Arrival of Thomas of Cana ( Bishop Thomas of Cana ?), History and references about Southist Community (Thekkumbhagar – Knanaya )

2.7/5 - (75 votes)

A merchant or Bishop named Thomas of Cana ( also known as Knanaya Thommen or Thomas of Knanaya this being a recent addition) is connected with the history of the community of St. Thomas Christians. The details about this merchant or bishop are shrouded in mystery and there is no agreement on the year/period of his arrival, or from where he arrived, or on what grounds or whether he was a Bishop or merchant.

Arrival of Thomas of Cana ( Bishop Thomas of Cana ?), History and references about Southist Community (Thekkumbhagar – Knanaya )
Arrival of Thomas of Cana ( Bishop Thomas of Cana ?), History and references about Southist Community (Thekkumbhagar – Knanaya )

There exist a division among the Christians in Malabar as Northists (Vadakkumbhagar) and Southists ( Thekkumbhagar). The Northists (Vadakkumbhagar) are known as Christians of Saint Thomas. The latter, ie, the Southists ( Thekkumbhagar) are today known with the name “Knanaya”. This division as it seems, has started very late after many centuries after the arrival of Thomas of Cana in 9th century. The earliest Portuguese accounts are silent about such a division and we get some information only by the end of sixteenth century. All of the early Portuguese accounts mentions that there exist Christian community before the arrival of Thomas of Cana in Malabar.

This article examines 1) Arrival of Thomas of Cana ( Bishop Thomas of Cana ?), 2) About the name , 3) About the year of Arrival,4) Southist Version of the tradition ,5) Tekkumbhagar ( Southist)/ Knanaya 6) Bishop Thomas of Cana ,7) About the Northists and Southists division, 8 ) About the Churches at Cranganore 9) Summary

1. Arrival of Thomas of Cana ( Bishop Thomas of Cana ?)

Scholars like Dr. Mingana has been very critical on the legendary nature Kerala Christianity assigns to Thomas of Cana since eighteenth century. There is a tendency especially among Southists to exaggerate the events associated and contributions of Thomas of Cana. There is no general agreement concerning the traditions associated with the arrival of Thomas of Cana. Some assign him as a merchant, and others assign him as a Bishop ordained by Patriarch Timothy 1 in 9th century. Scholars such as J S. Assemani ( 1728) , Lequien ( 1740), S. Giamil ( 1902) , A Mingana ( 1926), Tisserant ( 1957), Hambye etc dates the arrival of Bishop Thomas of Cana in 9th century. According to many scholars Thomas of Jerusalem, a merchant and the Bishop Thomas of Cana are two persons who arrived in Malabar at different times in history.

a) Portuguese references about Thomas of Cana

Some reference about Thomas of Cana, can also be seen in sixteenth century Portuguese writings of Penteado (1518), Dionysio (1578), Correa (1564), Antonio Monserrate (1579), Antonio de Gouvea (1604), Chaldean Bishop Mar Jacob Abuna ( 1533) and on the report of the Bishop Franics Roz in 1604. (( Silva Rego- “ Antonio da, Documentacao para a Historai das missoes do Padroado Portugues do Oriente India “ ( Penteado ( 1518) ), Dionysio ( 1578), Lima Felner- “ Lendas da India” ( Correa ( 1564) ), Joao De- “Da Asia” ( Barros , Lopes de- “ Historia do Descobrimento” ( Castenheda), Wicki Joseph – “ Documenta Indica” ))

Testimony Year Gist of the Report
Penteado 1518 Armenian merchant. Quarrel between two sons of the merchant.
Mar Jacob Abuna 1533 Merchant died at Cranganore
Correa 1564 Adds the Merchant met and stayed with a Servant of Apostle Thomas at Cranganore before buying his own land
Dionysio 1578 Merchant, Thomas, married a woman of Cranganore. United Christians who are already there and those he converted
Monserrate 1579 Thomas of Cana found Christians in Quilon and Cranganore, who descended from the disciples of the Apostle Saint Thomas and he united them
Bishop Francis Roz 1604 Thomas had a wife and a concubine. King gave him land.

