“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal
May23

“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal

“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal “An account of the history of Malabar Church between the years 1773 and 1786 with special emphasis on the events connected with the journey from Malabar to Rome via Lisbon and back undertaken by Malpan Mar Joseph Cariattil and Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal”. “Varthamanappusthakam” (1785) is the first travelogue written in an Indian language. The narrative of “Varthamanappusthakam “ begins with the death of Florence, Vicar Apostolic of Malabar in 1773. It elaborates all that happened after the death of Florence including the journey of Malpan Cariattil and Cathanar Paremmakkal to Europe with the events connected with it and ends with their return journey until they sighted the island of Ceylon. Dr. Placid J Podipara CMI translated this book into English and it is published by Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome in 1971. About the Author Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal was born on September 10, 1736 Kadanad in the present Syro Malabar eparchy of Palai. He was ordained as a priest in 1761 and was the pastor of a few churches including his native church at Kadanad. He was well versed in Malayalam, Syriac, Latin, Sanskrit, Italian and Portuguese. He also authored a number of books including the translation of the book entitled ‘Imitation of Christ’ into Malayalam. Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal returned from Goa as the Governador or the Administrator of vacant See of Cranganore. He could not do anything officially for the reunion with Mar Thomas VI as the faculties were given to Mar Cariattil. Up on return, Paremmakkal resided at Angamali. In 1787, the representatives of all churches assembled at Angamali and executed the famous Padiyola. All their grievances beginning from the death of Mar Abraham ( 1599) is addressed in Padiyola. They asked the Queen of Portugal to nominate Paremakkal as the archbishop, and in case the Queen did not agree, they decided to re course to Chaldean Patriarch. In due course, the Carmelities got assurance from Portugal through Rome that Paremmakkal would not be made archbishop. Tippu Sultan’s invasion caused Paremakkal to shift his residence and administration of the Church to Vadayar near Palai in 1790. He moved to Ramapuram towards the end of his life and administrated the Church from there. He died at Ramapuram on March 20th 1799. On March 26 1936, the body was exhumed and the remains were taken out and deposited in the wall of the sanctuary of old church at Ramapuram. Background After the Coonan Cross Oath, the Saint Thomas Christians were divided in to two groups one under the Archdeacon and the other with Rome. Among the Catholics, the Carmelite delegate in 1663 consecrated...

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“Christianity in India- a History in ecumenical perspective” by HC Perumalil and ER Hambye
Jan05

“Christianity in India- a History in ecumenical perspective” by HC Perumalil and ER Hambye

“Christianity in India- a History in ecumenical perspective” by HC Perumalil and ER Hambye About the Editors H C Perumalil CMI and E R Hambye SJ are the editors of this Volume published in 1972. Hormice C Perumalil CMI  is a priest who has worked on many mission roles from the Syro Malabar Church. He was the General Manager and General Editor of Prakasam publications, Alleppey. He has published numerous Christian literature in Malayalam and English. He is the Chief Editor of this ecumenical Volume on Christian history of India. Dr. Edward Rene Hambye SJ, a native of Belgium was a professor of Church History and Eastern Christianity. He has authored numerous articles and books on Christianity in India, Eastern Churches in India and about Syro Malabar Church in particular. He was also associated with many ecumenical initiatives. He also brought in to light many source documents on Christian history in India. He came to India in 1950’s and worked in different roles until 1980’s when he moved to Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.  He is the associate editor of this volume. Introduction The idea of Preparing “History of Christianity in India- a history in ecumenical perspective” (1972) came from the celebration of the nineteenth hundredth year since the death of St. Thomas the Apostle in India. According to H C Perumalil CMI, there has been several attempts both in India and abroad on publishing the Christian history in India. Some of those contributions fall short of expectations as they were either one sided or lacking jejune. However there were many special studies, on the many local Churches, regions, missionary societies, various works and associations, and personalities. In the opinion of H C Perumalil, the only possible solution within the frame-work of a medium-size history is the ecumenical one as this approach can lead to a honest evaluation of Christian past in India. A number of scholars such as K P Kesava Menon , Dr. E. R. Hambye, S.J , Dr. A. M. Mundadan, C.M.I, Dr. G.M.Moraes , Dr. J. Wicki, S.J, Dr. A. Meersman, O.F.M, Dr. Dominic OCD , Dr. N.J. Thomas S.S.T., M E Gibbs, Dr. T. V Philip has contributed in this endeavor. Contents Foreword by K P Kesava Menon Preface by Dr. E. R. Hambye, S.J CHAPTER 1. Origins of Christianity in India by Dr. A. M. Mundadan, C.M.I CHAPTER II. Medieval Christianity in India a) The Eastern Church by. Dr. E. R. Hambye, S.J. b) The Latin Church by Dr. G.M.Moraes CHAPTER III. The Portuguese Padroado in India in the 16th century and St. Francis Xavier by . Dr. J. Wicki, S.J CHAPTER VI. The...

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“Kerala, the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia”-a DVD Documentary on the cultural interface of religion and music- An eye opener to the Religio cultural identity of the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.
Dec01

“Kerala, the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia”-a DVD Documentary on the cultural interface of religion and music- An eye opener to the Religio cultural identity of the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.

