|History - Antiochene Connection|
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The Antiochene Connection
The party that sought to preserve the Church's freedom appealed to several Eastern Christian Centres for help in restoring its episcopal succession. The Antiochene Syrian Patriarch responded and sent to India a Bishop, Metropolitan Mar Gregorios of Jerusalem who came to India in 1665. The Archdeacon who had been declared in the meantime to be Metropolitan MarThoma by the laying on of hands by twelve Presbyters was now confirmed by him in his episcopal rank, and both of them worked together to organisethe church on firm footing. Mar Thoma I was followed in succession by a series of Prelates with the same name till 1816 when the last of them namely Mar Thoma IX came to the scene, but was soon replaced by Mar Dionysius II.
Malankara Orthodox Church had felt the need of assistance for establishing systematic education for its clergy, teaching the people in the faith, instructing the clergy in properly celebrating the liturgical services and above all assistance in the maintenance of the episcopal succession intact. But the Orthodox Church maintained its autonomous administration and life under local leadership. Even the help from the Antiochene Syrian Patriarch was without any idea of formally submitting to his jurisdiction, but only for an over all spiritual supervision and of keeping to a friendly relation.
There were differences of opinion over the authority of the Patriarch in the Malankara Church and it created certain difficulties. But the Church has always been successful in maintaining its freedom and never allowed any foreign domination.