggest that he is writing for some one else. In that case don’t you think that the same logic can be applied to what I have been putting forth and to you or anyone else.

  90. Admin says

    About Latin Church

    What I stated about Latin Church practice is correct. You can refer any book which details about the Second Vatican Council. These are known to those who has a bit of understanding about Latin Church.
    You also stated some Syro Malabar priests use Latin Capas. Where did you see this ? I know about few priests who uses Latin vestments.

    In post – 15708, I read you quoting Visscher about Mar Thoma IV. Did you read what he was mentioned in complete. “ He wears on his head a silken cowl, embroidered with crosses, in form much resembling that of the Carmelites”.

    Qurbana Celebration

    The remarks you made about the Qurbana celebration by Mar Powathil were unwanted. You have suggested a “new” finding about pronunciation. My dear friend, which scale did you use to gauge Mar Powathil ? What is your understanding about the Qurbana of Addai and Mari to make such a statement? What do you know about restored Qurbana ?

    There was not even a bit of truth in what you have written so far about the Qurbana.

    Let me ask you how you got the impression that Restored Qurbana in SMC was about few Syriac words! I would suggest that please refrain from making ignorant remarks. The gauge of measuring oriental traditions is not few Syriac words. Till 1962 Syro Malabar Church had every celebrations in Syriac. Latinisation came through Syriac. In Nineteenth century the very thought was that everything in Syriac, is Oriental. It doesn’t really matter whether it is an eastern or western piety or practice. If it is in Syriac it was treated as very good even if it is against the theology. If Oriental-ism was all about that, there was no reason to accept that Church was latinised in 1888. It could have fooled people claming oriental tradition with the continued use of few Syriac words. Lets at least make an effort to learn before putting forth ignorant remarks. Kindly understand the gauge of measurement which people use is different.

    About the different Taksas

    I have already stated with out going in to the detail about the Taksa available in Syro Malabar. I have tried not to make any erroneous statements as far as liturgy is concerned. If there is any please point that out and I would be glad to correct.

    Shalom Times, Satyadeepan etc are not any reference books. Most of the articles in these periodicals on these topics are purposefully drafted to fool people. I am not saying that those who write are fools but they seem to think that they are better than early church fathers. They still continue the same. Some of the articles which came in Shalom Times and other periodicals, were already answered by Mannooramparambil, Vavanikunnel etc in the following editions. I also have an experience in getting confused by reading all these. What you are writing is quotations taken from here and there from some of these articles with some of your own theories. This is a problem with not reading any worthwhile books. I would recommend you to refer proper books which deal with in depth studies on all these which I have mentioned in every topic. One should use those if really interested to get more details.

  91. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Dear Admin,

    ””””””””’16311 to 16314, you have repeated the same arguments again. You should know that by now, repetition of erroneous observation will not make it a fact.””””””’

    I am not repeating rather answering to the points you& Thomas have raised.”’Erroneous observation” on what grounds my dear.Facts and figures will do,not baseless statements.

  92. TKV says

    Dear Admin,

    1)You also stated some Syro Malabar priests use Latin Capas. Where did you see this ? I know about few priests who uses Latin vestments.

    Not few priests , The SMC priests used the latin cappas till recently. I remember the catholic church services during 1979-1985. They did never used the colourful east syrian kappas. More over SMC started using the Syrian cross very recently.

    2)Being under the jurisdiction of Chaldean Patriarch and restoring the Chaldean rite in authentic way are two different things.

    There is only one authentic way- restoring the Chaldean rite means Being under the jurisdiction of Chaldean Patriarch .

    Can you reveal how many of the SMC churches are east faced and how many are west faced?

    About the veil in SMC, what jeevan stated is true. For understanding this fact you should study about the construction and the year of construction of SMC churches. Your observations are mainly hanging on the catholic resources and you turn away faces to non catholic resources.

    Almost majority churches built OR rebuilt by SMC are the madbaha facing the west and with out a veil.(they are not in east syrian style)

  93. Varghese Paul says

    Dear TKV,

    Addi & Mari liturgy is 2000 year old. Chaldean Church is only 500 year old. (Approx) How is Chaldeans better than Assyrians in terms of apostolic succession? Other than the fact that they are Catholic? But then what is the connection between the Catholic Church and Addi & Mari? Our historic connection (especially in connection with this Ancient Apostolic liturgy) is with the Church of the East which today is synonymous NOT with the Chaldeans’ Church but with the Assyrians’ Church.
    And if you have any knowledge of the bible at all from the point of view of the Bible Chaldians are considered inferior to the Assyrians: “Behold the land of the Chaldeans; THIS PEOPLE WAS NOT, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin!” KJV Isaiah 23:13
    “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” Job 1:17
    “Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.” KJV Isaiah 47:5
    But of Assyria God says: “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.” Isaiah 19:24-25


  94. Admin says

    Dear TKV

    Here are few questions to you, regarding the Latin Vestments

    1. When did the Saint Thomas Christians started using Latin Vestments ?
    2. When was this practice changed among Malankara ?
    3. When was this practice changed among Catholic Syrians ?

    Here for the number.3 you have suggested some details ( ie, Change was from 1985). I mentioned in Post -16340 about the current practice. I can give you some hints on number 2.

    The reconciliation agreement which the Dutch government, helped to execute between Mar Thoma V and the Antiochien bishops ( Mar Ivanios, Mar Baselios, Mar Greogorios) in 1754 states that the customs and rituals existing in the Syrian Church should not be changed. Eg. The Catholic custom of shaving the beard and priests wore small caps etc ( Court of the Final Appeal, Case III of 1061)

    Visscher about Mar Thoma IV writes that .“ He wears on his head a silken cowl, embroidered with crosses, in form much resembling that of the Carmelites”.

    This will helps us to get a complete picture. My understanding is for more than 2 centuries all the Saint Thomas Christians used Latin vestments. I don’t have any dislike for latin vestments.

    Your comments about Veil- Is it difficult to understand what I wrote on this topic. I stated that the change happened afterwards 1962 as the liturgical text did not prescribed the same. Till the 1962 liturgical text, the Sanctuary veil has to be drawn back during liturgy.

    A good number of modern churches were built either in circular or semi circular models and these further supported this practice. I have very clearly distinguished in all the comments my personal opinion. None of the other information’s are my “original research”. There are many studies conducted on all these topics and what I quoted are only some information from them.

    Regarding Construction, you should know your numbers when you say this. When did the practice of constructing Churches with madbaha facing the west started in Catholic Church ?

    In Catholic Church, even prayer facing people was only introduced in 1964. The “Instruction on the Proper Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” issued in 26 September 1964 says “ It is lawful to celebrate Mass facing people” in Catholic Church. Vatican II in fact says nothing about “facing the people’ ( Ratzinger- The Spirit of the Liturgy). “General Instruction on the Roman Missal” ( 1970) doesn’t clearly mention about the position. How ever after Vatican Council, this was accepted in general in Roman Church.

    In Syro Malabar Church this practice started after 1968. “The Final Judgment” n. 40 a . RDSML, says ” The Introduction of mass versus populum was done with out any approval from the Holy See. ( See- “Roman Document on the Syro Malabar Liturgy”, Kottayam, OIRSI, 1999)

    I will use sources which I think is authentic. If there is something wrong please point out that, than saying these are from Catholic sources. These arguments are because of the lack of awareness about many studies conducted.

  95. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear Varghese Paul,

    Re. the real apostolic succession from the East Syriac church.

    The East Syriac church was united until 1552 when there was a rival Patriarchate was established by Mar Yohannan Sulagha VIII against the official Patriarch Mar Shimon IV.on the issue of hereditary succession of Patriarchate.

    Mar Sulagha met the Pope of Rome and entered into communion with the Roman Catholic Church and occupied his seat at Diyarbakir while the official hereditary Patriarch was based at Alghosh which was the majority.

    In 1662, the Patriarch at Diyarbakir Mar Shimon XIII Denha broke his communion with the Roman Church and resumed ties with the Alghosh line and moved his seat to Quochanis and continued as parallel Patriarch.

    In 1672, Mar Yousif, a rival from the traditional Alghosh line declared as a Patriarch and professed communion with Rome and Rome appointed him as the Patriarch of Chaldeans at Diyarbakir (1681).

    Now there were three Patriarchs- traditional Alghosh, Quochanis and Diyarbakir Patriarchs.

    In 1804, the traditional Alghosh Patriarch Elias Mar Shimun XIII died and the next patriarchate position fell onto his nephew, Yohanna Hormizd, who was already a Catholic Metropolitan at Mosul under the Chaldean Patriarch. When the Diyarbakir Catholic Patriarch died, Yohanna Hormizd rejoined Catholic faith and Rome Appointed him as the Chaldean Patriarch (1830) and the whole traditional Alghosh line of CoE ( the main body of CoE and the vast majority) became Catholic.

