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Author Topic: Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church  (Read 9723 times) Average Rating: 0
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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« on: June 24, 2003, 05:36:29 AM »

Dear respected members

I belong to Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox
Church. Here I am trying to post the Syrian Church
History of Malankara. I am not a historian, what ever I
am compiled from many documents will be posted here
in many parts. This compiled version of the history is
available in my Parish community pages.
http://groups.msn.com/StGeorgeSyrianOrthodoxChurchCheppaud/pithakkanmar.msnw

More over anyone can say it is a history of Jacobite
perspective. No argument Smiley

Part 1
St. Thomas
 
Remember, St. Thomas came to India when so many countries of Europe had not yet become Christian, and so, those Christians who trace their Christianity to him have a longer history and a higher ancestry than that of Christians of many European countries. And, it is really a matter of pride to us that it so happened.
--Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of India (1952-62), 18 Dec. 1955, St. Thomas’ Day Celebrations, New Delhi.

It is traditionally believed that St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ came to India in A.D. 52 and established the Church on the Malabar Coast.

Dealing with the Malabar tradation about the apostolate of St. Thomas. Msgr. Texeria,, Co-adjutor bishop of Madras, said, "The Malabar tradation is not written on hard stone or sheets of parchment, but in the hearts and memories of men, assuredly as enduring a monument as those of granite and the like".

Which is attested by West Asian writings since the 2nd century (The Doctrine of the Apostle Thomas and the Acta Thomae), both of which were written at or near Edessa ca 200-250 AD - Writers of the 4th century, St. Ephrem and St. John Chrysostom knew also about the relics of St. Thomas resting at that time in Edessa, having been brought there from India by West Asian merchants - and St. Gregorios Nazianzen, also in the 4th century; St. Jerome, ca 400 AD, and historians Eusabius ca 338 and Theodore, of the 5th century.

There is a wealth of corroborative evidence to support, and no good reason to doubt the living tradition of St. Thomas Christians that the Apostle arrived in Kodungalloor (Muziris) in Kerala in 52 AD, preached the gospel, established seven churches - Cranganore (Malankara), Chavakad (Palur), Parur near Alwaye, Gokamangalam, Niranam, Nilakkel (Chayal), Quilon (Kalyan) -, and moved on to other kingdom, returning to Madras (Mylapore) in 72 AD where he was martyred that year.

History tells that in AD 394, the relics of St.Thomas was taken to Edessa, a place that was under the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch.  There it was entombed in a church built in his venerated memory. July 3 is celebrated as St.Thomas day by the Eastern Churches commemorating this hallowed event.

Though my intention is not to provide evidence of his arrival in India, a few documents may be of interest.

A Syriac document dating back to the second century A.D., "Doctrines of the Apostles", states, "India and all its own countries and those bordering on it, even to the farthest sea, received the Apostle's Hand of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was the Guide and Ruler in the Church which he built there and ministered there."

St. Ephrem in a hymn addressed to St. Thomas says, "Blessed art thou, whom the Great King sent that India to His Begotten thou shouldst espouse."

A hymn chanted on Thursday morning in the breviary of the Syrian Orthodox / Indian Orthodox / Syro-Malankara Church has it,

'Simon, the head of the apostles,
Paul, the appointed one of the churches,
Mar Thoma, who came to India and
The Martyrs who received the crown of glory,
Pray to Jesus that He may shower grace upon us.'
 
Dr.Juhanon Mor Thoma Metropolitan of Marthoma Syrian Church, concludes the Chapter on St. Thomas Tradition in his book as follows: "The History of the Christian Church in the first century does not depend entirely on historical documents. Tradition is often more true and more compelling than plain historic proof. In this sense St. Peter's founding of the Roman Church and St. Thomas founding of the Malabar Church, may be said to stand on the same footing. Both are supported by traditions which are sufficiently early and sufficiently strong".

Rev. Fr. K.K. John (Vicar, St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Church, Washigton, "Certain historians after 18 th century recorded traditional belief that St. Thomas ordained priests from four Brahmins’ families. There is no mention of having had a bishop to succeed him any time. The staggering question no one explored or answered hitherto is why apostle Thomas appointed priests only from four Brahmin families when he had established seven churches. What would have been the plight of remaining three churches? They were at fairly distant places and to reach such places were difficult considering limitations of transportation and communication facilities and state boundaries. Why Apostle Thomas did not convert from low castes and untouchables (if he did not!) or why he did not ordain priests from low castes and untouchables? I would never believe that Apostle failed to do so. This makes me conclude that none of the available history books reflects full facts and hence inconclusive and is written with ulterior intent to trace high-caste lineage".

Mr. J.C. Panjikaran in his work "The Syrian Church In Malabar" chapter 1 deals with the apostolic orgin of the Syriac Christianity in India with various arguments the auther concludes that St. Thomas the Apostal is the founder. He points to the posibility of two missionary journeyes made by the apostal touching several places in the Asian Continent. According to him the apostal might have started his first journey in A.D. 35. During this first period he preached the Gospel to the Parthins, Medes and Persians and visited the countries to the North-West of India, the Kingdoms ruled by the Indo-Parthian King Gondophares who lived before A.D 50. It could be that the apostle reached Kodungallur in A.D 52 as part of his second missionary journey. The saint suffered martydom at Calamina, which is the little Mount and tradationally known as Shinnamalai in the local language.

The first community of the Syriac Christians probably included converted Nambudhiris. As evdence for this the author cities certian Nambudhiri customes practised by the Syriac Christians (women) such as mode of wearing cloths, giving mixture of honey, ghee and gold to the newely-born child within 36 hours after birth, Annaprasanam, Pulakuli on the 10th or 11th day after the death of a person etc.

St Thomas Christians faced stiff oppositions and persecution from fundamentalist Hindus and affluent rulers and were treated as bondservants to high class Hindus, which alludes that majority of converts were from low castes. They had no civic or religious freedom. The predominant caste system also had negative ramification. Upper class converts even after conversion considered themselves superior and never treated lower class converts with equal dignity that had seriously impaired Church growth. Worship, nothing comparable to that of these days, was simply house gathering that was led by leader of the house. According to one source only sacrament known to them was Baptism and there were no priests.

By the end of 2 nd century due to these factors and many others the Church of St Thomas gradually withered and almost reached a stage of extinction. Churches in Coromandel and in North India or Afghanistan (of Gondaphorus) lost vigor and fervor in due course of time and amalgamated in Hindu culture

To be contd... Part 2 (Archdeacons Part - 1)
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2003, 03:02:30 AM »

Part 2 (Archdeacons Part - 1)

There is no proper document to show a continuous history of primitive church of St Thomas in Malabar. This is because Archbishop Menezis and later CMS missionaries destroyed all our historical records.
 
In the year 189 A.D. Pantaenus who was a missionary sent by Bishop Demetrius of Alexandria arrived in Malabar. He found a Christian group with an Aramaic version of the Gospel of St. Mathew. The visit of Pantaenus has been mentioned in the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea, and St. Jerome.
 
There is mentioned in the records of the Council of Nicea, of the presence of a Bishop John of India (A D 325, may not be from Malankara but possible that from Churches in Coromandel and in North India or Afghanistan - of Gondaphorus).
 
More clear evidence is found in the writings of Cosmas who was a merchant from Alexandria and sailed in the Indian seas in 522 A.D. He records that he had seen Christians in the Island of Taprobani (Ceylon or Srilanka) with clergy and a congregation of believers, and also in the land called Male (Malabar) where pepper grows. He has written that there the clergy are ordained by a Bishop sent from Persia. From the mention of Malabar as the place where pepper grows it is quite clear that he mentions the presence of a strong Christian community in this area in the early years of the sixth century with strong connections with the church in Persia.
 
All these shows, there was connection with the Church in the Middle East & Persia from where Bishops came and rendered spiritual ministrations and ordained priests.
 
By the end of 2 nd century due to factors mentioned earlier the Church of St Thomas gradually withered and almost reached a stage of extinction. Churches in Coromandel and in North India or Afghanistan (of Gondaphorus) lost vigor and fervor in due course of time and amalgamated in Hindu culture.
 
But the sorry plight was being informed to Antioch, the center of Christianity. Followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch, Acts 11. St Peter, the Head of all Apostles, established on February 22, AD 37 an ecclesiastical center for administration in Antioch, we call it Holy See, for whole Christendom. All other apostles preached Gospel, converted people and ordained presbyters (Presbyter means and includes priest and bishop) but they never established a center for administration as Peter did in Antioch. Obviously, all apostles joined Peter to establish the Holy See in Antioch. Until recently none, neither apostles nor their successors ever claimed similar or parallel arrangement. Holy Mooron was consecrated only in Jerusalem and Antioch until 4 th centuries. So it is fair to hold that the faithful in India though handful yet devout and strong made all possible efforts to inform their hapless state of affairs to the Christians in Antioch. In response to such requests from the shepherd-less Malabar Christians, Demitrius, the bishop of Alexandria, advised Pantones, according to certain sources, from school of Alexandria to visit India and he visited India in AD 190. If Dimitrius so advised it was not because he had any spiritual authority over the east but because he was requested to do so by Antioch. Antioch and Alexandria always maintained cordial relations. There were Indian students in Alexandrian school of theology. Bishop of Antioch enjoyed preeminent status all over Persia and entire east right up to China and Korea, but due to local persecutions and other restraints it was not easy to send bishops frequently to Malabar to administer Holy Mooron and sacraments.
 
