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1.1. Introduction The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church which is believed to have been founded by Apostolic St. Thomas was established through reformation in 19th century AD. Its identity was formed through the centuries and took definite shape during the Reformation. This heritage of Malabar Christians was influenced by different cultural and ecclesiastical worlds. The socio-cultural and geographical milieu of Malabar, the indigenous traditions of Malabar Christians1 and the traditions of the immigrated foreign Churches are the major factors in the identity formation of the Mar Thoma Church.

1.2. The Socio-Cultural Milieu of Malabar St. Thomas Christians were born and brought up in the soil of Malabar. 2 The geography, socio-political structure, religious culture, and ethnic plurality of Malabar influenced the faith and practices of the St. Thomas Christians.

The names such as Malabar Christians, Mar Thoma Nazaranes, Syro-Malabar Christians, St. Thomas Christians, Syrian Christians etc. are using alternatively to address early Christians in Malabar with the Apostolic heritage of St. Thomas. They existed as one organic community under an Archdeacon upto 16th century. 2 The name Malabar indicates the south-west coastal region of India. It was called with variant names in different ages. Male, Malanadu, Malabar, Malayalam, Malankara etc. are Synonymous of present Keralam. All these names mean the Land of Hills. Christian Topography (AD 545) called it Male, Persian and Arabian Traders called it Malabar, Traders from Tulunadu and Konkan called it Malayalam, after the reign of Chera Kings it was known as Keralam (Land of Cheras).

1.2.1. Geographical Setting of Malabar The land of Malabar comprises the narrow coastal strip bounded by the Western Ghats on the east, and Arabian sea on the west in the Southern part of the Indian peninsula. The sea-ports and gaps (passes) in the Western Ghats have facilitated inter-state contacts and foreign relations. Among the ports of ancient Kerala, Muziris had undoubtedly a place of pride.3 This geographic setting helped the migrations of Persian Christian and Jewish communities to Kochi and Kollam, and brought different church traditions from the old Roman and Persian empires. At the same time the cultural isolation by the Western Ghats and mountains protected the Malabar Christians from Islamic rulers and made it a unique Christian community in the world.

1.2.2. Egalitarian Community in Early Sangam Age The Sangam age which comprised the first five centuries of the Christian era was the formative epoch of Malabar Christians. They followed Patrilineal system (makkathayam) of inheritance with high moral codes.4 A stricking feature of their social life was the high status accorded to women. Women enjoyed large measure of social freedom and equality. People were divided into tribes on the basis of their profession and the land they occupied.5 The chieftains, kings and priests were drawn

A. Sreedharamenon, A Survey of Kerala History, 1967 (Kottayam: DC Books, 2008), 15-61. Muziris has been identified by the scholars with Modern Cranganore, i.e. Kodungallur. It is referred to as Murachipattanam in the Valmiki Ramayanam, as Muchiri in Tamil works and Muyirikode in Jewish copper plate of Bhaskara Ravi Varma. Classical writers like Pliny and Ptolemy give detailed accounts of the sea-ports through which Kerala kept up her commercial and cultural contacts with foreign countries in the early centuries of the Christian era. 4 Ibid., 76-78. 5 The ancient Tamilakam was divided into five Tinais (regional divisions) viz. Kurinchi, Palai, Mullai, Marutham and Neythal. These divisions were on the basis of the pre-dominant flora characteristic of each kind of land or Tinai. Kurichi is rocky or mountainous territory; Palai is arid land; Mullai denotes

5 from their own tribes. Every community enjoyed the right to education. The evils of untouchability and unapproachability were unknown. Brahmins during the first five centuries lived friendly and as equal with other Dravidian communities.6 They were known as Vela Parpan.7 The Sramanic religions Budhism and Jainism took efforts to propagate Ahimsa, nonviolence, vegetarianism, castelessness, cosmopolitanism etc. from the 3rd century BC in Kerala. Budhist Viharas were the centre for learning (Ezhutu palli) and healing. Both Buddhism and Jainism were very ascetic and Missionary religions. In short this community was pluralistic, progressive and egalitarian. The egalitarian culture was a good background for the birth and childhood of the Malabar Christianity. According to G. Chediath, Malabar Christians were a mixed community.8

