Syriac Orthodox Church

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Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
Syriac orthodox COA.svg
Emblem of the church
Recognition Oriental Orthodox
Primate Ignatius Aphrem II
Headquarters Damascus, Syria
Historically: Antioch
Also: Beirut[1]
Territory Middle East, India,
with significant diaspora in Sweden, Germany and North America
Possessions Levant, Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Guatemala, Australia, and India
Language Liturgical: Syriac
Local languages: Malayalam, Turoyo-Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish, Swedish, German, French, Hebrew, English, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi and Tamil
Members 5 million[2]

The Syriac Orthodox Church (Syriac: ܥܺܕܬܳܐ ܣܽܘ̣ܪܝܳܝܬܳܐ ܬܪܺܝܨܰܬ ܫܽܘ̣ܒ̥ܚܳܐ‎), also known as the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with a diaspora spread throughout the world, notably in Sweden, India, Germany and the United Kingdom. It employs some of the oldest surviving liturgy in Christianity, the Liturgy of St James the Apostle, with Syriac as its official and liturgical language. The church has been led by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014.

The Syriac Orthodox Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodoxy, which has been a distinct church body since the schism following the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, although it claims its roots to the first Christian communities in Antioch in AD 37, described in the Acts of the Apostles (New Testament, Acts 11:26) and established by St. Peter the Apostle.

The Syriac Orthodox Church participates in ecumenical discussions, being a member of the World Council of Churches since 1960, where Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas served as a president, and is a member of the Middle East Council of Churches since 1974. The precise differences in theology that caused the schism in AD 451 is said to have arisen "only because of differences in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by different theological schools to express the same matter", according to a joint declaration in 1984 by the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, and the Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II. However, this view is not universally held by the Eastern Orthodox Church, one of the participants in the Council of Chalcedon. For more information, see: History of Oriental Orthodoxy.

The church presently has about 5 million members divided in 26 archdioceses and 11 patriarchal vicariates. the majority of its followers have origins in India, although they are members of an Autonomous Syriac Orthodox Church based in India known as the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, and their followers are Nasranis, or St Thomas Christians. A large amount of Guatemalans have converted to the Syriac Orthodox Church as well due to the efforts of missionaries. However, Assyrians are from either present-day Turkey, Syria or Iraq and are the ones who follow the main Syriac Orthodox Church based in Damascus since 1959.[3] Prior to that it was located in Southern Turkey, and at other points in Antioch.

Current Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II
Holy mass of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Malankara Syrian Church


Apostolic succession[edit]

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch claims the status as the most ancient Christian church in the world. According to Saint Luke, "The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (New Testament, Acts 11:26). St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostle are regarded as the co-founders of the Patriarchate of Antioch in AD 37, with the former serving as its first bishop and considered the first patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

As Jewish Christianity originated at Jerusalem, so gentile Christianity started at Antioch, then the leading center of the Hellenistic East, with Peter and Paul as its apostles. From Antioch it spread to the various cities and provinces of Syria, among the Hellenistic population as well as among the Hellenistic Jews who, as a result of the great rebellions against the Romans in A.D. 70 and 130, were driven out from Jerusalem and Palestine into Syria.[4]

When St. Peter left Antioch, Evodios and Ignatius presided over the Patriarchate. Because of the prominence of St. Ignatius in the church's history, almost all of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs since 1293 were named Ignatius.[5]

Patriarchate of Antioch[edit]

The spiritual care of the Church was vested in the Bishop of Antioch from the earliest years of Christianity. Given the antiquity of the bishopric of Antioch and the importance of the Church in the city of Antioch which was a commercially significant city in the eastern parts of the Roman Empire, the First Council of Nicaea (325) recognized the bishopric as a Patriarchate along with the bishoprics of Rome, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, bestowing authority for the Church of Antioch and All of the East on the Patriarch.

