Recently I came across a speech made by Dr. P C Alexander in a Methran Kakshi meeting at Delhi, which was published by a bishop in one of their church forums. Reading this made me wonder why a person of Alexander?s caliber is hiding certain facts and trying to present half truths. If it is just to get a few claps of his followers, then I feel really pity of him. Here I am trying to bring a few points of his speech in 2 or 3 sections as I wanted to avoid a long mail.
Extracts from P C Alexander?s speech at Delhi award distribution meeting: ---After its establishment in India in AD 52 at the hands of St. Thomas our church, had remained a fully independent entity for 1500 years without any subservience to any foreign church or PRELATE.--
Here Alexander is trying to emphasize that the church in India remained fully independent for 1500 years from the period of St.Thomas without the INFLUENCE of any foreign bishops or other sources. I think while making this remark, Alexander had avoided or forgotten (?) about the arrival of a delegation led by the Knanaya Thoma in 345 which included a Metropolitan Mar Joseph and few priests. History says that it was from this bishop the Malankara Church received Episcopacy once again after a long gap. It is a widely accepted fact that in those days there was no, local bishop, in Malankara then. So it has to be naturally believed that the foreign Prelate Mar Joseph who came to Malabar had greatly influenced Malankara Christians. Moreover, being the lone prelate then in Malabar, his influence may have been much bigger. In this circumstance it has to be certainly believed that this foreign bishop, Mar Joseph, as early as 4th century, led the Christians in Malabar with the concurrence of all. Again there is history about the coming of another set of Syrians under the leadership of Mar Sabor and Mar Ahfroth in the 9th century and the impact made by them among Malabaris is a well known fact. (There are certain families still living in south Kerala who are believed to be the descendants of these 9th century migrants). Also we all know much about the churches established by these prelates Mar Sabor and Mar Ahfroth. (eg. Kayamkulam, Kollam, Akaparambu churches etc)
These few points itself prove that Alexander?s speech at Delhi function was without any substance. Whatever be the claim of Alexander and others, it remains a fact that foreign bishops played a greater role in shaping the Indian church, whether it is pre or post Nestorian-Portugese arrivals. So it is totally wrong to say that outside influence was not there in Malabar for the first 15 centuries. When these are the facts I don?t know why a person like Alexander repeat such speeches in public again and again.
2. Another portion from Alexander?s speech:
-- The administration of this church was entirely with the Arch Deacons, elected by the members of the church themselves. --
This remark made by Alexander, that the Malankara church was ruled by an Arch-deacon, is also totally wrong. The title called ?Archdeacon- for the one who led the malankarites came much later, probably in the late 15th century with the starting of the influence of Nestorians over Malankara Church. Before that the Malankara head was known in the title -Jathikku Karthavvyan-; not Arch Deacon as stated by Alexander.
To be contd?
T M Chacko
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