St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India

EAST KERALA DIOCESE

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There are other eminent evangelists who came out from the Mar Thoma Church viz: Mr. K.T. Philip, Mr. V.C. Zachariah and Mr. P.C. Chacko, and Sevinees like Miss. K.T. Annamma and Miss. P.T. Mariamma. Mr. K.A. Abraham was the General Secretary of the Pathiopadesa Samathy and the Chief Editor of the Suvisesha Prakasini which was the organ of the Pathiopadesa Samathy. After the inauguration of the St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India, Suvisesha Prakasini became the official organ (publication) of the New Church.

The attitude of the Mar Thoma Church towards the New Church

Upset that the Reformists left the Marthoma Church, the Mar Thoma Metropolitan issued his Bishop's Circular No.156 dated 14th February, 1961 which was printed in large quantities and sent not only to the parishes and every Marthomite but also to sister Churches and members thereof, instilling such passion and prejudice against the St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India and its members. In his Circular he prohibited the issuance of letters for "publishing banns for marriage" to the Evangelical Church, the acceptance of such letters from the new Church, the "publication of banns of marriage" of couples if any one of them happens to be a member of the new Church, the marriage of women members of the Mar Thoma Church to members of the Evangelical Church, and the partaking in the services conducted by ministers of the new Church.

In the same Circular he ridiculed the consecration of the Bishops in the new Church. In addition, he prohibited the members of the Mar Thoma

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Church from partaking or co-operating or even attending any worship or sacraments conducted by the new Church and he defined such conduct as an offense involving forfeiture of his or her membership in the Mar Thoma Church and, further, he directed the Vicars in the Church to take disciplinary action against such members and to remove them from membership. This was followed by similar letters in similar tone, for circulation in foreign countries.

The growth of the new Church

The members of the new Church had left all that they had in the Mar thoma Church and started vigorously to build up the whole new Church. 200 congregations with total membership of over 25,000 were formed. A small building was constructed immediately for the Bible Seminary. The Church could sent evangelists and women workers to almost every state in India within a short time. For mission work - a Board for Evangelistic Work, for women’s work - a Board for Women’s Work, for youth work - a Board for Youth Work, and for Sunday school Work - a Board for Sunday School Work, were formed. The Church made rapid progress under the able leadership of its Bishops and clergy.

It is worth mentioning that the membership of the new Church in the International Council of Christian Churches gave the new Church status in the international circle. Dr. Carl McIntire, the then President of the International Council of Christian Churches and its leaders came several times to the new Church's Annual General Conventions as speakers.

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