Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Of India
Classical Syriac: ܥܹܕܬܵܐ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐ
Malayalam: മലബാറിലെ സുറിയാനി കത്തോലിക്ക സഭ
Mar Thoma Sliva.jpg
The Mar Thoma Sliva or Saint Thomas Cross, the symbol of the Syro-Malabar Church
TypeParticular church (sui iuris)
ClassificationEastern Catholic
OrientationEastern Christianity
ScriptureMalayalam POC Bible[1]
TheologyCatholic theology
PolityEpiscopal polity
PopeMar Papa Francis
HeadMajor Archbishop
Mar George Alencherry
ArchdeaconMar Thadathil Joseph
AdministrationThe Syro-Malabar
Major Archiepiscopal Curia[2]
RegionIndia and Nasrani Malayali diaspora[3]
LanguageLiturgical Syriac, Suriyani Malayalam, Malayalam, English
LiturgyEast Syriac Rite
(Liturgy of Addai and Mari)
HeadquartersSt. Mary's Cathedral,
Ernakulam, Kerala, India
FounderSt. Thomas the Apostle
Origin52 AD[a]
Malabar Coast, Chola Empire
AbsorbedProvince of India
of the Church of the East

(16th century)[6]
SeparationsMalankara Church (17th century)[b]
Chaldean Syrian Church (1870s)
Members4.25 million[10]
Other name(s)Marthoma Nasrani Church
Malankara Chaldean Syriac Church (former name)
Roman Catholic Syrian Christian (RCSC)
(colloquial name for members)
Official websiteSyro-Malabar Church

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Classical Syriac: ܥܸܕܬܵܐ ܩܵܬܘܿܠܝܼܩܝܼ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐEdta Qatholiqi D'Malabar Suryaya; Malayalam: മലബാറിലെ സുറിയാനി കത്തോലിക്ക സഭ Malabarile Suriyani catholika Sabha; Latin: Ecclesia Syrorum Malabarensium, lit. "Church of the Malabar Syrians") or Church of Malabar Syrian Catholics is an Eastern Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church based in Kerala, India. It is an autonomous (in Latin, sui iuris) particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The Church is headed by the Metropolitan and Gate of all India Major Archbishop Maran Mar George Cardinal Alencherry. The name Syro-Malabar is a prefix coined from the words Syriac as the church employs the East Syriac Rite liturgy, and Malabar which is the historical name for modern Kerala. The name has been in usage in official Vatican documents since the nineteenth century.[11]

The Syro-Malabar Church is the largest of the St. Thomas Christians ("Nasrani") denominations with over 4 million believers[10] and traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[12][13][14][15] The earliest organised Christian presence in India dates to the 3rd century, when Persian missionaries of the East Syriac Rite tradition, members of what later became the Church of the East or Nestorian Church, established themselves in modern-day Kerala.[16][17][18] The Church of the East shared communion with the Great Church (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) until the Council of Ephesus in the 5th century, separating primarily over differences in Christology. The Syro-Malabar Church employs a Latinised variant of the Liturgy of Saints Mar Addai and Mar Mari belonging to the East Syriac Rite of the historic Church of the East, which dates back to 3rd century Edessa, Upper Mesopotamia[19] as such it is a part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.[20]

Catholicism within the Syro-Malabar Church is unique in that it has inculturated with traditional Hindu customs that form an integral part of traditional Indian culture. As scholar and theologian Mar Placid Podipara describes the Church as "Hindu (Indian) in Culture, Christian (Catholic) in Religion, and Oriental (East Syriac Rite) in Worship."[21] The Church is predominantly of the Malayali ethnic group and speak Malayalam. Although an Eastern Church, the members are often colloquially known as Roman Catholic or Roman Catholic Syrian Christian (RCSC) in the state of Kerala. Following emigration of its members, eparchies (dioceses) have opened up in other parts of India and other countries due to facilitating the Malayali diaspora living in the Western world. There are four eparchies (dioceses) outside of India. Saint Alphonsa is the Church's first canonized saint, followed by Saint Kuriakose Chavara, Saint Euphrasia, and Saint Mariam Thresia. It is one of the two Eastern Catholic churches in India, the other one being the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church which represents the faction of the ancient Malankara Church that returned to full communion with the Holy See of Rome in 1930.[22]

Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
Saint Thomas Christian cross
Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
Crosses · Denominations · Churches · Syriac language · Music
Prominent persons
Abraham Malpan · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban · Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Mar Thoma I · Saint Alphonsa · Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi · Kariattil Mar Ousep · Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril · Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Geevarghese Ivanios · Euphrasia Eluvathingal · Thoma of Villarvattom
Margamkali · Parichamuttukali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam