Church of the East is the result of the missionary activities of the Apostle Thomas in Persia and India during the middle of the first century CE.
By the 6th century it is said the Church of the East numbered almost 80 million people spread throughout Syria, Arabia, Persia, Armenia, India, the East India Islands and China.
By the 7th century Islamic persecutions started taking its toll on the Eastern Christians. Whilst millions were martyred others were subjected to the status of secondary citizenship and humiliation which caused many from the East to flee to the West and the North. The number of Eastern Christians declined rapidly. Over the centuries many millions eventually gave in to the incessant tortures and social pressure and converted to Islam.
During the past 1 200 years the Church broke up into numerous little groups, each attempting to survive on its own since communication across the various borders was impossible for Christians under oppression. Some of the groups eventually changed their statements of faith to find a sympathetic ear with the Western Christians in an attempt to solicit their protection. These groups were later incorporated into either the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Anglican strains of Western Christianity and some survive in this state of affairs even to this day. The name of the Church of the East was variously used by different groups who broke with the original spontaneous movement - names such as Syrian Orthodox Church of the East, Assyrian Church of the East, Orthodox Church of the East and other, still survive.
By the 18th century the Western world 'discovered' the remnants of Eastern Christians in India and Kashmir and set out to convert them to another set of beliefs. These beliefs were formulated at western councils during the first seven centuries. The Roman Catholic and Anglican 'missions' to the Eastern Christians destroyed and edited thousands of holy Scripture which had been the inheritance of the East since St. Thomas. Again the Church of the East was cut down when the Western 'missionaries' incorporated the small groups into their fold - changing their inherited eastern Christianity to the so-called 'orthodoxy' of the Roman Empire's councils.
Currently small numbers of faithful still survive in mountain ashrams of Kurdistan, Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh and Baghdad.
The current revival of Church of the East in the West is a very recent miracle. Recent translations of most of the Church's written works now makes it possible to minister to the English speaking world while the Internet is about the only means whereby this new ministry can be attained.
During 1996, Mar +Yusa (iii), the senior minister in charge of the Church was given permission to ordain an English speaking priest in South Africa to the office of Episcopal Deputy in charge of the outreach to the West. Under the guidance of Mar +Yajn and other clergy the South African aspect of the Church slowly started picking up. Plans are underway to start a distance education college,
ashrama, various welfare projects, printing units and other services to minister to the English speaking world. This page was produced by a devotee from the very new St. Siphor Ashram in Johannesburg where the first Internet outreach was based.
Church of the East is guardian to original unadulterated Holy Scriptures, Holy Liturgies and Holy Traditions received from our Lord Yesu the Saviour through the agency of St. Thomas and the Mothers and Fathers of the earliest church.
Journey with us
We must invite you to get in to our canoe if you believe this stream is the one you will fare well by. We should not wander around the dry land for ever, never making up our mind about the 'right stream' for us. That is hell. Wandering in empty alternatives and drinking from dead seas.
The journey to Heaven is a white water canoe ride to the Sea. The next canoe leaves in an hour, we have some good paddling partners to help you along.