Saint Thomas Christians
The Saint Thomas Christians called Syrian Christians of India, Nasrani or Malankara Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila, are an ethnoreligious community of Malayali Syriac Christians from Kerala, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical and liturgical connection to Syriac Christianity; the term Nasrani was derived from Semitic languages like Syriac and Arabic and refers to Christians in general. This community was organised as the Province of India of the Church of the East in the 8th century, served by Nestorian bishops and a local dynastic Archdeacon; the Church of the East declined in the 16th century due to outside influences like the Islamic invasion and the influence of the Catholic Church. The Schism of 1552 split the Church of the East into two factions, the independent Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church, in full communion with Rome.
Both the factions follow the East Syriac Liturgy of the historic Church of the East. In the 16th century the overtures of the Portuguese padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into the Catholic Church led to the first of several rifts in the community; the majority of Nasranis joined in formal communion with Rome, to form the Syro-Malabar Church, distinct and separate from the Western Latin Church but is one of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The remaining group entered into a new communion with the Syriac Orthodox Church, to form an Oriental Orthodox Church; the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church follows the East Syriac Liturgy of the historic Church of the East, traditionally attributed to Saints Addai and Mari which dates back to 3rd-century Edessa. The Malankara Church follows the West Syriac Liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, traditionally attributed to Saint James, is an ancient rite of the Early Christian Church of Jerusalem. Since that time further splits have occurred, the Saint Thomas Christians are now divided into several different Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox and independent bodies, each with their own liturgies and traditions.
The Eastern Catholic faction is in full communion with the Holy See in Rome. This includes the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church; the Syro-Malankara Church were a minority faction within the Oriental Orthodox faction that joined in communion with Rome in 1930 under Bishop Mar Ivanios. The Oriental Orthodox faction includes the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church; the Malankara Orthodox Church is headed by the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan in Kottayam, India. Whereas the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church and is headed by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in Damascus, Syria. Independents include the Chaldean Syrian Church of India; the Marthoma Syrian Church were a part of the Malankara Church that went through a reformation movement under Abraham Malpan due to influence of British Anglican missionaries in the 1800s. The Mar Thoma Church follows a reformed variant of the liturgical West Syriac Rite.
The Chaldean Syrian Church is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq. They were a minority faction within the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, who split off and joined with the Church of the East Bishop during the 1700s. Saint Thomas Christians represent a multi-ethnic group, their culture is derived from East Syriac, Hindu and West Syriac influences, blended with local customs and elements derived from indigenous Indian and European colonial contacts. Their language is Malayalam, the language of Kerala, Syriac is used for liturgical purposes; the Saint Thomas Christians are classified as a Forward caste by the Government of India under its system of positive discrimination. The Saint Thomas Christians have been nicknamed such due to their reverence for Saint Thomas the Apostle, said to have brought Christianity to India; the name dates back to the period of Portuguese colonisation. They are known locally, as Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila; the former means Christian. Mappila is an honorific applied to members of non-Indian faiths and descendants of immigrants from the middle east who had intermarried with the local population, including Muslims and Jews.
Some Syrian Christians of Travancore continue to attach this honorific title to their names. The Government of India designates members of the community as Syrian Christians, a term originating with the Dutch colonial authority that distinguishes the Saint Thomas Christians, who used Syriac as their liturgical language, from newly evangelised Christians who followed the Roman Rite; the terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical and liturgical connection to the Church of the East, or East Syriac Church. According to tradition, Thomas the Apostle came to Muziris on the Kerala coast in 50 AD, in present-day Pattanam, Kerala; the Cochin Jews are known to have existed in Kerala in the 1st century AD, it was possible for an Aramaic-speaking Jew, such as St. Thomas from Galilee, to make a trip to Kerala then; the earliest known source connecting the Apostle to India is the Acts of Thomas written in the early 3rd century in Edessa. A number of 3rd and 4th century Roman writers mention Thomas' trip to India, including Ambrose of Milan, Gregory of Nazianzus and Ephrem the Sy
Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan known as Martin Luther of the East was born in the ancient Syrian Christian Palakunnathu Family which practiced Knanaya West Syriac Rite Oriental Orthodoxy after the Coonan Cross Oath and is an Indian clergyman of the Malankara Syrian Church who translated and revised the liturgy, restoring the Church to what he considered to be its pristine position before the Synod of Diamper. He therefore strove hard for the abolition of auricular confession, prayers for the dead, invocation of saints, veneration of sacraments. Further he emphasised the study of the Bible, family-worship and evangelistic work, he insisted on a high moral standard of conduct for laity and clergy. All this created a ferment in the Church and its effects are still discernible in the Malankara Syrian Church as a whole; this led to the formation of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1898. Malankara now figuratively known as Kerala, is the south western state of India. Here, the Malankara Church, one of the oldest Christian Churches in history was founded by Thomas the Apostle.