Kerala, the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia Kerala, the God’s own country has been described as the cradle of Christianity in India by many authors. The history of ancient Syriac Christianity in India has been researched well only after its contact with the western church. The pre Portuguese history that is available in oral traditions, ancient manuscripts and documents and artefacts such as rock inscriptions, copper plates etc. shed light on the ancient traditions and culture of St Thomas Christians in India. Many authors have presented the history from different perspectives giving rise to conflicts of interests and prejudice. Here is a video documentary presenting the religio cultural identity of St Thomas Christians in a nutshell, in 34 minutes. It is produced by the Christian Musicological Society of India in collaboration with the Department of Mass Media and Education of the Sacred Heart Province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, and the Department of Tourism of the State Government of Kerala, India. This DVD documentary opens up the evolution of the Syriac Christianity in India from the perspective of the cultural interface of religion and music. This is a wonderful project undertaken by the renowned ethno musicologist and researcher, Rev Dr. Joseph Palackal, a CMI priest from India. Fr. Palackal, in his speech on the releasing function of this DVD documentary, commented that this is an attempt to proclaim the identity of the St. Thomas Christian community in India. This approach is very important as the community is undergoing an identity crisis. The leaders of the community are still continuing with endless discussions and negotiations in search of our real identity. Fr. Palackal’s research into the history, traditions and culture of St. Thomas Christians is very appropriate in this context. Saint Thomas Christians claim that we are Indians, but in reality,  it is a mixture of many cultures. South Indian population is mainly Dravidians. They have millennia old cultural, social and trade connections with the Middle East. Pahlavi and Syriac were popular in this geographical area. The Aramaic edicts of Asoka of BC 273-231 in north western India bear witness to the importance of the language and the presence of Aramaic speaking people in the region even before the time of Christ.1 Many of the south Indian place names with “ur” came from Aramaic with the same meaning as in Aramaic- town or village or residence. In Kerala, places like Kodungallur, Palayur, Udayamperur, Parur, Ollur, etc. are ancient Syriac Christian centres.2 Our forefathers received the apostolic experience of Christ in this cultural milieu. This is clearly seen in our church architecture, church art, rock crosses and inscriptions. The...

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“The Arrival of the Portuguese in India and the Thomas Christians under Mar Jacob 1498-1552” by Dr. Mathias Mundadan
Nov09

“The Arrival of the Portuguese in India and the Thomas Christians under Mar Jacob 1498-1552” by Dr. Mathias Mundadan

“The Arrival of the Portuguese in India and the Thomas Christians under Mar Jacob 1498-1552” by Dr. Mathias Mundadan Note about the Author Dr. Mathias Mundadan is a distinguished historian of Christianity. He is a member of the Carmelite Society of Mary the Immaculate ( CMI) and a priest of the Syro Malabar Church. Dr. Mundadan is a senior professor at the Dharmaram College, Bangalore. He took his Doctorate in Church History from the Gregorian University, Rome. Part of his dissertation has been published in two Volumes. He has also authored many books and articles. Mundadan is also associated with the ecumenical initiative- Indian Church History Journal and is the Author of the ICHR Volume I- “History of Christianity in India”. Contents in detail The period chosen for this study is an important period in the history of the Christians of Saint Thomas. This is about their first contacts with the Portuguese: first half of the Sixteenth century, from 1498 to 1552 AD. Earlier there was no satisfactory effort to pursue the available documentation, the main deterrent being the difficulty to access sources. According to the Author, the situation has changed recently. The publication of many of the 16th century documents by Fr. Schurhammer SJ, Fr. Wicki SJ, Dr. Silva Rego etc has opened up new vistas. The phenomenal encounter of East with the West was launched in Malabar Coast when Vasco da Gama set foot on the shores of Calicut on May 21st 1498. Both to the Portuguese and the Indian Christians the meeting came as revelation. But the end result was not so brilliant. Seeds of the unhappy developments of the later years and centuries were already sown from the very beginning. According to the Author, this was a question of two different mentalities, that of Malabar Christians and of the Portuguese. This was due to the Oriental Christian and Indian mentality of the native Christians and the sixteenth century mentality of the Portuguese Christians. Foreword Preface Contents Abbreviations Archives and Manuscripts Consulted Bibliography Chapter I THE THREE WORLDS Till the arrival of the Portuguese the Thomas Christians were living as if in two worlds. They were living in the geographical, political and social world of Malabar and their ecclesiastical world which was more or less Chaldean in Character. The Chaldean prelates governed the Church. The Thomas Christians shared the theological, juridical and liturgical traditions of the Chaldean Church. The Church of Malabar was, subject to the spiritual jurisdiction of the Church of Chaldea or Persia. The Thomas Christians of Malabar were governed by bishops sent by the Patriarch of the Church till the year 1599. After...

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‘The Thomas Christians’ by Placid Podipara
Jul07

