The history of Mar Thoma Church goes back to 52 AD. Apstole St.Thomas, reached the India (Malabar Coast) and established seven Churches at Malankara (Chavakkadu), Paravoor, Kokkamgulam, Kolam, Niranam, Nilakal. The believers were called as the St Thomas Christians and we are descendants of the first Christians.
In United Kingdom the origin and establishment of the church dates back to 1930 further on during the 1970’s many Marthomite’s arrived from Malayasia, Singapore, East Africa and India which gave new dimension to the existing worship in United Kingdom. In April 1978 we became an official Congregation and in October 1978 we became a Parish of the Mar Thoma Church.
We moved to St. Mary Newington Parish Church, Kennington in April 1979 as the membership and attendance increased. In 1987, we purchased 22 Altmore Avenue, Eastham, London as a Vicarage. This was the first acquisition in the United Kingdom and served as a Mar Thoma Centre for nearly 20 years.
In 1989, we moved to St. Katherine Cree Church in Central London and services were conducted every Sunday. In 1992 we were fortunate to be able to purchase St. Paul’s Hall in Hounslow and dedicated it as a place of worship in August 1994. This is the first place of worship owned by the Mar Thoma Church in Europe. We were able to build a parsonage in 1997, refurbish the church and rededicate the Altar in April 2007, build a Parish Hall in May 2009 and dedicate a Bishop’s Suite in February 2011.
St. John’s Parish consists of members from North and West London and the Home Counties started regular worship in Hounslow since April 1996. Today we have 218 families as registered members and eight prayer groups. Outside London services are conducted once a month in Southampton.
The Mar Thoma Church is neither a Protestant church of the western type nor an orthodox church of the eastern type. It is oriental in worship, autonomous in administration and missionary in action. The church follows an orthodox (true worship) liturgy and a catholic (to all, for all) mission and evangelism. Truly it is a bridge-church between the eastern and western ecclesial traditions. Being catholic in mission, the church opens its doors to the east and to the west. The church affirms its faith in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. In the modern ecumenical movement the Mar Thoma Church plays a significant role, as a church with oriental heritage and occidental zeal for mission.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.