Diocese of South-West America (Administration)

Inter-Church Relations

The Office of and Interchurch Relations maintains and coordinates relations with Orthodox Churches in North America and with the sister Orthodox Churches throughout the world. The Office maintains official dialogues with other religious and ecumenical communities and agencies and establishes and maintains regular communications with various government and non-government organizations and agencies. Office members provide the Bishops with updates on developments in the Orthodox world and on matters of interchurch, ecumenical, and interfaith importance; coordinate official delegations, visits, and meetings with leaders of the sister Orthodox Churches

For further information/inquiry please see contact details below.

 

 

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Director Interchurch Relations

 

 

About Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

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The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D. 52.

At least from the fourth century the Indian Church entered into a close relationship with the Persian or East Syrian Church. From the Persians, the Indians inherited East Syrian language and liturgies and gradually came to be known as Syrian Christians.

In the sixteenth century Roman Catholic missionaries came to Kerala. They tried to unite the Syrian Christians to the Roman Catholic Church and this led to a split in the community. Those who accepted Roman Catholicism are the present Syro-Malabar Catholics. Later Western Protestant missionaries came to Kerala and worked among Syrian Christians; That also created certain splits in the community.

In the seventeenth century the Church came to a relationship with the Antiochene Church which again caused splits. As a result of this relationship the Church received West Syrian liturgies and practices.

The Church entered into a new phase of its history by the establishment of the Catholicate in 1912.

At present the Church is using the West Syrian liturgy. The faith of the Church is that which was established by the three Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (A.D. 325), Constantinople (A.D. 381) and Ephesus (A.D. 431).

The Church is in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches namely, Antiochene, Alexandrian, Armenian, Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. The Church is in good ecumenical relationship with the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches.

At present the Church has over 2 million faithful with 24 dioceses all over the world.

 

Constitution

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MALANKARA ORTHODOX CHURCH



The church had no written constitution until 1934, but was governed by consensus, traditions and precedence. It was the vision of Mor Dionysius, Vattasseril to have a clearly defined uniform constitution to govern the church administration. He initiated action in this regard and appointed a sub-committee with O. M. Cherian as convener to submit a draft constitution. The committee members had discussed the fundamental issues with the Metropolitan in several rounds. However it was not finalized and passed (materialized) in his life time.

After his demise, the constitution was presented in the Malankara Christian Association meeting of Dec 26, 1934, held at M. D. Seminary. It was adopted and brought to force. Three times the constitution was amended to meet specific situations and needs. It only shows that the church is alive to meet the challenges that arise from time to time.
The validity of the constitution was challenged by the Patriarch party in the Court, but the Supreme Court has given its final verdict declaring the validity of the Constitution. Every member of the Church is bound by the rules and regulations laid down in the Constitution.

The Constitution upholds the autonomy and autocephaly of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It is Episcopal in its (polity) and not congregational. At the same time it upholds democratic principle by safeguarding the rights and privileges of the lay people. It was framed at a time when the Patriarch of Antioch was held in high esteem and hence his limited role is included.

The constitution enshrines the fundamental features of the Church, provides direction for its internal administration and preserves its integrity and autonomy. The essential features of the Church are provided in the preamble. The first article emphasizes the bond of relationship between the Church of Syria and Malankara. The second article deals with the foundation of the Malankara Church by St. Thomas and the primacy of the Catholicos. The third article refers to the name of the church and the fourth about the faith, traditions etc., and the fifth about the canons governing the administration of the Church.

The whole constitution conceives the Malankara Church as self –sufficient in all her requirements, be it temporal, ecclesiastical or spiritual in nature and upholds that the Malankara Orthodox church is rightly autocephalous in character.
 

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church,Diocese of South-West America, 3101 Hopkins Rd Beasley, TX 77417 Ph: 281.403.0670 · Fax: 281-459-0814

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