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The Saint Thomas Christians are an ancient body of Christians on the east and west coasts of India having spiritual descent from the Thomas the Apostle. Until the middle of the 17th century, the Thomas Christians were all one in faith and rite. There after, divisions arose among them, and consequently they are today Catholics and non-Catholics of different rites, the latter belonging to different denominations.
After the Coonan Cross Oath, between 1661 and 1662, out of the 116 churches, the Carmelites reclaimed eighty-four churches, leaving Archdeacon Mar Thomas I only thirty-two churches. The eighty-four churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syro Malabar Catholic Church have descended. The other thirty-two churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites & Orthodox), Thoziyur (1772), Mar Thoma (Reformed Syrians) (1874), Syro Malankra Catholics have originated.  In 1665 Mar Gregorios, a Bishop send by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch arrived in India and the dissident group under the leadership of the Archdeacon welcomed him.  Though most of the Thomas Christians gradually relented in their strong opposition to the Western control, the arrival of the Bishop Mar Gregory of the Syriac Orthodox Church in 1665 marked the beginning of a formal schism among the Thomas Christians. Those who accepted the West Syrian theological and liturgical tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioich of Mar Gregory became known as the New Party (Puthankuttukar). The Old Party (Pazhayakuttukar) remained in communion with Rome and they came to be known later as the Syro Malabar Catholic Church. 
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Now these are the Churches with Saint Thomas Christian tradition :
- Eastern Catholic Churches:
- Oriental Orthodox:
- Assyrian Church of the East
Their traditions go back to the first century Christian thought, and the seven churches  established by St. Thomas the Apostle during his mission in Malabar.  These are at Kodungalloor (Muziris), Paravur, Palayoor, Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Chayal (Nilackal) and Kollam.
- 1 Nasrani people
- 2 History
- 3 Nasrani religious jurisdictions
- 4 Demography
- 5 Historical references to St. Thomas
- 6 Notes
- 7 References and bibliography
- 8 External links
The Nasranis are an ethnic people, and a single community. As a community with common cultural heritage and cultural tradition, they refer to themselves as Nasranis. However, as a religious group, they refer to themselves as Mar Thoma Khristianikal or in English as Saint Thomas Christians, based on their religious tradition flowing from the early Church of St. Thomas Christians or Saint Thomas tradition of Christianity.
However, from a religious angle, the Nasranis of today belong to various denominations as a result of a series of developments including Portuguese persecution (a landmark split leading to a public Oath known as Coonen Cross Oath), doctrines and missionary zeal influence (split of Marthoma Church (1845) and St. Thomas Evangelical Church (1961) ), Patriarch/Catholicos issue ( split of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church (1912) ).
Throughout Kerala, one can find Christian families that claim their descent from ancestors who were baptized by Apostle Thomas. St. Thomas Christians were classified into the caste system according to their professions, in accordance with the Hindu tradition, with special privileges for trade granted by the benevolent kings who ruled the area. After the eighth century when Hindu Kingdoms came to sway, Christians were expected to strictly abide by stringent rules pertaining to caste and religion. This became a matter of survival. This is why St. Thomas Christians had such a strong sense of caste and tradition, being the oldest order of Christianity in India. The Archdeacon was the head of the Church, and Palliyogams (Parish Councils) were in charge of temporal affairs. They had a liturgy-centered life with days of fasting and abstinence. Their devotion to the Mar Thoma tradition was absolute. Their churches were modelled after Jewish synagogues. “The church is neat and they keep it sweetly. There are mats but no seats. Instead of images, they have some useful writing from the holy book.”
In short, the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala had blended well with the ecclesiastical world of the Eastern Churches and with the changing socio-cultural environment of their homeland. Thus, the Malabar Church was Hindu in culture, Christian in religion, and Judeo-Syro-Oriental in terms of origin and worship.
According to the first century annals of Pliny the Elder and the author of Periplus of the Erythraean sea, Muziris in Kerala could be reached in 40 days' time from the Egyptian coast purely depending on the South West Monsoon winds. The Sangam works Puranaooru and Akananooru have many lines which speak of the Roman vessels and the Roman gold that used to come to the Kerala ports of the great Chera kings in search of pepper and other spices, which had enormous demand in the West.
The lure of spices attracted traders from the Middle East and Europe to the many trading ports of Keralaputera (Kerala) — Tyndis, (Ponnani ?), Muziris, near Kodungallur, Nelcynda (Niranam), Bacare, Belitha, and Comari (Kanyakumari) long before the time of Christ. St. Thomas the Apostle in one of these ships, arrived at Muziris in AD 52, from E’zion-ge’ber on the Red Sea.
During his stay in Kerala, the Apostle baptized the Jews and some of the wise men  who adored the Infant Jesus. The Apostle also preached in other parts of India. He was martyred in AD 72 at Little Mount, a little distant from St. Thomas Mount, and was buried at San Thome, near the modern city of Chennai.
The apostle established seven churches  in Malabar at Kodungalloor (Muziris), Paravur, Palayoor, Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Chayal (Nilackal) and Kollam. The visit of the Apostle Thomas to these places and to Mylapore on the East coast of India can be read in the Ramban Songs of Thomas Ramban, set into 'moc', 1500.
Several ancient writers mention India as the scene of St. Thomas’ labours. St. Ephraem, the Syrian (A.D. 300-378) in a hymn about the relics of St. Thomas at Edessa depicts Satan exclaiming, “The Apostle whom I killed in India comes to meet me in Edessa. St. Gregory Nazianzen,(329-389), in a homily says; “What! were not the Apostles foreigners? Granting that Judea was the country of Peter, what had Saul to do with the Gentiles, Luke with Achaia, Andrew with Epirus, Thomas with India, Mark with Italy?.” St. Ambrose (340-397) writes “When the Lord Jesus said to the Apostles, go and teach all nations, even the kingdoms that had been shut off by the barbaric mountains lay open to them as India to Thomas, as Persia to Mathew.”
There are other passages in ancient liturgies and martyrologies which refer to the work of St. Thomas in India. These passages indicate that the tradition that St. Thomas died in India was widespread among the early churches.
Following is a rough chronology of events associated with St.Thomas Christianity.
- 30 The Crucifixion.
