Syrian Christians of Kerala

Our bus departed from Ernakulam, the “new” city a ferry ride across the harbor from historic Cochin (in terms of geography, Cochin is San Francisco proper to Ernakulam’s Oakland); our destination, the city of Kottayam. The road from Ernakulam to Kottayam crosses over backwaters and the very first foothills of the Western Ghats, the scenery varying from palm trees crowding wide waterways to rubber trees planted in rows, healing from their harvest. The small towns we passed through however are notable not only for their picturesque scenery, but also for their places of worship–even for Kerala, where Christianity is well-known, there are countless churches in these towns, some new some old, seemingly far outnumbering Hindu temples or mosques. Schools tend to be named St. George, St. Anthony or St. Thomas, and even the occasional nun is sighted.

When one thinks of Christianity in India, the first thought is usually to the Catholic community in Goa, a remnant of the Portuguese empire in the East, but the actual history of Christianity in India goes much further back, all the way to apostolic times according to legend. According to the apochryphal Acts of Judas Thomas (apochryphal meaning that it is not one of the books generally recognized to be part of the Christian Bible), St. (Doubting) Thomas, one of Jesus’s twelve disciples, traveled from the Holy Land to India, spreading the gospel and eventually achieving martyrdom. Legend has it that he established churches in the now Keralan coast and the legendary site of his martyrdom in Chennai is graced with a church.

The “Thomas Christians” of India maintained links with the Christians of the Near East. One of the most significant delegations, in the fourth century, consisted of seventy-two families, roughly four hundred strong, who traveled from what is now Syria to the Keralan coast, descendants of which group survive today (more on this later). Further spiritual support continued over the centuries from the Middle East through the Syrian Christian Church, giving these Christians of India the name “Syrian Christians.” The Christians were fruitful and multiplied, and formed a significant community (of around 30,000) by the time the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century.

The first major fissure in the Syrian Christian community of India happened as a result of Portuguese control, and the road from Ernakulam to Kottayam took us by the key site of Diamper. Initially the Portuguese looked favorably upon the fellow Christians (it is said that one goal of Portuguese explorations beyond the Cape of Good Hope was to search for a legendary eastern Christian kingdom), but then grew hostile as the Thomas Syrian Christians refused to pledge allegiance to the Pope in Rome and adhere to Roman Catholic doctrine. Finally, the Portuguese convened the Synod of Diamper in 1599 to cleanse the Thomas Syrian Christians of doctrinal impurities, which they saw as coming both from Nestorian heresies and from Hindu contamination. The Portuguese banned books, burned books and records and instituted other oppressive policies. When an emissary from Antioch was detained in now Chennai, some of the local Christians publicly revolted, taking the “Bent Cross Oath” at Mattancherry church (briefly described in my blog entry of March 3 and pictured below) in 1653. Others made peace with the Portuguese and the Roman Catholic church.


About two and a half hours after we left Ernakulam, our Kerala state bus arrived at Kottayam bus station, and we transferred into an autorickshaw to take us to some of Kerala’s oldest existing Syrian Christian churches.

In the northern part of Kottayam, a center of the Syrian Christian community in Kerala, different sects (resulting from further schisms) are represented by churches steps apart, and demonstrate some of the later history of the Syrian Christians of India. Heading from east to west on Kumarakom Road, we first passed St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church.

The Mar Thoma Church is the product of a schism in the Indian Syrian Christian Church that occurred under the relatively more gentle control under British rule. A 19th century prelate educated in the British missionary system determined that the local church should undergo reforms, a position not shared by all of his peers, and founded the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, which has since entered into communion with the Anglican churches in India, the Church of North India and the Church of South India.

Heading west, we arrived at Cheriapally, “Small Church” or St. Mary’s Orthodox Church. Founded in 1579, Cheriapally remains close to its original structure, featuring a porch similar to a Hindu temple, beautiful altar and murals and an impressive old baptismal font.


The facade of the church is overwhelmingly Portuguese in flavor, reflecting the era of its construction despite the Syrian Christians’ doctrinal objections to Portuguese hegemony.


Cheriapally, as our church officer/guide explained to us, is an Orthodox Syrian Church, as opposed to a Jacobite Syrian Church. The 1912 schism defining these sects is perhaps the most significant and puzzling in the history of the Indian Syrian Christian Church. How did such an enduring, small and ancient community become divided yet again, this time less directly caused by outside colonial powers?