‘The Thomas Christians’ by Placid Podipara

The Thomas Christians by Placid Podipara Note about the Author DDDr. Placid Joseph Podipara CMI, is known as the greatest Church historian of India. He has authored more than thirty seven books and numerous articles on Saint Thomas Christians in many languages such as English, Malayalam, German, Latin etc.1 He has also served as Member of the Pontifical commission for codifying Canon Law, Syriac Language examiner of Kerala University, Consultant to the Congregation of Oriental Churches, Member of Pontifical commission for restoring the Syro Malabar Qurbana, Professor of Pontifical Oriental Institute and Urban University, Rome, Consulter for preparing the agenda of Second Vatican Council etc. He holds doctorates in Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law.2 Contents Introduction Bibliography Fr. Placid states that, formerly there were Thomas Christians in several parts of India, and only those of the south west coast of India have come down to the present day, and they alone are the subject of this treatise. The south west coastal region of India, which has been home and habitat of the Thomas Christians is known by different names such as Malabar, Malankara, Malanadu, Malavaram, Malayalam and Kerala. It extends more or less from Mangalore in the north to Cape Comorin in the south. From this region, the middle portion of which has been their home for a long time, the Thomas Christian are now spreading out to the other parts of India. Chera, Chola and Pandya ( Pandy, Pandi, Pandion) were the important kingdoms of South India in the early centuries of the Christian era. Most of the Thomas Christians, known also as Nazrani Mappilas were the subjects of the Chera kingdom ,whose Capital was Muziris or Cranganore. After the fall of this kingdom, they spread to different principalities that rose up in the land. One of these principalities was probably ruled by a Christian chieftain. There were also constant wars, and mutual annexations amongst these principalities. Until the middle of the XVII 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. All of them are often called Syrian or Syrian Christians, since they have been using Syriac for liturgical purposes with or with out the admixture of Malayalam. Between both the Catholic and the non Catholic Thomas Christians, there are different ethnical groups similar to the Hindu castes of the place in which they dwell. Contents in detail Chapter 1- Origin and Early History In this chapter, Fr. Placid analyzes the early traditions about Saint Thomas Apostolate where India not mentioned,...

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‘The Indian Christians of St. Thomas’ by Dr. Leslie Brown
Mar16

‘The Indian Christians of St. Thomas’ by Dr. Leslie Brown

‘The Indian Christians of St. Thomas’ by Dr. Leslie Brown Note about the Author Dr. Leslie Brown came to Kerala as a missionary of the Church Missionary Society. In his fourteen years of service in India, Dr Bown was instrumental in developing the Anglican communion in India. He was also noted for shaping the worship of Church of South India. Dr. Brown later on worked as the Principal of one of the Theological seminaries.1 From India, Dr. Brown went on to become a Bishop and subsequently Archbishop of Uganda before returning to England as Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. He is known as one of the last generation of English bishops who gave outstanding service overseas, both to the ecumenical movement and in creating indigenous episcopal leadership in the Anglican Communion. Contents The Christians in Malabar, on the coast of South – west India, claim an unbroken relegious tradition from the time of Thomas the Apostle, who visited India in the first century AD. The community is a unique one. Living as a minority group on a busy trade route which has existed at least since Roman times. In introduction, Dr.Brown analyses prior Anglican works ( Geddes, Buchanan, Hough, Whitehouse, Howard, Rae ) on Saint Thomas Christians history and concludes that their sources of information was limited. He also mentions that none of the contributions from Indian writers so far was from an impartial standpoint. He counts Fr. Placid Podipara, K N Daniel and T K Joseph as outstanding Indian writers. According to him, there is therefore a need for a fresh investigation of the history of the Malabar Church, written impartial as possible. He says, this book is concerned with the section of Church called Orthodox. It has Therefore to leave out of consideration the various groups which live apart from that section, once the occasions of separation have been noticed. Thus we shall see that, the Indian Church had a loose – knit unity until 1653, for the last fifty years of that period under Roman obedience. Then about half of the Christians became Jacobite in allegiance ( if not at once in liturgy or theology). The work of English missionaries in the nineteenth century, concurring as it did with personal rivalries and factions among the Indians, led to the secession of the Mar Thoma Church and the conversion of a few families to the Anglican faith. The continuing body of Jacobites has been torn asunder by disputes arising, not from doctrinal differences, but from the clash of persons and their struggle for power. By 1950 the two factions apparently gave up hope of reconciliation and...

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‘Jornada of Dom Alexis de Menezes: A Portuguese account of the Sixteenth century Malabar’ edited by Dr. Pius Malekandathil
Jan03

‘Jornada of Dom Alexis de Menezes: A Portuguese account of the Sixteenth century Malabar’ edited by Dr. Pius Malekandathil

‘Jornada of Dom Alexis de Menezes: A Portuguese account of the Sixteenth century Malabar’ edited by Dr. Pius Malekandathil The Synod of Diamper played a major role in changing the history of Kerala.1 The then Portuguese Archbishop of Goa, Dom Alexis de Menezes convoked the Synod of Diamper on June 1599. This was conducted after a prolonged power struggle spread over five months between Menezes and the St. Thomas Christian community headed by Archdeacon. During these months and another five months after the Synod Menezes visited most of the churches of St. Thomas Christians with a view to Europenizing and Latinizing this native Christian community of India by obliterating and erasing all their indigenous customs and practices. During these journeys Menezes took notes of what he saw and heard and probably these notes formed the main source for Antonio de Gouvea to compile “Jornada do Arcebispo”. The book is written in Portuguese perspective, mixed with facts, distorted interpretations, pre conceptions, prejudices and ignorance. The entire account of Gouvea is written to praise the Portuguese missionaries especially the achievements of Dom Alexis de Menezes. There are many people who hold the view that Gouvea was the personal historian of Menezes and one has to read this book keeping in mind the purpose it is written. The value of this work lies with the fact that it accounts the final latinization attempts by Portuguese which resulted in severing the ties of this native Christian community with the Church of East. Also the book accounts the traditions, customs, description of churches, places among the St. Thomas Christian community against the background of these visits by Menezes. “Jornada of Dom Alexis de Menezes: A Portuguese account of the Sixteenth century Malabar” edited by Dr. Pius Malekandathil is an English translation of “Jornada do Arcebispo” by Antonio de Gouvea. The original work was compiled in 1603 which was first published in Portuguese in Coimbra, Portugal in 1606. In 1609, a French translation came out from Bruxelles and Antwerp. There was a latin version in the eighteenth century. It took four hundred years for a complete English translation. This painstaking effort was carried out by Dr. Pius Malekandathil.2 He is at present the Reader in History at the Department of History, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady. He undertook this work when he was the Reader in History at Goa University. His areas of specialization includes, Maritime History of India, History of European Expansion, Socio-Economic History of Medieval India Studies in Indian Ocean Societies and History of Science and Technology in Pre-Colonial India. 1. Overview of the Book The book of Jornada has three parts....

