The history and destiny of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church weighs much on its theological seminaries. The Old Seminary at Kottayam was founded in 1815 and it contributed much to the development of the Church in the past two centuries.
However, the leadership of the Church felt that to cater the needs of its Diaspora parishes in different parts of India and to steer the missionary works of the Church in the multi-religious context of India a new theological institution should be started.
This was brought to the attention of the Holy Episcopal Synod of July 1994 (5 to 9 July) and it appointed a sub-committee consisting of six bishops to study the case. The sub-committee presented a report in the Synod of February 1995 and the latter decided to start a Seminary in North India for catering the above mentioned needs of the Church.
The Holy Episcopal Synod accepted the offer of H.G. Dr. Stephanos Mar Theodosius, the bishop of Calcutta Diocese for using the infrastructure of his diocesan centre for starting the Seminary. Thus the inception of the Seminary happened on 14 September 1995 in the St.Thomas Ashram at Bhilai. In the July Synod of 1996 the Bhilai Seminary was conferred autonomous status.
The Synod named the Seminary as the St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary. On 25 September 1996 the Seminary was officially inaugurated by H.G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, the President of the Mission Board of the Malankara Church, in the presence of H.G. Stephanos Mar Theodosius and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Ivanios (Kottayam).
From Bhilai to Nagpur
However, the Church purchased a land of 15 acres in Kalmeshwar a village situated 25 kms away from Nagpur city for building a permanent set up for the Seminary. Nagpur was accepted as the place for the New Seminary not only because of its location in the centre of India but also because of its proximity to all the then four (now 7) outside Kerala dioceses.
His Holiness Baselious Mar Thoma Mathews II laid the foundation stone for the New Seminary building in Kalmeshwar on 10 Dec 1997.
The Seminary functioned in Bhilai till the summer of 1999 under the leadership of Bishop Theodosius as its principal.
On 7th July 1999 the Seminary was shifted to Nagpur. Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew was appointed as the new principal. Since the basic infrastructure was not available at Kalmeshwar the Seminary functioned in the Halls and Parsonage of St. George Orthodox Church, Nagpur during the summer semester. On 9th November 1999 the faculty and the students shifted their residence to Kalmeshwar. H.G. Thomas Mar Thimotheos, the Catholicose Designate, inaugurated the New Hostel in the presence of H.G. Mar Theodosius, H. G. Thomas Mar Athanasius (Chengannur) and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos (Mumbai).
The seminary is situated in the middle of 15 acres of land. We have a small farm maintained by our staff and students, from where we get a part of our daily bread.
H.G. Stephanos Mar Theodosius laid the foundation stone of the Seminary Chapel on 29th October 2002. The main expenses of the Chapel were sponsored by St. Thomas Church Dubai. By the Grace of God the construction could be completed by February 2004.
H.H. Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II consecrated the Chapel on Thursday, 19th of February 2004. H.G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, H.G. Stephanos Mar Theodosius and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos assisted His Holiness for the consecration.