- 40 Apostle Thomas in the service of King Gondophares in Takshasila
- 52 Apostle Thomas, landed at Muziris near Paravur an ancient port city of Malabar (Kerala).
- 52-72 The Apostle planted 7 churches in truth and spirit: Palayoor, Kodungaloor, Paravur, Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Nilackal (Chayal), Kollam.
- 72 Martyrdom of St. Thomas in the vicinity of Mylapore, Madras.
- 190 Pantaenus, probably the founder of the famous Catechetical School of Alexandria, visited India and the Nasranies.
- 325 Archbishop John, of Persia and Great India, at the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea.
- 345 First migration from Persia - Thomas of Cana landed at Cranganore with 72 families.
- 340-360 By the Thazhekad Sasanam the Nasranies granted special rights and privileges.
- 345 Kuravilangad Church (Now Martha Mariiam Catholic church) built by the first settlers who came from Kodungalloor.
- 510 Udayamperoor (Diamper) church built by St.Thomas Christians and Knanaya people.
- 522 Cosmas Indicopleustes visited South India.
- 774 Emperor Veera Raghava gives copperplate to Iravikorthan
- 824AD Beginning of Kollavarsham (Malayalam Era).First kollam Tharissapalli sasanam by stanu Ravi Guptan Namboothiri,Christianity as religion takes shape in Kerala
- 824AD from Persia. Mar Sabor and Mar Afroth at Quilon.
- 849 Deed given by King Ayann Adikal Thiruvadikal of Venad, to Easow-data-veeran (Tharisappalli copper plate) that grants 72 royal privileges of the Nazranies.
- 1225 North Pudukkad church founded.
- 1293 Marco Polo, a Venetian traveler, visited the tomb of St. Thomas (at Mylapore).
- 1305 St. Hormis church, Angamaly founded.
- 1325 Enammavu church founded.
- 1328 St. George church, Edappally founded.
- 1490 Two Chaldean bishops John and Thomas in Kerala.
- 1494 June 7 Treaty of Tordesillas. Division of the world and mission lands between Spain and Portugal.
- 1498 May 20 Vasco de Gama lands at Kappad near Kozhikode.
- 1499 Cabral's fleet carried a vicar, eight secular priests, and eight Franciscans to Kozhikode,
- 1499. In Calicut, the friars reputedly converted a Brahman and some leading Nayars.
- 1502 Nov 7 Vasco de Gama's second visit to Cochin.
- 1503 Dominican Priests at Kochi.
- 1503 Mar Yabella, Mar Denaha and Mar Yakoob from Persia in Kerala.
- 1503 Sep 27 Work commenced on Cochin Fort and the Santa Cruz church .
- 1514 Portuguese Padroado begun.
- 1514 Jewish migration from Kodungalloor to Kochi.
- 1514 Jun 12 Portuguese Funchal rule over Christians in India.
- 1524 Dec 24 Vasco de Gama buried at St. Francis Church, Fort Cochin.
- 1534 Nov 3 Goa Catholic Diocese erected. The Parishes of Kannur, Cochin, Quilon, Colombo and Sao Tome (Madras) belonged to it.
- 1540 The Franciscan Fr.Vincent De Lagos starts the Cranganore Seminary.
- 1542 May 6 St. Francis Xavier, Apostolic Nuncio in the East, reaches Goa.
- 1544-45 St. Francis Xavier in Travancore.
- 1548 Dominican Monastery founded in Cochin.
- 1549 Mar Abuna Jacob, A Chaldean Bishop, stayed at St. Antonio Monastery, Cochin.
- 1550 First Jesuit House in Kochi.
- 1552 Dec 3 Death of St. Francis Xavier.
- 1555 Mattancherry Palace was built by Portuguese for the King of Cochin.
- 1557 Pope Paul IV erects the Diocese of Cochin. Canonization process of Francis Xavier begun at Cochin.
- 1565 Archdiocese of Angamaly erected.
- 1567 Jews constructed a temple at Mattancherry
- 1568 Synagogue of White Jews built in Cochin.
- 1577 Vaippicotta Seminary of the Jesuits started.
- 1579 Augustinians reached Cochin.
- 1583 Synod at Angamaly by Bishop Mar Abraham.
- 1597 Bishop Mar Abraham, the last foreign Archbishop, died and was laid to rest at St. Hormis church, Angamaly.
- 1599 Dec 20 Fr. Francis Roz was declared bishop of Angamaly.
- 1599 Jun 20-26 Archbishop Alexis Menezes convenes the Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor).
- 1600 Aug 4 Padroado rule imposed on Nazranies.
- 1601 Francis Roz was appointed as the first Latin bishop of the St. Thomas Christians.
- 1609 Dec.3 Erection of the Diocese of Cranganore. The Archdiocese of Angamaly suppressed.
- 1610 Dec 22 The Metropolitan of Goa limits the Pastoral Jurisdiction of Nazranies to Malabar.
- 1624 Dominican Seminary at Kaduthuruthy.
- 1626 Feb 5 Edappally Ashram started for the Religious Community of St. Thomas Christians
- 1652 Aug 23 Mar Ahathalla in Madras, not allowed to enter Kerala.
- 1653 Jan 3 Coonan Cross Oath at Mattancherry, Cochin.
- 1653 May 22 Malankara Mooppen (Elder)Thomas Kathanar, ordained as Mar Thoma I at Alangad by the laying of hands by 12 priests.
- 1653-1670 Mar Thoma I.
- 1657 Apostolic Commissary Joseph of St. Mary OCD (Sebastiani), a Carmelite, in Malabar.
- 1659 Dec 3 The Vicariate of Malabar is erected by Pope Alexander VII.
- 1659 Dec 24 Joseph Sebastini bishop and appointed the Vicar Apostolic of Malabar.
- 1663 Jan 6 The Dutch conquer Cochin and destroy Catholic churches and institutions in Cochin, except the Cathedral and the church of St. Francis Assisi.
- 1665 Mar Gregorius Abdul Jaleel, believed to be from Antioch confirms the consecration of Marthoma I.
- 1670-1686 Mar Thoma II.Portuguese start campaigning to bring Nazranis again under Catholicism.
- 1682 Seminary for Syrians at Verapoly.
- 1685 Syrian Orthodox Catholicos Baselios Eldho arrives at Kothamangalam from Persia; Nasranis, except those in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, become the Malankara Syrian Church.
