Page semi-protected

Saint Thomas Christians

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

Saint Thomas Christians (Nasrani Mappila) മാർ തോമാ നസ്രാണികൾ
Syro-Malabar icon of Throne of Mar Thoma.jpg
Total population
Approx. 6,000,000 (2018)[1]
Regions with significant populations
India (Kerala, Bangalore, Mumbai); UAE (Dubai); Oman; Kuwait; USA (New York metropolitan area, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Tampa, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area); Europe – UK (London, Birmingham) The Netherlands (Amsterdam) Canada (Toronto, Edmonton, Whitehorse )[2][3]
Vernacular: Malayalam Liturgical: Syriac (Aramaic)[4]
Saint Thomas Christian denominations

Eastern Catholic

Oriental Orthodox (West Syriac Rite)

Assyrian Church of the East (East Syriac Rite)

Eastern Protestant Christianity (Reformed-West Syriac Rite)

Related ethnic groups
Malayalis, Cochin Jews, Arab Christian, Marathi Brahmin, Levantine, & Chaldean Catholics

The St Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Christians of India, Marthoma Nasrani, Malankara Nasrani, or Nasrani Mappila, are an ethno-religious community of Indian Christians in the state of Kerala (Malabar region),[5] who currently employ the East Syriac and West Syriac liturgical rites of Syriac Christianity.[6] They trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[7][8] The St Thomas Christians had been historically a part of the hierarchy of the Church of the East but are now divided into several different Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Protestant, and independent bodies, each with their own liturgies and traditions.[7] They are Malayali people and speak the Malayalam language. Nasrani or Nazarene is a Syriac term for Christians, who were among the first converts to Christianity in the Near East.

Historically, this community was organised as the Province of India of the Church of the East by Patriarch Timothy I (780–823 AD) in the eighth century, served by bishops and a local dynastic archdeacon.[6][9][10] In the 14th century, the Church of the East declined due to persecution by Tamerlane,[11][12] and Portuguese colonial overtures to bring St Thomas Christians into the Latin Catholic Church, administered by their Padroado system in the 16th century, lead to the first of several rifts (schisms) in the community.[13][14][15] The attempts of the Portuguese culminated in the Synod of Diamper, formally subjugating them and their whole Archdiocese of Angamaly as a suffragan see to the Archdiocese of Goa, which was under the Portuguese Padroado and celebrated the Latin Rite of worship. Portuguese oppression provoked a violent resistance among the Thomasine Christians, that took expression in the Coonan Cross Oath protest in 1653. This led to the permanent schism among the Thomas' Christians of India, leading to the formation of Puthenkūr (New allegiance, pronounced Pùttènkūṟ) and Pazhayakūr (Old allegiance, pronounced Paḻayakūṟ) factions.[16] The Pazhayakūr comprise the present day Syro-Malabar Church and Chaldean Syrian Church which continue to employ the original East Syriac Rite (Babylonian Rite /Persian Rite) liturgy.[6][17][18][19] The other group, who resisted the Portuguese, under the leadership of archdeacon Thoma I, entered into a new communion with the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, an Oriental Orthodox church, forming the Malankara Jacobite Church and they inherited from the Syriac Orthodox Church the West Syriac Rite, which employs the Liturgy of Saint James, an ancient rite of the Church of Antioch, replacing the old East Syriac Rite liturgy.[20][21][6]

The Eastern Catholic faction is in full communion with the Holy See in Rome. This includes the aforementioned Syro-Malabar Church as well as the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church, the latter arising from an Oriental Orthodox faction that entered into communion with Rome in 1930 under Bishop Geevarghese Ivanios (d. c. 1953). As such the Malankara Catholic Church employs the West Syriac liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church,[22] while the Syro-Malabar Church employs the East Syriac liturgy of the historic Church of the East.[6]

The Oriental Orthodox faction includes the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, resulting from a split within the Malankara Church (Puthenkūr faction) in 1912 over whether the church should be autocephalous or rather under the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch.[23] As such, the Malankara Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox Church independent of the Patriarch of Antioch,[23] whereas the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church and is headed by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch.[20]

The Iraq-based Assyrian Church of the East's archdiocese includes the Chaldean Syrian Church based in Thrissur.[24] They were a minority faction within the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, which split off and joined with the Church of the East Bishop during the 1870s. The Assyrian Church is one of the descendant churches of the Church of the East.[25][26]

Oriental Protestant denominations include the Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India.[27] The Marthoma Syrian Church were a part of the Malankara Church that went through a reformation movement under Abraham Malpan due to influence of British Anglican missionaries in the 1800s. The Mar Thoma Church employs a reformed variant of the liturgical West Syriac Rite.[28][29] The St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India is an evangelical faction that split off from the Marthoma Church in 1961.[30]

CSI Syrian Christians are a minority faction of Malankara Syrian Christians, who joined the Anglican Church in 1836, and eventually became part of the Church of South India in 1947, after Indian independence. The C.S.I. is an autonomous ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion, that is in full communion with the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.[31][32][33] By the 20th century, various Syrian Christians joined Evangelical/Pentecostal denominations like the Kerala Brethren, Indian Pentecostal Church of God, Assemblies of God etc.[34][35]


The Saint Thomas Christians have also been nicknamed such due to their reverence for Saint Thomas the Apostle, who is said to have brought Christianity to India. The name dates back to the period of Portuguese colonisation. They are also known, especially locally, as Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila. The former means Christian; it appears to have been derived from the Hebrew word Netzer or the Aramaic Nasraya from Isaiah 11:1. Nasrani is evolved from the Syriac term for "Christian" that emerges from the Greek word Nazōraioi, Nazarene in English. Mappila is an honorific applied to members of non-Indian faiths and descendants of immigrants from the middle east who had intermarried with the local population, including Muslims (Jonaka Mappila) and Jews (Yuda Mappila).[36][37] Some Syrian Christians of Travancore continue to attach this honorific title to their names.[38] The Government of India designates members of the community as Syrian Christians, a term originating with the Dutch colonial authority that distinguishes the Saint Thomas Christians, who used Syriac (within East Syriac Rite or West Syriac Rite) as their liturgical language, from newly evangelised Christians who followed the Roman Rite.[39] The terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical, religious and liturgical connection to the Church of the East, or East Syriac Church.[36]


Tradition of origin

Silk Road map showing ancient trade routes

According to tradition, Thomas the Apostle came to Muziris on the Kerala coast in AD 52[40][41][7] which is in present-day Pattanam, Kerala.[42]

The Cochin Jews are known to have existed in Kerala in the 1st century AD,[8][43] and it was possible for an Aramaic-speaking Jew, such as St. Thomas from Galilee, to make a trip to Kerala then.[44] The earliest known source connecting the Apostle to India is the Acts of Thomas, likely written in the early 3rd century, perhaps in Edessa.[a]

A number of 3rd and 4th century Roman writers also mention Thomas' trip to India, including Ambrose of Milan, Gregory of Nazianzus, Jerome, and Ephrem the Syrian, while Eusebius of Caesarea records that St. Clement of Alexandria's teacher Pantaenus from Alexandria visited a Christian community in India using the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew language in the 2nd century.[b]

The tradition of origin of the Christians in Kerala is found in a version of the Songs of Thomas or Thomma Parvam, written in 1601 and believed to be a summary of a larger and older work.[53][54] Thomas is described as arriving in or around Maliankara and founding Seven Churches, or Ezharapallikal: Kodungallur, Kottakavu , Palayoor, Kokkamangalam, Nilackal, Niranam and Kollam.[55] Some other churches, namely Thiruvithamcode Arappally (a "half church"),[56][57][58] Malayattoor and Aruvithura are often called Arappallikal.[59] The Thomma Parvam also narrates the conversion of Jews, natives, and the local King at Kodungallur by St Thomas. It is possible that the Jews who became Christians at that time were absorbed by what became the Nasrani Community in Kerala.[44][60] The Thomma Parvam further narrates St Thomas's mission in the rest of South India and his martyrdom at Mylapore in present-day Chennai, Tamil Nadu.[45][61]

According to legend, the community began with Thomas's conversion of Brahmin families, namely Pakalomattom, Sankarapuri, Kalli, Kaliyankal, Koikara, Madapoor, Muttodal, Kottakara, Nedumpilly, Palackal, Panakkamattom, Kunnappilly, Vazhappilly, Payyappilly, Maliakkal, Pattamukku and Thaiyil.[62][63] Of these families, Sankarapuri and Palamattam (Pakalomattom) were ordained and set apart for sacred orders and bishops. The priesthood has been practically hereditary in the two families, Sankarapuri and Palamattam, for several centuries with the inheritance in the female line [64] [65] [66] While there is much doubt on the cultural background of early Christians, there is evidence that some members of the St Thomas Christian community observed Brahmin customs in the Middle Ages, such as the wearing of the Upanayana (sacred thread) and having a kudumi.[c] The medieval historian Pius Malekandathil believes these were customs adopted and privileges won during the beginning of the Brahmin dominance of medieval Kerala. He argues that the Syrian Christians in Kerala, integrated with Persian Christian migrant merchants, in the 9th century to become a powerful trading community and were granted the privileges by the local rulers to promote revenue generation and to undermine Buddhist and Jain traders who rivaled the Brahmins for religious and political hegemony in Kerala at the time.[71][72]

An organized Christian presence in India dates to the arrival of East Syriac settlers and missionaries from Persia, members of what would become the Church of the East, in around the 3rd century.[48][73] Saint Thomas Christians trace the further growth of their community to the arrival of Jewish-Christians from the region of Mesopotamia led by Knāi Thoma (anglicized as Thomas of Cana), which is said to have occurred either in the 4th or 8th century.[d]The subgroup of the Saint Thomas Christians known as the Knanaya or Southists trace their lineage to Thomas of Cana, while the group known as the Northists claim descent from the early Christians evangelized by Thomas the Apostle.[e] The traditional histories of the Thomas Christians note that the immigration of the Knanites reinvigorated the church of India, which was at the moment of their arrival deprived of ecclesial leadership.[78] The arrival of the migrants is also associated with connecting the native Church of St. Thomas with the Syriac Christian tradition of the Church of the East.[1][79]

During this time period Thomas of Cana received copper plates of socio-economic and religious rights for his relations, his party, and all people of his religion. The granting of these plates are noted to have enhanced the social position of all the ancient Christians of India and secured for them royal protection from the Chera Dynasty. The Thomas of Cana copper plates were extant in Kerala until the 17th century after which point they were lost.[80][78][48]

Classical period

Tharisapalli Copper plate grant (9th century) – One of the reliable documentary evidences of the privileges and influence that Saint Thomas Christians enjoyed in early Malabar.[81] The document contains signatures of the witnesses in Pahlavi, Kufic and Hebrew scripts.[82] It is the oldest documentary evidence from India that attest the presence of a Persian Christian community in South India.[83]

As the community grew and immigration by East Syriac Christians increased, the connection with the Church of the East, centred in the Persian capital of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, strengthened. From the early 4th century the Patriarch of the Church of the East provided India with clergy, holy texts, and ecclesiastical infrastructure, and around 650 Patriarch Ishoyahb III solidified the Church of the East's jurisdiction over the Saint Thomas Christian community.[84][85] In the 8th century Patriarch Timothy I organised the community as the Ecclesiastical Province of India, one of the church's Provinces of the Exterior.[10] After this point the Province of India was headed by a metropolitan bishop, dispatched from Persia, the "Metropolitan-Bishop of the Seat of Saint Thomas and the Whole Christian Church of India".[6][9] His metropolitan see was probably in Cranganore, or (perhaps nominally) in Mylapore, where the shrine of Thomas was located.[9] Under him were a varying number of bishops, as well as a native Archdeacon, who had authority over the clergy and who wielded a great amount of secular power.[9]

