Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

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Catholicate Emblem of MOSC.png
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
(Malankara Church)
Aramana.jpg
Catholicate Palace in Kottayam, India
Classification Oriental Orthodox
Orientation Eastern Christianity
Scripture Peshitta
Theology Miaphysitism
Polity Episcopal
Primate of Malankara Malankara Metropolitan & Catholicos of the East H.H Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II
Region India and the Nasrani Malayali diaspora
Language Syriac, Suriyani Malayalam, Konkani, Malayalam, English
Liturgy Malankara Rite
HeadquartersCatholicate Palace, Kottayam, Kerala, India
Founder Thomas the Apostle
Origin AD 52
(1st century - Apostolic Era) [1] [2]
Branched from Saint Thomas Christians
Separations Syro-Malankara Catholic Church (1930)
Members2.5 million (reported) [3] [4] [5]
Other name(s)Malankara Church (മലങ്കര സഭ) [6]

Indian Orthodox Church

Malankara Syrian Christian Church (മലങ്കര സുറിയാനി ക്രിസ്ത്യാനി സഭ)

Contents

Orthodox Syrian Church of the East [7]
Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
Nasrani cross.jpg
History
Saint Thomas  · Thomas of Cana  · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth  · Tharisapalli plates  · Synod of Diamper  · Coonan Cross Oath
Religion
Crosses  · Denominations  · Churches  · Syriac language  · Music
Prominent persons
Abraham Malpan  · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar  · Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban  · Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara  · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly  · Mar Thoma I  · Saint Alphonsa  · Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi  · Kariattil Mar Ousep  · Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril  · Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala  · Geevarghese Ivanios  · Euphrasia Eluvathingal  · Thoma of Villarvattom
Culture
Margamkali  · Parichamuttukali  · Cuisine  · Suriyani Malayalam
Timeline of schisms in Malankara, indicating the extent and duration of foreign influences SaintThomasChristian'sDivisionsHistoryFinal-en.svg
Timeline of schisms in Malankara, indicating the extent and duration of foreign influences

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) [8] also known as the Malankara Church and the Indian Orthodox Church, [9] is an autocephalous [10] [11] church based in Kerala, India. Part of Oriental Orthodoxy, it is one of the oldest Christian communities in Asia. The church serves India's Saint Thomas Christian (also known as Nasrani) population. According to tradition, the church originated in the missions of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. [12] The autocephalous [13] Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan, enthroned on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas (currently Baselios Marthoma Paulose II), is the primate of the church. It employs the Malankara Rite, an Indian form of the West Syriac liturgical rite. It is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church regained full autocephaly in 1912, and remains in communion with the other five Oriental Orthodox churches, including the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (and its own autonomous branch the Jacobite Catholicosate in India), and the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church drafted and formally adopted a constitution in 1934, wherein the church formally declared the Malankara Metropolitan and the Catholicos of the East as one. [14]

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church holds to miaphysitism, which holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one (μία, mia) nature (φύσις – "physis") without separation, without confusion, without alteration and without mixing [15] where Christ is consubstantial with God the Father. Around 500 bishops within the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem refused to accept the dyophysitism (two natures) doctrine decreed by the 4th ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, an incident that resulted in the first major split in the main body of the Christian Church. While the Oriental Orthodox churches rejected the Chalcedonian definition, the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church accepted this council. [16]

History

Early history

The Saint Thomas Christians of the Malabar Coast were reportedly in communion with the Orthodox Churches of East from 496 to 1599. [17] [ failed verification ] They received clerical support from Persian bishops, who traveled to Kerala in merchant ships on the spice route. During the 16th century, efforts by the Portuguese Padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into Latin-rite Catholicism led to the first of several rifts in the community and the establishment of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and Malankara Church factions. The Saint Thomas Christians are currently divided into several groups.