- 1686 Hortus Malabaricus in 12 volumes printed in 17 years.Mathoma III ordained by Mar Ivanios Hirudyathulla (from Antioch).
- 1686-1688 Mar Thoma III.
- 1688-1728 Mar Thoma IV.
- 1709 Mar 13 Vicariate of Malabar is suppressed and the Vicariate of Verapoly is erected by Pope Clement XI.
- 1728-1765 Mar Thoma V.
- 1765-1808 Mar Thoma VI (Dionysius I)
- 1772 First Malayalam book Sampskhepa Vedartham (Rome) by Clement Pianius.
- 1773 Pope Clement XIV suppresses the Jesuit Order, except in Russia and Prussia.
- 1782 Dec 16 Kariyattil Joseph elected Archbp. of Cranganore; Consecr. Lisbon 1783; Died Goa on the way back to Malabar,9th Sept. 1786.
- 1785 Varthamanappusthakam, the first written travelogue in India by Paremakkal Thomma Kathanar.
- 1795 Oct 20 Conquest of Cochin by the British.
- 1808-1809 Mar Thoma VII.
- 1809-1816 Mar Thoma VIII.
- 1816 Mar Thoma IX.
- 1815 March – The first educational institution in Kerala, Syrian Seminary, opens at Kottayam with Abraham Malpan, (Syriac), Konattu Varghese Malpan (Syriac), Kunjan Assan (Sanskrit), Rev. Joseph Fenn (English) as teachers.
- 1816 for 9 months. Mar Thoma X - Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious I (Dionysious II).
- 1816-1817 Mar Philoxenos II, Kidangan, of Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Thozhiyoor Sabha) as Malankara Metropolitan.
- 1817-1825 Mar Thoma XI- Punnathra Mar Dionysious (Dionysious III).
- 1818 C.M.S missionaries in Kerala.
- 1825-1852 Mar Thoma XII- Cheppad Philipose Mar Dionysius (Dionysius IV).
- 1838 Apr 24 Dioceses of Cochin and Crnaganore are annexed to the Vicariate of Verapoly.
- 1838 The Queen of Portugal suppressed all religious Orders in Portugal and in her mission lands.
- 1840 Apr 10 Kerala Catholics came under the archdiocese of Verapoly.
- 1852-1877 Mar Thoma XIII -Palakunnathu Mathews Mar Athanasius.
- 1861 May 20 Bishop Rocos sent by the Patriarch of Chaldea reaches Kerala.
- 1864-1909. Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious II (Dionysious V) Malankara Metropolitan, Jacobite Church.
- 1867 May 7 Property donated by Syrians to the King of Portugal to start a Seminary at Aluva. It was administered by the Diocese of Cochin.
- 1867 The Portuguese Missionaries start a seminary at Mangalapuzha for Syrian students.
- 1874 Bishop Mar Elias Mellus sent by the Patriarch of Chaldea reaches Kerala - Mellus Schism.
- 1875 June-HH Patriarch of Antioch Petros III arrives in Kerala.
- 1876 June 28-30 HH Patriarch of Antioch Petros III convenes the Mulanthuruthy Synod. A section of Saint Thomas Christians came under his jurisdiction
- 1877- 1893 Mar Thoma XIV - Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 1886 The Archdiocese of Cranganore is suppressed.
- 1887 May 19 The St. Thomas Christians are totally segregated from the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Verapoly and from the Padroado.
- 1893-1910 Mar Thoma XV - Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 1909-1934. St. Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril (Dionysius VI), Malankara Metropolitan, Jacobite Church.
- 1910-1944 Mar Thoma XVI - Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 1911-1917 H.G. Paulose Mor Koorilose Kochuparambil. Malankara Metropolitan of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.)
- 1912-1914 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Paulose I, Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Catholicos
- 1912 Re-instatement of Persian Orthodox Catholicos of the East in India by HH Abdul Messiah, Patriarch of Antioch.
- 1917-1953 St. Paulose Mor Athanasius (Valiya Thirumeni, Malankara Metropolitan of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.)
- 1923 Dec 21 Establishment of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy with Ernakulam as the Metropolitan See, Archbishop Mar Augustine Kandathil as the Metropolitan and Head of the Church, and Trichur, Changanacherry and Kottayam as Sufragan Sees.
- 1925-1928 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Geevarghese I, Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Catholicos.
- 1927 March 19 Fr.Varghese Palakkappillil (Payyappilly) founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Destitute.
- 1929 October 5 Death of Varghese Palakkappillil.
- 1929-1934 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Geevarghese II, Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Catholicos.
- 1930 Sept 20 Syro-Malankara Catholic Church separates from Malankara Syrian Church by accepting Pope of Rome, under the leadership of Archbishop Mar Ivanios.
- 1932 June 11 The establishment of the Syro-Malankara Hierarchy by Pope Pius XI. Mar Ivanios becomes Archbishop of Trivandrum, and Mar Theophilus Bishop of Tiruvalla.
- 1934 Malankara Syrian Church accepts new constitution.
- 1934-1964 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Geevarghese II, Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Catholicose of the East & Malankara Metropolitan).
- 1944-1947 Mar Thoma XVII - Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 1947-1976 Mar Thoma XVIII - Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 1947 Nov 2 Bishop Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala declared first native Indian saint along with Catholicos Baselios Eldho.
- 1950 July 18 The Portuguese Padroado over the Diocese of Cochin (from 1557 Feb. 4 till 1950 July 18) suppressed and the Diocese of Cochin handed over to native clergy.
- 1952 Dec 28-31 Jubilee Celebration of St. Thomas and St. Francis Xavier at Ernakulam.
- 1956 Nov.1 The present ‘Kerala State’ is established.
- 1961 January 26 St. Thomas Evangelical Church was inaugurated (Separated from the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar)
- 1964-1975 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Augen I, Malankara Orthodox Catholicose of the East & Malankara Metropolitan).
- 1972 Fraction split in Malankara Syrian Church as 'jacobite fraction' (in favour of full submission to the Antiochian Patriarch) and 'Orthodox fraction' (in favour of autocephaly).
- 1972 Dec.27, The 19th Centenary of the Martydom of St. Thomas the Apostle is celebrated at Ernakulam under the auspices of Orthodox, Catholic, Jacobite, Marthoma and C.S.I. Churches.
