|Church of South India|
Logo of the Church of South India
|Orientation||United and uniting|
|Polity||Mixed polity with episcopal, congregational|Episcopal Protestant, and presbyterian elements|
|Leader/Moderator||A. Dharmaraj Rasalam|
|Leader/Deputy Moderator||K. Reuben Mark|
|Distinct fellowships|| Christian Conference of Asia,|
National Council of Churches in India,
Communion of Churches in India
|Associations|| Anglican Communion,|
World Methodist Council, World Council of Churches,
World Communion of Reformed Churches
|Region||Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Telangana and Sri Lanka (CSI churches in North India are under the respective CNI bishops. CSI churches in Europe are under the respective Anglican Bishops)|
|Origin||27 September 1947 (Day of Union, not date of establishment) |
Tranquebar, Tamil Nadu (Presently Under the Pastorate of Karaikal - Tranquebar, Tiruchirappalli - Thanjavur Diocese)
|Merger of||Anglican Church, the Methodist Church, South India United Church (which was a union in 1904 of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches), Basel Mission Churches in South India|
|Separations|| Anglican Church of India (1964)|
Anglican Catholic Church (1984)
|Secondary schools||2000 schools, 130 colleges|
|Part of a series on|
|Christianity in India|
The Church of South India (CSI) is a united Protestant Church, being the second-largest Christian church in India based on the number of members; it is the result of union of a number of Protestant churches in South India.
The Church of South India is the successor of a number of Protestant denominations in India, including the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican), the United Church of Christ (Congregationalist), the British Methodist Church and the Church of Scotland after Indian Independence. It combined the South India United Church (union of the British Congregationalists and the British Presbyterians); the then 14 Anglican Dioceses of South India and one in Sri Lanka; and the South Indian District of the Methodist church.With a membership of nearly four million, CSI is one of four united Protesant churches in the Anglican Communion, the others being the Church of North India, the Church of Pakistan and the Church of Bangladesh; it also is a member of the World Methodist Council and World Communion of Reformed Churches.
The inspiration for the Church of South India was born from ecumenism and inspired by the words of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of John (17.21). Just like the United Church of Christ (Congregationalist), one of their forebearer denominations, their motto is:
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.'
"That they all may be one" is also the motto of the Church of South India.
Four different church traditions were brought together in the CSI; Anglican (Episcopal), Congregational, Presbyterian and Methodist. All these churches had been established in India through the missionary work of churches in Europe, America and Australia, which had started their work in India at different periods from the beginning of the 18th century.
The Church of South India Scheme was the first practical attempt of its kind towards a union, on the basis of the following points enunciated in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral:
The first three points could be accepted without any controversial question. But the fourth became contentious, as the Anglican Church maintained episcopal polity within the historical episcopate and believed that all its bishops and priests could trace an unbroken line of succession from St. Peter; whereas the rest of the churches in the negotiations conformed to other ecclesiastical polities and did not subscribe to the Anglican views on apostolic succession. After extensive dialogues, an agreement was reached that all who were already ordained in any of the uniting churches would be received as ministers in the united Church; provided all new ordinations after the union, would be conferred by episcopally ordained bishops of the united Church, with the imposition of hands. The intention was to introduce an episcopate in historic succession (from Anglicanism) into the new united Church and to ensure its maintenance in the future, by keeping all subsequent ordinations episcopal.
The Church of South India as it exists today came into being with the perseverance and committed efforts of Rev. Vedam Santiago, who for a long period of time took leadership of the SIUC, the South Indian United Churches, which later, with the joint efforts of Rev. V Santiago and Bishop Azariah became the Church of South India.
The Church of South India union ceremony happened at St George's Cathedral in Madras on 27 September 1947, a month after India achieved its independence from the United Kingdom. It was formed from the union of the SIUC, (South India United Church itself a union of churches from the Congregational Presbyterian and Reformed traditions); the southern provinces of the (Anglican) Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon; and the Methodist Church of South India.The inaugural service was presided by Bishop Rt. Rev. C. K. Jacob, of the Anglican diocese of Travancore and Cochin. As part of it, nine new bishops, drawn from all the traditions, were consecrated to serve with five Anglican bishops already in the office. Each new bishop was ordained with the imposition of hands by the presiding bishop, along with two more Anglican bishops (Rt. Rev. A. M. Hollis and Rt. Rev. G. T. Selwynthe) and six presbyters from the uniting Churches, also laying hands. This reconciliation of the Anglican views with those of the other uniting denominations, on the doctrine of apostolic succession, realized in the formation of the Church of South India, is often cited as a landmark in the ecumenical movement.
