Tel Wardiyat, to the west of al-Haseke in eastern Syria, consecrated in 2000. While no Syrian Orthodox monasteries have yet been founded in America, the situation in Europe, under Metropolitan Mar Julius Cicek, is very different. In 1981 the opportunity arose to purchase a former Catholic monastery outside the village of Glane on the German/Dutch border. The building was converted into the monastery of St Ephrem, serving not only as the seat of the metropolitan, but also as a cultural and religious focus for the entire emigre community. Two other Catholic monasteries have also been acquired and converted, becoming the monastery of Mar Agwen at Art in Switzerland and the monastery of Mar Ya'qub at Warburg in Germany. The European diaspora now has some sixty churches and is served by 125 priests. There are currently some 150,000 Syrian Orthodox in Europe, perhaps half of the total church membership.
The offshoots ofthe Syrian Orthodox Church on the Malabar coast in southwest India form an even older diaspora. From the late nineteenth century the patriarchs of the Syrian Orthodox Church found themselves increasingly involved in the affairs of the Indian Malankara Church. In 1912 there was a split in the community when a significant section declared itself an autocephalous church and announced the re-establishment of the ancient catholicosate of the east in India. In 1930, a schism produced the Syro-Malankar Church, which followed the Syrian Catholic rite. In an attempt to restore some kind of order the Syrian Patriarch Mar Ignatius XXXVI (Elias II) made a visit to the Malabar coast in 1932, which only hastened his death. The two sides were at last reconciled in 1958 when the Indian Supreme Court declared that only the auto-cephalous catholicos and bishops in communion with him had legal standing. But in 1975 the Syrian patriarch excommunicated and deposed the catholicos and appointed a rival, an action that resulted in the community splitting yet again. In June 1996 the Supreme Court of India rendered a decision that (a) upheld the constitution of the church that had been adopted in 1934 and made it binding on both factions, (b) stated that there is only one Orthodox church in India, currently divided into two factions, and (c) recognised the Syrian Orthodox patriarch of Antioch as the spiritual head of the universal Syrian Church, while affirming that the autocephalous catholicos has legal standing as the head of the entire church, and that he is custodian of its parishes and properties.11
11 The precise size of these two communities is difficult to determine. The autocephalous Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has in the region of 2,500,000 members, while the autonomous church under the supervision of the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate had about 1,200,000 faithful.
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