1.2.3. Aryanization Establishment of a Hierarchical Society From the 5th century onwards there was an inrush of Brahmins from the north. They were scholars and priests and worked with extraordinary missionary zeal in spreading Aryan ideology. They established their supremacy over kings and rulers by establishing chaturvarnya (four-caste system) during hundred year war between Chera and Chola kings in 11th century. They converted the favoured Dravidian kings
the pastures and thickets; Maruthan is the fertile wetland, watered by rivers and streams; the coastal area is Neythal. People was known as kurava if he hailed from Kurichi region, Idaya if from Mullai, Uzhava if from marutham, Valaya if from Nethal and Veda if from Palai. See. Elamkulam P. N. Kunjanpillai, Studies in Kerala History (Kottayam: National Book Stall, 1970), 15. 6 Logan expressed the view that the Vedic Brahmins proper must have come to Malabar only in the early years of the 8th century AD. But the evidence of the Sangam works reveal the Aryan influence in the Kerala society even in the early centuries of the Christian era. Some of the Sangam poets were local Brahmins. So Logans opinion is wrong. Ibid., 102-109. A. Sreedharamenon, op. cit., 88-91. 7 The word parpan is the Tamilized form of Brahmin. Pappan the Malayalm form means Brahmin as well as Mahout. Probably Mahout in early days were Brahmins. This group were very friendly with the Dravidian groups like Kuravas, panas etc. This group of Brahmins did not perform yagas and had no religious agenda. They engaged in trade and had not been able to achieve any drastic change in society. On the contrary they merged into it. See. Elamkulam P. N. Kunjanpillai, op. cit., 102-109. 8 G. Chediath, Mar Thoma Slihayude Indian Sabha (Kottayam: OIRS, 1988), 9.

6 and chieftains to Kshatriyas. The communities those did not co-operate with them became Sudras.9 They introduced new dietary habits and ascribed vegetarianism as the symbol of higher caste. To strengthen and establish the Varnasrama they banned Sudra education and promoted child marriage. Deification of the husband, ban on widow-remarriage and of womens education etc. were the offspring of the Varnasrama. Women were suppressed like slaves and untouchables. The nonBrahmin women were not allowed to wear upper cloth. The concept of labour had been changed in this period. Those who worked were not respected and there had been no room for labour class within the high caste.10Aryanization constituted the caste and gender discriminations based on inhuman norms. The caste based hierarchical society had a prominent role in the formation of identity and missionary consciousness of the Syrian Christians of Malabar. They became part of Aryan culture and practiced untouchability and norms of purity and pollution. This caste feeling of St. Thomas Christians made them uninterested in proselytisation.11 At the same time Syrian Christian community maintained its own dignity and identity in this hierarchical system. They preserved their occupational and functional flexibility like pre-Aryan community. They were priest and land lords like Nambudiris and Brahmins; warriors like Nayers and Kshatrias; traders like Jews and Jains (role of vaisyas).12 It is wondering that Syrian Christians achieved the equal

The Manigrama Nayers, Yavari Nayers, Vilakkithala Nayers (Barbers) and Velutheda Nayers (washer man) were considered as inferior because they were not the tenents of the Nambudiris and were engaged in trade and industry. They must have became Sudras latter only. Ibid. 10 Elamkulam P. N. Kunjanpillai, op. cit., 312-323. 11 Decree III, II, I of the session IX of the Synod of Diamper pointed out the Syrian Christian approach towards the labour and poor classes. The Christian converts from these classes were considered as untouchables during the period of Portuguese mission. 12 A. M. Mundadan, Traditions of St. Thomas Christians (Bangalore: Dhramaram College, 1970), 122.