Even though the Synod of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine, the authority of the ecumenical synod was also accepted by the Church in the Persian Empire which was politically isolated from the Churches in the Roman Empire. Until 498, this Church accepted the spiritual authority of the Patriarch of Antioch. The Church also maintained a smaller non-Chalcedonian church under a Catholicos (Katholikos), known by the title Maphryono, until the 1860s. This Catholicate was canonically transferred to India in 1964 and continues today as an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church with the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch as its head.

The Christological controversies that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451 resulted in a long struggle for the Patriarchate between those who accepted and those who rejected the Council. In 518, Patriarch Mar Severius was exiled from the city of Antioch and took refuge in Alexandria. On account of many historical upheavals and consequent hardships which the church had to undergo, the Patriarchate was transferred to different monasteries in Mesopotamia for centuries.

It has been assumed that in the Principality of Antioch (1098–1268), the Syriac Orthodox made up the civilian population, their elite consisting of clergy; they did not participate in the military nor administration.[6] It seems that in Antioch itself, after the 11th-century persecutions, the Syriac Orthodox population was almost extinguished.[6] Only one Jacobite church is attested in Antioch in the first half of the 12th century, while a second and third are attested in the second half of the century, perhaps due to refugee influx.[6] Dorothea Weltecke thus concludes that the Syriac Orthodox populace was very low in this period in Antioch and its surroundings.[6] In Adana, on the other hand, an anonymous 1137 report speaks of the entire population consisting of Syriac Orthodox.[6] In the 12th century several Syriac Orthodox patriarchs visited Antioch and some established temporary residences.[7] In the 13th century the Syriac Orthodox hierarchy in Antioch was prepared to accept Latin supervision, however, for the whole Church, this was of little consequence.[7]

The Syriac Orthodox were the most numerous non-Latin sect in Jerusalem and Bethlehem prior to 1187.[8] In the 13th century its seat was transferred from Antioch to the Mor Hananyo Monastery (Deir al-Za`faran), in southeastern Turkey near Mardin.

By the early 1660s, 75% of the 5,000 Syriac Orthodox of Aleppo had converted to Catholicism following the arrival of Friar missionaries.[9] The Catholic missionaries had sought to place a Catholic patriarch among the Jacobites, and consecrated Andrew Akhijan as the patriarch of the newly founded Syriac Catholic Church.[9] The Propaganda Fide and foreign diplomats pushed for Akhijan to be recognized as the Jacobite patriarch, and the Porte then consented, and warned the Syriac Orthodox that they would be considered an enemy if they did not recognize him.[10] Despite the warning and gifts to priests, frequent conflicts and violent arguments continued.[10]

On July 21, 1781, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch George IV died, and the bishops (five bishops were present), clergy and laity met in the Dayr al-Zafaran monastery and elected Catholic convert Ignatius Michael III Jarweh as Patriarch; he accepted only after the reading and the approval of a Catholic declaration of faith in the church of the Forty Martyrs. He was enthroned in Dayr al-Zafaran monastery on January 22, 1783 and took the traditional name of Ignatius. His election was confirmed by the Pope on September 14, 1783, and he received the Pallium, the sign of patriarchal authority, on December 15 of the same year. The Syrian Orthodox Church thus had a Patriarch who was illegitimately enthroned after his illegal election by an illegitimate synod.

Two Syriac Orthodox bishops opposed his election. One of them, Mar Matta ben Abdel-Ahad Saalab, bishop of Mosul, consecrated four of his monks as bishops [11]:391 in order to hold a second election[12] and thus he was elected as Syriac Orthodox patriarch. This party arrived at Istanbul before Michael's envoy, and received the formal approval of the Ottoman authorities, and could thus continue a parallel Syriac Orthodox tradition.

