Mar Thoma Church in UK
Mar Thoma diaspora communities have contributed richly in elevating the status of the Mar Thoma Church confined within the boundaries of India to a worldwide church.
The presence of Mar Thoma community in UK can be traced back to early 1950s. The congregation in the early days mainly consisted of students and few people who came in search of employment. Regular worships in London started in 1957 and it is recognized as the first Mar Thoma congregation in the western hemisphere. In April 2007, we celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the Mar Thoma Church in the UK. The Archbishop of Canterbury Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams was the chief guest and Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan presided over the meeting.
Since its humble beginning more than half a century ago in UK, the Mar Thoma church has steadily grown over the years and now have 10 parishes and several congregations worshipping in the country. We are under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of North America and Europe headed by the Diocesan Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Theodosius Episcopa.
Carmel Mar Thoma Church Liverpool
The Mar Thoma community in Liverpool is relatively new. In 2003, around 10 Mar Thoma families came together and started worship at the St. Cyprians Church, Edge Lane, under the leadership of Rev K V Cherian, Vicar of St. John’s Mar Thoma Church, Hounslow, London. We thankfully remember the wholehearted support of St. John’s Mar Thoma Church enabling us to establish in Liverpool. The Liverpool Mar Thoma Community functioned as a prayer group of St. John’s MTC, subsequently attaining parish status as Carmel Mar Thoma Church in 2007.
We gratefully remember Rev. David Lewis and our brothers and sisters at St. Cyprians who opened the doors of their church and whole heartedly welcomed us. We moved to St. Mary’s (All Saints) in 2006, when St. Cyprian’s was closed down. Since then, All Saints has become our home. Our heartfelt gratitude to the Vicars – Rev Mike Coates, Rev Phil Saltmarsh and Parishioners of All Saints Parish Church for their continued support and assistance which have been instrumental in the growth and development of our Parish Carmel Mar Thoma Church is a registered Charity and is a member of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Rev. Roney Cheriyan is serving as our Vicar. We come together to Praise and Worship our Lord on every Saturday, 4pm. We worship in our language – Malayalam, with occasional service in English as well. We have a very dynamic Sunday School and Youth Fellowship.
Who we are?
We – The Marthomites – belong to the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, which is one of the oldest groups of practising Christians in the world and believed to be followers of one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ – St. Thomas. It is widely believed that in AD 52 the Apostle St. Thomas landed in Cranganore near Cochin, on the South-West coast of India and laid the foundations of Christianity in that part of the world.
Where do we come from?
We come from Kerala, situated at the South-West coast of India. Kerala – known as “God’s own Country” – is India’s most advanced society with 100% literate people, world-class health care systems, India’s lowest infant mortality and highest life expectancy rates. Kerala has the highest physical quality of life in India.
Many Historical records indicate that Christianity came to India long before it went to England or Western Europe, and even in Rome it was a despised and prohibited sect.
St. Thomas came to India with the Gospel as the disciples went to different parts of the world in accordance with the commission given to them by Jesus Christ. In the true Apostolic tradition, he preached first to the Jewish settlers in and around Cochin, and then worked among the Hindus. Through the ministry of the Word and the many miracles which tradition attributes to him, he brought many high caste Hindus to the Christian faith. It is believed that he organised 7 Christian communities for the use of these Christians, and ordained presbyters from four leading families.
The Mar Thoma Church defines itself as “Apostolic in origin, Universal in nature, Biblical in faith, Evangelical in principle, Ecumenical in outlook, Oriental in worship, Democratic in function, and Episcopal in character.”
The headquarters of Mar Thoma Church is at Thiruvalla, Kerala. The church currently has over a million adherents spread worldwide. The title of the head of the Church is “Mar Thoma” and is addressed as “Mar Thoma Metropolitan”. The present “Mar Thoma Metropolitan” is the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma.
- Emblazoned in the Shield of Faith, the Cross represents the centrality of Jesus Christ in the church and its mission.
- The Ashoka Chakra is the symbol of India and represents the Indian roots of the church.
- The Hand Lamp reminds all believers to be the light of the world.
- The Lotus represents holy living and is traditionally part of the offering of sacrifices of praise and adoration in the Indian tradition to God.
Emblazoned in the Shield of Faith, the Cross represents the centrality of Jesus Christ in the church and its mission.
The Ashoka Chakra is the symbol of India and represents the Indian roots of the church.
The Hand Lamp reminds all believers to be the light of the world.
The Lotus represents holy living and is traditionally part of the offering of sacrifices of praise and adoration in the Indian tradition to God.
“Lighted To Lighten”
The role of the church is to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every believer and member of the Church, wherever they are, are given the light so that they can lighten others.
The church teaches, “Every Marthomite is a Missionary”
Our relationship with Church of England
The Mar Thoma Church is in full communion relationship with the Church of England.
As a reformed Church with Episcopal traditions, the Lambeth Conference considered possibilities of communion between the two Churches. A commission was appointed by the Anglican Church in India in 1957 to study the possibility of intercommunion. After considering the report of the Commission, a concordat was agreed upon in 1961 establishing Communion relationship between the two Churches.
Lambeth Conference declared acceptance of the ministry and full communion relationship. Thus the Mar Thoma Church is now in full communion relationship with the Anglican Church all over the world.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams visited Kerala in October 2010 and participated in the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Reformation in the Church.
Started in 1895, it is renowned as Asia’s largest Christian gathering. The convention is meticulously organised every year by the Mar Thoma Church on the sand bed of River Pampa, Kerala. Millions of people attend the convention every year with devotion and commitment. World renowned speakers address the gathering along with our Bishops.
Former Archbishops of Canterbury Most Rev. Dr. Robert Runcie (1986), Most Rev. Dr. George Carey (1995) have blessed the convention in the past with their messages.