- 1973 July 3 The Governor of Kerala and the Cardinal release the St. Thomas Stamp and the T.En.II for sale.
- 1975-1991 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews I, Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Catholicose of the East & Malankara Metropolitan).
- 1975-1996 Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II, Malankara Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Catholicoi and Malankara Metropolitan
- 1976-1999Mar Thoma XIX - Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 1986 Feb. 1-10 Visit of Pope John Paul II to India.
- 1986 Feb. 8 Fr. Chavara Kuriakose Elias and Sr. Alphonsa are proclaimed blessed by Pope John Paul II.
- 1991-2005 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II (Catholicose of the East & Malankara Metropolitan).
- 1999–2007 Mar Thoma XX - Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 2002 Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I enthroned as Malankara Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Catholicoi and Malankara Metropolitan.
- 2005 H.H. Moran Mor Baselios Mar Thoma Didymos I, enthroned as Catholicose of the East & Malankara Metropolitan.
- 2005 Feb. 10 Pope John Paul II elevated the Archdiocese of Trivandrum to a Major Archdiocese, elevating the Archbishop to Major Archbishop (called Catholicos by Syro-Malankara Catholics)
- 2007 Mar Thoma XXI - Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan enthroned as Malankara Marthoma Metropolitan.
- 2007 Dec 25 Different fractions were merged in St. Thomas Evangelical Church(Church and Fellowship fraction)
- 2009 September 6 Varghese Palakkappillil declared Servant of God.
Doctrine of the Apostles states that, “India and all its countries . . . received the Apostle’s hand of priesthood from Judas Thomas….” From an early period the Church of St. Thomas Christians came in to a lifelong relationship with the Church of Persia, which was also established by St. Thomas the apostle according to early Christian writings. Primate or Metropolitan of Persia consecrated bishops for the Indian Church, this Church was also brought indirectly under the control of Seleucia.
Church of the East traces its origins to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, said to be founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle. Other founding figures are Saint Mari and Saint Addai as evidenced in the Doctrine of Addai and the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari. This is the original Christian church in what was once Parthia: eastern Iraq and Iran. The See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon developing within the Persian Empire, at the east of the Christian world, rapidly took a different course from other Eastern Christians.
The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day İznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first Ecumenical council of the Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. It is documented that Mar John, the Bishop of Great India attended the council. The prelate signs himself as “John the Persian presiding over the Churches in the whole of Persia and Great India.”
Some centuries following, the Persian Church suffered severe persecutions. The persecuted Christians and even Bishops, at least on two occasions, sought an asylum in Malabar.
In 825 AD, the arrival of two bishops are documented, Mar Sapor and Mar Prodh. Le Quien says that “these bishops were Chaldaeans and had come to Quilon soon after its foundation. They were men illustrious for their sanctity, and their memory was held sacred in the Malabar Church. They constructed many churches and, during their lifetime, the Christian religion flourished especially in the kingdom of Diamper.” King Kulashekhara of Kollam, granted the copper plate grants in 825 AD (the beginning of the Malayalam Calendar or Kolla Varsham) to Bishop Mar Abo Iso whom he invited to Kollam from Assyria (Persia & Syria with Constantinople as the spiritual seat of the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire), and transferring to the Tarasa Church and Vaishnavite Nambuthiri community at Devalokakara in Kollam, lands near the city with hereditament of low caste. (Reference Travancore State Manual page 244).
This conference was called by King Kulshekara for a clarity for the theology on Divinity of the Trinity. It finally resulted in a major split of Aryan Nambuthiri community. The Devalokakara (Thevalakara) church was consecrated with Syrian liturgy by Mar Abo following debate among the Nambuthiri community on their belief, i.e. between Nambuthiris who believed in the St Thomas tradition of Vaishnavism (Christ as the putra - son - and the only object of sacrifice) but continued in their vedic traditions including Sun Worship, and the other section backing the version put forward by Adi Shankara in Advaita Vedanta in early 9th century that Christ (isha) and shiva are one, and the difference is only caused between Aramic and Pali languages.
The beginning of Kolla Varsham resulted in the origin of Christianity in Kerala as an individual religion outside vedic Vaishnavism, as till that time only four vedic Aryan Namboothiri families namely Kaliankal at Nilackel with a branch family at Devalokakara (near the ancient Koreni-Kollam port), Pakalomattom at Palayoor, Shankarapuri at Niranam and Kalli at Kokkamangalam were allowed priesthood inside Christianity.
Prior to the Portuguese arrival in India in 1498, the Assyrian Church of the East See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon provided "Prelates" to the Saint Thomas Christians in India. This practise continued even after the arrival Portuguese till the Synod of Diamper (held in Udayamperoor) in 1599.
There are many accounts of missionary activities before the arrival of Portuguese in and around Malabar. John of Monte Corvino, was a Franciscan sent to China to become prelate of Peking about the year 1307.He traveled from Persia and moved down by sea to India, in 1291, to the Madras region or “Country of St. Thomas” . There he preached for thirteen months and baptized about one hundred persons. From there Monte Corvino wrote home, in December 1291 (or 1292).That is one of the earliest noteworthy account of the Coromandel coast furnished by any Western European. Traveling by sea from Mailapur, he reached China in 1294, appearing in the capital “Cambaliech” (now Beijing)
Odoric of Pordenone who arrived in India in 1321. He visited Malabar, touching at Pandarani (20 m. north of Calicut), at Cranganore, and at Kulam or Quilon, proceeding thence, apparently, to Ceylon and to the shrine of St. Thomas at Mailapur near Madras. He writes he had found the place where Thomas was buried.
Father Jordanus, a Dominican, followed in 1321-22. He reported to Rome, apparently from somewhere on the west coast of India, that he had given Christian burial to four martyred monks. Jordanus, between 1324 and 1328 (if not earlier), probably visited Kulam and selected it as the best centre for his future work; it would also appear that he revisited Europe about 1328, passing through Persia, and perhaps touching at the great Crimean port of Soidaia or Sudak. He was appointed a bishop in 1328 and nominated by Pope John XXII in his bull Venerabili Fratri Jordano to the see of Columbum or Kulam (Quilon) on 21 August 1329. This diocese was the first in the whole of the Indies, with juristriction over modern India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, and Sri Lanka.