7 status with Brahmins and Nairs by preserving their own marriage and burial systems which were very similar to the low castes.13

1.2.4. Socio-Religious Plurality in Malabar Kerala society is traditionally plural. It is a museum of races and cultures. It allowed for the interpenetration of different religions, ethnic communities, religions and languages. Though the Dravidian practices were followed by the bulk of the population, Brahminic Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity also existed side by side. Major migrations to Kerala made a linguistic plurality along with religious diversity and cultural multiplicity. There had been different ethnic communities like Ezhavas, Nayars, Vedas, Kuravas, Pulayas, Paravas, Parayas, Panas, Mukkuvas etc. The relationship is symbiotic with the operation of hierarchy lending coherence to the differences. In this sense, caste organization is an example of the culture of plurality. Syrian Christians have been seen as part of the Hindu caste system in many anthropological studies.14 For Indians religion is a way of life. In the same way for the Malabar Church Christianity was a way of life, not a set of well defined dogmas and curious rituals. This spiritual heritage that developed from a pluralistic community made the Malabar Church a distinct Oriental Church.

1.3. Indigenous Traditions of Malabar Christians The basic heritage of the Malabar Church was rooted in the two indigenous versions of St. Thomas tradition and Nazrani tradition.

M. P. Joseph, Caste in the Kerala Church a Radical Division A Sociological inquiry through the History of Christianity in Kerala, Quoted in George K. Alex, Adhinivesavirudhathayude Daivasasthram (Tiruvalla: CSS, 2000), 31-33. 14 Susan Viswanathan, The Christians of Kerala (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993), 2, 3.

1.3.1. Apostolate of St. Thomas There are different versions of St. Thomas traditions. The very claim to apostolic foundation had given to the ancient Indian Church, the justification for its autonomous status, its socio-ecclesiastical customs and practices and the very peculiar patterns of their life marked their identity. 15 Malankara Christians believe that St. Thomas, the Apostle landed at Maliankara, a place adjoining Muziris, in 52 AD, converted several Brahmins and others and established seven churches on the Malabar coast. The early church fathers and liturgies had witnessed the Apostolate of St. Thomas in India.16 According to the Teaching of Addai, St. Thomas ordained priests and established separate order for Malabar. St. Thomas tradition, whether it is history or not, empowered the Malabar Christians to maintain its indigenous nature in communion with the other Churches. So Susan Viswanathan says the myths of Apostolic origin are important to Syrian Christians because their very identity hinges on the arrival of St. Thomas.17

1.3.2. Judeo-Christian (Nazrani) Tradition Jewish Christianity means Christianity in its origin belonged to the Jewish world. The Judeo-Christian Church in Jerusalem exercised the dominant influence in the first decades of the Church in the line of Semitic tradition. They were called

A. M. Mundadan, Indian Christians Search for Identity and Struggle for Autonomy (Bangalore: Dharmaram Pub., 1984), 1. 16 The early Church fathers, Mar Aprem (AD 373), Grigory of Nazianzen (AD 389), John Chrisostom (AD 407), Jerome (AD 470) etc. accepted St. Thomas as the Apostle of India. The third century Syriac apocryphal books The Teaching of Mar Addai, Acts of Thomas, Passion of Thomas and the liturgies of Persian, Antiochean, Latin, Byzentine, Ethyopean Churches also witnessed the Apostolate of St. Thomas in India. G. Chediath, Mar Thoma Slihayude Indian Sabha (Mal.) (Kottayam: OIRS, 1988), 18-25. 17 Susan Viswanathan, op. cit., ix.

9 Nazranis (Nazaraioi). The first reference to the name in the New Testament is in Acts of the Apostles 24:5. The name Nazrani was used for Christians in Syria and India till very recently.18 It has been claimed that Jewish colonies were strewn all along the South Indian coast in the first century AD and those attracted St. Thomas the apostle to Kerala and he first preached the gospel among the Jews and established the nucleus Christian communities.19 So the Malabar Christians were known as Malabar Nazranis or St. Thomas Nazranis.

1.4. Foreign Church Traditions The Malabar Church was under the influence of different Church traditions from the first century onwards. The major foreign Church traditions which influenced the Malabar Church up to the reformation were Persian (East Syrian), Roman (Latin), Antiochene (West Syrian) and Anglican (Protestant).