It is believed that it was founded at the same time by Saint Paul. In the seventeenth century, a member of the Panamkuzhy family and settled in Kozhencherry on the banks of river Pampa, they moved to Maramon, lived at Chackkalyil, on the other side of the river. The second son in that family, Mathen moved to the nearby Palakunnathu house, his fifth son was a celibate priest. As was the custom, His youngest son Mathew lived at Palakunnathu family house.. His second son Abraham Malpan moved to Palakunnathu Kuzhiathu house. A number of Malankara Church leaders were born in this family like Mathews Mar Athanasius Malankara Metropolitan; the present head of the Marthoma Church, Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, is from this family. Abraham Malpan was born on 30 May 1796 as the second son of Palakunnathu Mathew and Mariamma of Pakalomattathil-Mullasseril Family, of Mullasseril Family, Kerala, his father died before he was born, his mother died before he was three. Because the practice of the church at that time was to ordain children as deacons.
He was sent to study Syriac and the worship orders under Malpan Korah Kathanar becoming an expert in the Syriac language. After being ordained as a priest in 1815 by Mar Thoma VIII, he soon became a professor of Syriac, a Malpan, at the Malankara Old Seminary in Kottayam; the priests of that time practised celibacy, a practice, kept after the brief time under the Roman Catholic Church. However, after the British Anglicans arrived, they encouraged the church to end the mandate of celibacy. Metropolitan Punnuthra Mar Dionysius agreed, the practice ended. Abraham Malpan was one of the first of the priests to get married challenging the other faction. According to Church practices and Biblical Instructions, theological students were made deacons at the age of 20 and priests at the age of 30, but during the time just before the reformation small children of 7 years were ordained as deacons by the bishops after taking big bribes from the parents. And people who did not have any theological education were made priests at the age of 16 or 17.
After his Malayalam Education Malpan was sent to study Syriac, the language of the liturgy, under Padinjarekutu Korah Malpan, Puthupally. It was a residential discipleship like the ancient Indian Gurukula education. Abraham obtained good fluency in Syriac and the Bible and acquired a sound knowledge of Christian theology, he was ordained as a Semmasson in 1811, received the priestly ordination as a Kassessa in 1815 from Mar Thoma VIII. He was appointed as the Vicar of Maramon parish. During the time of Marthoma VI, Anglican missionary Claudius Buchanan visited Malankara, he met Marthoma in 1806. With his help, the Bible was translated from the original Aramaic language and was distributed to the parishes. Soon after his meeting, representatives of the parishes met at Arthat church and declared that the people should not follow the teachings by Rome; this meeting can be considered to be the beginning of Sucheekarana Prasthanam in Malankara Church. In 1816, Mar Thoma X, appointed Abraham Malpan as an educator of Syriac at the Kottayam Seminary.