In 1870, there were 22 Syriac Orthodox settlements in the vicinity of Diyarbakır.[13] In the 1870–71 Diyarbakır salnames, there were 1,434 Syriac Orthodox members in that city.[14] In the 1881/82–93 census, the kaza of Diyarbakır had 4,046 "monophysites" (Syriac Orthodox), while the sancak of Diyarbakır had 5,909 Syriac Orthodox.[15] The results of these records shows that the Syriac Orthodox were rural, as opposed to the Catholics who were less but more urbanized.[16] The 1894–95 salname of Diyarbakır records 4,096 Syriac Orthodox in the kaza.[16] In the 1897–98 salname the vilayet (province) of Diyarbakır had 20,082 Syriac Orthodox, out of 84,906 non-Muslims.[16] The 1895–96 massacres in Turkey affected the Armenian and Syriac Orthodox communities; an estimated 105,000 Christians were killed.[17] By the end of the 19th century, 200,000 Syriac Orthodox Christians remained in the Middle East, most concentrated around Deir el-Zaferan, the Patriarchal seat.[18]

The Ottoman authorities looted, killed and deported Syriac Orthodox Christians during the Assyrian Genocide.[19] In 1915–16, the number of Syriac Orthodox in the Diyarbakır province was reduced by 72%, in the Mardin province by 58%.[20]

In 1924, the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Church was transferred to Homs in Syria.[21] This happened after Kemal Atatürk expelled the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, who took the library of Deir el-Zaferan and settled in Damascus.[18] The Syriac Orthodox villages in Tur Abdin suffered from the 1925–26 Kurdish rebellions; massive flight to Lebanon, northern Iraq and especially Syria ensued.[22] In 1959, the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Church was transferred to Damascus in Syria.[21] The Patriarchate is now in Bab Tuma, in Damascus, capital of Syria; but the Patriarch resides at the Mar Aphrem Monastery in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya located about twenty five kilometers north of Damascus.

In the mid-1970s, it was estimated that 82,000 Syriac Orthodox lived in Syria.[23] In 1977, the number of Syriac Orthodox followers in diaspora dioceses were: 9,700 in the Diocese of Middle Europe; 10,750 in the Diocese of Sweden and surrounding countries.[24] By 1990, there were 4,000 Syriac Orthodox in Tur Abdin.[18] After the Turkish–PKK ceasefire in 1999, conditions to Christians in Turkey have improved.[21]

Ecumenical relations[edit]

The Church of Antioch played a prominent role in the first three synods held at Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), and Ephesus (431), shaping the formulation and early interpretation of Christian doctrines.

In terms of Christology, the Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) understanding is that Christ is "One Nature—the Logos Incarnate, of the full humanity and full divinity". Just as humans are of their mothers and fathers and not in their mothers and fathers, so too is the nature of Christ according to Oriental Orthodoxy. The Chalcedonian understanding is that Christ is "in two natures, full humanity and full divinity". This is the doctrinal difference which separated the Oriental Orthodox from the rest of Christendom.

Holy Liturgy being celebrated at St. Mark's Syriac Orthodox Monastery, Jerusalem
H.B Baselios Thomas I,Catholicose,H.H Ignatius Aphrem II Patriarch of Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and all east and H.H Pope Francis I of Roman Catholic Church.

By the 20th century the Chalcedonian schism was not seen with the same relevance, and from several meetings between the authorities of Roman Catholicism and the Oriental Orthodoxy, reconciling declarations emerged in the common statement of the Oriental Patriarch (Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas) and the Pope (John Paul II) in 1984.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is very active in ecumenical dialogues. It has been a member church of World Council of Churches since 1960 and the Patriarch, Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas is one of the presidents of World Council of Churches. The Syriac Orthodox Church is also actively involved in ecumenical dialogues with the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches. There are common Christological and pastoral agreements with the Catholic Church. It has also been involved in the Middle East Council of Churches since 1974.

