St. Thomas Evangelical Church


St. Thomas Evangelical Church

Infobox Orthodox Church
show_name = St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India


caption =
founder = St. Thomas the Apostle
independence = Apostolic Era
recognition = Independent heirarchical Church
primate=
headquarters= Tiruvalla, Kerala
territory= Universal
possessions= India North America,Canada ,Europe ,Middle East
language= Malayalam, English, Tamil, Kannada,
population= 20,000 Worldwide
website= [http://steci.org/ http://steci.org/]

St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India (STECI) is an Evangelical, Episcopal denomination based in Kerala, India. It derives from a schism in the Mar Thoma Church in 1961, and traces its ancestry before then back almost 2,000 years. STECI firmly affirms that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. All that is necessary for man's salvation and living in righteousness is given in the Bible. It further affirms that the Church has a responsibility to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations of the world, especially to India. The headquarters of this church is at Tiruvalla, a town in the state of Kerala which is the part of South India.

History

St. Thomas Evangelical Church is one of several groups of Saint Thomas Christians tracing their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle who, according to tradition, came to India in AD 52.STECI is the church that stands for biblical doctrines with its limited resource.STECI started their vision as walking by faith rather than sight and IN HIS TIME LORD who called the church helped to construct many new churches and new institutions.STECI is considered to be the last episcopal church evolved through the reformation of Churches in Kerala. God has enabled STECI to do the mission work in several parts of India.The vision of the early leaders like Rev P T Chandapillai ,Rev P.T.Thomas, Rev. K.M. Ninan, Mr. Mathai John etc had helped the church to focus on the mission. According to tradition and historical records, St. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, came to the coast of Kerala in south-west India and established seven churches. These churches continued to exist till the Portuguese came to India in the sixteenth century for trade and to establish colonies. Many of these ancient Christians converted to Roman Catholicism. But a remnant church continued to exist with a fraternal relationship with the Holy See of Antioch, often getting their bishops consecrated by the Patriarch of Antioch and conducting their liturgy in the Syriac language.

This was the situation the evangelical British missionaries saw when they came to Kerala in the earlier part of the 19th century. With the help of local people they translated the Bible into Malayalam, the local language. Soon reformation began in the ancient Church of St. Thomas under the leadership of Abraham Malpan, a Syriac professor at the Seminary, who is often called the 'Martin Luther' of Kerala. He removed many of the customs, practices and doctrines from the Church. The reformers separated from the ancient Church in 1879 forming the Mar Thoma Church.

The new reformed Church marched forward with great success until a group of young people who were trained in liberal seminaries began to think that reformation had not gone too far. After the death in 1947 of Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan, who was a strong missionary minded and evangelical Bishop, the anti-reformation group gained upper hand in the hierarchy and the reformers were slowly pushed out of the Church. The reformers, under the leadership of K. N. Daniel, a renowned Church historian and Seminary professor, resisted the efforts of the anti-reformation group. An organization called Pathiopodesa Samithi (Organization for the Propagation of Sound Doctrines) was formed for the purpose of advancing the cause of reformation. A prolonged struggle ensued between the two sides. In 1961, when the reformers realized that they could not continue in the Mar Thoma Church, St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India was organized. The new Church had to leave everything behind. However, within a year, 150 parishes were established. The current presiding Bishop is the Most Rev. Dr. T. C. Cherian

The Purpose

“The Purpose: This Church affirms that the purpose and task of this Church is the stewardship of the divine Doctrines and teachings as revealed through Jesus Christ and proclaimed by the Holy Apostles and the maintenance of these teachings in their pristine purity and the development of the spiritual life of its members by the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, all over the world and baptizing those who believe, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and making them disciples.”

Parishes

North America/Canada:Bergenfield,Chicago,Dallas,Detroit,Houston,New York,Philadelphia,Queens,Toronto

India:Around 250+ parishes across 13 states

Middle East:Dubai,Sharjah,Abu Dhabi,Baharin,Kuwait,Ras al khaimah,Doha

Europe:London

External links

* [http://www.steci.org/ Official site]
** [http://stecidubai.org/ St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India, Dubai]
*** [http://stecikuwait.org/ St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India, Kuwait]


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