The following DECLARATION was made at the opening ceremony of the Communion of Churches in India on March 9, 2004
THE CCI WE AFFIRM,
We the delegates from the Church of North India , Church of South India and the Mar Thoma Church , assembled at Santhigiri, Aluva, Kerala from 7th to 10th March, 2004 , while thanking God Almighty for enabling us to come together, declare that we are one in Jesus Christ and convey the following message to the Churches in India .
The Communion of Churches has been constituted as a common united expression of the life and witness of the founding churches - Church of North India , Church of South India and the Mar Thoma Church. Our spiritual pilgrimage for this journey began in 1973 with the constituting of the Joint Theological Commission, which resulted in the formation of the Joint Council of Churches in 1978.
The effectiveness and relevance of this vision led us to formally form The Communion of Churches in India . We are in full communion in acceptance of the Bible, the Creeds and the mutual acceptance of one another's Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.
Aims to serve as a common organ for visible manifestation of unity, witness and service.
✮ Will assist the churches to address the issues affecting and threatening life.
✮ Will focus on issues of peace, justice and integrity of creation.
✮ Will explore new avenues to share and affirm God's love through diakonia.
✮ We have now formally accepted a common lectionary and liturgy to affirm our common identity and oneness in worship.
✮ We see this as a divine moment to affirm unity in an increasingly divided world.
✮ We affirm that this vision for unity and action will capture a holistic vision as we respond to God's call to discipleship.
✮ We, The Communion of Churches in India have now embarked upon this vision to affirm, promote, protect and sustain life, as our Biblical principle.
✮ We affirm that the contemporary context of the country demands our united response through mission and action. We now declare ourselves as The Communion of Churches in India. We invite all other churches to join in this pilgrimage of communion. On behalf of the General Assembly of The Communion of Churches in India, Signed by the Presidium.
(1) The Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan
(2) The Most Rev. Z. James Terom, CNI Moderator
(3) The Most Rev. Dr. B.P. Sugandhar, CSI Moderator
The Communion of Churches in India (CCI) has been constituted as the visible organ for common expression of the life and witness by the founding Churches, the Church of North India (CNI), the Church of South India (CSI) and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church (MTC) which recognise themselves as belonging to the one Church of Jesus Christ in India, even while remaining as autonomous churches, each having its own identity of traditions and organizational structures.
“The Communion” invites other Churches in India to enter into full communion with the member churches separately and join“The Communion”.
The genesis of the story goes back to the invitation by the CNI to form three commissions of representatives of the three churches: the Church of North India, Church of South India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar (here-in-after referred to as CNI.CSI and MTC) to explore the ways and means of further cooperation and witness in India.