Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
2158 Route 106
Muttontown, NY 11791
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, otherwise known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an ancient Apostolic Church founded by Saint Thomas the Disciple of Jesus Christ. Saint Thomas arrived to India in AD 52, and preached the Gospel and established seven parishes in Kerala, India. The great apostle also ordained priests and appointed elders to shepherd and govern the Church there. The writings of Saint Ephrem, Saint John Chrysostom, and many other fathers attribute the historicity of the arrival of Saint Thomas to India, and his evangelical work there. others fathers attribute the historicity of the arrival of Saint Thomas to India, and his evangelical work there.
The headquarters of this ancient apostolic Church is in Kottayam, Kerala, India. The present Primate of the Church is His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, the eighth Catholicos of the East and 119th Malankara Metropolitan, and shepherds the Holy Church from the Apostolic Throne of Saint Thomas. His Holiness is first among equals, and presides over the Holy Synod, which is the body of all the Metropolitans in the Holy Church.
In 1965, the United States' legislation passed a new bill which cleared the way for thousands of professionally qualified individuals to make their way to America. Many Malankara Orthodox Christians, who were in search of a better life for themselves and their families, came to the United States during this time.
After 1970, the Malankara Orthodox Church gradually began to take root in many of the major US cities. Many of the new congregations were faced with uncertainties regarding the fate of the Church in America. As time passed, the growing number of clergy and laity proved that the Malankara Orthodox Church would be a permanent body in the United States. The question of ecclesiastical authority and how this body should be structured was a chief point of concern among the clergy and other church officials. Despite the hardships taking place within the Church, pioneer priests worked hard to establish parishes in order to serve the needs of the growing number of Malankara immigrants to the United States.
The year 1976 was a very important year for the Church, especially here in North America. The Holy Synod decided to establish more dioceses to better administer the flock in various parts of the world. At this time, the numerous churches in America were placed under the authority of the Metropolitan of the Bombay Diocese, Thomas Mar Makarios, who had spent time in America as a student. Under the leadership of Metropolitan Mar Makarios, the Holy Synod made a momentous decision and granted the parishes in America their own Diocese, establishing the American Diocese in 1978.
His Eminence Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios was given the formal appointment to shepherd this new American Diocese. His Grace’s enthronement as the ruling Metropolitan was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan on July 14, 1979. The Rite of Enthronement was led by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews I, Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan. During the tenure of Mar Makarios as Metropolitan, the Diocese saw growth in a dramatic fashion and the number of parishes grew to almost fifty strong. Along with this, the dedicated service of the priests in America added to the unity, prosperity and growth of the Diocese.
In 1991, the Diocese came under the direct control of the Malankara Metropolitan who was assisted by Mathews Mar Barnabas, our present . for one year, the Diocese continued in this manner, Mathews Mar Barnabas was formally appointed and enthroned as the Diocesan Metropolitan . in March 1993 at Saint Mary's Orthodox Church of West Sayville, New York by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II. Under the leadership of Mar Barnabas, the Diocese has grown both spiritually and physically. Most notable of all Mar Barnabas' accomplishments is the development of various ministries within the Diocese.
In 2002, Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, a young, talented leader and orator joined the Diocese as the Auxiliary Metropolitan to Mar Barnabas. The Diocese has grown even further as the combined energy and vigor of both shepherds stimulated further growth.
In light of the growing ministerial and pastoral needs of the Church in North America, the Holy Church decided to divide what was known as the ‘American Diocese’ into two dioceses. As per the decree and order of His Holiness Catholicos Didymus I, the Northeast American Diocese and the South-West American Diocese were canonically formed in 2009.
The jurisdictional territory of the Northeast American Diocese consists of parishes spanning from the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, to the State of North Carolina in the United States, as far west as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The jurisdiction of the South-West American Diocese is located in the southern and western states of the United States and the western provinces of Canada. Today, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has more than 105 parishes and congregations throughout North America.
His Eminence Alexios Mar Eusebius, a young and newly consecrated Metropolitan, was appointed to as the archshepherd of the Diocese of South-West America in April 2009. His Eminence was enthroned as ruling Metropolitan in May 2010 at Saint Thomas Indian Orthodox Cathedral of Houston, Texas. Their headquarters is located in Beasley, Texas.
After nineteen years of archpastoral labor, His Eminence Mathews Mar Barnabas, Metropolitan was granted retirement in January 2011, as per his request. Upon this, the Church appointed His Eminence Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Metropolitan to the vacant see of the Northeast American Diocese one month later. Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos, was enthroned as the ruling Metropolitan of this Diocese on May 2011 by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan, at Saint Gregorios Orthodox Church of Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church belongs to the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches, which include the Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches. The Church enjoys a strong relationship with other major Christian denominations. The Malankara Church enjoys being a leader in the ecumenical world, as being a co-founder of the World Council of Churches, and enjoys being a governing board member in the National Council of Churches in the United States.