Ten Years of the Research Project on the Independent Catholic Church of Ceylon, Goa, and India. By Alvares Julius Research Project


About MARP: The year 2019, marks the tenth year of Metropolitan Alvares Julius Research Project (MARP). Launched in 2009 (with the historic visit to Brahmavar Western Rite Community), MARP is an exclusive research project on Western Rite Orthodox communities of Oriental Orthodox Churches with special reference to Syriac-Malankara Orthodox Churches. The research focuses on the known and unknown aspects of the missionary works of Saintly Metropolitan Alvares Julius, Archbishop Rene Vilatte and their companions.

These missionary champions and their Independent Catholic movements (Western Rite Orthodox) were not limited to religious sphere; rather they played an important role in social transformation and empowerment of the Ceylonese Society. Over the years MARP became instrumental in publishing several documents that had not previously been available. Under the leadership of Dr. Ajesh T. Philip the research Board was able to rediscover many former Independent Catholic mission fields, communities and Church buildings in Sri Lanka and South India.

The project boasts two research publications, several historical rediscoveries and findings. Please visit this link for more information- http://theorthodoxchurch.info/alvares/our-journey-in-pictures/

Structure and Ownership of MARP

MARP is a Western Rite Orthodox research under the Center for Orthodox Studies (COS), an autonomous center under the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society. Dr. Ajesh T. Philip is the Head and Chief Research Officer of MARP. He also serves as the Chief Overseer of COS.  MARP has inspired a large number of individuals and institutions to take up research studies on Western Rite Orthodox communities. Please visit this link for more information on the MARP Research Board - http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/ocrc/about/cos-board/marp-research-board/

Partnership and Associations

MARP and Center for Orthodox Studies have been associating with a number of Churches, institutions, and individuals. Chief partnership with the Ecumenical Relations Department of the Malankara Church was formally established in 2018. Intense research associations are in progress with the British Orthodox Patriarchate and the Christian Catholic Church Canada. MARP continue to receive immense support and guidance from Patriarch Abba Seraphim and Bishop Serge Thériault. In 2019 COS and MARP began an independent association with author Rohit Gupta.


MARP is the first Western Rite Orthodox research project with special reference to Syriac and Malankara Orthodox Churches. It is the longest and most expensive Western Rite Orthodox research project in the Indian Sub-Continent. One of our biggest blessing and achievement was in the year 2018 when Patriarch Abba Seraphim published the book 'As Far As East Is from the West' in response to 'Western Rites of Syriac-Malankara Orthodox Churches'. Please visit this link for more information on MARP achievements - http://theorthodoxchurch.info/alvares/project-coordinators/achievements/

Finances and Accountability

Eighty percent of the research is financed by the internal funds of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE, whereas, the rest twenty percentages is donated by benefactors. The expenses include printing and publication, travel, purchase of research materials, and office management. The total expense of the project as of August 2019 is eight thousand five hundred dollars. As a part of the accountability, regular briefing on the progress of the research project is made to the Ecumenical Relations Dept. of the Malankara Church. Briefing on the progress of the project is also communicated to the Syriac Orthodox Church as well. Fr. Abraham Thomas acts as the point of contact between MARP Board and the Ecumenical Relations department.

The Future

As of August 2019, MARP has successfully completed two research phases. The Executive Council of the OCP Society and the COS Board is expected to decide on the future activities of MARP.

For more information, please visit - http://theorthodoxchurch.info/alvares

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