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Introduction to the Belfast Mar Thoma Congregation

Belfast Mar Thoma Congregation - Belfast City Hall

Belfast is the capital and the largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of River Lagan on the east coast. Even though it is situated on the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland (NI) is part of the United Kingdom.

Belfast suffered greatly during the violence that accompanied the partition of Ireland, conflicts between catholic and protestant populations lasted for a long period of time until the Good Friday Agreement was signed in the year 1998. Belfast was the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, which famously struck an iceberg and sank in 1912.

It houses two prominent universities, Ulster and Queens, that attract a large student population and several national health hospitals in and around the city that employ the healthcare staff that make up the bulk of our congregation.

A small, yet mighty community...

Prior to 2000, there were only 2-3 families belonging to the Marthoma church residing in NI, who at the time associated themselves with the Marthoma church in London.

Our late Bishop Rt. Rev. Geevarghese Mar Athanasius, on a personal visit to Belfast, conducted the Holy communion service at the Lisburn Road Methodist Church under the guidance of the vicar of London Marthoma church, Rev. Prasad Mathew. This marked the beginning of an ecumenical spirit among all the sister parishes as this was the first ever Liturgical worship conducted in our mother tongue in the history of Northern Ireland. Members of the Orthodox, Syrian Jacobite, Syro Malabar, and CSI churches joined the Mar thoma community to praise His name! Following this, a series of worship and prayer meetings were held by Rev. Sham P. Thomas who at the time was pursuing higher studies in Edinburgh and by Rev. Dr. Jacob Thomas of the CSI church who was a member of the faculty at the Belfast Bible College.

The vestments, chalice and paten brought from Kerala were shared commonly by all the denominations of the Malankara churches for their respective worship sessions.They are preserved even today as a remembrance of those times.

In the year 2002, we witnessed a large migration of healthcare staff to the UK for their higher education or settlement purposes. We were blessed with an influx of Marthoma members which thus led to the formation of the Belfast Marthoma congregation.

By 2005, with the approval of the diocesan bishop of that time, Rt. Rev. Euyakim Mar Coorilos, Rev. Thomas P. Koshy (vicar of St.James Mar thoma church,London) began conducting regular liturgical worship in Belfast.

On January 28th 2006, Bishop Mar Coorilos made his first episcopal visit and officially awarded the ‘Belfast Mar Thoma Congregation’ status to the 12 families attending the service held at the Belfast Bible College! Rev.Thomas P. Koshy was appointed as the Vicar. This was an auspicious moment for us all. Several Bishops have graced us with their presence since then, Rt. Rev. Geevarghese Mar Theodosius and Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Timotheos among them.

The Belfast family has been growing exponentially ever since. Now it is part of the UK and Europe Independent Zone which was formed in 2017 and receives recognition and guidance through several platforms. Even though we are the smallest congregation worldwide, our active participation and contributions prove that we are small but mighty!


Meet Our Vicar

Rev. Stanley Mathew John

Born in Chathannoor, Kerala, he migrated with his parents and pursued his education in the UK, obtaining a degree in Business Studies and an MBA. Reverend Stanley’s passion for serving others led him to various parishes, including St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church in Mumbai and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Patna, Bihar. Alongside his pastoral duties, he finds solace in singing, composing music, reading literature, playing musical instruments, and cricket. His wife is Merry Susan Varughese, and hails from Kottayam.

To contact our vicar, please write to:

Rev Stanley Mathew John & Wife

Upcoming Events

Lectionary Readings

January 28

Participation in nation building: a Christian responsibility;

രാഷ്ട്ര നിർമ്മിതിയിലെ പങ്കാളിത്തം: ക്രൈസ്തവ ധർമ്മം


Neh 2:11-18

1Pet 2:1-12

Gospel Readings

Rom 12:9-21

Matt 13:31-34

Evening Reading

1Sam 10:1-9

Titus 3:1-11

Lectionary readings provided by

Glimpses of our community life...

You are always welcome...

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From the Vicar's desk...

Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

I am indeed glad and blessed to scribble down in this space as the Vicar of Belfast Mar Thoma Congregation, one of the congregations of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in the United Kingdom.

I believe that Almighty God, through our Church, gave me this opportunity to serve the community here in Belfast. It is a blessing that we are able to experience the living presence of our saviour Jesus Christ through the Sacraments and in exercising spiritual discipline. The efforts laid by the Church fathers, clergies and laities are fondly revered and remembered which has made the Church grow, especially in Northern Ireland. As we all know, we are called out and privileged people to be part of the Body of Christ and to be a Christian is to be a person of never-ending hope. To have confidence in God as the ultimate reality comes from hope.

Nowadays, we hear and see the fury of war, terrorism, environmental hazards and attack of harmful viruses. Future is threatened leading to despair. Let us not be overwhelmed by these, but with hope, become aware of God being at work in this world. Let us be challenged and filled with hope to take risks, not audaciously – but in prayer and humility – becoming people who will see the hand of God at work.

Beloved members of the Congregation, amidst the intellectual encroachment and prosperity – let us be faithful to God, to the calling and be revived in our spiritual journey. Let’s acknowledge the goodness of God through the situations of life and witness him in this land of Northern Ireland in different capacities. May our good Lord bless us all.

With you all..

Prayerful regards,

Rev. Stanley Mathew John