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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 2: The Division within the Church of St Thomas Christians after the Arrival of the Portuguese Missionaries

Extract

Chapter 2:  The Division within the Church of St Thomas Christians after the Arrival of the Portuguese Missionaries

All the apostolic Churches which trace their origin to the undivided Church of St Thomas Christians are unanimous in asserting the unity of the Church before the arrival of the Portuguese colonialists and missionaries. The efforts of the Portuguese missionaries to bring the Church of St Thomas Christians under the Latin jurisdiction and to latinize her rite caused distress and commotion among the St Thomas Christians. Two momentous events paved the way for the split of the Church of St Thomas Christians in the 17th century, namely, the Diamper Synod (1599) and the Coonan-Cross Oath (1653). This chapter explores the reasons, and consequences of these two events which proved to be fatal and tragic for the St Thomas Christians. The interpretation and evaluation of these two events from the perspective of the MOSC should not be underestimated for the success of the dialogue between the MOSC and the Catholic Church.

The Synod of Diamper is interpreted from different perspectives by different Churches. It seems that the historical circumstances and the belongingness of these Churches determine their positions too. The position of the MOSC on the nature and goal of the Synod of Diamper plays a key role in the ecumenical dialogue between the MOSC and the Catholic Church.

According to V.C. Samuel, one of the leading theologians of the MOSC, the Synod of Diamper is the...

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