The history on this seems less certain, but it appears that the Syrian Christian Church hierarchy was damaged by a series of conflicts in the late 19th century, including a series of lawsuits brought over who had true authority over the church. The competing factions included those who believed that the Syrian Christian Church should adhere to existing indigenous dogma and practices, believed to be handed down from St. Thomas himself, against those who believed that the church should follow more closely the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch, the head of the Syrian Christians in the Near East. These differences were made more explicit in a synod called by the Patriarch of Antioch in 1876 to conform religious practice in India to that in the Near East. Finally, in 1912, the group favoring local authority invited the living “deposed” Patriarch of Antioch, Abdul Mesih, to India. It is not exactly clear why he was deposed, although some argue that the act was illegitimate because it was forced by the Ottoman Turkish authorities. Abdul Mesih in India established the so-called Orthodox Syrian Church, headed by a local Catholicate (based near Kottayam in a town called Devalokam), as a semiautonomous branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church. This move was not recognized by the “official” Patriarch at the time or his successors, or by the so-called Jacobite Syrian Christians, who favored the authority of the official Patriarch.

Less than a hundred yards west of Cheriapally, on a small hill, stands Valiapally, “Large Church” or St. Mary’s Knanaya Church, one of the oldest existing Christian churches in Kerala.


Originally built just prior to Cheriapally, although much of the building does not speak from that date, the prizes of the church’s collections include two ancient crosses carved in granite, one older and the other a replica, which contain inscriptions in Pahlavi and Syriac.


The church and its treasures belong to the Knanaya, who are descendants of the delegation that came to India from the Near East in the fourth century. The Knanaya have remained loyal to the Syriac Orthodox Church based in Damascus, and plaques and portraits inside Valiapally feature prominently the connection between the church and the mother church in the Near East.



Leaving Valiapally, I saw an elderly Indian lady, resplendent in sari and gold jewelry, step up to the hill on which the church sits, and cross herself. I did not know to which sect she belonged, and I suppose she may even have been Roman Catholic or Anglican, but through her gesture I imagined a continuity of almost two thousand years, from new Christians converted to a new and foreign God or descendants of voyagers from a distant land, taken root and somehow survived and even flourished despite great odds, even if now the trunk has borne many branches. And I wondered how this history would have played out in a different country, and whether India wasn’t particularly fertile soil for not only new native religions but also ancient and exotic foreign religions, from eastern Christian sects to Zoroastrianism.

I have read that Indian Syrian Christian churches have now been established all over the world, following the migrations of Indian communities. Perhaps, in the years to come, there will be other divisions, or old differences will be reconciled. But the continuity of the tradition seems assured.

19 thoughts on “Syrian Christians of Kerala

  1. All the Hindu rituals, beliefs, customs followed by Christians before the Synod of Dampier are clear evidences to show that Syrians were converted from untouchables. Pariahs and Pulayas believed in transmigration and they offer even today flowers to dead souls thinking they would continue to bless them in transmigrated status. It is foolish to say that Christian children attended Hindu schools, for there were no Hindu schools at that time. Portuguese started theological schools and CMS missionaries started regular schools and colleges. As a matter of fact, Hindus vied with one another to get admission in CMS schools.Exorcism, astrology, marriage customs are similar to Hindu Pariahs and Pulayas and that is why the Synod wanted to civilize Syrian Christians. In dress, women were not allowed to cover their breasts, and that was the common practice not merely of untouchables from whom Syrians were converted, but even among caste Hindus such as Nambbodiris and Nairs. When Syrian immigrants married lower caste women, they were almost naked except a small piece of loin cloth to cover the genital area. So, like the Arab immigrants in Malabar, they stitched a collarless shirt called Chaatta (Tamil word for shirt) and a long piece of single cloth to cover the bottom portion from navel to calf called Mundu ( a Tamil word for dhoty) and the excess cloth was not cut off to avoid waste but frilled and tucked. Now most of the maid servants wear this dress, chatta and mundu. This pattern of dress is now being replaced with nighties by maid servants and Syrian women at home. The Synod wanted to civilize Syrian Christians because they wee all from untouchable castes. In the initial stage, a few West Asia immigrants would have married some untouchable women, like Anglo-Indians, but at a later stage it was mass marriage among untouchables who had become Christians. That is why they retained all the rituals of untouchable Hindus. Read Thurston’s customs. beliefs, marriage (Tali tying) of untouchables such as Pariahs, Pulayas, Mukkuvas, Kuravas and Ezhavas. Then you will understand how the Synod wanted to civilize and modernise Syrians who came from that stock. False identity claiming Namboodirii and Nair caste will boomrang, for Nairs and nambbodiris do not accept Syrians as converted from their castes. They ridicule and pooh-pooh these insane claims, ignoring historical and demographic evidences.

