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MARTHOMACHURCH–CHANDIGARH  - A Brief  History

Mar Thoma Churchis one of the historic Churches in Indiaand it belongs to the family of Churches called the “Lesser Eastern Churches”. It is an independent, indigenous and autonomous Church. The origin of the church can be traced back to St. Thomas, a disciple of Jesus Christ.  It is believed that St. Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ visited India and planted seven churches in Malabar Coastin the year AD 52 and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church is a section of this ancient Church. This ancient Church is generally known as the Malankara Suriyani Sabha (MalankaraSyrianChurch) because Syriac - a derivative of Aramaic language spoken by Jesus was the language of worship.
In the fist half of 19th century, there arose a movement called reformation within the ancient Church in Kerala under the able leadership of Abraham Malpan of Maramon and Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan of Puthuppally. The purpose of the reformation was to remove the unscriptural customs and practices, which had crept in to the church over the centuries and for a reformation of the church in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First they translated the Syriac prayers in to Malayalam and removed certain unscriptural practices and restored the church to what they considered to be its pristine position before the Synod of Diamper. Further, they emphasized the reading and the study of the Bible, family worship and evangelistic work. They also insisted on a high moral standard of conduct for laity and clergy alike. All this created ferment in the church and its effects are still discernible in theSyrianChurch as a whole.
At present, theMarthomaChurchhas about 1130 parishes and congregations with its headquarters at Tiruvalla – Kerala. For administrative purposes, the church is divided into 12 Dioceses. It has 10 Bishops, 900 priests and about 9,00,000 members almost all over the World. Ever since its inception the church has been ecumenical in its vision and outlook. It is a member of the National Council of Churches inIndiaand the World Council of Churches.
The Metropolitan His Grace Most Rev. Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostam Mar Thoma is the presiding Bishop of the Church. He is assisted by a Council of Bishops, which is called the Episcopal Synod.
InChandigarh, since early 60’s, believers of the various Malayalee Christian denominations used to gather for prayers at different homes. Their desire for spiritual enrichment lead to the formation of a Malayalee Christian congregation in 1970. The first Holy Communion service in Malayalam was celebrated by the Vicar of Karolbagh Marthoma Church, Rev. Dr M V Abraham.
Several priests from the Orthodox, CNI as well as MarThomaChurchnotably Rev. Dr M V Abraham (up to 1973), Rev. K M George (1973 – 77) and Rev. A M John (1977–80) used to conduct worship services for the Malayalam congregation. With the celebration of the Holy Communion service by Rev. A M John on 31st August 1980, the Mar Thoma Parish inChandigarh came into existence. In the absence of own Church building, worship services were held as often as possible either at the CNI Church, Sec-18, St Annes’ Convent, Sec-32 or at the residences of members till Feb. 2000.
Rev. A M John remained as the Vicar till 1983 and then on, the Parish was lead by Rev. K M. George (1983 – 90), Rev. Idikula K George (1990 – 93), Rev. P Y Mathew (1993 – 97) Rev. Gigy Thomas (1997 – 2001), Rev. Roy Thomas (2001 – 02), Rev. Genil Abraham (2002 – 05) Rev. Jacob Varghese ( 2005 -2007 ) , Rev Anson Thomas ( 2007 – 2009 ) , Rev Bijoy Daniel ( 2009 – 2011 ) and our present Resident Vicar Rev. Liju John took charge on 1st of May 2011.
On 5th January 1997, a piece of land was acquired in Raipurkhurd village in Chandigarh. On 11th September 1997 the adjoining piece of land was also purchased. The then Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr Isaac Mar Philoxenos laid the foundation stone for the church building on the 25th of July 1999.  Construction work commenced on the 25th Sep 1999 and by the Grace of God the church Building was consecrated by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr Isaac Mar Philoxenos onthe 26th of Feb 2000.
On 12th October 2010, God helped us to complete the parsonage construction work of two rooms and Kitchen and Parish Hall. The dedication service of the same was held on 12th October 2010. Delhi Diocesan Episcopa His grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Paulos episcopa led the dedication service in presence of our Vicar Rev. Bijoy Daniel. Mr. Sibin C. IAS – ADC Bhatinda - Punjab was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
Presently there are 36 families in the parish. Though a small parish, it is a vibrant and dynamic Mar Thoma Community. All the auxiliary organizations of the Church – Sunday School, Sevika Sangham, Yuvajana Sakhyam, Choir, and Edavaka Mission are active in the church. The Parish has two prayer groups,Chandigarhand Mohali areas, which meet every fortnight. We are thankful to the Lord almighty for the wonderful ways through which he has guided and lead us all these years. We pray that the grace of God will guide us in the future also and enable us to pay a meaningful role as his emissaries not only among the Malayalee brothers but also in the community around.
   

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