1.4.1. East Syrian (Persian) Tradition Features The East Syrian Church means the Christian communities which existed in those regions which once constituted as the Persian empire. According to the traditions, St. Thomas the apostle of India and his disciples established the Churches in Persia. They were independent churches under their own Metropolitans up to 5th century AD. The Synod of Mar Isaac in 410 AD brought these Churches under the Seleucian Metropolitan who was entitled as Catholicose of the East, who later came to

18 19

Ibid., 5-9. A. Mathias Mundadan, History of Christianity in India, Vo.1 (Bangalore: Theological Publication in India, 1984), 19.

10 be known as Patriarch of the East,20 and these churches came together to form an autonomous national church of Persia.21 Syrianization The Indian Church maintained good relationship with the Church in Fars (Basra) from the first century. The Persian immigrations to Kerala from the fourth century onwards improved the socio-economic status of St. Thomas Christians.22 But there had been no administrative or hierarchical relationship with the Persian Church up to 7th century.23 The Malankara Church came under the Patriarchate of the East during the period of Mar Timothy (778-823 AD). The East Syrian Bishops were sent to Malabar as the Metropolitan of the whole India until 6th century. They were only spiritual leaders and the Archdeacon of India was the supreme administrative head until the Synod of Diamper. This connection paved the way for hierarchical and sacramental dependence of Kerala Christians with the East Syrian Church. Influences

It was the same period that established the Patriarchate in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem. G. Chediath, Marthoma Slihayude Indian Sabha (Kottayam: Oirs, 1988), 32, 72. 21 Other patriarchal Churches in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem were located within the Roman Empire. G. Chediath and K. V. Joseph, Synodican Orientale (Mal.) (Kottayam: OIRS, 1996), 12, 54, 55, 76. 22 Two of them are better known; one is associated with Thomas of Cana, settled in Crangannore in 345 AD and the other is associated with Sapor and Port, settled in Kollam in 825 AD. They received privileges from the rulers. The modern interpretation of the Copperplates proved the migrants role in the socio-economic status of Malabar Christians. Variar and Gurukkal, Kerala Charitram (Kottayam: Current Books, 1991), 109-111. 23 T. V. Philip, op. cit., 116.

11 It can be assumed that the Malabar Church was influenced by the Synods of the Persian Patriarchate.24 The Persian Church accepted the canons of the Nicean Council (325 AD) in the Synod of Isaac in 410 AD. Sixth Canon of this Synod emphasized the reading and interpretation of the Gospel before the celebration of Holy Qurbana in every Sunday. The 3rd Canon of the Synod in 486 AD affirmed the marriage life of the priests and deacons. The 15th canon of the Synod in 410 AD and 19th canon of the Synod in 587 AD defined the role of Archdeacon as the head of the priests and deacons. This position of Archdeacon is one of the unique features of Persian tradition.25 The first canon of the Synod of Mar Acacius declared its Diophysite Christological position in 486 AD.26 Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople (428-431) was the great proponent of Diophysitism. He called Mary as the Mother of Christ (Christotokos). The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Diamper (1599 AD) and Derroribus Nestorianorum27 of Bishop Roz (1585 AD) proved the East Syrian influence on the Malabar Christians. But the Malabar Church was not running perfectly under the bye-law of Persian church. It maintained its own identity in relation with Malabar culture and Hindu religious practices. 28 This unique blend of Malabar culture and East Syrian traditions were known as Law of Thomas in the Synod of Diamper.

The Canonical collection of the East Syrian Synod from AD 410 to 790 AD is known as Synodican Orientale. 25 In other traditions Archdeacon was only the head of deacons and he was not a priest. 26 G. Chediath and K. V. Joseph, Synodican Orientale (Kottayam: OIRS, 1996), 12, 20-30, 54, 55, 73, 76, 259. 27 It was an article published by Roz S. J. in 1585/6 AD about the Nestorian errors in Indian Church. Its Malayalam translation is given in G. Chediath, Marthoma Slihayude Indian Sabha (Kottayam: OIRS, 1988), 152-170. 28 Fifth Canon of the Synod of Mar Isaac in 410 AD and 25th Canon of the Synod of Mar Iso Yahb in 587 AD prohibited to participate in non-Christian festivals, rituals and to receive any gifts from the non-Christian festivals, rituals and to receive any gifts from the non-Christians. The 3rd, 12th and 13th decrees in the III session of the Synod of Diamper (1599AD) noted that the Malabar Christians maintained indistinct relationship with Hindu culture and people.