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Qambel Maran- Syriac chants from South India- a review and liturgical music tradition of Syriac Christians revisited
Oct31

Qambel Maran- Syriac chants from South India- a review and liturgical music tradition of Syriac Christians revisited

Qambel Maran- Syriac chants from South India- a review and liturgical music tradition of Syriac Christians revisited The liturgical music tradition among Syriac Christians is unique. Though the Syriac churches flourished in Indian culture for nearly 2000 years, they continued using Syriac language and Syriac musical tradition.1. Even after divisions and latinisation attempts, Syriac churches were successful in keeping their Syriac music. Recently, all Syriac churches vernacularised their liturgy but the Syriac music prevailed in the Malayalam verses. There are two music traditions among Syriac Christians in Kerala- East Syriac and West Syriac. Some of the ancient chants composed by Ephraem, the Syrian are used in both traditions. Syro Malabar Church and the Chaldean Church of Trichur (Church of the East) follow the East Syriac traditions and the different Orthodox/Jacobite churches follow the West Syriac tradition in their liturgies. The ancient Christianity was evolved in Syriac culture and language. The Aramaic language was the official tongue of the Asia Minor up to Arabian Peninsula for many centuries. The flexibility of this Semitic language helped the expression and propagation of early Christianity up to India and beyond. Many early Christian writings have come to us in Syriac and constitute a great body of patristic, historical and exegetical work. Some of finest hymns and theological texts originated in the minds of Syriac speaking scholars who dominated the Eastern Christian realm.2 The St Thomas Christians used East Syriac Liturgy and East Syriac chants before the arrival of the Portuguese Missionaries. The rich liturgical heritage of the East Syriac church can be traced back to the early centuries of Christianity. The Anaphora of apostles Addai and Mari constitutes the earliest surviving anaphora.3 History of Syriac chants goes back to the period of Ephraim, the Syrian. (AD 306-373). The liturgical chants in the East Syriac tradition were reformed by Babai of Gabilta in the 8th century. The East Syriac liturgy says “as our melodies are beautiful, so, let our conduct be the same in His presence, so that with our words and our deeds, we may please the Lord.”4. A new set of Syriac music also evolved in Kerala due to the attempts of latinisations by the Portuguese missionaries. This has historical and ethno musicological importance also. When the Portuguese missionaries arrived, they wanted to introduce Latin liturgy among Syriac Christians. Syriac Christians vehemently opposed to it. Nothing other than Syriac was acceptable to them. So, the missionaries had to compromise and they had to satisfy with modifications only in the Syriac liturgy to remove the so called Nestorian elements. (Synod of Diamper 1599). Later due to political and other reasons, the Syriac Christians...

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‘St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiris, Jews and Sangam Literature – A Historical Appraisal’, Bosco Puthur (Editor)
Jul26

‘St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiris, Jews and Sangam Literature – A Historical Appraisal’, Bosco Puthur (Editor)

‘St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiris, Jews and Sangam Literature – A Historical Appraisal’, Bosco Puthur (Editor) INTRODUCTION The present volume is the result of a modest venture of the Liturgical Research Centre of the Syro-Malabar Church to study the history of St. Thomas Christians, especially against the background of the early history of the Nambudiri Brahmins and Jews in Kerala (Malabar) and the famous literary work, the Sangam Literature. The study is a sincere attempt to search the roots of this unique Christian community in order to better understand it’s identity and to situate it with more relevance in the present day world. The book contains the research papers, responses and observations presented in the three seminars on historical questions conducted by the Liturgical Research Centre and published in a very orderly manner which makes it one of the ideal books on many different subjects concerning Thomasine Christian history during various periods and that which can be easily understood by a lay person. Though there are many different topics by various renowned authors and experts, the main thrust of the book is to unravel the early history of the St. Thomas Christian community, by juxtaposing them all, which gives a clearer picture of the community’s early history. The contents of the volume are interesting, thought-provoking and even challenging, with an unbiased approach towards history alongwith many reliable references provided, as one sees in the volume, hence, the reliability of the work is also assured. CONTENTS St. Thomas Christians: A Historical Analysis of their Origin and Development up to 9th Century AD – Pius Malekandathil. St. Thomas Christians: A Historical Analysis of their Origin and Development up to 9th Century AD – Dr. Pius Malekandathil : A Response – A. Mathias Mundadan CMI. St. Thomas Christians in Malabar from the 9th to the 16th Centuries – K. S. Mathew. Response to Dr. K. S. Mathew’s Paper : St. Thomas Christians in Malabar from the 9th to the 16th Centuries – Joseph Kolengadan (Nityasatyananda). Nambudiris : Migrations and Early Settlements in Kerala – M. G. S. Narayanan. History/Story : No Last Words : A Response – Scaria Zacharia St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiri Brahmins : A Note – Rajan Gurukkal The Nambudiri Community : A History – Kesavan Veluthat The Jews in Kerala – P. M. Jussay The Jews in Kerala : A Response – Samuel H. Hallegua The Jews in Kerala : A Response – A. Mathias Mundadan CMI Sangam Literature and its Relevance – SIRPI Balasubramaniam Sangam Literature and Christian Elements – R. Balachandran Sangam Literature and Christianity : A Response – P. K. George SJ Early Tamil Oral,...