    At this point, Quochanis line of rival Patriarchate claimed the title Assyrian church. The current Assyrian Patriarchs are successors of Mar Sulaqa who was in communion with Rome for at least 100 years and the Chaldean Patriarchs are successors of the traditional Patriarchs from the beginning.

    Now, tell which is the real successor of the Apostolic East Syriac church?

    Please do not be confused with the ethnic “Assyrians “and “Chaldeans” with Assyrian Church and Chaldean church. The Assyrian people of Upper Mesopotamia have always been an important part of the Church of the east, though historically they were only one of the many ethnic groups within the church.

    Why do you think becoming Catholic disqualify them from East Syriac traditions? Why Catholic Church can’t have connections with Addai and Mari? During addai mari time, there were only one church.All the divisions happened after that . Today, the vast majority of people who use the Anaphora of Addai and Mari are Catholics.- The Syro Malabar Church and the Chaldean catholic Church). The Assyrian Church of the East and Ancient Assyrian Church are a very minimal minority compared to Chaldean Church. On the other hand, Syro Malabar church is much bigger than Chaldean Church- at least 5 times.

    (As far as I know, there is no church exists in the world who use Liturgy of Addai and Mari who has never been in communion with the Catholic Church.)

    Church of the East had relations with Rome in the past also. We have discussed in the past in here about Pope Gregory III who was a Chaldean.

    In 1200s, Rabban Sauma went to Rome and celebrated the East Syriac liturgy in Rome and met the Pope and addressed him “With the pardon of my faults and sins which I have received from thee O Father, I desire of thy fatherliness, O Holy father, that I may receive the communion from thy hands so that I may have complete forgiveness” and the Pope said “It shall be so”. This rabban Sauma became the Patriarch of Church of the East in 1289 as Mar Jaballaha III.

    There were attempts for full communion with Roman Church by Patriarch Mar Sabrisho V (1247) and Jaballaha III (1288) but were not longstanding. ( Zubhi Zora, Orientalia Christiana Analecta 247 Rene Leynant ed. Pontifical Institutum Studorium Orientalium, Rome, 1994 P 348

    In the council of Florence, 1438-1445, all the Church of the East in Cyprus joined the Catholic communion. Bishop Thimotheos of the diocese of Cyprus of Church of the East signed a document of unity with the Roman Catholic Church describing himself as the Metropolitan of Tarsus for the Chaldeans. They later adopted Latin rite.

    (Ref. History of Assyrian Church of the East in the twentieth century by Mar Aprem- Doctoral thesis)

    You have to understand that in the pre Diamper period, the Nasranis were in communion with the Chaldean church. So, our historic connections were- Church of the East-after its division, mainly Chaldean faction. Post Diamper also,the Prelates visited Malabar, Mar Simon, Mar Rochos, and Mar Melus, all were Chaldeans. There is an argument by Western missionaries that Mar Gabriel was a Nestorian but we have to understand that in literature, the word Nestorian was used to denote all the east Syriac churches.

  96. TKV says

    Dear Varghese Paul,
    Addai &Mari Liturgy is not 2000 years old. The present original form was started using in 7 th century. All other things are short of proof. The oldest liturgy available today is the St.James liturgy.Its modified form is used by the jacobites and syrian catholics.
    About the Caldeanisation- Yes ultimately , its the Assyrian Church/ COE is the mother church.
    Caldean uniates can’t be considered the rightful heir of the Nestorian Church.

  97. Varghese Paul says

    Dear Thomas Antony,

    (1) Are you saying that all branches of the original COE are in communion with Rome today / are Catholic? No I don’t think so. Well, it is quite obvious that there are more people in the Catholic Church but that was not my point. The issue was who has preserved this revered liturgy more faithfully in the past and therefore proves more qualified for consultation on this endeavor.
    (2) Well, I have had the opportunity to visit Ancient Assyrian, Modern Assyrian, and the Chaldean Churches. And I can give you first hand information. They where not all the same. First of all at least in the churches I have been to anyone can tell just by the looking at the church if it is Assyrian or Chaldean. Chaldean Churches had statues of saints inside the church as well. And Assyrian Churches did not. Though some of them have pictures out side (not inside). Another difference I found was Chaldeans’ use of Arabic in the liturgy! Also, the Assyrian laity demonstrated a greater knowledge of Aramaic than the Chaldean laity. [I think the reason for this lack is: the Assyrians teach Syriac in the Sunday Categism but not the Chaldeans (due to pressure from Rome?)]
    (3) Confusion about Ethnicity: Well, I am Malayalee because (a) I was born in Kerala / parents from Kerala (b) I am fluent in Malayalam. As the same is true of a guy from another state in India. And at the same time Malayalees also live in other states. In this way (a) the Chaldean language and Assyrian language may have many similarities but they are also different. (b) The geographic regions of Assyria and Chaldea are also different.
    (4) Does being a Catholic disqualify one from using Addi & Mari liturgy? That is like asking: Does being an American disqualify anyone from speaking in their native language? No. But more time you live in America the less will be your touch with your native language.
    (5) Even the Indian Prime Minister has to listen to the American President on some issues. Also the Indian prime minister will be allowed to speak in the white house if he goes there. But India is not a part of America. Yes, they are different countries. However everyone knows that America is a richer nation. And everyone knows that there can be similar material benefits in having communion with Rome. Your hope of being able to maintain the most revered traditions and at the same time being in communion with Rome is not realistic. What my own eyes have seen in the Chaldian Church is enough to prove this to me.

  98. John Mathew says

    RE: Church of the East v. Chaldean

    It seems there are two extreme factions here:
    1. one side says that the Chaldeans are disqualified from the

  99. John Mathew says

    RE: Church of the East v. Chaldean

    Re: TKV’s “Caldean uniates can’t be considered the rightful heir of the Nestorian Church.”

    This is clear nonsense. They are definitely heirs to the tradition, but not to the Christology of the CoE.

    Re: M Thomas Antony: “You have to understand that in the pre Diamper period, the Nasranis were in communion with the Chaldean church. So, our historic connections were- Church of the East-after its division, mainly Chaldean faction.”

    You’re ignoring the longest association Malabar had: to the non-Ephesan Church of the East from at least the 4th century to the 15th century! Why do you ignore that association? The association with the Chaldean happened only after the start of the Chaldean Church in the 15th century or so. Before that, we were in communion with the Church of the East.

    I’m against both points of view regarding this “rightful heir” theory. I believe that both are “rightful” heirs, since theological positions have never been an issue with succession. For example, in many Eastern patriarchates there are often two or more “rightful heirs” — and there’s no objective means of separating which is “rightful” … it depends on your christological perspective.

    The notion of “catholic” also is variable: I’m a Jacobite, and for us, the Catholic Church refers to that Church that accepts the Three Synods (no more, no less). The Nestorians also call themselves Catholic and reject Ephesus. The Eastern Orthodox claim to be Catholic, but consider the Roman Catholic Church to be heterodox due to Filoque, and other 11th century innovations. And of course the Roman Catholics consider themselves to be Catholic.

    It seems the disagreements on “rightful heirs” can’t be resolved if one requires a notion of the “Catholic” Church because that is a variable subjective notion. If one looks at it from a historical perspective then both are rightful heirs.

    Finally, if one wants to talk about who *preserves* the original rights in their purest form then one must acknowledge that it is the “Assyrian” Church of the East and not the Chaldean or Syro Malabar Church. This is obviously true because it is only in the former that the hallowing of Nestorius, and that of Theodore, are preserved in their original form. Whether or not their Christology was Nestorian, it is a fact that they honor Nestorius and the Antiochene Greek teachers (whom the Catholics and the Orthodox both reject as heterodox). It is also telling that Sebastian Brock in many of his studies of the East Syriac tradition uses the Breviary (Hudra) produced by the Church of the East in India, and not the Chaldean Breviary—the former is a more complete text, which was not subject to revisions by Rome.

    Note: the above statements are not against the legitimacy of the Chaldeans. I’m merely stating a fact. Like I already said, I strongly believe that all four East Syriac Churches (two Nestorian, one Chaldean, and one Syro-Malabar) are rightful heirs of the East Syriac tradition, and I accept the legitimacy of both the Nestorian and Chaldean patriarchs on historical grounds (of course, on subjective Christological grounds, I personally reject them both since they are both diophysite … at least until the “Common Christological Position” gets adopted by the EO, OO, RC, and CoE…).

  100. John Mathew says

    M Thomas Antony wrote: “As far as I know, there is no church exists in the world who use Liturgy of Addai and Mari who has never been in communion with the Catholic Church.”