The logo of the Church of South India consists of a Cross superimposed on a stylized Lotus flower in a white backdrop; around which the motto and name of the Church, is embossed.It was designed by Prof. J. Vasanthan of the American College, Madurai.
The imposing central position of the Cross denotes the foundation of the Church and its faith, while its four arms of the same length promulgates equality. The Lotus flower, called Pankaj meaning "mud-born" in Sanskrit, has been of great spiritual and symbolic significance in India, since ancient times.Its placement in the Logo, proclaims the indigenous nature of the Church of South India and its dependence on the grace of God, just as a Lotus that blooms at sunrise and closes at sunset, depends on the Sun. The stylized rendering, makes the Lotus petals simultaneously depict the fiery split tongues of the Holy Spirit. The motto of the CSI embossed on the logo, which is an excerpt of Jesus's prayer in John 17:21, is used as an inclusive affirmation of the need for the unity of all people.
The Church of South India is a Trinitarian Church that draws from the traditions and heritage of its constituent denominations. The Church accepts the Chalcedonian Chistological Definition,as well as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Both creeds are included in the Church liturgy as the profession of faith. The Church practices infant baptism for children born in Christian homes and adult or believer's baptism for others. Baptized children are members of the church and share in the privileges and obligations of membership so far as they are capable of doing so.
The Church of South India practices the rite of Confirmation, by which the confirmands (those being confirmed) upon profession of their Christian faith, obtain confirmation of their baptisms and thereafter, gets to partake fully in the privileges and obligations associated with Church membership. Secondarily, this is also a coming of age ceremony. Confirmation is almost always administered by a Bishop with the imposition of hands and occasionally by a Presbyter who is authorized to confirm.
Regarding ordination and social issues, the CSI has a tendency to be more liberal than other churches in the Global South. In 2013, the CSI consecrated its first female bishop, Eggoni Pushpalalitha.Likewise, relating to human sexuality, the CSI is more accepting of diversity of opinion. "The Church of South India (CSI) [is] a relatively liberal Protestant church which has, since 1984, allowed women to become pastors. 'CSI has been liberal on these issues. It has taken up issues of gender, dalits and landlessness. It has to address the issue of sexual minorities too'". In 2009, the Rev. Christopher Rajkumar spoke out in favour of gay rights. Also in 2009, Bishop V. Devashayam "gave a favorable impression" of gay rights arguing that sexual orientation is genetic.
Moreover, in 2015, St. Mark's Cathedral in Bangalore hosted an event, co-led by the Rev. Vincent Rajkumar, aimed at denouncing homophobia.CSI clergy, working with the National Council of Churches in India, also co-led a consultation speaking out against homophobia. Currently, the Church of South India is also listed as among the Anglican provinces open to blessing same-sex couples. In August 2016, the CSI's publication expressed concern that the "Christian church and Christian mission to a large extent are homophobic. It has excluded the gender minorities from the church and its worship".
In 2016, a seminary affiliated with the CSI offered a seminar on LGBT issues. "The Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary in Madurai held a two-hour seminar on gender and sexuality..."The National Council of Churches in India, of which the CSI is a member, supports the legalisation of same-sex relationships in India.
On transgender issues, the Diocese of Madras has a ministry specifically for transgender people.Moreover, the CSI has opened up ordained ministry to transgender clergy. In 2012, the denomination invited a transgender pastor to preach. The CSI also published resources for special Sunday celebrations for transgender people including an invitation for transgender members to preach in churches.
The church, via its monthly publication, has also taken a stance of solidarity with the Dalit community, women, and the LGBT community. One ministry, led by a priest, "took a session on 'working towards an inclusive Church' with special reference to the transgenders", and the church celebrates the "self-liberation" of the Dalit community.Additionally, the church's publication stated that "the Church leaders expressed their concerns about the neglected people such as LGBT and those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS...[and] urged the listeners(Church Leaders)...[to] not only show solidarity but also moving beyond in accommodating them".