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Museum- Christian Cultural Centre Golden Jubilee Museum at Pala
Sep28

Museum- Christian Cultural Centre Golden Jubilee Museum at Pala

Christian Cultural Centre Golden Jubilee Museum at Pala is a rare Museum to feast on the priceless glory of antiquity , a treasure house of the diverse traditions of yester years, a niche rich in the remnants and relics of the exquisite past; a rare collection of the marvels of ingenious craftsmen centuries back; a sumptuous dish for hungry eyes indeed! Beyond the portals of the main entrance are the memories of the traditional architecture beauty of long past, it is one of those three halls where the history of the Church in Kerala sleeps embedded in silent sombre grandeur. The old curiosity shop presents the antique curios of ancient Christian churches like liturgical vestments; Tabernacles, Thrones; Ramsethis; candle sticks, chandeliers; glass lamps; Mons-trance four feet high; Chiselled statues of saints and venerables whose blessings are raining upon the world even now; pulpit orn amented with flowers of golden hue; giant baptismal font five feet in diameter….. “Alavattom”, Thazhakkuda, Thochakkal, Theevetty etc. that used to make the ancient festivals of churches a glory to behold and an event to remember…… The flood gates to magic casements are open….. The fairy world of fantasy opens in second hall. Piano and Violin that sing at full throated ease at the touch of a tiny finger; Veena; Bulbul; harmoniums of different variety; Tabala; Gramaphone with golden mouthpiece; old wall clocks; the early models of telephone; instruments for penitence like Chammatti and Mullaranganam; the list is endless…. Lamps old and new of different types; ranging from those done in bronze, tin, stone, hurricane lamps, Kolvilakku, Nilavilakku, Sararanthal, Kalvilakku, Kedavilakku, lamp with seven wicks used by Israelites etc…. are displayed in third hall. Agricultural implements like Plough, Yoke, Ploughshare, “Elachakram”, “Palli”, ‘Njavary’, Thekkuthotty Domestic utensils like “Kinnam”, “Montha”,Kolambi,”Murukkan chellam”, “Vettila thattam”, Korandi, ‘Chembu’, Varpu, Para.. it goes on. Boxes and containers of infinite shape and size : Kaalpetty, Olapetty, Aamapetty, Kaithara petty, Valavara petty, Abharana petty, Kuthupala, Kuttyppala, Kallu pala, Chottu pala, Morpala;….etc…Cooking and cleaning utensils like Splinter brooms, Kuttichool, Pulchool, Kanjikalam, Meenchatty, Thalikachatty, Koppachatty, Morinkalam, Jars and Vessels of different size and shape. Manichithrathazhu, Nalukettum Nadumuttavum, Chinese jars of exquisite beauty, giant jars made of stone and clay….Weapons of offence and defence – Swords, Churika etc. and so on. Old measuring and weighing instruments like Thooni, Thudam, Chothana, Naazhi, Changazhi, Sehr, Kutty, Kazhanchikol, Vellikol, Thu lash, Anthriott, Kalkkatti and so on of yester years.Nannangadies: used by ancient people to bury the dead; “Kabar”, “Kuttikabar”, Cradles…..Crosses: Persian, Ethiopian, African, St. Thomas… to name only a few. Miniatures of the Tower of Pisa, Pieta, Roman Colossium, Eiphel Tower, St. Peter’s Basilica etc….. Old Printing press,...

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‘The Nazranies’ by Prof. George Menanchery
Jul31

‘The Nazranies’ by Prof. George Menanchery

Notes about the Editor Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents. About The Nazranies ” The Nazranies ” is Volume I of Indian Church History Classic series .The Indian Church History Classic series contains three volumes. Volume I is “ The Nazranies” Volume II is “The Catholics” ( other than the Nazranies) and Volume III The Christians (other than the Nazranies and the Catholics). The Nazranies is an whole library containing 15 costly, most oftquoted books plus lengthy extracts from 22 more describing the origins, history, culture, personalities, divisions and unions, spread, vicissitudes, and achievements of the unique Nazraney Christians. There are perhaps only a dozen or so usable copies of most of these works now available in the whole world. This volume is being brought out at ‘the specific request of many libraries and scholars who would like to have their own complete, uncut copies of these It provides a rare chance collections. The volume contains special introductions to each individual work/author by scholars who have devoted a lifetime to the study of these works. For example Dr. Mundadan introduces the work of Medlycott while Dr. Vellian introduces the twin volumes of Farquhar. Books reproduced in full: • GEDDES: A short history of the Church of Malabar together with The Synod of Diamper. • G.T. MACKENZIE: Christianity in Travancore. • GEORGE CATHANAR: The Orthodoxy of the St.Thomas Christians. • MEDLYCOTT: India and The Apostle Thomas. • A SYRIAN CATHOLIC: A Synopsis of the history of the Syrian Church in Malabar. • PANJIKARAN: The Syrian Church in Malabar. • BERNARD: A Brief Sketch of the History of the St. Thomas Christians. • FARQUHAR: The Apostle Thomas in North India. • FARQUHAR: The Apostle Thomas in South India. • D’CRUZ: St. Thomas the Apostle in India. • PLACID: The Syrian Church of Malabar. • JOB: The Syrian Church of Malabar. • KAITHANAL: Christianity in Malabar. • DANIEL: The Syrian Church of Malabar. • JUHANON MAR THOMA: Christianity in India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. Lengthy extracts included...

