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The Forgotten Bishops

The Malabar Independent Syrian Church and its Place in the Story of the St Thomas Christians of South India


The Malabar Independent Syrian Church is the smallest of the jurisdictions into which the St Thomas Christian community is divided today. It has, however, played a crucial role in the development of the Syrian Churches, whose stories can not be told without it. The present work shows how the bishops of this tiny, one-Diocese Church, now largely forgotten, once stood at the centre of the events that shaped the present ecclesiastical situation.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-619-0
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Sep 23,2009
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 652
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-619-0
$257.00
Your price: $179.90

The Malabar Independent Syrian Church is today the smallest of the jurisdictions into which the St Thomas Christian community is now divided. It has, however, played a crucial role in the development of the Syrian Churches, whose stories can not be told without reference to it. The present work shows how the bishops of this tiny, one-Diocese Church, now largely forgotten, once stood at the centre of the events that shaped the present ecclesiastical situation.

Drawing on previously undiscovered manuscripts preserved at Thozhiyur in the former British Malabar, and others at Oxford, Birmingham and the British Library, the story of the impact of a delegation headed by the Maphrian of the Syrian Orthodox Church which reached Kerala in 1751 is told in detail. From this was to result a small monastic community that would become a major ‘bridgehead’ for the introduction of West Syrian usage into India. Contrary to prevailing opinion, this identity was reinforced by the arrival of Anglican missionaries in 1816, and by two powerful members of the Palakunnathu dynasty – Abraham Malpan and Mathews Mar Athanasios.

The findings challenge the way the main communities in Kerala (Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox and Mar Thoma) are accustomed to tell their stories. The reality – with the bishops of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church at its heart – is more complex, and more fascinating, than has been told so far.

The Malabar Independent Syrian Church is today the smallest of the jurisdictions into which the St Thomas Christian community is now divided. It has, however, played a crucial role in the development of the Syrian Churches, whose stories can not be told without reference to it. The present work shows how the bishops of this tiny, one-Diocese Church, now largely forgotten, once stood at the centre of the events that shaped the present ecclesiastical situation.

Drawing on previously undiscovered manuscripts preserved at Thozhiyur in the former British Malabar, and others at Oxford, Birmingham and the British Library, the story of the impact of a delegation headed by the Maphrian of the Syrian Orthodox Church which reached Kerala in 1751 is told in detail. From this was to result a small monastic community that would become a major ‘bridgehead’ for the introduction of West Syrian usage into India. Contrary to prevailing opinion, this identity was reinforced by the arrival of Anglican missionaries in 1816, and by two powerful members of the Palakunnathu dynasty – Abraham Malpan and Mathews Mar Athanasios.

The findings challenge the way the main communities in Kerala (Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox and Mar Thoma) are accustomed to tell their stories. The reality – with the bishops of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church at its heart – is more complex, and more fascinating, than has been told so far.

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ContributorBiography

John Fenwick

John Fenwick is a Diocesan Bishop in the Free Church of England. He holds degrees in Zoology and Theology from the Universities of Durham, Nottingham and London, while his doctoral thesis on the Liturgy of St James was published by the Oriental Institute in Rome. A former Ecumenical Secretary to two Archbishops of Canterbury, he has served as co-secretary to the international Anglican-Orthodox dialogue. For the past twenty years he has been a regular visitor to South India, researching the Churches of Syrian heritage there.