    • In Kerala history there is absolutely no evidence of Nambudhiris or Jews becoming Christians. But Syrian Christians quote some customs and marriage rituals of Brahmins to claim Brahmin ancestry. The claim of Syrian Christians that tying of thali is a proof that they are descendants of Nambudhiris is not correct because untouchables such as Parayas, Pulayas, mukkuvas, vannans and others tie thali.. Paul Roche gives this account of Paraya marriage. The priest, though of higher caste, does not treat the Paraiya couple as untouchables. He blesses the couple and says Mass for them. The symbol of the wedding union is the thali. The thali is a gold medal on a yellow thin string. It is yellow because it is dyed with turmeric (Manjal). During Mass the priest blesses the thali and hands it over to the bridegroom who ties it around the neck of the bride. The priest also blesses two flower garlands and hands one each to the bridegroom and the bride who garland each other.
      Quite surprisingly, Syrian Christians claim that Church built on the model of a Hindu temple is another proof for their Nambudhiri ancestry. But Paraya and Pulaya temples are also like Nair temples. What separates Syrian Christians from Nambudhiri Brahmin and links them to lower castes is their lifestyle and food habits. Syrian Christian settlements were seen on the coastal area and thick jungles. But Nambudhiri settlements were inside villages, near temples and tanks.Syrian Christians like Parayas eat beef and pork. But nambudhiris are vegetarians. To camouflage this, people like Gigi Thomson claim, “”We are supposed to have been part of the Hindu nobility before St Thomas converted us, so many consider themselves a cut above the rest.” Gigi Thomson lives in a fantasy world that thinking St.Thomas converted Nambudhiris to claim ‘nobility status’ without realizing the historical fact that there were no Nambudhiris when St Thomas came in the Ist century A.D. There is also no reference to the conversion of Chera kings. So it is quite transparent that only lower castes who alone were available for conversion, were singled out for conversion. Those lower caste converts got superior status in society because during the 150 year rule of the Portuguese, the Portuguese elevated them by appointing them as soldiers, police. brokers, accountants in their factories, planters of estates, merchants and traders, priests, teachers and trustworthy messengers and thereby elevated their economic status. The British opened schools and colleges for the lower caste cionverts and made them culturally superior to Nambudhiris and Nairs. Albuqurque’s policy of interracial marriage by which the Portuguese married Hindu women produced a race white in colour and good physical features.

      • Some Namboodris are said to have converted to Christianity by the influence of St Thomas. The Saint Thomas Christians or Syrian Christians still carry ancient Namboodri family names like pakalamattom, sankarapuri etc. The early practices and traditions among the Syrian Christian community is no different from the ancient Namboodris as mentioned in 19th century novels like Parishkarappathi and others . Also ancient day Margam Kali lyrics celebrate the story of Thomas the apostle.

      • More like the Brahmins took Thoma customs. Christians can explain the all marriage customs, item by item liturgically with mystical parallels. The Brahmin religion cannot. So with the temples. Are there stone temple icons from that period that are definitely Hindu? So with the Bakthi cult. The Bakthi lyrics of Syrians are older.

        India hates non Hindus but says all religions are one. They mean all their gods. Even Kerala Christians believe they practice Hindu customs. Actually not.

  2. Military Service of Syrians
    Portuguese rule had serious consequences on the social status of Syrian Christians. Till the Portiuguese arrival, the vast majority of Syrian Christiasns had been eking out a living like other lower caste Hindus. Altough the earlier immigrant Christians from West Asia were treated well by the Kerala rulers by giving them, their wives from utouchable castes and their offspring certain privileges, when Christian population increased by intermarriages with lower castes (who alone were avaiolable for such marriages in a caste-ridden society) and conversion of lower castes, Christians gradually lost all the privileges and were treated on par with other lower castes.In Travancore they had to do oozhiyam service even after the British brought the State under their control. But during the brief period of Portuguese rule, Syrian Christians enjoyed real freedom. Their economic and social status was raised by the Portuguese. This aspect in Syrian history is overlooked by many historians because of the bickerings over the Synod of Dampier. Some St. Thomas Christians project the Portuguese as enemies and by attacking them they don the role of pretentious patriots.But patriotism often changed according to political circumstances. When the Portuguese first arrived, Syrian Christians were glad to receive them. K.M.Panikkar says they forgot all the help done by Hindu rulers and " at the very first opportunity, they hastened to disclaim their allegiance and to accept the sovereignty of the King of Portugal." He also quotes Kerala Pazhama which gives detailed information about the visit of Syrian Christians to Vasco da Gama and how they suurendered all their privileges and accepted the Portuguese king as their king.
    The Portuguese exercised political supremacy in Kochi for about 150 years. Kochi Rjah was made a vassal of the Portuguese king. The crown of the Kochi Rajah was made in, and sent from Portugal. During this period, the Portuguese extended all privileges to Syrian Christians.They were glad to see Christians in a foreign country and wanted to make them their loyal ally. Native rulers used Syrian Christians as mercenaries in their army. But the Portuguese made them regular members in the army and gave them military traininmg. As Woodcock says, "Converts were often given high military and civil posts, and some were even ennobled." The Portuguese used Syrian Christian troops externsively in their campaigns. During Hyder Ali's invasion, this well trained Syrian Christian army protected Christian churches and property. The main objecive of Portuguese relations with Indian communities was the encouragement of inter-marriage. As Panikkar says, " From the social and political point of view it may be noted that converts to Christianity enjoyed all privileges of the Portuguese citizens, and no distinction based on colour or race was recognised." A Nair convert, named Antonio Fernabdes Chale, held various commands and was made a Knight of the Order of Christ. He died fighting at the battle of the river Sanguiler in 1571 and was buried with honours in Goa. A suuden surge in the economic and social status of the Syrians occurred during the Portuguese rule in Kochi. But it was a minority elite class that enjoyed their favour and the vast majority remained totally neglected like other lower castes. Dr. Buchanan on his interview with a senior priest in Mavelikara, in the year 1806, elicit a brief account of the degenerated social status of Syrian Christians. According to him, Syrian Christians had to seek the protection of Hindu Princes and the dispersed Christians further became the victims of encroachment by other communities.

