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Author Topic: Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church  (Read 2689 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ben
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« on: June 13, 2004, 09:10:55 PM »

I recently read that the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church was a schismatic Church on a OO website, and that it looks as if "a formal division now looks likely, as this group has shown no signs of recanting their heresies and rejoining communion with the Oriental Orthodox faith."

Is this true?

Are there reconciliation efforts taking place? Or is this site not up to date and reconciliation has already occured?

And what exactly were the heresies being embraced by the Malankara Orthodox Church?

Thanks!

Oh and one more question! lol...sorry for all the questions!

This has nothing to do with the Malankara Orthodox Church, but the same site that I refered to above states "The Copts and the Greek Orthodox allow intermarriage, and the children of such a marriage are permitted communion in both Churches", I was curious as to if this was true. Anyone know?

Once again thanks!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2004, 09:13:48 PM by Ben » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2004, 03:27:54 AM »

Quote
This has nothing to do with the Malankara Orthodox Church, but the same site that I refered to above states "The Copts and the Greek Orthodox allow intermarriage, and the children of such a marriage are permitted communion in both Churches", I was curious as to if this was true. Anyone know?

Ben,

I have heard this before as well. Insofar as I can recall, it is not practiced here in the U.S. and that where it was/is practiced, there were certain circumstances which were to be fulfilled for this to occur.

Beyond that, I don't know anything else - so I apologize for not having any more info.

I bet that you will be getting more informative responses than mine and I will be looking forward to learning more myself.

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2004, 01:04:34 PM »

I recently read that the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church was a schismatic Church on a OO website, and that it looks as if "a formal division now looks likely, as this group has shown no signs of recanting their heresies and rejoining communion with the Oriental Orthodox faith."

Is this true?

Dear Ben,

The ecclesiastical situation in India has been very difficult for the past hundred years or so for the Orthodox.  It's been discussed before in this section of the forum, and you should look for it and read it for some more information.  The posts you will read from me will reflect my position, and hopefully my Church's as well, since I belong to the Church in question.  

As I understand the history from all I've read from both sides of the argument, after the Roman Catholics came to India and caused all sorts of havoc in the local Church, most of the people accepted union with Rome.  A good sized minority sought assistance from the Patriarch of Antioch, who sent clergy and monastics to India.  The Church adopted the West Syrian liturgical practices, and maintained the Orthodox faith, and this continued for a few hundred years.  In the late 1800's, the Syrians were still appointing Middle Eastern bishops for the Indian Church, although priests and deacons were ordained from among the native population.  When the Indian Church requested an Indian bishop, the Patriarch ordained someone the local Church specifically requested not be ordained, since they knew of his intentions to start his own Syrian rite Protestant confessing church.  The Patriarch went through with it anyway, and he started his own church.  The Indian Church perceived that complete independence was the only way the Church could operate normally in this situation, and so the Patriarch Abdul (who, according to our Church was illicitly deposed in favour of a new Patriarch, a recent convert from RCism who converted to Orthodoxy in order to obtain the throne) came to India, consecrated our Catholicos, and granted us autocephaly in 1912.  The Church of Antioch, and those Indians who remained faithful to her, did not recognise this, declared them schismatic, and promptly ordained Indian bishops for their own people.  In 1934, the autocephalous Church promulgated its constitution, which recognised the spiritual authority and primacy of the Patriarch, while vesting the Catholicos and his Synod with both spiritual and temporal authority in the Indian Church.  In 1957, there was a reconciliation, and both factions combined under the terms of the original 1934 constitution, which was finally accepted by Antioch.  In 1965, a council of all the heads of the OO Churches met in Addis Ababa, and our Catholicos was received as the head of the Church in India, successor to Saint Thomas, etc.  In 1970 or thereabouts, the Patriarch wrote an encyclical and sent it to the Indian Church in which he re-asserted his claims over the Indian Church and no longer seemed to recognise the terms and conditions he himself blessed and accepted (I think it was the same Patriarch both in 1957 and the 70's) and even seemed to espouse heretical ideas.  Our Church excommunicated him, he excommunicated us, and there was a schism which has continued to this day.  

