Orthodox Syrian Sunday school Association of the East- Outside Kerala Region (OSSAE-OKR) is a spiritual organization functioning in all the parishes of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church especially in the Outside Kerala Region dioceses namely Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bombay, Brahmavar Calcutta, Delhi and Madras. It takes care of the spiritual nurturing of the children, by bringing them up in the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus Christ. The classes are conducted and the Textbooks are prepared in English. The classes which range from Preparatory to 12th are divided into four main categories. 1. Bethlehem (Preparatory Classes), 2. Nazareth (Classes1-3), 3. Galilee (Classes 4-10), 4. Tabore (Classes 11 & 12). The Secondary level education concludes by 10th class and a certificate is awarded, Sunday School Final Certificate (SSFC) to the successful candidates. Higher Secondary course is for another two years. H. G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Dionysius, the Metropolitan of the diocese of Calcutta is the current President of OSSAE-OKR and Rev. Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip, the principal of St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur is the current Director General of OSSAE-OKR.
St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur (STOTS) is one of the two seminaries of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. This seminary is located in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Presently there are 72 students studying in the seminary from various dioceses.
July 1, 1995 - Decision of the Synod about a Seminary in North India
September 14, 1995 - Inception of the Seminary at Bhilai
October 19, 1995 - Inauguration of Bhilai Seminary
July 1996 - Synod confers autonomous status to Bhilai Seminary
December 10, 1997 - Laying of foundation stone at Nagpur
July 7, 1999 - Shift of Seminary from Bhilai to Nagpur Church
December 7, 1999 - Inauguration of STOTS hostel at Kalmeshwar
October 10, 2002 - Visit of Serampore Commission
October 29, 2002 - Laying of foundation stone of Seminary Chapel
February 2003 - Serampore Senate affiliates the Seminary
February 18, 2004 - First Convocation
February 19, 2004 - Consecration of Seminary Chapel
July 1, 2008 - First girl student joins the seminary
October 7, 2009 - Second Convocation
April 5, 2011 - Consecration of the family quarters
November 9, 2012 - Foundation stone lying of Upasana Building
September 18, 2013 - Consecration of the Upasana Centre
September 18, 2013 - Third Convocation
February 4, 2013 - Inauguration of ‘Online Theological Study’
“The vision St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur (STOTS) is to be a Centre of excellence in theological education, intended to train, in the spirit of Christ, men and women, to be committed leaders, dedicated ascetics and exemplary witnesses within the orthodox ethos; who will consistently endeavour to enable members of the church, especially in the Diaspora, to uphold, practice and propagate the Holy Orthodox faith; who will minister to the Church and society responding to the emerging needs and challenges; and who will participate in, and inspire the Church in her God-given mission in India and abroad.”
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in AD 52. From the fourth century the Indian Church entered into a close relationship with the Persian or East Syrian Church.From the Persians, the Indians inherited East Syrian language and liturgies and gradually came to be known as Syrian Christians. In the sixteenth century Roman Catholic missionaries came to Kerala. They tried to unite the Syrian Christians to the Roman Catholic Church and this led to a split in the community. Those who accepted Catholicism are the present Syro-Malabar Catholics. Later Western Protestant missionaries came to Kerala and worked among Syrian Christians; that also created certain splits in the community.In the seventeenth century the Church came to a relationship with the Antiochene Church which again caused splits. As a result of this relationship the Church received West Syrian liturgies and practices. At present the Church is using the West Syrian liturgy. The faith of the Church is that which was established by the three Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (AD 325), Constantinople (AD 381) and Ephesus (AD 431). The Church entered into a new phase of its history by the establishment of the Catholicate in 1912. The church always asserted that St. Thomas had his apostolic throne in India as St. Peter had it in Rome or Antioch. When the Catholicate was established, the Catholicose as the head of the Malankara church,took the title “The successor of the Apostolic throne of St. Thomas”. On 15thSeptember 1912, at St. Mary’s Church founded by St.Thomas in Niranam, Mar Ivanios Metropolitan was consecrated with the name Mar Baselios Paulose First as the first Catholicose of the Malankara Church. Following are the Catholicoses, who served our Church since 1912: 1. H.H. Baselios Paulos I 2. H. H. BaseliusGeevarghese I 3 H. H. BaseliusGeevarghese II 4. H. H. BaseliusAugen I 5. H. H. BaseliusMarthoma Mathews I 6. H. H. BaseliusMarthoma Mathews II 7. H. H. Moran Mar BaseliusMarthomaDidymus I (90thsuccessor of St. Thomas and 7thCatholicoseof the East) 8. H. H. Moran Mar BaseliusMarthomaPaulos II (91stsuccessor of St. Thomas and 8thCatholicose of the East)
The basic text of the following is an English translation of the Constitution of OSSAE, which was approved by the Holy Episcopal Synod and is in use since January 1st 1989 as per the Kalpana of the Catholicos. The General Body of the OSSAE held on 13th August 2005 amended Clause 95 to say that there will be a separate region for the Outside Kerala Dioceses and it approved the Sub-Rules for this Outside Kerala Region. As per these developments some deletions and additions are made to the Constitution of the OSSAE just for the use of the OKR. These were already approved by the General Body of OKR held at Nagpur on 21st August 2004. The deletions are marked in the present constitution against the original number of the paragraphs and changes/ additions made are put in italics for the sake of visual impression.