  3. Military Service of Syrians
    Portuguese rule had serious consequences on the social status of Syrian Christians. Till the Portiuguese arrival, the vast majority of Syrian Christiasns had been eking out a living like other lower caste Hindus. Altough the earlier immigrant Christians from West Asia were treated well by the Kerala rulers by giving them, their wives from utouchable castes and their offspring certain privileges, when Christian population increased by intermarriages with lower castes (who alone were avaiolable for such marriages in a caste-ridden society) and conversion of lower castes, Christians gradually lost all the privileges and were treated on par with other lower castes.In Travancore they had to do oozhiyam service even after the British brought the State under their control. But during the brief period of Portuguese rule, Syrian Christians enjoyed real freedom. Their economic and social status was raised by the Portuguese. This aspect in Syrian history is overlooked by many historians because of the bickerings over the Synod of Dampier. Some St. Thomas Christians project the Portuguese as enemies and by attacking them they don the role of pretentious patriots.But patriotism often changed according to political circumstances. When the Portuguese first arrived, Syrian Christians were glad to receive them. K.M.Panikkar says they forgot all the help done by Hindu rulers and " at the very first opportunity, they hastened to disclaim their allegiance and to accept the sovereignty of the King of Portugal." He also quotes Kerala Pazhama which gives detailed information about the visit of Syrian Christians to Vasco da Gama and how they suurendered all their privileges and accepted the Portuguese king as their king.
    The Portuguese exercised political supremacy in Kochi for about 150 years. Kochi Rjah was made a vassal of the Portuguese king. The crown of the Kochi Rajah was made in, and sent from Portugal. During this period, the Portuguese extended all privileges to Syrian Christians.They were glad to see Christians in a foreign country and wanted to make them their loyal ally. Native rulers used Syrian Christians as mercenaries in their army. But the Portuguese made them regular members in the army and gave them military traininmg. As Woodcock says, "Converts were often given high military and civil posts, and some were even ennobled." The Portuguese used Syrian Christian troops externsively in their campaigns. During Hyder Ali's invasion, this well trained Syrian Christian army protected Christian churches and property. The main objecive of Portuguese relations with Indian communities was the encouragement of inter-marriage. As Panikkar says, " From the social and political point of view it may be noted that converts to Christianity enjoyed all privileges of the Portuguese citizens, and no distinction based on colour or race was recognised." A Nair convert, named Antonio Fernabdes Chale, held various commands and was made a Knight of the Order of Christ. He died fighting at the battle of the river Sanguiler in 1571 and was buried with honours in Goa. A suuden surge in the economic and social status of the Syrians occurred during the Portuguese rule in Kochi. But it was a minority elite class that enjoyed their favour and the vast majority remained totally neglected like other lower castes. Dr. Buchanan on his interview with a senior priest in Mavelikara, in the year 1806, elicit a brief account of the degenerated social status of Syrian Christians. According to him, Syrian Christians had to seek the protection of Hindu Princes and the dispersed Christians further became the victims of encroachment by other communities.

  4. You can read more about in these books..

     Neill, Stephen-(1707-1858) A History of Christianity in India:, Volume 2
     Neill, Stephen – (1977) A history of Christian missions
     Neill, Stephen- The story of the Christian church in India and Pakistan
     Eric Frykenberg, Robert- Christianity in India
     Hough, James – 1845 – The history of Christianity in India: Volume 4
     Sir William Kaye, John- Christianity in India
     Bruce Firth, Cyril- An introduction to Indian church history
     Hunter, W.W. – (1886) The Indian Empire ; Its People History and Products pp 240
     Logan,William – (1887) Malabar Manual pp 119
     Nangam Aiya, V.-(1906) The Travancore State Manual Volume 2 pp 243
     Barton ,John M. –(1872) The Syrian Christians: Narrative of a Tour in the Travancore Mission of the Church Missionary Society Mission Life, Vol. III
     Geddes, Michael- (1694) A short History of the Church of Malabar
     Henry, J. & Parker, J – The Christians of St. Thomas and their liturgies
     Milne Rae, George- Syrian Church in India
     Whitehouse,Thomas – (1873) Lingerings of light in a dark land: researches into the Syrian church of Malabar
     Brown, Leslie- The Indian Christians of St Thomas
     David Macbride, John – (1856) – The Syrian church in India
     Joseph, TK- Six St. Thomases of South India