My personal opinion on all this (and the above is the most brief synopsis of the situation I can write) is that, whatever your position is on the legitimacy of the actions undertaken in 1912, one cannot argue what happened in 1957, where the Patriarchate accepted the constitution of what they perceived as the "schismatic" party *as is*, with no alterations, and the Churches were reunited.  After that, there was one Church, recognised by all, and after that, all the divisive actions started with Antioch.  It is worth noting that all the other Oriental Orthodox Churches to this day maintain full communion both with the Syrians and with the independent Malankara Orthodox Church, although a formal division exists between the latter two.  In spite of all this, though, intercommunion is very common.      

Quote
Are there reconciliation efforts taking place? Or is this site not up to date and reconciliation has already occured?

The site seems up to date, I suppose, although reflecting a certain bias.  There have been reconciliation attempts, most recently in 2002 or thereabouts, but they did not achieve much.  

Quote
And what exactly were the heresies being embraced by the Malankara Orthodox Church?

Good question.  As I said, the site seems to reflect a certain bias.  On top of that, there are people who generally don't seem to know the proper use of certain terms.  However, assuming that they mean what they are saying, I don't know what possible heresies they could accuse us of.  It would be interesting to hear from them what they think is heretical about us.  If they said we were schismatics, I could sorta understand that, but heretical is a new one.    

Quote
This has nothing to do with the Malankara Orthodox Church, but the same site that I refered to above states "The Copts and the Greek Orthodox allow intermarriage, and the children of such a marriage are permitted communion in both Churches", I was curious as to if this was true. Anyone know?

I think this was part of an agreement between the Coptic Orthodox and the Greek Orthodox in Alexandria.  I've never seen any official documents, though, as I have with regard to the similar situation in Antioch.
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2004, 04:06:07 PM »

Wow, thank you Mor for the information!
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2004, 06:01:06 PM »

There has been an official Patriarchal agreement made between the Alexandrian churches such that full inter-communion is allowed of families of 'mixed' marriages. The text of the official document is here:

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state05.html

In fact the official statement says:

"Since the Holy Synods of both the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa have already accepted the outcome of the official dialogue on Christology between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the two official agreements: the first on Christology signed in June 1989 in Egypt and the second also on Christology and on the lifting of anathemas and restoration of full communion signed in Geneva 1990"

I have an image of the signed document which I'll try and find. It's certainly signed by the two Patriarchs but I can't remember if other members of the respective synods signed it.
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2004, 12:58:06 PM »

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox) is part of the Oriental Orthodox communion. There are some issues with the Syrian Orthodox, related to how much control the Patriarch of Syrian Orthodox has in internal affairs of the Indian Church. Other than this there are no theological differences.

In a way the Indian Orthodox Church is keeping the old traditions while the Syrian Orthodox introduced several changes, which includes reduced fasting days, partial communion with non-Chalcedonians etc.

No one can say that the Indian Orthodox Church deviated from any aspect of faith. The faith being taught in Sunday Schools and Seminary is same as the Oriental Orthodox and conforms to the curriculum common to Oriental Orthodox.

In fact the Indian Orthodox bishop H.G. Paulos Mar Gregorios was part of the Oriental Orthodox curriculum committee.

Difference with Syrian Orthodox is only in matters concerning the autocephaly of the Indian Orthodox church. Traditionally the Indian Orthodox believe in Apostolic origin through St. Thomas and want to safeguard that identity.

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox) keeps the same constitution as the one accepted by previous Patriarchs of Syrian Orthodox, as well as the one mentioned in the 1965 Oriental Orthodox Council in Addis Ababa.

In 2002, the Indian Supreme court suggested a unity of two groups based on this constitution of 1934. Accordingly four bishops of the former Syrian Orthodox group in India joined the united Synod based on the constitution of 1934.

The Indian Orthodox church is also part of the dialogue between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, as well as the official dialogue between Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. Bishops who presented Oriental Orthodox theological position in Oriental - Eastern orthodox dialogues were from the Indian Orthodox Synod.

Statistics of Indian Orthodox:
Members: Total 25,11,833
Parishes worldwide: Total 1,559


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