They were under the leadership of an archdeacon (a native ecclesiastical head with spiritual and temporal powers, deriving from the Greek arkhidiākonos). The Saint Thomas Christians were in communion with the Church of the East, centered in Persia, since at least 496. [18] [19] The indigenous Church of Malabar (Malankara) followed the faith and traditions of Thomas the Apostle. Portuguese Jesuits attempted to annex the native Christians to the Catholic Church at the 1599 Synod of Diamper. The Saint Thomas Christians who were opposed to Roman Catholicism took the Coonan Cross Oath on 3 January 1653. The Dutch East India Company defeated the Portuguese for control of the Malabar spice trade in 1663. Bishop Gregorios Abdal Jaleel of the Syriac Orthodox Church witnessed the 1665 ordination of Thomas as Bishop Thoma I, who forged a relationship with the Syriac church which laid the foundation for adopting West Syrian liturgy and practices over the next two centuries.

20th century

Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril, who became the Malankara metropolitan bishop in 1908, played a significant role with the other clerical and lay leaders of Malankara in re-establishing the Catholicos of the East in India in 1912. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church wanted to retain its autocephaly, and appealed to Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Abdul Masih II. He ordained Murimattathil Paulose Ivanios as Baselios Paulose I, Catholicos of the East, on the apostolic throne of St. Thomas at St. Mary's Church in Niranam on 15 September 1912. [20]

Hierarchy, distribution and doctrine

The spiritual head of the church is the Catholicos of the East, and its temporal head is the Malankara Metropolitan. Since 1934, both titles have been vested in one person; the official title of the head of the church is "Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan." Paulose II was enthroned as Catholicos of the East on 1 November 2010 at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Parumala. He is the 91st Catholicos of the East in the lineage of Thomas the Apostle, the eighth after reinstatement in India,[ clarify ] and the 21st Malankara Metropolitan.

Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, accept only the first three ecumenical councils: the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople, and the Council of Ephesus. The church, like all other Oriental Orthodox Churches, uses the original Nicene Creed [21] without the filioque clause. [22] Like the Syriac Orthodox Church, it primarily uses the liturgy of Saint James in Malayalam, Hindi and English.

Liturgy

Divine Liturgy at St. James' Orthodox Church, Delhi Divine Liturgy at Indian Orthodox Church in Delhi.jpeg
Divine Liturgy at St. James' Orthodox Church, Delhi

The church has used the Malankara Rite, part of the Antiochene Rite, since the 17th century. [23] The East Syriac Rite and the Maronite Church also belong to the same liturgical family. In the first half of the fifth century, the Antiochene church adopted the Liturgy of Saint James. In the 4th and 5th centuries, The liturgical language of fourth- and fifth-century Jerusalem and Antioch was Greek, and the original liturgy was composed in Greek.

After the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Eastern Church was divided in two; one group accepted the council, and the other opposed it. Both groups continued to use the Greek version of the Saint James liturgy. The Byzantine emperor Justin (518–527) expelled the opponents from Antioch, and they took refugees in the Syriac-speaking Mesopotamia on the Roman–Persian border (modern eastern Syria, Iraq, and southeastern Turkey). The Antiochene liturgical rites were gradually translated into Syriac, and Syriac hymns were introduced.

Gregorios Abdal Jaleel came to Malankara from Jerusalem in 1665 and introduced Syriac Orthodox liturgical rites. The most striking characteristic of the Antiochene liturgy is its large number of anaphoras (celebrations of the Eucharist). About eighty are known, and about a dozen are used in India. All have been composed following the Liturgy of Saint James. [24]

Malankara Metropolitan

The temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the church is vested in the Malankara Metropolitan, subject to the church constitution [25] which was adopted in 1934. The Malankara Metropolitan is president of the Malankara Syrian Christian Association (Malankara Association) and its managing committee, and trustee of community properties. He is elected by the association.

Malankara Metropolitan after the Coonan Cross Oath

  1. Thoma I (1653–1670) [26]
  2. Thoma II (1670–1686)
  3. Thoma III (1686–1688)
  4. Thoma IV (1688–1728)
  5. Thoma V (1728–1765)
  6. Thoma VI (1765–1808)
  7. Thoma VII (1808–1809)
  8. Thoma VIII (1809–1816)
  9. Thoma IX (1816)
  10. Dionysius II (1816)
  11. Dionysius III (1817–1825)
  12. Dionysius IV (1825–1852)
  13. Mathews Athanasius (1852–1877)
  14. Dionysius V (1865–1909) [27]
  15. Dionysius VI (1909–1934) [28]
  16. Geevarghese II (1934–1964) [29] From 1934 Malankara Metropolitan is also holds the office of Catholicos of the East of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
  17. Augen I (1964–1975), also Catholicos of the East
  18. Mathews I (1975–1991), also Catholicos of the East
  19. Mathews II (1991–2005) [30] , also Catholicos of the East
  20. Didymos I (2005–2010), also Catholicos of the East
  21. Paulose II (2010–present) [31] , also Catholicos of the East