His uncle, Thomma Malpan was of opinion that many of the beliefs that infiltrated into Malankara Church were against the teaching of the Bible. While he was the guardian of Abraham Malpan in his younger days, they talked about restoring the Church to its previous position before the Synod of Diamper. Teaching at the Kottayam Seminary, gave him enough time to read and study the Bible in his mother tongue, Malayalam. Mar Thoma XI, convened a meeting of representatives of the Malankara Church at Mavelikkara, on 3 December 1818. In that meeting a committee was appointed to recommend reforms in the Church. Abraham Malpan, Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan, Eruthikkal Markose Kathanar, Adangapurathu Joseph Kathanar were members of this committee; this is considered as the first step in carrying out the Sucheekaranam in Malankara Church. But after the demise of Mar Thoma XI, things changed. Cheppad Mar Dionysius became Marthoma XII. Due to
Francis Xavier, S. J. was a Navarrese Roman Catholic missionary, a co-founder of the Society of Jesus. Born in Javier, Kingdom of Navarre, he was a companion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris, in 1534, he led an extensive mission into Asia in the Portuguese Empire of the time and was influential in evangelization work, most notably in India. The Goa Inquisition was proposed by St. Francis Xavier, he was the first Christian missionary to venture into Japan, the Maluku Islands, other areas. In those areas, struggling to learn the local languages and in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India. Xavier was about to extend his missionary preaching to China, he was beatified by Pope Paul V on 25 October 1619 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on 12 March 1622. In 1624 he was made co-patron of Navarre. Known as the "Apostle of the Indies" and "Apostle of Japan", he is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries since Saint Paul.
In 1927, Pope Pius XI published the decree "Apostolicorum in Missionibus" naming Saint Francis Xavier, along with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of all foreign missions. He is now co-patron saint of Navarre with San Fermin; the Day of Navarre in Navarre, marks nowadays the anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier's death, on 3 December 1552. Francis Xavier was born in the royal castle of Xavier, in the Kingdom of Navarre, on 7 April 1506 according to a family register, he was the youngest son of Juan de Jasso y Atondo, seneschal of Xavier castle, who belonged to a prosperous farming family and had acquired a doctorate in law at the University of Bologna. Juan became privy counsellor and finance minister to King John III of Navarre. Francis's mother was Doña María de Azpilcueta y Aznárez, sole heiress of two noble Navarrese families, he was through her related to philosopher Martín de Azpilcueta. In 1512, King of Aragon and regent of Castile, invaded Navarre, initiating a war that lasted over 18 years.
Three years Francis's father died when Francis was only nine years old. In 1516, Francis's brothers participated in a failed Navarrese-French attempt to expel the Spanish invaders from the kingdom; the Spanish Governor, Cardinal Cisneros, confiscated the family lands, demolished the outer wall, the gates, two towers of the family castle, filled in the moat. In addition, the height of the keep. Only the family residence inside the castle was left. In 1522 one of Francis's brothers participated with 200 Navarrese nobles in dogged but failed resistance against the Castilian Count of Miranda in Amaiur, the last Navarrese territorial position south of the Pyrenees. In 1525, Francis went to study in Paris at the Collège Sainte-Barbe, University of Paris, where he would spend the next eleven years. In the early days he acquired some reputation as a high-jumper. In 1529, Francis shared lodgings with his friend Pierre Favre. A new student, Ignatius of Loyola, came to room with them. At 38, Ignatius was much older than Francis, who were both 23 at the time.
Ignatius convinced Pierre to become a priest, but was unable to convince Francis, who had aspirations of worldly advancement. At first Francis regarded the new lodger as a joke and was sarcastic about his efforts to convert students; when Pierre left their lodgings to visit his family and Ignatius was alone with Francis, he was able to break down Francis's resistance. According to most biographies Ignatius is said to have posed the question: "What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, lose his own soul?" However, according to James Broderick such method is not characteristic of Ignatius and there is no evidence that he employed it at all. In 1530 Francis received the degree of Master of Arts, afterwards taught Aristotelian philosophy at Beauvais College, University of Paris. On 15 August 1534, seven students met in a crypt beneath the Church of Saint Denis, on the hill of Montmartre, overlooking Paris, they were Francis, Ignatius of Loyola, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla from Spain, Peter Faber from Savoy, Simão Rodrigues from Portugal.
