The Church of the East, India is endowed and glorified with its traditions of faith and riches of its history. This ancient Church traces its origin back to the Church established by St. Thomas the Apostle, who first preached in Mesopotamia, baptized many in Urmia, then arrived and preached in India in A.D 52. Outside India this church is known as “The Assyrian Church of the East”.
As part of the Mesopotamian connection of the St. Thomas Christians (Edessa as the liturgical center) this Church till date preserves and practices the East Syrian liturgy in the ancient Aramaic Language which Jesus Christ and his disciples spoke. It was the only Christian community in India receiving spiritual heads, Bishops from Persia, from the Patriarchate of the Church of the East. In 1st century AD its headquarters was at Seleucia-Ctesiphon, on the banks of The Rivers Euphrates and Tigris. In AD 775, it is shifted to Baghdad, Iraq and later on to Chicago, USA.
His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV is the present Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, now resides in Chicago, U.S.A. The Holy Synod consists of H.H. Patriarch, 3 Arch Bishops and 11 Bishops from Iraq, Iran, India, UAE, Syria, Lebanon, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Russia, UK, USA, and Canada. The head quarter of the Church of the East in India is at Thrissur- the Cultural Capital of Kerala, the southern most state of India. From the arrival of St. Thomas until the Coonen Cross Revolt in 1653 the history of the Indian church is common. In the famous global Synod of Nicea in AD 325 a single Bishop represented both India and Persia. The East Syrian or Chaldean liturgy was used in Kerala until the 17th century and the Syrian Church (using the Syriac liturgy) in Kerala was undivided until the advent of the Portuguese. But only after the invasion of Portuguese in 1498 AD the so-called Catholic Church under the Roman Imperialism has been originated, mushroomed and spread its wings in India, especially under the leadership of the Archbishop Menezes of Goa who arrived in Kerala in December 1598. Until then the Christians in India are called St. Thomas Christians. “Synod of Diamper” in June 1599 and “The Coonen Cross Revolt” in 1653 are the aftermath of Roman Religious Imperialism under Portuguese Dominion on St. Thomas Christians.
In 1796 AD the Sakthan Thampuran, the famous Maharaja of erstwhile Cochin State (part of Kerala) brought 52 Christian families to Thrissur with a view to develop Thrissur as a center of trade and commerce. The Marth Mariam Big Church was constructed in 1814 AD for the worship of those Christian families. This church is now the cathedral church of The Church of the East, India.
Mar Thoma Rokos from Mosul of Iraq was sent by Patriarch Mar Joseph Oudho reigned the Church from AD 1861-1862. Mar Elia Melus reigned from AD 1874 – 1882; Mar Oudesho Thondanattu from AD 1882-1900; Augustine Cor Episcopa from AD 1900-1908: Mar Abimalek Timotheus Metropolitan from AD 1908-1945; Mar Thoma Dharmo Metropolitan from AD 1952-1968; Poulose Mar Poulose Episcopa from AD 1968-1998; Mar Thimotheus II Metropolitan from AD1972-2001, reigned the Church of the East respectively.
At present His Grace Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan is the Head of the Arch Diocese of India and UAE from 1968 onwards. The two Bishops in India, Mar Yohannan Yoseph and Mar Awgin Kuriakose were consecrated on 17th January 2010. This Church has 32 Parishes and 3 mission centers, 75 clergies, 3 nuns and 3 deaconesses. The church of the East in India is age old as Christianity in India.
This Church has taken membership in National Council of Churches in India, Kerala Council of Churches, Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action, Delhi, Christian Medical College, Vellore etc.
The Patriarch H.H. Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II signed a Common Christological Declaration on 11 November 1994 and the official dialogue between Church of the East and Vatican still pursues towards wider ecumenism. Also a new dialogue commission set up in the 2012 Holy Synod, headed by H.G. Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan for ecumenical dialogue between The Ecumenical Patriarch (Istanbul, Turkey) and The Assyrian Church of the East.
The Church in India is governed by the constitution approved by the Catholicos Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV in 1997. The administration is carried on by a Representative Council of a minimum of 2 representatives from each parish. The Vicars of all parishes are ex-officio members. The Metropolitan can nominate 10 members to the representative council. All Representatives elect 9 central trustees from among them. The Board of Central Trustees elects a Chairman and a Vice Chairman from among them.
The present chairman is Mr. I.G. Joy and Vice Chairman is Mr. George Emmatty for the term (2010-2013).
Overcoming all the hurdles of the past, The Church of The East in India is moving on with abundant blessings and continual guidance from the God Almighty.
Prelates: 3; Clergy: 75 ; Nuns: 3; Deaconesses: 3; Parishes: 32; Mission Centers: 3; Total Members: 30,000; Seminary: 1; Orphanage: 2; Old Peoples Home: 2; Hospital: 1; Parallel Colleges: 2; Lower Primary Schools :3; High Schools: 2; Higher Secondary School: 1.
Official Contact Postal Address
1.H.G. Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan,
Mar Thimotheus High Road,
Phone. 91 487 2420978, Fax: 91 487 2442003
2.The Board of Central Trustees,
Mart Mariam Big Church,
High Road, Thrissur 680001,
Kerala, India. Phone 0487- 2428274
NCCI Delegates and Office Bearers from Church of the East (2012-16)
1. Bishop Mar Awgin Kuriakose, (Executive Member)
Bishop’s Palace, Church of the East,
2. Mrs. Pearly Jos, (Vice President, NCCI),
HRD Trainer, Edakalathur House,
Mandapath Lane, Mission Quarters,
3. Fr. Cyril Antony, (Youth Rep)
c/o Bishop’s Palace,
Church of the East, Anjangady,
(As updated in NCC Review December 2012)
Contact as on 31st July 2013
Most Rev. Dr. Mar Aprem
Chaldean Syrian Church of the East
Metropolitan Palace, High Road
Thrissur-680 001, Kerala
Tel. : 0487-2420978, Fax : 2442003
Mob : 09446621511