  5. If we look back, history will tell us that St. Thomas visited Kerala from Mylapore after making several conversions in Persia. The claim that St. Thomas visited Palayur and ordained four families as clergies from the Brahmin families of Pakalomattom (Pakalomattam) , Kalli ,Sankarapuri ,Kalikavu is a laughable figment of imagination because there were no Nambudiris in Kerala in 1st century A.D. The earliest notice of the existence of Christianity in Ceylon is that of Cosmos Indoplustes, an Egyptian merchant, and afterwards a monk, who published his ‘Christian Topography’. He says that Persian priests and merchants in Ceylon were mere sojourners and they did not marry the local people. That was the case in Kerala too. After a long interval after St. Thomas’ martyrdom, Persian missionaries came to Kerala occasionally and there was no mass migration of Persians or Assyrians to Kerala. So it becomes crystal clear that Christians converted by the Persians in Kerala were local residents. In those days religious orthodoxy and caste consciousness, upper castes such as Nambudiris or Nairs could not be converted. But lower caste people who were in contact with the Persian missionaries such as fishermen (mukkuvas) barbers, dhobis, day labourers (parayas), coconut climbers in their compound (Ezhavas) and such others were made Christians.
    The Portuguese occupation of Kerala for 150 years elevated all outcaste converts’ toa superior status. Even the Kochi Raja was made a subordinate vassal. Christians, irrespective of caste or status (Parayas, Pulayas etc.,) were appointed in the army and this made even Nambudiris and nairs to be afraid of them and respect Christian army officers. Christians were appointed in Portuguese factories as accountants, messengers, planters in estates, cooks (famous Portuguese cuisine in Christian homes today, instead of kappa and fish), widespread intermarriage with low caste converts producing a new community with white colour and good physical features), brokers (tharakans) etc., It was this elevated status given by the Portuguese that has made Syrian Christians claim Nambudiri, Jew and now Assyrian descent, although all were from lower castes. “Rev. C.Y. Thomas in his book on Madhya Kerala Diocese points out: “Despite persistent persecutions, slave schools were opened in several places and the movement spread, gathering momentum with each new step. It is recorded that nine years after the first baptisms the Bishop of Madras visited the Mass Movement area and confirmed over a thousand outcaste Christians.”
    Who are the present descendants of Ezhava, washerman, outcastes and slave converts? Hundreds of year’s existence has wiped out their untouchable past and now they flaunt the common community name of Syrian Christians, with the fake claim their ancestors were Nambudiris and Jews. Even before the British missionaries came to Kerala, Christian converts were from untouchable castes. When St. Xavier visited Kerala, he was greeted by two Christians. At that time the only church in Kerala was the Syrian church and the two Christians were mukkuvas.