Either before going out to Malabar as bishop, or during a later visit to the west, Jordanus probably wrote his Mirabilia, which from internal evidence can only be fixed within the period 1329-1338; in this work he furnished the best account of Indian regions, products, climate, manners, customs, fauna and flori given by any European in the Middle Ages - superior even to Marco Polo's. In his triple division of the Indies, India Major comprises the shorelands from Malabar to Cochin China; while India Minor stretches from Sind (or perhaps from Baluchistan) to Malabar; and India Tertia (evidently dominated by African conceptions in his mind) includes a vast undefined coast-region west of Baluchistan, reaching into the neighborhood of, but not including, Ethiopia and Prester John's domain.
In 1347, Giovanni de' Marignolli visited the shrine of St Thomas near the modern Madras, and then proceeded to what he calls the kingdom of Saba, and identifies with the Sheba of Scripture, but which seems from various particulars to have been Java. Taking ship again for Malabar on his way to Europe, he encountered great storms.
Another prominent Indian traveler was Joseph, priest over Cranganore. He journeyed to Babylon in 1490 and then sailed to Europe and visited Portugal, Rome, and Venice before returning to India. He helped to write a book about his travels titled The Travels of Joseph the Indian which was widely disseminated across Europe.
During the subsequent period, in 1552, a split occurred within the Church of the East. Part of it joined Rome, so that besides the Catholicosate of the East another, Chaldean Patriarchate was founded, headed by the Patriarch Mar Yohannan Sulaqa (1553-1555). Both claim to be the rightful heir to the East Syrian tradition. It is very difficult to see the precise influence of this schism on the Church of Malabar as there was always overtones to Rome in earlier centuries. Apparently, both parties sent bishops to India.
The last East Syrian Metropolitan before the schism, Mar Jacob (1504-1552), died in 1552. Catholicos Simeon VII Denkha sent a prelate to India, in the person of Mar Abraham, who was later to be the last Syrian Metropolitan of Malabar, after having gone over to the Chaldaean side. It is not known when he arrived in Malabar, but he must have been there already by 1556. Approximately at the same time, Chaldaean Patriarch Abdisho IV (1555-1567), the successor of Yohannan Sulaqa (murdered in 1555), sent the brother of John, Mar Joseph, to Malabar as a Chaldaean bishop; although consecrated in 1555 or 1556, Mar Joseph could not reach India before the end of 1556, nor Malabar before 1558. He was accompanied by another Chaldaean bishop, Mar Eliah.
This development in the history of St. Thomas Christians happened at the advent of the Portuguese colonization of the Malabar Coast.
Colonialism and St Thomas Christians
The Portuguese erected a Latin diocese in Goa (1534) and another at Cochin (1558) in the hope of bringing the Thomas Christians under their jurisdiction. In a Goan Synod held in 1585 it was decided to introduce the Latin liturgy and practices among the Thomas Christians.
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Alexis de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa from 1595 until his death in 1617 decided to bring the Kerala Christians to obedience after the death of Bishop Mar Abraham (the last Syrian Metropolitan of Malabar, laid to rest at St. Hormis church, Angamaly), an obedience that they conceived as complete conformity to the Roman or ‘Latin’ customs. This meant separating the Nasranis not only from the Catholicosate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, but also from the Chaldaean Patriarchate of Babylon, and subjecting them directly to the Latin Archbishopric of Goa.
The Portuguese refused to accept the legitimate authority of the Indian hierarchy and its relation with the East Syrians, and in 1599 at the Synod of Diamper (held in Udayamperur), the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa imposed a large number of Latinizations. The Portuguese succeeded in appointing a Latin bishop to govern the Thomas Christians, and the local Christians’ customs were officially anathematised as heretical and their manuscripts were condemned to be either corrected or burnt. The Portuguese padroado (’patronage’) was extended over them. From 1599 up to 1896 these Christians were under the Latin Bishops who were appointed either by the Portuguese Padroado or by the Roman Congregation of Propaganda Fide. Every attempt to resist the latinization process was branded heretical by them. Under the indigenous leader, archdeacon, the Thomas Christians resisted, but the result was disastrous.
The oppressive rule of the Portuguese padroado provoked a violent reaction on the part of the indigenous Christian community. The first solemn protest took place in 1653, known as the Koonan Kurishu Satyam (Koonan Cross Oath). Under the leadership of Archdeacon Thomas, a part of the Thomas Christians publicly took an oath in Matancherry, Cochin, that they would not obey the Portuguese bishops and the Jesuit missionaries. In the same year, in Alangad, Archdeacon Thomas was ordained, by the laying on of hands of twelve priests, as the first known indigenous Metropolitan of Kerala, under the name Mar Thoma I. Those who took, or supported, the Oath became the Puthenkoottukar or New Party, while those who remained faithful to the Catholic Church became the Pazhayakoottukar or Old Party.
After the Coonan Cross Oath, between 1661 and 1662, out of the 116 churches, the Old Party reclaimed eighty-four churches, leaving Archdeacon Mar Thoma I only thirty-two churches. The eighty-four churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syro Malabar Catholic Church have descended. The other thirty-two churches and their congregations were the body from which the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites & Orthodox), Thozhiyur (1772), Mar Thoma (Reformed Syrians) (1874), Syro Malankra Catholic Church have originated.  In 1665, Mar Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, a Bishop send by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch arrived in India and the dissident group under the leadership of the Archdeacon welcomed him.  This visit resulted in the Mar Thoma party claiming spiritual authority of the Antiochean Patriarchate and gradually introduced the West Syrian liturgy, customs and script to the Malabar Coast.
Though most of the Thomas Christians gradually relented in their strong opposition to the Western control, the arrival of Mar Gregorios in 1665 marked the beginning of a formal schism among the Thomas Christians. Those who accepted the West Syrian theological and liturgical tradition of Mar Gregorios became known as Jacobites. Those who continued with East Syrian theological and liturgical tradition and stayed faithful to the Synod of Diamper are known as the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in communion with the Catholic Church. They got their own Syro-Malabar Hierarchy on 21 December 1923 with the Metropolitan Mar Augustine Kandathil as the Head of their Church.
St. Thomas Christians by this process got divided in to East Syrians and West Syrians.
