Nazareth Mar Thoma Church

ABOUT US

Welcome to the web site of the Nazareth Mar Thoma Church, Dublin. This Church belongs to the North America and Europe Diocese of the Mar Thoma Church. Situated in Dublin, the parish propagates worship and cultural integrity for marthomites and other Christian communities in Republic of Ireland.The Mar Thoma members who immigrated to Ireland from different parts of the world are dedicated and devoted to their church of Eastern traditions, hierarchy, distinct liturgy and customs brought with them a great zeal of Christian ardour.

THE MALANKARA MAR THOMA SYRIAN CHURCH-ORIGIN AND EARLY RELATIONSHIPS

The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, believed to have been founded by Saint Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world in A.D.52. The word Malankara. came by the first Christians from the Malabar Coast. Mar Thoma signifies the name of the founder Saint Thomas and Syrian comes from the origin of Eastern tradition of the Church. In short Mar Thoma Church is an Eastern Reformed Church. Here we recognize an amicable blending of two characteristic tracts, namely, the eastern Church features and reformation ideals. This nature of the Church points to it's uniqueness, when compared to other Churches. It is not the product of the missionary activities of a foreign Church. Besides, the Church also affirms its belief that it constitutes an essential part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Within the period of fifteen centuries the Syrian Church entered into cordial relationships with the Alexandrian Church and the Persian Churches. During the middle ages, the Church got connected with the European Christianity. But we get a detailed history of the Church only with the coming of the Portuguese toward the last decade of the 15th century. A new age dawned in the history of the Syrian Church with the arrival of Vasco de Gamma in 1498. His arrival initiated the flow of Portuguese people into the nation for trade and commerce. As the Portuguese community grew in number, they had also become progenitors of Roman Catholicism. Their sole idea was to bring the Syrian Church under the Roman ecclesiastical supremacy. In1653 the Church shook off the shackles of ecclesiastical slavery and ascertained its freedom and autonomous nature by taking an oath called Coonan (Crooked) Cross Oath. Which points to the tragic split in the Church forming two groups viz., the Syrian Church and the Roman Church.

The Antioch eve Church on request helped the Church to have a duly consecrated native Bishop (Mar Thoma1) of its own. His consecration by Antiochave Prelate inaugurated the connection of the Syrian Church with the Jacobite Church of Antioch. During the period from 1665 to 1877, the Church was led one after another by thirteen Bishops. In this period, many significant things happened in the life of both the nation and the Church. Tipu Sultan's invasion on Travancore, the pact between the British and Travancore-Cochin States, arrival of British residents to Kerala, creation of a trust fund called "Vattipanam" and the visits of early C. M. S. Missionaries, etc aided to the zigzag history of the Syrian Church of the later period.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the life of the Syrian Church was in a state of decline.Lack of leadership qualities, theological insights, loose moral life, unscriptural doctrines weakened the Church day by day. 'The Mission help' from the Anglican Church of England came to Travancore in 1816-1817, made invaluable contributions to the Church and the society. During this period, Palakunnathu Abrham Malpan and Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan, the two professors of the Syrian Seminary at Kottayam, dedicated themselves to the cause of a reform in the Syrian Church. Their subsequent work including the revision of the St. James litugy translation into the vernacular; blew the trumpet call for reformation. The reformation movements cleansed the Church from all the spiritual, moral and social abuses. In 1889, the Church was marred by yet another division. This reform section which formed part of the ancient Syrian Church is now known as the Mar Thoma Church.

The ministry of the Church has been blessed by the offices of the Bishop, Priests and the deacon. The Church values highly the importance of apostolic succession and celebate episcopacy, which is constitutional in nature. Thereby the Church continues in the age old beliefs and customs of the ancient Syrian Church. The leadership of the laity is always an asset of the Church. They are deeply involved in the life and mission of the Church and are full participants in the priestly ministry of the Church. Administration of the Church has been guided by a democratic constitution. To facilitate efficient functioning of the Church, it is divided mainly into dioceses, parishes, regions and centres. All dioceses, currently ten in number, are under the governance of a Diocesan Bishop. The local parishes are looked after by the clergy. The supreme authority of the Church is the General Assembly, which is constituted of the Bishops, the Clergy and elected representatives of the local parishes. The Assembly meets once a year and determines the multifarious functions of the Church. In addition to the Assembly, the Episcopal Synod and the Executive body help in the general administration of the Church. In the like manner, the administration of each diocese is being controlled and guided by two elected bodies, vis., the Diocesan Assembly and the Diocesan Council. People who accepts and profess the faith and practice of the Church are grouped into parishes. The parish General Body and the executive committee are designed in such a way as to ender assistance in the able functioning of the parish. The parish works through specially formed organizations with different objectives to cater to the spiritual needs of the members. They are Sunday School, Youth League, Women Auxiliary, Parish Mission, Prayer Groups and the like.

The missionary impulse of the Church led her to organize different institutions, conferences and camps to carry out missionary work among her own members and among people who are outside the membership of the Church. These organisations such as Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association(1888), Christian Education Department(1905), Women Auxiliary(1910), Voluntary Evangelists Association(1925), Youth Department(1933) etc. won stupendous achievements in their work. The conventions convened time and again also enriched the spiritual life of the people. Of all the conventions, the Maramon convention(1896) ranks first with respect to the large number of people attending to it every year and making people conscious of their Christian responsibility in all areas of their life as individuals, families and Christian communities. The Church has always been keen in providing opportunities to all theological education. The Seminary of the ancient Syrian Church founded in 1813 at Kottayam was the first of its kind in giving training to its clergy. The Church has also initiated numerous successful projects in the field of education, medical mission and other kind of charity works

In the past centuries, there were many attempts to relate the Church with other denominations. The year 1936 witnessed a remarkable achievement in the field of church union movement, when the Mar Thoma Church and the Anglican Church of India (CIBC) had established a formal occasional intercommunion. Now the Church enjoys full intercommunion relationship with the world wide Anglican communion, CSI, CNI, and Episcopal Churches in USA and Canada. The coming into existence of CSI- CNI- MTC Joint Council is yet another forward step in their efforts to achieve more close unity between the three Churches. By the passage of time forces of reform and revival and spirit of ecumenism joined together in moulding the Church as it is seen, known and accepted today. To conclude, late Dr. Stanley Jones wrote of this Church in 1938, as follows:

This Church, entirely Indian manned, is the brightest Christian movement in India. They are progressive and will bleed and die for their Church.

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