Mar Thoma IV

Mar Thoma IV
Malankara Church
Enthroned 1688
Reign ended March 24, 1728
Predecessor Mar Thoma III
Successor Mar Thoma V
Personal details
Died March 24, 1728
Buried Kandanad Palli. (Kandanad Martha Mariam Orthodox Church)

Mar Thoma IV was the fourth bishop who sat on Malankara throne and led the Malankara Church from 1688–1728. During his period the church passed through a number of persecutions.



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 the 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 IV.


There is nothing much known about his earlier days except that he was also from Pakalomattom family, just like his predecessors.

Mar Thoma III died suddenly on April 21, 1688 and was laid to rest at Kadampanad church. The leaders of the Malankara Church selected Mar Thoma IV as his successor. At that time Mar Ivanios Hidayuttulla who arrived in Kerala in 1685 was the only bishop in Malankara. So Mar Ivanios consecrated Mar Thoma in 1688.

Major events

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. They were in control of Cochin and the surrounding area during the time of Mar Thoma IV.

At this time Archbishop J.Robeiro demanded that the Malankara church should be under him. The Metropolitan complained to the Dutch company and Archbishop was banned from taking any action against the Malankara church. Metropolitan also complained about the atrocities committed by the Raja of Cochin. Because of the steps taken by the Company, that trouble also stopped. At Angamali a person named Antonio created trouble to the Malankara Church. He was given 24 hours notice to leave the country and the church that gave him refuge was closed down. [4]

A Nestorian bishop Mar Gabriel arrived in Malabar in 1708. Neither the Malankara church nor the Catholics accepted him. Finally he came to Kottayam cheria palli. He died and was buried there. His burial place was later demolished and the stones were used as stepping stones to the parish building.

Last days

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. On March 24, 1728 Mar Thoma IV died and was laid to rest at Kandanad Palli (now Kandanad Martha Mariam Orthodox Church).

Preceded by
Mar Thoma III
Metropolitan of the Malankara Church
Succeeded by
Mar Thoma V

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. ^ Press list of Ancient Dutch records 1657-1778.

Further reading

    1. Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan, The Most Rev. Dr. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church.. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
    2. Chacko, T.C. (1936) Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charithra Samgraham’’. (Concise History of Marthoma Church), Pub: E.J. Institute, Kompady, 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. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (to be released in 2008) Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla
    6. Danil, K.N. (1952). Udayamperoor Sunnahadosinte Canonukal. (Canons of the Synod of Diamper), CLS. Tiruvalla.

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