Christianity in Kerala
Christianity is the third-most practiced religion in Kerala with 20% of the population according to the Indian census. 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, but has contributed a lot towards the progress and development of the nation in the fields of education, healthcare, social uplift etc. 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. 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 Christians were converted by the Portuguese in the 16th and 19th centuries mainly along the coastal areas of Kerala.
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. In 345 A.D., a Palestinian business man, Thomas Cana, along with 72 families came and settled in Kerala, thereby augmenting the Christian community. 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.
Christian Pilgrimage Sites
- Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Malayattoor, (built at an altitude of 600 meters from mean sea level.)
- St. Peter's & St.Paul's Syrian Orthodox Church, Parumala, (tomb of the first Saint of India St Gregorios of Parumala)
- Marth Mariam Jacobite Syrian Cathedral Church, Manarcad. (Global Marian Pilgrim Center)
- Manjanikkara Dayara, Omallur, Pathanamthitta, (tomb of St Ignatiaus Elias 3rd Patriarch)
- St. George’s Malankara Orthodox Church, Puthupalli (Global Georgian Pilgrim center)
- St. George Jacobite Syrian Church, Kadamattam, (Famous for Kadamattathu Kathanar)
- Mar Thoma Jacobite Syrian Cathedral Cheriapally,Kothamangalam (tomb of Eldho Mor Baselios)
- St Mary's Jacobite Syrian Valiyapally,Thamarachal,Aluva (Girdle of St Mary)
- St Thomas Jacobite Church,North Paravur (tomb of Gregorios Abdul Jaleel)
- St. George Orthodox Church, Chandanapally
- St. Francis C.S.I. Church, Fort Kochi, built in 1503 C.E., is the oldest European church, declared as a National Monument in India.
- Saint Joseph Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Mannanam, Kottayam ( where the remains of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara are buried.)
- St. Alphonsamma Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Bharananganam, Pala(where the remains of St.Alphonsa are buried; the first woman Saint of India.)
- Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam, Ernakulam
- St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Edathua.
- St. Antony's Latin Catholic Church, Kaloor, Kochi.
- Divine Retreat Centre, Potta-Muringoor, Chalakudi.
- St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church Kattachira, Kayamkulam (tears flowing from the eyes of St Mary's Photo)
- St. Joseph's Latin Catholic Shrine, Kannamaly,
- Holy Cross chapel, Mattancherry.
- St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Arakuzha.
- Marth Mariam Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Kuravilangadu
- St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Athirampuzha, Kottayam. Estd: AD 835
- St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Arakuzha, estd. 999
- Our Lady of Dolours Basilica Thrissur
Saint Thomas Christian Rite
- Chaldean Syrian Church
- Jacobite Syrian Church
- Malabar Independent Syrian Church
- Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
- Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
- St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India
- Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
- Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
- Assemblies of God
- Church of God (Full Gospel) in India
- Sharon Pentecostal Fellowship Church
- The Pentecostal Mission
- New India Church of God
- "Census of India". Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- Christianity in India
- T.K. Joseph (1955). Six St. Thomases Of South India. University of California. p. 27.
- Menachery G; 1973, 1998; Mundalan, A. M; 1984; Podipara, Placid J. 1970; Leslie Brown, 1956
- Medlycott, A E. 1905 "India and the Apostle Thomas"; Gorgias Press LLC; ISBN
- 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.
- "Kerala Syrian Christians, Apostle in India". nasrani.net. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- `Christianity in India : A True Face`, Ch:11,`Christianity in Kerala`by Dr. John Vallamattam, Ed.&Pub.:CBCI Commission, New Delhi,1981, page104
- World Christian Encyclopedia , Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 368-371
- 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)