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The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar is the reformed section of the Ancient St.Thomas Church in India, believed to be established by St.Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D.52 and established seven churches on the Malabar Coast. In the early stages of Mar Thoma Christians, known as Nasranis, means followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

Towards the end of 16th Century, the Portuguese, through them the Roman Catholic Christians came to Malabar and tried to bring St.Thomas Christians under the Pope and Alexeo de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, convened a Synod at Udayamperoor and passed several decrees. However, the St.Thomas Christians preserved its independence and opposed the Synod of Udayamperoor and took oath around the granite cross at Mattancheri in Cochin on 3.1.1653, known as the Oath of the Coonan Cross. Archdeacon Thomas, a member of the Pakalomattom family, was consecrated as Mar Thoma I in 1653 at the Alangattu Church by 12 priests.

Towards the end of eighteenth century, British East India Company became the dominating power in India. At this time Malankara Church was at a low spiritual level and residents took extra efforts for spiritual upliftment of Malankara Christians by (i) translation of the four Gospels into Malayalam and printing them (ii) establishment of a Seminary at  Kottayam for education to those who were ordained (iii) creation of an endowment Fund of Rs.10,500/-, interest  of which being used for training of clergy – this amount is known as Vattipanam.

During this period, Church Missionary Society (CMS), in London was requested to send a mission help and they responded positively by sending their Missionaries. Syrian Church maintained good relationship with the missionaries until the time of Punnathara Mar Dionysis. Later tension developed, which led to the formation of a branch of the Church of England known as the Anglican Diocese of Travancore and Cochin.

In 1836, Palakkunnathu Abraham Malpan and Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan, who were teachers of the Old Seminary took leadership for the reformation of the church and translated the liturgy into Malayalam. They eliminated prayers for the dead and invocation of saints from Thaksa. They popularized Bible reading, preaching and teaching in the church. They used revised liturgy in Malayalam in the churches of Maramon, Kottayam(Pallam), kollad and Kunnamkulam. The changes brought about in the faith and practices and this offended the then Metropolitan which resulted in partying ways in the Syrian Church at a later stage.


Abraham Malpan sent his brother’s son Deacon Mathew to Patriach of Antioch and he was consecrated as Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (13th Mar Thoma) in 1843 and he continued his reformation in Syrian Church until his death in 1877. Thomas Mar Athanasius succeeded Mathews Mar Athanasius in 1877. He continued the reformation movement. Pulikot Joseph Mar Dionysius filed a case known as “Old Seminary Case” in 1879 and the Royal Court Judgement of 1889 against Thomas Mar Athanasius led to the separation of Syrian Church into Jacobite Church and Mar Thoma Church.  By this case, the Marthomites lost Old Seminary, Vattipanam and other assets. Thomas Mar Athanasius had to leave Kottayam and shift to Maramon empty handed.

Our Church is not a protestant church. It is a reformed Eastern Church that gives primary importance to the Word of God – the Bible, Liturgical worship, mission and evangelism. It strives for the unity of churches and integrity of creation. It is a movement which is biblically based, evangelically motivated, ecumenically oriented and practically grounded. The motto of our Church is “Lighted to Lighten”.

Mar Thoma Church continues to be an active member and participant of World Council of Churches (WCC), Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Kerala Council of Churches (KCC), and the Bible Society of India (BSI). Mar Thoma Church entered into full communion with CSI and CNI and maintains its ecumenical nature through CCI (Communions of Churches in India).

During the 19thCentury young Christian Believers from Kerala, belonging to the Marthomite denominations migrated to Mumbai in search of job.  In 1934 combined Malayalam worship service for Syrian Christians commenced at St.Mary’s Aglican Church, Parel.  With the increase in numbers of Marthomite Community, on 17th November 1940, Mar Thoma Church started their own worship service at Parel.  Thereafter 1942 the place of worship was shifted to Holy Redeemer Church, Dadar with the formation of first Mar Thoma Church in Mumbai.  Thereafter on 1st April 1960 with the active participation of Late Rt.Rev.Yoohanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan, an independent Mar Thoma Church at Santacruz, Mumbai was dedicated.  Migration of Mar Thoma Youths then  increased in leaps and bounds and our people moved to various parts of Mumbai and Thane Districts and later on  many churches/worship centres were formed under  St.Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Santacruz,  in the Seventies and Eighties.

The faithful Marthomite community of Malad/Kandivali area formed a Worship Centre at Malad under the able guidance of Rev. K. Thomas, then Vicar of St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Santacruz. On January 17,1982 the then Vicar General,  Very Rev.C.G.David inaugurated the first worship service at St.Annes School, Malad , and conducted the Holy Communion Service on that day.

