The Saint Thomas Christians are a group of Christians from the Malabar Coast (now Kerala) in South India, who follow Syriac Christianity. The different groups and denominations within the St Thomas Christians together form the Nasrani people. Their tradition goes back to the very beginnings of first century Christian thought, and the eight churches (ezharappallikal) - 7 churches in Kerala and a church in Tiruvithamcode in Tamilnadu - that are believed to have been established by St. Thomas the Apostle.
are an ethnic people and in that sense a single community. However the Nasranis have various denominations as a result of Portuguese persecution
. As an ethnic community they refer to themselves as Nasranis
referring to the common cultural heritage and cultural tradition. However as a religious group they refer to themselves as the Mar Thoma Khristianis
or in English as Saint Thomas Christians
referring to their religious tradition, despite a common ancestry of being the descendants of the early Mar Thoma church
or Saint Thomas tradition of Christianity