1.4.2. Roman (Latin) Tradition Features The Church under the Pope, the Roman patriarch, is known as the Roman Church. This is also known as the Latin Church on the basis of their liturgical language. When the separation between the churches in the West and the East took place in 1054 AD, the western church called itself Catholic (universal) and the Eastern Church Orthodox (right doctrine and worship). The Roman Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the successor of St. Peter whom they consider as the founder of the church in Rome. Latinization It was only after the second visit of the Portuguese captain Vasco-da Gama in 1502 AD that the Roman Catholic Church got a footing in India.29 They wished to bring the Indian church into complete uniformity with the western church. The Jesuits of Vaipincotta attempted to Latinize the Malabar Christians through the Synod of Angamali, with the help of Mar Abraham, the Persian bishop of Malabar in 1583 AD.30 The Diamper Synod (1599AD) and the Rozian statutes (1606)31 laid the foundations for the systematic Latinization. Alexius de Menezes, the

The Portuguese Captain Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut in 1498 AD and on his second visit to Cochin in 1502 AD he came in contact with the local St. Thomas Christians. V. Titus Varghese and P.P. Philip, Glimpses of the History of the Christian Churches in India, (Madras: CLS, 1983), 22. 30 The Chaldean Bishop, Mar Abraham was re-concecrated by Pope and came to Malabar in 1565 AD. He had more trust in Jesuits at Cochin and he built a residence for Jesuits at Vaipin Kotta in 1577, in which latter developed a Theological Seminary and allowed to work among the St. Thomas Christians. Joseph Pemmthottam, A Period of decline of the Mar Thokma Christians (1712-1752), (Kottayam: OIRSI, 1994), 12, 29. 31 Francis Roz made a diocesan Statute in 1606 AD to introduce the previous regulations in a more appealing manner and stabilized the process of Latinization. He compiled this book on the basis of the Synod of Angamali and the synod of Diamper. This labeled as Rozian Statutes. Ibid., 41.

13 Arch Bishop of Goa, an Augustinian monk came to Malabar in 1599 AD and he was received by the king of Cochin who offered all possible helps to purify the Malabar Christians. He conducted a Synod in Udayamperoor32 during 20th -26th of June 1599, which marked a turning point in the history of Oriental Malabar church. The major objective of the Synod was to change the faith and practices of the Malabar Christians on the basis of the Trent Council (1545-1563 AD) of Roman Catholic Church.33 The practice of untouchability and caste feeling of the Syrian Christians were discouraged and the session IX declared that before God all are equal. The decrees passed against caste system, untouchability, slavery, sorcery and the like were the first attempt in Malabar. This process of Latinization influenced the socio-religious status, missionary concepts, ministerial orders, system of clerical training, doctrines, relationship with the other religions and the organizational structure of the Malabar Christians.34

1.4.3. West Syrian (Antiochene) Tradition Features

Joseph Perumthottam, op. cit., 23 32 A few studies refuted the validity of the Synod and the authority of Menezes to conduct if. The formal papal appropriation was not given. It was the 7th year of clement VIII. Ibid., 20, 21. 33 Scaria Zacharia, The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Diamper 1599, (Kerala: 11CS, 1994), 78. 34 K. M. Panicker, an eminent authority of Indian History, notes in his book Charitravalokanam (1957:224); The Catholic Church has sent two great men to India; St. Francis Xavier and Dum Alexius de Menezes, Quoted in Scariah Zachariah, op. cit., 41, 42.

