I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice
and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with
him, and he with Me."
Rev. 3: 20
Rev. Dr. Kurien Kaniamparambil Corepiscopa
Russel’s book, “why I am not a Christian?” is famous.
Whether his speculations and calculations to cause an
earthquake in the Christian world, had been fruitful or
futile, is evident from the fact that even at present 99%
of Christians irrespective of Christological divisions
still believe that Christ, is God – incarnated, and the
Savior of mankind. His reasoning didn’t make even a shake
or shock. Neither the Herodian inhumanity, nor the Roman
royal atrocities, nor the 20th century Bolshvison could
minimize even a bit of religious orthodoxy.
I am Syrian Christian by birth and most of my readers too,
the same, by the will of God. I was born in a noble Syrian
Christian family noted for the orthodoxy and active
participation in Church affairs. Let us praise God, who
blessed us to be born of Christian parents.
Origin in a Christian family, doesn’t make one “a
Christian” a Son of God (1 Jn.3), neither he is competent,
unless, he is baptized (Jn.3) or in other words, “be born
again”. The advice or command of St. Peter to the
penitents on the day of Pentecost and to the Jailer, point
to this unavoidable necessity and hence, the Church so
amended that the rebirth should follow the natural birth,
as early as possible and it became the custom from
Apostolic times and in the early centuries, of which we
have reliable evidence from Apostolic fathers.
1) St. Iraneus, disciple of Polycarp, disciple of
St.John – has given testimony. Hippolitus (244 AD)
says, “Baptism the children first, and if they can speak,
let them do so. Otherwise let their parents or relatives,
speak for them”. Origen (185AD), “The church received from
the Apostles the traditions of giving baptism even to
children”. St.Cyprian (200), “Infants should be baptized
as early as possible so that the mercy and grace of God
ought to be denied to no man, born”.
2) All the ancient churches (irrespective of their
christological and doctrinal differences) the Syrian, the
Roman Catholic, and Armenian all are baptizing infants.
The Church of England in the Book of Common Prayer – there
is the Ministration of Baptism of Infants. Biblically :
the Old Testament (OT) orders circumcision on the 8th day
of the child.
3) Our Lord blessed children even before their
birth – while in the womb – God blessed children (Jer.
1.5) John (Lk.1.15, 41), David (Ps.71.6).
4) During the Apostolic period, soon after the
baptism an anointing unction followed (rubbing with oil as
is seen in 1 Jn.2.20). Some may doubt, whether there had
been the use of oil among the faithful at the time of the
apostle, Mark 6 and James 5.5 give an affirmative answer.
In Old Testament (OT) times, anointing was only to priests
and kings. In New Testament (NT), it followed to every
faithful and thus the faithful is said to be ‘Royal’ and
‘Priestly’ as seen in the Epistle.
Dionysus of Ariusphagos (Acts 17.34) says :- ‘He
who has received the Holy sacrament of regeneration also
receives the abiding of the Holy Spirit through his
anointing of perfection by the Holy Mooron’. “It is on
this account, we are called Christians, because we are
anointed with the oil of God” – says, St. Theophilos (185)
Tertjvilian (165) says. “After this, having come out from
the bath, we are anointed with a blessed unction,
according to the ancient rule. The flesh is anointed, so
that the soul may be dedicated to holiness. “St. Hoppolis
the 3rd century and St. Cyprian, St. Ephraim of the 4th
century and other Doctors of the Church wrote about the
Holy Mooron. “The ancient custom, still continued in the
Eastern Churches was to administer it to the infants. In
the west it became usual in the “middle ages” to postpone
it - the age of reason “Dr.Mos” the (Christian Church).
THE NEXT STEP is vividly shown in Acts Ch.2. (Those who
were being saved were added to the CHURCH. Membership in
the Church is the most necessary condition regarding
1) The Church is the Body of Christ. (Rom.12.5)
2) It is the House of God, the Pillar and ground of Truth
3) It is our Lord’s (Math;16.16)
4) A teaching Church (Math;28.30)
5) A witnessing Church (Acts.1.8)
6) A Hierarchical Church, with Bishops, Priests and
deacons (Acts.Ch.6, Ch.20 etc)
7) Guided by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16.13).
St. Ignatius, the martyr successor of St.Peter in Antioch
has recorded that – “without Bishops there is no CHURCH”.
In this connection a Christian should note (1) the
uniqueness of Christ and (2) that of the Church.
(1) Christ is the only one who rose after death.