Emperor Constantine’s conversion became a turning point in the history of Christendom and it opened new opportunities. Not only that persecution ended and religious freedom restored but also Christianity gained royal status. The Church was however riddled with heresies and schisms most catastrophic being the Arian heresy. Constantine convened a synod to set the heresy at rest. 318 fathers from whole Christendom met at Nicea in AD 325. After many deliberations the Arian heresy was condemned and Arius was excommunicated. The first ecumenical Nicene synod is very conspicuous that it also formulated and provided an administrative framework as the basis for the future Church.
 
The Nicene council created four Patriarchs according to four corners of earth and defined areas of authority for the first time. They were, Patriarch of Rome, also recognized as the first among the equals solely because of the preeminent status of Roman Empire, Patriarch of Alexandria, Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarch of Antioch who had authority over all the east. Jerusalem bishop was conferred honorary rank as the fifth Patriarch recognizing the preeminent status of Jerusalem as the place of redemptive activities of our Lord.
 
The practical aspect of this creation was also to break tie situations in case of disputes when the council was in progress. Subsequent synods ratified the decisions of the Nicene council and decided that no one shall alter decisions of the Nicene council. Thus obedience to the Nicene council is mandatory and basis for all future doctrines. Historians agree that creating the Patriarchates was not altogether a new invention of the Nicene council but ratification and authentication of the practices and privileges locally existed until then at various places.
 
Within twenty years from then the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, he took prompt action to stabilize and improve downtrodden conditions of Malabar Christians which itself is sufficient proof that he was legitimately concerned about the welfare of the Indian flock under his care (Click here).
 
As a commercial community the Christians were not very much concerned about the theological nuances of the Bishops who came from the Middle East, some “Jacobite (Orthodox)” doctrine regarding the person of Jesus Christ and some of whom were Nestorian. Faithful received the Nestorians due to mistaken identity namely, they wore same attire, spoke similar language, were conversant with Nicene Creed, were against idolatry and had semblance in the way they conducted worship. Faithful were not illuminated to distinguish the theological intricacies of complicated Christology.
 
The Persian connection of the Indian Churches has to be seen also in the context of the internal dissension and state persecution of Christians in Persia from the 5th century. A synod of the Persian Church (410 AD) affirmed the faith of Nicea and acknowledged the Metropolitan of Selucia-Ctesphion as the Catholicose of the East. Not long after, the christological controversies of Chalcedon, fuelled by the strains between the Persian and Byzantine empires, swayed the Persian Church to declare itself 'Nestorian' and its head to assume the title of Patriarch of the East (Babylon). From their base in the then flourishing theological school of Nisibis, Nestorian missionaries began moving to India, Central Asia, China and Ethiopia to teach their doctrines - probably associating with the work of St. Thomas the apostle, whom the Persians must have venerated as the founder of their own church.

To be contd... Part 2 (Archdeacons Part - 2)
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2003, 11:00:11 PM »

thanks for this info!  Keep it coming!
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2003, 02:24:07 AM »

Part 3

Archdeacons (Part 2)

By the 7th century, specific references of the Indian Church began to appear in Persian records. The Metropolitan of India and the Metropolitan of China are mentioned in the consecration records of Patriarchs of The East.

There were other developments in the Persian Church of potential import to the Indian Church. A renaissance of the pre-Chalcedon faith began, led by Jacob Bardeus, emphasizing the West Syrian Christological tradition of the One United Nature, influencing the church in Persia as well. Availing the relatively equable political climate following the Arab conquest of Syria and other parts of West Asia, a Maphrianate of the anti-Chalcedonies was established by Mar Marutha, a native Persian, became the first Jacobite Maphriana (Catholicose) of the East. The jurisdiction of this Catholicose at Tigris extended to in lower Mesopotamia and further east.

On the life of the Church in India during the first 15 centuries, the balance of historical evidence and the thrust of local tradition point to its basic autonomy sustained by the core of its own faith and culture. It received with the trust and courtesy missionaries, bishops and migrants as they came from whichever Eastern Church Tigris or Babylon, Antioch or Alexandria, but not from the more distant Constantinople or Rome. There were times in this long period when the Christians in India had been without a bishop and were led by an Archdeacon. And requests were sent, sometimes with success, to one or another of the eastern prelates to help restore the episcopate in India. Meanwhile the church in Persia and much of west Asia declined by internal causes and the impact of Islam, affecting both the Nestorian Patriarchate of the East (Babylon) and the Jacobite Catholicate of the East (Tigris).

In conclusion up to the 16th century there was ecclesiastical connection between the Church in West Asia and the Church in Malabar. The Bishops who came from Babylonian Patriarchate were Nestorian. Those who came from Antioch or Catholicose of the East who was under the Jurisdiction of Antoich were Jacobite. What is certain is that the Malabar Christians and the Persian Christians had ecclesiastical connections.

H.G Paulose Mor Gregorious, a bishop of “Catholic faction of Malankara”, then remban Paul T Varghese and Principal of the Orthodox Theological seminary, Kottayam and world renowned scholar, wrote on October 9, 1968 in the "News from Seema" page 21-22, "We in India belong to this Patriarchate even if we have our own Catholicose and are autonomous. We have no other sources from which to renew our ancient tradition, except the tradition of Antioch, of the Great Syrian Church, which once had spread through the length and breadth of Asia, right up to China and Korea. It would be the height of ingratitude and most deplorable folly on our part if we grieve his hart (the Patriarch) with any world which seeks to dissociate ourselves with the patriarchate of Antioch."

Renowned historian Mr. George Varghese of Malankara Orthodox Church wrote “Malankara Sabha (an official church magazine of Malankara Orthodox Church)” “ From the time of Nicea synod till 1490 Malankara church was with Jacobite / Orthodox faith. From 1490 until the time of Udumperroer Synod, 1599, Nestorian Faith influenced Malankara. 1665 Mor Gregorious of Jerusalem reestablished the Jacobite / Orthodox faith. (The Malankara Sabha, Page 21, Issue No. 41, August 1986)

In reply to the above statement Rev. Fr. Dr. V.C. Samuel wrote, “ From 470 the Catholicate of Persia were influenced by the Nestorian Faith and by 486 it officially accepted the faith. After that by 629 only the Anthiocan Syrian Catholicate was able to reestablished in Persia (The Malankara Sabha, Page 25, Issue No. 41, October 1986).

For a true faithful there are yet sufficient evidences to show that Malankara was an archdiocese of the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch. Dr Neal says, ‘a Jacobite bishop arrived in Malankara in AD 696,’ ‘History of the Holy Eastern Church, Vol II P 88.

There is a granite cross, preserved at Santhom Madras, inscribed therein in old Palavi language, dating back to 8 th century. Translation of Dr Burnel as GM Rae certified reads, ‘Suffering of the One, true Christ and God in the Highest and ever Holy Guide, was punishment on the Cross.’ In other words, the One crucified and suffered was God. Palavi was Persian language, not Indian. Nestorians never believed the concept of suffering God. They curse those who say God suffered. So there is no possibility that a Nestorian would epitomize something, which he detests. On the other hand Jacobites do hold that Jesus Christ was God while suffering on the Cross. His Godhead did not separate from His body or soul even for a split of second- “Theopaschite theory.”

Another granite inscription - a ditto copy of the cross - written in 7 th century is kept in Kottayam Valiapally. This clearly shows that some Persian-Jacobite wrote and brought that to Malankara. Thus Malankara Church was Jacobite during 8 th century.

Bishop Mor Dionesius I presented a Syriac (Estrangleo) bible to Dr Buchanan in 1807. He preserved it at Cambridge University. The bishop said to Buchanan, ‘we kept this bible for thousand years. Now it is safer with you.’ Faithful of Mavelikara Church said to Buchanan, ‘we had bible for the past 1400  years, ’ (‘Christian Researches in Asia,’ p.137). Now the question remains whether or not the said bible was Nestorian or Jacobian. This Bible contains reading index for special occasions / festivals. St. Mary is mentioned as Theotokos, (Mariam Yeldoth Aloho). Nestorians calls her Christotokos. ‘Theotokos’ is heresy for them. This sufficiently proves that the said bible was Jacobian. If the faithful so dearly kept a Jacobite bible there is no doubt for me that those who kept it also held the same faith. Thus Malankara Church was under the patriarch of Antioch at least from the time of Syrian colonization of Malabar.