Catholicate

Malankara Metropolitan Paulose II Malankara Metropolitan.png
Malankara Metropolitan Paulose II

"Catholicos" means "the general head", and can be considered equivalent to "universal bishop." [32] The early church had three priestly ranks: episcopos (bishop), priest and deacon. By the end of the third century, bishops of important cities in the Roman Empire became known as metropolitans. The fourth-century ecumenical councils recognized the authority of the metropolitan. By the fifth century, the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch gained control of the churches in surrounding cities. They gradually became the heads of the regional churches, and were known as patriarchs (common father). Outside the Roman Empire, patriarchs were known as catholicos. There were four catholicates before the fifth century: the Catholicate of the East, the Catholicate of Armenia, the Catholicate of Georgia and the Catholicate of Albania. In Orthodox tradition, any apostolic and autonomous national church (often referred to as a local church) may call its head a catholicos, pope or patriarch. The archdeacons reigned from the fourth to the 16th centuries; in 1653, the archdeacon was elevated to bishop by the community as Thoma I.

The Catholicate of the East was relocated to India in 1912, and Baselios Paulose I was seated on the apostolic throne of St. Thomas as the Catholicos of the East. The headquarters of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholicos of the East is the Catholicate Palace at Devalokam, Kottayam, Kerala, which was consecrated on 31 December 1951. The new palace, built in 1961, was dedicated by visiting Armenian Catholicos Vazgen I. [33] Relics of St. Thomas are kept in the catholicate chapel, and Geevarghese II, Augen I and Mathews I are interred there.

Catholicos of the East

Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan Paulose II His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II.jpg
Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan Paulose II

According to the church, it was founded by St. Thomas when he came to India in 52 AD. [34] Since the fourth century, the Indian church had a close relationship with the Persian (East Syriac) church. The Indians inherited its East Syriac dialect for liturgical use, and gradually became known as Syriac Christians. During the sixteenth century, Roman Catholic missionaries came to Kerala. They tried to join the Syrian Christians with the Roman Catholic Church, dividing the community; those who accepted Catholicism became the present-day Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The church adopted West Syrian liturgies and practices, and the catholicate was established in 1912.

List of Catholicos of the East in Malankara Church

The list of Catholicos of the East of Malankara Church:

Administration

Until the 17th century, the church was administered by the archdeacon) and the Persian bishops [35] from the Church of the East. The elected archdeacon was in charge of day-to-day affairs, including the ordination of deacons to the priesthood. Ordinations were performed by Persian bishops visiting India. The Malankara Palliyogam (a forerunner of the Malankara Association) consisted of elected representatives from individual parishes. The isolation of the Malankara church from the rest of Christendom preserved the apostolic age's democratic nature through interactions with Portuguese (Roman Catholic) and British (Anglican) colonialists. From the 17th to the 20th centuries, the church had five pillars of administration:

1934 church constitution

Envisioned by Dionysius VI, the church's general and day-to-day administration was codified in its 1934 constitution. The constitution [38] was presented at the 26 December 1934 Malankara Christian Association meeting at M. D. Seminary, [39] adopted and enacted. It has been amended three times. Although the constitution was challenged in court by dissident supporters of the Patriarch of Antioch, Supreme Court rulings in 1958, 1995, 2017 and 2018 upheld its validity. [40]

The constitution's first article emphasises the bond between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Malankara church, defining them as sister churches. [41] The second article outlines the church's foundation and designates its primate as the Catholicos. The third article refers to the name of the church, and the fourth to their faith traditions. The fifth article examines the canon law governing church administration.

Malankara Association

The elected Malankara Association, consisting of parish members, manages the church's religious and social concerns. Formerly the Malankara Palli-yogam (മലങ്കര പള്ളി യോഗം; Malankara Parish Assembly, its modern form is believed to have been founded in 1873 as the Mulanthuruthy Synod, a gathering of parish representatives in Parumala. In 1876, the Malankara Association began. [42]

The church constitution outlines the association's powers and responsibilities. The Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan is the president, and the diocesan metropolitan bishops are vice-presidents. All positions are elected. Each parish is represented in the association by an elected priest and laypeople, proportional to parish-membership size.