Since 1998, the heads of the three Oriental Churches in the Eastern Mediterranean i.e. the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicate of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon) meet regularly each year.[5]



Syriac Orthodox clergy and some devout laity follow a regimen of seven prayers a day, in accordance with Psalm 119.[26] According to the Syriac Tradition, an ecclesiastical day starts at sunset:

  • Evening or Ramsho prayer (Vespers)
  • Night prayer or Sootoro prayer (Compline)
  • Midnight or Lilyo prayer (Matins)
  • Morning or Saphro prayer (Prime or Lauds, 6 a.m.)
  • Third Hour or tloth sho`in prayer (Terce, 9 a.m.)
  • Sixth Hour or sheth sho`in prayer (Sext, noon)
  • Ninth Hour or tsha` sho'in prayer (None, 3 p.m.)


The liturgical service, which is called Holy Qurbono in Syriac Aramaic and means 'Eucharist', is celebrated on Sundays and special occasions. The Holy Eucharist consists of Gospel Reading, Bible Readings, Prayers, and Songs. During the celebration of the Eucharist, priests and deacons put on elaborate vestments which are unique to the Syriac Orthodox Church. Whether in the Eastern Mediterranean, India, Europe, the Americas or Australia, the same vestments are worn by all clergy.

Apart from certain readings, all prayers are sung in the form of chants and melodies. Hundreds of melodies remain and these are preserved in the book known as Beth Gazo. It is the key reference to Syriac Orthodox church music.[27]

Bible in Syriac tradition[edit]

Syriac Orthodox Churches use the Peshitta (Syriac: simple, common) as its Bible. The New Testament books of this Bible were translated from Greek to Syriac between the late 1st century to the early 3rd century AD.[28]

The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century. The New Testament of the Peshitta, which originally excluded certain disputed books, had become the standard by the early 5th century, replacing two early Syriac versions of the gospels.



The Different Ranks of Priesthood in SOC i.e. Patriarch, Catholicos, Metropolitan, Corepiscopos, Priest, Deacon, Laymen.

In the Syriac Orthodox tradition, different ranks among the deacons are specifically assigned with particular duties. The six ranks of diaconate are:

  1. ‘Ulmoyo (Faithful)
  2. Mawdyono (Confessor of Faith)
  3. Mzamrono (Singer)
  4. Quroyo (Reader)
  5. Afudyaqno (Sub-deacon)
  6. Mshamshono (Full Deacon)

Only a full deacon or Masamsono can take the censer during the Divine Liturgy to assist the priest. However, in Malankara Church, because of the lack of deacons, altar assistants who do not have any rank of deaconhood assist the priest. The deacons in Malankara Church are allowed to wear a phiro, or a cap. Historically the Malankara Church were administered by a local chief called Archdeacon or Arkadiyokon.


The priest is the seventh rank and is the duly one appointed to administer the sacraments. Unlike in the Roman Catholic church, Syriac deacons can marry before ordained as a full priest; however he cannot marry after ordained as priest.There is another honorary rank among the priests that is Corepiscopos who has the privileges of "first among the priests" and are given a chain with cross and specific vestment decorations. Corepiscopos is the highest rank a married man can be elevated in the Syriac Orthodox Church. Any ranks above the Corepiscopos are unmarried.


Episcopos is a word that means "the one who oversees". In the Syriac Orthodox Church, an episcopos is a spiritual ruler of the church. In episcopos too there are different ranks. The highest and the supreme is the patriarch, who is the "father of fathers". Next to him is the Maphriyono or Catholicos of India who is the head of a division of the Church. Then there are Metropolitans or Archbishops and under them there are Episcopos or Bishops.[29] Historically, in Malankara Church, the Archbishop was called as Archdeacon who was the local chief or ecclesiastical authority of the St Thomas Christians in Malabar.


Celebration at a Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mosul, Ottoman Syria, early 20th century

The clergy of the Syriac Orthodox Church have unique vestments that are quite different from other Christian denominations. The vestments worn by the clergy vary with their order in the priesthood. The deacons, the priests, the bishops, and the patriarch each have different vestments.

