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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 3: The Ecclesiology of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church


Chapter 3:  The Ecclesiology of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

The MOSC has not yet developed a systematic Ecclesiology like the Catholic Church. The Western Church divided Theology into different branches and started treating them as separate entities. Hence Ecclesiology became a separate subject in the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical world. But the MOSC views Ecclesiology from the perspective of the ecclesial heritage of the St Thomas Christians and of the Oriental Orthodox family. The summary of the view of Jacob Kurian on the unique ecclesial heritage of the Church of St Thomas Christians is given below: The MOSC is an ancient Church which has the apostolic, episcopal and missionary tradition of St Thomas, the Apostle. It developed an independent and indigenous ecclesial identity being outside the ancient Roman and Persian Empires254.

Only recently the MOSC started systematizing her Ecclesiology. There is not much written material on Ecclesiology in the MOSC as in the case of the Roman Catholic Church where hundreds of theologians produced numerous books or theses on Ecclesiology. The European theologians of the Roman Catholic Church wrote many books or dissertations on Ecclesiology in order to defend it against the sharp criticism leveled against it or the severe attacks directed to it by the theologians of the other Christian Churches. The Catholic theologians have always tried to answer the crucial ecclesiological questions raised by the scholars of the secular world and other ideologies. All these must have contributed to the prolific production of books...

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