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Shanghaiski
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« on: May 14, 2010, 04:38:38 PM »

I remember reading, perhaps in a historical survey of Christianity in Asia, that, due to switching allegiance from the Nestorian Catholicos of Seleucia-Ctesiphon to the non-Chalcedonian patriarch of Antioch after throwing off the Portuguese yoke, the number and influence of Nestorians in India declined. Yet, in the local college library, there are many Church of the East books authored by Indian bishops. Was there a resurgence? Did they never leave India?
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 04:47:49 PM »

The Nestorian church had no real episcopal presence in India from the late 16th century to the late 19th century. In the late 16th century, the Portugese forced the conversion of the Indians to Romanism, and any connection that the Indians may have had with the East Assyrian Catholicos was severed and changed to a connection with Rome. In the mid 17th century is when a particular party of the Indians shed off this allegiance with Rome and instead united themselves with the West Assyrians centered in Antioch. However, in the mid 19th century, there was yet another party which established a union with the East Assyrian Catholicos. They are today called the "Chaldean Syrian Church".
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2010, 01:35:57 AM »

I think it is important to note that all this moving from here to there was a tortured process that took place over a period of time.

With the passing away of the last East Syrian Metropolitan Mar Abraham , the Latin stranglehold over the Syrians in India became near unbreakable. Dom Menezis the Archbishop of Goa convened the Synod of Diapmer which instituted and corrected many things, but overall subjected the Syrians to ever increasing Latin influence.

The next 50 odd years is a history of near constant rebellions against the Latins in one form or the other.
Then after the oath at Mattancherry and the coming of Mar Gregorios, a period of moving towards the West Syrian rite followed.  Yet the affection towards the East Syrian forms did not entirely go away( and I dont think it has gone away today either). Over the next 200 years the East Syrian liturgical rite persisted in one form or the other as did the East Syrian script and pronounciation.  West Syrianization amongst the Orthodox reached completion only after 1872.  Even among the Eastern Catholics, things became normal only when Rome instituted a native Episcopate and Latin jurisdiction over them was ended in the 1820s.

A number of East Syrian / Chaldean bishops landed and still managed to garner significant support both among Eastern Catholic and Orthodox congregations ( ex Mar Simeon of Ada, Mar Gregorios, Mar Toma Rokos, Mar Elia Melus, Mar Paul Pandari , Mar Abdisho Thondanatt etc). The unity attempts of Mar Dionysius I (Mar Thoma VI the Great and Mar Paul Pandari is again a case in point).

For a time , till the 19th ecntury there were significant movement of clergy and laity across confessional lines .  Churches continued to be shared between Orthodox and Eastern Catholics although uneasily.
The situation stabilized only the 1850's. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2010, 07:18:33 PM »

Surajiype, do you know if the Indians might have had some relationship with the "Orthodox Church of the East" (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20886.0.html) in the pre-Portugese period as well as or instead of the "Nestorian Church"?
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2010, 12:01:51 PM »

do you know if the Indians might have had some relationship with the "Orthodox Church of the East" in the pre-Portugese period as well as or instead of the "Nestorian Church"?

This is widely debated and there is wide disagreement.

The Syro-Malabar Eastern Catholic church like to teach that the connection was with the Nestorian Church and when a part of the Nestorian Church in the 15th century joined Rome and came to be known as the Chaldean rite with in the Roman church, the Church of India also became Catholic. So their argument goes that the Church in India was in communion with Rome even before the arrival of the Portuguese.

The Oriental Orthodox Syriac church, especially the Patriarchal faction teach that in the pre-Portuguese period the connection was with the Orthodox Church of the East headed by the Maphriano of the East, under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch.  So the argument goes that the Church of India's connection with Antioch goes back to the pre-Portuguese period.

The autocephalous Indian Orthodox ie the Catholicose faction is a little bit ambivalent about this. I have read articles and heard speeches from Catholicose faction leaders who teach both. They lean more to the teaching that the connection was with the Nestorian church, and the relationship with Antioch is rather a new thing that came up in the 1600’s as a reaction to Portuguese persecution.  This line of thought helps to minimize the importance of the Antioch – India connection.  Suraj will be the best person to give you the right Indian Orthodox (ie Catholicse faction) perspective on this.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2010, 12:03:38 PM by dhinuus » Logged

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surajiype
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2010, 02:09:21 PM »

I think there is no scope for churches to have opinions on this matter, as if opinions can be a substitute for  facts.  I personally like the opinion , but I don't think the facts as of today support the assertion.
I am just not a fan of ecclesiastical histories, I think history must stand on its own feet.

