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South India, Church of

Church of South India, Indian Protestant church, formed in 1947 by the merger of Anglican dioceses in India, Myanmar, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka); the Methodist Church of South India; and the South India United Church, which itself was formed in 1908 by a union of Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Dutch Reformed groups, to which was added in 1919 the Basel Malabar Mission containing some Lutherans. Discussions concerning union had begun at a conference at Tranquebar (now Tarangambadi) in 1919, and in 1947, after India attained independence, the union was completed. The Church of South India has its own service book and communion service, both of which draw from several denominational sources. It is in limited communion with the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church of the United States. The union, especially in its reconciliation of the Anglican doctrine of apostolic succession with the views of other denominations, is often cited as a landmark in the ecumenical movement. The Church of South India has about 3.8 million members (1999).

See M. Hollis, Significance of South India (1966); R. D. Paul, Ecumenism in Action (1972).

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