The CSI also opposes the death penalty.
The CSI Synod Liturgical Committee has developed several new orders for worship for different occasions.The order for the Communion service, known as the CSI Liturgy, has been internationally acclaimed as an important model for new liturgies. The committee has also produced three different cycles of lectionaries for daily Bible readings and "propers", and collects for Communion services. In addition, the committee has also brought out a supplement to the Book of Common Worship. Cherishing the reformation principle of worship in the native language, the CSI liturgy and church services are completely in the vernacular, in all the different South Indian states and Northern Sri Lanka, which comprise its ecclesiastical province.
The important observances and festivals include Ash Wednesday, Lent, Passion Week, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, First Fruits Harvest and Christmas.
The Constitution of the CSI is the key document that governs the administration and management of the church. It comprises 14 chapters detailing rules for the functioning of the Church at every level, from local congregations to the pastorate, dioceses and the Synod.The most important part of the CSI Constitution is "The Governing Principles of the Church" which sets out 21 governing principles on which the other chapters of the Constitution and the rules contained therein rest. While amending any part of the Constitution can be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Synod, amending the Governing Principles requires a three-fourths majority.
As a united Protestant Church, the Church of South Indian is a member of the World Methodist Council, as well as the World Communion of Reformed Churches; as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and its bishops participate in the Lambeth Conferences.It also has representation in the Anglican Consultative Council. Consequently, the CSI is in full communion with the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Philippine Independent Catholic Church. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Christian Conference of Asia and the National Council of Churches in India. Through the Communion of Churches in India, it is also in partnership and full communion with the Church of North India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.
The Church of South India maintains close partnerships with the Church of Scotland, Episcopal Church of the United States, Methodist Church of Great Britain, Presbyterian Church in Korea, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, Presbyterian Church of India, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ and the Uniting Church in Australia.
The church accepts the Lambeth Quadrilateral as its basis and recognises the historical episcopate in its constitutional form.Like Anglican and most other episcopal Churches, the ministry of the Church of South India is structured with three holy orders of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
The church is governed by a synod based in Chennai and headed by a presiding bishop bearing the title of Moderator, who is elected every three years. The new Moderator of the Church of South India is the Most Reverend A. Dharmaraj Rasalam, Bishop of South Kerala Diocese, since his election at the Synod on 11 January 2020.The Deputy Moderator is the Right Reverend Reuben Mark, Bishop of the Karimnagar Diocese.
The church runs 2,300 schools, 150 colleges and 104 hospitals in South India. In the 1960s the church became conscious of its social responsibility and started organising rural development projects. There are 50 such projects all over India, 50 training centres for young people and 600 residential hostels for a total of 50,000 children.
The church is further divided into twenty-five dioceses, each under the supervision of a bishop, including one diocese encompassing Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The dioceses are governed by diocesan councils composed of all clergy in the diocese as well as lay people elected from the local congregations.Each church will have representation in diocesan council based on their membership. The diocese is headed by the Bishop, who is a presbyter elected through the Diocesan Council. He is considered as the head of the diocese and all the institutions belonging to the diocese. Other than the Bishop, the following are the important administrative posts of each diocese:
The Diocesan Council also consists of Diocesan Executive Committee, Diocesan Standing Committee, and Pastorate Committee.