Dioceses

Saints

In conformity with other Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Malankara church adheres to the tradition of seeking the intercession of saints. Several have been canonized:

Metropolitan Bishops

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The Episcopal Synod in 2012

The church's Episcopal Synod has the following diocesan bishops: [46] :

Seminaries

The two seminaries which offer bachelor's and master's degrees in theology are the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam [47] and St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur. [48]

Ecumenical relations

The church was a founding member of the World Council of Churches. [49] [ full citation needed ] Catholicos Geevarghese II and other metropolitan participated in the 1937 Conference on Faith and Order in Edinburgh; a church delegation participated in the 1948 WCC meeting in Amsterdam in 1948, and the church played a role in the 1961 WCC conference in New Delhi. Metropolitan Paulos Gregorios was president of the WCC from 1983 to 1991.

The church participated in the 1965 Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in Addis Ababa. [50] It is a member of the Faith and Order Commission, the Christian Conference of Asia and the Global Christian Forum. A number of primates of sister churches have visited, including Patriarch Justinian of Romania in February 1957 and in January 1969; Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I in December 1963; Armenian Patriarch Derderian of Jerusalem in December 1972; Patriarch Pimen I of Moscow in January 1977; Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II in September 1982; Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie in 1986, Patriarch Teoctist Arăpașu of Romania in 1989; Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I in November 2000; Metropolitan (later Patriarch) Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in December 2006; Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in November 2008, Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Paulos in December 2008; the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I Keshishian in February 2010, and Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Mathias in November 2016.

Order of St. Thomas

The Order of St. Thomas, [51] the church's highest award, is presented to heads of state and churches by the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan. Recipients include Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Paulos, Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I, and Patriarch of Ethiopia Abune Mathias.[ citation needed ]

Spiritual organizations

The church has a number of spiritual organizations:

Churches of historical importance

Shrines

See also

Notes

    Related Research Articles

    Malankara Metropolitan Historical title in Indian Christianity

    Malankara Metropolitan was a legal title given to the head of the Malankara Church Puthenkoor Christians, by the Government of Travancore and Cochin in South India. This title was awarded by a proclamation from the King of Travancore and the King of Cochin. The Prime jurisdiction regarding the temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the Malankara Church is vested in the Malankara Metropolitan, who is believed according to tradition, to oversee its faithful from the Apostolic See of Saint Thomas. His Holiness Moran Mor Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II Catholicos is the present Malankara Metrapolitan.

    Didymos I 20th Malankara Metropolitan and 7th Catholicos of the Malankara Church

    Baselios Marthoma Didymus I' born C. T. Thomas was Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan from 2005 to 2010. Didymos I was consecrated as Metropolitan bishop on 24 August 1966 at Kolencherry St. Peter's & St. Paul's Church and served as Metropolitan of the Malabar Diocese of the church from 1968.

    Baselios Thomas I Catholicoi of the East

    Baselios Thomas I Maphrian is a Syriac Orthodox bishop and regional head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church in India. He was enthroned on 26 July 2002 by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East in a ceremony held in Damascus, Syria. The office of the Maphrian had been vacant from 1996 (date of death of Baselios Paulose II Catholicos to 2002.

    Holy See of the East is an honorary name of the sees of a number of Christian churches in the Middle East and India.

    Jacobite Syrian Christian Church Oriental Orthodox Church based in Kerala

    The Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christian Church also known as the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, or the Syriac Orthodox Church of India, is an autonomous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Indian state of Kerala, and is an integral branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. It recognizes the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Ignatius Aphrem II seated in the Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria, as its Supreme Head. It functions as a largely autonomous unit within the church, under the authority of the Catholicos of India, Baselios Thomas I. Currently, this is the only church in Malankara which has a direct relationship with the Syriac Christians of Antioch, which has continued from after the schism and they continue to employ the West Syriac Rite Liturgy of Saint James. The faction of the Malankara Church that gained autocephaly in 1912, became the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC), also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, and are an autocephalous (independent) church in the Oriental Orthodoxy communion.