Part of the problem is that some historians both Catholic and Orthodox have been uncomfortable with the thought that we in Malankara were Nestorian "heretics" before the Synod of Diapmer.  Also since claims and counter claims have continued amongst the various Christian jurisdictions in Kerala, a polemical and apologetical mindset has pervaded most writers.

So some claim that we were always under Orthodox Antioch and some claim that were always under the Eastern Catholic Chaldean, when the evidence as of now suggests a much more complex picture.
 
Yesterday I read on a website that the Patriarch of Antioch dispatched Mar Sapor and Mar Peroz to India , what is this statement based on? (little more than the writers imagination I think)

The Orthodox in both the parties have argued that there was some connection to the Tikrit Orthodox Catholicate (later reduced to a Mafrianate)  in the East, other historians both Catholic and secular have not given it much importance.  I think Met Ivanios of Bethany wrote a post-graduate thesis on the matter (but as far as I know it was not particularly persuasive either). After Fr V C Samuel who bluntly said that we were connected to the Nestorian Church before the Portuguese arrived, a much more

AFAIK there is no proof regarding the same as of today.  The part of the East Syrian Church which adopted Nestorianism had spread wide in the Persian empire and in parts of Central Asia, since it was closest to the Indian mainland, it was natural that we developed connections with them.  Also the Orthodox church in the East really came into its own when Roman prisoners were carried over the Persian-Roman boundary after Persian raids into Roman territory.  So the Orthodox Catholicate remained strong in the areas close to the Persian-Roman frontier and in Northern Iraq.   

That the Metropolitan of Rewardashir in Iran exercised jurisdiction in India, which the Nestorian Catholicos transferred to himself is well documented.  At the least from 900 to 1600, no such evidence of a lasting Orthodox link has come to light. Could be possible that a Orthodox bishop or even a few came and were received once in a while ; but a lasting connection is not documented.

I think the fortune of the Christians in India was always linked to those of our fellow Christians across the Arabian Sea, we were quite Orthodox when Panteneus came , later as the Nestorians became ascendant they came to our aid, later when they could not and the Antiochians could we got connected to them.

People often are surprised and often offended to see how the Malabar Christians shifted across confessional lines, but the underestimate the struggles of a small church in this huge subcontinent surrounded by non-Christians. The burning theological issues tormenting people in Selucia and Antioch and Constantinople would not have carried the same weight for the people in India.

Till the 1960, all the liturgies were in Syriac which the laypeople did not know, very few clergymen were proficient in Syriac to a high degree (which would be important to comprehend the Christological issues), the Syriac Bishops came consecrated Churches, ordained priests and looked after the flock ( and I don't think they survived long in the tropical weather) , there were long absences between the arrival of Bishops.  All this meant that the Church was concerned first and foremost to maintain its Christian character. As long as the Apostolic succession, the Eucharist and rites were maintained as it is , the Church was satisfied.

Hence when the Latins started imposing their customs, trouble broke out.  The differences between an East Syrian and a West Syrian were still small compared to the differences between a Syrian and a Latin.
 
This seems to be a fair assessment
http://www.srite.de/
so does this for the most part
http://www.mgutheses.in/page/?q=T%200998&search=East+Syrian+Missions+India&page=1&rad=all#1
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 07:14:12 PM »

So their argument goes that the Church in India was in communion with Rome even before the arrival of the Portuguese.

Then why did the Portugese require them to anathematize Nestorius?
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2010, 12:14:56 AM »

Then why did the Portugese require them to anathematize Nestorius?
That is a good question of the Syro Malabar Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. Their claim is that it was part of the latinazation effort of the Latin Church over Eastern Rites. While the Orthodox claim especially that of the Patriarchal faction is that the church in India prior to the Portughese arrival had no communion what so ever with the Roman Catholic Church and was under the Orthodox Church of the East under the Maphriano of the East.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2010, 10:17:41 PM »

Their claim is that it was part of the latinazation effort of the Latin Church over Eastern Rites.