(The Right Reverend)
|Krishna-Godavari Diocese||Machilipatnam||Andhra Pradesh||T. George Cornelious|
|Nandyal Diocese||Nandyal||E. Pushpa Lalitha|
|Rayalaseema Diocese||Kadapa||Sede vacante|
|Dornakal Diocese||Dornakal||Telangana||V. Prasada Rao|
|Medak Diocese||Medak||A. C. Solomon Raj|
|Karimnagar Diocese||Karimnagar||K. Reuben Mark|
|Karnataka Central Diocese||Bangalore||Karnataka||Prasana Kumar Samuel|
|Karnataka Northern Diocese||Dharwad||Ravikumar J. Niranjan|
|Karnataka Southern Diocese||Mangalore||Mohan Manoraj|
|East Kerala Diocese||Melukavu||Kerala||V. S. Francis|
|Cochin Diocese||Cochin||Baker Ninan Fenn|
|Kollam-Kottarakara Diocese||Kollam||Oommen George|
|Madhya Kerala Diocese||Kottayam||Thomas K Oommen|
|Malabar Diocese||Kozhikode||Royce Manoj Kumar Victor|
|South Kerala Diocese||Trivandrum||A. Dharmaraj Rasalam|
|Coimbatore Diocese||Coimbatore||Tamil Nadu||Timothy Ravinder|
|Diocese of Kanyakumari||Nagercoil||A. R. Chelliah|
|Madras Diocese||Chennai||Jayaraj George Stephen|
|Madurai-Ramnad Diocese||Madurai||M. Joseph|
|Thoothukudi-Nazareth Diocese||Thoothukudi||S. E. C. Devasahayam|
|Tirunelveli Diocese||Tirunelveli||J. J. Christudoss|
|Trichy-Tanjore Diocese||Tiruchirappalli||D. Chandrasekaran|
|Vellore Diocese||Vellore||H. Sharma Nithiyanandam|
|Jaffna Diocese||Jaffna||Sri Lanka|
The church recognizes theological degrees granted by institutions affiliated with the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College. These include:
Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops. Christians of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Old Catholic, Anglican, Church of the East, Moravian, and Scandinavian Lutheran traditions maintain that "a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession." Each of these groups does not necessarily consider consecration of the other groups as valid.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, and Lutheran churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
Since the 1990s, the Anglican Communion has struggled with controversy regarding homosexuality in the church. In 1998, the 13th Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops passed a resolution "rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture". However, this is not legally binding. "Like all Lambeth Conference resolutions, it is not legally binding on all provinces of the Communion, including the Church of England, though it commends an essential and persuasive view of the attitude of the Communion." "Anglican national churches in Brazil, South Africa, South India, New Zealand and Canada have taken steps toward approving and celebrating same-sex relationships amid strong resistance among other national churches within the 80 million-member global body. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has allowed gay marriage since 2015." "Church of England clergy have appeared to signal support for gay marriage after they rejected a bishops’ report which said that only a man and woman could marry in church." The Church of England's General Synod is set to discuss a diocesan motion "to create a set of formal services and prayers to bless those who have had a same-sex marriage or civil partnership". At General Synod in 2019, the Church of England announced that same-gender couples may remain married and recognised as married after one spouse experiences a gender transition provided that the spouses identified as opposite genders at the time of the marriage.
The Anglican Church of Canada is the province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French-language name is l'Église anglicane du Canada. In 2017, the Anglican Church counted 359,030 members on parish rolls in 2,206 congregations, organized into 1,571 parishes. The 2011 Canadian Census counted 1,631,845 self-identified Anglicans, making the Anglican Church the third-largest Canadian church after the Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada. Although Canada has no established church, the Queen of Canada's Canadian Royal Style continues to include the title of Defender of the Faith ,, albeit not in relation to any specific denomination, and the Canadian Monarch continues her countenance of three Chapels Royal in the Realm.
The Church of North India (CNI), the dominant united Protestant Church in northern India, was established on 29 November 1970 by bringing together the Protestant churches working in northern India; it is thus a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion and member of the World Methodist Council, as well as the World Communion of Reformed Churches. The merger, which had been in discussions since 1929, came eventually between the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican), the United Church of Northern India,, the Baptist Churches of Northern India, the Church of the Brethren in India, which withdrew in 2006, the Methodist Church and the Disciples of Christ denominations.
The Church of Pakistan is a united Protestant Church in Pakistan, which is part of the Anglican Communion and a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Methodist Council.
The Anglican Church of India (ACI) is a union of independent Anglican churches in India. It is not currently a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion whose titular leader is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) is an Anglican church of evangelical Episcopalian heritage. It was founded in 1873 in New York City by George David Cummins, formerly a bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
In 2003, the Lambeth Commission on Communion was appointed by the Anglican Communion to study problems stemming from the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first noncelibate self-identifying gay priest to be ordained as an Anglican bishop, in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster. The Commission, chaired by Archbishop Robin Eames, published its findings as the Windsor Report on 18 October 2004. The report recommended a covenant for the Anglican Communion, an idea that did not come to fruition.