The priest's usual dress is a black robe, but in India, due to the harsh weather, priests usually wear white robes. However, during prayers in the church, they wear a black robe over the white one. Bishops usually wear a black or a red robe with a red belt. They do not, however, wear a red robe in the presence of the patriarch, who wears a red robe. Bishops visiting a diocese outside their jurisdiction also wear black robes in deference to the bishop of the diocese, who alone wears red robes. A priest also wears phiro, or a cap, which he must wear for all the public prayers. Monks also wear eskimo, a hood. Priests also have ceremonial shoes which are called msone. Without wearing msone, a priest cannot distribute holy Eucharist to the faithful. Then there is a white robe called kutino symbolizing purity. Hamniko or stole is worn over this white robe. Then he wears a girdle called zenoro and zende meaning sleeves. If the celebrant is a bishop, he wears a masnapto, or turban (very different from turbans worn by Sikh men). A cope called phayno is worn over these vestments. Batrashil, or pallium, is worn over the phayno by bishops (very similar to hamnikho worn by priests).[30] An important aspect is that bishops and Cor-Episcopas have hand-held crosses while ordinary priests have none.

Primacy of Saint Peter[edit]

Further information: Primacy of Peter
A 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai

The fathers of the Syriac Orthodox Church tried to give a theological interpretation to the primacy of Saint Peter. They were fully convinced of the unique office of Peter in the primitive Christian community. Ephrem, Aphrahat and Maruthas who were supposed to be the best exponents of the early Syriac tradition unequivocally acknowledge the office of Peter.

The Syriac Fathers following the rabbinic tradition call Jesus “Kepha” for they see “rock” in the Old Testament as a messianic Symbol. When Christ gave his own name “Kephas” to Simon he was giving him participation in the person and office of Christ. Christ who is the Kepha and shepherd made Simon the chief shepherd in his place and gave him the very name Kephas and said that on Kephas he would build the Church. Aphrahat shared the common Syriac tradition. For him Kepha is in fact another name of Jesus, and Simon was given the right to share the name. The person who receives somebody else’s name also obtains the rights of the person who bestows the name. Aphrahat makes the stone taken from Jordan a type of Peter. He says Jesus son of Nun set up the stones for a witness in Israel; Jesus our Saviour called Simon Kepha Sarirto and set him as the faithful witness among nations.

Again he says in his commentary on Deuteronomy that Moses brought forth water from “rock” (Kepha) for the people and Jesus sent Simon Kepha to carry his teachings among nations. Our Lord accepted him and made him the foundation of the Church and called him Kepha. When he speaks about transfiguration of Christ he calls him Simon Peter, the foundation of the Church. Ephrem also shared the same view. The Armenian version of De Virginitate records that Peter the rock shunned honour Who was the head of the Apostles. In a mimro of Efrem found in Holy Week Liturgy points to the importance of Peter.

Both Aphrahat and Ephrem the Syrian represent the authentic tradition of the Syrian Church. The different orders of liturgies used for sanctification of Church building, marriage, ordination etc. reveal that the primacy of Peter is a part of living faith of the Church.[31]

However, it should be noted that Syriac Orthodox don't believe that St. Peter is indicative of the Papal Primacy, but only Petrine Primacy.

Global presence[edit]


A Syriac Orthodox church in Midyat, Turkey.

It is estimated that the church has over 1,500,000 members globally. This includes 1,000,000 members in India and Indian diaspora.[32] The majority of their remaining followers are ethnic Assyrians, who comprise the indigenous pre-Arab populations of modern Syria, Iraq and south eastern Turkey.[33] They were also the ethnic group that converted the St Thomas Christians of India in the 700s. Additionally, there is also a large Assyrian community among Mayan converts in Guatemala. In addition, there are a few other autocephalous(independent) Syriac Orthodox Churches following the same or similar liturgy and the same West Syrian rite Christianity including the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Mar Thoma Syrian Church, both based in India and followed by ethnic Indian St Thomas Christians.

According to 2001 estimates, around 260,000 Syriac Orthodox members live in the Middle East. A similar number live in Western Europe and North America, most notably in Sweden and Germany (100,000), and the Americas (40,000).[32] In terms of specifics, There are 170,000 Syriac Orthodox members in Syria, 20,000 in Iraq and 15,000 in Turkey.[32][34] However, The number of Syriac Orthodox members in Turkey is rising, due to refugees from Syria and Iraq fleeing ISIS, as well as those from the Diaspora who fled the region during the Turkey-PKK conflict(which occurred from the late seventies until the late 90s) returning and rebuilding their homes. A specific instance of this occurred in Elbegendi, where a German Assyrian returned to his village with a few other families and rebuilt the town together with money earned abroad. In addition to those larger populations of Assyrians, 1,750 live in Palestine (500 in Jerusalem and 1,250 Bethlehem), and around 50,000 are estimated to live in Lebanon.

In the Assyrian diaspora, there are approximately 80,000 members in the United States, 80,000 in Sweden, 100,000 in Germany, 15,000 in the Netherlands, 200,000 members in Brazil, Switzerland, and Austria and around 2,000,000 in Central America, which is mainly made up of indigenous Mayan converts in Guatemala, in addition to the 1 million adherents of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church and their own ethnic diaspora.[35]

Official name[edit]

Church of the Syrian Christians in India (p. 115, October 1855)[36]

Since the church has never been the officially adopted religion of a modern-day country, a unique name had long been used to distinguish the church from the polity of Syria in most languages besides English. This includes Arabic (the official language of Syria), where the Church has always been known as the "Syriani" church; the term "Syriani" being the same word used to identify the Syriac language in Arabic. The meaning of this term is entirely unique from the term for "Syrian" in Arabic, which is translated as, literally, "Syrian". Being the lone exception up until the year 2000, English identified the church as the "Syrian Orthodox Church"; with "Syrian" being derived from the term "Syrian church" used by English-speaking historians to describe the community in ancient Syria prior to the ecumenical divisions (see: Christianity in Syria). The confusion between "Syrian" and "Syriac" in English led to some nationalists favoring the term "Syrian Orthodox" and some ethnic Assyrians favoring the term "Assyrian Orthodox", as the names Syria and Syriac are now generally accepted as having been originally derived from Assyria (see Name of Syria). However, the term "Syrian Orthodox" failed to distinguish the church as in other languages and the term Assyrian Orthodox Church led to confusion with the Assyrian Church of the East. Hence, in 2000, a Holy Synod ruled that the church should be named after its official liturgical language of Syriac (i.e. Syriac Orthodox Church), as it is in most other languages. The official name of the church in Syriac is pronounced ʿĒdtō Suryōytō Triṣaṯ Šuḇḥō; this name has not changed, nor has it changed in any language other than English.[37] The church is often referred to as Jacobite (after Jacob Baradaeus), but it rejects this name.


The church today has two seminaries, and numerous colleges and other institutions. Among those there are several religious institutions which are noteworthy. Patriarch Aphrem I Barsoum (†1957) established St. Aphrem's Clerical School in 1934 in Zahlé, Lebanon. In 1946 it was moved to Mosul, Iraq, where it provided the Church with a good selection of graduates, the first among them being Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and many other church leaders. Also the church has an international Christian education centre which is a centre for religious education. In 1990 he established the Order of St. Jacob Baradaeus for nuns and renovated St. Aphrem's Clerical building in Atshanneh, Lebanon for the new order.[38]

Two new seminaries have been instituted in Sweden and in Salzburg, Austria for the study of the Syriac Church, Syriac theology, Syriac history and Syriac language and culture.

Jurisdiction of the patriarchate[edit]

The Syriac (Syrian) Orthodox Church of Antioch originally covered the whole region of the Middle East and India. However, in recent centuries, its parishioners started to emigrate to other countries all over the world. Today, the Syriac Orthodox Church has several Archdioceses and Patriarchate Vicariates in many countries covering six continents.


