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Ecumenism in Praxis

A Historical Critique of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church


Joseph Daniel

The Malankara Mar Thoma Church’s ecumenical outlook – marked by twin facets of openness and autonomy – has been the underlying ethos guiding its history, helping it to establish a unique identity. The book retells the church’s ecumenical history dating back to its founding in 52 CE. This study throws ample light on the period between the significant changes of 1889 and the present times. It deals with questions such as: How did the church start practising an ecumenical outlook even before the word ecumenism was coined? Could this have resulted from the church’s interaction with Indian culture that upholds unity in diversity?
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Message from His Beatitude


Dr Joseph Mar Thoma, Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church

If we believe God has engaged and continues to engage in history, we can never stay static and be happy with the status quo.

The history of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrain Church cannot be told without looking deeply at its relationship with the global ecumenical movement and at how the church shaped, and was shaped by, the evolution of ecumenical thinking. At the same time, the church has also been influenced by India’s social ethos, cultural structures and political movements – imbibing from and contributing to these realms in a profound manner.

The Mar Thoma Church has incorporated the values of the Kingdom of God and the manifestation of these values can be seen in its activities encompassing economic development, social engineering and women’s empowerment programmes.

The involvement of the church in these post-independent moves has also meant that it has kept its position as an autonomous and independent Indian church. These moves have been extended further in the practical expressions of the church’s stand on safeguarding justice, peace and freedom in India at critical periods when these values came under threat in the country. This further enhanced the autonomous and independent nature.

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