- Syriac Christianity
Syriac Christianity is a culturally and linguistically distinctive community within
Eastern Christianity. It has its roots in the Near East, and is represented by a number of Christian denominations today, mainly in the Middle Eastand in Kerala, India.
became Syriac cultural centres.
The early literature of Syriac Christianity include the
Diatessaronof Tatian(most probably), the PeshittaBible, the Doctrine of Addaiand the writings of Aphrahatand the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian.
The first division between Syriac Christians occurred in the
5th century, when Christians of the Sassanid Persian Empire were separated from those in the west over the Nestorian Schism. This split owed just as much to the politics of the day as it did to theological orthodoxy. Ctesiphon, which was at the time the Sassanid capital, became the capital of the Church of the East.
Council of Chalcedonin 451, many Syriac Christians within the Roman Empirerebelled against its decisions. The Patriarchate of Antioch was then divided between a Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian communion. The Chalcedonians were often labelled 'Melkites' (Emperor's Party), while their opponents were labelled as Monophysites (those who believe in the one rather than two natures of Christ) and Jacobites (after Jacob Baradaeus). The MaroniteChurch found itself caught between the two, but claims to have always remained faithful to the Catholic Church and in communion with the bishop of Rome, the Pope.
Over time, groups within each of these branches have entered into communion with the
Roman Catholic Church, becoming Eastern Catholic Churches.
Some Syriac Christian denominations no longer use the Syriac language in their worship. This is particularly true of the Chalcedonian churches.
Churches of the Syriac tradition
West Syrian Rite
Syriac Orthodox Church(Non-Chalcedonian Oriental OrthodoxChurch of Antioch and all the East)
Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church; (Non-Chalcedonian Oriental OrthodoxChurch of India within the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church(Autocephalous; Non-Chalcedonian Oriental OrthodoxChurch of India)
Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Rite Catholicchurch.
MaroniteChurch, an Eastern Rite Catholicchurch.
East Syrian Rite
**Churches of the East:
Assyrian Church of the East(sometimes called Nestorian).
Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Rite Catholicchurch.
Eastern Catholic Churchesin Kerala, India.
Syro-Malabar Catholic Church( East Syrian Rite).
Syro-Malankara Catholic Church( West Syrian Rite).
Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church. [N.M.Mathew, (2006) History of the Mar Thoma church (Malayalam) Volume 1. Page 68-69] ( Mar Thoma Church)
Syriac Christians were involved in the mission to
India, and many of the ancient churches of India are in communion with their Syriac cousins. These Indian Christians are known as Saint Thomas Christians.
In modern times, various
Protestantdenominations began to send representatives among the Syriac peoples. As a result, several Protestant groups, including the "Assyrian Pentecostal Church" have been established. However, such groups are not normally classified among those Eastern Churchesto which the term "Syriac Christianity" is traditionally applied.
West Syrian Rite
East Syrian Rite
Syrian Malabar Nasrani
Malabar Independent Syrian Church
Mar Thoma Church
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.