Saturday, October 19, 2013

Eastern Rite: The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

The Syro-Malankara Catholics. Vatican City
Patriarch, Bishops, Priests

In our previous article, we describe the Byzantine Catholic Church Liturgical Vestments, now another from the Eastern Rite Catholic Church: The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.


1. Eskimo – (veil/hood) embellished with 13 crosses signifying Christ and his twelve apostles whose mission is to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.

2. Msone – A ceremonial shoes which are worn during the celebration of the Holy Qurbono. (Mass) Since animal products are prohibited on the sanctuary, the shoes are not made of leather. Upon wearing the left shoe, the priest recites, May my feet, O Lord God, be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace so that I may tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy, forever. Upon wearing the right shoe, he recites, Cast down under my foot, Lord God, all false pride that is exalted against Thy knowledge, and grant that by Thy help I may bring the lusts of the flesh into subjection, for ver.

3. Kutino (alb) – A white surplice whose color is an indication of the priest's purity. The priest signs the cross over it three times saying, Clothe me, O Lord, with the robe of incorruption through the strength of Thy Holy Spirit, and make me worthy to keep the true faith and walk in the paths of purity and righteousness all the days of my life.

4. Hamnikho (necklace) - the stole which symbolizes the priest being armed with the fear of the Lord. He signs the cross over it twice, reciting Psalm 18:39, 40: Gird me with strength unto the battle and subdue under me them that rise up against me, defeat my enemies and silence those who hate me.

5. Zenoro (girdle) - which speaks of the priest's control over all bodily desires. He signs the cross over it once reciting Psalm 45:3: Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou most mighty with thy splendor and glory. Thy glory triumphs.

6. Zende (sleeves) - which symbolize the priest's readiness to keep God's Law and do works of righteousness. He signs the cross twice over the left sleeve and recites Psalm 18:34 while wearing it: He trains my hands to war; and he strengthens my arms like a bow of brass. He then signs the cross once over the right sleeve and recites Psalm 18:35 while wearing it: Let Thy right hand help me up, and let Thy loving discipline raise me.

If the celebrant is a prelate, he puts on the Masnaphto 'turban', a head-cover which symbolizes the cloth with which the Lord's head was bound for His burial. He makes the sign of the cross twice on it and wears it reciting Psalm 4:6-7: Who can show me He who is good? May the light of Thy countenance shine upon us, O Lord, Thou hast given gladness to my heart.

The priest then puts on the Phayno, a cope which symbolizes Aaron's robe of many colors and the Savior's seamless robe. He signs the cross over it thrice reciting Psalm 132:9-10: Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness and Thy righteous with glory. For Thy servant David's sake, turn not away the face of thine anointed. Then he puts it on reciting Psalm 132:9: Clothe Thy priests with salvation and Thy saints with glory

If the celebrant is a prelate, he puts on the Batrashil `Pallium' which is similar to the Hamnikho but extends both front and back. It reminds the prelate of the Cross which the Savior carried. He crosses it once reciting Psalm 27:5: In the day of trouble, he protects me in the shadow of his tabernacle. He exalts me upon a rock; and now he shall lift up my head above mine enemies.

The Patriarch wears the Sakro `shield' attached to the Zenoro on the right side. The shield of faith symbolizes his authority and his position as the protector of the faith (Ephesians 6:16 "… above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one).

Prelates also wear a Cross and an icon, usually of the Mother of God, around the neck. While wearing the cross he recites Psalm 34:5: Turn your eyes to him and hope in him and you shall not be disappointed.

Then the prelate takes the Crosier (Mooroneetho) in his left hand, which symbolizes the bishop's authority and reminds us of the shepherd's staff, reciting Psalm 110:2: The Lord will send forth the sceptre of Thy power out of Zion: thou shalt rule in the midst of thine enemies. He also takes a hand Cross in his right hand, from which a cloth called Mqablonitho 'veil' is hung reciting Psalm 44:5: For Thy cause we shall combat our enemies and for the cause of Thy name we shall trample those who hate us. Upon completing this, the celebrant washes his hands.


Deacons wear a white Kutino and an Uroro 'stole' in various shapes according to their rank.
Singers (Mzamrono) wear the Kutino without the Uroro.
Readers (Qoruyo) wear the Uroro in the form of a Cross.
Subdeacons (Apodyaqno) wear the Uroro folded around the neck.
Deacons (Shamosho) wear the Uroro over the left shoulder, on either side like wings.

Archdeacons (Archedyaqno) wear the Uroro round the neck. They also wear a Zenoro and Zende similar to priests.

Though the site (syro-malankara orthodox) is not in communion with the Holy See in Rome, these presentations of Liturgical vestment are taken as neutral. These are the traditional liturgical vestments whether the Syro-Malankara church is under the Orthodox See or those under in the full communion to the Bishop of Rome (Catholic Church) like on the top photo in the Vatican city. [note: most of our Eastern Catholic churches (oriental churches) has a counterpart in Orthodox see (almost the same)


  1. The vestments, rite & liturgy shown on this page is from the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Patriarch of the Holy Church is HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas I, 122nd successor of Mor Pathros (St. Peter).

    1. yeah that's why credit goes to Syrian-Malankara Orthodox Church which is clearly stated on the lower portion on this article

  2. Actually that is incorrect (and please do not take my response offensively). This rite is known as the West Syrian Rite which was created within the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch with the Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas I (122nd successor of St. Peter) as the spiritual/administrative head of the Church. This rite came to Malankara (Kerala, India) when the local people revolted against the Portuguese Jesuits as an opposition to Rome; it was the Syriac Orthodox Church that came to the aid of the people and the West Syriac aka Antiochean Rite was brought to Malankara, thus the proper name for this church is called the "Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church" also known as the "Jacobite Church" which is an archdiocese for the Syriac Orthodox Church. In the early 1900s, when a group of bishops within this Malankara Church had a disagreement with the then Patriarch, they broke away and formed the "Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church" aka Indian Orthodox Church in which they continued to use the same tradition, only establishing a bishop based out of Kerala, India and breaking away from the Patriarch; it was one of those bishops the late Geevarghese Mar Ivanios had the conviction that the church should be Catholic and wanted to commune with Rome, long story short, he only had a few bishops to support him and hence the Syro-Malankara Church was established in the 1930s(?).

  3. Every one has the freedom to embrace any religion; but should do it by insulting others. Mar Ivanios group is all free to embrace Rome, but he should had discontinued with the traditions of Malankara Nazaranis.
    Suppose you migrate to Pakistan and take their citizenship, can you still say I am Indian?
    It is just like the above example. Once left, just leave it for all. Please donot misuse Malankara traditions and titles, for God's sake.

    1. I beg to disagree. you said and I quote " Suppose you migrate to Pakistan and take their citizenship, can you still say I am Indian? ... Once left, just leave it for all. "

      Yes indeed you are truly still an Indian by nature, check your genes it is still the same code the one that you have while you were in India before migrating to Pakistan and turning into a Pakistani citizen.

      I hope you get my point, not all who choose to transfer has the same one reason - they choose to migrate because they don't want to be what they are, of course not, there are boundless reason, for instance, they don't like their current government but still wanted to retain their identity.


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