“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”1 Corinthians 12:27
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is one of the most ancient Churches of the world founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D. 52. The Church, an autocephalousOriental Orthodox church is headed by the autonomous Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan. The Church is in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox churches namely, Antiochene, Alexandrian, Armenian, Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. The Church is in good ecumenical relationship with the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches.Active in various ecumenical fora, it is a founding member of the World Council of Churches and a member of the National Council of Churches in Australia, as well as the Victorian Council of Churches.
Headed by The Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the Church has over 2 million faithful with 30 dioceses, spread all over the world. One of its 30 Dioceses,- the Diocese of Madras, – has in its purview congregations in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia. This Diocese is headed by His Grace Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros. In Australia, the Church has a sizable presence of about 4,000 members, with parishes in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth & Canberra besides congregations in Ballarat, Orange, Wagga Wagga, Townsville, Wollongong, Wyong, Sunshine Coast & Toowoomba.
Beginning in the early 1970s, several Keralites migrated to Australia. With the growing number of Orthodox families, the need was felt to establish a Church following Indian Orthodox tradition. In Melbourne, St. Mary’s Indian Orthodox Church (SMIOC), the first Indian Orthodox Church was established on 30th August 1980 at East Coburg, Victoria.
Our journey continues
In Melbourne, over the past four decades, the Church has grown immensely from a handful of members to about 250 families. With a vision for the growth of Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church in Australia (Melbourne) a Chapel as per the request of the GB, approved by H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros (Diocesan Metropolitan) was started in south-east of Melbourne, Victoria. The first Holy Qurbana at St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Chapel was celebrated by Vicar Rev. Fr. K Y Chacko on 3rd January 2010, at Greek Orthodox Church of St. Pantelimon, Dandenong. Holy Qurbana at Chapel was regularly celebrated in the evening of 1st Sunday of every month by Rev. Fr. K Y Chacko at the Anglican Parish of St. Michael & St. Luke, Dandenong.
His Grace appointed Rev. Fr. Charlesmon Philipose as Assistant Vicar who arrived in Melbourne on 28th October 2010. With the arrival of Assistant Vicar, from the month of January 2011 Holy Qurbana in St. Gregorios Chapel was celebrated by Vicar or Assistant Vicar on every Sunday morning, at St. Mary’s Community centre, New Street, Dandenong. It is with profound gratitude we cherish the prayerful leadership, tireless efforts of Vicar Rev. Fr Shinu K Thomas, ably supported by Assistant Vicar Rev. Fr. Charlesmon Philipose, Assistant Vicar Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Pathrose along with the Development Committee, Managing Committee the decision of the SMIOC GB to purchase a property in Clayton was executed during December 2012. It is to be placed on records the tireless effort of the Vicars along with Development Committee who executed the task of expansion of St. Mary’s Indian Orthodox Cathedral and building St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Chapel. Managing Committee over the years and the Parishioners as a whole supported the development projects.