“These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Isaiah 56:7”
In the 1980’s, a considerable number of people from India, especially from the South Indian State of Kerala migrated and settled down in the United Kingdom. Many of them were Malankara Jacobite Christians who followed the Syrian Christian faith, maintaining the distinct identity and ancient traditions of Syrian Orthodox Church.
April – Rev. Fr. Jose Pallathatta (present Metropolitan of Cochin Diocese and the Holy Episcopal Synod Secretary H.G Mor Gregorious Joseph) whilst doing his higher studies in Theology in Dublin happened to visit London a few times and met people such as Mr Chandy Thomas and Mr Thankachan. During these visits, possibilities of forming a Congregation for Jacobite Syrian Orthodox community residing in UK were discussed.
June – Rev. Fr. Jose Pallathatta with the help of Rev. Fr. K.A George conducted the first service in St. Mary Aldermary Church, Queen Victoria Street, London. Subsequently Rev. Fr. Jose Pallathatta and Mr Chandy Thomas met the Rector of St. Mary Aldermary Church and made arrangements to use the Church on a regular basis.
July – H.G. Abraham Mor Severios on his way to USA visited London and conducted a service along with Rev. Fr. Jose Pallathatta.
December – The enthusiasm and tireless effort of Rev. Fr. Jose Pallathatta was a catalyst in giving an impetus to form the first Congregation in UK and the First General Body meeting of the Congregation took place on 26th December 1989 in Hounslow at the residence of Mr Chandy Thomas. The First General Body meeting unanimously decided the name of the Church as St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.
The meeting elected:
President and Vicar: Rev. Fr. Jose Pallathatta
Vice President: Mr K.J.Elias
Secretary: Mr Chandy Thomas
Treasurer: Mr Mathew Jacob
The other members who were present were
Mr Thankachan and family,
Dr George & family and
Mr V.P. Ipe. Mr
A.M. Chacko and family were unable to attend the First General Body Meeting.
The news of the forming of the Congregation was received with great happiness by the Late Catholicos H.B. Baselios Paulose II of the East.
Rev. Fr. George Vadath who started studies in Theology in Dublin was appointed the Vicar.
Fr. Eldhose Kaungampillil served the church together with Rev. Fr. Joseph Kulathramannil, conducting alternate services in the Church.
In early 2003, Rev. Fr. Job Thottathil was appointed as acting Vicar and subsequently Rev. Fr. Raju Abraham Cheruvillil was appointed as Vicar.
January – The Church became under the Direct Control and Supervision of the Late HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.
July – The Church was blessed with the Presence of H.B. Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I, the Catholicos of the East and H.G. Mor Gregorious Joseph to celebrate Church Parish Day – St.Thomas Day which was celebrated on the 7th and 8th July. A Holy Tri Mass was held, led by H.B. Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I accompanied by H.G. Mor Gregorious Joseph, Holy Episcopal Synod Secretary & Metropolitan of Cochin Diocese and H.E. Mor Athanasius Toma Dawood, Patriarchal Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church, UK.
The Church also got an opportunity to celebrate the 79th birthday of H.B. Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I on July 22nd during this visit.
Sepetmber – The first ever Regional Family Conference was hosted by our Church. It was a two day conference which was inaugurated on 12th September by H.B. Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I, the Catholicos of the East at Mor Baselios Paulose II Centre, Ilford Town Hall. The conference was concluded with a Holy Penta Mass and honouring senior members who had completed 25 years in the UK. The conference was attended by H.G. Kuriakose Mor Dioscoros, Metropolitan of Simhasana Churches, H.G. Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese and the former Patriarchcal Vicar of the United Kindom
The Congregation formed with six families in 1989 now has around eighty five families and still growing by the Grace of God.
- This is the first Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church established in the UK and the only Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in UK having regular service on every Sunday.
- The Church has an approved By- Law and is a registered charity in the UK.
- The Managing Committee meets once in a month to discuss the day to day affairs of the Church and to set future objectives and goals.
- The Church has a Sunday School for students from Reception to Year 10, Youth Association, Vanitha Samajam, four Kudumba Units and a recently formed Charity and IT Wing.
- Every year during Christmas there is a Carol group that visits all the houses of the Church members and New Year celebrations are held each year, which includes a whole day of cultural programmes.
During last 25 years the Holy Mass has also been celebrated by;
– H.G Mor Aphrem Mathews Metropolitan
– H.G Mor Silvanos Ayoub Metropolitan
– H.G Zacharias Mor Philaxinos Metropolitan
– H.G Issac Mor Osthathious Metropolitan
– H.G Mor Antheemos Mathews
It was a longstanding aim for the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Churches in UK to own a place of worship of its own. After years of hardwork and prayer, our bid for Harold Hill Baptist Church was accepted in 2017 and buying process completed on July 11th 2018.
With blessings from our patriarchal hierarchy, the new church will be inaugurated on Sunday 14th Oct 2018. It will be the first church for our sabha in UK.
Published by St Thomas Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, London.