The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves to the ministry of the church, either individually or in lower/assisting offices such as lector, acolyte, sub-deacon, Eucharistic minister, cantor, musicians, parish secretary or assistant, warden, vestry member, etc. Ultimately, all baptized members of the church are considered to partake in the ministry of the Body of Christ. "...[I]t might be useful if Anglicans dropped the word minister when referring to the clergy...In our tradition, ordained persons are either bishops, priests, or deacons, and should be referred to as such."
The Anglican realignment is a movement among some Anglicans to align themselves under new or alternative oversight within or outside the Anglican Communion. This movement is primarily active in parts of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada. Two of the major events which contributed to the movement were the 2002 decision of the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada to authorise a rite of blessing for same-sex unions, and the nomination of two openly gay priests in 2003 to become bishops. Jeffrey John, an openly gay priest with a long-time partner, was appointed to be the next Bishop of Reading in the Church of England and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church ratified the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay non-celibate man, as Bishop of New Hampshire. Jeffrey John ultimately declined the appointment due to pressure.
The historic or historical episcopate comprises all episcopates, that is, it is the collective body of all the bishops of a church who are in valid apostolic succession. This succession is transmitted from each bishop to their successors by the rite of Holy Orders. It is sometimes subject of episcopal genealogy.
Govada Dyvasirvadam is Bishop Emeritus of Krishna-Godavari Diocese of the Church of South India.
The ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) clergy who are open about their sexuality, are sexually active if lesbian, gay, or bisexual, or are in committed same-sex relationships is a debated practice within some contemporary Christian Church communities.
The ordination of women in the Anglican Communion has been increasingly common in certain provinces since the 1970s. Several provinces, however, and certain dioceses within otherwise ordaining provinces, continue to ordain only men. Disputes over the ordination of women have contributed to the establishment and growth of progressive tendencies, such the Anglican realignment and Continuing Anglican movements.
G. T. Abraham was Bishop - in - Diocese of Nandyal of the Church of South India. He also taught Christian Ministry at the Andhra Christian Theological College. Hyderabad
Saint Thomas Anglicans are the Saint Thomas Christian members of the Church of South India; the autonomous South Indian province of the Anglican Communion. They are among the several different ecclesiastical communities that splintered out of the once undivided Saint Thomas Christians; an ancient Christian community whose origins goes back to the first century missionary activities of Saint Thomas the Apostle, in the present day South Indian state of Kerala. The Apostle, as legend has it, arrived in Malankara in AD 52.
The Church of South India is the result of the union of churches of varying traditions Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed. It was inaugurated in September 1947, after protracted negotiation among the churches concerned. Organized into 22 dioceses, each under the spiritual supervision of a bishop, the church as a whole is governed by a synod, which elects a moderator (presiding bishop) every 2 years. Episcopacy is thus combined with Synodical government, and the church explicitly recognizes that Episcopal, Presbyterian, and congregational elements are all necessary for the church's life.
The Church of South India created a polity that recognized Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Congregational elements and developed a book of worship that bridged the liturgical traditions that came into this new church. It set up a plan by which existing ministries were accepted while including processes which would lead to the time, a generation later, when all ministers would have been ordained by bishops in apostolic succession. The Church of South India was important as a prototype for a new American church because two factors had come together: the cross-confessional nature of its constituent parts and the intention to be, in effect, the Protestant Christian presence in communities all across the southern territories of its nation.
The Church of South India is a United Church that came into existence on 27th September 1947. The churches that came into the union were the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church, and the South India United Church (which was a union in 1904 of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches). Later the Basel Mission Churches in South India also joined the Union. The Church of South India is the first example in church history of the union of Episcopal and non-Episcopal churches, and is thus one of the early pioneers of the ecumenical movement. ... The CSI strives to maintain fellowship with all those branches of the church which the uniting churches enjoyed fellowship before the union. We are members of the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Consultative Council, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Council for World Mission, and the Association of Missions and Churches in South West Germany.
Along with the Church of South India, the Church of Pakistan, and the Church of Bangladesh, it [the Church of a North India] is one of the four United Churches.
This is the day Lent begins. Christians go to church to pray and have a cross drawn in ashes on their foreheads. The ashes drawn on ancient tradition represent repentance before God. The holiday is part of Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Episcopalian liturgies, among others.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Church of South India .|