Dear George, Thanks for reading the article and for …
Comment posted Catalogue of ancient Nasrani Churches, their affiliations and population statistics in the background of division and attempts of Reconciliation- A review of Literature by M Thomas Antony.
Thanks for reading the article and for the change in your tone comparing to your post number 22547 dated 26 June 2010.
I have never argued that it was only the consecration issue that caused majority of saint Thomas’ Christians joining the Palli veettil Chandy faction. If you go through the article carefully, I have detailed a number of factors- at least seven. Consecration issue was one among them.
I believe that a significant factor was the lack of legitimate Bishopric consecration for Parambil Thomas ( Archdeacon Thomas – Mar Thomas I) and the related negative propaganda by the Portuguese, when Parambil Chandy was legitimately consecrated as a Bishop and based his seat at Kuravilangadu Church. You can see the churches at Manarcaud and Puthuppally were with Parambil Chandy initially and they moved on to Puthencoor only in 1701, when a non native Bishop was consecrated as the successor of Parambil Chandy.
Your comment “the Saint Thomas Christians were never under anyone ordained, but rather under secular rulers called Arch Deacons.” is surprising. From time to time we had East Syriac prelates. The Bishop of Malabar was called the Metropolitan and the gate of All India as in 8th century documents and the Metropolitan of the throne of saint Thomas and the whole of Christians of India. When there was a period where we did not have a Bishop for 60 years, our community sent a delegation to Babylon to get Bishops in AD 1490. Arch deacon was the leader but the Spiritual authority was the Bishop. We honored the Patriarch of East Syrian Church as our supreme head and remembered the name of the Catholicose Patriarch in our Holy services. After the Synod of Diamper in AD 1599, the position of the Arch deacon was reduced, our community was divided into parishes under Latin Bishops with the Arch deacon as a mere Vicar General.
If you analyse the history, we can see that, even though Arch deacon was the Prince and gate of Saint Thomas’Christians, Epscopacy had a very important role among saint Thomas’ Christians. Many of the sacraments were administered only by Bishops. We can read in many books about east Syrian Bishops quarrelling with Portuguese missionaries about administration of baptism. Raza was celebrated only by Bishops. Whenever there was lack of Bishops in Malabar, our community had sent delegates to Babylon to fetch Bishops. We can see in the history that Joseph the Indian and other two travelling to Babylon to get Bishops and returned with Mar John and Mar Thomas in AD 1492.
We can also see in the history, in AD 1576, there were two East Syrian Prelates in Kerala, one from catholic communion- Mar Abraham and the other from the so called Nestorian- Mar Simon , dividing the whole Saint Thomas Christian community with rival arch deacons. Mar Abraham was based at Angamali with Arch deacon Gheevarghese and Mar Simon was based at Kaduthuruthy with a rival arch deacon.
So, Bishops had a very important role and position among Nasranis.
If consecration was not an issue, why did Mar Thoma I seek help from other eastern Churches to get a legitimate consecration?
The time period 1657-1665 was not a small period. During those 8 years, one group had a legitimate Bishop and the other without a legitimate Bishop with its leadership too inconfident about its status and hence seeking help from all the available sources for a legitimate consecration. At the end, the Catholic group had a native Bishop from Pakalomattom family and based at Kuravilangadu and people were hopeful that there is going to be a new line of native Bishops from Palliveettil Chandy. What else is needed for people to join that faction?
I agree with you, there are many more factors. I have discussed them in the article already.
Related NSC Network Articles
- ‘The Indian Christians of St. Thomas’ by Dr. Leslie Brown
- Sixteenth Century Churches – Churches belonging to Catholics and Syriac Orthodox ( 1818 AD-Statistics)
- Ancient Churches with traditional dates of foundation & Stone Crosses of Kerala- Saint Thomas Cross, Nazraney Sthambams and other Persian Crosses
- Focus II- History, Munnu Noyambu and Kappalottam – Marth Mariam Church, Kuravilangad
- “Christianity in India- a History in ecumenical perspective” by HC Perumalil and ER Hambye
- Population Statistics and Demography of Saint Thomas Christians, Churches with historical references
- ‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India’- Volume I -Prof. George Menachery
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