Middle East
The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II.
  1. Patriarchal Office Director in Damascus Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak.
  2. Archbishopric of Jazirah and Euphrates under the spiritual guidance and direction of acting Archbishop Mor Timothius Matta AlKhouri.
  3. Archbishopric of Aleppo under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim.
  4. Archbishopric of Homs & Hama under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Selwanos Petros AL-nemeh.
  5. Patriarchate Vicariate for the Archdiocese of Damascus under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Timothius Matta AlKhouri.
Holy Land
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Israel, Palestine and Jordan under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Severios Malke Mourad.
  1. Archbishopric of Baghdad and Basrah under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Severius Jamil Hawa.
  2. Archbishopric of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Nicodimus Dawood Sharaf. Served previously by the retired Archbishop but currently Patriarch Advisor Mor Gregorius Saliba Shamoun.
  3. Archbishopric of St Matthew's Monastery under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Timothius Mousa A. Shamani.
  1. Archbishopric of Mount Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Theophilos George Saliba.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of Zahle under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Yostinos Boulos Safar.
  3. Archbishopric of Beirut & Benevolent institutions in Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Clemis Daniel Malak Kourieh.
  4. The Patriarchal Institutions in Lebanon under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Chrysostoms Michael Shimon.
  1. Archbishopric of Istanbul and Ankara under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Filüksinos Yusuf Çetin.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of Mardin under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Filüksinos Saliba Özmen.
  3. Patriarchate Vicariate of Turabdin under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Timothius Samuel Aktaş.
  4. Archbishopric of Adiyaman under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Gregorius Melki Ürek.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of UAE and Arab States of the Persian Gulf under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Bartholomaus Nathanael.
Manarcad Marthamariam Cathedral, Manarcad Church
Bethel Suloko Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, Perumbavoor, Kerala
St.Mary's Soonoro Church Meenangadi, Kerala under EAE Arch DIOCESE
The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, one of the various Saint Thomas Christian churches in India, is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church, with the Patriarch of Antioch as its supreme head. The local head of the church in Malankara (Kerala) is Baselios Thomas I, ordained by the Patriarch in 2002 and accountable to the Patriarch of Antioch. The headquarters of the church in India is at Puthencruz near Ernakulam in the state of Kerala in South India. The Knanaya Syrian Orthodox Church is an archdiocese under the same patriarchate.
Simhasana Churches and Evangelistic Association Of The East (E.A.E) the first missionary association of Syriac Orthodox Church, is under direct control of H.H. Ignatius Aphrem II
The Indian or Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, is not affiliated with the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.
Unlike most other patriarchal churches abroad, the language of the Syriac Orthodox Divine Liturgy in India is mostly in Malayalam along with Syriac. This is because almost all Syrian Christians in India hail from the State of Kerala, where Malayalam is the mother tongue of the people.


Moeder Godskerk, Amsterdam
Inside Saint Stephen church in Gütersloh
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Belgium, France and Luxembourg under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Severius Hazail Soumi.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Germany under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis.
  2. Ecumenical Movement in Germany under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Julius Hanna Aydın.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of the Netherlands under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Polycarpus Augin (Eugene) Aydın.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Spain under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Nicolaos Matti Abd Alahad.
  1. Archbishopric of Sweden and Scandinavia under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Julius Abdulahad Gallo Shabo.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of Sweden under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Dioskoros Benyamen Atas.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Switzerland and Austria under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Dionysius Isa Gürbüz.
United Kingdom
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of the United Kingdom under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Athanasius Toma Dawod.

North America[edit]

United States
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of the Eastern USA under the spiritual guidance and direction of the Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and his deputy ArchbishopMor Dionysius Jean Kawak.
  2. Patriarchate Vicariate of the Western USA under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan.
  3. Malankara Archdiocese of North America under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldho Pathickal.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Canada under the spiritual guidance and direction Archbishop Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi.

