The Indian Orthodox Syrian Church was founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D. 52. It adopted East Syrian language and liturgies in the fourth century, becoming known as Syrian Christians. The church faced splits during interactions with Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Antiochene influences. The Catholicate was established in 1912, solidifying its leadership structure.
The concept of the “Throne of St. Thomas” stems from biblical passages (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:28), affirming apostolic authority. The church, with 2.5 million members globally, follows West Syrian liturgy and aligns with Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Churches.
The current head is H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, residing at the Catholicate Palace in Kottayam, Kerala. The church comprises 30 dioceses, each led by a bishop, emphasizing both administrative and spiritual roles.
Mission and Vision
Our mission is to remain strong in our faith and to seek salvation. We are called to be the living presence of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. While maintaining continuity with the living traditions of the Church, we seek to understand and address the issues which Orthodox Christians in the Asia Pacific region face in their daily lives. Through this he tries to affirm the existence of the seed of revelation in Christian cultures. We strive to understand and live out the will of God in our everyday lives through prayer and worship and to apply the teachings of our forefathers in the modern day world. so that the mission and ministry we undertake in Jesus’ name can make a real difference to the way in which people live their lives.
H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews III
The Ninth Catholicos of the East in Malankara (2021-Present)
His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III was enthroned as the Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan on October 15, 2021. He is the 92nd Primate on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas. Born on February 12, 1949, he pursued education in Chemistry at Kerala University and later studied theology in Russia and Rome, earning his MTh and PhD. Ordained as a deacon in 1976 and a priest in 1978, he became an Episcopa in 1991 and a metropolitan in 1993. His Holiness is a distinguished teacher, faculty member of the Orthodox Seminary, Kottayam, and a philanthropist dedicated to uplifting the poor, particularly women. He has authored devotional books in Malayalam and served as the secretary of the Holy Episcopal Synod.