    Baselios Paulose I or Murimattathil Bava was the first Catholicos of the East after its reinstatement in India. The First Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was in power only for seven months and eighteen days. He was 76 years old when he became the Catholiocs and died the following year.

    Mathews I Malankara Metropolitan & Catholicos of East

    Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews I was the Supreme Primate of Malankara Church. He was the 88th successor to the Holy Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas and Catholicos of the East and 18th Malankara Metropolitan.

    Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril Indian Christian saint and Malankara Metropolitan

    Saint Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril popularly known as Vattasseril Thirumeni, born Geevarghese was the 15 th Malankara Metropolitan (primate) of the Malankara Orthodox Church. Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius is popularly known as "Malankara Sabha Bhasuran", a title which the Church bestowed on him in recognition of his contribution to Malankara Church. Vattasseril Thirumeni was a man of prayer, determination and dynamism. He was the greatest advocate of sovereignty and autonomy of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

    Catholicos of the East Ecclesiastic title

    Catholicos of the East is an ecclesiastical title used by Eastern Churches. The term "Catholicos" is derived from the Greek word Katholikos (Καθολικός), meaning "Universal Bishop".

    Catholicos Moran Mor Baselios Augen I was the 17th Malankara Metropolitan and fourth Catholicose of the Malankara Church.

    Athanasius Paulose 19th and 20th-century Jacobite Syrian patriarch


    Athanasius Paulose, popularly known as 'Valiya Thirumeni', was the Metropolitan bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India for nearly four decades. He is now referred to as Saint Athanasius.

    Paulose II (Indian Orthodox Church) 21st Malankara Metropolitan and 8th Catholicos of the Malankara Church

    Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II is the supreme primate of the Malankara Church of India. He became Catholicos of the East and 21st Malankara Metropolitan on 1 November 2010. He is the successor for His Holiness Baselios Thoma Didymos I. He was enthroned as the Catholicos of the East for Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on 1 November 2010 at Parumala Seminary and is the 91st Primate on the Holy Apostolic Throne of St Thomas and 8th Catholicos of the Malankara and 21st Malankara Metropolitan in the lineage of Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitans respectively.

    Saint Thomas Christian denominations

    The Saint Thomas Christian denominations are traditional Christian denominations from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" as well. The Syriac term "Nasrani" is still used by St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.

    Geevarghese Mar Philoxenos Metropolitan of Thumpamon Diocese

    Geevarghese Mar Philoxenos aka Puthencavil Kochu Thirumeni was an administrator, orator and an advocate of Orthodox and the Catholicate of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India. He served as Metropolitan of Thumpamon Diocese from 1930 to 1951.

    The position of Priest Trustee in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is of paramount importance in the administration of the Church, together with the Malankara Metropolitan and the lay trustee. The priest trustee is a priest of order Kasheesha or Cor-Episcopa.

    Kottayam Orthodox Diocese

    Kottayam Diocese is one of the 30 dioceses of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The diocese was created in Mulanthuruthy Synod in 1876.

    Thumpamon Orthodox Diocese

    Thumpamon Diocese is one of the 30 dioceses of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The diocese was created after the Mulanthuruthy Synod in 1876. Now, H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis is the Metropoliton of the diocese. The head office is located in St. Basil Aramana, Pathanamthitta.

    Kochi Orthodox Diocese

    Kochi Diocese is one of the 30 dioceses of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The diocese was created after the Mulanthuruthy Synod in 1876. Yakob Mar Irenios is the Metropoliton of the diocese. The head office is located in Zion Seminary, Korratti East, Chalakkudi.

    The Order of St. Thomas is the highest honorary award given by the Indian Orthodox Church(Malankara church) and named after St. Thomas the Apostle who founded the Church in India. It is reserved for heads of states and churches and awarded by the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, who is the primate of the Malankara Orthodox Church. The award is usually presented at large public gatherings held at different locations of importance to the Indian Orthodox Church within India.

    Geevarghese alongside Varughese, Varghese, Verghese, Varkey, Varughis, and Vergis are Syriac–Malayalam variants of George in India. Geevarghese may refer to:

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    12. The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5 by Erwin Fahlbusch. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing – 2008. p. 285. ISBN   978-0-8028-2417-2.
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