Indian Brethren

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This article is about the Indian movement associated with the British Plymouth Brethren. For the Indian equivalent of the Church of the Brethren, see Church of North India.

The Brethren are a Christian Evangelical premillennial [1] religious movement. The "Brethren" churches or Assemblies are completely independent of each other. Local assemblies are autonomous but are often informally linked with each other. There is no denominational headquarters or any governing body to which local assemblies are accountable. Brethren remain affiliated with one another, mostly through common support of missionaries, area conferences, Youth Ministries, and the ministry of travelling preachers. Each church will have a number of Elders and these Elders are the spiritual leaders of the assemblies.

Start of Brethren Movement in India[edit]

This spiritual movement of Plymouth Brethren found its way to India in 1833 through Anthony Norris Groves, who was professionally a dentist. His activities centred in the Godavari delta area of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

John Arulappan, who was a disciple of Groves, acted on Groves' principles and as a full-time worker lived "by faith." Through Arulappan's ministry, a revival broke out in Thirunelveli (Nellai) in Tamil Nadu South India and many congregations were formed.

Kerala Brethren[edit]

Main article: Kerala Brethren

In 1872, this movement was spearheaded in Kerala by Mathai Upadeshi, a disciple of John Arulappan, who took the baton from Groves. In December 1894, a well-known gospel preacher, Tamil David visited Kerala and preached on assurance on salvation and many were saved.

J.G.Gregson, a Baptist preacher from England delivered sermons in the Convention at Maramon, Kerala. His Bible classes inspired several people in Kerala. In AD 1896 Gregson came to the place Ayroor near Kumbanad and preached gospel. Later he conducted a series of bible studies on the Epistle to Romans and taught that through water baptism a believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and becomes a disciple of Christ. Rev PE Mammen (Kumbanattu Achen, a Priest of Marthoma Church) was one of the attendees of these meetings. Later he went to Kunnamkulam and took believers baptism. Bro Handley Bird administered the baptism. Later Rev P.E. Mammen left the MarThoma Church and became a gospel preacher

On March 9, 1899, following the Dublin example, four men congregated at the residence of Kuttiyil Mathai, Kumbanad, for the breaking of bread, without a priest. This marked the beginning of Brethren movement in Kerala. They were PE Mammen, his brother PE John, P.C. John, and PC Chacko, Melathethil. There were a few others who also attended but did not take part in bread and wine.

Later the missionary work of V.Nagal, Handley Bird, E.H.Noel, Mahakavi K.V. Simon, and P.C. John went a long way in the growth of brethren Assembly in Kerala.


Today this movement has over 1200 churches in Kerala, an equal number in Andhra Pradesh and is estimated to have over 2200 churches in India.


  1. ^ What Brethren believe _

External links[edit]