About the Church
St Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church of Cleveland, Ohio is one of
the parishes under the South-West American Diocese of the Malankara
Orthodox Syrian Church in India, whose primate is the Catholicos of
the East, Catholicos of the Apostolic throne of St.Thomas, and the
Malankara Metropolitan residing at the Catholicate Palace, Devalokam,
Kottayam, India. This church serves the Indian Orthodox followers
from Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh, PA and Columbus, Ohio.
Our church is under the direct jurisdiction and administration
of the Bishop (also called the Metropolitan) of the South-West American Diocese
of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, under the supervision of
Catholicos of the East, H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II
. Our present metropolitan for South-West American Diocese is H.G Alexios Mar Eusebius.
About Malankara Orthodox Church
Official name of the Church 'Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church' can
be explained as: ‘Malankara' is another name for Kerala, ‘Orthodox'
is the category of Christian faith and tradition it follows (distinguishes
it from the Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths), and ‘Syrian'
comes from the Syriac language which was the liturgical language of
the church for centuries. The church which St Thomas established remained
as a strong community within Kerala for 19 centuries, without expanding
itself to other parts of India. From the early parts of the 20 th
century, as many people migrated to other parts of India, parishes
started coming up all over India. As a result, the Church is presently
known as Indian Orthodox Church. Now the Church has dioceses and parishes
in most parts of India as well as in other parts of the world where
Keralites are migrated.
The Indian Orthodox Church (also known
as Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Orthodox Syrian Church of the
East), is a prominent member of the Oriental Orthodox Churches family.
The Church traces its origins to St. Thomas the Apostle, who came
to India in AD 52. St Thomas preached the gospel, established 7
parishes in Kerala in Southern India and ordained priests. Christian
writers and representatives of the Churches, from the 4 th century
refer to the evangelistic labours of St. Thomas in India, during
the first century.
The Malankara Orthodox Church has its head quarters at Kottayam, Kerala,
India. The present head of the Indian Orthodox church is H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II. The official title of the head of the Church
is "the Catholicos of the East seated on the throne of St Thomas
and the Malankara Metropolitan". The Church is ruled and governed
by the Church Constitution of 1934. True to the orthodox Christian
tradition, the Indian Orthodox Church employs an administrative system
which is a perfect blend of episcopacy and democracy.
The Church is divided into 25 dioceses with a bishop heading each
diocese. The Malankara Syrian Association is the parliament of the
Church which is a body of bishops and elected laity and clergy representatives
from all the parishes. This Association meets on special occasions
to take important decisions pertaining to the entire church.
The Association also elects a Managing Committee for carrying out
administrative activities on behalf of the Association. The number
of laity members of this committee is double that of the clergy, which
indicates the participative nature of laity in church matters. The
Episcopal Synod comprising of all the Bishops of the church is the
authority regarding Faith, Order and Discipline. The Synod is also
responsible to install the Catholicos designated by the Association.
Faith and Liturgy
The Church, though modern
in its vision and outlook, keeps the traditional Orthodox faith and
liturgy. It accepts the first three Ecumenical Synods. In earlier
days, the liturgy used by the Church was adopted from the Persian
Church, which had to be abandoned at the Portuguese compulsion at
the end of 16 th century. The liturgy now in use is the translation
of the Syrian liturgy adopted from the Antiochian Orthodox Church
in the 17th century. Today the Church uses Malayalam as liturgical
language in Kerala, respective local languages in other parts of India
and English outside India.
The Indian Orthodox community inherited
many aspects of Indian civilization and they are like any other
communities in India, in their customs, manners and life style.