Some contact and transmission of knowledge of the Saint Thomas Christians managed to reach the Christian West, even after the rise of the Islamic empires.[86] Byzantine traveller Cosmas Indicopleustes wrote of Syrian Christians he met in India and Sri Lanka in the 6th century.[87][85][88] In 883 the English king Alfred the Great reportedly sent a mission and gifts to Saint Thomas' tomb in India.[86] During the Crusades, distorted accounts of the Saint Thomas Christians and the Nestorian Church gave rise to the European legend of Prester John.[89]

Mar Sabor and Mar Proth

The port at Kollam, then known as Quilon, was founded in 825 by Maruvān Sapir Iso, a Persian Christian merchant, with sanction from Ayyanadikal Thiruvadikal, the king of the independent Venad or the State of Quilon, a feudatory under Sthanu Ravi Varma Perumal of the Chera kingdom.[90][91] Sapir Iso is usually identified either as the East Syriac Christian merchant who led the East Syriac bishops Mar Sabor and Mar Proth to the Christians of Malabar or as the first of those two bishops. This accompanied the second Assyrian migration into the Malabar coast other than the Knanaya migration. The two bishops were instrumental in founding many Christian churches with Syrian liturgy along the Malabar coast and were venerated as Qandishangal (saints) since then by the Thomas Christians.[92] It is believed that Sapir Iso also proposed that the Chera king create a new seaport near Kollam in lieu of his request that he rebuild the almost vanished inland seaport at Kollam (kore-ke-ni) near Backare (Thevalakara), also known as Nelcynda and Tyndis to the Romans and Greeks and as Thondi to the Tamils, which had been without trade for several centuries because the Cheras were overrun by the Pallavas in the 6th century, ending the spice trade from the Malabar coast.[93] The Tharisapalli plates presented to Maruvan Sapor Iso by Ayyanadikal Thiruvadikal granted the Christians the privilege of overseeing foreign trade in the city as well as control over its weights and measures in a move designed to increase Quilon's trade and wealth.[94]

Thus began the Malayalam Era, known as Kollavarsham after the city, indicating the importance of Kollam in the 9th century.[95]

Church of the East and its dioceses and missions throughout Asia, including India

The great distances involved and the geopolitical turmoil of the period caused India to be cut off from the church's heartland in Mesopotamia at several points. In the 11th century the province was suppressed by the church entirely, as it had become impossible to reach,[96] but effective relations were restored by 1301.[97] However, following the collapse of the Church of the East's hierarchy in most of Asia later in the 14th century, India was effectively cut off from the church, and formal contact was severed. By the late 15th century India had had no metropolitan for several generations, and the authority traditionally associated with him had been vested in the archdeacon.[98]

MS Vatican Syriac 22 is the oldest known Syriac manuscript copied in India.[6][99] It is a lectionary of Pauline Epistles copied on AD 1301 ( 1612 AG) in Kodungallūr (Cranganore, Classical Syriac: ܫܸܢܓܲܲܠܐ‎, romanized: Shengala) at the Church dedicated to Mar Quriaqos.[99][100][92][101]

MS Vatican Syriac 22 has the following passage about the "Catholicos-Patriarch of the East" and the "Metropolitan of India" in folio 93r- 94v:

This holy book has been copied in the royal, renowned and famous town Shengala, which is in Malabar in the land of India, in the holy Church dedicated to the Mar Quriaqos, the glorious martyr... whilst our blessed and holy father Mar Yahballaha the fifth, the Turk, qatoliqa Patriakis of the East, the head of all the countries, was great governor, holding the offices of the Catholic Church of East, the shining lamp which illuminates its regions, the head of the pastors and Pontiff of the pontiffs, Head of great high priests, Father of the fathers... The Lord may make long his life and protect his days in order that he may govern her, a long time, for her glory and for the exaltation of her sons. Amen...
And when Mar Jacob, Metropolitan Bishop was the overseer and governor of the holy see of Saint Thomas the Apostle, that is to say governor of us and of all the holy Church of the Christian India. May God grant him strength and help that he may govern us with zeal and direct us according to the will of his Lord, and that he may teach us His commandments and make us walk in His ways, till the end of time, through the intercession of the holy Apostle St. Thomas and all his colleagues ! Amen!..

MS Vatican Syriac 22

This manuscript is written in Estrangela script by a very young deacon named Zakharya bar Joseph bar Zakharya who was just 14 at the time of writing.[6][102][99][100] The scribe refers Catholicos-Patriarch of the East Yahballaha III as Yahaballaha the fifth.[6] Johannes P. M. van der Ploeg comments that this may indicate that the patriarch was not well-known among the Indian Christians.[103]

Metropolitan Abraham of Angamaly, last Chaldean bishop of the Saint Thomas Syrian Christians.

In 1490, a delegation from the Saint Thomas Christians visited the Patriarch of the East, Shemon IV, to bring a bishop for India.[104] One among them was Joseph the Indian, who later became famous for his visit to Rome and the account of Malabar in Book VI of Paesi novamente retrovati (1507) by Fracanzano da Montalboddo.[6] The patriarch responded positively to the request of Saint Thomas Christians, and appointed two bishops, Mar Thoma and Mar Yohannan, dispatching them to India. These bishops, and three more (Mar Yahballaha, Mar Dinkha and Mar Yaqov) who followed them in 1503–1504, reaffirmed and strengthened traditional ties between India and the Patriarchate. They were later followed by another bishop, Mar Abraham, who died in 1597. By that time, Christians of the Malabar Coast were facing new challenges, caused by the establishment of Portuguese presence in India.[105][6][106]

Portuguese contact

The tomb of Archbishop Francisco Ros, the first Roman Catholic bishop of Saint Thomas Christians, at Kottakkavu Syro-Malabar church

The Saint Thomas Christians first encountered the Portuguese in 1498, during the expedition of Vasco da Gama. At the time the community was in a tenuous position: though thriving in the spice trade and protected by their own militia, the local political sphere was volatile and the Saint Thomas Christians found themselves under pressure from the rajas of Calicut and Cochin and other small kingdoms in the area. The Saint Thomas Christians and the Portuguese newcomers quickly formed an alliance.[107]

The Portuguese had a keen interest in implanting themselves in the spice trade and in spreading their version of Christianity, which had been forged during several centuries of warfare in the Reconquista.[108] Facilitating their goals was the Padroado Real, a series of treaties and decrees in which the Pope conferred upon the Portuguese government certain authority in ecclesiastical matters in the foreign territories they conquered. They set up in Goa, forming a colonial government and a Latin church hierarchy under the Archbishop of Goa, and quickly set to bringing the Saint Thomas Christians under his authority.[109]

The Portuguese subjection of the Saint Thomas Christians was relatively measured at first, but they became more aggressive after 1552, the year of the death of Metropolitan Mar Jacob and of a schism in the Church of the East, which resulted in there being two rival Patriarchs—one of whom entered communion with the Catholic Church. Both patriarchs sent bishops to India, but the Portuguese consistently managed to outmaneuver them, and effectively cut off the Saint Thomas Christians from their hierarchy in 1575, when the Padroado legislated that neither patriarch could send representatives to India without Portuguese approval.[110]

By 1599 the last Metropolitan, Abraham, had died, and the Archbishop of Goa, Aleixo de Menezes, had secured the submission of the young Archdeacon Givargis, the highest remaining representative of the native church hierarchy.[111] The Archbishop convened the Synod of Diamper, which implemented various liturgical and structural reforms in the Indian church. The Synod brought the parishes directly under the Archbishop's purview; anathematised certain "superstitious" social customs characteristic of their Hindu neighbors, including untouchability and a caste hierarchy; and purged the liturgy, the East Syriac Rite, of elements deemed unacceptable according to the Latin protocol.[f] A number of Syriac texts were condemned and ordered burnt,[116] including the Peshitta, the Syriac version of the Bible.[117][page needed] Some of the reforms, especially the elimination of caste status, reduced the Saint Thomas Christians' standing with their socially stratified Hindu neighbors.[115] The Synod formally brought the Saint Thomas Christians into the Catholic Church but the actions of the Portuguese over the ensuing years fueled resentment in segments of the community, and ultimately led to open resistance to their power.[118][112][48]

Division and defiance

Archdeacon Parambil Thomas (Thoma I)

Over the next several decades, tensions seethed between the Portuguese and the remaining native hierarchy, and after 1641 Archdeacon Thomas, the nephew and successor to Archdeacon George, was often at odds with the Latin prelates.[119] In 1652, the escalating situation was further complicated by the appearance in Mylapore of a mysterious figure named Ahatallah, who claimed to have been sent by the Pope, from the Church of Antioch to serve as "Patriarch of the Whole of India and of China".[119][120]

Ahatallah made a strong impression on the native clergy, but the Portuguese quickly decided he was an impostor, and put him on a ship bound for Europe by way of Goa. Archdeacon Thomas, desperate for a new ecclesiastical leader to free his people from the Padroado, travelled to Cochin and demanded to meet Ahatallah and examine his credentials. The Portuguese refused, stating the ship had already left for Goa.[120] Ahatallah was never heard from in India again, inspiring false rumours that the Portuguese had murdered him and inflaming anti-Portuguese sentiments even more.[121][6]

This was the last straw for the Saint Thomas Christians; in 1653, Thomas and community representatives met at the Church of Our Lady in Mattancherry to take bold action. In a great ceremony before a crucifix and lighted candles, they swore a solemn oath that they would never obey Padroado Archbishop Francisco Garcia or the Portuguese again, and that they accepted only the Archdeacon as their shepherd.[121] The situation is explained by Stephen Neill (an Anglican Protestant missionary, from Scotland) in his book A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707.[122]

"In January 1653 priests and people assembled in the church of Our Lady at Mattanceri, and standing in front of a cross and lighted candles swore upon the holy Gospel that they would no longer obey Garcia, and that they would have nothing further to do with the jesuits they would recognise the archdeacon as the governor of their church. This is the famous oath of the 'Koonen Cross' (the open-air Cross which stands outside the church at Mattnchery)... The Thomas Christians did not at any point suggest that they wished to separate themselves from the pope. They could no longer tolerate the arrogance of Garcia. And their detestation of the jesuits, to whose overbearing attitude and lack of sympathy they attributed all their troubles, breathes through all the documents of the time. But let the pope send them a true bishop not a jesuit, and they will be pleased to receive and obey him."

The Puthenkūttukar [g] and all its non-Catholic successor Churches regard this declaration, the Coonan Cross Oath, as the moment their Church regained its independence from the Catholic Church, which they lost during the Synod of Diamper. The Syro Malabar Church (Pazhayakūttukar)[h] and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church deny this argument and regard the Coonan Cross Oath as an explosion against decades long suppression and overbearing attitude of Padroado Latin prelates.[121] After the events of the Leaning Cross Oath, the Knanaya priest Anjilimoottil Itty Thommen Kathanar of Kallissery is noted to have solidified the schism of the Thomas Christians from the Padroado. Being a skilled Syriac writer, it is noted that Anjilimootill forged two letters from Ahatallah which stated Parambil Thomas could be ordained bishop with the laying of hands.[127] The letters were read with enthusiasm in the churches of the Thomas Christians and Thomas was later consecrated in a ceremony in which twelve priests laid hands on him, and he thus became the Metropolitan of Malankara.[127] Since this Episcopal consecration was in the absence of laying of hands of bishops, this is held unorthodox by Syro-Malabar Church.