14 According to the tradition, the Church in Antioch was established by St. Peter in 41 AD. This Church was ranked as Patriarchal Church in the council of Nicea. So the Church as under the Patriarchate of Antioch was known as Antiochene Syrian Church. This Church had active participation in first three councils in Nicea (325 AD), Constantinople (381 AD) and Ephesus (431 AD). Based on their Christological position, they were known as Monophysites. Regarding the leadership of Mar Jacob Bardaneus, Chalcedonian Churches called them jestingly Jacobite Syrian Church from the 6th century.35 The faith and practices of the Syrian Orthodox Church upheld the faith in the Mother of God (Theotokos), seven sacraments, communion of saints, prayer for the departed, five seasons for lent, authority of Bible and Holy Tradition, single procession of the Holy Spirit, canons of first three ecumenical councils and the NiceaConstantinople creed.36 Huddaya Canon of Mar Gregorios Bar Herbraaern was very common rules of ecclesiastical functions in Antiochene Tradition from the 13 th century onwards.37 Their ecclesiology and soteriology was different from the Western Churches. For them, the Church, the divinely established body is primarily a worshiping community rather than a missionary community. Antiochenization


David Daniel, The Orthodox Church of India (1972) (New Delhi: MRD, 1986), 120-122; V. Titus Varghese and P. P. Philip, op. cit., 39. 36 David Daniel, op. cit., vi, vii; V. Titus Varghese and P. P. Philip, op. cit., 40. 37 Huddaya Canon is compendium of rules of ecclesiastical importance, based on the Apostles Canons compiled by Climis, doctrines of Mar Adai and ecumenical councils. The provisions referring to the council of Nicea were taken from Arabic Nicean Canon. Huddaya Canon was compiled by the Jacobite Catholicose of the East (1264-86), Mar Gregorios Bar Herbraeus. Mar Gregorios Bar Herbraeus, Huddaya Canon (13th century), Translated into Malayalam by Konat Abraham Malpan (Pampakuda: Mar Julius Press, 1974), i-vi; David Daniel, op. cit., 58, 63.

15 The entry of Syrian Orthodox Church into Malabar was very accidental. It began with the arrival of Mar Gregorious Abdul Jaleel, the Metropolitan of Jerusalem to Malankara. In 1665 AD he consecrated Mar Thoma I as Malanakara Metropolitan. This event was the first definite and important link in the Malankara Antiochene connection.38 Beginning with Mar Gregorios (1665-1671) more Metropolitans and Patriarchs continued to arrive in Malankara in the succeeding centuries. Consequently, the west Syrian dialect came to be used in place of the East Syrian. 39 The re-consecration of Mar Thoma VI as Mar Dyonisius I was the beginning of Antiochene primacy over Malabar Church. By a circular, Patriarch Geevarghese III imposed the West Syrian liturgy and practices in 1751 AD.40 The Mavelikara Synod in 1836 AD brought the Malabar Church under the Patriarch of Antioch and through this Synod the sister Church in Antioch was raised as the mother Church of Malabar St. Thomas Church.

1.4.4. Anglican Protestant Tradition Features The churches in England were separated from the papal authority of Rome by the decision of the Monarch Henry VIII in 1534. Even though it was a political division, later it became a protestant church with distinctive features. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the church was named as The Established Church of England and church approved The Book of common prayer and The Thirty Nine Articles of

38 39

David Daniel, op. cit., 118. Ibid., 123. 40 Z. M. Paret, Malankara Nazranikal, Vol.3 (Puthuppally: 1967), 23-25 Quoted in Ibid., 17.

16 Faith as their common liturgy and faith in 1563.41 Both of them were strongly influenced by the faith and practice of the protestant churches. The thirty nine articles of faith expressed the doctrinal position of The Established church of England. It affirmed the double procession of holy spirit (Article.5), sufficiency of the sixty six books in the Bible for all things necessary for salvation (Article 6), authority of the creeds of Nicea, Apostles and Athanasius (Article, 8), Justification by faith alone (Article, 11), giving both elements in the Holy communion to all participants (Article, 30) and the freedom for marriage to the ministers (Article 32). And it strongly denied the Roman doctrines concerning purgatory, veneration to images, invocation of saints (Article 22), the sinlessness of Mary (Article 25), transubstantiation of the elements (Article 28), and sacrifice in the Mass (Article 31). Article 19 declared that Traditional Patriarchal Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Rome etc. had erred in life and faith. Richard hooker,42 an Anglican theological writer, expressed that Anglicanism was the theological middle way between the extremes of Catholicism and Zwinglianism.43 Evangelical Revival