The Catholicose of Selucia who had contacts with Malabar was under the supremacy of the same patriarch. By the end of 5 th century it fell to Nestorians. Nestorians waited opportunity to sneak into Malankara as and when they got opportunity. Patriarchs after Michael Rabo and last Catholicose Barebraya were very feeble and could achieve nothing worth to record and they neglected Malankara or they assumed everything was fine. Nestorians took advantage of the situation and sneaked into Malankara. For two centuries Nestorians exerted their influence in Malankara. Buchanan records what the faithful told him, ‘whatever is your faith, our faith is undefiled because we come from land where the disciples were first called Christians,’ Christian Researches in Asia, edn 1812 p. 147. This instance would prove that the ignorant faithful received them under mistaken identity thinking that they came from the same patriarch. Please read, “Indian Church of St Thomas, by EM Philip ch 16.

According to Rev. Dr. I. Daniel Corepiscopa of Catholicose faction of Malankara Church, in his book "The Syrian Church Of Malabar" published in 1945 from Madras, writes, "Thr Syrian Church of Malbar was founded by St. Thomas. It came into close connection with the Persian Church, but this connection in its latter stage was not with the Nestorian section but with the Maphriante in Tigrith which was West Syrian Orthodoxy. Only between 1490 and 1599 the Syrian Church was in close contact with Nestorian, which however, was not due to a right understanding about the true nature of that tradation but due to mistakes. Nevertheless, the connection had not jeopardized the Orthodoxy of the Church. The Roman Catholic attempt inder the Portuguese was to bring the Syrian Church under Roman fold and event of 1653 was a total reacation against it. With the arrival of Bisop in 1665 the Syrian Church came for the first time in direct contact with the West Syrian Patriarchate which so far had been indirectly maintained through the Maphrianate of Tigrith. Trough this event the ancient Orthodox Faith of the Syrian Church was once again restored."

In the same book were he try to establish the legitimety of the 1912 Catholicate instituation, he writes, "The Syrian Church was orthodox all through the past in its history, that it was autonomous in its church administration, and the the institution of the Catholicate in 1912 in it was valid and in accordance with the true traditions found within the West Syrian Church"

Though there were such ecclesiastical connections and ministrations, the church in Malabar (Malankara) was in administration under the Archdeacons

To be contd... Part 4 (Mor Joseph of Urfa [Uraha/Edessa])
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2003, 07:44:17 AM »

Part 4

(Mor Joseph of Urfa [Uraha/Edessa])

The Nicene council created four Patriarchs according to four corners of earth and defined areas of authority for the first time. They were, Patriarch of Rome, also recognized as the first among the equals solely because of the preeminent status of Roman Empire, Patriarch of Alexandria, Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarch of Antioch who had authority over all the east. Jerusalem bishop was conferred honorary rank as the fifth Patriarch recognizing the preeminent status of Jerusalem as the place of redemptive activities of our Lord. The practical aspect of this creation was also to break tie situations in case of disputes when the council was in progress. Subsequent synods ratified the decisions of the Nicene council and decided that no one shall alter decisions of the Nicene council. Thus obedience to the Nicene council is mandatory and basis for all future doctrines. Historians agree that creating the Patriarchates was not altogether a new invention of the Nicene council but ratification and authentication of the practices and privileges locally existed until then at various places.
 
Within twenty years from then the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, he took prompt action to stabilize and improve downtrodden conditions of Malabar Christians which itself is sufficient proof that he was legitimately concerned about the welfare of the Indian flock under his care. There was a seasoned trader called Knai Thoma who had visited Malabar Coast several times for business.

Knai Thoma expressed willingness to migrate to Malabar. He felt it expedient to escape persecution from Sapor II, Persian King. The Patriarch advised Mor Ouseph, bishop of Edessa to accompany Knai Thoma to Malabar. Knai Thoma, the bishop, two priests, two deacons and 72 families comprising four hundred members landed in Kodungallor in AD 345.

Some recent writers discredit the Syrian migration of Knai Thoma as a way to escape persecution. The chief idea was to uplift the dwindling Christianity and he did it in compliance to the request from the Patriarch. This is a golden landmark and turning point in the history of St Thomas Christians of Malabar. Knai Thoma presented valuables to the King Cheraman Perumal. King Perumal was well pleased with the newcomers and gave them freedom and many civic honors. Perumal had no difficulty to recognize the familiar face of Knai Thoma. A document written in 1604 and preserved at the British Museum says, Perumal personally greeted Knai Thomas at the port and out of respect conferred his own name on him. The King conferred 72 honors written in copper plates to Christians. Thus for the first time St. Thomas Christians were free to worship, preach and enjoy equal civic liberties. From then onwards St. Thomas Christians were known as Syrian Christians. This is a historic event that saved Christians from slavery and decay. Knanaya community both Orthodox and Roman Catholic are descendants of Syrian migration. We can safely say that at least from the time of Syrian migration in 345 the St Thomas Christians of Malankara were under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch

To be contd... Part 5 (Mor Sabor and Mor Aphroth)
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2003, 08:38:07 AM »

Part 5

Mor Sabor and Mor Aphroth

Mor Sabor and Mor Aphroth are believed to be two saintly men who came to Malankara to preach the Gospel. They came along with a group of Syrian Christian immigrants lead by a merchant named Sapor Esho. They are said to have disembarked at Quilon (Kollam) in c. 822. They were preachers of the Gospel and it is believed that both were bishops. They established churches in Quilon, Kayankulam, Udayamperoor and Akaparambu. The church at Akaparambu is believed to have been established in A.D. 825. It is said that they were granted the land to build a church after a successful theological debate with the local religious leaders. The church was named after the martyr saints of the early church, Mor Sabor and Mor Aphroth, after whom the two were named. The church they established in Kayankulam was also named after these two saints. Both churches were popularly known as the Church of the Qadishangal' (Qadishangal being a corruption of the Syriac word for the Holy Ones, Qadishe).

Mor Sabor is believed to have been based at Quilon and Mor Aphroth at Udayamperoor. Some accounts suggest that Mor Aphroth was based at Kodungalloor. Mor Aphroth is believed to have been instrumental in the conversion of the royal family of Udayamperoor to Christianity. It is believed that the Villarvattom royal family--perhaps the only Christian royal family in Kerala was an offshoot of this conversion.

The records of the Thareesa church at Quilon indicate that the church was established by Sapor Esho. Historians suggest that the records refer to Sapor Esho, the merchant leader of the immigrant group, or Mor Sabor or perhaps both.

In A.D. 1593, the Portugese Archbishop Menezes of Goa called a synod at Udayamperoor (Diamper) with the intention of forcing the Syrian Christians of Malankara under the Roman yoke. In his zeal to eliminate any trace of the Syrian traditions among the Malankara Christians, the Archbishop summoned the liturgical books and other records and burned them. An ancient Syriac Bible preserved at a church in Malankara fortunately survived and is preserved today in the British Museum. Some accounts of its history suggest that this Bible was brought to Malankara by Mor Sabor and Mor Aphroth. The Udayamperoor Synod in the mistaken belief that Mor Sabor and Mor Aphroth were Nestorians removed their names from the list of the holy ones and changed the churches named after them to the Church of All Saints.' (19th canon of the Synod). Although the Akaparambu church was represented at the Udayamperoor Synod, the church did not acknowledge the decisions of the Synod and retained its name.

To be contd... Part 6 (Mor Ignatius Semavoon)
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2003, 06:47:26 AM »

Part 6
Mor Ignatius Semavoon
(Patirach Of Antioch 1640 - 1653)

On hearing about the persecution suffered by his flock in Malankara, the Patriarch of Antioch, Mor Ignatius Ahathulla, set out to Malankara in 1653. His personal name was Hidayattulla. Since Portuguse could not say that name they called him 'Ahathalla". He was captured by the Portugese enroute and was taken to Madras. Two Syrian Christian deacons from Malankara, Itty and Kurian, who were on pilgrimage to Mylapore heard about the incident and reported to the church in Malankara. They also managed to meet Mor Ahathulla and secured a 'Statikon' from him appointing Archdeacon Thomas as the episcopa of Malankara [with the condition that a proper ordination would be obtained as soon as the situation permitted]. In the meantime, Mor Ahathulla was brought to Cochin. On hearing about his arrival, hoardes of Syrian Christians rushed to the Cochin Port to free their holy father. It is said that church bells rang at Karingachira and several of those who rushed to Cochin were from Karingachira. They were unable to free Mor Ahathulla. Legend has it that he was drowned in the Arabian Sea with a millstone tied to his neck, although another version says that he was taken to Goa and burnt on the stake. Later on Makaram 3rd (January 3, 1653), at Mattancherry, under the leadership of Archdeacon Thomas and a Knanaya priest, Anjilimmoottil Ittythomman Kathanar (Rev. Itty Thomas), about 25000 Syrian Christians held on to a rope tied to a leaning cross and pledged to never surrender to the Roman yoke and always remain under the Holy Apostolic See of Antioch maintaining their ancient rites and traditions. This historic event is known as the Koonen Kurishu Sathyam (The Leaning Cross Oath). Later, they assembled at Alangatt, and twelve priests of Syrian community consecrated the Archdecon Thomas of Pakalomattom family, who had recived a "Statikon" from the Patriarch Of Antioch and declared hin the episcopa of Malankara, giving him the name Mar Thoma, the first in the long line up to Mar Thoma IX till 1816.