After the Coonan Cross Oath, the Portuguese missionaries attempted reconciliation with Saint Thomas Christians but were not successful. Later, Pope Alexander VII sent the Italian bishop Joseph Sebastiani as the head of a Carmelite to regain the trust of the St. Thomas Christians.[128] During Sebastiani's first visit in 1657, the Thomas Christians remained in rebellion, hoping to have Thoma I consecrated by the Holy See or a Non-Jesuit bishop. Four out of the five Knanaya Churches however had remained staunchly faithful to Rome and worked closely with Sebastiani to consecrate a native bishop as hierarch of the St. Thomas Christians.[129] Pachikara Punnose of Chunkom, a tax-collector and communal head of the Knanaya met with Sebastiani in 1663 and pledged the support of nearly his entire community to Palliveettil Chandy Kathanar of Kuravilangad cousin and rival of Thoma I.[129] Sebastiani notes the Knanaya's staunch support of Chandy Kathanar in the following report from 1663:[129]

"On this last day a very serious man from Chunkom (Thodupuzha), a Chief man and head of the Christians of Thekumbagam alias of the South, intervened. And although these are found only in four or five places, nevertheless, they are the noblest, but very opposed to all the others without ever being married to them. These, however, have helped very much in the matter of giving a bishop to that Christianity. To them belonged almost all of those few people who did not follow the Intruder (Mar Thomas); and the first ones who, discovering the deceit, abandoned him. The said chief from Thodupuzha told me several times on the same day that in God he was hoping that soon the whole of Malabar (Church) would subject itself to the new bishop, all of them knowing that he is the rightful (bishop), their own national, and so virtuous; And as far as the Christians and the Churches of the Southists were concerned he promised and took on the obligation to hold them always obedient, even if all the others would abandon him, and that without any consideration of his being a non-Southist. To welcome this offer in his presence I warmly recommended him and his Christians and Churches to the Monsignor of Megara (Mar Alexander Parambil), who said that he was acknowledging their zeal and fervor, and that he would always protect, help and conserve them with his very life, much more than the others called Vadakumbhagam"

Chandy would be elevated as Catholic hierarch of the St. Thomas Christians at Kaduthuruthy Knanaya Valiypally on February 1, 1663. [129] With this act Sebastiani regained the support of most of the Saint Thomas Christians, including other major leaders such as Kadavil Chandy Kathanar and Vengūr Givargis Kathanar.[i]

After the Coonan Cross Oath, between 1661 and 1665, the Syrian Catholics claimed 84 of the 116 churches, while Archdeacon Thoma I and the independent Syrians claimed 32. The 84 Catholic churches are the body from which the modern Syro-Malabar Church and Chaldean Syrian Church descend. The other 32 churches are the body from which the Malankara Syrian Church (Jacobites and Orthodox), Malabar Independent Syrian Church (1772), Mar Thoma Syrian Church (1874), and Syro-Malankara Catholic Church originate.[j]

Thoma I, meanwhile sent requests to various Oriental Churches to receive canonical consecration as bishop. In 1665, Gregorios Abdal Jaleel, a bishop sent by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius ʿAbdulmasīḥ I, arrived in India and the faction under the leadership of Thoma I welcomed him.[6] The bishop was sent in correspondence to the letter sent by Thoma I to the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. Bishop Abdul Jaleel consecrated Thoma I canonically as a bishop and regularised his Episcopal succession.[k] This visit gradually introduced the West Syriac liturgy, customs and script to the Malabar Coast.[135] The visits of prelates from the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch continued since then and this led to gradual replacement of the East Syriac Rite liturgy with the West Syriac Rite and the faction affiliated to the Miaphysite Christology of the Oriental Orthodox Communion.[6] The Syrian Catholics continued with their East Syriac traditions and stayed within the Catholic Church with Diophysite creed.[136][6]

This led to the first lasting formal schism in the Saint Thomas Christian community. Thereafter, the faction affiliated with the Catholic Church under Bishop Palliveettil Chandy was designated the Pazhayakuttukar (or "Old Allegiance"), while the branch affiliated with Thoma I was called the Puthenkūttukār (or "New Allegiance").[l] These appellations have been somewhat controversial, though, as both parties used the official name ("Malankara Church"), considered themselves the true heirs to the Saint Thomas tradition, and saw the other party as schismatic.[123]

Furthermore, ʿAbdulmasīḥ I sent Maphrian Baselios Yaldo in 1685, along with Bishop Ivanios Hidayattullah who vehemently propagated the West Syriac Rite and solidified the association of the Puthenkūttukar with the Syriac Orthodox Church.[6]

The main body of the Pazhayakūttukar came to be known as the Syro-Malabar Church. They had to remain under the foreign latin bishops, with the only exception of Palliveettil Chandy and Kariattil Ousep.[138] Their Indian East Syriac Catholic hierarchy was restored on 21 December 1923, with Augustine Kandathil as the first Metropolitan and Head.[m]

Failed attempts for reunification and solidification of the schism

A minority within the community of Saint Thomas Christians tried to preserve the use of the East Syriac Rite and re-establishing ties with Patriarchs of the Church of the East, who occasionally sent envoys to India.[26] At the beginning of the 18th century, Bishop Shemʿon of ʿAda (d. c. 1720)[141] and in (c. 1708), Bishop Gabriel of Ardishai (d. c. 1733) arrived to India, sent by the Chaldean Patriarch.[26] Bishop Gabriel temporarily succeeded in reviving the traditionalist community, but was faced with prolonged rivalry, both from West Syriac (Jacobite) and Latin Catholic (Propaganda Fide and Padroado) leadership.[n]

In 1751, Jacobite Maphrian Baselios Shakrallah Qasabgi came to Kerala.[147] He was highly instrumental in replacing the East Syriac Rite with West Syriac Rite among the Puthenkūr faction.[147] He was accompanied by Gregorios Hanna Bakhudaidi,[148] the Jacobite Archbishop of Jerusalem, and Yukhannon (Ivanios) Christophoros of Mosul,[148] whom the Maphrian consecrated as a bishop during his tenure in Kerala.[147] The delegation was sent from the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate to firmly establish West Syriac Rite among the Puthenkūttukār and regularise the orders of their leader, Thoma V.[147][149] However, Thoma V died without having reconsecrated, but having himself consecrated his successor as Thoma VI.[147][150] Thoma VI strongly resisted the efforts of the delegation.[149] Very often the Syriac Orthodox delegates selected their own candidates and ordained them as priests, without consulting Thoma VI.[149] Meanwhile, the Pazhayakūttukār were being increasingly subjugated by their colonial latin ecclesiastical administrators.[149]

Thoma VI, therefore, initiated efforts to reunify both the factions.[151] However, the Carmelite missionaries working among the Pazhayakūr were reluctant to reciprocate to his efforts fearing that the indigenous bishop would take away their authority and influence over the faction after the proposed reunification of the Saint Thomas Christians was fulfilled.[149] On the other hand, the Syriac Orthodox delegates were extending their influence upon the Puthenkūr, insisting the faction to shift to the West Syriac Rite.[147][149] Shakrallah, immediately prior to his death, consecrated Kurian Kattumangat as Bishop Abraham Koorilose in 1764.[147] By 1770, Gregorios and Ivanios had Thoma VI reconsecrated as 'Dionysios I'. [20][147] Thoma VI had to receive all orders of priesthood from the tonsure to the episcopal consecration.[152] Thoma VI received support from Pazhayakūr leaders, who informed him of the ill-treatment and discrimination that they faced from the missionaries.[149] Consequently, two priestly leaders among them: Kariattil Iousep Malpan and Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar decided to meet the Pope to convey the message of Thoma VI.[149] The Jacobite delegates were soon at odds with Thoma VI and hence in 1772 they raised Abraham Koorilose to the Metropolitan rank at the new Mattancherry Church in Cochin,[147] constructed by Shakrallah. Abraham Koorilose received recognition from the Rajah of Cochin.[147] Kariyattil Iousep, accompanied by Paremmakkal Thoma and two other deacons, made the trip from Kerala in 1778[149] and he was consecrated as the Archbishop of Cranganore in 1782.[138] However, the efforts drastically failed because of the unexpected death of Iousep while in Goa.[153][138][149] Varthamanappusthakam, written by Thoma Kathanar in 1785, provides the detail of this journey until the death of the archbishop.[138][149] Following this in 1787, representatives from the eighty-four Pazhayakūr churches assembled at Angamaly and drew up the Angamāly Padiyōla against the colonial latin hegemony, declaring their allegiance to the Paremmakkal Thoma and urged for the reinstatement of their native East Syriac hierarchy.[149] Meanwhile, Dionysios I (Thoma VI) managed to imprison his rival, Abraham Koorilose who finally escaped from the states of Travancore and Cochin where the majority of Saint Thomas Christians lived to Anjoor in the territory of the Samuthiri (Zamorin of Calicut).[147] There Koorilose spent his days in prayer and meditation in a hut. A few relatives and friends joined him there. This group, originally known as the Thozhiyur Church, was later confirmed as an independent Syrian Church in Malabar by the Madras High Court, through a verdict in 1862.[o] Subsequently, they took the name Malabar Independent Syrian Church.[158][147]

British period

In 1795, the kings of Travancore and Cochin entered into tributary alliance with the British East Indian Company to repel the attacks from Tipu Sultan. The states soon became client regimes of the company: both were forced to disband their military. The political order of the states also began to collapse. Saint Thomas Christians were hit hard by the loss of their privileged military role, their kalari network was dissolved and many families lost their livelihood.[159] The trading class, as well as the office bearers, also suffered the setback and many Europeans who visited the states between 1801 and 1820 noted the poor and depressed condition of Saint Thomas Christians of the Puthenkuttukar. Some partisan fund allocation for the churches by the British officials triggered a breakdown in the relationship between Saint Thomas Christians and prominent Hindu castes, at least temporarily.[160] In 1815, the British Resident, Colonel John Munro, founded a seminary in Kottayam, for the theological education of Jacobite Christian priests and invited the Anglican missionaries to teach there. This could be regarded as the beginning of the relationship between the CMS (Church Mission Society) and the Saint Thomas Christians of the Puthenkuttukar.[161]

Further divisions

The first Syrian–Anglican Cattanars in 1836

As a protest against the interference of the Anglican Church in the affairs of the Puthenkūttukār faction of the Malankara Church, the Metropolitan, Cheppad Dionysios, convened a Synod at Mavelikara on 16 January 1836. There it was declared that Malankara Church would be subject to the Syrian traditions and Patriarch of Antioch.[162] The declaration resulted in the separation of the CMS missionaries from the communion with the Malankara Church (Puthenkūttukār faction).[31][163] Cheppad Dionysios, abdicated during the tenure of an Antiochian prelate named Yuyakim Koorilose[23] (arrived c. 1846, d. c. 1874).[20] During his stay in among the Puthenkoor, Koorilose completed the transition to West Syriac ritual practices.[23] However, a minority from the Malankara Church, who were in favour of the Reformed ideologies of the missionaries, stood along with them and joined the Anglican Church.[31][163] These Saint Thomas Anglicans, were the first Reformed group to emerge from the Saint Thomas Christian community and they worked along with the missionaries in their evangelical, educational and reformative activities.[31][164][165] By 1879, the Diocese of Travancore and Cochin of the Church of England was established in Kottayam.[166][167] On 27 September 1947, the Anglican dioceses in South India, merged with other Protestant churches in the region and formed the Church of South India (CSI); an independent United Church in full communion with all its predecessor denominations.[32][33] Since then, Anglican Syrian Christians have been members of the Church of South India and also came to be known as CSI Syrian Christians.[167]

