Champakulam Kalloorkkadu Marth Maryam Basilica and Poothara manuscript
Jan22

Champakulam Kalloorkkadu Marth Maryam Basilica and Poothara manuscript

1.Champakulam Kalloorkkadu Basilica Champakulam Kalloorkkadu Basilica is an ancient Syriac-Christian (Nasrani) church situated on the banks of Pamba River in Champakulam, Kuttanadu Taluk, Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in India. It belongs to the Arch eparchy of Changanacherry of the Syro Malabar Church (East-Syriac rite). It was the first church under the Niranom Church which is believed to be founded by St. Thomas the Apostle in AD 54. It is popularly believed that the first church at Champakulam was consecrated in AD 427 on the feast day of Holy Innocents. This ancient church has a unique place in the history of St. Thomas Christians and is the oldest church in the Arch eparchy of Changanacherry as well as the district of Alappuzha.  The  Forane churches at Alappuzha (Est. AD 1400), Pulinkunnu (Est. AD 1557) and Edathua (Est. 1810) were formed from the Champakulam Church. Champakulam and Kalloorkkadu Church rose into prominence under the Chempakassery kings when Kalloorkkadu Angadi (market) was a famous commercial centre on the way to the port of Porcca (Purakkad). Legend has it that Champakulam got its name from “Sambathkalam” – meaning it had huge wealth. On 27-Nov-2016, the Archbishop of Changanacherry, Mar Joseph Perumthottam declared Champakulam St Mary’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church as Basilica. This is the 23rd Basilica in India, 9th Basilica in Kerala, 4th Basilica in Syro Malabar Church and the first Basilica in the Arch eparchy of Changanacherry. 2.Poothara Manuscript This paper will discuss the history of the Kalloorkkadu Church with a primary focus on the historic events in and around Kalloorkkadu as recorded in the Poothara Tharakan Family History Chronicle (Nalagamam). The Chronicle was started by the renowned Priest Poothara Korah Cathanaar (born ~1675 AD) and later continued by Kurialacherry Valiya Thoma Cathanaar (born ~1825). This chronicle is being referred to as Poothara Manuscript in this paper. Poothara Tharakan family is a Syriac-Christian priestly family from Champakulam which had many Cathanaar (Syriac-Christian priests) since its founding. The priestly family Kurialacherry is the parent family of Poothara. The family was formed when Poothara Koshy Tharakan moved out from Kurialacherry Tharavadu to Poothara in AD 1540. Koshy Tharakan was primarily a trader by profession and was the recipient of Tharakan title from Chempakassery Devanarayanan King (Ambalapuzha Kingdom).Thumperchirayil family is another main branch of Kurialacherry which was formed few generations after Poothara. Poothara family and its ancestors were involved with Kalloorkkadu Church since the 12th century and played a key role in the periodic revival of Nasrani community and the church multiple times in history (AD 1145, AD 1544, AD 1730, AD 1885). The family gave birth to six...

Read More
Revival of the Syriac language in worship  from the grass root level : a new model of liturgical reformation in the Syro Malabar Church.
Oct26

Revival of the Syriac language in worship from the grass root level : a new model of liturgical reformation in the Syro Malabar Church.

  Introduction. Kerala, the south Indian state on the Malabar coast of India is known as the cradle of Christianity in  India. Saint Thomas Christians of India are one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world.  The ancient Christianity of Kerala was founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle, who is considered the Father of Syriac Christianity[1]. Along with the Churches of Edessa, Seleucia Ctesiphon and Fars, the Church in India also used Syriac Aramaic as the language of worship. It was in the East Syriac dialect of Syriac Aramaic that the worship and spirituality developed in these regions. Hence, it is called the East Syriac rite. It is highly likely that the early Christianity in India developed in the Syriac rite. The abundance of loan Syriac words in South Indian languages like Tamil and Malayalam, and the lack of local ecclesiastical words in these languages point towards a Syriac origin. The Tamil word for the cross -Siluvai- a corrupted pronunciation of Sliva is the best example. If the origin was in a South Indian language, such ecclesiastical words would have developed in the local languages. There is a lot of evidence to show that traders from Mesopotamia settled in the Malabar coast as early as the 10 century BC[2] and we could assume that the Apostle Thomas came in search of them. Recent excavations in “Pattanam” also support this theory[3]. Western colonial Missionary Enterprise and the Saint Thomas Christians.   In AD 1498, Vasco Da Gama, the Portuguese traveller arrived in Kerala. Following the traders and soldiers, Missionaries also arrived to India. They started with a friendly phase[4] with the local native Christians but later began to subjugate them. The Portuguese Roman Catholic Missionaries used all their might to subjugate the native Syriac Christians and to convert them to Roman Catholicism of the Latin tradition. The Synod of Diamper in AD 1599 gave an accelerated framework  for suppressing the Syriac tradition and promoting latinisations.[5] This caused revolts and divisions. On January 3rd, 1653, almost the entire community of native Saint Thomas Christians took an oath called the Coonan Cross Oath at Mattancherry and declared that they would not have any relation with the Jesuit Roman Catholic Missionaries[6]. This great revolt stunned the Roman Catholic Church. Subsequent interventions by Rome[7] to pacify the situation and certain religio[8] political[9] circumstances lead to the majority of Saint Thomas Christian returning  under the Portuguese Padruado rule. A section of the community evolved into an independent local church which later joined the West Syriac Church of Antioch. Those Saint Thomas Christians who returned under the  Portuguese Padroado rule, however, did not want...

Read More