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About Church of South India

                        Our Story

History of Church of South India

Our Faith and Beliefs

The Church of South India (CSI) is a united Protestant Church in India. It is the result of union of a number of Protestant denominations in South India that occurred after the independence of India.[

The Church of South India is the successor of a number of Protestant denominations in India, including the Church of EnglandChurch of India, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican); the South India United Church (Congregationalist); the British Methodist Church; and the Church of Scotland after Indian Independence. It combined the South India United Church (union of the British Congregationalists and the British Presbyterians); the then 14 Anglican dioceses of South India and one in Sri Lanka; and the South Indian District of the Methodist church.

The Church of South India is a member of the Anglican CommunionWorld Methodist Council and World Communion of Reformed Churches. It is one of four united Protestant churches in the Anglican Communion, World Methodist Council and World Communion of Reformed Churches, with the others being the Church of North India, the Church of Pakistan, and the Church of Bangladesh.

Being a United Protestant denomination, the inspiration for the Church of South India came from ecumenism and the words of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of John ; as such "That they all may be one" is the motto of the Church of South India.[5]

With a membership of nearly four million, it is the second-largest Christian church based on the number of members in India.

                                       Beliefs and practices

The Church of South India is a Trinitarian Church that draws from the traditions and heritage of its constituent denominations. The Church accepts the Chalcedonian Christological Definition, as well as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Both creeds are included in the Church liturgy as the profession of faith. The Church practices infant baptism for children born in Christian homes and adult or believer's baptism for others. Baptized children are members of the church and share in the privileges and obligations of membership so far as they are capable of doing so.

The Church of South India practices the rite of Confirmation, by which the confirmands (those being confirmed) upon profession of their Christian faith, obtain confirmation of their baptisms and thereafter, gets to partake fully in the privileges and obligations associated with Church membership. Secondarily, this is also a coming of age ceremony. Confirmation is almost always administered by a Bishop with the imposition of hands and occasionally by a Presbyter who is authorized to confirm.



Four different church traditions were brought together in the CSI; Anglican, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Methodist. All these churches had been established in India through the missionary work of churches in Europe, America, and Australia, which had started their work in India at different periods from the beginning of the 18th century.

The Church of South India Scheme was the first practical attempt of its kind toward a union, on the basis of the following points enunciated in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral:

  • The Holy Scripture of the Old and the New Testaments as containing all things necessary to salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.

  • The Apostles' Creed as the Baptismal Symbol and the Nicene Creed as sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

  • The two sacraments, ordained by Christ Himself — Baptism and the Supper of the Lord — ministered with the unfailing use of Christ's words of Institution and elements ordained by Him.

  • The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying need of the nations and people called of God into the union of His Church.[10][11]

The first three points could be accepted without any controversial question. But the fourth became contentious, as the Anglican Church maintained episcopal polity within the historical episcopate and believed that all its bishops and priests could trace an unbroken line of succession from St. Peter; whereas the rest of the churches in the negotiations conformed to other ecclesiastical polities and did not subscribe to the Anglican views on apostolic succession. After extensive dialogues, an agreement was reached that all who were already ordained in any of the uniting churches would be received as ministers in the united Church; provided all new ordinations after the union, would be conferred by episcopally ordained bishops of the united Church, with the imposition of hands. The intention was to introduce an episcopate in historic succession (from Anglicanism) into the new united Church and to ensure its maintenance in the future, by keeping all subsequent ordinations episcopal.[12][13][14][15][16]

The Church of South India as it exists today came into being with the perseverance and committed efforts of Rev. Vedam Santiago,[citation needed] who for a long period of time took leadership of the SIUC, the South Indian United Churches, which later, with the joint efforts of Rev. V Santiago[citation needed] and Bishop Azariah became the Church of South India.


The Church of South India union ceremony happened at St George's Cathedral in Madras on 27 September 1947, a month after India achieved its independence from the United Kingdom. It was formed from the union of the SIUC, (South India United Church itself a union of churches from the Congregational Presbyterian and Reformed traditions); the southern provinces of the (Anglican) Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon; and the Methodist Church of South India.[17] The inaugural service was presided by Bishop Rt. Rev. C. K. Jacob, of the Anglican diocese of Travancore and Cochin.[18] As part of it, nine new bishops, drawn from all the traditions, were consecrated to serve with five Anglican bishops already in the office.[18] Each new bishop was ordained with the imposition of hands by the presiding bishop, along with two more Anglican bishops (Rt. Rev. A. M. Hollis and Rt. Rev. G. T. Selwynthe) and six presbyters from the uniting Churches, also laying hands.[18] This reconciliation of the Anglican views with those of the other uniting denominations, on the doctrine of apostolic succession, realized in the formation of the Church of South India, is often cited as a landmark in the ecumenical movement


Our Logo

The logo of the Church of South India consists of a Cross superimposed on a stylized Lotus flower in a white backdrop; around which the motto and name of the Church, is embossed. It was designed by Prof. J. Vasanthan of the American College, Madurai.

The imposing central position of the Cross denotes the foundation of the Church and its faith, while its four arms of the same length promulgates equality. The Lotus flower, called Pankaj meaning "mud-born" in Sanskrit, has been of great spiritual and symbolic significance in India, since ancient times. Its placement in the Logo, proclaims the indigenous nature of the Church of South India and its dependence on the grace of God, just as a Lotus that blooms at sunrise and closes at sunset, depends on the Sun. The stylized rendering, makes the Lotus petals simultaneously depict the fiery split tongues of the Holy Spirit. The motto of the CSI embossed on the logo, which is an excerpt of Jesus's prayer in John 17:21, is used as an inclusive affirmation of the need for the unity of all people.

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