When a large segment of the East Assyrians joined Rome forming the Chaldean church, were they not required to anathematize Nestorius?

And if they were, and the Indians were supposedly part of the Chaldean church after that point, then wouldn't it be repetitive for the Portugese to require the Indians to anathematize someone they had anathematized at the foundation of the Chaldean church?

Just to make it clear, I'm not asking you these questions as if they are about your own views, but rather wondering if you could make sense of the Syro-Malabar views you were describing.
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2010, 12:45:40 AM »

When a large segment of the East Assyrians joined Rome forming the Chaldean church, were they not required to anathematize Nestorius?
That is why the Syro-Malabar claim does not make sense or hold water.

As far as the Portuguese were concerned if the Indians were East Assyrian (Nestorian) or the Orthodox Church of the East (miaphysite), both were heretical per them. So they with the help of the Hindu King of Cochin convened the Synod of Diamper, forced the burning of all the prayer/ liturgical books and documents of the time and made the people accept the Roman Catholic faith. There were serious consequences for not attending the Synod of Diamper, the King had said churches that didn’t participate in the Synod would be forcefully taken over. The King had lucarative trade deals and foreign relations with the Portuguese to take the position that he took. He being Hindu, didn't care much about the doctrinal positions of his Christian subjects.

In spite of these threats a sizable portion of the Church didn’t participate in the Synod. And even those who were forcefully made to participate, later rejected all communion with Rome by making an oath touching on the cross, called the Coonen Cross oath. Also since the times were desperate and there was no way to get a proper Orthodox Episcopal ordination, 12 priests ordained one priest as Bishop , Mar Thoma I Pakalomattam. There were doubts about the validity of an episcopal ordination done by priests. This was later confirmed by the Patriarchate and the Synod of Antioch as described below.

Later one of the leaders who led the Coonen cross oath, and one who even was one of the 12 priests who laid hand on the ordination was lured by Portuguese and made as Bishop. He is the first native Indian to become a Roman Catholic bishop. Rome also slowed down on the Latinization effort and restored the Syriac Liturgy. So some part of the Syriac Church members left and joined Rome. They claimed that at Coonen Cross, the oath was not against Roman Catholic Church but just against the Latin Rite. Since they got a native Bishop and their own Syro Malabar Rite, they saw  nothing wrong with being under Rome. But as I said, Rome only slowed down the Latinization effort. It continued. Right now, the Syro Malabar Rite is one of the most latinaized eastern rite with in the Roman Catholic Church.  There is a strong de-latinazation effort going on in the Syro Malabar Church now, led by the Syro Malabar Arch Bishop of Changanassery.

While on the Orthodox side, soon after the Coonen Cross Oath, Mor Gregorious Abdul Jaleel (Syriac Orthodox Arch Bishop of Jerusalem) came to India, re-established the Orthodox episcopate in India by confirming the ordination of Mar Thoma I Pakalomattam, Metropolitan of Malankara. By this time the Dutch, who were Protestants had pushed out the Portuguese as the most powerful European trading / colonial power in this part of India. So the incentive for the Hindu king to take sides among his Christian subjects didn’t exist.. Mor Gregorious Abdul Jaleel is venerated as a saint in India, for the re-establishment of Orthodox Church in India. If the Church in India was not Orthodox prior to the pre-Portuguese period there is no way the Indian Church would have accepted Mor Gregorious Abdul Jaleel from the Syriac Orthodox Church. That is why I strongly assert the Church in India prior to the arrival of the Portuguese was not Nestorian but belonged to the Orthodox Church of the East under the Maphiano of the East.

Note for my Byzantine (Eastern) Orthodox friends, everywhere I say Orthodox, I mean Oriental (non Chalcedonian) Orthodox.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 01:12:48 AM by dhinuus » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2010, 02:17:33 AM »

It looks like the wikipedia article on the "Orthodox Church of the East" has been deleted for swaying over to complete bias and doesn't fit the standards of policy. So it seem that the aforementioned articles needs to be incorporated with Syriac Church of Antioch for this to happen.

 I'm not entirely convinced that Syriac Orthodox was competing with an unimaginably larger Assyrian Church expansion that would qualify that  title that way.