In 1860, tired of their Latin subjugation, the Pazhayakūttukar sent a delegation headed by Antony Thondanatt (d. c. 1900) to Mosul to make a plea to the Chaldean Catholic patriarch to consecrate a bishop of their own rite for them.[26] In response, Patriarch Joseph VI Audo consecrated Thomas Rokos,[26] titular archbishop of Basra,[168] and dispatched him to visit the alienated Malabar Christian flock in 1861.[26] However, the mission failed due to the protests of the apostolic delegate at Mosul, Henri Amanton, and the vicar apostolic of Verapoly. As a result, the Pope forced the Patriarch to call back the bishop.[169][170][26] There was yet another incident on 5 June 1864. Patriarch Joseph VI consecrated Elias Mellus, bishop of ʿAqra,[171] and sent him to India. But this effort too was met with the same fate as before and Mellus was called back in 1882.[172][173] Meanwhile, in 1862, an attempt was made to reestablish direct ties between traditionalist Christian communities in India and the Assyrian Patriarch Shimun XVIII consecrated the aforementioned Thondanatt as Abdisho, the Metropolitan of India, but his task proved to be very difficult and challenging. He intensified his activity after 1882, fulfilling the aspirations of local Christians of the East Syriac Rite for the full re-establishment of traditional ecclesiastical structure. Until his death in 1900, he partially succeeded in organizing the local church, that was named the Chaldean Syrian Church.[174] After his death, local Christians appealed to Shimun XIX, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East in Qochanis who was forthcoming, and in December 1907 consecrated Abimalek Timotheus as metropolitan bishop for India. He reached his diocese in February 1908, and took over the administration.[175][176] He organized ecclesiastical structures, and continued with revitalisation of the East Syriac Rite.[26][177]

By June 1875, there were two factions among the Puthenkuttukar: Patriarch (Bava) and Reform (Methran) Party. Mathews Athanasius was the Malankara Metropolitan approved by the Governments of Travancore and of Cochin and the group with him was also known as "Reform Party" since Mathews Athanasius was supportive to the reforming of the Jacobite church with evangelistic ideologies.[28][178] The patriarch faction, under the leadership of Metropolitan Pulikkottil Joseph Dionysious II, opposed the attempts to do away with the age-old traditions of the church, which resulted in a stir in the community.[178] Being invited by this faction, the Antiochene Patriarch Ignatius Peter III arrived in Kerala.[179] In June 1876, at the synod of Mulanthuruthy, presided over by the Patriarch, the Syrian faction formally came under the Antiochene Patriarchate.[23][180] The synod condemned Mathews Athanasius for abstaining from it, but his followers stayed firm with him.[178] His successor Thomas Athanasius and the bishop's faction lost the lawsuit to the Patriarchal faction in the Royal Court of Travancore on 12 July 1889.[181] Nonetheless, the Reform Party continued as an independent, Malankara Church and thereafter a series of suits arose on the rights over churches and associated properties. Later they chose the name Mar Thoma Syrian Church.[178][28]

In 1911, Patriarch Ignatius ʿAbdullāh II excommunicated Vattasseril Geevarghese Dionysios (Dionysios VI), the Malankara Metropolitan,[20] due to dispute of authority over the properties of the Malankara Church.[23] This led to the division of the Church into two groups, with one group accepting the supreme authority of the patriarch and the other supporting Dionysios VI.[23] The group led by Dionysios VI invited Patriarch Ignatius ʿAbdulmasīḥ II, who was deposed from Patriarchate by the Turkish authorities.[23] In 1912, ʿAbdulmasīḥ II arrived in India and he consecrated Baselios Paulose I (d. c. 1914) as Maphrian (Syriac Orthodox Catholicos).[23] This was not recognised by the Syriac Orthodox Church.[182] Previously ʿAbdulmasīḥ II himself had declined the request for the installation of a Maphrianate for India in 1902 during his patriarchate.[183] The independent group under Metropolitan Dionysios VI, known as the 'Metropolitan's Party', started endorsing the claims for autocephaly.[183][23] The other group, known as the 'Patriarch's Party', remained loyal to the Patriarch and was led by Coorilos Paulose, succeeded by Athanasius Paulose.[20][184] The two sides filed a series of lawsuits in the civil courts and some parallel attempts to reconcile both the parties also took place. In 1958, bishops of both the parties sealed their reconciliation and signed a treaty which in turn recognised the autonomy of reunited factions, with its own synod of bishops under the presidency of the Catholicos.[20][185] The verdict of the Supreme Court of India in 1958, legitimizing the autonomy of Kerala church, was instrumental in this formal reconciliation between the two sides. In 1964, Patriarch Ignatius Yaʿqub III consecrated Baselios Augen I (d. c. 1975) as the Catholicos.[20] Nonetheless, in 1975, both the parties split again with the decision of the Universal Syrian Synod, held in Damascus, to depose the Catholicos in Kerala. Baselios Paulose II was consecrated as the Catholicos for the 'Patriarch faction'.[20] Today the West Syriac Oriental Orthodox community in India is divided between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church) and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church (an autonomous church under the Antiochene Patriarchate).[20][23][186][183]

In 1930, a section of the Puthenkuttukar under the leadership of Archbishop Geevarghese Ivanios and Jacob Theophilos left the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church[187] and came into communion with the Catholic Church. They are known as Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.[22] On 11 June 1932, Trivandrum was recognised as a Metropolitan See sui juris, with Thiruvalla as its suffragan.[22] On 10 February 2005, the church was raised to the status of a Major archiepiscopal church. The canonical installation of Cyril Baselios as the first Major Archbishop took place on 14 May 2005 and simultaneously the title 'Catholicos' was legitimized.[188] The St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute (SEERI), inaugurated on 14 September 1985, comes under the Syro-Malankara Catholic Archbishop of Thiruvalla.[22] According to Sebastian P. Brock: "SEERI is by far the most active promoter of Syriac language and tradition in Kerala, providing, among other things, MA and Doctoral programs."[22]

In 1961, there was a split in the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church which resulted in the formation of St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India.[189][190]

Pentecostalism began to spread among Saint Thomas Christians from 1911, due to American missionary work.[34] The first Syrian Pentecostals came from Kerala Brethren, who were in turn mostly ex-Marthomites.[191][192][193] As the movement gained momentum, groups of people from all traditional St. Thomas Christian denominations became part of various emerging Pentecostal and evangelical fellowships.[192][194] Pentecostals from Syrian Christian background spearheaded the movement in Kerala and to a lesser extent in India, by providing the necessary leadership for establishing denominations like Indian Pentecostal Church of God, Assemblies of God in India, Church of God (Full Gospel) in India, The Pentecostal Mission and many other Neo-charismatic churches.[195][196][35][197] The Syro-Malabar Church too has a very active Charismatic ministry, operated through establishments such as the Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor.[198][199]

Involvement in politics

Participation based on caste and community divisions and sympathies has been a feature of politics in the present day state of Kerala and its predecessor entities. Until the mid-20th century the primary cause of the divisions between the various communities was competition for rights and resources.

Like other communities, Saint Thomas Christians have been involved in regional politics on a community basis. In 1888, Travancore became the first princely state in India to establish a Legislative Council, which was reformed as the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly in 1904. A few Saint Thomas Christian leaders were elected to the Legislative Council but there was resentment that their share of the available seats was proportionately less than that of other prominent castes. This resentment led to a series of campaigns for equal representation both in the legislature and in government positions.[200] Jatiaikya Sangham, an organization formed with an objective of reuniting the Pazhayakoor and Puthenkoor communities, came up with the idea of a newspaper that resulted in the establishment of Nasrani Deepika by Nidhirikkal Manikkathanar in 1887.[201] Newspapers such as the Nasrani Deepika and Malayala Manorama disseminated their grievances.[202]

In 1918, Saint Thomas Christians formed the League for Equal Civic Rights, which sought the opening of all branches of government service to Christians, Muslims and avarna Hindus, as well as an end to the practice of untouchability. Their demands were partially met in 1922 when the Revenue Department was separated from the Devaswom, a semi-government organization that managed the Hindu temples, thus removing the restriction on non-Hindus and avarnas in the executive service. In the 1920s, Saint Thomas Christian leaders such as George Joseph were advised by Mahatma Gandhi to detach from Vaikom Satyagraha, an agitation for the temple entry rights of avarna Hindus, as he considered the issue to be one of concern to Hindus alone.[202][203] Titus Theverthundiyil was one of the 78 marchers selected by Gandhi to take part in the 1930 Dandi March, to break the British salt monopoly.[204]

With the institution in 1932 of a bicameral legislature in Travancore, four Saint Thomas Christians found a place in among the 24 seats of the lower house, but not comparable with other forward castes.[200] The 1931 census recorded over 31 per cent of the population as being Christian, compared to around 4 per cent in 1820.[205] Some restrictions were imposed on Saint Thomas Christian parishes to start new schools and later on the Diwan attempted to take over the schools owned by the community.[202] There followed a period of fierce confrontation between the Diwan and Saint Thomas Christians—many leaders were arrested, prominent news papers were banned and large banks owned by the community members were liquidated.[202][206] In 1937, general elections were held and Joint Political Congress played a significant role to attain much better representation for allied communities.[207] T.M. Varghese was elected as the Deputy President of the Assembly where C. P. Ramaswami Iyer was the ex officio President. On the collapse of Joint Political Congress due to internal conflicts, Saint Thomas Christian leaders allied with Nairs in a common platform- Travancore State Congress where they fought together for responsible government and also to oust Iyer.[200] Abraham Marthoma mobilised Syrian Christians against the divan's move not to unite with free India.[208] In the three-member Cabinet of Travancore formed after the first general elections in 1948, Varghese was a Cabinet Minister.[209] However the first Saint Thomas Christian to become a minister in the central government of India was Padma Vibhushan John Mathai, who served as India's first Railway Minister and subsequently as India's Finance Minister,[210] taking office shortly after the presentation of India's first Budget, in 1948.

On 1 November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed and the Communist Party formed the first government of the state in 1957 on winning the assembly elections.[211][incomplete short citation] Though the government initiated the legislation process for reforming the land and the education sectors, these were considered as infringements over the rights by the school managements and landowners, who were predominantly Saint Thomas Christians and Nairs.[212] The disagreements of the Saint Thomas Christians further widened and they allied with Nair Service Society to mobilize against the government, which culminated in a violent struggle, called the Liberation Struggle, in 1958.[213] The Communist government was dismissed on 31 July 1959 and the President's rule was imposed in the state under Article 356 of the Constitution of India.

Socio-cultural and religious identity

Nasranees or Syrian Christians of Kerala in ancient days (from an old painting)

St. Thomas Christians are a distinct community, both in terms of culture and religion. Though their liturgy and theology remained that of East-Syrian Christians of Persia, their life-style customs and traditions were basically Indian. It is oft-quoted: "Nazranis are Indian in culture, Christian in faith and Syrian in liturgy".[214]

At present, Saint Thomas Christians represent a multi-cultural group. Their culture is largely derived from East Syriac, West Syriac, Hindu, Jewish,[215] and Latin Rite influences, blended with local customs and later elements derived from indigenous Indian and European colonial contacts. Their language is Malayalam, the language of Kerala, and Syriac is used for liturgical purposes.