They made private vows of poverty and obedience to the Pope, vowed to go to the Holy Land to convert infidels. Francis began his study of theology in 1534 and was ordained on 24 June 1537. In 1539, after long discussions, Ignatius drew up a formula for a new religious order, the Society of Jesus. Ignatius's plan for the order was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. In 1540 King John of Portugal had Pedro Mascarenhas, Portuguese ambassador to the Holy See, request Jesuit missionaries to spread the faith in his new possessions in India, where the king believed that Christian values were eroding among the Portuguese. After successive appeals to the Pope asking for missionaries for the East Indies under the Padroado agreement, John III was encouraged by Diogo de Gouveia, rector of the Collège Sainte-Barbe, to recruit the newly graduated students that would establish the Society of Jesus. Ignatius promptly appointed Simão Rodrigues. At the last moment, Bobadilla became ill. With some hesitance and uneasiness, Ignatius asked Francis to go in Bobadilla's place.
Thus, Francis Xavier began his life as the first Jesuit missionary accidentally. Leaving Rome on 15 March 1540, in the Ambassador's train, Franci
South India is the area including the five Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, as well as the three union territories of Lakshadweep and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry, occupying 19% of India's area. Covering the southern part of the peninsular Deccan Plateau, South India is bounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south; the geography of the region is diverse with two mountain ranges–the Western and Eastern Ghats, bordering the plateau heartland. Godavari, Kaveri and Vaigai rivers are important non-perennial sources of water. Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam and Kochi are the largest urban areas; the majority of the people in South India speak one of the four major Dravidian languages: Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. During its history, a number of dynastic kingdoms ruled over parts of South India whose invasions across southern and southeastern Asia impacted the history and culture in those regions.
Major dynasties that were established in South India include the Cheras, Pandyas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas and Vijayanagara. Europeans entered India through Kerala and the region was colonised by Britain and other nations. After experiencing fluctuations in the decades after Indian independence, the economies of South Indian states have registered higher than national average growth over the past three decades. While South Indian states have improved in some socio-economic metrics, poverty continues to affect the region much like the rest of the country, although it has decreased over the years. HDI in the southern states is high and the economy has undergone growth at a faster rate than most northern states. Literacy rates in the southern states are higher than the national average with 80% of the population capable of reading and writing; the fertility rate in South India is the lowest of all regions in India. South India known as Peninsular India has been known by several other names; the term "Deccan" referring to the area covered by the Deccan Plateau that covers most of peninsular India excluding the coastal areas is an anglicised form of the word Prakrit dakkhin derived from the Sanskrit word dakshina meaning south.
Carnatic derived from "Karnād" or "Karunād" meaning high country has been associated with South India. Carbon dating on ash mounds associated with Neolithic cultures in South India date back to 8000 BCE. Artefacts such as ground stone axes, minor copper objects have been found in the region. Towards the beginning of 1000 BCE, iron technology spread through the region; the region was in the middle of a trade route that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu linking the Mediterranean and East Asia. Trade with Phoenicians, Greeks, Syrians and Chinese began from the Sangam period; the region was part of the ancient Silk Road connecting the Asian continent in the East and the West. Several dynasties such as the Cheras of Karuvur, the Pandyas of Madurai, the Cholas of Thanjavur, the Satavahanas of Amaravati, the Pallavas of Kanchi, the Kadambas of Banavasi, the Western Gangas of Kolar, the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, the Chalukyas of Badami, the Hoysalas of Belur and the Kakatiyas of Orugallu ruled over the region from 6th century B.
C. to 14th century A. D; the Vijayanagara Empire, founded in 14th century A. D. was the last Indian dynasty. After repeated invasions from the Sultanate of Delhi and the fall of Vijayanagara empire in 1646, the region was ruled by Deccan Sultanates and Nayak governors of Vijayanagara empire who declared independence; the Europeans arrived in the 15th century and by the middle of the 18th century, the French and the British were involved in a protracted struggle for military control over the South India. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799 and the end of the Vellore Mutiny in 1806, the British consolidated their power over much of present-day South India with the exception of French Pondichéry; the British Empire took control of the region from the British East India Company in 1857. During the British colonial rule, the region was divided into the Madras Presidency, Hyderabad State, Travancore, Vizianagaram and a number of other minor princely states; the region played a major role in the Indian independence movement.
