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Author Topic: Mar Thoma Syrian Church  (Read 2365 times) Average Rating: 0
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Aklie Semaet
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« on: November 27, 2002, 12:49:49 PM »

Mor,

I know it is a critical time in the semester (term papers, finals, ect.) and excuse me if this is too complex to discuss at the present; I am having a difficult time understanding exactly what is the “Mar Thoma Syrian Church,” what is so “reformed” about it and exactly what is it’s origin? Furthermore why does the Malabar Church, if it does not recognize the ‘reformed doctrines’ of the MTSC, chose to consider it 'one holy catholic and apostolic church?'

When you have the time can you please share your thoughts on this topic?
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2002, 12:55:43 PM »

Dear Aklie,

The Mar Thoma Church are literally Indian Anglicans (members of the Anglican Communion) - 19th-century British missionaries converted some Malankara Christians, who kept much of their rite but protestantized their theology.
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Aklie Semaet
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2002, 07:16:51 PM »

Oh, is that what they call themselves? I was under the impression that they were just called ‘Anglicans’ (or are there more Churches as well?). I didn’t know that this was their official name. Thanks.
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2002, 11:43:35 PM »

Dear Aklie,

Basically, the Mar Thoma Church is what I'd call "Syrian rite Anglican".  

They started in the 1800's when contacts were made between Anglican missionaries and Orthodox leaders.  The Anglicans were able to convince two Orthodox teachers (they were priests too, I think) to embrace Reformation theology.  Once they "converted" these guys, they set out to "reform" the Orthodox Church, to rid it of all the "excess", and get back to basics.  They translated the Orthodox liturgy from Syriac into Malayalam, but omitted a lot of stuff that wouldn't jive with Protestantism.  Because it was in Malayalam, the people understood it, and many went along with them, believing that their interpretation was what the Liturgy actually meant, rather than thinking that these guys had the boldness to edit it to suit their reformed theology.  They sent one of their clerical members to Antioch seeking his episcopal consecration so that they could have bishops.  Despite all warnings from Indian Church leaders who knew what these guys were up to, the Patriarch of Antioch ordained one of them as bishop and sent him to India.  He then helped start the new "church".  They have a simplified liturgy that basically follows the Syrian rite, but the theology is all Protestant.  

There are other things I could say, but it's all on the internet if you look (I could recommend a website or two if you're interested).  They'll admit everything they've done, and all their reformation leanings, because they feel it was a good thing.  Even from their accounts, you might be shocked.  But these guys follow the Syrian rite...there are others in the Anglican communion in India who are just out and out Western Anglicans.  

Not very eloquent, I know, but that's the basic story.
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Aklie Semaet
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2002, 12:32:13 AM »

Thanks Mor,

I would love to see some additional web sites.

So, it is only the “Independent Malabar” people who recognize these Anglicans as part of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church” then? It is not the Patriarch faction that recognizes them in this fashion?
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2002, 11:07:41 PM »

Dear Aklie,

http://www.marthomachurch.com/ is a Marthomite website.  It has a lot of nice information about their history, liturgies, sacraments, etc.  It should keep you busy for a little bit.  

The MISC recognises just about everyone, although only the Protestants recognise them.  It could be possible, however, that they are recognised by the Indian division of the Assyrian Church of the East (that group often known as being Nestorian).  

The patriarchal faction theoretically does not recognise the Marthomites nor the MISC, but their willingness to allow the MISC Metropolitan to celebrate the sacraments in his churches while not even being willing to give our Catholicos the time of day says volumes to me.  I'm not sure the patriarch would recognise the Marthomites, and I'm not sure they'd be too interested in him either.
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2002, 12:13:37 AM »

Mar Thoma - the Anglican Church's 'Uniates'. Perfect parallel - with different rites and different bishops from the western Anglicans but the same beliefs in the same church.
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Aklie Semaet
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2002, 04:28:12 PM »

Thanks Mor,

You weren’t lying that website was more than enough to keep me “busy for a little bit.”

The patriarchal faction[’s]...willingness to allow the MISC Metropolitan to celebrate the sacraments in his churches while not even being willing to give our Catholicos the time of day says volumes to me.

I am bothered by this as well. The damage done to our Church by the missionaries will take time to heal. But we can’t blame them anymore; any continuance or maintenance of divisions they instigated is due entirely to our own stubbornness. But don’t let that faction speak for everyone; we will give y’all more than the time of day  Smiley
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Ethiopia ijochwan wede Egzabiher tezregalech
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