Now their are different vesions whether Ahathalla was, Antiochian, Jacobite Patriarch or Nestorian or else, etc amoung modern authors.

To be contd... Part 7 (MARTHOMA I)
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2003, 03:18:13 AM »

To be contd... Part 7

MARTHOMA I
(1653 - 1670)

Certain indigenous priests, some say 12, due to
exigency of effective leadership, with the authority of order from Patriarch Ahathalla, in an assembly at the Allangattu church elected Thoma Arkadyakon (1637 - 53) of Pakalomattom family and named him, Morthoma I in 1653, first indigenous bishop, immediately after the famous “Koonan Cross Pledge.” They also appointed four-member council of priests to assist Morthoma. They were Anjilimootil Fr Itty Thoman, Fr Kadavil Chandy, Fr Vengoor Geevarghese and Fr Parampil Chandy.

Things were not at all smooth thereafter. The stumbled Romans capitalized the situation. They spread rumors that a bishop could not be consecrated without laying of hands and the sacraments of a bishop without proper consecration were invalid. This caused confusion and many faithful deserted the mother Church and joined Romans. Fr Kadavil Chandy and Fr Parampil Chandy also defected due to bribe. They embraced once discarded heresy aspiring to become bishop, which of course Romans offered. Morthoma himself was aware of his infirmity and never executed anything that would jeopardize his conscience. Morthoma wrote detailed letters to the Patriarch of Antioch insisting to send bishops to regularize his position. In times of such trials and hardships Fr Anjilimoottil Itty Thomman served as his most trusted lieutenant, aid and counselor. He encouraged the disheartened Morthoma. He wrote letters to Patriarch requiring him to send bishops to regularize Morthoma.

Pope sent bishop Joseph who lured Morthoma. But Morthoma devoutly resisted him. The enraged bishop Joseph influenced the king of Cochin and inflicted a false case on Marthoma. Marthoma took asylum in Mulanthuruthy church. Fr Itty Thomman hurriedly reached there. King of Cochin connived with Portuguese and kept them in the palace prison to hand over to Portuguese. Luckily, two faithful visited Marthoma and Fr Itty in the prison. This time Fr. Itty got a wonderful idea to escape. The visiting faithful were eager on the safety of their spiritual leaders and upon mutual consent the faithful disguised in bishop’s and priest’s attire and in turn Morthoma and Fr Itty took layman’s dress and came out. Hindu guards failed to recognize them and thus both Morthoma and Fr Itty Thomman miraculously escaped unhurt. After a while the king handed over the two to Poruguese governor. Bishop Joseph came with men to kill them but understood the trickery. They chastised them and let them free. If it were not for his timely action, the name “Orthodox” itself would have become a dream of the past. To me, Fr Itty Thomman was “Bismarck of Church.” He was the greatest personality and a hero of unparalleled excellence, one who boldly organized the rally for Koonan Cross Oath, withstood firmly in times of vicissitude and persisted in the teeth of discouragement and delivered this Church from the dastardly onslaught of Roman heresy. Does modern Church give him due respect he deserves? Church should erect some kind of monument to honor this great soul and declare him saint.

Conceding the requests of Morthoma and Fr Itty the Patriarch of Antioch sent Mor Gregorious of Jerusalem. He reached here in 1665. Marthoma welcomed Mor Gregorious and willingly executed Salmoosa in favor of the Patriarch and Mor Gregorious consecrated him. Thus we got the first valid bishop of Malankara. Morthoma until his death in 1670 remained faithful and loyal to Antioch.

To be contd... Part 8 (Mor Gregorius Abdel Jaleel)
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2003, 05:09:56 AM »

Part 8
Mor Gregorius Abdel Jaleel

Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel was born in Mosul, Iraq. He was at first the Metropolitan of Diyarbakr and thereafter was transferred to Jerusalem. He was later sent to India by the then Patriarch of Antioch Abdulmessih the First (162 - 1686) in response to the request of the Church there. He reached Malankara in AD 1665 and confirmed the Episcopal consecration of Mor Thoma I as the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India. Mathoma, the priests and the faithful accepted him warmly and obyed this orders. He sent an encyclical dated February 5 (kumbham) 1668 to all churches copy of which, is still trceable. It said he was aware of the hardships due to onslaught of Portuguse hertics who forced them to accept Roman idoltatry.

Many religious practices alien to the Holy Apostolic Faith of the Church had also crept in. With love and patience and through peaceful means Mor Gregorios taught the people the true Apostolic Faith. He had to face many threats, even to his own life. But placing his trust in God Almighty, he braved all odds. By his prayers and piety he gained souls for our Lord Jesus Christ. He decired that forcing prests not to marry leads to audulterous practices.  Mor Gregorios broke idols which the Portuguese brought into the Church and encouraged priests to marry. Mor Gregorios also consecrated two Bishops for Church in Malankara. His last days were spent at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Church of North Paravur in the Diocese of Ankamally. He entered his heavenly abode on April 27, 1681 and was entombed at that Church. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.

On April 04, 2000, in accordance with the Apostolic authority The Patrairch Ignatious Sakha I decleared him as a Saint along with Mor Ostatheos Saliba and allowed to recite the Quqalyon for the Saints (Zadeeko) at his holy tomb and whenever we remember them and beseech their intercession.

To read more about the Saint please visit
http://www.malankarachurch.org/PARAVUR/BriefBiographies.htm

To be contd... Part 9 (Marthoma II)
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2003, 12:42:29 PM »

Thomas, please correct me if I am misunderstanding you.  You write above that Mar Gregorios encouraged priests to marry.  If this is so, then it is a practice inconsistent with the practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, where those proposed for Ordination must be married *prior* to their Ordination to the Sacred Diaconate.  

If an unmarried man is ordained a Deacon in the Eastern Orthodox Church, he is prohibited from marrying but must remain celibate.  Thus, in Eastern Orthodoxy, *both* priests and deacons are prohibited to marry, *BUT* they may marry *prior* to their Diaconal Ordination (it goes without saying that monastic priests, i.e., hieromonks, and monastic deacons, i.e., hierodeacons, in Eastern Orthodoxy are always celibate).  I would assume the same for Oriental Orthodoxy, including the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.

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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2003, 06:02:43 PM »

Dear Hypo,

I think this was a slip of the tongue, since the OO tradition on this is identical to the EO tradition.
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2003, 05:38:46 AM »

Dear Hypo
As Mor Ephram said it is a slip of tongue. Mor Gregorious encouraged priests to marry, but not after the priesthood. According to the Syriac orthodox church, marry or not to marry is allowed in the priesthood.

But if any priests to be marry, he should marry before the ordination of priesthood (Kasiso). That means he must make the decision just after the ordination of Deacon (Shamosho) and before the ordination of priesthood.

Also on those days, the Catholics church authorities forced the existing married priest to divorce their wife and Mor Gregorious allowed the married priest to keep their wife.
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2003, 10:58:31 AM »

So is your tradition similar to the Armenian, where a deacon can marry after ordination, provided he has signed the papers BEFORE ordination to deacon?

In the EO Church, one must marry before ordination to DEACON.  But I understand the case with the Armenians to be different, in that they as stated above will ordain a deacon, then let him marry if he had stated that intent, and then ordain him to priest (but not let a man ordained to priesthood marry).

anastasios
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2003, 06:08:13 PM »

You learn something new every day...so Reji, in our Church, you can be ordained a Deacon and marry afterwards, as long as this happens before priestly ordination?  I was under the impression that you had to marry before the Diaconate, although one could be ordained a Subdeacon and marry afterwards.  

Didn't know about the Armenians either.  Thanks, Anastasios.
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2003, 08:48:07 PM »

in our Church, you can be ordained a Deacon and marry afterwards, as long as this happens before priestly ordination?

That is the case. They usually make a choice at this point if they are going to become a married priest or a Herimonk. In any case, they have to be married before their ordination as priests.
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« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2003, 01:36:20 AM »

Part 9
Marthoma II (1670 - 1816)

In 1670 Marthoma I and Mor Gregorious of Jerusalem both jointly consecrated Marthoma II.
 