Jewish influence has been observed in Malabar Nasrani liturgy and traditions.[4] The community maintained some of the original Jewish rituals, such as covering their heads while in worship.[215] Their ritual services were and still are called the Qurbana, which is derived from the Aramaic term Qurbana (ܩܘܪܒܢܐ), meaning "sacrifice". Nasrani Qurbana used to be held in Syriac.[216]

Saint Thomas Christians typically followed the social customs of their Hindu neighbors, and the vestiges of Hindu symbolism could be seen in their devotional practices.[217] Social sins like Untouchability entered their practices and the Synod of Diamper abolished it.[218] The rituals related to birth, marriage, pregnancy, death etc. were also largely adapted from Hindu religious practices. Now also, tying Thaali, a Hindu symbol of marriage is the most important rite in the Christian marriages too. In 1519, a Portuguese traveler Duarte Barbosa on his visit to Malabar commented on the practice of Saint Thomas Christian priests using Kudumi similar to that of Hindus, in his manuscript "Book of Duarte Barbosa".[219]

In the social stratification of medieval Malabar, Saint Thomas Christians succeeded in relating their social status with that of upper-caste Hindus on account of their numerical strength and influence and observance of many Brahmin and upper caste customs.[218][220] In the 13th and 14th centuries, many Saint Thomas Christians were involved in the pepper trade for the local rulers and many were appointed as port revenue officers. The local rulers rewarded them with grants of land and many other privileges. With growing numerical strength, a large number of Saint Thomas Christians settled in the inland pepper-growing regions.[221] They had the right to recruit and train soldiers and Christian trainers were given with the honorary title "Panikkar" like their Nair counterparts.[222] They were also entitled with the privilege to collect the tax, and the tax-collectors were honored with the title "Tharakan".

Like Brahmins they had the right to sit before the Kings and also to ride on horse or elephant, like the royals.[218] They were protectors of seventeen underprivileged castes and communities and hence they were called Lords of Seventeen Castes.[218][223] They did not allow the lower-castes to join their community for fear that it could imperil their upper-caste status.[223][224] But this regal period ended when the community fell under the power of the Rajas of Cochin and Travancore.[225] They owned a large number of Kalaripayattu training centers and the Rajas of Travancore and Cochin, including the renowned Marthanda Varma, recruited trained Christian warriors to defend their kingdom.[226]

The upper-caste Hindus and Saint Thomas Christians took part in one another's festival celebrations and in some places in Kerala, the Hindu Temples and Saint Thomas Christian Churches were built on adjoining sites by the Hindu Kings. Until the 19th century, Saint Thomas Christians had the right of access to Hindu temples and some leading Saint Thomas Christians held the status of sponsors at Hindu shrines and temple festivals.[227] But in the 19th century, Saint Thomas Christian integration with the Hindu caste system was disrupted: their clean-caste status was questioned in some localities and they were denied access to many Hindu temples. They tried to retaliate by denouncing Hindu festivals as heathen idolatry. Clashes between upper-caste Hindus and Saint Thomas Christians occurred from the late 1880s, especially when festivals coincided. Internecine violence among various Saint Thomas Christian denominations aggravated their problems.[228]

Existing traditions, music, rituals and social life

Kozhukkatta is prepared by Nasranis on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday and the day is hence called Kozhukatta Saturday.

Saint Thomas Christians still retain many of their ancient traditions and rituals, both in their social and religious life. Saint Thomas Christian services have many unique characteristics compared to others. Prior to the 1970s, the Nasrani Qurbana was completely sung in Syriac. Many of the tunes of the Saint Thomas Christian worship in Kerala, especially those in the East Syriac tradition, are remnants of ancient Syriac tunes of antiquity.[229][230][231]

  • Saint Thomas Christians observe Holy Thursday with high reverence. This day is referred to as Pesaha, a Malayalam word derived from the Aramaic or Hebrew word for Passover—Pasha or Pesah—commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus Christ during Passover in Jerusalem. The tradition of consuming Pesaha Appam after the church service is observed by the entire community under the leadership of the head of the family. Special long services followed by the Holy Qurbana are conducted during the Pesaha eve in the churches.[232][233]
  • The community observes Lent, locally called Anpathu noyambu (the fifty days' fast) or the Valiya noyambu (Sawma Rabba, the Great Fast), from Clean Monday or the preceding Sunday (called the Pētūrttà (meaning "looking back"), this is the original practice and it still prevails among the Chaldean Syrian Church)[234] to the day before Easter, abjuring all meat, fish and egg. They also traditionally observe the 25 days' fast which ends on the day of Christmas.[235]
  • On the day of Palm Sunday known as Oshana or Hoshana Sunday, flowers are strewn about the sanctuary, loaned from the Hindu ritual of offering flowers, and the crowd shouts "Oshana" (ܐܘܿܫܲܥܢܵܐ (ʾōshaʿnā) meaning 'save, rescue, savior' in Aramaic). Then palm leaves are blessed and distributed after the Qurbana (Holy Mass).[236]
  • The ritual service (liturgy) is commonly called the Holy Qurbana, regardless of whether it is the East Syriac Holy Qurbana or West Syriac Holy Qurobo. The Holy Qurbana is mostly conducted and prayers recited in Malayalam. However, significant parts of the Holy Qurbana are sung in Syriac. During the 20th century, the 'Qurbana-kramam' i.e. the 'book containing the order of worship', was translated into English, for the benefit of worshipers who lived outside Kerala, and did not know to read or write Malayalam.
Breviary of the Ramsha in East Syriac tradition
Shehimo breviary in West Syriac tradition
  • Another surviving tradition is the use of muthukoda (ornamental umbrella) for church celebrations, marriages and other festivals. Traditional drums, arch decorations and ornamental umbrellas and Panchavadyam are part of the church celebrations. Their use has become popular all over Kerala.
  • The rituals and ceremonies of Saint Thomas Christians related to house building, astrology, birth and marriage have close similarity with those of Hindus in Kerala.Syrian Christians also follow the Jathaka system like their Hindu counterparts.[239] Death rituals express Christian canonical themes very distantly and the influence of Hindu culture is quite noticeable. Much stress is given to ideas concerning life after death and the anticipation of final judgment.[240]
  • Saint Thomas Christians do not marry close relatives. The rule is that the bride and groom must not be related for at least five or seven generations.
  • Saint Thomas Christians generally prefer arranged marriages and the prospective partners see each other in the Pennukanal (Bride Viewing) ceremony at bride's home.[241]
Wedding coronation of Syrian Christian Nasranis. The Manthrakodi (Pudava) is used to cover the bride. Syro-Malabar bishop Mar Gregory Karotemprel is the celebrant
  • Saint Thomas Christian marriage customs are uniquely different from Western Christian marriage and local Hindu marriage customs. For example, engagement and marriage are usually performed together in the same service. Unlike Western Christian traditions, there is no direct ring exchange between groom and bride during engagement, rather it is offered and mediated by the Kathanar who represents Jesus Christ, symbolizing that it is God who brings the couple together into marriage.[242] The tying of the Thaali (Mangalasutra) and the giving of the "Manthrakodi" or "Pudava" to the bride are the major wedding rituals loaned from Hinduism. Manthrakodi, a silk saree with a golden zari border is blessed by the priest and is placed by the bridegroom by covering the hair of the bride, it symbolises the "Pudavakodukkal" ceremony of the Nambudiri Brahmins, where similarly the bridegroom places a silk cloth by covering the head of the bride.[241][243]
  • The night before the marriage a ceremony known as "Madhuram Veppu" , is conducted. The ceremony is conducted separately for the bride and the bridegroom. It includes serving the bride and the bridegroom sweets by the maternal uncle. It has been loaned from the Knānāya (Southist) community's tradition called as "Chantham Charthal", where similarly the couple are served sweets. Chantham Charthal for the bride includes applying of Henna, Sandal and turmeric over the palms and legs as a symbolism of purity. The face of the bridegroom is cleanly shaved as a ritual. All the traditions are accompanied by the Panan Pattu performed by the Panan caste, who sings the grants and privileges given to the Syrian Christians.[70][246][247]
  • The traditional dress of a Saint Thomas Christian woman is the Chatta and Mundu, a seamless white garment, which is now limited to older female adherents. Following the general trend, the Sari and Churidar have become predominant among the younger generations.[235][248]

Church architecture

Kottayam Saint Mary's Minor Church (Kottayam Cheriyapally) with the traditional tile roofing and wall

The earliest documentary evidence is Tharisapally Copper Plate, which refers to the construction of the church of Tharisapally in Quilon between 823 and 849 AD. Antonio Gouvea, Portuguese envoy to Malabar, mentions in his 16th-century work Jornada that almost all the churches of Saint Thomas Christians followed the models of Hindu temples of that period, but were distinguished by the huge granite cross in the front yard of the church. Despite the external similarity with temples, the structuring of the interior space of the church always followed the East Syriac architectural theology. Thus the contemporary style is formed as an amalgamation of Indian architecture and Assyrian liturgical concepts.[249] The church is arranged east-to-west, with the interior structured into three levels: the madbaha (sanctuary), the qestroma (choir) and the haykla (nave).

The madbaha, arranged in the topmost platform at the eastern side of the building, represents Heaven. The primary altar is attached to the eastern wall. To the north of the madbaha is the diaqonikon (sacristry); to the south is the baptistery.The madbaha is protected with rails and is veiled by a red curtain most of the time; this is opened during the Holy Qurbana (Eucharist). An oil lamp within the sanctuary is kept glowing at all times to represent the presence of God. The madbaha is connected to the qestroma and haykla by a low-walled path called the sqaqona. The qestroma contains seats for the choir and lower clergy. The haykla contains an elevated platform or bema, which includes an altar, two lecterns for reading, and chairs for higher clergy. Worshipers stand before the altar, with separate seating for men and women.

The main entrance is on the western side of the building; a vestibule, pillars, pilasters, and other architectural ornaments adorn the front end, and a flag mast stands in the front yard. One or two bells are installed in the back yard to signal the timing of ritual services, the death of a church member, or to inform the public of calamities.[250][251]

The Persian Crosses

An ancient St Thomas Cross at Kottayam Knanaya Valiyapally

The East Syriac Churches of the St. Thomas Christians have accepted the Persian cross as their symbol. They call it the Nasrani Menorah[252] or Mar Thoma Sleeva (St. Thomas' Cross).[253] There are several interpretations for the St. Thomas Christian Symbol. The interpretation based on Christian Jewish tradition assumes that its design was based on Jewish menorah, an ancient symbol of the Hebrews, which consists of seven branched lamp stand (candelabra).[254] The St. Thomas' Cross also appears on the official emblem of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The interpretation based on local culture states that the Cross without the figure of Jesus and with flowery arms symbolising "joyfulness" points to the resurrection theology of St. Paul, the downward-facing bird (most likely a dove) on the top represents the role of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Cross indicates Christ. The lotus symbolizing God the Father, who has begotten the Son. The three steps indicate Calvary and symbolise the Church, the channel of grace flowing from the Cross. The lotus may also symbolise the cultural association with Buddhism and the Cross over it shows that Christianity was established in the land of Buddha.[255][256]

Saint Thomas Christians today

Writing in 2010, Devika and Varghese noted that "[The St. Thomas Christians] are at present a substantial minority, a powerful presence in all fields of life in Kerala."[257]

Socioeconomic status

Even though the Saint Thomas Christians had to compromise their social and religious privileges in the aftermath of Portuguese subjugation, they started reemerging as a powerful community from the 19th century onward. They played a pioneering role in many spheres such as Banking, Commerce, Cash crops etc.[258] Around 2003, among Saint Thomas Christians, 17.4% of the adult population are self-employed – the highest rate statistically among all the communities in the state of Kerala.[259] Saint Thomas Christians lead all others with respect to per capita ownership of land, with many of them owning large estates. With changing conditions, they have shifted from the agriculture of rice and coconut to plantation based agriculture and the trading of rubber, spices and cash crops. They also take a prominent role in the educational institutions of Kerala and throughout India.[260] The educational accomplishments of the community have helped its members to attain a good proportion of the Central and State Government jobs.[258] With their level of education and limited employment opportunities within the state of Kerala, they became the community with the highest rate of migration. Their resultant foreign remittances have also helped the socioeconomic progress of the community. According to the Kerala Migration Survey (1998) by the Center for Developmental Studies, Kerala, Saint Thomas Christians top all other communities in Kerala with respect to the Socioeconomic Development Index which is based on parameters such as the possession of land, housing & consumer durables, education and employment status.[261]