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‘East of the Euphrates- Early Christianity in Asia’ by T.V. Philip
Jun30

‘East of the Euphrates- Early Christianity in Asia’ by T.V. Philip

Note on the Author: (The late) Dr. T.V. Philip, a noted Mar Thoma (St. Thomas) Nazranee Church Historian, had worked and taught in India, Europe, USA and Australia; his former students include many among the senior clergy and bishops of several Mar Thoma Nazranee Syrian (Syriac) Christian denominations. Dr. Philip had served as Professor at the United Theological College, Bangalore, Professor of Church History and Director, Board of Theological Education in India and Dean of Trinity Theological College in Brisbane, Australia. He has authored several publications, including “East of the Euphrates” outlining the spread of ancient Christianity in the east. Content Summary: While Paul and other missionaries were converting Greeks, Romans and the barbarian tribes in the west, there was equally a movement of Christianity to the East – Edessa, Persia, Arabia, Central Asia, China and India. Though the evidence of the presence of Christianity in some of the South East and East Asian countries is scanty and fragmentary, there is sufficient evidence to show that Christianity was present in Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and Korea before the arrival of the western missionaries. It is a surprise to many people to learn that there was a large and widespread Christian community throughout the whole of Central Asia and that such countries as Afghanistan and Tibet which are considered today as lands closed to Christianity were once centres of Christian activity. This book is an introduction to the exciting and fascinating story of the movement of the gospel in Asian lands, east of the Euphrates. It explores the missionary impulses of the early Asian Christian communities and the theology that motivated them. It discusses the reason for its decline by AD 1500, after a millennium and a half of heroic efforts and phenomenal growth. Introduction A general and brief introduction to the exciting and fascinating story of the movement of the Christian Gospel in Asian lands. Christianity came to Asia in the first century itself. Chapter 1: ASIA: THE CRADLE OF CHRISTIANITY 1-12 A History Ignored 1 Jewish Christianity and its Characteristics 5 St. Thomas: The Apostle of the East 9 No contemporary historian has recorded the Gospel’s eastward march, but there is no doubt that the Gospel did move east even while Paul was opening his mission in Europe. And however Western scholars may write their histories of the church, from time immemorial Asia has linked the church’s expansion eastward to the missionary travels of the apostle Thomas. Chapter 2: CHRISTIANITY IN EDESSA 13-36 Origins of Christianity in Edessa 14 Characteristics of Early East Syrian Christianity 17 Church Life in the Third Century 27 East Syrian Church and Monasticism 30...

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The Muziris Heritage Project- News
Apr08

The Muziris Heritage Project- News

The Muziris Heritage Project The Muziris Heritage Project is a novel attempt at the behest of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Govt of Kerala. It aims at retrieving the historical heritage of the Kodungallur-Paravur region and plans a combination of heritage management initiatives in its restoration, conservation and access to the public. KCHR, identified as the nodal agency for Muziris Heritage Project provides academic guidance and undertakes archaeological / historical research in the region. KCHR Chairman Dr. K.N.Panikkar submitted a concept note on Muziris Heritage Project pointing out the possibilities and potential of the proposal.1 Pattanam Excavations 2007 The Pattanam excavations was the first ever multi- disciplinary excavation undertaken in Kerala State. The first part of the project was a surface survey for archaeological and historical evidence in the region. This was followed by extensive excavations at the early historic urban site of Pattanam. Pattanam is located in Chittatukara Panchayat -Vadakkekkara village, lying between Kodungallur and North Paravur in the Periyar Delta in Ernakulam district, Kerala. The main objective of the excavation was to search for archaeological evidence that would help to locate/identify an early historic urban settlement and the ancient Indo-Roman port of Muziris or Musiri on the Malabar Coast. The excavation was carried out from 18th February to 8th April 2007 in collaboration with A.S.I, State Department of Archaeology and Tourism and Revenue Department. Dr. P J. Cherian who was awarded license by the ASI was the Director and Dr. V. Selvakumar and Dr. K.P. Shajan the Co – Directors of the Pattanam Excavations. The site at Pattanam covers approximately 1.5 sq. km and the core area measures about 600 x 400 m. The north-eastern part of the site was chosen for excavation based on the surface exploration undertaken earlier. Four Trenches (PT 07 I ,PT 07 II, PT 07 III, PT 07 IV) and one trial trench (PTT 07 I) covering an area of 125 sq. m. was systematically excavated. The “locus methodology” adopted for this excavation distinguished each layer/feature/pit/structure/ activity area on the basis of colour, texture and composition. Many important finds were obtained like human bones, storage jars, a gold ornament, glass beads, stone beads, utilitarian objects made of stone, copper and iron, typical pottery, early Chera coins, brick wall, brick platform, ring well, wharf with bollards, and a six meter long wooden canoe parallel to the wharf structure about 2.5 m. below surface level. The structures indicate a vast ‘urban’ settlement. The excavations suggest that the site was first occupied by the indigenous “Megalithic” (Iron Age) people, followed by the Roman contact in the Early Historic Period. It appears that, the site was...

