Has anybody heard of the Malankara Catholic Church? One just started up near our home. Are they in communion with Rome?
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is an Indian branch of the Eastern Rite Syrian Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See. Its adherants are sometimes grouped together as Saint Thomas Christians. Those Syro-Malankara churches which did not come into full communion with Rome remain as the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. Some of these churches have close relations with Malabar Churches.
Thanks! Makes sense then since we have a large Indian population in our community. I’ll need to check out brainyencyclopedia from now on first & then post later if I still have questions.
Adding to what Apologia100 has posted, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is 1 of 5 Oriental Catholic Churches, with counterparts in Oriental Orthodoxy (as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy). The other 4 are the:
(1) Armenian Catholic Church;
(2) Coptic Catholic Church;
(3) Ethiopian Catholic Church (including those in Eritrea); and
(4) Syrian Catholic Church.
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is not considered a branch of the Syrian Catholic Church. Both of these Churches are sui juris in the Catholic communion (of 23 Chruches).
The Church is headquartered in Trivandrum, Kerala State, India but has 12 parishes in the U.S. and Canada and 5 in Germany. Metropolitan Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios Malancharuvil heads the Church and is the immediate past President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, although it is the “smallest” at about 500,000 among the 3 ritual Catholic Churches in India.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (from the Assyrian Church of the East like the Chaldean Catholic Church) based in Ernakulam, Kerala State, India has approximately 4 million members and is headed by a Major Archbishop, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, and the Latin rite (Roman Catholic Church) has between 11 and 12 million faithful throughout India.
Just out of interest on this note, the pastor of my Latin-Rite parish is an Indian priest raised in the Syro-Malabar Church. (Not the Syro-Malankar though).
[quote=Apologia100]The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is an Indian branch of the Eastern Rite Syrian Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See. Its adherants are sometimes grouped together as Saint Thomas Christians. Those Syro-Malankara churches which did not come into full communion with Rome remain as the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. Some of these churches have close relations with Malabar Churches.
Actually, the story is a bit more complicated and a lot more interesting!
Christianity first came to southern India along the trade routes in the first century. The entire church in Kerala was of one liturgical tradition. It would represent the Assyrian church of the East as planted in India (minus any subsequent latinizations).
Virtually the entire church was at one time admitted to communion with Rome after the arrival of the Portuguese. These were what we know as the Syro-Malabar Christian church. They used the Liturgy of St James as known in Mesopotamia. After an episode of abuses there was a schism within the church and they sought new bishops outside of the Catholic Communion.
Italian Carmelites were sent to salvage the situation, I think about 2/3 of the parishes returned to Rome but the schism did not heal. (I don’t have better reference materials handy, so I’m making approximations.)
The remaining churches outside of Communion with Rome were accepted by the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch, a West Syrian church. The liturgy and theology is slightly different although it is also the Liturgy of St James. Due to some internal dissension within that church, in the 1930’s a segment of this church joined communion with Rome led by Mar Ivanios, essentially for the second time in their corporate history. They were not reabsorbed into the Syro-Malabar church, but instead retained their West Syrian rite and constitute a separate Sui Iuris church.
CNEWA is always a good source for info on these less well known church bodies.
There are six organized Syro-Malabar Catholic parishes in the United States and one in Canada.
In March 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed Fr. Jacob Angadiath as first bishop of the new Diocese of St. Thomas of Chicago of the Malabars and as Apostolic Visitator for Syro-Malabar Catholics in Canada. Chicago is the first diocese for Syro-Malabar Catholics established outside India.
There are several Syro-Malabar mission churches in the United States. This may be the case in your Latin-rite parish having a Malabar Catholic priest, who doubles as the pastor of the Malabar mission church in your area. He could be bi-ritual (or, as some say, bi-ecclesial) but may be under the Latin bishop of your diocese and not of the Syro-Malabar Diocese here in Chicago.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is “heavily” latinized, courtesy of the Portuguese who had an “interesting” encounter with these original “St. Thomas Christians” in the 16th century, but is slowly recovering her unique “Oriental” liturgy and rubrics. The Malabars are of the Assyrian tradition but used Roman Catholic vestments very, very long.
Amadeus: Thanks for the info. Yes, Father has said that the Syro-Malabar Church has been quite latinized…but according to him, not all agree with completely reverted to their Oriental roots. The faithful are so use to the crucifix and the Rosary, that many of them would not want to give it up. Father’s family, for example, prayed the Rosary together everyday growing up. (I understand). I imagine it was this devotion that played a large role in the fact that two of the sons went on to be priests, and one of the daughters a nun.
No, he does not pastor a Malabar mission. There are no Syro-Malabar missions in Western Canada, as far as I know. (Maybe one in Vancouver?) By the way, my parish is in the Diocese of Nelson, in British Columbia, Canada, not the United States.
I’m not sure what his status is. I have never asked him. I don’t know if he transferred Rites at the mutual agreement of the involved bishops, or if he is, as you suggested, bi-ritual.
Could one of you scholars translate *sui juris, *please? My (limited) Latin dictionary doesn’t give it.
I’m guessing it means “a law unto itself” or something like that.
[quote=Katholikos]Could one of you scholars translate *sui juris, *please? My (limited) Latin dictionary doesn’t give it.
I’m guessing it means “a law unto itself” or something like that.
I’m no scholar but methinks your definition is pretty good, something like I was thinking and less wordy than the following definitions.
I Googled it and this is what I found:
** Of one’s own right; the state of being able to exercise one’s legal rights- i.e. freedom from legal disability.
in his, or her own right (literal); in law, legally competent to manage one’s own affairs
An individual who may enter into a legal and binding contract, uncontrolled by another person
Michael has given a very good definition of the Latin term “sui juris!”
Now, I think we should view the definition(s) as it is being implemented in the Catholic communion of Churches. This is where the “conflict” seems to arise.
Michael’s Church has not been too problematic in this regard as the Ruthenian Catholic Church still is a Metropolitanate, not “large” or “powerful” enough compared to a patriarchal Church like the Melkites or a Major Archbishopric like the Ukrainians (UGCC).
Let us, therefore, take the case of the partriarchal Churches in the Catholic Communion.
Under the Eastern Code of Canons, the Patriarch’s right and power to appoint Bishops are recognized only within the defined territorial boundary of the Patriarchate. Outside, or in the diaspora like the U.S., such right and power are reserved to the Pope as Supreme Pontiff of the universal (Catholic) Church.
This is the main contentious problem as I see it.