It was in AD.1675, during the tenure of  Malankara Metropolitan Marthoma II, the Metropolitan Mor Anthroyos together with his 2 brothers and some others migrated to Malankara from 'TurAbdin' (an ancient Suriyani Christian settlement area of the present Turkey).  One of the brothers of Mor Anthroyos is genealogically the ancestor of Parumala Thirumeni.  According to the famous historian 'Ittoop Writer' and many others, Mor Anthroyos came here as the delegate of the then Suriyani Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. (But Edavizhikkal E.M.PHILIP in his book "Marthoma's  Indian Church" doubts the status of bishoprics of Mor Anthroyos).   On reaching Malankara, Mor Anthroyos stayed at the Mulunthuruthy MarThoman church. He continued to be there for many more years.  But due to some dubious acts of an influential family of the church, he was forced to leave the place. Mor Anthroyos later visited and stayed at St.Mary's Church Piravom, St. Mary's Church Manarcad and the Puthenkavu Church in the south.  There he taught Syriac and gave guidance to the clergy.   In 1682, Mor Anthroyos while taking bath, slipped into the river at Kallada, and died.  His body was laid to rest at the Kundara church.  The annual 'dhukrono' of the Holy father is still celebrated in that church.  In the Southern districts of Kerala, he is popularly known as "Kallada Appoppen", while northerners call him  "Kallada Bawa".

A few years after the demise of Mor Anthroyos, his two brothers went to Piravom and stayed at  the church building ('Pallimeda' in Malayalam) which was called as 'Srambi'.  Later they returned to

Mulunthuruthy and adopted 'Srambikkal' as their family name.   Of the two brothers of Mor   Anthroyose, one married from 'Palasna' family and had two children.  These two children later  settled at places called "Kattumangattu" & "Thanagattu" near Mulunthuruthy and adopted these very names for their families.  In due course they become prominent families of the area.  The two famous "Kattumangattu Metropolitans" were the descendants of the family that stayed at "Kattumangattu".   But later on, the thrift between these two families increased.  By around 1800, "Thanagattu" family become more prosperous and the administration of the ancient Mulunthuruthy MarThoman church came under them.  

The famous "PALLATHITTA" family, of which Mor Gregorious (Parumala Thirumeni) belongs to, is a direct branch of this "Thanagattu" family. "Vettikkal Kurisu Palli", which later become the first Dayro of the Malankara Church, was supposed to be constructed by Iypooru Tharakan I, of this Pallathitta family.   Pallathitta Fr. Geevargheese Malpan was the nephew of this Ipooran.  Earlier this branch of the family (Pallathitta) had migrated to Kandanadu, near Mulunthuruthy and stayed at "Pallipram Kallarakal" House.  Pallathitta Fr.Geevargheese Malpan's brother 'Kochu Mathai'  later shifted to "Chathuruthy House" at Mulunthuruthy some years after his marriage with 'Mariya'.

To be contd... Part 10 (Yeldho Mor Baselius)
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2003, 11:13:29 PM »

If I am not mistaken, my priest was a subdeacon for five years, then he got married, and then he was ordained a deacon shortly afterwards, and a priest one week after that.  I guess I presumed, from this, that you couldn't get married once you were ordained a deacon.
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2003, 05:33:12 AM »

I'd never heard of full deacons being allowed to marry after Ordination, do any other Orthodox Churches allow this?  Any idea how this difference arose?
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2003, 05:57:56 AM »

Part 10

Yeldho Mor Baselius

In 1683, Mar Thoma II, the bishop of the Malabar Syrian Church sent a letter to the Patriarch, through one Joseph, a Syrian trade magnate from the Middle-East, requesting H.Father to bless the Church in Malankara by deputing a Metropolitan and four Malpans to counteract the destructive activities of the Romo-Syrians and to defend the Holy faith. In the same year a deputation from malankara waited on the patriarch at Kurkuma Dayaro(Deir-al-Zaffran) in Mardin with a request for Metropolitans for safeguarding the faith and the Apostolic Succession.

The scene at the Kurkuma Dayaro is briefly described by Mor Athanasius Aphrem Paulose, Metropolitan of Beirut in his work, "Seemakkaraya Pithakanmar". In 1684, Patriarch Ignatius Abdul Masih I consecrated H.Mooron in the Kurkuma Dayaro, assisted by Mor Baselius Yeldho, Maphrian of the East and other Metropolitans, under the Holy See of Antioch. Before their departure, the Patriarch in touching words acquainted them with the affairs of the Malankara Church and of the visit of the deputation. Immediately Mor Baselius, a native of Bakudaida, Karakosh, near Mosul volunteered to go to Malankara, relinquishing his administrative charge there. His self-sacrificing decision was praised by all. Mor Baselius, with the approval of the Patriarch, made arrangements at Mor Mathai Dayaro and started the long journey to a region totally unknown to him.He was accompanied by his brother, Jamma, Rembans Joea and Mathai and the newly consecrated Ivanios Hidayathulla Episcopa. They traversed the route via Basrah.

The party landed at Tellichery and fearing the Portuguese influence that was still extant in Malabar, dared not to travel by native boats, but took to the hilly, hazardous route, wearing layman's dress. After a laborious sojourn of months; thery reached Kothamangalam via Pallivasal, in 1685 and stayed in the Cheriyapally. On 14th Elool (Sept) Mor Baselius Maphrian raised Mor Ivanios Episcopa to the rank of Metropolitan. Leaving him to the care for the Malankara Church, the saintly Mor Baselius breathed his last in the Cheriyapally at a grand old age after 13 days of his arrival there.

By the Apostolic Bull No. E265/87 dated October 20, 1987 his name included in the fifth Tubden of the Holy Eucharist Service.
http://groups.msn.com/StGeorgeSyrianOrthodoxChurchCheppaud/yourwebpage3.msnw

Because of his tomb in the Madbaha (Holy of Holies) the church became a pilgrim centre

To be contd... Part 11 (MARTHOMA III)
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2003, 05:45:28 AM »

in our Church, you can be ordained a Deacon and marry afterwards, as long as this happens before priestly ordination?

That is the case. They usually make a choice at this point if they are going to become a married priest or a Herimonk. In any case, they have to be married before their ordination as priests.  

Dear List

As this subject extensively debated at this platform, I consulted my two spiritual advisers and got following answer from them. Hope this will satisfy the members and clear the stand of Syriac Orthodox Church on this subject

Dear Reji,

They are to marry, if they prefer to before becoming a full deacon. But rarely some are allowed to marry after because of need to assist in Mooron Koodasa. Normally the former is the norm.

Moolelachen (Rev. Dr. Kuriakose Moolayil Corepiscopa of Malankara Jacobite Church)

Dear Reji,
No, full deacon is not allowed to marry after ordination.
Marriage should be done while up to fifth position
(yaupathyakno). Also not allowed to marry widow and if a
full deacon so does he will be debarred from clerical
position.

Johnachen (Fr. John .K.K of Indian Orthodox Church)
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2003, 07:30:11 PM »

They are to marry, if they prefer to before becoming a full deacon. But rarely some are allowed to marry after because of need to assist in Mooron Koodasa. Normally the former is the norm.


Dear Reji,

What is "Mooron Koodasa"?  I am presuming it is the consecration of the Holy Mooron.  Is this the case?  And why are full deacons needed for this so much that they can be allowed to marry after ordination to the seventh order?  What is the story here?
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2003, 05:06:32 AM »



Dear Reji,

What is "Mooron Koodasa"?  I am presuming it is the consecration of the Holy Mooron.  Is this the case?  And why are full deacons needed for this so much that they can be allowed to marry after ordination to the seventh order?  What is the story here?  
Quote

Dear Mor Ephrem

1. Yes you are correct it is mean Conceration of Holy Mooron.

2. Regarding the roll of Full Decons in this occation, try to read the following lines.

Preparation of Holy Mooron: Chapter 3 of Hudaya Canon extensively deals with how to prepare the Holy Mooron but it does not impose time restriction. Holy Mooron can be consecrated at any time as needed but in ancient times it was done on Passover Thursdays. Patriarch and Catholicos only are empowered to consecrate Holy Mooron under normal circumstances. Under exigent situations archbishop may consecrate it with express consent from the patriarch.

It is made of ten different perfumery ingredients, which are, 1, 400 measure pure olive oil, 2, 60 measure spikenard, 3, 60 measure Cinnamon skin, 20 measure each of, 4, saffron, 5, dry ginger, 6, pepper, 7, nutmeg, 8, clove, 9, 60 measure green Njerinjil (thorn-bush?) and 10, balsam. Items 2 to 8 are powered and mixed with olive oil and poured in a glass jar. A big copper vessel filled with water is put on the stove. The jar containing mixed oil is hanged in the center of the water vessel by means of a tie-rod. Water is boiled for three hours and then item # nine is added in the oil and allowed another one hour additional boiling. After which the mixture is allowed to cool and settle down. Then the oil is poured into clean vessel, for consecration.

