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Anglican Synod

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History of Anglican Church of India

FOREWORD: It is the renovation of the Diocese of Travancore and Cochin that paved the way to the revival of the Anglican Churches in India. Therefore, a brief account of the history of the Diocese is relevant to be studied. DEMOGRAPHICS OF INDIA: India accounts for one sixth of the population of the globe. Hindus form the majority; Muslims come second; And Christians are only below three percentage of the population. Kerala is the south western part of India, comprising three erstwhile princely states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar. Kerala Christian population forms almost 25 % of the State population. CHRISTIANS IN INDIA: The Christian penetration in to India supposedly have four milestones.[1]Arrival of Thomas, the Apostle [2] Arrival of Thoma Kana [3] Arrival of the Portuguese and [4] Arrival of British Missionaries. Arrival of Apostle Thomas is very much disputed by historians. Anglican historian Leslie Brown rules out even a rare chance of Thomas arrival in India. Pope Paul VI who proclaimed Thomas as Apostle of India, succumbing to pressure from Kerala traditionalists, did not state it as a historical event, but mentioned it as ' traditional belief', orchestrated. Time of Arrival of Thoma Kana claimed as AD 345 also is disputed by historians. It was Malayalam Era 345 claim disputing historians. That means the arrival was in AD 1170. The Portuguese came in the 16th century and Roman Catholic Church was started. The British missionaries started pouring in from the 19 th century onwards. These all clearly indicate that there were no Christians in India before and until the 12 th century. Christianity was spread in Kerala and in India, as we see it today, only after the arrival of the various missionary societies from England. The Missionary Societies: The London Missionary Society, The Lutheran Missionary Society, The Church Missionary Society [ C M S ],The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, The Society for the Propagation of Gospel and The Salvation Army were the main missionary Societies that started functioning in India from the 19th century onwards. In addition to this, The Basel German Mission also worked in India. There was a great harvest for the Christian churches in India in this 19th century and that was mainly due to the presence of the British Administration in India. THE CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY. From 12th to the 19th century, until the missionaries came, all Christians lived in servitude to the rich Hindu society. Women were not allowed to wear anything above their waist; They had to serve in private; Men had to work hard in field; It was nothing less than slavery. The British rule and the arrival of the missionaries turned the tables. All Christians were relieved from the yokes and bonds of rich Hindus. Christians were emancipated and were allowed to own property, engage in agriculture trade and commerce and were given opportunities for education. The CMS started functioning in India in 1813;In Kerala in 1816.For 20 years they just helped the Orthodox Church. They accepted the benefits with 'alacrity' and refused to accept the 'doctrines' [Miss. Eira M. Dalton, Historian]. Therefore, the relation ended in 1836. But a section of the Orthodox spitted away to join the protestant faith and with the help of the C M S missionaries formed the Mar Thoma Church. METROPOLITAN DANIEL WILSON Calcutta [ Kolkotha] was the head quarters of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN INDIA. It was from COE, that CMS was formed in 1799.Bishop Wilson was the fifth Anglican Bishop in India and he was the First Metropolitan. When the Orthodox failed the missionaries, Metropolitan Wilson decided that the missionaries should work independently and among non Christians. This resulted in massive conversions to Christianity from all over India and Christianity became wide spread. Churches, Burial grounds, Schools, Colleges, Hospitals and industrial centers were started for the benefits of the new adherents. The Church grew in to maturity. The whole of India was just ONE DIOCESE of the COE in the beginning. Afterwards, the Dioceses of Calcutta, Bombay [Mumbai] and Madras [Chennai] were formed. CONVERSIONS IN KERALA In India and in Kerala, there are several castes and communities; As a result of the strenuous efforts of the missionaries people from various castes and communities embraced Christianity. The first converted Family was of Deivathan ,a native of Kaipetta, Mallappally who was baptized on September 6 In 1854,along with seven other family members. A prominent family conversion took place in the same year. It was that of Palan Vattappara, Ezhumattor, Vennikulam, a nearby place of Mallappally. He was related to one of the Royal families in Kerala and was honored by the Maharajah of Travancore as a Guard of the Land [ Desha Palakan ]. Palan and family were baptized on November 1,in 1854 at Chelacompu, Nedumkunnam in Changanacherry. He was christened as Stephen. His son and family too were baptized the same day. He was given the name John. The families did not return to Ezhumattoor after conversion, for fear of persecution from Hindu loyalists. The family continued to stay in Chelacompu and was known as Vattappara Tharavadu. John's son Stephen was a true Christian and his son V.S.John became a teacher and a great Evangelist, who established several churches in his life time. With the conversion of this family, thousands of people in the eastern regions of Kerala embraced Christianity. Out of this family came the great Christian leader ,born to Evangelist V S John and Aleyamma, the late Arch Bishop Dr.V.J.Stephen, who grew in to international fame, as the renovator of the Anglican Churches in Kerala. [ From Diary notes of Bishop Dr.V.J.Stephen] Thousands of converted Christians formed the major part of the Anglican Churches in Kerala. At the same time a few drop outs from the Orthodox church too joined the Anglican Church, mainly to serve as language interpreters between the converts and the missionaries. Comprising all local churches formed as a result of the missionary efforts, the Diocese of Travancore and Cochin was formed as the Fourth Diocese of COE in India, in 1879. Following India's independence and the departure of the English missionaries, all denominations sprang up by missionary enterprises joined together to form the Church of South India in South and Church of North India in North. The Anglican Churches joined the CSI on condition that it reserves its right to withdraw with in thirty years, if and when the doctrines are compromised. The Church Union was formed in 1947. In the T & C Diocese, the Orthodox elements became influential and tried to drag the church to Orthodox practices. This was opposed by the converts. The converts approached the CSI Synod to guard their faith. The Synod was ineffective in stopping the Orthodox elements. This resulted in the withdrawal of the Anglicans of the T & C Diocese, from the CSI in 1964 under the leadership of Dr.V.J.Stephen. It was a legally permitted action, but the Orthodox elements by virtue of one among them being the Bishop of the Diocese, took with them forcibly, by illegal and unchristian means, all the church buildings and all other establishments earned for the Anglicans by the missionaries. In this process they were assisted by alien Orthodox factions as well. Disregarding the desertion of the Anglicans from the Union, the COE and Canterbury, continued to recognize the CSI as in the other Dioceses the Anglicans were not discomforted by Orthodox elements. Lost all Churches, burial grounds, schools, colleges, parsonages, hospitals, industrial establishments ,printing presses, landed properties and seminary buildings, the Anglicans suffered a lot. But 80,000 strong believers led by Dr.V.J.Stephen declared that they will never compromise with the faith delivered un to then and delivered them. On May 5,1966 Dr.V.J.Stephen was consecrated as the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of T $ C and he was the FIRST bishop to be consecrated from among the converts of Kerala. Under the guise of ecumenism, the Orthodox elements of Kerala, started influencing the other Dioceses of CSI and gradually the Anglicans begin to feel uneasiness among the other constituents. The alienation of Anglicans became a national phenomenon in CSI and CNI and those Anglicans who wanted to stand firm with their Faith came and started joining together, resulting ultimately in the formation of the Anglican Church of India.