    You seem to be relying on the idea that one’s past association with a creed taints one’s present association with another creed, or taints the successors one consecrates.
    This is dangerous reasoning. By that same token, there is no Roman Catholic Church (or Uniate Catholic) in the world who has never been in communion with:
    – Nestorians
    – Arians
    – Manichaeans
    – Gnostics
    – pagans

  101. John Mathew says

    Varghese Paul:

    What you say about communion with Rome may have some merit on the surface. There does seem to be an annoying trend in which “uniate” Churches become diluted by Latinization. However, you claim this is due to Rome, and that does not seem to be entirely correct. From what I’ve observed, it seems the people and the low-level clergy are more responsible for the un-orientalization.

    Perhaps some earlier Popes and foreign Latin prelates did instigate Latinization. This seems to have been the case with the Maronites and the Syro-Malabar, and also, to a lesser degree with other “uniate” Churches. But I think much blame also rests on the “native” priests and bishops as well. I think the Syro-Malabar people here can better comment on this, but it seems that there has always been two factions in the east: a latinization faction of native priests and a more conservative faction. And it was the former that have wreaked more damage than any Pope.

    I believe with Vatican II the Pope has sought to remedy this by strongly encouraging a return to the original rites. So in this case *you* are wrong, since it is Rome whose dictating a pro-Oriental course.

    Of course, the implementation of these recommendations lies with the native priests and bishops, and these are often less competent and/or willing. The Maronite Church, however, stands as an excellent example of what Rome is facilitating: they are slowly restoring their old rites with the support of Rome.

    And lack of communion with Rome is not a guarantee of maintaining purity. If you look at many Jacobites and Orthodox, they are just as capable of shedding their oriental traditions.

    Regarding the use of Arabic amongst the Chaldeans … who cares? The Indian Churches use Malayalam and English; does that make them less Syriac? Syriac refers to the rites, not the language. The oriental custom has always been towards the celebration of rites in the vernacular. Celebrating the deeply profound rites of the Syriac Church in a language that no one understands hardly honors the rite: that’s why the easterners translated Greek originals (whether the liturgy of St James, or Nestorios, or Thedore the Interpreter — all of whom were either Greek or wrote in Greek, apparently) into Aramaic/Syriac—the vernacular language of the common folk. Syriac was never a scholarly language … the Syriacs don’t seem to have had very many scholars, in fact. There is much justification to the view that they were, as one writer commented, a very mediocre civilization.

  102. TKV says

    Dear Admin,

    In your post 16389 , your conclusion needs more proof.
    Marthoma used a silken cowl embroidered with crosses. What does this infers?
    You stated the catholic custom of priests wearing small caps and clean shaven face etc.
    Whether the catholic priests wore caps? Can you state/direct more proof in this matter.
    We cannot simply say for 200 years St.Thomas christians used latin vestments. The eastern custom is to grow beard. When we started shaving the face?

  103. Admin says

    Dear TKV

    Regarding the post- 16413 about the antiquity of Addai and Mari Anaphora, there is a reason why Anaphora of Addai and Mari is called Apostles Qurbana.

    Historically, as suggested by scholars like in the case of all ancient liturgies, the central part of the Qurbana of Addai and Mari took a definite shape by third century. The Liturgy, the Eucharist Liturgy, Liturgical year, the Liturgical readings, Sacraments, the Divine Office, the Services of Dead and Consecration of the Altar – all can be traced back to definite shapes.

    In every old Liturgy, you will see that every part of the liturgical text is not ancient. The early Church fathers and theological schools have played their role . In case of Anaphora of Addai and Mari, the different part of the liturgy additions can be traced back from the commentaries of liturgical celebration like that of Narsai ( 4th century), Gabriel Qatraya ( 5th century), Isoyahb III ( 6-7th century), the Anonymous Author ( 7th century), Abraham bar Lipeh ( 8th century), John bar Zobi ( 12th century) and Isoyahb IV ( 14th century) etc.

    Please use any of the studies mentioned earlier for details.

    About Vestments

    Please provide me sources for your observations if there is something wrong in Post- 16389. In your post – 16440, you did not quote my quotation from Visscher about Mar Thoma IV correctly. I have already mentioned that, the details of the reconciliation agreement which the Dutch government, helped to execute between Mar Thoma V and the Antiochien bishops can be find in Court of the Final Appeal, Case III of 1061 documents. I don’t know if the complete judgments and exhibits are published in any books. Let me see if I can get more on this. I have read that, these are available at Law College Library, Trivandrum.

  104. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear Varghese Paul,

    I haven’t said “all branches of the original COE are in communion with Rome today / are Catholic”

    I said, there is no branch of CoE exists today, which has never been in communion with Rome.

    To know who has preserved the tradition faithfully, we need to know

    1. What modifications were accepted by Mar Sulaqa group in 1552 and whether they got rid of all the modifications and went back to original in 1662 when they broke ties with Rome. At that time, the original CoE –the Alghosh Patriarchate was the group which continued the original tradition. If Sulaqa group- Quochanis line went back to original, then why did they continue as a parallel Patriarchate to the traditional Alghosh line? That means there were differences.

    2. Did the Alghosh line undergo any modifications when they became Catholic in 1830?

    It looks like both might have undergone modifications. Again, we need to know whether the Anglicans made any changes to the Assyrians.

    About your first hand information about Chaldeans and Assyrians and use of Arabic in liturgy, it is not something to shame. Even the Syrian Orthodox church in Syria uses Arabic and not Syriac!

    About the statues etc in Chaldean church, new evidences are emerging that CoE used icons and statues in the past. John Mathew’s discovery- Hermann Tuele document reports about widespread use of icons for liturgical purpose and mentions about statues also. The present day CoE has lost its icon veneration due to islamic influence. ( They have changed their tradition dure to changes in the socio political situation)

    Again, it depends on what you mean by preserving old traditions and to what extent. For example, in Malabar, celibacy was not a strict requirement for priests, we had married priests, and some had more than one wives, and even concubines, before the synod of Diamper. Our ancestors kept a lot of superstitions, heathen purifications, wich craft, correspondence with devil, polygamy, polyandry, untouchability, proving truth by dipping hand in boiling oil etc. The community has to decide what they want to preserve and what they want to change. Would a Jacobite in Kerala argue for allowing concubines for their priests now in the modern world?

    Becoming uniate and losing some traditions due to communion with a different church is not something surprising. It is seen everywhere. When someone points towards Syro Malabar and Chaldean as uniates who lost the tradition, their remaining four fingures are pointing towards themselves. Which group of Nasranis in Kerala are not uniates? SMC is a uniate to Roman Catholic Church, Jacobites and Orthodox are uniates to the Oriental Orthodox from East Syriac rite- they lost their tradition, liturgy, vestments etc to unite with Oriental Orthodox. Even the CoE in Kerala are also uniates to CoE from SMC! They even still use the term “Chaldean”!

    Confusion about ethnicity.

    Please do not make it complicated. It is simple. In 1830, the so called “Chaldeans” became “Assyrians” and the so called “Assyrians” became “Chaldeans.”
    In the CoE matters, “Chaldean” means the group in communion with Rome and the other “Assyrian”.

    The Catholic branch was given the name “Chaldean” in 1552 in terms of the title given to the Cyprian CoE who joined the Catholic communion in 1445. I do not think it has anything to do with ethnicity.

    The name “Assyrians” were given to CoE by Anglicans in 19th century.
    (John Joseph, “The Nestorians and their Muslim Neighbours, A Study of Western Influence on their Relations”, Princeton University 1961 p.13.)

    Dear John,

    I think you did not understand me in my statement about our pre Diamper connections. What I meant was, our connections were to, CoE until 1552, and then onwards, it’s Chaldean branch. Shall I rephrase my sentence as “So, our historic connections were- Church of the East UNTILL 1552 AND -after its division, mainly to Chaldean faction.”

    I did not state that it is the Chaldean branch that is the legitimate heir of the original CoE. I was just presenting the situation and left the decision to the readers to see which is the legitimate heir. (I remember, we had this discussion before)

    There are two arguments. The Chaldean version is that, in 1830, the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Elias Shimun XIII died and his nephew, as per tradition, Yohannan Hormizd, (who was already a Chaldean catholic) became Patriarch who was later accepted by Rome as the Chaldean Patriarch when the then Chaldean Patriarch died. That means Yohannan Hormizd and his successors are the Patriarchal line where the Patriarchate position was officially handed over to the next successor without break, from the original CoE from its beginning. The present day Assyrian Patriarchs are successors of a rival Patriarch Mar Sulaqa.

    I consider these two as two branches of CoE tradition.

  105. John Mathew says

    Yes, I agree with M. Thomas Antony — with all of this talk about maintenance of traditions, the finger pointing is bidirectional. That is, there is currently no group in Kerala that maintains the original traditions (“original traditions” themselves being variable).