(2) Christ is the only one who said that he came to save
sinners and not the just. (Nor for ‘Parithranaya Saaduan
and Vinasaya Dushkrishan, to save the guest and demolish
the wicked (Bhagavat Geetha).
(3) I came not to be ministered but to minister and give
(4) Christ is the only one, whose, birth, life and manner
of death were foretold by Prophets, centuries ago.
(5) He was the only one, who was sinless. He did challenge
(6) He was the only one, who promised that he would come
And the CHURCH, He founded is unique. From its beginning,
it had to face oppositions and persecutions. The first
persecution was from Jews and the first Martyr was St.
Stephan. All the Apostiles died martyrs, except St. John
who had to suffer persecutions. The next persecutions were
from Roman Emperors, beginning from Nero, who massacred
St. Peter and St. Paul. Christians without number were
brutally put to death among whom the names of St. Ignatius
Noorono, St.Polycarp and others.
But in course of time the Lord and Master of the Church
changed the situation, through the conversion of
Constantine in the beginning of the 4th century, and thus
the forbidden religion became the state religion.
The next persecution was monitored by Heretics such as
Arivs, Maccadonius, Nestor and a host of others, with help
from the rulers. That too the church overcomes through the
General Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus.
In spite of all these adverse circumstances, of the 700
crores of the world population, nearly 400 crores are
Christians. The Roman Catholic Church topping the list.
What other narration is required to show the uniqueness of
It is really lamentable, that new sects, sprouted up from
the 19th century onwards are seen uncontrollable menace to
the Church of Christ and its Apostolic faith, main reason
being the lack of faith and indifference of members of
Apostolic Churches, who as Sri. Narayana Guru said ‘Mathm
Eytayalum Manuzhan Nannayal Mathi”, think, that it is not
the Church, but devotion to Christ, is what is necessary.
Which is this Church?
1. The Church of which Christ said ‘I will build “My”
2. The Church which our Lord entrusted St. Peter to feed
and govern (Jn.21)
3. The Church, the Sacramental authority Christ gave to
all the Apostles, present in the Upper Room. (Jn.20)
4. The Church to which Christ gave the authority to
preach, baptize, forgive sins and after the Holy
5. The Church to which the baptized were accepted.
6. ‘Acts’ is the early history of this Church.
7. The Apostolic authority in the Church, conferred on
others by the ‘Laying of Hands’ (Deacons (Acts.6)
Thimotheus (2Tim.1), (Titus 1)
8. It is ‘this “My Church” that repudiated the heresy of
Arius (who denied the deity of the son) and that of
Macedonius (who denied the deity of the Holy Spirit) and
of Nestor (who propagated the heresy that Christ had two
natures and two persons) in the Synod’s Nicaea,
Constantinople and Ephesus (325, 381 and 431 AD)
9. It is this Church, that codified the canonical books of
the NT at the synod of Carthage in 391.
10. It is the Church of which Christ appointed St. Peter
as, the visible head, which for convenience of
administration, was divided in to four Patriarchates (6th
canon of Nicaea 325). These Patriarchates expanded the
Church and claim the succession from St. Peter.
It is therefore crystal clear that these divisions ‘alone’
have the privilege of being the ‘only church’, which
Christ qualified as “My Church”, and the numerous other
churches that are not able to produce evidence for this
enviable continuation of succession from any of the
Apostles do not come to the list of churches.
Syrian Church is not only one of the four, but is of the
‘First’, since it had its beginning as early as AD37, that
by the Head of the Apostles – at Antioch. To be called a
Church according to NT, it has to produce evidence that
its beginning is from the Church which Christ termed ‘My
Church.’ We belong to this Church, being members of the
A Church, claiming to be the Church of Christ is duty
bound to show its Apostolicity in the Holy Orders
(Priesthood) and in the Doctrines Apostolic.
THE MARKS OF THE CHURCH
In the Nicene creed we declare that we believe in ‘the one
Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. The Church is ONE.
One Holy……The chief marks of the Church are four.
It is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC & APOSTOLIC (Nicene creed).
Sacred scripture teaches that the one true Church of
Christ must have these marks, and the marks are an
indication that God guides the Church.