Anglican Synod

SYNOD OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF INDIA: True Anglicans suffered a lot because of the Church Union, in South and North India as well. The independent stand of the Diocese of Travancore and Cochin has been an inspiration to those who truly want to remain in the historical Biblical Faith. In 1990, Dr. Stephen Vattappara convened a meeting of the representatives of all individual Anglicans who were remaining stranded in various parts of India. The session was held in Kurichy [ Kottayam ] Anglican Cathedral on 29 & 30 Sept,1990. The representatives decided to form the SYNOD OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF INDIA. Bishop Vattappara, being the senior most of all the Bishops, was unanimously chosen as the Metropolitan. So far, synod national and regional sessions were held in Kottayam, Mumbai, Chennai, Secunderabad and New Delhi. SYNOD PRINCIPLES: 1. All constituent member bodies have the privilege to depute the head of the church, one clergy and one laity to be members of the Synod of ACI. 2. The Synod stands for bringing Fellowship and intercommunion among members; And for collective Christian witness. 3. The Synod or its officers will not be having any manner of Administrative jurisdiction over member Diocese or Churches. 4. Each member body is entitled to follow its own constitutional and administrative set up. 5. Member Dioceses and churches may voluntarily contribute towards the needs of the Synod.

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Our Staff

Bishop Stephen Vattappara

Metropolitan of the Province of India • bishopvattappara@hotmail.com

Bishop Emmanuel Porter

Suffragon Metropolitan for North India •

Bishop Raj Kumar

Suffragon Metropolitan for South India •

Rev. Prabhakar Amolik

Secretary General •

Deacon Stephen John

International Secretary • stephenvjohn@india.com