Christianity in Kerala

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Christianity is the third-most practiced religion in Kerala with 20% of the population according to the Indian census.[1] Although a minority, Christians represent a much larger percentage of the population of Kerala than of India considered as a whole. It's a significant minority within Christianity in India,.[2][3] Christianity is believed to have reached the shores of Kerala in 52 A.D. with the arrival of St Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.[4][5] Saint Thomas Christians (also known as Syrian Christians or Nasrani) include Syro-Malabar Catholic, Syro-Malankara Catholic, Malankara Orthodox, Jacobite, Marthoma and Church of South India. Latin Rite Comprises the St Thomas Christians who adopted Latin rite in early 13th century, Latin Syrians or Eyunootikar and the Christians who were converted by the Portuguese in the 16th and 19th centuries mainly along the coastal areas of Kerala.

Our Lady of Lourdes Metharapolitha Cathedral Thrissur


The origins of Christianity in Kerala go back to the earliest period of the Church itself. In fact, there is a tradition among the Christian people of Kerala that St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, landed on the Kerala coast in 52 A.D. and preached the Gospel. He organized Christian communities, in several places and established seven churches in Kerala and then at last got martyrdom in Mylapore, Chennai, in 72 A.D. However the exact year of his arrival here is disputed due to lack of credible historical evidence.[6][7][8] In 345 A.D., a Palestinian business man, Thomas Cana, along with 72 families came and settled in Kerala, thereby augmenting the Christian community.[9] A second period of intense Latin Christian missionary activity began with the arrival of European missionaries since the discovery of sea route to India by Vasco da Gama in 1498.

In 1841 Benjamin Bailey translated the first of many Bible translations into Malayalam.

Christian pilgrimage sites[edit]



Saint Thomas Christian Rite[edit]

Latin Rite[edit]

Anglican Rite[edit]

Protestant Denominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Census of India". Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  2. ^ "Christianity in India". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  3. ^ Compiled by Robert Eric Frykenberg (2005-07-01). "Timeline". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  4. ^ T. K. Joseph (1955). Six St. Thomases Of South India. University of California. p. 27. 
  5. ^ Menachery G; 1973, 1998; Mundalan, A. M; 1984; Podipara, Placid J. 1970; Leslie Brown, 1956
  6. ^ Medlycott, A E. 1905 "India and the Apostle Thomas"; Gorgias Press LLC; ISBN
  7. ^ Thomas Puthiakunnel, (1973) "Jewish colonies of India paved the way for St. Thomas", The Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, ed. George Menachery, Vol. II.
  8. ^ "Kerala Syrian Christians, Apostle in India". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  9. ^ `Christianity in India : A True Face`, Ch:11,`Christianity in Kerala`by Dr. John Vallamattam, Ed.&Pub.:CBCI Commission, New Delhi,1981, page104
  10. ^ World Christian Encyclopedia , Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 368-371
  11. ^ "Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  12. ^ "Malankara Orthodox Church - Kottayam Seminary". Retrieved 2013-12-16. 

Further reading[edit]

  • George K.M.,`Christianity in India Through the Centuries`,Authentic Books, Secunderabad,2007,2009.(ISBN 978-81-7362-786-6).
  • Benedict Vadakkekara,`Origin of Christianity in India`,Media House, Delhi,2007.ISBN 81-7495-258-6.
  • Agur C.M.,`Church History of Travancore`,Madras,1903 Reprint:Asian Educational Services, New Delhi,1990. (ISBN 81-206-0594-2).
  • Visvanathan Susan,`The Christians of Kerala`,Oxford University Press, Delhi1993,1999.(ISBN 0195647998)