Can someone restore the article in it's rightful place? It's really irritating to see a Wikipedia article deleted without strong consensus. I relay what this Kurykh person has said. He or she recieved the approval of their moderator to do this apparently. I don't disagree with their deletion but where did the draft go?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 02:21:26 AM by alexp4uni » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2010, 03:02:02 AM »

Can someone restore the article in it's rightful place? It's really irritating to see a Wikipedia article deleted without strong consensus. I relay what this Kurykh person has said. He or she recieved the approval of their moderator to do this apparently. I don't disagree with their deletion but where did the draft go?

I meant I don't disagree with their assessment.
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2010, 05:50:52 AM »

I disagree with Mathew GM on this, if the Church in India was under the Patriarchate of Antioch by way of the Mafriano in Mar Matta, then what was Mar Abraham the Nestorian turned Chaldean turned Nestorian doing in India.  Was he not the unquestioned Metropolitan of the Indian Christians, whom did the Archdeacon of the Malabar Christians call his Archbishop?

Before Mar Ahatalla how many Bishops under the Maphriana came to Kerala.

The fact is that rite brought in by Mar Gregorios was a new one which the Malabar Christians did not know.  And it was to his credit that Mar Gregorios introduced things slowly, while allowing much of the old rite (atleast which was Orthodox) to remain.

As I said earlier, I have an open mind and would like to claim that we just made a digression into the authority of the Church of the East, but at this point it requires me to junk all the evidence and write  a new history book. 
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2010, 07:12:22 AM »

Another mistake often made is to assume that until Mar Gregorios arrived, the liturgy in Malabar was the same as that was prior to the arrival of Portuguese.  The Latins had changed the liturgy , although due to the insistence of the people Syriac was still in use completely.  Among the first things Mar Gregorios did was to bring back the leavened bread, restore the Eastern canonical lents and so on.   Recently a Syriac Syro Malabar liturgical music CD was released, on of the hymns in Syriac used in the old Syro Malabar Qurbana was a hymn origianlly written in Latin by Thomas Aquinas.

So the liturgy had been tinkered to that extent.  A English Chaplin of the CMS records a rite of blessing with Oil on the first wednesday of Lent among the Orthodox Syrian Christians (obviously it was a latin influence where Ashes had been modified into Oil). The conformity today achieved among the Orthodox in Malabar with the rite of Antioch only occured under Mar Dionysius V, Mar Dionysius VI, Malpan Matta Konatt and with the arrival of Patriarch Ignatius Peter III.
Fr KM George is correct when he says that Eastern Catholics were wrong in calling the Orthodox Puthenkoor (those of the new Rite), because those who called themselves Pazhayekoor (those of the Old Rite/affiliation) were merely affiliating themselves to a rite which was 54 years old (the years under the Latins, the Syro-Latin Rite imposed on the Malabar Christians was not the same as the Old Rite but was a new Rite itself).
 
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2010, 11:37:06 AM »

Another mistake often made is to assume that until Mar Gregorios arrived, the liturgy in Malabar was the same as that was prior to the arrival of Portuguese.
The fact is that rite brought in by Mar Gregorios was a new one which the Malabar Christians did not know.  And it was to his credit that Mar Gregorios introduced things slowly, while allowing much of the old rite (atleast which was Orthodox) to remain.

We have to realize that with in the Orthodox Syriac Church the liturgy / rite was not 100% uniform across the board. There was a lot of diversity in the liturgy. Over a preiod of time there has been some unification.

Those under the Maphriano in the East did have differences in the liturgy / rite compared to those under the Patriarch of Jersusalem in the West. For example in the East (even to this day) the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent is commemorated as the Sunday of the Crippled Woman while in the West (even to this day) the Fifth Sunday is commemorated as the Sunday of the Good Samaritan.  There are differences in the pronouciation of Syriac words between the East and the West. This is not unlike pronouciation differences in English, from Scottland to Wales to England, or in Kerala the Malayalam spoken in Kannur vs Trivandrum.

Ofcourse for the Indians who were under the Mapriano of the East, the rites and even pronounciation that were brought to them by Mor Gregorious Abdul Jaleel (Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Syriac Orthodox Church) from the West was different. But the core of the faith as expressed by the three councils were not different as were the core elements of the liturgy and traditons.

Mathew G M
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 11:48:17 AM by dhinuus » Logged

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