  6. If we look back, history will tell us that St. Thomas visited Kerala from Mylapore after making several conversions in Persia. This can be proved from the presence of Christians in Gondophornes’ empire. The claim that St. Thomas visited Palayur and ordained four families as clergies from the Brahmin families of Pakalomattom (Pakalomattam) , Kalli ,Sankarapuri ,Kalikavu is a laughable figment of imagination because there were no Nambudiris in Kerala in 1st century A.D. The earliest notice of the existence of Christianity in Ceylon is that of Cosmos Indoplustes, an Egyptian merchant, and afterwards a monk, who published his ‘Christian Topography’. He says that Persian priests and merchants in Ceylon were mere sojourners and they did not marry the local people. That was the case in Kerala too. After a long interval after St. Thomas’ martyrdom, Persian missionaries came to Kerala occasionally and there was no mass migration of Persians or Assyrians to Kerala. So it becomes crystal clear that Christians converted by the Persians in Kerala were local residents. In those days of religious orthodoxy and caste consciousness, upper castes such as Nambudiris or Nairs could not be converted. But lower caste people who were in constant contact with the Persian missionaries such as fishermen (mukkuvas), barbers, dhobis, day labourers (parayas), coconut climbers in their compound (Ezhavas) and such others were made Christians.
    The Portuguese occupation of Kerala for 150 years elevated all outcaste converts to a superior status. Even the Kochi Raja was made a subordinate vassal. Lower caste converts were appointed in the army and police by the Portuguese and this made even Nambudiris and Nairs to be afraid of them and respect Christian army and police officers. Christians were appointed in Portuguese factories as accountants, messengers, planters in estates, cooks (famous Portuguese cuisine in Christian homes today, instead of kappa and fish, the staple food of Syrians), widespread intermarriage, officially instituted by Albuqurque, with low caste Hindu converts producing a new community with white colour and good physical features), brokers (tharakans), traders etc., It was this elevated status given by the Portuguese that made Syrian Christians claim Nambudiri, Jew and now Assyrian descent, although all were from lower castes. It was during this period and early British rule that family books like Nirananm Granthavali and folk songs like Margam Kali emerged extolling higher caste and social status of Christians. But these claims were false, manipulated and fanciful versions because they were not contemporary accounts when St. Thomas and other Persian missionaries were in Kerala, but produced several centuries after their departure. Rev. C.Y. Thomas in his book on Madhya Kerala Diocese points out: “Despite persistent persecutions, slave schools were opened in several places and the movement spread, gathering momentum with each new step. It is recorded that nine years after the first baptisms the Bishop of Madras visited the Mass Movement area and confirmed over a thousand outcaste Christians.”
    Who are the present descendants of Ezhava, washerman, outcastes and slaves converted by Persian and CMS missionaries? Hundreds of year’s existence has wiped out their untouchable past and now they flaunt the common community name of Syrian Christians, with the fake claim their ancestors were Nambudiris and Jews. When St. Xavier visited Kerala, he was greeted by two Christians. At that time the only church in Kerala was Syrian church and the two Christians were mukkuvas. So even before the arrival of CMS missionaries, Syrian church converted lower castes. The vast crowd of 20,000 Christians at the time of Coonen Cross pledge is a clear evidence that they were all lower castes, mostly fishermen of the beach, because 20,000 Nairs or Nambudiris or Jews could not be collected instantly by Archdeacon Thomas for the pledge.

  7. A missing link in Syrian Christian history has been traced by analyzing political events in Kerala. St.Thomas came to Kerala most probably from Mylapore and converted many people and established churches. It is historically wrong to say that he converted Nambudhiris because there was no Nambudhiri settlements in Kerala in Ist century A.D. Thomas would have performed miracles, especially healing as Peter did in Jerusalem to get converts, and converted local people. After St.Thomas left Kerala, his disciples or Persian missionaries from Kerala came and converted local people. There were some Christian settlements in and around Kodungallor. There was a gap and during this period no missionaries or bishops from Persia visited Kerala..During this period there was persecution of Christians by the Hindus. There was also the visit of one Manickavasagar from Mylapore to persecute Christians.It was during this period of persecution there was mass exodus of Syrian Christans to jungle areas to escape; persecution. Christians fled to forest areas suchas Niranam, Angamaly, Pallipuram, Kuravilangad, Pala, kothamangalam and Kottayam. Syrian Christians occupied these dense forest areas, cultivated the land and these settlements began to flourish. To escape persecution and to be freed of compulsory oozhiyam service, they told the Nayar jenmis of the nearby areas that hey were Nambudhiris and thereby got themselves freed from oozhiyam service. With the arrival of the Portufuese, their fortune triumphed. The Portuguese ruled for 150 years. During this period they preferred Christians in a foreign country. Christian were given protection and were appointed as soldiers, agents, brokers, planters and teachers. All these posts which were till then enjoyed by Brahmans and Nairs were given to Syrian Christians. Syrian Christian soldiers and police officers could treat Brahmins and Nairs as subordinates and inferiors. Ti was this superior status enjoyed by Syrian Christians that prompted them claim Nambudhir and Jewsish status at a later stage, although they were all orignally from lower castes when they moved to Kuravilangad, Niranam, Kottayam, Pala, Pallipuram, Angamaly and other forest areas in the Ist century A.D.

  8. Pratap Koshy has traced the reason for the migration of Christians from Kodungallor to Niranam, Angamaly, Pallipuram, Kuravilangad, Kottayam, Pala, Kothamangalam etc.,This is confirmed by the archives of CMS missionaries and it is reported that the British CMS Missionaries such as Norton, Hawksworth, Bkaer, Fenn and others urged untouchable and slave converts to flee from their native villages to forest areas and to start a new livelihood to escape persecution and hard free, compulsory labour known as oozhiyam service. Tamil Brahmins and Nayar landlords forced these lower caste people of all religions to work freely in their farmlands. CMS Missionaries asked them to flee to forest areas and they also advised them not to tell their caste names in the new surroundings and to give false names such as Iyers or Nayars. In the jungle areas the staple food of the settlers was kappa (tapioca) and fish from rivers. Rice was a rare and unreachable commodity for several years for these settlers.Alappuzha, Thiruvalla, Mavelikara, chengannur, Mundakkayam, Kottayam, Thodupuzha were once thick jungle areas. It is recorded that a tiger was once seen in the bungalow of a CMS missionary in Kottayam. These settlements soon became flourishing areas and later towns. Portufuese rule uplifted them and made their oppressors, Brahmins and Nayars, to be afraid of them. Syrian Christians were made wealthy by the Poruguese by making them planters, brokers and making them traders, bankers and merchants. With the education given by CMS missionaries, this community became superior to Brahmins and Nairs in educational status. This new elevated status is the reason for Syrian Christians to claim Nambudhiri, Jewish, Assyrian descent, although they were all originally untouchable and slave converts, as historical records confirm right from Ist century to 21st Century. Is there any record to show Nambudhiris were converted, either by Thomas or by Persians?