    All sides contain some mix of East Syriac, general Syriac, Oriental and Eastern characteristics and aesthetics in varying concentrations; no side is maximal in all, as far as I can see. And partisans from each amplify their own heightened concentration in one area (and the reduced concentration of the Other Church), while denying their reduced concentration in various other areas.

    And, in the end, do we really want to go back to the bad old days of superstition, tests of faith, etc.? Our priests and bishops are corrupt enough even in their current impotent state — imagine how they’d be if they really had power, and if people really took them as seriously as they did in the old days?

    And further, Churches and religion are dynamic entities. The Church of the 20th century is not the Church of the 17th which is not that of the 12th which wasn’t that of the 7th which wasn’t that of the 4th and which wasn’t that of the 1st.

    The Church of the East provides a great example of a Church which started off at one point, and through the changing political and social conditions, added and took away traditions in order to survive, first under Zoroastrian constraints, later under Islamic constraints, and now in the modern world (which is causing all Churches to evolve).

  106. Varghese Paul says

    Dear Thomas Antony and John Mathew,

    I would like to know if there is anything that you are not happy with in SMC.
    If a bishop or cardinal came to you and asked what would you say?
    Can you suggest any reforms?

  107. Admin says

    Sometimes the claims that, one is better than others are due to overtly relaying on polemic write up. I think other times it is because of the human behavior to look fault of others. Most of the time, the one who looks at others faults doesn’t look at their own situation. What ever the intention, it finally helps in getting the facts straight.

    Varghese Paul stated earlier that Chaldean Church is only aprx 500 years old. How old is Syro Malabar/ Jacobite/ Orthodox/ Mar Thoma by this calculation. One has to use the same methodology to calculate the “antiquity”.

    The Analogy with reference to countries does not fit in to this situation. What relationship does nationality, regionalism, nationalism has to do with Church or liturgical traditions.

    In Catholic Church, decades before the Vatican II, in Latin rite itself, there was a process of renewal and restoration. This was a process whereby rites were slowly purged of less suitable later accretions and returned to a purer and more authentic state. This was a slow, step by step process accompanied by lengthy studies.

    Such a thing never happened during that time in Syro Malabar. Here, the renewal or restoration was primarily due to the directions of Second Vatican Council and the efforts taken by Rome. There does was a forced Romanisation from both inside and outside in Syro Malabar Church. There were many documents issued by Council on how these need to be conducted in each individual Churches. Most of the other Eastern Catholic Churches has accomplished this process better than Syro Malabar Church.

    The main problem here was people at large doesnot have much idea about history or different topics on liturgy. There were many opinions aired due to this fact. Of course those who have problems with Church saw that as an opportunity to do fishing in troubled waters. Another problem was due to the fact that other Saint Thomas Christians are now in to different liturgical traditions. Other than Saint Thomas Christians how many other Churches which has a common origin has now different liturgical traditions?

    Several sources were used to prepare the restored Taksa, Propria and Sacraments as well as Divine offices. On the modifications to liturgy by other churches during the time has also been taken in to consideration. In books we see, the MSS sources for Anaphora of Addai and Mari are classified in to 1. Alqosh tradition 2. Chaldean tradition 3. Malabar tradition. Most of the efforts so far has been towards restoration of liturgy of Holy Eucharist. It has a long way to go if there is an intention to restore fully with respect to other Anaphora’s, liturgical seasons, lectionary, liturgy of the Hours, sacraments and sacramental’s, fast and feast days etc.

    On the material benefits in having communion with Rome, can Varghese Paul gives some details about this with statistics, sources and comparison to others.

    Does one choose to become a Catholic/ Orthodox/ Protestant due to this consideration.

    Before the Coonan Cross Oath, Ahatalla, in the letter send to Christians of Malabar calls himself as “ Ahatalla Patriarch, I have been sent to the Christians of Saint Thomas for their consolation by Pope Innocent X “. Was this also for material benefit ? It is mentioned by every sensible authors that Saint Thomas Christians received the letter joyfully and called Archbishop Gracia for a meeting.

    I have also attended to many liturgical celebrations from different traditions in both the Orthodox and Catholic churches. My experience tells me that the inference primarily depends on the person’s level of understanding about Liturgical traditions.

  108. TKV says

    Dear Admini,
    Kerala Nazarani people ,all want to prove that ours is the ancient tradition.But as Thomas Antony stated no body followed this tradition continously. All sect are uniates.
    But one thing we can say, the east syriac tradition is preseved by the Caldean church of the East. They follow the Addai and Mari Liturgy and the old traditional christology, vestments,practices and church architechture.On the contrary, the west syriac tradition is more protected by the Malankara Jacobites.
    Caldean church of the East and Syrian Orthodox church never /donot want to change any thing. The controversy is because of the change in the traditional practices in SyroMalabar Church. But again can syromalabar church can go back to the true caldean tradition is a question to ponder.

  109. John Mathew says

    TKV: You wrote: “Caldean church of the East and Syrian Orthodox church never /donot want to change any thing.”

    This statement is wrong. Churches — all of them — are dynamic entities, and all have changed. Just look at how lent rules have changed. Or iconography. Or new feasts, and new Saints. Or the dialog each is having with the Chalcedonian Churches. Change is certainly happening, and has happened. How do you sign the cross? One finger, two or three? The old Jacobite way is with one finger; now everyone uses three.

    The Jacobite Church has two dominant liturgical traditions, and a gigantic corpus of prayers, Anaphoras, etc., that have developed over time—many in the 12th century (the second renaissance for the Jacobites). The practices have also evolved and changed. To say that the Jacobite Church of the 21st century is identical to the Jacobites of the 5th century is total absolute fiction. Any decent work on liturgy will demonstrate this.

    And ditto for the Church of the East. There were several “reforms”, and Synods, over the centuries that have caused that Church to change with time. At one point bishops were allowed to marry, to appease the pro-reproduction Zoroastrians. And at one point bas reliefs and icons were in their Churches. It is correct to say that the Church of the East preserves many of the old forms that the Chaldeans abandoned at the time of the 15th century schism; but then again, this is not absolute and total, since the Chaldeans brought back iconography to the East Syriac rite, whereas the CoE abandoned that during the it’s decline. The CoE changed it’s Christological point of view at several junctures as well. They also translated many Greek prayers and rites into Syriac. This is all change.

    Everyone wants to claim their “faith” is the oldest and/or purest. That’s a game I once played too, I admit. However, with deeper study into matters of liturgy and Church history, one quickly learns that all of Christianity has followed a tangled path of evolution, and cross-pollination since the old days. For example, the liturgy of St James and the Gospels were written in Greek, with a Christology that we don’t know of. Then it became Trinitarian, and then the Syriacs translated it to Syriac. And then the Chalcedonians and the Orientals revised it to be Christologically sound from each’s point of view. All change. The Syriacs added an elaborate and ornate pre-Anaphoral rite, with Semetic Sedre prayers, and hymns. The Greeks (the enemies of the Syriacs, after Chalcedon) later adopted these styles and evolved them. The Syriacs then incorporated some of the Greek innovations. That’s how the Jacobites have ended up with a huge (perhaps the hugest) corpus of liturgical hymns, prayers, anaphoras, etc. Also, as the Jacobites moved East, they developed a second liturgical tradition as they assimilated East Syriac elements.

    Now, there are fools who claim that the Syriac is the older, “original”. At the same time there are Greeks who claim that all Christianity owes its existence to the Greek fathers — forgetting that it was the Syriacs who developed the hymnody. And it was the Orientals (Egyptians) who developed monasticism. But the Orientals can’t be too proud— because the Western fathers (Latin and Greek) also contributed immensely to monasticism, extending it further (in many ways) than the Orientals.

    The history and progress of Christianity is not linear—there is no simple order wherein one can say X is older and Y is younger, except in very simple, straightforward matters (e.g., Protestantism is a young innovation, that is obvious). For matters such as what’s the oldest rite, what’s the purest rite, etc., — all bets are off. Just like we can’t claim any man or race to be “pure”, we can’t claim any rite to be that either. All have injections. Just because the Greeks, Latins and East and West Syriacs are separate now with antagonistic points of view, doesn’t mean they were beyond assimilating each others good points.

    If we want the most ancient faith, we’d have to go back in time. Over the centuries, as we go backwards, Christianity would certainly change. And then we’d get to Judaism. So, do we become Jews now, since that’s the older faith? But why stop there? The Jews were pagans before they were monotheists (if you read history). So do we become Baal woshippers or members of the proto-Jewish/Canaanite fertility cults? And before that they were animists. And before that they were who-knows-what. How far are you willing to go to get to the Source. And is that Source what you really want? Animal sacrifice? Circumcision? Stoning? Pouring lead into people’s ears? Human sacrifice?