The Church is One because all its members,
according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith,
have the same sacrifice and sacraments. (1 Cor.10.17,
The Church is Holy because it was founded by Jesus
Christ, who is all holy and because it teaches according
to the will of Christ, holy doctrines, and provides the
means of leading a holy life thereby giving holy members
in every generation. This is evident from the prayer of
Christ for His Apostles. The lives of the saints and
martyrs prove how effective are the means of grace with
which the Church is endowed. It might be true some members
do not use the means of grace at their disposal. Christ
foretold that there would be good and bad members in His
Church, as we read in the parables of the fishes in net,
and the cockle among the wheat. (math. 7;15-20, Titus
The Church is Catholic, because it is destined to
last for all time it never fails to fulfill the divine
commandment to teach all the truths revealed by God.
Christ asked his Apostles to go forth and make disciples
of all nations and to teach all that, he has commanded,
and promised them that, he would be with them even to the
end of time. The Church today teaches the same doctrine,
it received from Christ. It has existed, since the day it
was established, tiding over persecutions. But Christian
‘sects’ began later, many of which became extinct after
some time and new ones sprouted up to in recent years,
twisting verses of the NT as to suit their opinion.
(Math.24:14, Mk.16:15, 16, Acts 1:8).
The mark ‘Catholic’ was given more stress by, the western
Church, whereas the mark, ‘holy’ (orthodox) was used by
the Eastern Church eg. ‘Roman Catholic’, Syrian Orthodox”
THE CHURCH 'APOSTOLIC' ?
Because the feeding of the Church was entrusted to St.
Peter and in union with him other apostles spread, taught
and governed the Church and after their time by other
lawful successors and preserve the same doctrine. (Math.
He who fails to trace his Church’s apostolic doctrine
there by concedes that his sect is not apostolic.
The Church is called the mystical Body of Christ, “because
its members are united by supernatural bonds with one
another and with Christ, their Head, thus resembling the
members and Head of the living human body’.
The EARLY FATHERS OF
THE CHURCH ABOUT THE CHURCH
St. Clement – (92-101
AD), ‘Through country side the apostles preached and they
appointed their earlier converts, testing them by spirit
to be the Bishops and Deacons of future believers’.
St. Ignatius (98-117), we must look upon the Bishop
as the Lord himself.
Iraneous(177AD), it is necessary to obey those who are
presbyters in the Church, those who have succession from
the Apostles, those who have received with the succession
of the Episcopate, the sure Charisma of truth…. But the
rest who have no part in the primitive succession, and
assemble where-so-ever they must be held in suspicion.
make Schism… who look to their own advantage rather than
to the unity of the Church, who for any kind of trifling
reason, cut apart and divide the body of Christ…. they are
outside the bonds of truth.
Tertultian (196), we walk in the rule, which the
Church has handed down from Apostles, the Apostles from
Christ Heretics cannot be Christians – Heretics have no
fellowship in our discipline. Cyprain (258), there speaks
Peter teaching in the name of the Church and showing that
events if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws from
Christ. The people, joined to the priest and flock,
clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to
know that the Bishop is in the Church and the Church in
Firmilian (268), Heretics who have parted
themselves from the Church can have nothing to do with
power and Grace since all power and Grace is settled in
the Church where, preside presbyters who possess the power
both of baptizing and of imposing hands and of ordaining.
St. Jerome- Heretics bring sentence upon themselves
since by their own choice, withdraw from the Church and
constitute damnation. Between heresy and schism this
distinction to be made; that heresy invokes perverse
doctrine, while schism separates from the Church on
account of disagreement with the Bishop.
Millions of copies of the Bible are in extent. The Syriac
Peshitta version of the Bible is acclaimed as the most
accurate (Helps to the study of the Bible - Oxford).
It is this Bible that by the Grace of God, I translated
into Malayalam. What induced me for the translation, is
the drastic change (among others is Luka 11.28, where 'no'
is used for – English ‘yea – yes’) and St. John 2-3, each
group on Sect translates to suit its teaching. The article
will be long if I quote all of them. I would request every
reader to make a study of ‘Acts and Epistles' comparing
authorized versions and new English Bible. In the list you
will find drastic changes. To help you, please refer :-
Acts.1.14, 1.20, 1.23, 2.47-48, 6.6, 14. 23, 19.18, 20.7,
22.16, Rom.15.15, 1Cor.1.2, 1.25, 1Tim.1.1, Tit.1.5,
Heb.2.12, James.5.16, 1Jn.1.9, etc. There are other
variations too. Since the boards of this NT were termed
canonical by the CHURCH, the Church alone has the
authority to interpret. This is why the Roman Catholics
and the Syrians are particular in the matter of using
Bibles, other than ours. This is why I published the New
Testament commentary in Malayalam in accordance with the
commentaries of the Holy Fathers of the Church.