The Thomas Christians


graham3 asked this question on 11/20/2000:

Dear Father

We have The bishop. You may well know better than me that he is some form of valid Catholic clergy. The other day he claimed communion both with the Catholic and Anglican churches but only his was in communion with Rome. I wouldn’t mind if he gave Catholic Answers but most of them a child could have written. I may be many things but I am proud of being a Catholic and I really am sick of trying to correct his answers diplomatically

Any help that you are able to offer would be gratefully received

God Bless You



Greetings dear brother in Christ:


Regarding this Syrian rite:

There exist so-called "St. Thomas Christians" that derive their existence from the apostle Thomas' preaching in South India. Now it would be interesting if the expert in question is part of the Pahayakuttukar (old party) or Puthankuttukar (new party). The Pahayakuttukar is in communion with Rome. But some of those followed Bishop Mellos (chaldean) and became Nestorians in 1907. Some others (few of them) came back to the (Latin rite) under the Portuguese Jesuits of Padroado. The majority of the Pahayakuttukar received 1896 Bishops of their own rite and is called now Syrian or Chaldean Malabars. Their rite bears the same name. They have two metropolitans one in Enarkulam and the other one in Chaganacherry.

The other group, the Puthankuttukar not in communion with Rome, suffered schisms so that there are different groups out there. I think our expert is one of these groups.

When someone is talking about "Intercommunal", that's different from being in communion. Being in communion with the RC Church means that their hierarchy is part of the RC Church. "Intercommunal" means the RC Church accepts their sacraments as valid. So if there is no other liturgy available for Sunday Mass you can participate and receive Holy Communion. If the West Syrian Patriarch accepts intercommunion with Canterbury that's their decision.

There was an ongoing ecumenical dialogue regarding the apostolic succession and the validity of sacraments of the Anglican Church but since the ordination of women the Pope has warned them that this has blocked very much the ecumenical process. So it would be interesting what our expert has to say about the ordination of women.










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