Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:16)
We Mar Toma Nazaranees are the St. Thomas Christians of India. We have our own special Christian life-style and liturgical celebrations.
St. Thomas (Mar Toma) was one of the twelve apostles (Slihe) of Jesus Christ. Jesus is called Nazarene as the major portion of his earthly life was spent at Nazareth, a town in the northern region of Palestine. Thus, Mar Toma Nazaranees are those who follow Jesus the Nazarene according to the unique faith-experience of Mar Toma (St. Thomas).
Mar Toma Margam
Mar Toma Margam is the unique Christian life-style of the Mar Toma Nazranees. Margam is a Sanskrit word (now used in several other Indian languages too) that signifies the “way of life” or “life-style”, especially of a religious nature. Thus Mar Toma Margam is the particular Christian life-style, introduced in India by Mar Toma, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Centuries back, in the beginning of Christian era itself, this special Christian life-style germinated in our own motherland India through St. Thomas (Mar Toma) who lived with, touched and experienced the Son of God, Jesus.
Mar Toma Margam is hope incarnate; the Bible is its heart and the Mar Toma Sliba (St. Thomas Cross), its expression.
“Mar Toma Nazranees (St. Thomas Christians) are those who live according to the Mar Toma Margam. They are God-fearing and God-loving Catholics. Their Qurbana and other liturgical celebrations have their own special features and distinctive characteristics. Wherever they are, the Mar Toma Nazranees are bound to live according to this particular life-style.”
On all important occasions when the Mar Toma Nazranees get together, the Qurbana is celebrated.
“When you are gathered together in my name, do this that I have done, in remembrance of me” (Order of the Raza).
Mother Tongue Of Jesus As Our Liturgical Language
Today we celebrate the Holy Qurbana in our own mother tongue. But from the very beginning, namely, the time of St. Thomas the Apostle, up to July 3, 1962, we used to celebrate Qurbana in Syriac language. Syriac, however, is same as the Aramaic language, the mother tongue of Jesus. Both the Bible and the early Church tradition owe a lot to this language and its semitic cultural background.
To become scholars in Syriac language and culture, was always considered something very prestigious by Mar Toma Nazranees. Syriac language was the medium of expression for Mar Toma Margam.