In 1876, The Mar Thoma Church came into being under Thomas Mar Athanasious. They were known as Reformed Jacobites before the group took the name of Mar Thoma Church. They introduced many changes based on the Protestant doctrine. In 1961, there was a split with the formation of St. Thomas Evangelical Church from the Marthoma Church .
In 1874 a section of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church from Thrissur came in to communion with Patriarch of the Church of the East in Qochanis as a result of schism followed after the arrival of Bishop Rocos ( 1861 ) Mar Elias Melus ( 1874) sent by the Patriarch of Chaldean. They follow the East Syrian tradition and are known as Chaldean Syrian Church.
However, in 1912 due to attempts by the Antiochean Patriarch to gain temporal powers over the Malankara Church, there was another split in the West Syrian community when a section declared itself an autocephalous church and announced the re-establishment of the ancient Catholicosate of the East in India. This was not accepted by those who remained loyal to the Patriarch. The two sides were reconciled in 1958 but again differences developed in 1975. Today the West Syrian community is divided into Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (in Oriental Orthodox Communion, autocephalous), Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church (in Oriental Orthodox Communion, under Antioch).
In 1926 a section of West Syrians under the leadership of Mar Ivanios came into communion with the Catholic Church, retaining all of the Church's rites, Liturgy, and autonomy. They are known as Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.
|East Syriac (Chaldean)||West Syriac (Antiochian)|
|Assyrian Church||Catholic Communion||Independent (Reformed)||Independent||Oriental Orthodox Communion|
|Chaldean Syrian Church||Syro-Malabar Catholic Church||Syro-Malankara Catholic Church||Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church (Mar Thoma Church)||Malabar Independent Syrian Church (Thozhiyoor Church)||Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church)||Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church (Syriac Orthodox Church)|
Nasrani religious jurisdictions
(in alphabetical order by Communion)
- Eastern Catholic Churches
- Oriental Orthodox Communion
- Oriental Orthodox in Tradition but not in communion with the Oriental Orthodox Communion
- Malabar Independent Syrian Church(Thozhiyur Sabha)
- Reformed Oriental Church (west Syrian Rite)
On a rough reckoning, about 70% to 75% of the Christians in Kerala belong to the St. Thomas Christianity spread across different denominations; the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Marthoma Syrian Church, the Chaldean Syrian Church and the Malabar Independent Syrian Church. The Syro Malabar Church is the largest Church.
|Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church||750,000 ‡|
|Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Church||2,000,000 ‡|
|Mar Thoma Church.||1,062,000 ‡|
|Chaldean Syrian Church||20,000|
|Malabar Independent Syrian Church||10,000|
|St. Thomas Evangelical Church||50,000|
The data given is worldwide population. The population figures of non Catholic denominations especially, the Jacobite, Orthodox and Mar Thoma Church are not from reliable sources. The India's official census data  which places the total Christian population in Kerala at 6.06 million in the year 2001. Accordingly, the population of St Thomas Christians in Kerala (who form 70%-75% of the total Christian population in the State as suggested above) may be in the region of 4.2 to 4.5 million.
Historical references to St. Thomas
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- The Acts of Judas Thomas : Century: 2nd/3rd (c. 180-230)
Gist of Testimony : The Apostles cast lots as to where they should go, and to Thomas, twin brother of Jesus, fell India. Thomas was taken to king Gondophares as an architect and carpenter by Habban. The journey to India is described in detail.After a long residence in the court he ordained leaders for the Church, and left in a chariot for the kingdom of Mazdei. There, after performing many miracles, he dies a martyr.
- Clement of Alexandria- Century: 3rd (d.c. 235) Church represented: Alexandrian/Greek Biographical Note : Greek Theologian, b. Athens, 150.
- Doctrine of the Apostles-Century: 3rd Century, Church represented: Syrian
Gist of testimony : “After the death of the Apostles there were Guides and Rulers in the Churches…..They again at their deaths also committed and delivered to their disciples after them everything which they had received from the Apostles;…(also what) Judas Thomas (had written) from India”.
“India and all its own countries, and those bordering on it, even to the farther sea, received the Apostle’s hand of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was Guide and Ruler in the Church which he built and ministered there”. In what follows “the whole Persia of the Assyrians and Medes, and of the countries round about Babylon…. even to the borders of the Indians and even to the country of Gog and Magog” are said to have received the Apostles’ Hand of Priesthood from Aggaeus the disciple of Addaeus
- Origen Century : 3rd (185-254?) quoted in Eusebius,Church represented: Alexandrian/ Greek Biographical. Christian Philosopher, b-Egypt, Origen taught with great acclaim in Alexandria and then in Caesarea.
Gist of Testimony : He is the first known writer to record the casting of lots by the Apostles. Origen original work has been lost; but his statement about Parthia falling to Thomas has been preserved by Eusebius. “Origen, in the third chapter of his Commentary on Genesis, says that, according to tradition, Thomas’s allotted field of labour was Parthia”.
- Eusebius of Caesarea Century : 4th (died 340) Church Represented: Alexandrian/Greek Biographical
Gist of Testimony : Quoting Origen, Eusebius says: “When the holy Apostles and disciples of our Saviour were scattered over all the world, Thomas, so the tradition has it, obtained as his portion Parthia….”
- Ephrem Century : 4th Church Represented: Syrian Biographical
Gist of Testimony : Many devotional hymns composed by St. Ephraem, bear witness to the Edessan Church's strong conviction concerning St. Thomas's Indian Apostolate. There the devil speaks of St. Thomas as “the Apostle I slew in India”. Also “The merchant brought the bones” to Edessa.
In another hymn apostrophising St. Thomas we read of “The bones the merchant hath brought”. “In his several journeyings to India, And thence on his return, All riches, which there he found, Dirt in his eyes he did repute when to thy sacred bones compared”. In yet another hymn Ephrem speaks of the mission of Thomas “The earth darkened with sacrifices’ fumes to illuminate”. “A land of people dark fell to thy lot”, “a tainted land Thomas has purified”; “India’s dark night” was “flooded with light” by Thomas.
- Gregory of Nazianzus Century : 4th (died 389) Church Represented: Alexandrian/Greek Biographical Note : Gregory was born A. D. 330, consecrated bishop by his friend St. Basil in 372 his father, the Bishop of Nazianzus induced him to share his charge. In 379 the people of Constantinople called him to be their bishop. By the Greeks he is emphatically called “the theologian’.
