I am overwhelmed to read Rev. Claudius Buchanan the renowned Christian historian and missionary mentioned about ancient period of Malankara in one of his book Christian Researched in Asia�.
He mentioned- When the Portuguese arrived, they were agreeably surprised to find upwards of a hundred Christian Churches on the coast of Malabar. But when they became acquainted with the purity and simplicity of their worship, they were offended. "These Churches” said the Portuguese, "belong to the Pope." "Who is the Pope," said the natives, "we never heard of him." The European priests were yet more alarmed, when they found that these Hindoo Christians maintained the order and discipline of a regular Church under Episcopal Jurisdiction: and that, for 1300 years past, they had enjoyed a succession of Bishops appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. "We," said they, “are of the true faith whatever you from the West may be; for we come from the place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians." When the power of the Portuguese became sufficient for their purpose, they invaded these tranquil Churches, seized some of the Clergy, and devoted them to the death of heretics. Then the inhabitants heard for the first time that there was a place called the Inquisition; and that its fires had been lately lighted at Goa, near their own land. But the Portuguese, finding that the people were resolute in defending their ancient faith, began to try more conciliatory measures. They seized the Syrian Bishop Mar Joseph (?? ), and sent him prisoner to Lisbon: and then convened a Synod at one of the Syrian Churches called Diamper, near Cochin, at which the Romish Archbishop Menezes presided.
He gives a picture of before and after periods of Portuguese domination. The history of Malankara from the Portuguese regime is well known and even recorded in detail including the forceful conversion of Syrian Christians to Roman bull with Diamper Synod and later the Koonan Kurizu Satyam etc. The Portuguese tried conversions because there were hundreds of Christians in Malankara who were following the traditions of Holy See of Antioch and they don’t want that to be. The interesting part is not the post Portuguese domination, but is what Rev. Buchanan understood about the pure Episcopal hierarchy which the Malankara Church was following from the first century. The existence of a Church in Malankara with Antiochan traditions and with a succession of Bishops or Jathikku Karthavyan or Arcadiacon appointed by Holy Patriarch of Antioch existed in Malankara prior to Portuguese domination. The Church in Malankara was not self existent with only what Saint Thomas preached and passed over to a community. The community would have ended up soon without any spiritual guidance if it was trying to be self existing. If those Malankara fathers were dared to question Portuguese "Who is the Pope?" only because they know that they are following the purest faith and truth from centuries from the Holy See of Antioch. But it is heart-felt that later from the last century a denomination grown up, the descendants of the same fathers questioning "Who is the Patriarch?”
Thinking down the mind, I or you (whoever is from Malankara), if today adoring our Lord Jesus as Christ the God and live in the purity of HIS love and teaching is only because our fore-fathers were keen to follow the order and discipline of a Episcopal Church which is from a place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. If they didn't or my fore fathers were in a different track, probably my Lord wouldn't even have known to me and I would have been a lost sheep. The story shouldn't be different for each from Malankara to. Glory be to the Lord our God.
If the above is the history and facts, then why a group denies their roots of existence in Christ? Isn't the denial and autonomy claims are indirectly rejecting their roots itself. How can I forget the throne which passed over my existence in Christ through my fore fathers? If anyone denying nearly 2000 year old Episcopal Jurisdiction of Holy Patriarch of Antioch, then they are rejecting what their fore fathers have believed and struggled for keeping the purity of faith and succession for their children. Also I do not think anyone desire to accept their biological fathers conditionally according to a constitution. Isn't it same for our spiritual fathers?
To me the re-installation or the claims of self-existence of Malankara or constitutional acceptance was created for some people's political\financial(Vattipanam) gains in different periods which even continues now with Kolencherry, Thrikunnathu seminary etc..). I call those who stand against the Holy See to understand the true facts and come back to mother church with peace. The so-called historians should re-think who are struggling to put forward the proofs for the autonomy, autocephalous or a separate Malankara throne so and so by spreading false findings 1001 times and trying to convert them into truth.
More reading of Rev. Buchanan about Malankara can be found in his book- The works of the Rev. Claudius Buchanan, L.L.D (http://books.google.com.my/ebooks?id=X3Q3AAAAMAAJ
And more about his writings in http://www.google.com.my/search?q=%22Claudius+Buchanan%22&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1
Blessed Lending and Glory be to the God.
In HIS love,
Marth Marian Cathedral Kandanad