About Syro Malabar Church

Mar George Alencherry

Cardinal- Syro Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church


The Syro-Malabar Church is an Apostolic Church in India that traces its origin to the Apostolate of St. Thomas who according to the tradition, landed in India at Kodungallur in 52 AD. He established the Ezharappallikal, or “Seven and Half Churches”. These churches are at Kodungallur, Kollam, Niranam, Nilackal (Chayal), Kokkamangalam, Kottakkayal (Paravoor), Palayoor (Chattukulangara) and Thiruvithamcode Arappally (Travancore) – the half church. The Syro-Malabar Church is one of the 22 Oriental Churches in Catholic Communion with its own particular characteristics expressed in worship, spirituality, theology and disciplinary laws. The early Christian community in India was known as St. Thomas Christians.

In the course of history this Church entered into life-relation with the Christian communities which came to be known as the East Syrian Church. This relationship made the Thomas Christians share the liturgical, spiritual and other ecclesiastical traditions with the East Syrian Church. At the same time St. Thomas Christians kept their distinctive character especially in Church administration and socio-cultural and ascetico-spiritual life. In the 16th Century with the arrival of the Portuguese, a new era began in the life of this Church, i.e., the latinization of its liturgy and the efforts of the St. Thomas Christians to free itself from this situation. In the Nineteenth Century this Church was designated as the Syro-Malabar Church in the documents from the Roman Curia under which name it is known today.