K. C. Zachariah notes that the 20th century was period of significant transition for the Saint Thomas Christians in terms of its demographic and socioeconomic status. Around 1900, the community was concentrated in a few areas, was geographically static and "... was characterised by very high death rate, very high birth rate, very early age at marriage, and 10 to 12 children per married woman". The population had increased eight-fold during the preceding century, from a base figure of about 100,000, and comprised nearly 50 per cent children. But, the population growth of Saint Thomas Christians came down drastically after the 1960s, with the lowest birth rate, highest age at marriage, highest family planning user rate, and lowest fertility rate compared to other communities in Kerala. The proportion of children has come down to less than 25%. The absolute and relative size of the community is in a diminishing trend and is approaching a zero population growth regime.[262]

Syrian Christians in Kerala

  Syro-Malabar (56.83%)
  Malankara Orthodox (11.31%)
  Syrian Jacobite (11.16%)
  Syro-Malankara (10.74%)
  Syrian Marthoma (9.33%)
  Chaldean Syrian (0.60%)
  Others (0.03%)

Source: Religious Denominations of Kerala[263]

As of 2001, in Kerala, more than 85 per cent of the Saint Thomas Christian population live in the seven southern districts of the state – Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam and Trissur. They have also migrated to other cities in India like Ooty, Mangalore, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Migration steeply increased in the post-independence period and major destinations were United States of America, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and the Middle East. According to a rough estimate, 20–25% of the Saint Thomas Christians live outside the state of Kerala.[264]

Social status

Despite the sectarian differences, Saint Thomas Christians share a common social status within the Caste system of Kerala and is considered as Forward Caste.[265]

In historic kingdoms of Kerala such as those of Cochin and Travancore, Saint Thomas Christians were granted caste privileges that put them on the same level as Upper caste Hindus.[70] Anthropologist, L.K. Ananthakrishna Iyer recorded that they were given privileges in addition to those granted to groups such as Nairs, such as the right to have enclosures in front of their houses, which was otherwise only granted to the Brahmins, and were placed "almost on par with the Sovereigns".[266] They followed the same rules of caste and pollution as did Hindus, and sometimes they were considered to be pollution neutralisers.[223] Decree II of Action IX of the Synod of Diamper enforced by the Portuguese Inquisition in 1599 prohibited the practice of untouchability by the Saint Thomas Christians except in practical circumstances when required by law and when it was necessary to ensure social contact with the Varna Hindus.[267]

They tend to be endogamous, and tend not to intermarry even with other Christian groupings. Internal division of Saint Thomas Christians into Northists and Southists and also into a number of sects based on the ecclesiastical orientation makes the pattern of segmentation an exceedingly complex. Forrester suggests that the Northist-Southist division forms two groups within the Saint Thomas Christian community which are closely analogous to sub-castes.[265]

Christian conventions

The Maramon Convention is one of the largest annual Christian gatherings in Asia.[268] It takes place in Maramon, near Kozhencherry, during February on the vast sand-bed of the Pamba River next to the Kozhencherry Bridge. The first convention was held in March 1895 for 10 days.