Central America, the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela[edit]

  1. Archdiocese of Central America, the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Yaqub Eduardo Aguirre Oestmann.

South America[edit]

  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Argentina under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Chrysostomos John Ghassali.
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Brazil under the spiritual guidance and direction of the Apostolic Nuncio Mor Theethose Bolous Toza.


Australia & New Zealand
  1. Patriarchate Vicariate of Australia and New Zealand under the spiritual guidance and direction of Archbishop Mor Malatius Malki Malki.[3]

See also[edit]




  1. ^ The Syriac Orthodox Community in Jerusalem and its Archives
  2. ^ name="Kurian" | In India
  3. ^ a b The Syriac Orthodox Church Today
  4. ^ "History of Christianity in Syria", Catholic Encyclopedia
  5. ^ a b Chaillot, Christine. The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East. Geneva: Inter-Orthodox Dialogue, 1988.
  6. ^ a b c d e Ciggaar & Metcalf 2006, p. 108.
  7. ^ a b Ciggaar & Metcalf 2006, p. 123.
  8. ^ Benjamin Arbel (15 April 2013). Intercultural Contacts in the Medieval Mediterranean: Studies in Honour of David Jacoby. Routledge. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-1-135-78195-8. 
  9. ^ a b Joseph 1983, p. 40.
  10. ^ a b Joseph 1983, p. 41.
  11. ^ Michael Jarweh autobiography: French translation in: Revue de l'Orient chrétien, VI (1901), pag 379–401
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference Frazee was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ Jongerden & Verheij 2012, p. 225.
  14. ^ Jongerden & Verheij 2012, p. 222.
  15. ^ Jongerden & Verheij 2012, pp. 222–223.
  16. ^ a b c Jongerden & Verheij 2012, p. 223.
  17. ^ Peter C. Phan (21 January 2011). Christianities in Asia. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 251–. ISBN 978-1-4443-9260-9. 
  18. ^ a b c Tozman & Tyndall 2012, p. 9.
  19. ^ Kevorkian 2011.
  20. ^ Gaunt, David. Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I. Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press, 2006, pp. 433–436
  21. ^ a b c Parry 2010, p. 259.
  22. ^ Michael Angold (17 August 2006). The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 5, Eastern Christianity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 513–. ISBN 978-0-521-81113-2. 
  23. ^ Joseph 1983, p. 110.
  24. ^ Sobornost. 28–30. 2006. p. 21. 
  25. ^ From the common declaration of Pope John Paul II and HH Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, June 23, 1984
  26. ^ "Psalm 119:164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws". Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  27. ^ Beth Gazo D-ne`motho
  28. ^ Brock, Sebastian P. The Bible in Syriac Bible. Kottayam: SEERI.
  29. ^ Corepiscopos, Kuriakose M. A Guide to the Altar Assistants. Changanacherry: Mor Adai Study Center, 2005.
  30. ^ Detailed explanation of vestments of Syriac Orthodox Church
  31. ^ Primacy of St. Peter by Mor Athanasius of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Malankara Syriac Christian Resources
  32. ^ a b c Murre-van den Berg, Heleen (2011). "Syriac Orthodox Church". In Kurian, George Thomas. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 2304. ISBN 978-1-4051-5762-9. 
  33. ^ Gall, Timothy L. (ed). Worldmark Encyclopedia of Culture & Daily Life: Vol. 3 – Asia & Oceania. Cleveland, OH: Eastword Publications Development (1998); pg. 720–721.
  34. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld – World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Turkey : Assyrians". Refworld. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  35. ^ "". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Church of the Syrian Christians in India". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. London: Wesleyan Missionary Society. XII: 115. October 1855. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  37. ^ The Holy Synod approves the name "Syriac Orthodox Church" in English , The Catholic University of America
  38. ^ Patriarchate of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

External links[edit]

Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church / Jacobite Syrian Church, AD 52

Syrian Religious Relations and the Roman Catholic Church[edit]