The Mar Thoma Church of Los Angeles is part of the world wide Mar Thoma Church whose origin is in Kerala, India. Our church inaugurated its first worship service on August 15, 1976. We started with fourteen families and today by God's grace we have grown to about 155 families. Our church belongs to the North America and U.K. diocese of the global Mar Thoma Church. In the beginning years we rented our places of worship from various churches in the greater Los Angeles area. We started in our first place of worship in Culver City and then relocated to Pasadena (twice), Alhambra, El Sereno and finally in 1989, by God's grace we bought our very own church in Glendora. We are located at the base of the scenic San Gabriel Mountains in the city of Glendora, the "Pride of the Foothills". It is approximately 27 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
Our Historical Background
The Mar Thoma Church is headed by a Metropolitan bishop who lays claim to the Malankara Throne of St. Thomas. In 2005, the current Metropolitan is His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma, who has his throne at Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India. He is the 20th Malankara Metropolitan to occupy the Holy Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas after the reestablishment of the episcopacy in the 15th century.
The majority of the membership of the church is in the southern Indian state of Kerala but it has spread with the 20th century Indian Diaspora to North America, Europe, the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, this in addition to a sizeable population in the rest of India.
The Mar Thoma Church is an Eastern Reformed Church. It owes its origin to the evangelistic work of the Apostle St. Thomas who came to India in 52 A.D. During the past centuries, the Church has been keeping friendly relations with various ancient churches. It is very much indebted to the Reformation and Revival movements of the 19th century.
The Mar Thoma Church is Eastern in worship, Episcopal in tradition, democratic in administration and ecumenical in vision. It's Biblical emphasis, evangelical outlook, missionary zeal, theological concerns and social commitments are some other salient features of the Church. It is an active participant in the work of the ecumenical organizations like the WCC, NCCI, CCA, KCC, NMS and the Bible Society. It is in full communion with the Episcopal Churches in the United States and Canada, world wide Anglican Church, the Church of South India and the Church of North India.
The Mar Thoma Church has 965 parishes with an approximate membership of 875,000. The ecclesiastical structure of the Church consists of the Metropolitan, the Suffragan Metropolitan, eight Episcopas and 613 clergymen. Strong lay leadership is very much prevalent in all facets of the Church activities. The Church has eleven Dioceses and has its headquarters at Tiruvalla, Kerala, INDIA.
The Diocese of North America and Europe was first formed as a Zonal Council in 1982 and then as a diocese in 1988. The diocese holds in its fold approximately 3500 families, consisting of about 13,000 members organized in 87 parishes including congregations. The diocese is now being served by a resident bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Theodosiusand 60 clergymen.
The different organizations of the Diocese and the regional and national conferences provide leadership and assistance to children, youth, men and women in their spiritual growth and development. The Diocese is very keen to maintain ecumenical relationship with other American churches and also in establishing friendly contacts with people of different religious backgrounds and cultures of this country.