See also



  1. ^ a b Thomas (2018).
  2. ^ "Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Chicago (Syro-Malabarese)". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  3. ^ "The Stcei". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b Ross, Israel J. (1979). "Ritual and Music in South India: Syrian Christian Liturgical Music in Kerala". Asian Music. 11 (1): 80–98. doi:10.2307/833968. JSTOR 833968.
  5. ^ Perczel (2013), p. 416.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Brock (2011a).
  7. ^ a b c Fahlbusch, Erwin; Bromiley, Geoffrey William; Lochman, Jan Milic (2008). The Encyclodedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-8028-2417-2.
  8. ^ a b Israel Museum (1995). The Jews of India: A Story of Three Communities. UPNE. p. 27. ISBN 978-965-278-179-6.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Baum & Winkler 2003, p. 52.
  10. ^ a b Bundy, David D. (2011). "Timotheos I". In Sebastian P. Brock; Aaron M. Butts; George A. Kiraz; Lucas Van Rompay (eds.). Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Gorgias Press. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  11. ^ "How did Timur change the history of the world? -".
  12. ^ "10 Terrors of the Tyrant Tamerlane". Listverse. 15 January 2018.
  13. ^ Frykenberg (2008), p. 111.
  14. ^ "Christians of Saint Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  15. ^ Frykenberg (2008), p. 134–136.
  16. ^ Perczel, István. "Garshuni Malayalam: A Witness to an Early Stage of Indian Christian Literature". Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies. 17 (2): 291.
  17. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica (2011). Synod of Diamper. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  18. ^ For the Acts and Decrees of the Synod cf. Michael Geddes, "A Short History of the Church of Malabar Together with the Synod of Diamper &c." London, 1694;Repr. in George Menachery, Ed., Indian Church History Classics, Vol.1, Ollur 1998, pp.33–112
  19. ^ ODCC (2009).
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Joseph (2011).
  21. ^ NSC (2007).
  22. ^ a b c d e Brock (2011b).
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Varghese (2011).
  24. ^ George, V. C. The Church in India Before and After the Synod of Diamper. Prakasam Publications. He wished to propagate Nestorianism within the community. Misunderstanding arose between him and the Assyrian Patriarch, and from the year 1962 onwards the Chaldean Syrian Church in Malabar has had two sections within it, one known as the Patriarch party and the other as the Bishop's party.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Brock (2011c).
  27. ^ South Asia. Missions Advanced Research and Communication Center. 1980. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-912552-33-0. The Mar Thoma Syrian Church , which represents the Protestant Reform movement, broke away from the Syrian Orthodox Church in the 19th century.
  28. ^ a b c Fenwick (2011b).
  29. ^ "Ecumenical Relations". 9 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Mission & Vision". St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India (steci) is an episcopal Church.
  31. ^ a b c d Neill 2002, pp. 247–251.
  32. ^ a b Fahlbusch, Erwin; Lochman, Jan Milic; Bromiley, Geoffrey William; Mbiti, John; Pelikan, Jaroslav; Vischer, Lukas (1999). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 687–688. ISBN 978-90-04-11695-5.
  33. ^ a b Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (21 September 2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition [6 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 707. ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3.
  34. ^ a b Anderson, Allan; Tang, Edmond (2005). Asian and Pentecostal: The Charismatic Face of Christianity in Asia. OCMS. pp. 192 to 193, 195 to 196, 203 to 204. ISBN 978-1-870345-43-9.
  35. ^ a b Bergunder, Michael (6 June 2008). The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 15 to 16, 26 to 30, 37 to 57. ISBN 978-0-8028-2734-0.
  36. ^ a b Županov, Ines G. (2005). Missionary Tropics: The Catholic Frontier in India (16th–17th centuries). University of Michigan. p. 99 and note. ISBN 0-472-11490-5.
  37. ^ Malieckal, Bindu (2005). "Muslims, Matriliny, and A Midsummer Night's Dream: European Encounters with the Mappilas of Malabar, India". The Muslim World. 95 (2): 300. doi:10.1111/j.1478-1913.2005.00092.x.
  38. ^ Mathur, P. R. G. (1977). The Mappila fisherfolk of Kerala: a study in inter-relationship between habitat, technology, economy, society, and culture. Kerala Historical Society. p. 1.
  39. ^ Vadakkekara 2007, p. 52.
  40. ^ Zacharia, Lynn Johnson,Paul. "The Surprisingly Early History of Christianity in India". Smithsonian Magazine.
  41. ^ "Thomas The Apostole". 8 February 2011. Archived from the original on 8 February 2011.
  42. ^ "Search for India's ancient city". 11 June 2006.
  43. ^ Bayly 2004, p. 244.
  44. ^ a b 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., Trichur.
  45. ^ a b Frykenberg 2008, p. 99.
  46. ^ Klijn, Albertus Frederik Johannes (2003). The Acts of Thomas: Introduction, Text, and Commentary. BRILL. p. 15. ISBN 90-04-12937-5.
  47. ^ Childers (2011).
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i Medlycott (1912).
  49. ^ Church History by Eusebius. Book V Chapter 10. Pantaenus the Philosopher.
  50. ^ Frykenberg 2008, p. 103.
  51. ^ Whitehouse (1873), p. 12–20.
  52. ^ "Indian Christianity".
  53. ^ Frykenberg 2008, p. 92.
  54. ^ "The Song of Thomas Ramban" in Menachery G (ed); (1998) "The Indian Church History Classics", Vol. I, The Nazranies, Ollur, 1998. ISBN 81-87133-05-8
  55. ^ Whitehouse, Thomas (1873). Lingerings of light in a dark land: Researches into the Syrian church of Malabar. William Brown and Co. p. 23–42.
  56. ^ James Arampulickal (1994). The pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar Catholic migrants. Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, India Publications. p. 40.
  57. ^ Orientalia christiana periodica: Commentaril de re orientali ...: Volumes 17–18. Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum. 1951. p. 233.
  58. ^ Adrian Hastings (15 August 2000). A World History of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-8028-4875-8.
  59. ^ Department of Tourism. "Seven and half Churches (Ezhara Pallikal)".
  60. ^ Muthiah, S. (1999). Madras Rediscovered: A Historical Guide to Looking Around, Supplemented with Tales of 'Once Upon a City'. East West Books. p. 113. ISBN 818-685-222-0.
  61. ^ Mundadan & Thekkedath 1982, pp. 30–32.
  62. ^ Mani, Thattunkal Zachariah (2016). ThomaaSleehaayude Kerala ChristhavaSabha Onnaam Noottaandil. T.Z.Mani. p. 14.
  63. ^ Ayyar, Anantakrishna L K (1926). Anthropology of the Syrian Christians. Cochin Government Press. p. 3.
  64. ^ Ayyar, Anantakrishna L K (1926). Anthropology of the Syrian Christians. Cochin Government Press. p. 3.
  65. ^ "Anthropology of the Syrian Christians". 1926.
  66. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 101–102.
  67. ^ Leslie Brown, The Indian Christians of St. Thomas.
  68. ^ "Nazrani Christians and the Social Processes of Kerala, 800–1500 | Nasranis". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  69. ^ Malekandathil (2010), p. 38–61.
  70. ^ a b c Menachery (2000).
  71. ^ "Nazrani Christians and the Social Processes of Kerala, 800–1500 | Nasranis". 6 March 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  72. ^ Malekandathil (2010), p. 38-61.
  73. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 102–107, 115.
  74. ^ Kollaparambil 1992, p. 1–20.
  75. ^ a b Frykenberg 2010, pp. 113.
  76. ^ Fahlbusch 2008, p. 286.
  77. ^ Swiderski, Richard Michael (1988). "Northists and Southists: A Folklore of Kerala Christians". Asian Folklore Studies. Nanzan University. 47 (1): 76–80, 80–83. doi:10.2307/1178253. JSTOR 1178253.
  78. ^ a b Kollaparambil 2015, p. 129.
  79. ^ Neill 2004, pp. 42–43.
  80. ^ D'Aguiar, Rev. J. Monteiro. 'The Magna Carta of St. Thomas Christians', K. S. P., no. 4, p. 172 and 195.
  81. ^ Burjor Avari – India, the ancient past, Taylor & Francis, 2007, p.221, ISBN 0-415-35615-6
  82. ^ S.G. Pothan (1963) The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Bombay: Asia Publishing House pp.102–105
  83. ^ Werner Sundermann; Almut Hintze; François de Blois (2009). Exegisti Monumenta: Festschrift in Honour of Nicholas Sims-Williams. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 38. ISBN 978-3-447-05937-4.
  84. ^ Baum & Winkler 2003, p. 53.
  85. ^ a b Walker (2011).
  86. ^ a b Frykenberg 2008, p. 112.
  87. ^ Cosmas Indicopleustes (24 June 2010). J. W. McCrindle (ed.). The Christian Topography of Cosmas, an Egyptian Monk: Translated from the Greek, and Edited with Notes and Introduction (2010 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 48, 119-120, 365-366. ISBN 978-1-108-01295-9. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  88. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 105, 110.
  89. ^ # Silverberg, Robert (1996). The Realm of Prester John, pp. 29–34. Ohio University Press. ISBN 1-84212-409-9.
  90. ^ Kerala Charithram P.59 Sridhara Menon
  91. ^ V. Nagam Aiya (1906), Travancore State Manual, page 244
  92. ^ a b Perczel (2018).
  93. ^ History of Kollam city and Kollam Port
  94. ^ Yogesh Sharma (2010). Coastal Histories: Society and Ecology in Pre-modern India. Primus Books. p. 78. ISBN 978-93-80607-00-9.
  95. ^ Malekandathil (2010), p. 43.
  96. ^ Fiey, J. M. (1993). Pour un Oriens Christianus novus; répertoire des diocèses Syriaques orientaux et occidentaux, p. 96. Beirut: Orient-Institut.
  97. ^ Wilmshurst 2000, p. 343, 391.
  98. ^ Baum & Winkler 2003, p. 105.
  99. ^ a b c Van der Ploeg (1983), p. 3.
  100. ^ a b "MS Vatican Syriac 22 & MS Vatican Syriac 17: Syriac Manuscripts copied in South India". 6 April 2012.
  101. ^ Mingana 1926, p. 451-452.
  102. ^ Wilmshurst (2000), p. 378.
  103. ^ Van der Ploeg (1983), p. 4.
  104. ^ Martin Thomas, Antony (5 June 2010). The Story of Joseph, the Indian; A Historical Appraisal of the Affairs of St Thomas' Christians in the Pre Portuguese period.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  105. ^ Wilmshurst 2000, p. 20, 347, 398, 406–407.
  106. ^ Baum & Winkler 2003, p. 106–111.
  107. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 122–124.
  108. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 125–127.
  109. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 127–128.
  110. ^ Frykenberg 2008, pp. 130–134.
  111. ^ Neill 2004, pp. 208–210.
  112. ^ a b Takahashi (2011).
  113. ^ Neill 2004, pp. 208–214.
  114. ^ Vadakkekara 2007, p. 78.
  115. ^ a b Prasad 2009, p. 484.
  116. ^ "Tracing the heritage of Syrian Christians." The Hindu. 21 February 2011.
  117. ^ Van der Ploeg (1983).
  118. ^ Frykenberg 2008, p. 136.
  119. ^ a b Frykenberg 2008, p. 367.
  120. ^ a b Neill 2004, pp. 316–317.
  121. ^ a b c Neill 2004, p. 319.
  122. ^ Neill 2004, p. 326–327.
  123. ^ a b c d Vadakkekara 2007, p. 84.
  124. ^ a b c Frykenberg 2008, p. 361.
  125. ^ a b c Fernando, p. 79.
  126. ^ a b c Chaput, pp. 7–8.
  127. ^ a b Neill 2004, pp. 320–321.
  128. ^ a b Mundadan & Thekkedath 1982, pp. 96–100.
  129. ^ a b c d Vellian 1986, p. 35–36.
  130. ^ Podipara, Placid (2007). Thomas Kalayil (ed.). "The Hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church". Collected Works of Rev Dr Placid Podipara C.M.I. Sanjos Publications. I: 719.
  131. ^ "Christians of Saint Thomas (Christian groups, India) – Encyclopedia Britannica". Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  132. ^ Thomas (2009).
  133. ^ a b Mundadan & Thekkedath 1982.
  134. ^ a b Menachery G; 1973, 1982, 1998; Podipara, Placid J. 1970; Leslie Brown, 1956; Tisserant, E. 1957
  135. ^ Vadakkekara 2007, p. 88.
  136. ^ Perczel (2013), p. 417.
  137. ^ Perczel (2013), p. 425.
  138. ^ a b c d Brock (2011d).
  139. ^ Koonammakkal (2013), p. 266, 267, 276.
  140. ^ Fr. George Thalian: "' The Great Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil, D. D.: the Outline of a Vocation '"., Mar Louis Memorial Press, 1961. (Postscript) (PDF).
  141. ^ "Archbishop Simon Dominicus [Catholic-hierarchy]".
  142. ^ Brown 1956, p. 115–117.
  143. ^ Mooken 1977, p. 50–51.
  144. ^ Mooken 1983, p. 25–26.
  145. ^ Neill 2002, p. 62–65.
  146. ^ Perczel (2013), p. 428-431.
  147. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fenwick (2011a).
  148. ^ a b Perczel (2013), p. 427 and note.
  149. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Malekandathil (2013).
  150. ^ Neill (2002), p. 67.
  151. ^ Neill (2002), p. 68 – 69.
  152. ^ Neill (2004), p. 67 – 68.
  153. ^ Perczel (2013), p. 431-432.
  154. ^ N. M. Mathew, History of the Marthoma Church (Malayalam), Volume 1.(2006). Page 205–207.
  155. ^ Kochumon M.P. Saintly bishops of Kattumangat (Malayalam) p. 42–44.
  156. ^ K.C. Varghese Kassessa. History of Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Malayalam) p.45
  157. ^ John Fenwick. The Forgotten Bishops, Georgias Press, NJ, USA. 2009. p.200–246.
  158. ^ Michael Burgess – The Eastern Orthodox Churches, McFarland, 2005, ISBN 0-7864-2145-2, p.175
  159. ^ Bayly 2004, pp. 281–286.
  160. ^ George Joseph, The life and times of a Kerala Christian nationalist, Orient Blackswan, 2003, pp. 33–39, ISBN 81-250-2495-6
  161. ^ Neill 2004, p. 241.
  162. ^ Cherian, Dr. C.V., Orthodox Christianity in India. Academic Publishers, College Road, Kottayam. 2003.p. 254-262.
  163. ^ a b Bayly (2004), p. 300.
  164. ^ "Missionaries led State to renaissance: Pinarayi". The Hindu. 13 November 2016. ISSN 0971-751X.
  165. ^ "Kerala to celebrate CMS mission". Church Mission Society. 9 November 2016.
  166. ^ "A History of the Church of England in India, by Eyre Chatterton (1924)".
  167. ^ a b "Kerala Window".
  168. ^ "Archbishop Thomas Rokuss [Catholic-Hierarchy]".
  169. ^ Martina, Giacomo (1986). Pio IX (1851-1866). p. 372-374. ISBN 8876525432.
  170. ^ Wilmshurst (2000), p. 34.
  171. ^ "Bishop Jean-Élie Mellus [Catholic-Hierarchy]".
  172. ^ "Church of the East - India".
  173. ^ Wilmshurst (2000), p. 75.
  174. ^ Mooken 1987.
  175. ^ Mooken 1975, p. 11-26.
  176. ^ Perczel (2013), p. 435-436.
  177. ^ Vadakkekara 2007, p. 103.
  178. ^ a b c d Varghese A.P. – India: History, Religion, Vision and Contribution to the World, Atlantic Publishers 2008, ISBN 978-81-269-0903-2, pp. 376–378
  179. ^ M.P. Varkey, Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious II, Metropolitan of Jacobite faction of Malankara Church.(Malayalam), Malayala Manorama. 1901.
  180. ^ Cheriyan, Dr. C.V., Orthodox Christianity in India. Academic Publishers, College Road, Kottayam. 2003. p. 294.
  181. ^ N.M. Mathew, History of the Marthoma Church (Malayalam), Volume II.(2007). Page 125.
  182. ^ Kiraz, George A. (2011b). "ʿAbdulmasīḥ II". Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition.
  183. ^ a b c Kiraz (2011a).
  184. ^ K Mani Rajan (2017). Holy Fathers of The Syrian Orient Entombed in Kerala (PDF). JSC Publications. p. 111-116.
  185. ^ A History of Eastern Christianity – Taylor & Francis, pp. 372–374
  186. ^ Vadakkekara 2007, p. 94-96.
  187. ^ Cherian, Dr. C.V., Orthodox Christianity in India. Academic Publishers, College Road, Kottayam. 2003.p. 354.
  188. ^ Chediath, Geevarghese. The Malankara Catholic Church (PDF). Vadavathoor: OIRSI publications. p. 201, 226.
  189. ^ Rev. Thomas, P.T. & Rev. P.C. Zachariah. It Happened in The Mar Thoma Church. 1961.
  190. ^ Thomas, K.T. & Rev. T.N. Koshy. Faith on Trial. Ernakulam. 1965.
  191. ^ Valayil C, John (22 February 2018). Transnational Religious Organization and Practice: A Contextual Analysis of Kerala Pentecostal Churches in Kuwait. BRILL. pp. 96 to 108. ISBN 978-90-04-36101-0.
  192. ^ a b John, Stanley (10 December 2020). The Rise of 'New Generation' Churches in Kerala Christianity. Brill. pp. 271–291. doi:10.1163/9789004444867_014. ISBN 9789004444867. S2CID 234532613.
  193. ^ Kumar, P. Pratap, ed. (December 2019). "Nidan: International Journal for Indian Studies". Nidan : Journal for the Study of Hinduism. 4 (2): 7 to 18. ISSN 2414-8636.
  194. ^ Karkkainen, Veli-Matti (26 August 2009). The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 72 to 87. ISBN 978-0-8028-6281-5.
  195. ^ "Thomas Christians - Later developments". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  196. ^ Anderson, Allan (13 May 2004). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 124 to 127. ISBN 978-0-521-53280-8.
  197. ^ Samuel, Joy T. (2018). "Chapter 1. A brief history of pentecostal and neocharismatic movements in Kerala, India". The Pneumatic Experiences of the Indian Neocharismatics. University of Birmingham.
  198. ^ Brown, Candy Gunther (24 February 2011). Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing. Oxford University Press. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-19-979306-8.
  199. ^ Turner, Bryan S.; Salemink, Oscar (25 September 2014). Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia. Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-317-63646-5.
  200. ^ a b c Thomas Johnson Nossiter, Communism in Kerala: a study in political adaptation, University of California Press, 1982, pp. 78- 82, ISBN 0-520-04667-6
  201. ^ Encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
  202. ^ a b c d Devika, J.; Varghese, V. J. (March 2010). To Survive or to flourish? Minority rights and Syrian Christian assertions in 20th century Travancore (PDF). Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  203. ^ Jeffrey, Robin (March 1976). "Temple Entry Movement in Travancore". Social Scientist. 4 (8): 11–12. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012.
  204. ^ "Recreating an unsung hero". The Hindu. 14 November 2015.
  205. ^ Devika, J.; Varghese, V. J. (March 2010). To Survive or to flourish? Minority rights and Syrian Christian assertions in 20th century Travancore (PDF). Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies. pp. 19–20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2012.
  206. ^ Donald Eugene Smith et al.- South Asian politics and religion, Princeton University Press, 1966, p.190
  207. ^ George Mathew – Communal Road to a Secular Kerala, Concept Publishing Company, 1989, ISBN 81-7022-282-6, pp.91–103
  208. ^ PR Saraswati – The Impact of Indian Christianity on Indian Society [1] Archived 11 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  209. ^ "". Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  210. ^ Reflections on Finance Education and Society. Motilal Banarsidass Publication. p. 114. ISBN 9788120830752.
  211. ^ Plunkett, Cannon & Harding 2001, p. 24
  212. ^ Kerala socio economic survey 1968
  213. ^ Thomas Johnson Nossiter (1982). Communism in Kerala: A Study in Political Adaptation. University of California Press. pp. 155–156. ISBN 978-0-520-04667-2.
  214. ^ Amaladass, Anand (1993) [1989 (New York: Orbis Books)]. "Dialogue between Hindus and the St. Thomas Christians". In Coward, Harold (ed.). Hindu-Christian dialogue: perspectives and encounters (Indian ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 16. ISBN 81-208-1158-5.
  215. ^ a b Pallan, M (2018) Ethnocultural Transformation of Social Identity. Syrian Christians in Kerala. Chapter 2 and 6. Grin Verlag. ISBN 9783668858749
  216. ^ Ross, Israel J. (1979) Ritual and Music in South India: Syrian Christian Liturgical Music in Kerala (pp. 80–98). vol 11, no 1. DOI: 10.2307/833968
  217. ^ Prasad 2009, pp. 484–487.
  218. ^ a b c d Prasad 2009, pp. 482–483.
  219. ^ Paul M. Collins: Christian inculturation in India – Page 142 ISBN 0-7546-6076-1
  220. ^ L.Krishna Ananthakrishna Iyer: Anthropology of Syrian Christians – pp. 205–219
  221. ^ Bayly 2004, pp. 246–247.
  222. ^ S. G. Pothan – The Syrian Christians of Kerala, p. 58 Asia Pub. House, 1963
  223. ^ a b c Vadakkekara 2007, p. 325-330.
  224. ^ Amaladass, Anand (1993) [1989 (New York: Orbis Books)]. "Dialogue between Hindus and the St. Thomas Christians". In Coward, Harold (ed.). Hindu-Christian dialogue: perspectives and encounters (Indian ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 15–19. ISBN 81-208-1158-5.
  225. ^ Census of India, 1961, India. Office of the Registrar General, p. 290
  226. ^ Bayly 2004, p. 273.
  227. ^ Bayly 2004, pp. 274–279.
  228. ^ Bayly 2004, pp. 310–315.
  229. ^ Palackal, Joseph J. (2005). "Syriac Chant Traditions in South India. PhD, Ethnomusicology, City University of New York". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  230. ^ Palackal (2016).
  231. ^ Palackal, Joseph J. (2020). Shafiq Abouzayd (ed.). "The Survival Story of the Sound, Sentiments, and Melodies of the Aramaic Chants in India" (PDF). ARAM Periodical. ARAM Society: 287-292.
  232. ^ "NSC Network – Passover". 25 March 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  233. ^ Weil, S. (1982)"Symmetry between Christians and Jews in India: The Cananite Christians and Cochin Jews in Kerala. in Contributions to Indian Sociology,16.
  234. ^ "Syro-Malabar Catechesis".
  235. ^ a b "Syrian Christians in India". Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily. 2009. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  236. ^ Turek, Przemysław (5 November 2011). "Syriac Heritage of the Saint Thomas Christians: Language and Liturgical Tradition Saint Thomas Christians – origins, language and liturgy". Orientalia Christiana Cracoviensia. 3: 115. doi:10.15633/ochc.1038. ISSN 2081-1330.
  237. ^ "Eashoa Msheekhah (Aramaic), Jesus the Messiah (English) or the Christ (Greek)". Archived from the original on 31 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  238. ^ Kurian, Jake. ""Seven Times a Day I Praise You" – The Shehimo Prayers". Diocese of South-West America of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  239. ^ Varghese., Pathikulangara (2004). Mar Thomma Margam : a new catechism for the Saint Thomas Christians of India. Denha Services. ISBN 81-904135-0-3. OCLC 255155413.
  240. ^ Rowena Robinson: Christians of India, p.106, ISBN 0-7619-9822-5
  241. ^ a b Anthropologica Vol 46, 2004, Canadian Anthropology Society, p. 258
  242. ^ "Inculturation of the East Syrian Liturgy of Marriage By the St. Thomas Christians in India". Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  243. ^ "NAṢRĀNĪ". Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936). 24 April 2012. doi:10.1163/2214-871x_ei1_dum_0652. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  244. ^ Paul M. Collins – Christian inculturation in India, p.120, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007, ISBN 0-7546-6076-1
  245. ^ SINGH, HOLLY DONAHUE (November 2020). "Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India. SonjaThomas. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018. 224 pp". American Ethnologist. 47 (4): 475–476. doi:10.1111/amet.12982. ISSN 0094-0496. S2CID 229510798.
  246. ^ Grysa, Bartłomiej (7 November 2011). "The Cultural Heritage of the Knanaya Christians". Orientalia Christiana Cracoviensia. 3: 43. doi:10.15633/ochc.1022. ISSN 2081-1330.
  247. ^ M., Swiderski, Richard (1988). Blood weddings : the Knanaya Christians of Kerala. New Era Publications. OCLC 614902709.
  248. ^ Anthropologica Vol 46, 2004, Canadian Anthropology Society, p. 262
  249. ^ Malekandathil (2010), p. 48-50.
  250. ^ Mateer, Samuel (1871). The Land of Charity: A Descriptive Account of Travancore and its People. London: J. Snow & Co. pp. 241–243.
  251. ^ Bradshaw, Paul F. (2003). The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship. Westminster John Knox. p. 160. ISBN 0-664-22655-8.
  252. ^ Paul M. Collins – Christian inculturation in India, pp.119, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007, ISBN 0-7546-6076-1
  253. ^ "NSC NETWORK: Saint Thomas Cross- A Religio Cultural Logo of Saint Thomas Christians". Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  254. ^ Paul M. Collins: Christian inculturation in India – Page 119 ISBN 0-7546-6076-1
  255. ^ Dr. Geo Thadikkatt – Liturgical Identity of the Mar Toma Nazrani Church
  256. ^ Martin, T. Antony (2020). "Saint Thomas Cross- A Religio Cultural Symbol Of Saint Thomas Christians". NSC Network. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  257. ^ Devika, J.; Varghese, V. J. (March 2010). To Survive or to flourish? Minority rights and Syrian Christian assertions in 20th century Travancore (PDF). Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2012.
  258. ^ a b A Kumar — Social Reforms in Modern India, p. 180, Sarup and Sons 2001, ISBN 81-7625-227-1
  259. ^ Kunniparampil Curien Zachariah et al. – Dynamics of migration in Kerala: dimensions, differentials, and consequences, pp. 85 – 89, Orient Blackswan, 2003, ISBN 81-250-2504-9
  260. ^ ('The Hindu' Syrian Christians are in a class of their own South Indian newspaper article 31 August 2001
  261. ^ K.C. Zachariah — The Syrian Christians of Kerala: demographic and socio-economic transition in the twentieth century, Orient Longman, 2006
  262. ^ Zachariah, K. C. (2006). The Syrian Christians of Kerala: Demographic and Socioeconomic Transition in the Twentieth Century. Thiruvananthapuram: Orient Longman. p. 3. ISBN 9788125030096.
  263. ^ Zachariah, K. C. (2016). Religious Denominations of Kerala. p. 10, 29.
  264. ^ Zachariah (2006).
  265. ^ a b Forrester, Duncan (1980). Caste and Christianity. Curzon Press. pp. 98, 102. ISBN 9780700701292.
  266. ^ L.Krishna Ananthakrishna Iyer: Anthropology of Syrian Christians, pages 55–56
  267. ^ Geddes, Michael. The History of the Church of Malabar Together with the Synod of Diamper 1599. Pages 394–395. Published in 1694
  268. ^ "WCC general secretary to address largest Christian gathering in Asia". Retrieved 5 March 2015.