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‘The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Demographic and Socio-Economic Transition In The Twentieth Century’ by K. C. Zachariah
Mar11

‘The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Demographic and Socio-Economic Transition In The Twentieth Century’ by K. C. Zachariah

Note About the Author Dr K C Zachariah is Honorary Fellow with Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram . He has published number of books about demographic studies and transition. He is also the Principal author of the United Nations Manual on Internal Migration which was published under the auspices of the United Nations.1 Overview During the twentieth century, the Syrian Christian population of Kerala underwent a process of transition in its demographic transition in terms of size, composition, and growth rates of the Christian population in general and the Syrian Christian population in particular. It goes on to study the growth of the Christian population in Kerala in the context of the growth of the Christian population in India. The underlying demographic factors of transition-fertility, mortality, and migration-are analysed in detail. It describes the socio-economic transition of the Syrian Christians as seen in their education level, employment status, and material possessions. The discussions are carried out in a comparative setting, where corresponding changes that have come about in other communities-Hindus, Muslims, and Latin Christians-are also examined. The book concludes by drawing attention to projected demographic trends and their likely impact on the community. It suggests the need for some introspection by the Syrian Christians to cope with the adverse fall-out of the emerging trends. Although this book is mainly about the Syrian Christians of Kerala, it includes most of the latest demographic information on Christians of all denominations in Kerala and on Christians across India. The book is, thus, a good reference document on the demography of Christians in India. Its publication is of particular relevance today, when religion-wise data are receiving increasing attention and careful scrutiny. It is relevant from several other points of view as well. First, it puts together historical data on the demography and socio-economic development of the Syrian community in Kerala-data that are not readily accessible to the general public. Second, based on original data, again not available to the public, it provides comparative information between the current socio-economic status of the Syrian Christians and that of communities belonging to other religious groups; A unique contribution of this book is the comparative analysis of demographic and socio-economic characteristics between various Christian denominations and communities falling within the larger Hindu and Muslim groups. Lastly, it brings to the attention of the Syrian Christian church leadership and of the Syrian church members problems that could arise from prospective demographic trends. Contents 1. Social and economic transitions in the Syrian Christian community in the twentieth century: an overview. 2. The history of Christianity in India. 3. Growth of the Christian population in India. 4. Growth of the...

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‘Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage’ by Prof George Menachery
Feb21

‘Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage’ by Prof George Menachery

Notes about the Author Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents. Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage This is a book on essays on Nazraney culture and heritage. Many of the Menachery’s articles which are quite very famous are part of this book. This well written essays covers the 2000 years old history, tradition and heritage makes an excellent reading. It is highly relevant in today’s nuclear family set up of Syrian Christians where many kids are not fortunate to learn about the tradition from Grand parents. Extract from the essay – Christianity Older than Hinduism in Kerala Even much before the nineteen-seventies historians were fully convinced that Vedic Hinduism and the Brahmins must have arrived in Kerala only much later than the first centuries B.C./ A.D. The extensive studies made by Dr. M. G.S. Narayanan, the then head of the department of history at the University of Calicut, and at present the chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) together with Dr. Veluthat Kesavan, now in the department of history, Mangalore University, shed much light on the beginnings of the Brahmin community in Kerala. Here it is important to note what Dr. Narayanan says concerning the new trends in Kerala Historical studies, Historical research had a delayed start in Kerala in the absence of History Departments in the University until the sixties of the last century. This gave the opportunity for interest groups to popularize their pet ideas and pass them on as authentic history. They had come to associate these myths with their own status and privileges. Once the community leaders and political leaders published their theories about ancient history, their followers developed a frame of mind that resisted interpretations based on evidence. With the establishment of History Departments in the Universities it was possible for the present writer and his colleagues to build upon the foundations laid by Professor Elamkulam, sometimes extending and modifying the conclusions, sometimes demolishing and re-building too. This introduction becomes necessary because it is often found even today that the...

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‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India’- Volume II , Chief Editor Prof.George Menachery
Feb20

‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India’- Volume II , Chief Editor Prof.George Menachery

Notes about the Editor Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents. About St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India Volume II The St.Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India Volume II is a reference work on Saint Thomas history. In addition to a wealth of statistical information and directory material, specialist essays have been contributed by hundreds of Archaeologists, Anthropologists, Artists, Historians, Educators, Biographers, Lexicographers and Researchers. There are also separate articles on each Church, Denomination, M ission, history, culture, scripture, liturgy, art, architecture, archaeology, dialogue, Indianization, evangelization, ecumenism, anthropology, sculpture etc Major Articles in Volume II • Faith and Character of St. Thomas – Mathew Vellanickal • Mission and Life of St. Thomas in India – Dr. Varkey Vithayathil • Excavations at S. Tome-Mylapore – E. R. Hambye • Roads to India – Maggy G. Menachery • Did St. Thomas Really Come to India – H. Comes • The Acts of Thomas – Anthony Porathur • Faith and Communion of the St. Thomas Christians – Xavier Koodapuzha • History of the Kerala Church in the Pre-portuguese period – Xavier Koodapuzha • The Church in Kerala at the Coming of the Portuguese – Paul Varghese (Paulose Mar Gregorios) • Christians in Malabar in Dutch Times – T. I. Punnen • The Dutch Period – T. I. Punnen • History of St. Thomas Christianity in India to the Present Day – A. M. Mundadan • The Latin Rite in Kerala – L. M. Pylee • The Origin of the Latin Christians of Kerala – Thomas Thayil • The Mission and Life of St. Francis Xavier in South India – J. M. Villarvarayan • The Re-Union Movement – Thomas Inchakalody • A “Jewish Christian” Community – Jacob Vellian • The Knanaya Community of Kerala – E. P. Mathew • The Syrian Orthodox Church – Paul Varghese (Paulose Mar Gregorios) • Introduction of the Antiochene Rite into the Malankara church – Cyril Malancheruvil • Malankara Syrian Knanaya Christian Community – Jacob Stephen • The Mar Thoma church – T. V. Philip • The...

