Mar Thoma Church
The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, also known as Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church or shortly Mar Thoma Church sees itself as the continuation of the Saint Thomas Christians, a community traditionally believed to have been founded in the first century by Thomas the Apostle, or Mar Thoma (Saint Thomas) in Syriac. It should not be confused with other churches who identify themselves with St Thomas, but who belong to different church families.
The church describes itself as "Apostolic in origin, Universal in nature, Biblical in faith, Evangelical in principle, Ecumenical in outlook, Oriental in worship, Democratic in function, and Episcopal in character". It is a renewed oriental church.
Abiding by the Trinitarian faith, this church affirms the three councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus. The motto of the church is 'lighted to lighten', and the church believes in the mission, witness and evangelism in the world to continue the redemption, love and justice exemplified by the forefathers and foremothers, saints, and apostles through the new life and salvation in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
This church has the practice of three-fold ministry: episcopa (bishop), priest, and deacon. St Mary is considered as the witness par excellence, and addressed as Mother of the Lord. Formation and transformation through the scripture and the tradition is the fundamental axiom.