Parish History


The Mar Thoma Parish Perth is a Parish of the Mar Thoma Church which is part of the ancient Church established in A.D.52 in India by St. Thomas, an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Through out the centuries the Church had close link with the Churches in the East and West. The Church maintains its Eastern Character (especially in worship, liturgy, episcopacy etc.) with autonomy and independence, ecumenical outlook and mission fervour. The Mar Thoma church traces its immediate history to a reform movement within the ancient Saint Thomas Church of Malabar. The reformation initiated in the Church in 1836 and the spirit of reformation contributed in maintaining the above identity.

A brief history

The Origin and growth of the Mar Thoma Parish Perth can be summarised in five stages:
1. Early Beginnings 
2. Episcopal and Clergy visits 1980-2000 
3. Developments after 2000
4. Formation of Mar Thoma Congregation
5. Approval as a Parish

1. Early beginnings

Malayalees started their migration to Australia in late 60’s as Australian’s Government started taking migrants from Asian countries. A few Mar Thomites were among the early migrants. The number of settlers increased with time during the period 1970-80 and they joined the local churches for worship and pastoral needs.

2. Episcopal and Clergy visits 1980-2000

The early beginning of the Mar Thoma Congregation may be viewed in the context of several Episcopal visits to Australia from 1980-2000. The first Mar Thoma bishop visit was in March 1982, when the Most Rev Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan visited Perth and led a prayer meeting in St George’s Cathedral. In April 1984 Bishop Zacharias Mar Theophilus visited Perth and led a prayer meeting at Fremantle Anglican Church.  Bishop Joseph Mar Irenaeus visited Perth in August 1988 and celebrated the first Holy Communion Service at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Fremantle. 

In February 1991 and April 1993 Bishop Zacharias Mar Theophilus visited Perth and conducted prayer meeting and Holy Communion Service, respectively, in St Andrews Anglican Church, Shelley. Rev Bryan Shattock conducted Mar Thoma order service in 1992 and 1993 at West Nedlands Anglican Church. In November 1994 Rev Abraham Kuruvilla (Sydney), July 1995 Rev K.S. Mathew (Sydney), August 1998 Rev Sabu Philip (Melbourne) and in October 1998 Rev Jolly Thomas (Melbourne) conducted Holy Communion Service at St Andrews Anglican Church, Shelley. In 1995 and 1996 Bishop Thomas Mar Timotheos celebrated Holy Communion Services in Perth. In March 2000 Most Rev Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan visited Perth and celebrated Holy Communion at St Andrews Church, Shelly and three children were given First Communion. In July 2000 Rev Sabu Philip conducted Holy Communion Service. 

3. Developments after 2000

In August 2001 Rev Abraham Athyal, October 2003 Rev Philip, March 2004 Rt. Rev Euyakim Mar Coorilose Episcopa,  April 2005 Rev Varghese Philip (Melbourne), October 2005, Rev K M Mathew (Melbourne) and January 2006 Rev Mathai Varghese (Sydney) are visited Perth and celebrated Holy Communion Services at St Andrew’s Anglican Church Shelley. Also in April 2006 Rev K M Mathew celebrated Holy Communion service at West Nedlands Anglican Church. 

4. Formation as a Congregation

Even though our Bishops and Achens were visiting Perth during their visit in Australia, the number of Marthomites were not enough to form a Mar Thoma Parish in Perth.   

During the year 2003-04 the believers formed a Perth Mar Thoma Congregation Committee and worked towards the recognition of a Parish in Perth. Some of the CSI Church members also joined with Marthomites to form a Parish. A General Body meeting of the congregation held on 03-April-05 under the chairmanship of Rev Varghese Philip (Vicar Melbourne Mar Thoma Church), on his visit to Perth and elected a new committee for the year 2005-06. Also the economic growth in Australia and specially the mining and oil industry boom in WA attracted lot of new migrants, including Marthomites to Perth. The subsequent Mar Thoma Parish Organizing Committee Meetings in Jan-2006 and March-2006 could create the momentum towards the establishment of Parish. 

6. Approval as Parish

The visit of the Diocesan Bishop Geevarghese Mar Theodosius was the turning point for the approval of the congregation as a Parish. Bishop chaired the meeting of the congregation members on 14-Mar-06 and recommended to Synod for the establishment of Perth Mar Thoma Parish. The Episcopal Synod has approved the Perth Parish with effect from 1st May 2006 and appointed Rev K M Mathew as the vicar (the vicar of Melbourne Parish) for the Ministry vide circular dated 07-April -2006 of Most Rev Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan. There were 23 families and 6 individual members included at the formation of the Parish. The parish was incorporated as a legal entity in WA on 14th August 2007. Now there are 66 families and 8 individual members in the parish (as of June 2012).

The summary concluded here by expressing thanks to Almighty God.