Chief celebrant is Patriarch or Catholicos. Baptized believers with sober mind only are allowed to be present. Consecration liturgy has two parts.

Part 1, Partakers are arranged in three rows covering the area of holy of holies and the sanctuary. Chief celebrant sits on the throne with full vestments at the eastern side of the holy of holies. Bishop leads the prayer and holding the staff of the chief celebrant and the chancel accompanied by others go round the sanctuary in procession and re-enters the holy of holies to continue the liturgy. Chief celebrant himself then mixes balsam into the oil and covers it under his vestments and holds it tightly close to his chest. The second procession to the sanctuary follows accompanied by liturgical chants, 12 sub-deacons holding lighted candles, 12 full-deacons holding marvah'so, and 12 priests holding chancels and bishops and re-enters the holy of holies and places the vessel containing oil on the Tablitho.

Part 2, Deacons and priests position themselves in an orderly manner in the holy of holies and the chief celebrant assisted by others conducts the long liturgy that blesses the oil. He then distributes the blessed oil to the needy bishops and priests. Canon forbids priests from pouring it from one vessel to another or to distribute from it to others.

This is were the full Deacons rolls comes.

3. Regarding the third part of your query, as it was from another source, I will contact Rev. Dr. Kuriakose Moolayil Corepiscopa and comes back with his answers
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« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2003, 04:45:13 AM »



Dear Reji,

What is "Mooron Koodasa"?  I am presuming it is the consecration of the Holy Mooron.  Is this the case?  And why are full deacons needed for this so much that they can be allowed to marry after ordination to the seventh order?  What is the story here?  
Quote

The following is the reply from Dr. Kuriakose Moolayil Corepiscopa

Dear reji
Mooron Koodasa is the consecration of Holy Mooron done only at times of need for Holy Oil. It is mandatory to have full deacons, subdeacons, etc for the fulfilment of this rite.
The next doubt is cabout allowing marriage after being a Kasseso like that of protestants. The Orthodox considers their priests as father. A father is not expected to marry a daughter. The priest's wife is called 'a lady of covanant' (Baskyomo). She is not to be remarried because of the same reason.
Moolelachen.
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« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2003, 06:28:55 PM »

Dear Reji,

Thank you for providing Moolelachen's prompt responses to my questions.
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2003, 03:35:32 AM »

Subj: Full Deacons

Dear Mor Ephram

I just want add few more lines on this subject.

In Syrian (Syriac / Malankara) Orthodox Church, Full
deacons are treated like priests in three things:
1.Second marriage
2.Gospel reading EVANGELION on St. Stephen's feast
3.Funeral(if a full deacon dies he gets almost the same
rites as a priest)

If I am wrong, please correct me.
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2003, 07:59:45 PM »

In Syrian (Syriac / Malankara) Orthodox Church, Full
deacons are treated like priests in three things:
1.Second marriage

This is true.  

Quote
2.Gospel reading EVANGELION on St. Stephen's feast

I had heard that full deacons were allowed to read the Gospel during the Liturgy, but I've never seen it done.  This is news to me, that a full deacon can read the Gospel on the feast of Saint Stephen.  My question is why can't full deacons read the Gospel at the Liturgy regularly (for example, every Sunday)?  

Quote
3.Funeral(if a full deacon dies he gets almost the same rites as a priest)

You are probably right, although I do not know for sure (I have fortunately never had to go to a priest's funeral yet, and so I do not know much about their funeral rites).  

Thanks again!

P.S.  If there is interest in the topic of deacons in the Oriental Orthodox Churches among our members, perhaps a thread on this topic could be started?
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« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2003, 07:06:29 AM »

Part 11
MARTHOMA III

In 1686 Mor Ivaneous of Antioch consecrated Marthoma III as successor of Mor Thoma II. The third Marthoma did not live long. on his. His soul rest in peace on 9th of Medom (April) 1688.

To be contd... Part 12 (MARTHOMA IV)
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« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2003, 09:06:10 AM »

MARTHOMA IV

Mor Ivanious (the Patriarchal delegate who came to Malankara together with the Maphiryono Mor Baselious Yeldo-Kothamangalam -1685) consecrated Mor Thoma IV as successor of Morthoma III in 1688 April (9th of Medom)

Mar Thoma IV administered the Church for 40 odd years. After a useful career of eight years in Malankara, Mor Ivanious departed the eartely life on August (3rd of Chingam) 1693. He buried in the precincts of Mulanthuruthi Marthoman Church.

During the regime of Mor Thoma IV a Nestorian Bishop Gabriel arrived in the country in 1708, having been sent by the Nestorian Patriarch of Babylon. He was not cordially acknowledged by the community.

There is a story concerning him that a Syrian Christian discontented with Mor Thoma, hearing of Mor Gabriel’s arrival at Cochin, paid a visit to him, and on his return, referred to him in words which have since become a proverb, viz., that he was “neither a father nor an uncle, but fit for the present purpose” (of opposing Mor Thoma).

Mor Gabriel was a time serving man. He had to serve his own interest rather than the interest of Nestorianism. When he started for Malabar, he submitted his confession of Faith to Pope, with a request that he be confirmed as the Bishop of Malabar. Failing in that direction, he tried to exact the sympathy and acknowledgement of the Jacobites, by imitating Jacobite rituals and practices in his worship, and this enabled him to win the partial acceptance of few parishioners.

A Carmelite friar of Verapoly obtained from him an agreement that he would live a retired life. It is said this agreement is still preserved in the archives of Verapoly.

Mor Thoma IV treated him as an intruder and heretic. He wrote to the Dutch Governor at Cochin, complaining against Mor Gabriel’s intrusion and soliciting the Commodore’s help to oust him from diocese. Mor Gabriel died in 1730 and was buried in the Jacobite (Cheriapalli) church at Kottayam. His tomb was afterwards desecrated by the congregation of the church, and the materials were utilized in the construction of a staircase in their parochial building.

Mot Thoma IV opposed Mor Gabriel as long as he lived. In Europe in1714, Mor Thoma is described as a monophysite and the Church of Malabar is represented as receiving bishops from the Patriarch of Antioch. Two letters written by Mor Thoma and addressed to the patriarch are also extant.

In the first, written in 1709, he complained of schism introduced by Mor Gabriel and requested the Patriarch to send Bishops and theologians to teach the Church.

In the second letter, dated 1720, (a copy of which may be seen in Asseman, IV, 466), the Patriarch is designated head of the Universal Church of Christ by the appointment of three hundred and eighteen Fathers of Nicea; reference is made to the former Antoichan bishops, Mor Gregorious, Mor Baselious, and Mor Ivanius, whose death, it is said, reduced the Malabar Church to state of a ship without a rudder; Mor Gabriel is alluded to as a Nestorian who taught that Christ had two natures and two persons, and who consequently was not recognized except by a single priest; and the Patriarch is requested to send bishops and priests well versed in philosophy and in the interpretation of Holy scriptures, as well as to write letters to the Dutch Commander at  Cochin soliciting his help to the Bishop against his enemies and against infidel kings.

Unfortunately this letter did not reach its destination, but somehow escaped to Europe and was published there. Asseman, who saw it, or perhaps a copy of it, concludes from its terms that the writer was a Jacobite who depended upon the See of Antioch.

Mor Thoma IV died on the 13 th of Meenam (March) 1728, after consecrating his successor Mor Thoma V, and was entombd at Kandanad Martha Mariyam

To be contd... Part 13 (MARTHOMA V)
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« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2003, 06:34:56 AM »

Part 13
MARTHOMA V - Part 1

Just before the demise of MarThoma IV, some of those assembled there, fearing intrusion and intervention by Nestorian Bishop Mar Gabriel, felt it necessary that a successor to MarThoma, should at once be consecrated and suggested Thoma Kathanar, a nephew of Mar Thoma for the high office.  The bedridden MarThoma was informed of the suggestion and also that he should lay hands on his nephew.  The strictly Orthodox MarThoma, conscious of the consecration of his predecessors and of himself, flatly rejected the proposal.  Meanwhile a section of priests assembled there declared that Fr. Thoma has been consecrated as MarThoma V with the blessing of his predecessor, but this was actually without the consent of MarThoma IV. It is reported that several of the priests left the scene in protest and there aroused a division in the Church.