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‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India’- Volume I -Prof. George Menachery
Feb20

‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India’- Volume I -Prof. George Menachery

Notes about the Editor Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents. St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India Volume I The St.Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India is a reference work on India in general and on Indian Christianity in Particular. In addition to a wealth of statistical information and directory material, specialist essays have been contributed by hundreds of Archaeologists, Anthropologists, Artists, Historians, Educators, Biographers, Lexicographers and Researchers. The Volume I focuses on Christianity in India in general. Following are the list of major articles in Volume I. There are also many minor articles and over 100 pictures. Major Articles in Volume I • Glimpses of India • The People of India • Origins of Christianity in India • The First Centuries • Armenians and other Eastern Christians in India across the centuries • Outline of the History of Latin Rite Christianity in India • Saint Francis Xavier • The Portuguese Padroado in India • Vicar Apostolic and missions under Padroado in 17th and 18th centuries • The Indian Church 1659-1887 and the Vicariate of Malabar • Christianity in Eighteenth Century India a Survey • From Tranquebar to the Sepoy Mutiny • The Church in India in the XIX and early XX centuries • Protestant Christianity in India since 1858 • History of the Lutheran Churches in India • The Baptists in India • The Quakers or the Religious Society of Friends • The Salvation Army in India • The Mennonite Brethren Church of India • The Pentecostal Churches of India • The Church of South India • History of the Church of North India • Evangelical Missions in India a review • Christianity and the Cultural World of North East India • Evangelization in North East India • Catholic Mission Work in Andhra Pradesh from 1500 to 1875 • Catholicism in Andhra Pradesh since 1875 • Protestant Missionary Work among the Telugus • Church Growth and the Outcastes of Andhra • The Canadian Baptist Mission and Social and National Awakening • Contribution of the Basel Mission to...

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‘Origin of Christianity in India’ by Dr.Benedict Vadakkekara
Feb19

‘Origin of Christianity in India’ by Dr.Benedict Vadakkekara

Note about the Author Dr. Benedict Vadakkekara is a research scholar at the Capuchin Historical Institute, Rome and a lecturer of Franciscan Mission History at the Pontifical University Antonianum. Dr. Vadakkekara is a member of the Saint Joseph Province ( India) of the Franciscan Capuchin Order and has to his credit several publications especially in the area of Franciscan history and spirituality and Saint Thomas Christian history.1 Origin of Christianity in India When one speaks of the origin of Christianity in India one actually refers to the establishment of that pristine Indian Christian community which has through the vicissitudes of history got spiritually and historically fused into today’s various Christian fellowships. In other words, today’s Indian Christianity has its roots deep in the ancient Christianity of Malabar. This early Christian community, which is native to Malabar, is known in historiography as Christians of St Thomas precisely because of its communal belief that its origin goes directly back to Apostle Thomas. The Saint Thomas Christians, over two millennia, have defended that their ancestors received the Gospel brought by St. Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ in the backdrop of the pronouncements by some 19th century Western historians who tended to dismiss this connection as myth. The lack of contemporary historical documents is often cited as the ‘evidence’ of non-historicity of the belief. Dr. Vadakkekara points out the fact that the absence of written documents has ‘to be seen in the wider context of Indian historiography itself,’ which undoubtedly is a weak spot in the otherwise humungous literary achievements in the fields metaphysics, astrology, cosmography, poetry etc. There is, however, ample documentation of the history of this tradition available to the historian. Vadekkakara examines in detail the scholarly opinion on Acta Thomae, the phenomenon of St. Thomas’s tomb at Mylapore, and the archeological findings regarding Parthian king Gondopharnes, during whose reign, the apostle is believed to have arrived. However, as the author avers, there is no hope of additional historical evidence coming forth. The only way out is to ‘rationally explain the tradition of the Indian Christians regarding their community’s history,’ and that is what the book is about. Historically, it has never been fully accepted that St Thomas landed near the Cranganore sea port in Malabar and introduced Christianity to the Indians. There is no material evidence to prove it. His bones were also not found at the Mylapore tomb in Tamil Nadu, and hence, even his martyrdom there is suspect. (A version about the Portugese excavating bone parts and a spear head at the tomb is also doubted.) However, the traditions and practices of St Thomas...

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Familytree – Syrian Christians DNA Project Information
Feb18

Familytree – Syrian Christians DNA Project Information

Kerala, South India is one of the cradles of Christianity in the world. St Thomas the Apostle, is believed to have brought christianity to Kerala and this region is suppposed to have christianity before most parts of Europe and the world. This project is an attempt to trace the history of Syrian Christians of Kerala geneologically and compare with oral traditions and beliefs. Syrian Christians of Kerala DNA Project is an attempt to bring together the DNA test results of syrian christians of kerala,India to evaluate the results and check whether oral traditions and beliefs are in line with geneological data. A Geographic Project connects individuals who believe their direct line comes from a specific location. The Dual Geographic Projects are for individuals who order an mtDNA or Y-DNA test. Either their direct maternal line (mother’s mother’s mother’s…) or direct paternal line (father’s father’s father’s…) originates from this area. Contacts To order the kit and join the Project, please visit the Project website– Syrian Christians DNA Project @ FTDNA Please use the Project website to avail the Project discount while ordering the kit. The Project is administered in a transparent manner. For details about the Test results, you may use the following sections in Project Website. Y-DNA Test Results for Project Members and mt-DNA Test Results for Project Members The Project is administered by Jacob Thomas. For additional information, questions please contact the Project Administrator, Jacob Thomas at jacobmanakalathil at gmail dot...

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