  9. SYRIAN CHRISTIANS AND JEWISH DIASPORA
    There are some attempts without any inscriptional or literary evidences to establish the fact that St. Thomas converted Jews in Kerala. It is claimed without any evidence that there were Jewish settlements in Kerala from the days of King Solomonn It is true that Solomon’s ships came to India but it was not for bringing Jews to settle in Kerala but for the purpose of trade. Guided by Phœnician pilots, manned by Phœnician sailors, Phœnicians and Jews sailed forth together on their distant voyages, into the southern seas. They sailed to India, to Arabia and Somaliland, and they returned with their ships laden with gold and silver, with ivory and precious stones, with apes and peacocks. It was a trading mission and Jews were not brought in the ships for staying permanently in India. In those days when the Jews were living in all comfort and luxury in their own country there was ne need for a Diaspora
    Another claim of St. Thomas Christians without any basis is that they are the descendants of the Jews who came to Kerala during Diaspora. In their fanatical bid to disown their original caste of their own country and to appropriate for themselves the Jewish link they have been propagating the view that they are the progeny of the Jews of Diaspora. But the historical events of the period and the significance of Jewish Diaspora will prove their cunning attempts are nonsensical. The first Diaspora of the Jews in recorded history is the Baylonian exile. The Jewish Diaspora actually began in the year 597 BC with the seige and fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Known as the Babylonian Captivity, a significant portion of the population of Judea was deported to Babylonia, not to Kodungalloor in Kerala. A second deportation began in 587 BC when the First Jewish Temple was destroyed. In approximately 582 BC, the Babylonian governor of Judea was assassinated and many Jews fled to Egypt and a third deportation most likely began. Many of those Jews never returned to Israel.The Diaspora continued with the Great Jewish Revolt, otherwise known as the First Jewish-Roman War, which began in the year 66 AD and ended in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Jews during this diaspora fled to Babylonia, Persia, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the United States. They did not come to India.
    SHEPHERDIC JEWISH DIASPORA
    After the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 ce, the Jews spread throughout the Mediterranean world. A major community eventually formed in the towns of the Iberian peninsula. The Sephardim, from the Hebrew for Iberia (“Sepharad”), played a prominent role in the culture and economy of both Muslim and Christian Spain and Portugal. But in 1492 But that same year, Spain’s monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, also ordered the nation’s Jews either to convert to Christianity or to leave the country under pain of death. At least 50,000 Jews–some believe as many as 300,000–were banished from Spain. Known as Sephardim from the Hebrew word for Spain , the banished settled in the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, Yemen, Italy and they did not flee to Kodungalloor in Kerala, india. A website of Syrian Malabar Nasrani makes a fake claim that during Shepherdic diaspora Jews from Yemen who came to Kodungalloor are the ancestors of Nasrani Christians. The foolishness of this argument is quite obvious in view of the fact that the Shepherdic diaspora occurred because the Jews wanted to avoid forcible conversion to christianity. Unlike other countries, only few Jews had come to Kerala. They (White and Black Jews) did not become Christians but remained Jews and worshipped in their synagogues and not in Christian churches. How foolish it is to calain phony geneology for the Syrians from these Jews! Dr. M. Vijayalakshmi, in a paper presented at the South indian History Congress, has, after examining the Geniza documents of the Jews, pointed out that the Jews of Yemen who came to Kodungalloor were involved in trade and had depots in Kollam and Pantalyani Kollam. So they were not Christians but Jewish traders.
    Why some haughty Syrian Christians are struggling hard to usurp the caste of others? Before Internet became popular, they used fake family history suchas Niranam Granthavari and manipulated dance songs to expropriate Namboothiri and Jewish caste. They were not contemporary accounts but produced in the 18th century. When Kerala historians such as William Logan, Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai, Keasavan Veluthat and M.G.S. Narayanan pointed out that there were no Namboothiris in the 1st century in Kerala, Syrians gradually gave up Namboothiri descent. Now the new infatuation is about Assyrian and Jewish descent. At the time of persecution, the Assyrians migrated to Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Persia and not India. Even 5th century B.C. migrations of the Sakhas, Bacterians and huns are recorded in Indian History. But there is absolutely no reference to assyrian migration. It is a new distorted invention of some Syrians. CMS Missionary diaries and Reports tell us about largescale conversion of untouchables and slaves in Kottayam, Mallappally, Mundakkayam, Kochi, Alappuzha, Kodukulanji, Chengannur, Mavelikara and other areas. At the Coonen Cross episode there were 200,000 people to take the pledge. Was it possible to get 50 Jews or 1000 Namboothiris from Mattancherry. So they were all lower castes. And yet, manipulated DNA is produced to show that a descendant of an Ezhava converted by Norton has Jewish blood. Why these tricks?