Gist of Testimony : “What? were not the Apostles strangers amidst the many nations and countries over which they spread themselves?…Peter indeed may have belonged to Judea; but what had Paul in common with the gentiles, Luke with Achaia, Andrew with Epirus, John with Ephesus, Thomas with India, Mark with Italy?”
- Ambrose of Milan Century : 4th (died 397) Church Represented: Western Biographical Note : St. Ambrose was thoroughly acquainted with the Greek and Latin Classics, and had a good deal of information on India and Indians. He speaks of the Gymnosophists of India, the Indian Ocean, the river Ganges etc. a number of times.
Gist of Testimony : “This admitted of the Apostles being sent without delay according to the saying of our Lord Jesus… Even those Kingdoms which were shut out by rugged mountains became accessible to them, as India to Thomas, Persia to Mathew..”
- St. Jerome (342- 420)
- St. Gaudentius ( Bishop of Brescia, before 427)
- St. Paulinus of Nola (died 431)
- St. Gregory of Tours (died 594)
St. Gregory of Tours testimony : “Thomas the Apostle, according to the narrative of his martyrdom is stated to have suffered in India. His holy remains (corpus), after a long interval of time, were removed to the city of Edessa in Syria and there interred. In that part of India where they first rested, stand a monastery and a church of striking dimensions, elaborately adorned and designed. This Theodore, who had been to the place, narrated to us.’
- St. Isidore of Seville in Spain (d. c. 630)
St. Isidore of Seville testimony : “This Thomas preached the Gospel of Christ to the Parthians, the Medes, the Persians, the Hyrcanians and the Bactrians, and to the Indians of the Oriental region and penetrating the innermost regions and sealing his preaching by his passion he died transfixed with a lance at Calamina,a city of India, and there was buried with honour”.
- St. Bede the Venerable (c. 673-735)
- Dr. Placid Podipara, The Thomas Christians”
- Catholic Encyclopedia- “St. Thomas Christians” The Carmelite Period,Dr. Thekkedath, History of Christianity in India”
- Dr. Thekkedath, History of Christianity in India”
- Church here has the same meaning given in the New Testament. For example see Acts 11:22; 1 Corinthians 1:2 and about 67 others.
- Stephen Neill. A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707 ISBN 0521548853
- Biography of St. Thomas the Apostle
- Stephen Andrew Missick. Mar Thoma: The Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church and the Christians of St. Thomas in India. Journal of Assyrian Academic studies.
- Menachery G; 1973, 1998; Mundalan, A. M; 1984; Podipara, Placid J. 1970; Leslie Brown, 1956
- Claudius Buchanan, 1811., Menachery G; 1973, 1998; Mundalan, A. M; 1984; Podipara, Placid J. 1970; Leslie Brown, 1956
- Menachery G; 1973, 1998; Leslie Brown, 1956; Vellian Jacob 2001; Poomangalam C.A 1998; Weil, S. 1982
- Herberts, Some Years Travels into Asia and Afrique. 1636. Page 304. See also N.M. Mathew, St, Thomas Christians of Malabar Through Ages, 2003. p. 91.
- Sarayu Doshi. ‘’India and Egypt’’. Bombay. 1993. p. 45.
- Miller, J. Innes; (1960),Periplus Maris Erythraei The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
- N.M.Mathew. ‘’St. Thomas Christians of Malabar Through Ages’’. CSS Tiruvalla. 2003. p. 54.
- N.M.Mathew. St. Thomas Christians of Malabar Through Ages. CSS Tiruvalla. 2003. p. 58-59
- Bible St. Matthew 2:1
- Bowler, Gerry. (2000). ‘’The World Encyclopedia of Christmas’’. Page 139.
- Menachery G; 1973, 1982, 1998; Leslie Brown, 1956
- Menachery G; 1973, 1982, 1998; Mackenzie G.T 1905 ; Aiya Nagam 1905 ; Medlycott Dr. 1905 ;
- Menachery G; 1973, 1982, 1998; The Nazranies
- As written on the slab on its wall.
- M. Miillbauer, Geschichteder katholiscchen Missinen in Ostindien (Freiburg i.B.,1852) p.42. Donal F Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe Voliume I. The University of Chicago Press. 1965. p. 231.
- L. Lemmens, Geschichte der Franziskanerermissionen (Miinster, 1929), p. 95-96. Donal F Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe Voliume I. The University of Chicago Press. 1965. p. 231.
- Mathew, N.M. History of Mar Thoma Church, (Malayalam) Vol I, Page 241.
- Rev.K.C.Varghese Kassessa. 1972. History of Malabar Independent Syrian church.(Mal). Page 62.
- Mulanthuruthy Padiola
- NSC Network (2007),Defining a Kerala Syrian Christian Placid ( 1950) , Mundanadan (1970), S G Pothen (1970) Cite error: Invalid
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- The Mongols and the West, Jackson, Peter (2005)
- Odoric of Pordenone (Nendeen, Liechenstein, 1967), Henry Yule, trans. Cathy and the Way Thither vol. II.
- Sir Henry Yule's Jordanus, a version of the Mirabilia with a commentary (Hakluyt Society, 1863) and the same editor's Cathay, giving a version of the Epistles, with a commentary, &c. (Hakluyt Society, 1866) pp. 184-185, 192-196, 225-230
- J. G. Meinert, in Abhandl. der k. bohm. Gesellsch. der Wissenschaften, vol. vii.
- Catholic Encyclopedia- “St. Thomas Christians” The Carmelite Period,Dr. Thekkedath, History of Christianity in India”
- Claudius Buchanan 1811 ., Menachery G; 1973, 1982, 1998; Podipara, Placid J. 1970; Leslie Brown, 1956; Tisserant, E. 1957; Michael Geddes, 1694;
- Welcome to "The Syro-Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church Website"
- Malankara Orthodox Church - Malankara Orthodox Church
- NSC Network (2007),St. Thomas Christians Demography.
- (' NSC Network (2007)' St. Thomas, India mission- Early reference and testimonies
- Dr. Wright (Ed.), Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, London, 1871 (Syriac Text in Vol.1, English translation in Vol. II); Rev. Paul Bedjan, Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum, Vol. III, Leipsic-Paris, 1892.A. E. Medlycott, India and the Apostle Thomas, London 1905, Appendix, pp. 221 -225.