Further reading

  • Iyer, K.V. Krishna, Kerala's Relations with the Outside World, pp. 70, 71 in "The Cochin Synagogue Quatercentenary Celebrations Commemoration Volume", Kerala History Association, Cochin, 1971.
  • Harris, Ian C., ed. (1992). Contemporary Religions: A World Guide. Harlow: Longman. ISBN 9780582086951.
  • Landstrom, Bjorn (1964) "The Quest for India", Doubleday English Edition, Stockholm.
  • Mariamma Joseph (1994).Marriage Among Indian Christians. Jaipur: Rawat Publications
  • Mathew, N. M. St. Thomas Christians of Malabar Through Ages. CSS Tiruvalla. 2003.
  • Menachery, Professor George. (2000) Kodungallur – The Cradle of Christianity in India, Thrissur: Marthoma Pontifical Shrine.
  • Menachery, Professor George (Ed.). (1982) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, VOL.I, Thrissur.
  • Menachery, Professor George (Ed.). (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, VOL.II, Thrissur.
  • Menachery, Professor George (Ed.). (2010) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, VOL.III, Ollur, Thrissur.
  • Menachery, Professor George (Ed.with Ponnumuthan, Aerath). (2006) Indian Christians and Nation Building, CBCI-KCBC Kochi-Alwaye.
  • Menachery, Professor George (Ed.with Snaitang). (2011) India's Christian Heritage, Church History Assn. of India, Bangalore (DVK).
  • Menachery George & Chakkalakal [2] Werner (1987) "Kodungallur: City of St. Thomas", Azhikode
  • Miller, J. Innes. (1969). The Spice Trade of The Roman Empire: 29 B.C. to A.D. 641. Oxford University Press. Special edition for Sandpiper Books. 1998. ISBN 0-19-814264-1.
  • Podipara, Placid J. (1970) "The Thomas Christians". London: Darton, Longman and Tidd, 1970. (is a readable and exhaustive study of the St. Thomas Christians.)
  • Poomangalam C.A (1998) The Antiquities of the Knanaya Syrian Christians; Kottayam, Kerala.
  • Puthur, B. (ed.) (2002): The Life and Nature of the St Thomas Christian Church in the Pre-Diamper Period (Cochi, Kerala).
  • Fr. Dr. V.C. Samuel. (1992) The Growing Church: An Introduction to Indian Church History, Kottayam. The-Growing-Church.
  • Tamcke, M. (ed.) (2001) : Orientalische Christen zwischen Repression und Migration (Studien zur Orientalischen Kirchengeschichte 13; Münster: LIT).
  • Thayil, Thomas (2003). The Latin Christians of Kerala: A Study on Their Origin. Kristu Jyoti Publications. ISBN 81-87370-18-1
  • Tisserant, E. (1957) Eastern Christianity in India: A History of the Syro-Malabar Church from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Trans. and ed. by E. R. Hambye. Westminster, MD: Newman Press.
  • Vellian Jacob (2001) Knanite community: History and culture; Syrian church series; vol. XVII; Jyothi Book House, Kottayam
  • Veluthat, K. (1978). Brahmin settlements in Kerala: Historical studies. Calicut: Calicut University, Sandhya Publications.
  • Susan Visvanathan (1993) The Christians of Kerala: History, Belief and Ritual Among the Yakoba. New Delhi/Madras/New York: Oxford University Press
  • Susan Visvanathan (1989) "Marriage, Birth and Death-Property Rights and Domestic Relationships of the Orthodox Jacobite Syrian Christians of Kerala", Economic and Political Weekly, Vol – XXIV No. 24, 17 June 1989.
  • Susan Visvanathan (1986) "Reconstructions of the Past among the Syrian Christians of Kerala", Contributions to Indian Sociology (Sage Publishers), July 1986; vol. 20, 2: pp. 241–260.
  • Susan Visvanathan (2010)."The Status of Christian Women in Kerala", in 'World Christianity: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies', edited by Elizabeth Koepping, London: Routledge, 2010.
  • Susan Visvanathan (2011) "The Eucharist in a Syrian Christian Church", in T.N.Madan (edited) 'India's Religions : Perspectives from Sociology and History'. New Delhi: Oxford University Press

External links