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • List of Illustrations (page 13)
  • Illustrations (page 21)
  • Sources (page 35)
  • Abbreviations (page 37)
  • Note on Terminology, Episcopal Nomenclature, Spelling and dates (page 39)
    • Ecclesiastical (page 39)
    • Indian Usage (page 40)
    • Personal Names (page 41)
    • Spelling and transliteration (page 42)
    • Dates (page 43)
  • Acknowledgements (page 45)
  • Map of Travancore, Cochin and British Malabar circa 1800 (page 49)
  • Introduction (page 51)
  • Chapter 1: The Indian Context (page 61)
    • The Geographical Context (page 62)
    • Ethnography (page 64)
    • Political Organisation (page 67)
  • Chapter 2: Syrian Christianity (page 73)
    • Syriac (page 74)
    • The Common Heritage (page 75)
    • The East Syrian community … the Church of the East (page 78)
    • The West Syrian Community … the Syrian OrthodoxChurch (page 90)
    • Through Indian eyes? (page 103)
  • Chapter 3: Syrian Christianity in India to 1498 (page 109)
    • The St Thomas Tradition (page 112)
    • Later Developments (page 116)
    • The Stone Crosses (page 119)
    • Other Factors (page 120)
    • The Archdeacon (page 122)
    • The Lower Clergy (page 125)
    • The Status of the Community (page 127)
  • Chapter 4: The Consequences of European Contact … An Overview (page 133)
    • The Portuguese and The Synod of Udyamperoor/Diamper (page 133)
    • The Dutch (page 153)
    • The British and Tippu Sultan (page 158)
  • Chapter 5: The Struggle For Independence and Identity 1653-1751 (page 169)
    • Francis Garcia, Archbishop of Cranganore, 1641-1659 (page 170)
    • Coonen Cross and the establishment of contact with the West Syrian tradition (page 171)
    • Efforts to Restore Union with Rome (page 177)
    • Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel (page 183)
    • The Kattumangattu Brothers (page 193)
    • Maphrian Mar Basilios Yaldo and Mar Ivanios Hidayathulla (page 195)
    • The transformation of the Archidiaconate (page 197)
    • Mar Thoma IV ca 1688-1728 (page 199)
    • The Struggle for Control of the Syrians: Mar Thoma IV, Mar Gabriel, Padroado and Propaganda (page 203)
    • Mar Thoma V 1728-1765 (page 207)
    • Mar Ivanios Yuhanon Ibn al Arqugianyi of Amid (page 210)
  • Chapter 6: The Consequences of the Maphrians Delegation of 1751: I - The Quarrel With Mar Thoma V (page 219)
    • Mar Basilios Shukr Allah Qasagbi, Maphrian of the East (page 219)
    • Mar Gregorios Yuhanna, Metropolitan of Jerusalem (page 221)
    • The arrival of the delegation (page 222)
    • First contact with the Kattumangattu brothers? (page 227)
    • The absence of the Vicar Apostolic (page 229)
    • The concordat with Mar Thoma V (page 230)
    • Anquetil du Perrons Meeting with Maphrian Mar Basilios, January 1758 (page 231)
    • The Maphrians legacy …community and liturgy (page 234)
    • The breakdown of the concordat with Mar Thoma V (page 238)
  • Chapter 7: The Consequences of the Maphrians Delegation of 1751: II The Consecration of Two Bishops (page 243)
    • The Consecration of Mar Thoma VI as Dionysios I (page 244)
    • The Date of the Consecration of Mar Koorilose I (page 250)
    • Why was another Indian consecrated? (page 271)
    • What happened in 1772? (page 274)
    • Summary (page 291)
    • The end of the Maphrians delegation (page 295)
    • Postscript: Why Koorilose? (page 296)
  • Chapter 8: Mar Koorilose I And Mar Dionysios I: Further Themes (page 297)
    • Mar Dionysios Is attempts to unite with Rome (page 297)
    • The Mission of Joseph Kariattil (page 300)
    • Opposition to Mar Dionysios reception (page 302)
    • Mar Abraham Pandari and the reception of Mar Dionysios I (page 306)
    • Additional Topics (page 314)
  • Chapter 9: The Early 19th Century … Two Lines of Succession (page 335)
    • A Brief Review of Sources (page 335)