    • Hey Rajan Rajiv, you chooth pulaya tribe. You don’t even have a decent family name. So shut your jealous ass. I can assure you , you are reporting to a Syrian Christian boss or s***Ing ones P***s. What more do you need to prove their supremacy. Worthless pig.

    • The belief of modern Historians that Namboothiries migrated to Kerala after 5th century is certainly wrong considering the fact that even in geographically separated (from Indian subcontinent) Sri Lanka there were Sanskrit influences as early as third century BCE.

      When the Mauryan Emperor Asoka sent Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka around 275 BCE the capital of Sri Lanka was named Anuradhapura (See Mahavamsa). As it is sure that Sanskrit coexist with Aryan/Brahmin societies it can be considered that Sri Lanka was a Hindu land with Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras along with outcastes (Chandalas).

      The King had established marriage relations with Asoka and the whole Kingdom was converted to Buddhism. Hinduism reappeared in the island only around 1,000 AD when Cholas conquered it and established the province of MummudiChola Mandalam (Jaffna Peninsula) and settled it with Hindu Tamilians.

      The presence of Sanskrit-speaking Aryans in Sri Lanka as early as 275 BCE proves that in geographically connected Kerala too (with India) there were Namboothiri Brahmins as early as 275 BCE and that the Chera Kings of Kerala of the time were noble Kshatriyas and not Dravidians.

  10. Historical events in Kerala show that Syrian Christians were local converts, especially from Mukkuva and Ezhava castes. In the Synod of Diamper, Archbishop Menzes gave equal freedom and status to out-caste converts such as Parayas and Pulayas. This was opposed by Ezhava and Mukkuva St. Thomas Christians who formed the majority of congregation. So in a compromise formula of the Synod, Pulayas and Parayas were allowed to sit in the portico of the church. There is no historical proof that St. Thomas converted Nambudhiris. M. G. S. Narayanan says: “This situation helps us to confirm that the ancestors of present day Nambudiris established their temple-centred Gramas in the span of the 8th-9th centuries. As the Brahmins in the historical epochs have always been clan-conscious and conservative, they must have been Brahmins by birth only. They are found to have followed the laws of Dharmasastra texts according to the internal epigraphic evidence. There is no question of conversion of non-Brahmins or the recruitment of non-Brahmins as Brahmins into the Brahmin fold, as these practices are foreign to Dharmasastra literature.” It is clear there were no Nambudiris when St. Thomas visited Kerala in the 1st century. There was also no Assyrian Christian migration to Kerala. The 200,000 strong crowd at Coonen Cross pledge site did not consist of Nambudhiris or Assyrians or Jews but Mukkuvas of the coast and Ezhavas who alone could be collected by Archdeacon George.

  11. Syrian christians are mixed community, mostly consisting of converts from Nairs and Brahmins constituing about 70 – 80% of their genetic mix. About 20 % is from lower caste converts (not sure what community). 0 – 10% of their Ancestry is from the Near East (mix of Assyrians and Jews.) Closest relatives in india

    # Population Percent
    1 Indian 57.42
    2 Caucasian 19.07
    3 SouthEastAsian 8.86
    4 Steppe 3.78
    5 Australian 2.14
    6 Siberian 2.07
    7 NorthAfrican 1.54
    8 NearEast 1.36
    9 EastAfrican 1.35
    10 Oceanic 1.02
    11 Neolithic 0.75
    12 Arctic 0.61
    13 Subsaharian 0.03

    Single Population Sharing:

    # Population (source) Distance
    1 Brahmin 4.53
    2 Meghawal 5.65
    3 Meena 6.16
    4 Kshatriya 6.57
    5 Kanjars 7.13
    6 Sindhi 7.31
    7 Srivastava 7.5
    8 Vaish 7.55
    9 Brahmin 7.67
    10 Thakur 7.77
    11 Lambadi 7.82
    12 Muslim 8.35
    13 Velama 8.52
    14 Jatt 9.06
    15 Gujjar 9.3
    16 Brahmin 9.36
    17 Dharkar 9.54
    18 Marwadi 9.57
    19 GujaratiA 9.62
    20 Tharu 9.82

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