    Ancient does not equal correct. And it does not equal better. At least by my reading of history.

    Many of us like the “old” Oriental rites — I certainly do — but this is ultimately merely for aethestic reasons. There is no reason, objectively, why the Syriac rite is better than the Latin or the Greek. All are valid rites (if Christology can be corrected, either way, to make it acceptable). When some Chaldean priests (CoE) in India joined the Jacobites during the Orthodox/Jacobite peace period (50s to 70s), the Orthodox bishops permitted the use of Adai and Mari. The Pope permitted the West Syriac liturgy when Mar Ivanios united with Rome. The Pope permitted Adai and Mari when the Chaldeans/SyroMalabar joined. Rites can be used with any Christology.

    E.g., look at the Antiochean Orthodox Church in America (the Chalcedonian Church, not the Jacobite one). They have extensive mission activity to convert the Catholics and Protestants of the West back to Orthodoxy. How do they do it? Do they shove the Byzantine rite on the Americans? No. They use the same rites as the Westerners do, just corrected in minor ways. That’s how rites are — they don’t necessarily reflect Christological view points. If they did, there’s no way the Syro-Malabar and the CoE could use the same rites. Same for the Jacobites and the Syro-Malankara.

    This talk of “purity” is nonsense.

  110. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Dear Admin,

    Here are some answers to your questions.

    1. The silken cowl, embroidered with crosses of MARTOMA IV resemble the MASNAPSA of MALANKARANAZRANI not Carmelites .The Latin vestments you refer is a product of misunderstanding. ‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’The reconciliation agreement which the Dutch government, helped to execute between Mar Thoma V and the Antiochien bishops ( Mar Ivanios, Mar Baselios, Mar Greogorios) in 1754 states that the customs and rituals existing in the Syrian Church should not be changed. Eg. The Catholic custom of shaving the beard and priests wore small caps etc (Court of the Final Appeal, Case III of 1061)’’’’’’’’’’ where did you get this piece? I think you are mixing it up. The reconciliation was agreed on the basis of not ordaining any priest without Mar Thomas’s permission as I have stated in my previous post. Most of the church historians reported this. If you have any reference please quote. More over when did the customs and ritual become the Latin one?

    2 Use of KAPPA –Malankara Nazrani priests or methrans never used to wear Kappas during the performance of Koodasha karmam (including qurbana) before 1789.The decision on wearing the kappas was arrived on the meeting at Puthenkavu on1789 (Niranam Grandhavari).kindly note that the practice of celebration of qurbana without wearing kappas was from Coptic church. (Varthamana Pusthakam –paremakkil thomman kathanar).

    3. The usage of Latin kappas by SMC priests were common till recent. But it is unheard among malankara Nazranies. Malankara nazrani methrans wore east Syrian styled vestments during the Portuguese period. This practice was supposed to be there for quite long time since regular contact started with east syriacs. But we have no evidence to authenticate this practice. We can say with certainty that this practice was there from Portuguese period, at least.(Please do not mix point no.2 with pointno.3)

    4 There is an interesting observation by J.P.M VANDER PLOEG in his book’’ The syriac manuscripts of St. Thomas Christians ’’’ which says that “””””””””””””””””catholic priests mostly wear a long white robe with buttons, after the Latin model. The Marthomites have also a long white robe, with a belt, but the Jacobite priests have peculiar dress: a robe which reaches the knees with slash at both sides. Under this they wear white trousers and at their neck, at the back they have a kind of collar similar to that of a sailor. On their head they always wear a black cap. there are reason to think that ,except for the trousers ,this dress is pre-Portuguese .This is suggested by the synod of Diamper ActioVII,De Ordine Decr.12:’’the synod commands that none of them(the clergy) may leave his house braccatus,sive breviori veste inndutus(in a short grab)of which parts are not sewn together at both sides ,so that the underwear is visible, according to the custom of the region .this description fits in with the present day dress of the Syrian Orthodox clergy.””””””””””””””””””””

  111. Varghese Paul says


    1) Use the oldest (as far as one can go) form of Addi & Mari liturgy just as it was during the time of Addi & Mari them selves (which is the first centaury).
    2) Use the Syrian Orthodox Peshitta (it very close to the Peshitta manuscripts in Esrengelo alphabets)
    3) Teach both (1) the theological meaning of the liturgy and (2) to read and write Syriac in the Sunday categism
    4) Change the Qurbana Qadisha to Ancient Syriac (books can be printed with the meaning given in Malayalam side by side)
    5) remove the statues from inside the church to outside the church (probably the hardest to implement)
    6) Abolish confession to priests (COE does not have this practice)
    7) Change “Mother of God” to “Mother of Christ”

  112. John Mathew says

    Varghese Paul:

    You’re talking about the Syro-Malabar *Catholic* Church, right? If so, your so-called “reforms” defy reason. The SMC is an East Syriac Church in communion with Rome — hence it does not subscribe entirely to the Christological perspective of the non-Ephesan CoE.

    But let’s humor you…

    1. Good luck finding a manuscript of A&M that is before the 10th century, let alone the first. We all like to ascribe ancient origins to things … but when you look for concrete evidence, things get hard. Go and try to find an old mss of the A&M liturgy. If you find one, you’ll be a hero in Syriac circles.

    2. Why not use the Peshitta used by the CoE? This point defies logic.

    3&4. Syriac is not a sacred language—even to the Syriac Churches. It is a pagan language adapted to Christianity after the conversion of the Syriac peoples to Christianity. Hence you points here make no sense: reviving a half-dead language which has no conceivable use these days other than in liturgical circles hardly seems practical, and I doubt many people with take to this. Learning Syriac is very easy, and in India there are many opportunities — yet, very few seem to learn it. Why? Impractical and of little use. I learned Syriac — it lets me read some obscure texts, and is useful for that. But for day to day use, and even for religious purposes, it is unnecessary when many of the East/West Syriac texts of importance (e.g., Daily offices) already exist in impeccable clear English. Should we also use Greek for the Greek portions of the liturgy?

    5. You’re demonstrating your own ignorance of matters here. Icons and statues are not against the principles of the Syriac Church (East or West). A concession made for certain political reasons in the middle ages has no place in modernity. Are you a Protestant? The CoE Churches nowadays reflect the elimination of icons that occurred due to Islamic influence. That is a *change* to the CoE. The Chaldeans later brought back the ancient practice of icon veneration (see my post by Teule on this topic. Teule was a scholar).

    6. Are you sure about that? I’ve seen nothing credible to this effect. There are some crypto-Protestant sites that say garbage like this — but with most such sites they are merely making the CoE out to be something that they want. The Mar Thomites and Protestant missionaries in Kerala often resort to these tactics …

    7. The SMC and Chaldean Churches are Catholic. Hence they honor an Ephesan Christology — i.e. Cyril over Nestorius. St Mary is hence the God-Bearer, or Theotokos to them. Are your so-called reforms merely a call for the SMC to return to the Nestorian fold? If so, this is not *reform* but rather *conversion*.

    And why does the SMC need reform? They have evolved to the point they are at, and have been very successful as a Church. Why do they need to change, when they have a very clear definite idea of who and what they are: in communion with Rome and using the East Syriac liturgy.

    If you wish the SMC to break either, then you are changing the Church to a non-SMC Church. That is hardly reform, like I said.

    And anyways, there is a Church that exists with most of the properties you’ve identified above, the CoE. Why create another?

  113. TKV says

    Dear Admini,
    What was the custom of the Kerala Nazaranies at the time of the Udayamperoor synod? Did they wore caps? Did they shave their face? Any clue in the Diamper synod decrees?

  114. Admin says

    Dear Varghese Paul

    It was interesting to read your posts and the list of reforms for Syro Malabar Church. It would be very interesting if we compile such lists for each denomination from another’s point of view. Do you think that you are qualified to do this ?

    Thomas Antony, in a very informative post has explained the apostolic succession you were talking earlier. His post was very informative to me as well. As he mentioned John Mathew earlier shared a very good article from Hermann Tuele, which talks about the widespread use of icons for liturgical purpose in Church of East.

    Let me just add to John Mathew’s response about your suggestion to go back to first century liturgy in Syro Malabar Church. As you know, Syro Malabar Church members are Catholic and they dont claim that they are any first century Christians.

    I have asked about the sources you based your comments on the monetary benefits in communion with Rome and other anti Roman remarks. I think, you should take a note that perhaps others also can share information you might not be aware about your own denomination.

    Syro Malabar Church is the second largest Eastern Catholic Church and a Sui Iuris Church. Till 1953, based on the statistics over 67% of Catholic missionaries in India were from Syro Malabar Church.