    • The Kattumangattu Succession … Geeverghese Mar Koorilose II and Mar Ivanios (page 338)
    • The Pakalomattom Succession … Mar Dionysios I and Contact With British Churchmen (page 345)
    • Mar Thoma VII 1808-1809 (page 360)
    • Mar Thoma VIII 1809-1816 (page 363)
    • John Munro, British Resident, 1810-1819 (page 365)
    • Mar Thoma IX 1816 (page 373)
    • The Thozhiyur Succession (page 374)
    • Plans for Renewal … and Reunion? (page 377)
    • The Founding of the Seminary and the Consecration of Mar Dionysios II (page 381)
    • North-South tensions (page 385)
    • The Mission of Help (page 388)
    • Indigenous Evangelism (page 393)
  • Chapter 10: The Golden Age: Geeverghese Mar Philoxenos II, Malankara Metropolitan (page 397)
    • Consecration and Ministry (page 397)
    • Mar Athanasios Abdul Messih (page 411)
    • The Liturgical Shift (page 420)
    • Mar Philoxenos II … death and tributes (page 423)
  • Chapter 11: Mar Koorilose III and the Termination of the Mission of Help (page 427)
    • The consecration of Mar Koorilose III (page 427)
    • Bishop Wilsons Visits (page 432)
    • Fading Hopes for Reform (page 436)
    • Attitudes to Roman Catholicism (page 439)
    • The Mavelikara Synod, 1836 (page 447)
    • Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan (page 452)
    • The Petition to the British Resident, 1836 (page 456)
  • Chapter 12: Mathews Mar Athanasios (page 463)
    • Early Life and troubles with the CMS Missionaries (page 464)
    • The Journey to the Patriarch (page 469)
    • Encounter with Patriarch Elias II (page 474)
    • The return to India (page 486)
    • Mar Athanasios and Mar Dionysios IV … early contacts (page 489)
    • The Kandanat Assembly of 30th August 1843 (page 492)
    • The Callumcatta Assembly of 3rd September 1843 (page 494)
    • The Attitude of the Missionaries (page 495)
    • The Response from the Patriarchate (page 496)
    • A West Syrian agenda? (page 503)
    • Malankara Metropolitan (page 509)
  • Chapter 13: Independence Secured (page 511)
    • The Consecration of Mar Koorilose IV (page 513)
    • The Thozhiyur community acquires new Churches (page 521)
    • The Later Career of Yoakim Mar Koorilose (page 523)
    • The Death of Mar Dionysios IV (page 526)
    • A wider perspective … the Pazhayakuttukar (page 527)
    • Internal life (page 536)
  • Chapter 14: The End of the Old Order and the Consecration of Titus I Mar Thoma (page 543)
    • Joseph Mar Dionysios V (page 543)
    • The Consecration of Thomas Mar Athanasios (page 545)
    • The Visit of Patriarch Peter III (page 546)
    • The Abandoning of Mathews Mar Athanasios (page 549)
    • The Mulanthuruthy Synod 1876 (page 551)
    • The Death of Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasios (page 554)
    • Thomas Mar Athanasios, Malankara Metropolitan (page 557)
    • Events at Thozhiyur … the consecration of Mar Athanasios I (page 561)
    • The consecration of Titus Mar Thoma (page 564)
    • Internal Life (page 569)
  • Chapter 15: The Twentieth Century: Expansion, Obscurity and New Initiatives (page 571)
    • Geeverghese Mar Koorilose V, 8th Metropolitan, 1898-1935, and Paulose Mar Athanasios, Suffragan Metropolitan 1917-1927 (page 574)
    • Kuriakose Mar Koorilose VI, 9th Metropolitan, 1936-1947 (page 581)
    • Geeverghese Mar Koorilose VII, 10th Metropolitan, 1948-1967 (page 583)
    • Paulose Mar Philoxenos III, 11th Metropolitan, 1967-1977 (page 585)
    • Mathews Mar Koorilose VIII, 12th Metropolitan, 1978-1986 (page 590)
    • Joseph Mar Koorilose IX, 13th Metropolitan 1986-2001, and Cyril Mar Basilios, 2001 - (page 591)
  • Chapter 16: The Significance Of The Malabar Independent Syrian Church (page 599)
    • An Integral Place in the St Thomas Christian Story (page 599)
    • Wider Implications (page 603)
    • A Future Role? (page 604)
  • Bibliography (page 607)
  • Index (page 637)
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