A vast majority of faithful also kept aloof from the new MarThoma saying that he is not a validly consecrated Metropolitan.  They even submitted their complaints before Dutch authorities. As MarThoma V himself was aware of the invalidity of his said ‘consecration’, he appealed to Antioch for delegating prelates to 're-consecrate' him.  In 1739, one Hezekiel, a Jewish merchant through whom Mor Thoma forwarded his correspondence to Antoich. In 1746, there came Mor Ivanious Yuhanon of Amid, send by Patriarch Geevarghese III and he enjoyed a hearty welcome from MarThoma; but unfortunately the friendship didn’t last long.  Mor Ivanious sternness in flushing out the remnants of the Latin rite, led to his breaking of images in certain churches.  Due to his inflexibility in matters of faith and practices followed by the Church, he became unpopular among some; even MarThoma V could not find favor with him.  Besides, he had procured no authority to re-consecrate the native Methran, which so exasperated MarThoma that he renewed his application to Antioch praying for deputation of authorized delegates to re-consecrate him.  Even in the midst of such uneasiness between them, both MarThoma and Mor Ivanious jointly applied to the Patriarch for a Primate and Mor Ivanious also personally requested the Patriarch to send Ramban Shakralla of Aleppo, after consecrating him as Maphriyono.  These letters were dispatched through one Deacon Antonios who had arrived in Malabar on commercial enterprises.  Meanwhile an agreement was also made with the Dutch East India Company, by which MarThoma promised to pay the Company the entire expenses incidental to the voyage of delegates in one of the Company’s ships.

Deacon Antonuis was successful in his mission.  He submitted the appeal of MarThoma before the Patriarch and entrusted the letter to Ramban Shakralla.  Thus in Chingam 1748, the Patriarch summoned Ramban Shakralla from Aleppo and consecrated him Maphriyono, and also promoted Mor Ivanious of the St.Behanan Monastery, in the title - 'Mor Gregorious' of Jerusalem.

Through his letter of 15 th Chingam 1749 the Patriarch asked MarThoma to receive the Maphrian warmly.  The Maphriyono Mor Baselios Shakralla took with him 18 valuable volumes of his own library and holy vessels, worth Rs.3000/- and another set of 40 volumes presented by the Patriarch, besides the Holy Muron and oils and relics of the saints.  The Maphrian had with him the Patriarchal authorization for consecrating MarThoma with the title Mor Dionysius and a pastoral staff, bishop’s cross and SUSTATIKON.

In those days the Dutch had entered into an agreement with the Raja of Cochin on 22 Meenam 1663, which says that the Raja had no authority over his Christian subjects and no new taxation might be levied on them without the approval of the Dutch authorities and all Christians should be under the care of the Dutch, who could punish the Christian culprits.  Under such a situation the MarThoma had no other alternative other than requesting for help of the Dutch authorities and they in turn agreed to bring the Primates from Antioch on condition that Mar Thoma meets the fare.

Mor Baselios Shakralla, accompanied by Mor Gregorious, Ramban Yuhanon of Mosul diocese (Iraq), Corepiscopa Geevarghese, Kassisso Yuhanon and four deacons started from Aleppo (Syria) and via Baghdad reached Basra and thence arrived at Cochin on 14 Medam (April) 1751.

Being informed of the arrival of the Maphrian and party, MarThoma, staying at Pallikara, sent some priests and leaders to receive the dignitaries to Kandanad Church. But contrary to the agreement reached earlier, neither MarThoma nor anyone authorized by him appeared before the Dutch authorities to clear the accounts which came to Rs.12000.  It is said that MarThoma never expected so heavy and exorbitant amount as traveling expense.  The Dutch, insisted that only after clearing the accounts, would the party be set free.  The Maphrian too did not have enough funds with him, as he had been informed earlier that the money would be paid here.  Earlier Mor Gregorious (in 1665) and Mor Baselios Yeldho (in 1685) had come to Malankara without any financial help from Malankara Church. Mor Baselious Sakralla too, if he were informed earlier, might have come prepared like his predecessors.  The Dutch insisted for payment, but MarThoma continue to abscond. The Dutch in turn detained the ‘hostages’ with them and petitioned in Court for recovery of the amount.  MarThoma remained silent.  He shifted to Rackad - farther away from Cochin. (End of Part I)

To be contd... Part 14 (MARTHOMA V- Part 2)
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« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2003, 02:39:34 AM »

MARTHOMA V- Part 2

The Dutch then filed a civil action before the Travancore Government, which issued a warrant for the arrest of Mor Thoma. For some time he hide himself, but was at last arrested and delivered to the Dutch, who in turn threatened to deport him, if he failed to pay the sum demanded of him. In despair, he consecrated his successor under the title Mor Thoma VI. Meanwhile, some money was collected from the Syrian churches, and large sum was realized by the attachment and sale of properties belonging to the church at Niranam. The debt was thus partially paid, and the delegates were released from custody.

They reached Kandanad on 14 th, Karkadakom 1751.  Again MarThoma kept aloof.  From Rackad he went to Kothamangalam Cheria Pally and the Maphrian reached Kothamangalam Valia Pally - a distance of barely one furlong.  MarThoma again evaded and went to Kuruppumpady and thence to Niranam in the South, and the Holy Maphrian came to Kayamkulam.  At last they met at Mavelikara, but matters remained as before. Thus he failed to attain the greatest ambition of his life, not on account of any fault in his part, but through his inability to satisfy the demand of Dutch Company.

Whatever be the difficulty, MarThoma could have settled the issue much earlier; those fathers had come in response only to his repeated prayers to the Patriarch and they had done him no harm.   [But certain modern writers hail MarThoma V as a freedom fighter of the Indian Church as he refused to pay the pending amount due to Dutch authorities; this is utterly ridiculous.  There are many records available which clearly explains that he was always faithful to the Holy See; in one of his letters to the Dutch in Cochin, he says; “we honor, the Patriarch as our Supreme Head,” and when he was enticed by the Dutch to join the Protestant church, he wrote that he could not reply on the matter, without the permission of the Patriarch]
 
{In a Syrian MS. In the possession of the Mr. E.M. Philip, there is a copy of an autograph diary of Mor Baselious, describing his journey and the question of the passage money. The translation of it may be of interest to our readers; will post as next part}.

It was Mor Baselious Shakralla Bava during his stay at Mattancherry, built the Syrian Church located there, which at present is not in the possession of the Jacobite Syrian Church. The plot of land was acquired with the permission of Cochin Raja for Rs.475 and His Beatitude constructed a church there at his own expense.  Residing there, he worked hard to reaffirm the Apostolic faith of the Syrian Church. He changed many a practices then existed in some churches, like veneration of statutes which was introduced as a result of the Portuguese influence of the 16th & 17th centuries.  He encouraged the parish priests to marry and at the same time Celibate priests were disallowed to serve in parish churches as per the Syriac Christian tradition.

On 30 th Medam the Maphrian consecrated Ramban Yuhanon, who had accompanied him from Antoich, as the Metropolitan of Malabar under the title ‘Mor Ivanious’. The consecration was at the Kandanad Church.  After posting Mor Gregorious at Kothamangalam and Mor Ivanious  at Kndanadu the Maphrian began a tour of 14 churches in Travancore, beginning from Kottayam, and returned to the north early in 1753.  He ordained many priests, deacons and Rambans

Towards the end of Mor Baselious Bava’s life, a reconciliation was brought about between Mar Thoma V and His Beatitude; but before the accomplishment of re-consecration of MarThoma V, Mor Baselios passed away on 9 th Thulam 1764 at Mattanchery.  His mortal remains were brought down to Kandandu and was entombed at the Church where his anniversary is celebrated on a grand scale.  The Malankara Church celebrates the Dhukrono of Mor Baselios Shakralla Bava on 22 nd October with great fervour and is the main 'Perunnal' (festivity) of the Kandanad Martha Mariyam Church

Marthoma V followed him to the grave on the 27th Medom (April) in 1765.

To be contd... Part 15 (MARTHOMA V- Part 3)
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« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2003, 01:43:51 AM »

Part 15 (MARTHOMA V- Part 3)

From the diary of Mor Baselious
 
{In a Syriac MS,  In the possession of Mr. E. M Philip, there is a copy of an autograph diary of Mor Baselious, describing his journey and the question of the passage money during the period of Mar Thoma V. The translation of it may be of interest to our readers}
 
In the month of March 1748, came to the city of Beruva, Deacon Antonios, bringing with him letters from Mor Ivanios Metropolitan and Mor Thoma to the address of Mor Ignatius Geeverghese III, Patriarch of Antioch, and myself. At the time, I was ill. The letter to Mor Ignatius was sent to Amid (Diarbekir), and I intimated to him that I had been ill two months. Afterwards Deacon Antonios went to the Patriarch and informed him that the people  of malabar wanted a Maphrian, as written in the letters of Mor Ivanios and Mor Thoma. After recovery, I visited the Patriarch at Amid, which was distend from Beruva by fifteen days journey. On the way robbers attacked me, but they did not do any injury to me. I was consecrated Maphrain and after a short stay I returned to Beruva on the 25 th of August, and was again ill for some days. Mor Ignatius sent Mor Gregorious and another Metropolitan and a Corepiscopa, who traveled along the rivier Tigris and reached Baghad. Afterwards, owing to illness, the other Metropolitan and returned to Amid and Gregorious remained at Baghdad awaiting my arrival. But I was delayed by the absences of caravans to Baghdad, through rumors of robbers in the wilderness. So I had to remain four months at Beruva. In the meantime, I collected Rs. 3,000 besides articles and books required fir the voyage and for the Church. On Sunday the 7 th of January 1749, I left Beruva with Corepiscopa, deacon Antonios and my own deacon. On Sunday the 28 th, the robbers fell upon us and wrestled with us for fifteen hours, killing two Turks and wounding many men. Many horses and camels also died. At this time another band of robbers arrived, who saved us from the other robbers. The head of the second band took from the caravan nine thousand gold cons each worth Rs. 3 and from us all books and articles. He also demanded money from me. We paid him Rs. 1,500 and received back our books and articles, and glorified God for having saved our lives. We then reached a place called Aneh and remained there two months, no one daring to go forward from fear of robbers. On the 1 st of April, we crossed the Euphrates and reached Helleah, and thence we went to Baghdad incurring large expenses on the way.
 
