Mar Thoma V

Mar Thoma V
Malankara Church.
Enthroned 1728
Reign ended May 8, 1765
Predecessor Mar Thoma IV
Successor Mar Thoma VI
Personal details
Birth name Ouseph (Malayalam) = Joseph (English)
Died May 8, 1765
Buried Niranam Valia palli. (Niranam St Mary's Orthodox Church)

Mar Thoma V was born in Pakalomattom family, one of the oldest families in Kerala and he was known as Youseph (Yaosep – Aramaic; Joseph-English). He was the Malankara Metropolitan from 1728 to May 8, 1765. During his tenure a number of bishops from Antioch arrived and he had to face a lot of problems from them. Some of these bishops were banished from the country and had to return.



On the South Western coast of India lies a small state known as Kerala It was here in the first century, Thomas the Apostle arrived to preach the gospel to the Jewish community. Some of the Jews and locals became followers of Jesus of Nazareth. They were known as Malabar Nasrani people and their church as Malankara Church. They followed a unique Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition which included several Jewish elements and Indian customs.

In Malankara (Kerala) St. Thomas did not appoint any bishops, but an elder (Mooppen in Malayalam) was selected to lead the people. The parish leader was called Edavaka Mooppen and the church as a whole had a Malankara Mooppen. This was the tradition till 1653.

Canons of the Synod of Diamper, Malayalam versions [1] use these titles throughout the report except in three places where they use the Latin word archidiāconus.[2][3] There is no chance for the Malankara Church to use this Latin word. Portuguese were not familiar with Malayalam word Malankara Mooppen and so they might have used Latin word Archidiāconus. The Malayalam name Jathikku Karthavian, given by some historians was not used in the Malayalam version of the canons.

Malankara Throne

After the great swearing in 1653 it became necessary to appoint a bishop. For this purpose a special chair was made and the first bishop of Malankara church was enthroned. This throne used for this consecration of Mar Thoma I, is in the possession of the Mar Thoma Church and is kept at Tiruvalla. It has been used in the installation of every Mar Thoma Metropolitan, to this day, so that the continuity of the throne of Mar Thoma is ensured.This was the throne used for the consecration of Mar Thoma V.


By 1727, Mar Thoma IV fell sick. So the leaders of the Malankara Church selected a successor for him. He was consecrated as Mar Thoma V. No foreign bishops were present for his consecration.

On March 24, 1728, Mar Thoma IV died and Mar Thoma V, took charge as the Malankara Metropolitan. He made Kandanad (Pallikara Palli) his headquarters.

Arrival of foreign bishops

Mar Ivanios a bishop from Antioch arrived in 1748. He lived in Mulanthuruthy Church and taught Syriac to the deacons. Abraham and Geevarghese of Kattumangattu family were his students. It was found that his teachings were unacceptable to the Malankara church and so in 1751 he was banished from Kerala.[4] Before leaving for Antioch in 1951, Mar Ivanios ordained Kattumangattu Abraham and Geevarghese as priests. They later became the founder fathers of Malabar Independent Syrian Church.[5][6]

The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC in old-spelling Dutch, literally "United East Indian Company") was established in 1602. They attached Cochin and the king of Cochin surrendered to the Dutch on March 20, 1663. During the time of Mar Thoma V they were in control of Cochin and the surrounding areas. Mar Thoma requested the help of the Dutch company to bring a bishop from outside and agreed to pay the passage.

Mar Ignatious Geevarghese III, patriarch of Antioch heard about this and immediately sent Mar Baselios Shakrilla, Mar Gregorius, Ramban Yuhanon, Geevarghese Korepiscopa, Yuhanon Kassessa and four other priests. They arrived at Cochin in 1751. Mar Thoma sent priests to receive them. They were expecting one or two visitors, but there were nine. Their passage came up to Rs.20,000. Neither the Church nor Mar Thoma could pay that much. Dutch wouldn't allow them to disembark without payment. In the end Mar Thoma was put in jail. Hearing this, parishes began to collect money. After three months, with all the collections they were able to pay part of the amount and the Dutch released Mar Thoma and the bishops. Mar Thoma never tried to meet these visitors. But they insisted that Mar Thoma should receive their Kaiveppu (laying of hands) and change his name from Mar Thoma to Mar Dionysius. Mar Thoma V, refused to comply.

In 1754, they made an agreement with Mar Thoma V, not to ordain priests in Malankara Church.[7]

Last days

In 1761, Mar Thoma V consecrated Mar Thoma VI as his successor. He did it without any assistance from foreign Bishops thus severing all allegiance to foreign bishops.

Mar Thoma V, died on May 8, 1765 at Niranam and was laid to rest at Niranam Palli. The funeral service was conducted by Mar Thoma VI.

Preceded by
Mar Thoma IV
Metropolitan of the Malankara Church
Succeeded by
Mar Thoma VI

See also


  1. ^ Five of the Malayalam versions were available in 1952.
  2. ^ Daniel, K.N. Canons of the Synod of Diamper, prepared using five of the available Malayalam versions.
  3. ^ Antonio de Gouvea (1606) Jornada do Arcebispo Aleixo de Menezes quando foy as Serra do Malaubar.
  4. ^ Ittoop Writer, ‘’Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram’’. (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam). Page 148.
  5. ^ Kochumon, M.P. (1995). Parisuddha Kattumangattu Bavamar. (Saintly bishops of Kattumangattu). Page 8.
  6. ^ Varghese Kassessa, K.C. Malabar Swathantra Suyani Sabha Charitram. (History of Malabar Independent Syrian Church). Page 26.
  7. ^ This agreement was the evidence No. 27 in the Seminary case. Pulikottil Mar Dionysius Vs Thomas Mar Athanasius 1879-1889

Further reading

    1. Chacko, T.C. (1936) Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charithra Samgraham’’. (Concise History of Marthoma Church), Pub: E.J. Institute, Kompady, Tiruvalla.
    2. Danil, K.N. (1952). Udayamperoor Sunnahadosinte Canonukal. (Canons of the Synod of Diamper), CLS. Tiruvalla.
    3. Eapen, Prof. Dr. K.V. (2001). ‘’Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram’’. (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
    4. Ittoop Writer, (1906). ‘’Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram’’. (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam)
    5. Kochumon, M.P. (1995). Parisuddha Kattumangattu Bavamar. (Saintly bishops of Kattumangattu). Pub.Joseph Mar Kurilos.
    6. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008) Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla
    7. Varghese Kassessa, K.C. (1972). Malabar Swathantra suyani sabha Charitram. (History of [[Malabar Independent Syrian Church). Pub. Malabar Independent Syrian Church.

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