Slowly the number of families increased and a need was felt to form a church centered at Malad  after arranging a suitable land. However, under the able guidance and initiative of Rt.Rev.Isaac Mar Philoxenos the then Vicar of St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church Santacruz,  84 family members  submitted an application  to the Late Rt.Rev.Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan for formation of a church,  who granted permission to have a church in Malad/Kandivali area. The then Mumbai-Delhi Diocesan Episcopa Rt.Rev.Dr.Geevarughese Mar Athanasius  christened our church as ‘ Bethel Mar Thoma Church’ with effect from 1st April 1990.  During the initial stages Rt. Rev. Isaac Mar Philoxenos (then Vicar) , had taken the initiative to nurture our church. We are always indebted to Rt. Rev. Isaac Mar Philoxenos for all the kindness shown to Bethel Mar Thoma Church during his tenure as the Vicar from 1st April 1990 to August 1990.

Thereafter, Rev.Sham P.Thomas  ( September 1990 to May 1991), Rev.Sajan P.Mathew (June 1991 to April 1994), Rev.Sunni E.Mathew (May 1994 to April 1997), Rev.Johnson Varghese ( May 1997 to April 2000) were the Vicars of our Church. From April 2000, we had shifted our worship activities to  Ryans International School at Evershine Nagar and continued there till December 2008.  Rev.Saji Joseph (July 2000 to October 2000), Rev.Mathew Philip (November 2000 to April 2003), Rev.V.P.Philip ( May 2003 to April 2006), Rev.Alexander M.Isac ( May 2006 to August 2006), Rev.Jiji Mathews ( October 2006 to April 2009), were the Vicars of our Church.

It was a long cherished dream of the Marthomite community living in and around Malad-Kandivali to have a Church building of their own. To achieve this goal, the elders of this faithful community worked hard and with the blessings of God, during 1999  our Church could purchase a plot of land at Jankalyan Nagar. Even with compound problems, the job entrusted to us by the veterans could be completed by constructing a Church building at Jankalyan Nagar,  2008 as a temporary shed and thereafter in 2012-13 as semi-permanent structure, even though they are no more here to see it’s physical existence.

In October 2008, we laid foundation stone  at the said land for construction of a temporary structure  under the able guidance and exemplary  courage shown by of Rev.Jiji Mathews and dedication of the temporary church building was done on 19th December 2008 by Rt.Rev.Joseph Mar Barnabas,  the then Mumbai Diocesan Episcopa. It is pertinent to mention here that with the active support of all our members, local leaders and well wishers above all with the Grace of God, we could complete the work within a short span of two and a half months for which we are thankful to one and all.  Rev.Anson Thomas, was the Vicar from May 2009 to April 2012. During the First Dedication Anniversary our Valia Metropolitan Rt.Rev.Dr.Philipose Mar Chrysostom, visited our Parish and showered his blessings on 19th December 2009.  Rev. Sunil A.John took over as our Vicar from May 2012.

In the year 2013 a need arose to replace the temporary structure with a more strong one as the old roof got worn out and the wooden supporting gave way and we were facing a dangerous situation. Accordingly a decision was taken to reconstruct the church building urgently with the available funds. Our Vicar Rev.Sunil A.John gave full moral support for the reconstruction work,  with the active participation of Office Bearers by arranging necessary money and materials to complete the work.

Our Church has 8 Prayer Groups spread over the geographical areas of Chincholi, Evershine Nagar, Malad East, Malwani (Mhada), Malwani Church, Jankalyan Nagar,  Kandivli and Orlem.  Sunday School comprising around 90+ students, an efficient Choir, Yuvajana  Sakhyam,  Edavaka Mission, Sevika Sangham and Sr.Citizens’ Fellowship are taking place  very actively and effectively on a regular basis.  Our Yuvajana Sakhyam took the initiative of helping to get married poor girls with help ECHO.  They also made substantial fund collection in the Diocesan Endeavour of ‘ Save a Heart – Save a Child’ by contributing one lakh towards our share.

Our Mission activities are also doing commendable services. We have  adopted Khardi Mission Field in Shahpur, Thane District, we have more than 120 baptized believers and many more are ready to join in our endeavor with their own will. With the earnest efforts and help of one of our Church members, we have constructed a worship place at Ajnoob Village. With the Grace of God our Mission Field activities are growing manifold and our Diocesan has appointed a full time Evangelist, Mr.Balu Bhoye under the guidance of Diocesan Missionary Br. Benson Varghese to take care this field.

Our Church celebrated 2014-15 as the Jubilee Year. It was a great occasion in the history of Bethel that, Our Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr.Joseph Mar Thoma inaugurated the Jubilee Function on 4th May 2014. The Closing Ceremony of the Silver Jubilee Function was done with the blessings of Rt.Rev.Dr.Zacharias Mar Theophilus Saffragon Metropolitan on 14th April 2015.  During the Jubilee Year we have planned many social activities for the community at large.

Rev. Sabu Koshy took leadership of the parish since May 2015.  From May 2018, Rev. Thomas Kurian assumed charge as Vicar and is committed for the spiritual enrichment of the parish

The members of Bethel Church, Malad is a blessed community and to fulfill His Mission God has brought us/ our forefathers to this great and big city

May God bless each one of you.