Mar Thoma Syrian Church
The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar (officially the - Malankara Mar Thoma Suryani Sabha) also known as the Mar Thoma Church is a Christian denomination primarily based in Kerala . It has an entirely different identity when compared to other Churches in India. The Mar Thoma Church is an Eastern Oriental Church. It bases its teachings in accordance with Biblical teachings. It is one of the Saint Thomas Christian churches tracing its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.
Malankara could refer to the area between the hills - Western Ghats, “Mala” (മല) and the seashore “kara” (കര). Hence, the area in south western India that was known as the Malabar coast (the present day Kerala is only a part of this). It could also refer to Maliankara where St. Thomas landed on the Malabar coast.
Mar Thoma or Marthoma in Aramaic, means Saint Thomas. Members of this church are referred to as Marthomites.
Syrian because it adheres to the Syriac tradition.
The Mar Thoma Church defines itself as Apostolic in origin, Universal in nature, Biblical in faith, Evangelical in principle, Ecumenical in outlook, Oriental in worship, Democratic in function, Episcopal in character" and is a Reformed Church.
Until the beginning of 20th century Marthomites lived in a few districts of Central Travancore and Kunnamkulam. Since then it has spread all over India and abroad with the Malayali diaspora to Malaysia, Singapore, North America, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and currently has almost one million members worldwide.