The Book of common prayer was published in 1549. Generally, it was a conservative translation of the medieval liturgies. This book has revised several times since 1552 in the light of protestant faith. The Queen Elizabeth replaced the Forty two articles drawn up by Archbishop cranmer with the Thirty nine articles in 1563. This article of faith defined their faith, practices and order. Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity, (London: Eyre and spott is woode Ltd, n.d.), 799. Alan Thomas, New Movements Reform, Rationalism, Revolution 1500-1800 1976, (Delhi: ISPCK, 2006), 55,59. 42 Richard Hooker, in his book Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity Quated in Alan Thomas, op. cit., 60. 43 There Roman Catholics maintained transubstantiation, in which according to the fourth Lateran Council of 1215, the substance or material of the bread and wine is changed into the material of Christs body and blood. Swingli and others understood the Lords supper as a memorial of proclamation, and commitment. Many protestants follow zwinglis understanding of the Lords supper probably without knowing.

17 As a result of evangelical revival that took place in the Church of England in the 18 th century, the members of the church organized The Society for Missions in Africa and the East in 1799 AD.44 This product of evangelical Anglicanism of the Low Church men45 was renamed as Church Missionary Society (CMS) in later period. The Low Churchmen group was highly protestant and Presbyterian in nature. They emphasized the protestant doctrine Bible alone, Faith alone, and Grace alone. Mission of Help In response to the efforts of Mar Dionysius I (1765-1808), Rev. Dr. Claudius Buchanan a chaplain of East India Company, Mar Thoma VIII (1809-1816) and Colonel Munro, the CMS missionaries came to Kerala as a mission of help to the Malankara Syrian Church in 1816 AD. Their protestant faith and evangelical missionary zeal for individual conversion as well as social transformation must be reflected in their works in Kerala. Because they firmly believed that evangelization was possible primarily through social service and education. 46 They interpreted that the pre-Diamper identity of the Malabar Church was very similar to the protestant faith and practices. Their attempt to Anglicanize the Malabar Syrian Church led to the

44 45

K.V. Eapen, History of Church Missionary Society in Kerala, (Kottayam: Kollet Pub. 1985)10. They had two groups in Anglican Church from 18th century onwards, one is the Low Church men and the other is high churchmen. The high churchemen were more catholic and traditional in their views and practices. They maintained a proper balance between scripture and Tradition in their worships. The Low Church men were highly protestant in nature and emphasise the Presbyterianism. V. Titus Varghese and P. P. Philip, op. cit., 61 Alan Thomas, op. cit., 60-62. 46 The principles and aims of the CMS were clearly stated in the first published Report of the society in 1801 AD. It opens with and evangelical statement. Of all the blessings which God has be stowed upon mankind, the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the great. It is the Sovereign remedy for all evils of life and the soure of the most substantial and durable benefits. Under its influencefallen man becomes a new creature, happy in himself, fulfilling the will of his maker and living to His glory Proceedings of the Society for missions to Africa and the East (London: L.B. seeley, 1801) 1. Quated in K. V. Eapen, op. cit., 11-12.

18 separation of the Syrian Church and Anglican missionaries at Mavelikara Synod of 1836. After this separation, they worked among the outcastes for their upliftment.

1.4.5. Conclusion The identity formation of the Mar Thoma church has its roots from the first century as it was a continuation of the Malankara Nazrani community. This church was formed and developed in the context of religious, cultural and ethnic plurality which makes it unparallel among the other churches. This context, to a large extent, helped in the formation of the church to evolve and appropriate theology and missiology. The religious rituals, social orders, lifestyle, and world view of Dravidian, Aryan and Sramanic religions have influenced the identity of the Malankara Church. Adding to this, the apostolic lineage and Nazrani tradition persuaded the Malankara church to maintain its own autonomy and heritage. At the same time, the distinct faith traditions of East Syrian, Roman Catholic, Syrian Orthodox and Anglican protestant Churches had its influence upon the Malankara church throughout various centuries. This typical freedom of the Malankara church is the heritage of Mar Thoma Church. In short, the identity of the Mar Thoma Church cannot be determined without taking into account the Malankara culture and the plurality of these ecclesial traditions and doctrines, which influenced the Malabar Church.