After the independence of India in 1947, the region was organised into four states: Madras State, Mysore State, Hyderabad State and Travancore-Cochin. The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 reorganised the states on linguistic lines resulting in the creation of the new states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu; as a result of this Act, Madras State retained its name and Kanyakumari district was added to it from the state of Travancore-Cochin. The state was subsequently renamed Tamil Nadu in 1968. Andhra Pradesh was created through the merger of Andhra State with the Telugu-speaking districts of the Hyderabad State in 1956. Kerala emerged from the merger of Malabar district and the Kasaragod taluk of South Canara districts of the Madras State with Travancore-Cochin. Mysore State was re-organised with the addition of districts of Bellary and South Canara and the Kollegal taluk of Coimbatore district from the Madras State, the districts of Belgaum, North Canara and Dharwad from the Bombay State, the
In Christianity, the Apostolic Age is the period from the death of Jesus until the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles. It holds special significance in Christian tradition as the age of the direct apostles of Jesus; the earliest followers of Jesus were principally from apocalyptic Jewish sects during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. They were Jewish Christians, who adhered to the Jewish commands. Jerusalem had an early Christian community, led by James the Just and John. Paul the Apostle, a pious Jew who had persecuted the early Christians, converted c. AD 33–36 and started to proselytize among the gentiles. According to Paul, gentile converts could be allowed exemption from most Jewish commandments, arguing that all are justified by faith in Jesus; this led to a gradual split of early Christianity from Judaism, as Christianity became a predominantly gentile religion. The years following Jesus until the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles is called the Apostolic Age, after the missionary activities of the apostles.
According to the Acts of the Apostles, the Jerusalem church began at Pentecost with some 120 believers, in an "upper room," believed by some to be the Cenacle, where the apostles received the Holy Spirit and emerged from hiding following the death and resurrection of Jesus to preach and spread his message. Paul's conversion on the Road to Damascus is first recorded in Acts 9:13-16. Peter baptized the Roman centurion Cornelius, traditionally considered the first gentile convert to Christianity, in Acts 10. Based on this, the Antioch church was founded. According to Acts, that it was there. After the death of Jesus, "Christianity emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine." The first Christians were all Jews, either by birth or conversion, who constituted a Second Temple Jewish sect with an apocalyptic eschatology. The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and Epistle to the Galatians record that an early Jewish Christian community centered on Jerusalem and that its leaders included Peter, the "brother of Jesus", John the Apostle.
The Jerusalem Church "held a central place among all the churches,". The relatives of Jesus were accorded a special position within this community, as displayed by the leadership of James the Just in Jerusalem. According to a tradition recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius of Salamis, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the Great Jewish Revolt. Jewish Christians were faithful religious Jews, only differing in their acceptance of Jesus as the messiah, they believed Yahweh to be the only true God, the god of Israel, considered Jesus to be the messiah, as prophesied in the Jewish scriptures, which they held to be authoritative and sacred. They held faithfully to the Torah, including acceptance of gentile converts based on a version of the Noachide laws, they employed the Septuagint or Targum translations of the Hebrew scriptures. The Book of Acts reports that the early followers continued daily Temple attendance and traditional Jewish home prayer. Other passages in the New Testament gospels reflect a similar observance of traditional Jewish piety such as fasting, reverence for the Torah and observance of Jewish holy days.
Liturgical services were based on repeating the actions of Jesus, using the bread and wine, saying his words. The rest of the liturgical ritual is rooted in the Jewish Passover, the Passover Seder, synagogue services, including the singing of hymns and reading from the scriptures. At first, Christians continued to worship alongside Jewish believers, but within twenty years of Jesus' death, Sunday was being regarded as the primary day of worship; the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. The most famous version of the Great Commission is in Matthew 28:16–20, where on a mountain in Galilee Jesus calls on his followers to make disciples of and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Christian missionary activity spread Christianity to cities in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire, throughout the Hellenistic world and beyond the Roman Empire.