    The Restoration in the Syro Malabar Church is influenced by the Catholic Church teachings. Period. On 6th May 1954, Holy See writes “ Your ancient Rite, which in its origin and development is connected with Edessa and Mesopotamia is preserved among you in a mutilated and in a highly westernized form. In its present form it can not help to inculcate the liturgical spirit as esteemed by the Holy Mother Church…. those already mutilated and Westernized are to be restored to their proper and authentic form. “

    It never meant that this restoration was a mere copy of present or past Church of East practices. Many studies are available on these topics. This is the only Liturgy, Syro Malabar Church ever possessed and used. I have earlier mentioned few details about this. The restoration was not done in dark, as pre – Udayamperoor manuscripts were also available. This initiative from Rome was not just about Liturgy. All the Roman documents are also available to general public if interested ( “ Roman documents on Syro Malabar Liturgy” published by OIRSI, 1999) . I can give you some details about the different Taksa but am sure that you don’t even understand a bit of that.

    Let me quote L Arangassery “ A particular situation has emerged….. in recent years due to the fact that anyone writing anything. The field of Liturgy has become the fertile pasture where anybody, even a person who never bothers to practice his faith, airs his fantastically exotic views almost with the authority of a Delphic oracle .”

    Please understand that an average Syro Malabar Church member has already read lot of BS from those who doesn’t understand what they are talking. There is no need for more. It is based on this experience that I early mentioned that am not competent to make remarks and can only give details about good studies conducted on these topics. There were more than hundred thousands petitions/ suggestions/ studies which were received by Holy See/ Congregation of oriental churches on restoration from laymen / priests. There was an experiment period before each text got approved in Syro Malabar Church; opinions were solicited from lay men and priests. More than ten thousands of petitions were received in each instance. Some of the telegrams/ complaints which were printed with a quotation that Chackochen summoned Pope, Kunjappan send a telegram are mostly BS out of hundred thousands. There were also many well detailed studies send as suggestions to Rome.

    My understanding is that, one can only see the “exact” Taksa and the divine offices in practice before the Syond of Udayamperoor, in libraries. You can not get “the exact word by word” from Church of East or Chaldean Church or Syro Malabar Church. In Syro Malabar Church, the forced changes which happened in centuries following the Syond of Udayamperoor were removed.

    The Vatican Syr. Codex 45, 46, 66 in Vatican Library are that of the Pontifical, Missal and Rituals which were left by Mar Joseph, who was send to Malabar by the Chaldean Patriarch when he died at Rome in 1569. We have some Five Pre- Udayamperoor divine offices and Syriac manuscripts which survived destruction in various libraries

    1. Two in BNP ( National library of Paris) MS Or.24 and MS Or.25 are of Liturgy of Hours
    2. Library of Chaldean Church, Thrichur MS-26 ( According to numeration of Van der Ploeg ( Liturgy of Hours)
    3. Metropolitan Library of Ernakulam Syro Malabar Church MS No. L22 ( personal copy of Mar Abhraham)
    4. Library of Mar Ivanios College Trivandrum, ES MS Ac No 3842, call no.198 ( The Gospels)

    Vellain also gives the list of MSS of Diarbekir ( XV cent), Mardin 19 ( XV cent), Leiden Orient ( 1215), Mannaanam MS ( 1603) which withstood destruction.

    Regarding the divine office, in 1938, the Congregation of Oriental Churches re printed the Divine Office edited in Syriac language by the well known orientalist Paul Bedjan for the use in Syro Malabar Church. As the number of clergy who know Syriac dwindled steadily, it was translated part by part and started to use in Malayalam. The translations are not complete. ( “ Influence of Vatican II on the liturgical life of Syro Malabar Church” by Bishop Mar Thomas Elavanal)

    I will try to provide a list of books which are some of the well known studies. Excellent bibliography can also be found in those and interested can get more information.

  115. Varghese Paul says

    Dear Admin,

    Thanks for the response and for the references.
    They are useful.

  116. Varghese Paul says

    Dear Admin,

    There are several good books sold on this site:
    I have bought some.
    They have given the translation in english on the side
    It is also possible to print Malayam translation in this way
    So, you just have to learn to read, which takes only few weeks!
    The audio CDs are also available.

    Takhsa d’Kahaneh -Priestly Liturgical Manual $32.99
    Takhsa d’Kahaneh d’Adta d’Madinkha -Priestly Liturgical Manual of the Church of the East.
    The Holy Service of the Apostles published for the first time in its original Aramaic with a linear English translation by M.J. Birnie.
    *Oldest Christian Liturgy in use anywhere in the world
    *Composed in the Language of Christ and His disciples
    *Attributed to Mar Addai (Thaddaeus c.f. Matthew 10:3) and Mar Mari disciplers of the East
    *Free from Greco-Roman influence -true to its 1st century Semitic, Judeo-Christian roots

    The Doctrine of Addai $29.99
    The Doctrine of Mar Addai or Thaddaeus (c.f. Matthew 10:3) The Apostle. In the original Aramaic with an English Translation and Notes.
    By: George Phillips, D.D.

    There are several good books….

  117. John Mathew says

    Varghese Paul:

    Just a bit of advice. It is good that you are pursuing various sources, and studying the liturgy. But don’t be so easily swayed by unilateral statements by interested parties.

    E.g., if I were to tell you *I* was a 100% racially pure Aryan, speaking the exact original language of the ancient Vedic Rishis, would you believe me? Of course not, why would you.

    By that same token, you should be careful about hyperbolic statements made by the purveyors of “Aramaic books”. These people (largely ethno-centric Assyrians, and Protestants interested in synthesizing a new form of their heresy and justifying that heresy with “Aramaic” styles) are trying to *sell* you something, and they make bogus claims to hype their product.

    1. Why are they using the overly general term “Aramaic” instead of the specific word Syriac? These are SYRIAC liturgies. Syriac is a member of a the Aramaic language family, but it is part of a different subfamily of Aramaic than the Palestinian Aramaic language Jesus supposedly spoke. Consider the following analogy: suppose Jesus was from Andra Pradesh and spoke Telugu. Then suppose I wrote liturgical texts in Malayalam. Then suppose I made a website called “” and started selling the texts, hyping them as being composed in the language of Christ, just because I was using a Dravidian language. Is that correct? Is that honest?

    In short: Syriac is not Aramaic. It is a *kind* of Aramaic. Jesus also spoke a *kind* of Aramaic — but not Syriac.

    2. “*Oldest Christian Liturgy in use anywhere in the world.” This is highly debatable! There is no scholarly consensus on what’s the oldest liturgy. If you ask Adrian Fortescue, he’d say the oldest liturgy is the old Roman one, which reflects what was done in the ancient catacombs of Rome by the early Christians there. Others will claim St James. Others will claim Adai and Mari. These are all claims; nothing is definitive.

    3. “Attributed to Mari and Adai”. “Attributed” — enough said.

    4. “Free from Greco-Roman influence -true to its 1st century Semitic, Judeo-Christian roots ”

    Aha! Here we come to the point. No liturgy is free from Greece or Rome! And no liturgy is free from Syria and Egypt. All of Christianity has all of these influences—including the CoE, which is saturated with Greek influence. Remember, the CoE accepts Nicea and Constantinople — Synods dominated by Greeks, and within the Roman Empire. It honors a whole bunch of “Greek Malpans” (the universal Fathers, as well as the “controversial” Nestorios and Theodore). It uses prayers composed by Greek fathers.

    These Protestants and crypto-Protestant Assyrians (e.g., the ones on love to make fantastic claims to this effect, but this is not supported by fact at all.

    If you’re going to study Syriac liturgy, at least temper your study by reading some unbiased work, by for example Sebastian Brock. Reading Assyrian propaganda to learn the history of the Syriac rite and it’s relation to general Christianity is like reading Hitler to understand the German people.

    Finally, save your money Varghese. Go to and download the East Syrian Daily Offices by Macclean. Read this completely and you’ll understand much more about the Syriac Rite than any liturgical book will teach you. The Daily Offices, I would argue, *are* the religion, since that is what people are expected to practice every day.

  118. Varghese Paul says

    Dear Joseph Mathew,

    I too have an advice for you. Don’t be like Esau who sold his inheritance for some savory soup.
    Anyway, thanks for the URL ref.

  119. John Mathew says

    Varghese Paul:

    Your advice makes no sense. But soon, if you read and study more about the Syriac rite (as opposed to BS propaganda sites), you will understand enough to be able to make a competent reply. I honor my inheritance by studying it as completely as I can. You claim to honor your “inheritance” by giving it false properties — how can you seriously consider such dishonesty to be respect? If you follow the URL I gave you, you will find the single greatest treasure with respect to enhancing your understanding. Your welcome.

    Those idiots at Aramaic Books claim to honor the East Syriac rite, and the Aramaic language, by claiming it has no Greek influence, right? Damn bloody idiots — why do they use “Taksa” then? This is a GREEK word!!! “Thaska” “Teksa” “Taksa” “Tekso” — whatever variant you want, it’s the same syriac root TKS — is from the Greek work “taxis” meaning order (same root as taxonomy, for example). So Taksa d’Qurbana means the “Order of Qurbana”.

    Or how about the Nicene Creed? Do they reject it because of the majority of Greek fathers who presided at it?

    Or how about Evangelists like Mark and Luke — Latin and Greek names? Does the CoE reject those Gospels?

    Things like history and religion need rational assessments and not ethnocentric hyperbole. Your fiction is not honor — it is shame.

    So … read more and learn more. And, like I said, one day you’ll be able to speak without your foot in your mouth.

  120. Admin says

    Dear John

    I agree with you. Most of the Protestants are very mis informed about Syriac Christianity.

    Anaphora of Addai and Mari was composed in Syriac. ( Dix- “ Shape of the Litrugy” Deiss- “ Springtime of the Liturgy”) What Varghese Paul has given are Taksa text, and these are not any studies on liturgy. I don’t know why one need to buy Taksa text for $ 20-30 if they have been attending the Qurbana celebrations. The only use I see is, if it is an authorized text, it can be used by those with good understanding of the Liturgy to compare the present Taksa’s in different churches. Well, there are many studies on this comparison available in Internet as well.

    There is a good discussion about the Place and period of composition of Anafora of AM in the “ Liturgical Identity of Mar Toma Nazrani Church’ by Dr. Geo Thadikkat. He has used most of the studies available and the following are some excerpts.

    Placid writes, “Several Patriarchs, synods, theologians and monks of the ancient church of Seleucia Ctesphon have had their contribution towards the development of east syriac liturgy. The compositions of St. Ephrem have largely entered into it. The Spirit of the Deacon of Edessa, and of Aphrahat, the Persian sage, pervades the liturgy” (Podipara – “ Reflections on Liturgy”)

    There were many well known church fathers in the East Syriac Church related to the Theological School of Edessa and Nisibis, namely Aphrahat, Ephrem, Evagrius, Abba Isaiah, John the solitary, Narsai, Philexinos, Jacob of Serugh, Gregory of Cyprus, Martyrius, Isaac of Niniveh, Dadisho, Simon, Joseph Hazzaya, John of Dallyatha, Joseph Busnaya and Barhebraeus. ( Brock – “ The Syriac Spirituality”, Brock – “ Spirituality in the Syriac traditions”, Thadikkatt – “ East Syriac Spirituality”, Kollamparambil -“ Treasures of Liturgical Patrimony” etc)

    In case of Anaphora of Addai and Mari, the different part of the liturgy additions are traced back from the commentaries of liturgical celebration like that of Narsai ( 4th century), Gabriel Qatraya ( 5th century), Isoyahb III ( 6-7th century), the Anonymous Author ( 7th century), Abraham bar Lipeh ( 8th century), John bar Zobi ( 12th century) and Isoyahb IV ( 14th century) etc by scholars.

    The claims generally Protestants make such as ‘first century’ – ‘true to its 1st century Semitic, Judeo-Christian root’, ‘free from Greco-Roman influence’ are simple nonsense they misquotes from Scholarly studies.

    There is a general consensus among Scholars about the Semitic origin of this Anafora. According to this it took definite forms in Edessa and developed in the East Syriac Church. The people spoke Syriac and according to some scholars were least affected by Hellenization. This is based on the reason of holding Edessa as the centre of this liturgy. ( See Dix- “Shape of the Liturgy” for a good discussion).

    There is also a discussion among scholars where the formation of AM was influenced by the Christology of the Antiochean School ( Mar Aprem – “ Sacraments of the Church of the East”) and especially by the teaching of Theodore, laying stress on the redemptive actions of Christ in his humanity. The Judeo Christian origin emphasizes the divinity of Christ and the later influence of the Antiochen School emphasizes his humanity. There is a proper balancing between the divinity and humanity of Christ in the Qurbana. ( Palackal – “ Identity of Syro Malabar Church”). As i understands, there is a proper balancing between these Schools in AM.

    We does have different opinion on origin. M Nin holds that the liturgy of Mesopotamia and Persia is one of the three liturgies that originated from the Syro Antiochean tradition, with a mixture of Semitic and Hellenistic elements. However W F Macomber denies the position that the Chaldean rite is Antiochene and claim that it is sui generis. The reason for the latter claim is that, the similarity we see are the common features with the Syrian and Byzantine rites and are common to all the oriental rites, such as Trisagion, the Sanctus, and the Sancta sanctis etc. ( Macomber “ A Theory on the origins of the Syrian, Maronite and Chaldean Rites”)

    Burkitt mentions that as the Liturgy of the Church in the Persian Empire had its roots and development in a semitic background and was relatively free from the influences of Greek and Roman cultures. ( FC Burkitt “ Eastern Christianity”).

    As it originated in Edessa, Scholars suggest it to be relatively free from the influences of Greek and Roman cultures. This doesn’t make it free from the influences of Greek and Roman cultures. As you have very clearly mentioned there is nothing which is completely free from Greco-Roman influence. Another good example is the earlier quote from Macomber, that there are many commonality in every Oriental liturgies which are nothing but borrowed from each other.

    I really don’t understand what one means when they say ‘true to the 1st century Semitic, Judeo-Christian root’, as the present Taksa of ALL THE CHURCHES who use this liturgy has additions done by early church fathers which are traced back till 14th century. There are also later additions in EVERY churches who continue to use this liturgy, which is also clearly mentioned by scholars.

    Lastly as clearly mentioned by John Mathew, one just need to take a look at the East Syrian Daily Offices, to check how this is relatively free from the influences of Greek and Roman cultures. You can see the preface by Macclean, where he mentions some ( just some) of the Roman and Greek influences. ( I did not know that it was available in I could have saved some $)

  121. Admin says

    Dear All

    These are some of the studies about the origin, development of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. One can see the general agreements, the different opinions, the reasoning for their claims/ observations and a general introduction about Anaphora of Addai and Mari in the following studies.

    1. Dix- “ Shape of the Liturgy”
    2. Deiss -“ Springtime of the Liturgy”
    3. Mar Aprem “ Sacraments of the Church of the East”
    4. Macomber “ A Theory on the origins of the Syrian, Maronite and Chaldean Rites”
    5. Podipara “ Reflections on Liturgy”
    6. Mannooramparambil- “ The Anaphora and the Post Anaphora”
    7. Nin- “ The Liturgical heritage of the Eastern Churches”
    8. Gelston –“ Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari”
    9. Macomber- “ The Maronite and Chaldean Verions of the Anaphora of the Apostles”
    10. Jammo- “ Quddasha of the Apostles”
    11. Macomber- “ Maronite and Chaldean Versions”
    12. Mattam- “ Forgotten East”
    13. Elevanal- “ Some of the Characteristics of the Anaphora of the Addai and Mari”
    14. Ratcliff- “ Orginal Form”
    15. Galvin –“ Addai and Mari revisited”
    16. Dalmais- “ Liturgical Families”
    17. Macomber- “ Oldest known text of Anaphora”
    18. Hofrichter- “ Anaphora of Addai and Mari”
    19. Dalmais- “ Eastern Liturgies”
    20. Pathikulanagra- “ Qurbana”
    21. Cutrone- “ Anaphora of the Apostles”
    22. Vavanikunnel- “ Qurbana of the Apostles”

    These are just some of the studies which are generally quoted in different discussions. Please refer some of these, if you would like to get a complete picture.

  122. Varghese Paul says

    Dear friends,

    I am going away. As you can guess I my parents are SC/RC-SMC but I am becoming more and more attracted to COE in its initial form. And I am not really interested in causing splits in any church because if that was the case I would have been more tactful. I was once leader in the Jesus Youth movement in SMC but in the end got tired of saying things that I dint agree with myself. How do I answer questions like, do you think Pope is the head of the Church? And I dint want to give Scholastic reply reiterating what can be found said by others at some other place in this site itself. I am studying the liturgy because I am hoping to learn the theology of the people who made it. And as you are aware it is a vastly successful and accepted liturgy of a bygone era that is part of my heritage. I am not going to post anymore comments.

  123. Admin says

    Dear Varghese Paul

    Next time, before you air your expert opinions on topics such as Liturgy, kindly refer some good books and get some knowledge. If you have problems with scholars, then kindly go ahead with the usual stuff people like you generally discuss: anti-roman, anti-pope, icon, saints, prayer for dead, 1st century etc. Anyone can make any claims and those who cannot handle the truth can sometimes go to any extent. We are only interested in getting the details of what we discuss factually. If you cant handle the truth, it is your problem and be pleased with your ignorance. We have seen this quite a lot.

    Here, you mentioned initial form of Qurbana in COE. Are you the height of ignorance ! You don’t need to worry about any Splits in any Church. Nothing is going to happen just because you or i or anyone post something. If an ignorant such as you can do that, then the churches of Saint Thomas Christians might have been already cloned in to thousands of cults.

    Have a good day.

  124. John Mathew says

    Varghese Paul:

    Religion and culture adapt and have continuously changed throughout history — in fact, I doubt it is possible for either to even exist without change. The human mind constantly produces new things.

    If you look at the history of Judaism and Christianity you may observe the following:
    1) polytheistic fertility cults centered about women
    2) polytheistic patriarchal societies; animal and human sacrifice
    3) monotheism: animal sacrifice; legalized morality
    4) monotheism: mental sacrifice; legalized morality; influence of other cultures (Persia, Greece)
    5) monotheism: distillation of the above into a compact core set of ideas (Jesus’ teachings)
    6) monotheism: evolution of the above
    7) monotheism: evolution of the above due to cultural contacts with other peoples and cultures ; trinitarian doctrines emerge
    8 ) monotheism: evolution of the above with changing socio-political circumstances

    If you desire “first century” Christianity, you will find something entirely different than the CoE. The CoE is the produce of much evolution of thought: it is not first century “Jewish Christianity” by any means! It is Trinitarian Christianity after all — which is a refinement of Christian thought that occurred much after the first century. And under the influence of non-Jewish Doctors of the Church — many of whom were Greek. Also remember, that due to the expansion of the Persian Empire, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the conquests of Rome — ideas from East and West were highly mixed during the first century. First century Judaism was already Hellenized and Persianized — it was not the Judaism of David, which was not the Judaism of Moses, which was not that of Jacob, which was not that of Abraham. If you desire something free of Greek thought, you probably need to go back to the days of David.

    Remember: if Greek influence could make its way to India during the pre-Christian era, then there’s no question that it would makes its way into Palestine, and the Syriac/Aramaic nations. Purity does not exist.

    The poetic works of Ephrem abound in the liturgy and prayers of the CoE (and the Chaldeans, SMC, and also the Jacobites, of course) — these works were produced *after* the first century. Also, Ephrem — although a Syriac — was also quite aware of Greek thought, for the reasons I’ve explained above.

    It’s interesting to try to find a more “ancient” form of Christianity, but these are only just snapshots of a long process of evolution. If you find X (where X is a snapshot of Christianity at a certain point in time), you can always find X-1 (i.e., an earlier snapshot). So where does it end?

    If you read romantic literature about the “glorious past” of a given religion, you’ll feel as if something great is about to be discovered. But in reality, when you pursue it further, and look critically at sources, you’ll find that what exists is not so much “glorious” but only different. At least, that is my observation. I grew up with Jacobite propaganda on how great and superior the Syriac faith is: when I grew up, I learned about the heavy influence of the Greeks on the Syriacs. This was first to my dismay — I was disappointed at the lack of purity in my religion. But this gave way to a realization of the essential unity of apostolic (i.e., non-Protestant) Christianity.

    A Roman Catholic (i.e., of the Latin Rite) who seeks to discover Eastern or Syriac Christianity will definitely find something different: longer, more poetic, ornate and perhaps more beautiful prayers. But they are not substantially different: the core ideas are perhaps phrased differently (and are perhaps slightly different in an academic sense) but they are not a different religion.

    Bar Hebraeus, a staunchly Jacobite scholar of the 12th century, loved and was much loved by Greeks, Catholics and Nestorians in the East because, despite theological differences, he felt that all of those incarnations of Christianity were legitimate, and did not differ in any vital sense (this was even before the modern ecumenical movements that seeks closer union between the Orthodox, Catholics and CoE). This is a key insight that Protestants and anti-Roman romantics alike must try to grasp — although the Orientals are quite different from the Western Catholics, the differences do not extend to the essential teachings. In fact, prayers for the dead (and a belief that dead pagan ancestors can be saved, and must be prayed for), theories concerning the Saints, symbolicism, iconography, etc. are *NOT* contentious issues at all.

    There is a lot of false teaching out there. Much of it stems from the Protestant missionaries to the East misunderstanding what they saw. And much of it stems from anti-Roman attitudes fostered by overly-aggressive Roman Catholic missionary activity. So you may see a lot of Orthodox people and non-Catholic Orientals who have a somewhat anti-Roman stand. The Protestants take this to signify a doctrinal difference (Buchanan, Asahel Grant, Abraham Malpan, are all in this group) — however, the antipathy is more due to political reasons (i.e., anger at aggressive Roman missionaries) than doctrinal ones. The Orthodox and Catholics — despite mutual political hostility — still recognize the validity of each others orders, sacraments, etc. This is important to remember.

  125. Admin says

    Dear John Mathew

    On the last point- While discussing about Colonial interaction, almost everyone criticize what Portuguese did on Sixteenth century on liturgy, practices and on the destruction of manuscripts etc in South India.

    At the same time, the Portuguese association did benefit the Christians in Malabar. Today, we are all Catholics / Orthodox/ Jacobite and Protestants belonging to different denominations. Generally speaking, I have observed that the Protestants are not very open in accepting history, and that they beat around on the tagline of “reformation”.

    What the Anglican missionaries tried among the Jacobites in nineteenth century, ( 1816 onwards till 1836 and then till 1877) was exactly the same thing Portuguese did centuries earlier. Anglican missionaries tried to change the liturgy, practices and tried to take control of the Church. In a very short span of time ( ie, two decades) , they tried taking control among the Jacobites by blaming the injustice Rome has done at the same time repeating the very same tactics Portuguese missionaries did in a span of a century.

    I was not suggesting that Anglican association was not beneficial; the same way Christian community got benefited from Portuguese association, there were benefits in this as well.

    I don’t know if it is because of ignorance, the Protestants while being historically conscious, generally go at length on Anti- Roman remarks but at the same time beat around the bush on the history about what their counter parts- the Anglicans did with a tagline of “reformation” which is very strange and funny.

  126. John Mathew says


    I think the Protestant refusal to accept their own role in ruining or attempting to ruin old churches is partially due to ignorance (e.g., Buchanan and Grant were certainly ignorant people — their own countrymen acknowledge that) and partially due to their blinding hatred of “Rome” — not understanding that what they consider to be “Roman” are often general characteristics of ancient Christianity.

    But I would never put the Anglicans and the Portuguese in the same boat. The former were heterodox, and introduced a viral form of heresy in Kerala. The latter were, regardless of tactics, still orthodox in faith. There is always the possibility of intercommunion with the latter’s creed; the former, short of them converting to the orthodox faith, will always be without valid orders and sacraments.

  127. JEEVAN PHILIP says

    Thomas Antony’s remarks from S N Sadasivam

    Thomas actually wanted to show that the Malankara Nazranies also did conversion. But his objectives are spoiled by his evidences. Every body knows about Sadasivam and what he stands for.

    Sadasivam quoting from Francis Buchanan and extent his imagination to the conversion to state that it was gaining momentum. The problem with these authors is that they do not substantiate with any data or compare with present data. Of course Kunnamkulam is one of the prestigious centers of Malankaranazranies, forced Hyder Ali to call it a Nazrani gour. Their population is concentrated in and around the town. Their peculiar angadi (NAZRANI AGRAHARAM) shows their Jewish culture and this is the only such Nazrani agraharm exist in malankara.

    “””””””””””””The missionary Samuel Mateer identifies Muvattupuzha, Thodupuzha, Pathanapuram, chengannur and chertala as the centers of low castes. The fact that except cherthala, all the other places became Christian majority taluks tends to affirm the extent of proselytisation they have witnessed…………….(All these palces are strongholds of Puthencoor. “””””””””””””I am very much happy to state that the point which Thomas indicating itself shows the other way around. What Thomas says is absurd because Thodupuzha and Muvattupuzha are Romosyrian majority area. In fact Thodupuzha & Muvattupuzha are Christian majority belt and Thodupuzha with a95% romosyrian population while Muvattupuzha with 60%(out of total population of Christians;if you have any doubt just pick up the phone and talk to your Kothamangalam diocese fellows.)Now Pathanapuram and Chegannur has a considerable presence of CSI church and this area were received maximum CMS work.

    Every one knows that the other points related with Ezhavas are connected with CMS mission, not with Malankara Nazranies .This was one of the reasons for Malankaranazrani split with CMS mission. You please read Dhalith Bhandhu to know more about conversion and its social impact .Also please note that Malakaranazranies were so superstitious people who followed all sorts of heathen customs and practices.

    I think I have covered almost all points admin and Thomas has raised (Post 16311, 16312, 16313, 16314, 16342 & 16504). if anything is left please point out. I am stating this only because Thomas has the tendency to manipulate my silence.