“And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:26)
“And I say to you: That you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)
The Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church is a part of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church under the Holy Apostolic See of Antioch and all the East which was established in A.D. 37 by St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles. The Supreme Head of the Church is His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, the 123rd Successor of St Peter.His Beatitude Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I is the Catholicos of India and the 2nd hierarch of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church.
The history of the Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom can be traced back to the 1970’s when our faithful started to migrate from Kerala for furthering job opportunities and better life. In 1972, a congregation was formed from members of different churches in Kerala, under the name, Kerala Christian Fellowship (KCF) in London under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Abraham Aluckal (now HE Dr. Mor Severios Abraham Metropolitan. It was a milestone of the Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church in the UK when the late lamented Catholicos of the East, His Beatitude Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II arrived in the UK and celebrated the holy mass at St. Pancras Church in London on 30th September 1979. At this UK visit H.B. the Catholicos visited the major churches and had cordial discussions with prelates of sister churches. Since then, there were periodic visits by the late Metropolitans, HE Mor Osthatheos Thomas, HE Mor Ivanios Philipose, HE Mor Coorilos Kuriakose and HE Dr Mor Severios Abraham and HE Mor Themotheos Thomas who celebrated the Holy Qurbana during their respective visits to the U.K.
In 1989, the first parish of the Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church was established in London by Rev Fr Jose Pallathatta (HE Mor Gregorios Joseph Metropolitan) with the help and support of Mr Chandi Thomas, Mr K A Alias, Mr M V Thankachan, Mr A M Chacko, Mr V Ipe, Dr P P George,Mr Joy Tharakan and Dr Valsa. The holy services were regularly conducted once in every month, and also on feast days. Since then, this Congregation was led by the following Vicars Fr George Vadathu (1992-1994), Fr Eldhose Koungampillil (1994-2003) and Fr Job Thottathil (2003).
In 2003, Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church in Europe had only 4 Congregations at Vienna, London, Switzerland and Newcastle. Due to the increased number of parishes, HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas appointed HE Mor Gregorios Joseph as the first Metropolitan-in-charge of the above congregations in 2002 and HE laid the foundation for the growth of the churches in Europe.In 2004, HE Dr Mor Theophilose Kuriakose was appointed as successor in Europe. Under the leadership of His Eminence, new congregations were started at Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Leicester, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Northampton, Manchester and Belfast. In 2006 His Holiness Moran Patriarch appointed the first European Council consists of 36 members include priests and representatives from the parishes in Europe. Under the leadership of His Eminence, four European Family Conferences were held at Vienna (2005), London (2006), Switzerland (2007) and Ireland (2008). As more faithful migrated to Europe, more parishes were established during this period. As per the recommendation of the local Episcopal Synod in India, His Holiness Moran Patriarch divided the Europe into 3 Patriarchal Vicariates in 2008 and appointed HE Dr Mor Coorilos Geevarghese as the first Patriarchal Vicar of the UK, HE Mor Diascoros Kuriakose as the Patriarchal Vicar of Ireland, and HE Dr Mor Theophilose Kuriakose as the Patriarchal Vicar of the Central Europe.
In January2009, HE Dr Mor Coorilos Geevarghese convened a joint meeting of the vicars, office bearers and parish representatives. At this meeting, an administrative body of the Patriarchal Vicariate called “MSOC Council – UK” was elected. The meeting charted the future course of action for the growth and development of the MSOC – UK. Henceforth started more congregations in Aberdeen, Oxford, Leeds, Cambridge, Basingstoke and Londonderry. In 2009, MSOC – UK conducted the first UK family conference at London which was blessed by the presence of His Beatitude Mor Baselious Thomas I. In 2010, the second Family Conference was held at Belfast. The leadership of the Patriarchal Vicar and the hard work of the MSOC Council helped to transform the MSOC – UK into one of the leading Patriarchal Vicariates under the Holy Throne of Antioch.
In 2011, HE Mor Aphrem Mathews was appointed as the Patriarchal Vicar of the UK. During His Eminence’s tenure, Family Conferences were conducted at Bristol, Manchester and Oxford, and established the Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Student Movement (JSOSM) in UK. The following parishes were also started at North London, Basildon, Poole and Preston.
In 2014, the new Patriarchal Vicar HE Mor Philexinos Zacharias was appointed. On 26th November 2016, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II,the Prince Patriarch of Antioch made the Apostolic visit to the UK and blessed the faithful. It was a remarkable blessing for the MSOC – UK.During HE Mor Philexinos Zacharias’s tenure, two Family Conferences were conducted at Liverpool and Aberdeen and new parishes were started at Hampshire and Redditch.
In 2017, HE Dr Mor Anthimos Matthews was appointed as the Patriarchal Vicar. Family conference was conducted at Worthing and new parishes were started at Exeter, Stoke-on-Trent, South London and Ashford. MJSSA – UK, Vanitha Samajam and Youth Association were restructured in MSOC -UK.