- Cardinal Mai, Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio, Rome, 1838. W. Cureton, Ancient Syriac Documents, London, 1864: Latin Translation by A. Assemani; Vindobonae, 1856; Didascalia in Coptic, Ethiopic, and Arabic. Also see Medlycott, p. 33 ff.
- (Cureton, pp. 32, 33, 34). 20th Century Discussions : Medlycott, pp 33-37 alias Menachery, STCEI, II, 20-21, Farquhar, p. 26 ff.
- Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., 3.1; Patrologia Graeca, Migne Edn., 20.215; Patrologia Latina, Migne, 21.478.
- Farquhar, p. 30. 20th Century Discussions : Perumalil, pp. 50,51.E. R. Hambye, “Saint Thomas and India”, The Clergy Monthly 16 (1952). Comes, S. J., “Did St. Thomas Really come to India?”, in Menachery (Ed).) STCEI, II. Farquhar, pp. 30,31,
- Patrologia Graeca (Migne), 19-24., 20.215.
- J.C.Panjikaran, Christianity in Malabar w.s.r.t. The St. Thomas Christians of the Syro-Malabar Rite, Orientalia Christiana, VI, 2 (23), Roma I, April 1926, p.99 esp. for reference to Pantaenus’ Indian visit.
- Bickell, S. Ephraemi Syri, Caramina Nisibena, Lipsiae, 1866; Monsignor Lamy, S. Ephraemi Syri Hymni et Sermones, (Quarto 4 vols.); Breviary acc. to the Rite of the Church of Antioch of the Syrians, Mosul, 1886-96. Also See Medlycott, pp. 21-32. Alias Menachery (Ed.) STCEI, II, p. 18 ff.
- 20th Century Discussions : Medlycott, pp.21-32 alias Menachery (Ed.), STCEI, II, p. 18 ff.
- Homil. XXXII,xi, Contra Arianos et de seipso. Migne, P-G 36-228.
- 20th Century Discussions : Medlycott, pp, 42,43; Perumalil pp. 43,44.
- Migne, P-L 140 1143. (Also see 17. 1131, 17.1133, for his Indian knowledge.)
- 20th Century Discussions : Medlycott, pp. 43, 44. Perumalil, pp. 44.45,Perumalil and Menachery (STCEI I, II), Migne Edns.; Wm. A. Jurgens, Faith of the Early Fathers:etc. History of Christianity-Source Materials by M. K. George, CLS, Madras, 1982 and the Handbook of Source Materials by Wm. G. Young.D. Ferroli, The jesuits in Malabar, Vol. I. Bangalore, 1939, esp. notes and documents p. 71 ff.; W.S. Hunt, The Anglican Church in Travancore and Cochin, Kottayam, 1920, esp. p. 27, p.33 pp. 46-50; G.T. Mackenzie, i.c.s., “History of Christianity in Travancore”, in The Travancore State Manual, Vol-II, Edited by Nagam Aiya, Trivandrum 1906 pp. 135-233; Menachery, STCEI, I, II.
References and bibliography
- Menachery G (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, B.N.K. Press, vol. 2, ISBN 81-87132-06-X, Lib. Cong. Cat. Card. No. 73-905568 ; B.N.K. Press --(has some 70 lengthy articles by different experts on the origins, development, history, culture... of these Christians, with some 300-odd photographs).
- Mundadan, A. Mathias. (1984) History of Christianity in India, vol.1, Bangalore, India: Church History Association of India.
- Leslie Brown, (1956) The Indian Christians of St. Thomas. An Account of the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1956, 1982 (repr.)
- Podipara, Placid J. (1970) The Thomas Christians. London: Darton, Longman and Tidd, 1970. (is a readable and exhaustive study of the St. Thomas Christians.)
- Menachery G (ed); (1998) "The Indian Church History Classics", Vol.I, The Nazranies, Ollur, 1998. [ISBN 81-87133-05-8].
- Medlycott, A E. (1905) India and the Apostle Thomas; Gorgias Press LLC; ISBN 1-59333-180-0
- Menachery, George (2005) Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage", Ollur, [ISBN 81-87133-08-2].
- David de Beth Hillel (1832) Travels; Madras publication;
- Menachery G (ed) (1982) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, B.N.K. Press, vol. 1;
- Lord, James Henry (1977) The Jews in India and the Far East; Greenwood Press Reprint; ISBN 0-8371-2615-0).
- Acts of St. Thomas (Syriac) MA. Bevan, London, 1897
- Poomangalam C.A (1998) The Antiquities of the Knanaya Syrian Christians; Kottayam, Kerala.
- 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.
- James Hough (1893) The History of Christianity in India.
- Michael Geddes, (1694) A Short History of the Church of Malabar together with the Synod of Diamper, London.
- K.V. Krishna Iyer (1971) "Kerala’s Relations with the Outside World", pp. 70, 71 in The Cochin Synagogue Quatercentenary Celebrations Commemoration Volume, Kerala History Association, Cochin.
- Periplus Maris Erythraei The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, (trans). Wilfred Schoff (1912), reprinted South Asia Books 1995 ISBN 81-215-0699-9
- 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.
- 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.
- Koder S. "History of the Jews of Kerala". The St.Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Ed. G. Menachery,1973.
- Vellian Jacob (2001) "Knanite community: History and culture"; Syrian church series; vol.XVII; Jyothi Book House, Kottayam
- Weil,S. (1982) "Symmetry between Christians and Jews in India: The Cananite Christians and Cochin Jews in Kerala". In Contributions to Indian Sociology, 16.
- Claudius Buchanan, (1811) Christian Researches in Asia (With Notices of the Translation of the Scriptures into the Oriental Languages). 2nd ed. Boston: Armstron, Cornhill
- Bjorn Landstrom (1964) The Quest for India, Doubleday English Edition, Stockholm.
- Menachery G (1987) (Chs. I & II) Kodungallur City of St. Thomas, Mar Thoma Shrine Azhikode. Reprinted 2000 as "Kodungallur Cradle of Christianity in India".
- T.K Velu Pillai, (1940) The Travancore State Manual; 4 volumes; Trivandrum
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