In the ancient Church, Sainthood declaration was not a common practise whereas all those who were baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ were considered blessed.  However among all, the Mother Mary, Apostles and Prophets, occupied unique positions and were venerated by the whole Church.  From the 3rd century onwards the Universal Church started remembering the  names of our Church fathers (not by specific names as of now) in the 'TUBDEN' (Holy Diptych)  and in the private prayers in between.

This tradition continued in the early Church till the advent of a great split that occurred in AD. 451, when the Roman and Constantinople Patriarchates together interpreted TRINITY in a different way from what the Oriental Orthodox Churches, namely the Syriac Church of Antioch; the Coptic (Egyptian) Church;  and the Armenian Church, believed.   After this separation, the Roman and Constantinople (Byzantine) Churches adopted some new practices, and declaration of Sainthood of Church fathers started with it.   Even then it was only the Roman Church that pronounced new Saints, while the  Byzantine/Eastern (Greater) Orthodox Church of Constantinople followed the traditional practice of only reciting the names of Holy Fathers in the 'DIPTYCH'.  But after the split between these two Churches (Roman & Constantinople) in the 11th century, the Russian Orthodox Church which was in commune with the Constantinople Patriarchate, also started conferring sainthood.  Thus the Sainthood declaration become a prestige for the projection of their respective Churches in the western world.  In the Roman Catholic Church, an elaborate and complex system of beatification and Canonization of Holy Fathers also started with it.

Meanwhile  the Oriental (Lesser) Orthodox Churches, continued to remember the Holy Fathers in the 'TUBDEN' and also celebrated  their annual feasts without any deliberate process for the declaration of Sainthood.   In addition to Mother Mary, the Apostles & other Prophets of old Testament;  the Christian Martyrs-'Maudyananmar' (those who were physically tortured for Christian faith),  the Holy Fathers  who lived fighting for the continuation of true Apostolic Faith of the Church,  and  the Monks who lived a divine life of Prayers, meditation, fasting, are all considered as Saints by the Oriental Orthodox Churches.   Their individual names were subsequently added in the TUBDEN, recited during the HOLY QURBONO.   The  Syrian (Jacobite) Orthodox Church, like all the other Oriental Orthodox Churches follows this tradition.  (The Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church, the two Armenian Churches, the Ethiopian Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Church forms the group of Oriental Orthodox Churches.) 


Sainthood declaration in the Roman Catholic Church & the Syrian Orth0dox Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, there exists an elaborate and complex system for the Beatification and Canonization of bereaved people who lived a divine life.  The favours received, such as healing of the sick, miracles happened etc. are evaluated by a Papal committee, who conducts a detailed inquiry. During this process a devil's advocate is appointed to argue against the Canonization of such individual and finally the declaration of Beatification or Canonization is made by the Pope himself. (ref: an article by Zacharia George in 'Vision')

The Syrian Orthodox Church does not have a tradition of declaring saints based on proof of their effectiveness in curing diseases, working miracles, etc.   However the Church have a long tradition of remembering the fathers and doctors of the church in our liturgies.  Of the six diptychs read during the Holy Qurbono, the fifth TUBDEN is the 'Canon of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church'.  In no way the adding of names to the TUBDEN can be equated to the 'Roman Catholic way' of declaration of sainthood.

Bull permitting to recite the name of  MOR GREGORIOS in the  5th TUBDEN (Holy Diptych)

On 22nd August 1987, the Holy Episcopal Synod of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church presided over by the late lamented Catholicos of the East Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II, made requests before the Church's spiritual head the Patriarch to permit the name of Mor Gregorios to be recited in the 5th 'TUBDEN' along with the monks and martyrs of the Holy Church.  

Consequent to this request, His Holiness the Patriarch Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas issued the historical Bull dated 20th December  1987, authorizing the recital of the name of MOR GREGORIOS of Malankara in the Fifth 'TUBDEN' (diptych) in all the Malankara churches worldwide, after the names of late Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Elias III (Manjinikkara, 1932) and Maphryono Mor Baselios Yeldho (Kothamangalam, 1685). This Bull was first read in the home parish of our holy father at the Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoman Church.  Historically also this decision was of great importance as it was for the first time since many centuries that the name of a Church father was added to the TUBDEN. All those who were remembered in diptych till then were Church fathers who lived in the pre-7th century period. A decade later the Malankara Orthodox Church which declared the holy father a saint, years back, also started to recite the name of Mor Gregorios in the TUBDEN. 

The holy relics of St. Gregorios is now interred in many churches.  A large number of churches are built in the holy father's name all over the world. Perhaps the churches and shrines built by the Malankara Syrian Christians in recent times, named after ST. GREGORIOS, are the largest in number, next only to those which bear the names of Mother Mary and  Mor Geevarghese Sahdo.


Canonised Church Fathers of Malankara (India)



The historic Apostolic Bull authorizing the recital of the name of 

MOR  GREGORIOS  of  Malankara in the Fifth TUBDEN





No. E265/87 October 20, 1987

Apostolic Benediction to our beloved brother in Christ His Beatitude Mor Baselius Poulose II, Catholicose of the East, their Graces our beloved Metropolitans, and our spiritual children - Venerable Corepiscopos, Dedicated Dayroyos, Esteemed priests, Reverend Deacons, Devoted Nuns and all the Faithful of our Syrian Orthodox Church in India.

We have immense pleasure to send this Apostolic Bull of great historical importance to our Church in India. When we go through the history of our Church, we can find that many customs and practices had been observed by the local Churches apart from the general customs and practices of the Universal Church. And, some of the Apostles, Martyrs and Fathers who proclaimed the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificed their lives in the areas where they preached. These Apostles, Martyrs and Fathers had been respected and considered by those local Churches as their Saints and Intercessors. Later on, the names of those Saints were included in the prayers and Holy liturgies of the local Churches as their acclaimed Saints and Intercessors. Our Church in India is also blessed to have a priceless heritage in the eminent examples of our great Holy Fathers who dedicated and sacrificed their lives for her sake, to inspire and guide her through the succession of true faith and Apostolic tradition. Here, we recall the words of St. Paul—"We beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work." (I Thessa. 5:12-13).

Hence, we, as the supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church hereby proclaim our Apostolic decision to our Church in India, to include and remember in the Fourth Tubden (Diphtooko), after remembering the names of "Mor Pathrose and Mor Poulose, Chiefs of the Apostles”, the name of “Apostle Mor Thoma as the preacher of the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in India”, who proclaimed the Holy Gospel and shed his sacred blood in the soil of that Great Country, according to the tradition of our Church.

And, according to the recommendation of the local Synod of our Church in India, held on August 22, 1987, we, hereby grant permission to include and remember in the Fifth Tubden (Diphtooko), after the name of “Mor Abhai the chosen one”, the names of “Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Elias Third”, “Maphriono Mor Baseliose Yeldo” and “Metropolitan Mor Gregoriose of Parumala”. This practice should be observed in our Churches in India as well as in the Churches of our faithful from India. wherever they celebrate Holy Qurbono. May this Apostolic proclamation be an incentive to our faithful in India to rededicate their lives according to the living examples of St. Thomas the Apostle and the other Saints.

We extend our Apostolic Blessings to you all. May the Grace of God be with you through the intercession of St. Virgin Mary the Mother of God, St. Peter the Chief of Apostles, Apostle St. Thomas and other Saints. Amen.

Our Father Who art in heaven, ...

Issued at our Patriarchal house in Damascus, Syria
on the 20th day of October, in the year 1987

Source: http://syriacorthodoxresources.org/Personage/PZakka1/19871020MalankaraTubden.html







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