Apostles and preachers traveled to Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Sea, attracted Jewish converts. Within 10 years of the death of Jesus, apostles had spread Christianity from Jerusalem to Antioch, Corinth, Cyprus, Crete and Rome. Paul was responsible for bringing Christianity to Ephesus, Corinth and Thessalonica. Over 40 churches were established by 100, most in Asia Minor, such as the seven churches of Asia, some in Greece and Italy. Early Christian beliefs were proclaimed in kerygma [preaching), some of which are preserved in New Testament scripture; the early Gospel message spread orally originally in Aramaic, but immediately in Greek. Christian groups and congregations first organized themselves loosely. In Paul's time there were no delineated functions yet for bishops and deacons; the sources for the beliefs of the early Christians include oral traditions, the Gospels, the New Testament epistles and lost texts such as the Q source and the writings of Papias. The texts contain the earliest Christian creeds expressing belief in the risen Jesus, such as 1 Corinthians 15:3–41: For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ
Kerala, locally known as Keralam, is a state on the southwestern, Malabar Coast of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2, Kerala is the twenty-second largest Indian state by area, it is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, the Lakshadweep Sea and Arabian Sea to the west. With 33,387,677 inhabitants as per the 2011 Census, Kerala is the thirteenth-largest Indian state by population, it is divided into 14 districts with the capital being Thiruvananthapuram. Malayalam is the most spoken language and is the official language of the state; the Chera Dynasty was the first prominent kingdom based in Kerala. The Ay kingdom in the deep south and the Ezhimala kingdom in the north formed the other kingdoms in the early years of the Common Era; the region had been a prominent spice exporter since 3000 BCE. The region's prominence in trade was noted in the works of Pliny as well as the Periplus around 100 CE.
In the 15th century, the spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala, paved the way for European colonisation of India. At the time of Indian independence movement in the early 20th century, there were two major princely states in Kerala-Travancore State and the Kingdom of Cochin, they united to form the state of Thiru-Kochi in 1949. The Malabar region, in the northern part of Kerala had been a part of the Madras province of British India, which became a part of the Madras State post-independence. After the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, the modern-day state of Kerala was formed by merging the Malabar district of Madras State, the state of Thiru-Kochi, the taluk of Kasaragod in South Canara, a part of Madras State; the economy of Kerala is the 12th-largest state economy in India with ₹7.73 lakh crore in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹163,000. Kerala has the lowest positive population growth rate in India, 3.44%. The state has witnessed significant emigration to Arab states of the Persian Gulf during the Gulf Boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, its economy depends on remittances from a large Malayali expatriate community.
Hinduism is practised by more than half of the population, followed by Christianity. The culture is a synthesis of Aryan, Dravidian and European cultures, developed over millennia, under influences from other parts of India and abroad; the production of pepper and natural rubber contributes to the total national output. In the agricultural sector, tea, coffee and spices are important; the state's coastline extends for 595 kilometres, around 1.1 million people in the state are dependent on the fishery industry which contributes 3% to the state's income. The state has the highest media exposure in India with newspapers publishing in nine languages English and Malayalam. Kerala is one of the prominent tourist destinations of India, with backwaters, hill stations, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery as its major attractions; the name Kerala has an uncertain etymology. One popular theory derives Kerala from alam; the word Kerala is first recorded as Keralaputra in a 3rd-century BCE rock inscription left by the Maurya emperor Ashoka, one of his edicts pertaining to welfare.
The inscription refers to the local ruler as Keralaputra. This contradicts the theory that Kera is from "coconut tree". At that time, one of three states in the region was called Cheralam in Classical Tamil: Chera and Kera are variants of the same word; the word Cheral refers to the oldest known dynasty of Kerala kings and is derived from the Proto-Tamil-Malayalam word for "lake". The earliest Sanskrit text to mention Kerala is the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rigveda. Kerala is mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two Hindu epics; the Skanda Purana mentions the ecclesiastical office of the Thachudaya Kaimal, referred to as Manikkam Keralar, synonymous with the deity of the Koodalmanikyam temple. Keralam may stem from the Classical Tamil chera alam; the Greco-Roman trade map. According to Tamil classic Purananuru, Chera king Senkuttuvan conquered the lands between Kanyakumari and the Himalayas. Lacking worthy enemies, he besieged the sea by throwing his spear into it. According to the 17th century Malayalam work Keralolpathi, the lands of Kerala were recovered from the sea by the axe-wielding warrior sage Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu.
Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, the water receded as far as it reached. According to legend, this new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari; the land which rose from sea was filled with unsuitable for habitation. Out of respect and all snakes were appo
Christianity in India
Christianity is India's second-largest minority religion after Islam, with 28 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India's population. According to Indian tradition, the Christian faith was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who reached the Malabar Coast in 52 AD. According to another tradition Bartholomew the Apostle is credited with introducing Christianity along the Konkan Coast. There is a general scholarly consensus that Christian communities were established in India by the 6th century AD, including some communities who used Syriac liturgies. Christianity in India is made up of people from different church denominations; the state of Kerala is home to the Saint Thomas Christian community, an ancient body of Christians, who are divided into several different churches and traditions. They are East Syriac Saint Thomas Christian: the Chaldean Syrian; the Malankara Orthodox Syrian, Malankara Jacobite Syrian, Mar Thoma Syrian, Syro-Malankara Catholic, the Malabar Independent Syrian are West Syriac.
Saint Thomas Anglicans are in the Anglican tradition and are members of the CSI. Since the 19th century, Protestant churches have been present. Ecclesial traditionalist churches like CSI, the CNI, Traditional Anglicans and other ecclesial groups of CSI synod have presence; the Christian Church runs thousands of educational institutions and hospitals which have contributed to the development of the nation. Roman Catholicism was introduced to India by the Portuguese and Irish Jesuits in the 16th century under the influence of its allied empires. Most Christian schools, primary care centres originated through the Roman Catholic missions brought by the trade of these countries. Traditional Anglicanism was introduced by the British missions under British Empire which shares a common ecclesial traditions with Catholicism. Evangelical and reformed Protestantism was spread to India by the efforts of America and independent missionaries to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ among Indians, majority of whom suffered militant persecution and were martyred as they did not had background support from mainstream powerful churches.
The Protestant missions introduced formal English education in India and produced early translations of the Holy Bible in Indian languages. Though Christians are a significant minority, they form a major religious group in three states of India - Meghalaya and Nagaland with plural majority in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and other states with significant Christian population include Coastal Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Kanara, the south shore and North-east India. Christianity in India to a larger extent has been traditional in its practices and hasn't witnessed any Indigenous revival and local Church-planting movements in history like their counterparts in the other parts of the world. Moreover, a significant number of Indians profess personal Christian faith outside the domain of traditional and institutionalized Christianity and do not associate with any Church or its conventional code of belief. Two ancient testimonies exist about the mission of Saint Bartholomew in India; these are of Saint Jerome.
Both these refer to this tradition while speaking of the reported visit of Pantaenus to India in the 2nd century. The studies of Fr A. C. Perumalil SJ and Moraes hold that the Bombay region on the Konkan coast, a region which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan, was the field of Saint Bartholomew's missionary activities. Evangelic activities of Saint Thomas is a disputed topic among Christian scholars. Historians believe that Saint Thomas and other Apostles spread in different directions for missionary activities, but most of them had died in different places due to a myriad of reasons. As per Christian scholars and historians, Saint Thomas as well as couple of other Apostles worked and died in present day Syria. But, according to Indian Christian traditions, the Apostle Thomas arrived in Malabar Coast presently in the Indian state of Kerala Kodungallur Kerala, established the Seven Churches and evangelised in present-day Kerala and Tamil Nadu; as with early Christianity in the Roman Empire, it is assumed that the initial converts were Jewish proselytes among the Cochin Jews.
Many of these Jews spoke Aramaic like St. Thomas a Jew by birth, credited by tradition with evangelising India. A more claim by Eusebius of Caesarea is that Pantaenus, the head of the Christian exegetical school in Alexandria, Egypt went to India during the reign of the Emperor Commodus and found Christians living in India using a version of the Gospel of Matthew with "Hebrew letters, a mixture of culture." This is a plausible reference to the earliest Indian churches which are known to have used the Syriac New Testament. Pantaenus' evidence thus indicates that Syriac-speaking Christians had evangelised parts of India by the late 2nd century. An early 3rd-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas connects the tradition of the apostle Thomas' Indian ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south; the year of his arrival is disputed due to lack of credible records. According to one of the legends in the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but Jesus over-ruled the stubborn disciple by ordering circumstances so compelling that he was forced to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes