Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam

The Orthodox Theological Seminary also known as Old Seminary (Pazhaya Seminari) is a seminary of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It was founded in 1815 priest-monk Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop Ramban (later Mar Dionysius II) with help from Colonel John Munro to serve the Malankara Syrian Church and to invite CMS missionaries to teach theology. At that time deacons were ordained as priests without an organized theological education. After the arrival of CMS missionaries, theological education was organized for the priests.[1]

Orthodox Theological Seminary
Pazhaya Seminary
പഴയ സെമിനാരി
A 2015 stamp dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the Orthodox Theological Seminary
LocationKottayam, Kerala
DenominationMalankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Former name(s)Kottayam Seminary, Kottayam College, Syrian Seminary
Founder(s)Pullikottil Dionysius I (Dionysius II)
Relics heldTombs of

Pullikottil Dionysius I - 10th Malankara Metropolitan

Pulikkottil Joseph Dionysious II - 14th Malankara Metropolitan

Vattasseril Dionysius VI - 15th Malankara Metropolitan

Paulose Mar Gregorios - Former Principal of the Seminary and Metropolitan of Delhi diocese of Malankara Church
Bishop(s)Patron and Custodian of the Seminary is the Malankara Metropolitan , presently Baselios Marthoma Mathews III
Priest in chargeFr. Dr. Reji Mathews (Principal)

John Munro, the British Resident in the Kingdom of Travancore offered his unreserved support for the initiative and upon his insistence the Queen of Travancore granted 16 acres (65,000 m2) of tax-free land, Rs.20,000 and the necessary timber for the construction of the Seminary.[2][3] The work started in 1813, and the building was completed and classes began in March 1815.

By Munro's invitation, the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) Missionaries arrived in Kerala, to help as teachers in the seminary.[3] For some years the relationship between the missionaries and the Church was one of cordial co-operation. The missionaries taught the Bible and biblical languages in the Seminary. The early principals were Benjamin Bailey and Henry Baker.

After some time the relationship of the church with the later missionaries became strained as they wanted to introduce Anglican doctrines in the church which eventually led to disputes and litigation. The missionaries separated from the Malankara Church and established the Anglican Church in Kerala.

The seminary was the residence and headquarters of the Malankara Metropolitan, the chief metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It was also the previous Head Quarters of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It continued the programme of training ordinands. Eminent Malpans (teachers of theology and liturgy) rendered service to the institution. Some of the distinguished teachers include Abraham malpan, Gheevarghese Gregorios of Parumala, Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril, Konat Mathan Corepiscopa, Skaria Cheriamadam, Skaria Elavinamannil, Alexander Mattakkal, Augen Mar Timotheos (later Baselios Augen I), V.K.Mathews (later Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews I), Philipose Theophilus and Paulos Gregorios.[1]

In 1942, the seminary was modernized. A systematised course of studies was introduced. A new generation of qualified professors of theology and biblical studies took responsibility for running the Seminary. Classes and students' residence were moved to the new buildings in the campus of the M.D. Seminary at Kottayam. When the Malankara Metropolitan moved his residence from the old seminary to the present site in Devalokam, Kottayam, theological education was once again brought back to the old seminary. In 1964, the seminary became affiliated to the Serampore University for its B.D. degree course. In 1965, the 150th year of its founding, was celebrated in the presence of ecclesiastical dignitaries and church leaders.

The foundation stone of the new building was laid by Vasken I, Supreme Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Etchmiadzin on 23 December 1963 during his visit to the Malankara Syrian Church. Patriarch Justinian of Romania, declared open the new building on 7 January 1969, during his visit to the Malankara Church. Other eminent visitors to the Seminary include Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Patriarch Pimen I of Moscow of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The M. D. Orthodox Seminary, in an ecumenical collaboration with the C.S.I Seminary (KUT) Trivandrum and the, Marthoma Seminary, Kottayam, runs the Master's and Doctoral programmes under the banner of the Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture.[1]

On 21 April 2015 a postage stamp commemorating the 200 years of the Orthodox Theological Seminary was released by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee.[4]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Official Website". Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. ^ "History of Cochin Royal Family". cochinroyalhistory.org.
  3. ^ a b Tovey, Phillip. "Colonel John Munro in Travancore". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ "Postage Stamp commemorating 200 years Old Kottayam Seminary released". news.biharprabha.com. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.