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The Role of the Petrine Ministry in the Ecumenical Relationship between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church

Pater Biju Mathew

This work deals with the role of the Petrine ministry in the ecumenical relationship between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church traces her origin to the Church of St Thomas Christians, founded by St Thomas, the Apostle who reached the south Indian state of Kerala in 52 AD. The book explores the Ecclesiologies of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the St Thomas Christians of India and the Catholic Church from a dogmatic-juridical-historical perspective. The author tries to mediate between the two Churches in order to support them in the reviewing process of their history and Ecclesiology and re-establishing the unity for which Jesus Christ prayed: «Holy father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one» (Jn 17, 11). The author in his role as mediator makes a few suggestions for solving the problems related to the concept of the Petrine ministry on a universal level in the light of the Communion Ecclesiology of Vatican II, the studies of the various unofficial ecumenical dialogue commissions and the analysis of the experience of the Syro Malabar Church, one of the 22 sui iuris Churches in the Catholic Church.
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Chapter 1: The Ecclesiology of the Church of St Thomas Christians in the pre-Portuguese Period

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Chapter 1:  The Ecclesiology of the Church of St Thomas Christians in the pre-Portuguese Period

The MOSC agrees with the Catholic Church or rather with the Catholic Indian Oriental Churches (the Syro Malabar Church and the Syro Malankara Church) to a great extent on the Ecclesiology of the Church of St Thomas Christians in the pre-Portuguese period. But there are differences of opinion on certain points with regard to the early ecclesial affiliations and hierarchical relationship as well as to the apostolic succession. I am dealing with both these aspects of the Ecclesiology of the St Thomas Christians in the pre-Portuguese period in this section.

It has become clear in the consultations of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the MOSC that there are many points of historical and theological importance on which both these Churches can agree. Misunderstanding and hostility owing to historical vicissitudes and partisan allegiance gave way to open discussions and a Christian way of sharing. It helped both Churches to present their historical theological views and standpoints in an atmosphere of Christian freedom and mutual respect. Both Churches have realized that their Christological faith is the same and there is no Christological difference between them. Both these Churches believe that St Thomas, the Apostle, preached the Christian faith in India and established the Church here by instituting the priesthood and erecting a hierarchy here. It is agreed upon that the faith which the St Thomas Christians lived...

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