The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of the 23 Eastern (Oriental) Catholic Churches in full fellowship with Rome. It is the second biggest Eastern Catholic Church after the Ukrainian Church and the biggest of the Saint Thomas Christian (Nazrani) sections with 4.6 million adherents. It is a sui Juris Church administered by the Synod of Bishops, headed by the Major Archbishop. The Syro-Malabar Church, with its profound established otherworldliness and high rate of livelihoods to the brotherhood and religious life, can be considered as the most dynamic Catholic people group on the planet.
The St. Thomas Christians (Nazranis) :
The Syro-Malabar Church is an Apostolic Church, which follows its root to the St. Thomas, the Apostle, who arrived at Cranganore (Muziris) in 52 AD and established seven Christian people group in Kerala, at Palayur, Cranganore, Kokkamangalam, Kottakavu (Parur), Quilon, Niranam, and Chayal. St. Thomas was martyred in A.D. 72 at Mylapore, close Chennai/Madras. The early Christian people group in India was known as St. Thomas Christians. They were additionally called Nazranis, which means the individuals who pursue the way of Jesus of Nazareth.
The East Syrian (Chaldean) Connection :
From early hundreds of years, the Church of St. Thomas Christians came into contact with the East Syrian Church, which likewise follows its source to the Apostle Thomas. From the fourth century until the end of the sixteenth century Thomas Christians were represented by Bishops who were named and sent by the Patriarch of the East Syrian Church. The Thomas Christians built up a one of a kind arrangement of clerical organization with the Bishops from Persia responsible for ritualistic and other worldly issues and the nearby Archdeacon of All India(A minister) heading the Christian people group and taking care of the organization of the Church through Palliyogam (the early type of Synod). Thus the Thomas Christians shared the ceremonial, religious, profound and other ministerial customs with the Eastern Syrian Church; in socio-social association and practices, in any case, they were particularly Indian.
The Arrival of Portuguese and the Influence of the Latin Church
The entry of the Portuguese in the sixteenth Century denotes another period in the life of the Thomas Christians. Eastern Syrian Bishops quit coming. Archdeacon lost his position and Latin Prelates practiced full specialist over ministerial organization for just about three centuries. This cleared route for the Latinization of ritual and clerical organization. Following the Coonan Cross pledge in 1653 and the presentation of the Padroado (the Portuguese purview under the Propaganda Congregation) in 1661, the Thomas Christians got isolated into two gatherings, of which the gathering who opposed Latin principle shaped a different network under the Archdeacon. Later they acknowledged the West Syrian philosophical and ritualistic convention of the West Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and came to be known as the Jacobite Church. They were additionally separated into a few autonomous Churches. The gathering that stayed devoted to Rome came to be known as Syro-Malabar Church, a name which turned into a typical designation just in the nineteenth century. It actually implies Syrian Christians of the Malabar Coast (Kerala).
The Syro-Malabar Church :
In 1886 the Padroado locale over the entire Malabar (Kerala) was smothered and in 1887 Pope Leo XIII re-composed the Syro-Malabar Catholics into two autonomous Vicariates of Kottayam and Trissur. At long last, the Syro-Malabar Church acquired clerics of their own customs and nationality in 1896,
When they were additionally redesigned into three Vicariates of Trissur, Changanacherry and Ernakulam by Pope Leo XIII through his Brief Quae re Sacrae. Afterward, the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was set up on December 21, 1923, by the Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices of Pope Pius XI (Acta Apostolicae Sedis,16 , pp. 257-262), with Ernakulam as the Metropolitan See and Trichur, Changanacherry and Kottayam (built up in 1911 for the Southists) as suffragans. In 1956 Changanacherry was raised to the status of a Metropolitan See, with Palau as a suffragan ward.
The reclamation of the chain of importance started a procedure to ritualistic change that tried to reestablish the Oriental character of the Latinized Syro-Malabar custom, which was endorsed by Pius XII in 1957 and presented in 1962. In the ensuing years a few new sees were set up both inside and outside Kerala. From 1962, the Church started to set up mission focuses in Northern India, which later moved toward becoming wards. Most recent 40 years have been a time of unfaltering development for the Syro-Malabar Church.
The Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church :
On December 16, 1992, Pope John Paul II, by the Apostolic Constitution Quae Maiori (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 85 , pp. 398-399), raised the Syro-Malabar Church to the status of Major Archiepiscopal sui iuris Church with the title of Ernakulam-Angamaly. Blemish Antony Paidyara, the then Metropolitan of Ernakulam was designated its First Major Archbishop with Mar Abraham Kattumana as the Pontifical Delegate who released the obligations of the Major Archbishop. Diocese supervisor Kattumana kicked the bucket out of the blue amid his visit to Rome in April 1995 and Mar Padiyara was given the forces of the Major Archbishop. In November 1996 Cardinal Padiyara surrendered from his office as Major Archbishop. In his place Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil, C.Ss.R. was delegated as the Apostolic Administrator. In December 1998 he was delegated Major Archbishop by the Pope. In February 2001 Archbishop Vithayathil was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II. In 2004, the Holy See conceded full managerial force to the Syro-Malabar Church, including the ability to choose religious administrators.
Real Archbishop Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil passed away on April 1, 2011. On 24 May 2011 Mar George Alencherry was chosen Major Archbishop. Pope Benedict XVI affirmed the decision on 25 May 2011. He is the principal leader of the Syro-Malabar Church to be chosen by its Synod. On February 18, 2012 Major Archbishop George Alencherry was made a Cardinal and an individual from the Consistory.
The Syro-Malabar Church Today:
Today the Syro-Malabar Church is the second biggest Eastern Church in Catholic fellowship and establishes the biggest gathering of St. Thomas Christians. The other two Catholic Churches in India are the Latin Church and the Syro-Malankara Church.
At present, there are five Archdioceses - Ernakulam-Angamaly, Changanacherry, Trichur, Tellicherry and Kottayam and 13 Apaches - Bhadravathi, Belthangady, Irinjalakuda, Kanjirapally, Kothamangalam, Idukki, Mananthavady, Mandya, Palai, Palghat, Ramanathaapuram, Thamarassery, and Thuckalay inside the standard region of the Major Archiepiscopal Church.There are 12 approaches outside - Adilabad, Bijnor, Chanda, Faridabad, Gorakhpur, Hosur, Jagdalpur, Kalyan, Rajkot, Sagar, Satna, Shamshabad and Ujjain in India. The St. Thomas Eparchy of Chicago in the United States of America, Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Melbourne, Syro Malabar Eparchy of Great Britain and Exarchate in Mississauga, Canada serve the dependable outside India.
There are out and out 4018204 (4 million) Syro-Malabarians inside the 31 Syro-Malabar Eparchies and around 5,85,900 individuals live as transients outside any Syro-Malabar Eparchy. There are 58 Bishops, 8547 clerics (3,556 diocesan and 4,991 religious), and 32,114 ladies religious and 1214 noteworthy seminarians. Numerous Bishops, ministers, religious and common people of the Syro-Malabar Church is available everywhere throughout the world and offer in evangelist and peaceful existence of the sister Churches. The Syro-Malabar Church is effectively engaged with instructive, social and wellbeing related fields. The Syro-Malabar Church runs 4860 instructive, 262 ministerial and 2614 wellbeing and beneficent organizations. The corporate commitment of the of the Syro-Malabar Church to country building is incalculable.