At Baghdad, we met Mor Gregorious, The other bishop and Corepiscopa had returned to Amid owing to illness and difficulties. Gregorious did not look behind, but patiently suffered with Ramban John all the difficulties in the way and at baghdad, waiting eleven months for me. Afterwards we hired a vessel and all went down the Tigris to Bassorah, spending Rs. 500 in all. On the way, we were again attacked by robbers, but they could not do us any harm. God saved from their hands. All the expenses from Beruva up to Bassorah were Rs. 5000. On the 8 the of May we reached Bassorah and interviewed the head of the Dutch company. He hired for us a house on Rs. 80. We asked him a loan of money, which he refused, saying that he could not lend any sum from the Company’s fund, since he had no letter for that purpose. Deacon Antonios told him that he had brought a letter from the Dutch Commodore at Cochin to the person who was lately head of the Company at Bassorah, authorizing him to lend the Maphrian, from Company’s fund, all the sums that he demanded. But he replied that he could not give anything from the Company’s assets, but proposed to lend us money from his own funds on interest at 205. Our creditors were pressing us; they would not let us go without payment; and we had need of money to reach Cochin. For these reasons, and we wanted to go to Cochin at any cost, we borrowed from him Rs. 6,666 on which he charged an interest of Rs. 1,334, and we gave him a bond for Rs. 8,000. We paid the house rent Rs. 80, and then, because there was no ship at Bassorah belonging to the Dutch company, we hired an English ship for Rs. 700 and also paid from this sum of Rs. 6,666 or debts and all our boarding expenses in Baghdad,  in Bassorah, and in the ship. As the time was one of famine in Bassorah and in the surrounding places, articles were very dear and we had to pay very high prices.
 
On the 24 th of June we left Barrorah and reached Bushire, where there were some of Company’s men who honored us. After leaving this place, the wind was contrary to us, and we had to encounter many troubles. The prayers of the Mother of God preserved us from the danger of the sea. Next we reached Bundarabbas where too there were Company’s men who showed us every mark of respect. Here a ship arrived from Batavia, the captain of which informed the Chief Officer of the Company that other ships from Batavia were expected in ten days. The latter then asked us and other passengers to wait for the coming ships and informed us that the expected ships were larger than the one they had there and that by those ships we could go direct to Cochin, whereas if we were to start in that ship, it had to go by Bombay and would involve us in heavy expenses. After twenty days, there arrived a ship from Batavia. A few days latter, we purchased articles required for our voyage and sent our baggage to the ship, when a report that robbers were coming to plunder the fort caused the Chief Officer of the Company to detain the ship. Next we heard another rumor that there was a mutiny among robbers, in which they murdered their captain and ran way. Besides, there was war among the chiefs of Persia, and one of them had come somewhere near Bundarabbas, which also caused the Chief Officer to detain the ship. There was no other ship, and so we had to remain seven months, suffering from diseases, panics, and other troubles of various kinds. We spent Rs. 1,000 here. From that time up to the present, the Corepiscopa has been incessantly ill.
 
Then on 24 th of Februaery 1751 we left this point in the company’s ship and reached Surat Before entering the harbor, two large ships and about twelve small ships met us and made war with us for about five hours; but they had to retire in the end. On the 17 th of March, we anchored, God having saved us from the pirates. We remained in the ship and did not land at Surat. Here we embarked on board another ship, which conveyed us to Cochin. Before we reached Cochin, there were troubles from adverse winds, and rain for three days, fulfilling in us David’s words, “All Thy waves and all Thy billows are gone over me."
 
When we anchored at Cochin, the Commodore sent us the Company’s boat, took us to the Fort with honor, and enquired after our health. We had our meals with him that day. We entered the fort of Cochin on the 23 rd of April, in the year 2062 of the Greek ere (i.e., AD 1751) being St. George's Day. Then the commodore detained us, in order that Mor Ivanios and Mor Thoma might come and receive us after twenty days, the metropolitan Mor Ivanios come to us, but not Mor Thoma. We sent the latter four letters, but he did not come. The metropolitan always quarreled with those with whom he came in contact, beating some and kicking others. Therefore we kept him in the fort, waiting for a ship to send him back to Mor Ignatius, Patriarch of Antioch, in conformity with directions contained in Mor Ignatius letter concerning him, viz, to keep him with us if submissive or send him back otherwise. All our expenses the Company bore. When Commodore saw that Mor Thoma did not put in his appearance, he allowed us to go to Kadanadu and compel Mor Thoma to submit. But he did not come. During the seventy two days we remained  at Cochin, the company charges us Rs. 429. On the 3 rd of July, being St. Thomas's day, we were sent to the Raja of Cochin with the Company’s men and soldiers and a Jew named Hezekiel. We saw the Raja and presented him with five gold coins each worth Rs. 5, which we got from the Commodore. That night we slept in hezekiel’s house. On the next day we went to kadanadu. Our debts to the company are Rs. 8,000 at Bassorah, Rs. 1, 00 at Bundarabbas, and Rs. 454 at Cochin, including the price of the gold coins presented to raja. Besides these, the Company demanded from us Rs. 2,000 said to have borrowed by Mor Ivanious and given to Deacon Antonios when he started for Antioch. So the whole amount the Company demand is Rs. 11,454.

To be contd... Part 16 (MARTHOMA VI)
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« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2003, 01:50:27 AM »

Part 16 (MARTHOMA VI)

Marthoma VI was also unhappy about the authenticity of his position. Mor Gregorious and Mor Ivaneous jointly again consecrated him and renamed him as Mor Dionesius I.
 
Kattumangattu Abraham remban was nursing Mor Gregorious in his old age who arrived in Malankara accompanying Mor Baselius Sakralla. Remban was very adept and scholar in Syriac. Mor Dionesius was busy in Church affairs and so could not attend to the daily needs of Gregorious. Remban exploited this situation to create an ill will towards Mor Dionesius. His persistent request and whisperings against Dionesius won the heart of Gregorious. In 1772 a few months before death Gregorious, without the knowledge or consent of Mor Ivanius of and Mor Dionesius, consecrated Abraham Remban as bishop Koorilose and also wrote a ‘Will’ granting major portion of his assets to Koorilose. Dionesius and Ivanius jointly convened general assembly of churches in the presence of Cochin Raja to decide about Koorilose. The meeting decided that Koorilose should act in submission to Dionesius. The matter went to Dutch authorities. Koorilose resorted to instigate troubles. Dionesius stripped him off his Episcopal robe, staff and Cross. This act on the part of Dionesius was very harsh and insulting.

Koorilose fled in disguise in the night to neighboring state to escape further harassment from affluent Mor Dionesius and settled at Thozhiyur, Kunnamkulam. “He did not imagine of an independent church,” says JRK Fenwick. However, he consecrated his brother Geevarghese as Koorilose II and founded independent church in 1794. This lineage came to an end with Koorilose III in 1856. Then, Palakunnath Mathews Mar Athanasius, founder of Mar Thoma independent Church, though he had no business to involve, consecrated Panackal Joseph as Bishop Koorilose IV to the widowed Thozhiyur Church. This Joseph Mor Koorilose consecrated Joseph Mor Athanesius in 1883. Mar Thoma Church was widowed after demise of Thomas Mor Athanesius. Then Joseph Mor Athanasius, though he had no business to involve, sprang up and consecrated Titus Marthoma in 1894. Thus as both Thozhiyur and Mar Thoma independent churches maintained each other. In this context one should know that the consecration of Koorilose I by Gregorious and subsequent consecrations by Koorilose I and until the consecration of Joseph Koorilose III was not canonical. None of them had the authority to consecrate another bishop. Then the worst happened. Patriarch had already condemned and excommunicated Mathews Mar Athanasius who ordained Mor Koorilose IV of Thozhiyur and all his arrogant acts were unauthorized, immoral and invalid.  
 
Dionesius I consecrated Marthoma VII.

To be contd... Part 17 (MARTHOMA VII - IX)
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