1. Penteado ( 1518)

The earliest reference is from a Portuguese report written by Penteado in 1518 .He narrates the origins of the Christians of St. Thomas both in Quilon and Cranganore to the king of Portugal. The first origins are from the Apostle Thomas. For the period after St. Thomas, as far as Cranganore is concerned, there came an Armenian merchant advanced in age. Since he had no hope of returning home, he bought an unoccupied land with all its income from the King of the place. He got the property rights both of land and water within the bounds of this land. According to the testimony there was evidence for this at that time. He had two sons. His elder son inherited the income of the land which the merchant bequeathed to the church, at the time of his death. The second son was made a judge over his slaves whom the father had bought, freed and converted. Between these Sons there arose disputes. Each gathered a faction around him. The elder son was defeated in a faction fight. He called in the Jews to help him. The Jews expelled from their land not only those Christians under the second son, against whom they were called in, but also the other Christians who had solicited their help. According to him, in 1518, these Jews are the masters over that land. They serve the king of Cochin while to the Christians are reserved merely the honor and the title.

2. Bishop Mar Jacob Abuna

Chaldean Bishop Mar Jacob Abuna in 1533 makes references about a merchant. He writes that, a merchant from the country of Canane came to Mylapore on pilgrimage. After finding that all the houses there are in ruins, and being convinced that nothing could be done to restore them, he passed over to Cranganore. In Cranganore, he bought some land and built on it a church which was there at the time Abuna gave his testimony. The merchant died while living there and was buried in it.

3. Correa (1564)

Correa (1564), follows Abuna’s version but adds that the Armenian merchant met in Cranganore a servant of the Apostle Thomas. The merchant lodged with him before buying his own plot of ground.

4. Dionysio (1578)

Dionysio (1578) puts the arrival of Thomas of Cana after that of Mar Sabrisho and Mar Piruz. He is described as a native of Babylon and a merchant. He embarked at Cranganore and began to trade. Being rich and influential, he made friends with the King of the place. The King gave him a plot of land of about 500 square yards to erect a church in honor of St. Thomas. He united all the Christians who were already there, and those whom he himself had made Christians ( converted) . He obtained many donations from the King for the church. According to this from that time onwards  Christianity prospered. The merchant, Thomas, married a woman of that place, and became the peer of the Nairs, the aristocracy of the land, and a warlike people. Only the Nairs served the king because all other castes were low castes when compared with the Nairs. If a low-caste man happened to touch a Nair, the Nair would bathe to remove the pollution of the touch. They live on allowances from the kings. The Christians were the equals of the Nairs in status, and they too live on allowances made to them by the Kings. It would be 752 years since this Thomas came from Babylon. All this is known from an inscription on sheets of iron. Then the author adds that only this was known with certainty about the origins of these Christians from the information gathered from books and from tradition handed down by old people and by catanars ( Kathanars) , i.e., their priests.

5.Monserrate ( 1579)

Monserrate ( 1579) says when Thomas of Cana came, he found Christians in Quilon and Cranganore. They have descended from the disciples of the Aposlte Saint Thomas. These Christians were nominal and they married with Nairs. They just had crosses and Christian names. Thomas of Cana made them a united community and took care to preserve their superiority of caste.

6. Francis Roz’s ( 1603/04- From (British Library MS Add-9853)

Bishop Francis Roz‘s main information is derived from the interpretation of the Copper plates said to be of Thomas of Cana ( the interpretation of that time ?). It says during the time of last Xeram Perumal, Thomas Cananeo came from Babylon. He gave the King a good sum of money. He bought the whole of shrubland and founded on it the Church of Saint Thomas and the bazaar. Howerever, already many years before the Church was built, there was in that place Patanam a Church and a large village of the Christians.

In this Report on the Serra, Bishop Roz also gives an account of the translation of the Olla which the said Xeram Perumal gave to Thomas Cananeo. According to him ( interpretation of the olla ?) , the Xeram (Xoran) Perumal reigning at the time of Mercury of February, on the 7th day of March before the full moon, the same king residing in Carnelur (?), there arrived in a ship Thomas of Cana, a chief man, determined to see the surroundings of the East. The king being informed of it, went out to meet him. Thomas disembarked and stood before the king who spoke to him friendly and imposed on him the surname of Coquarangon Cananeo, after the king’s own name.

Thomas accepted this honor and went to settle down himself in his place. The king gave him for ever the town of Magoder Patanam. Afterwards the king assigned to the new-corner a place covered with brushwood marking its boundaries and asked him to build a town there. Thomas wanted the place for himself and the king granted it to him. Thomas built there a church and his own house; the corner stone of both were laid by the king himself. The whole place was converted into a town which was given by the king to Thomas as an inheritance. On an opportune day the church was inaugurated and the said Thomas entered the church and made his prayers.

Sometime after, Thomas went to the king and offered him presents and formally asked the king to give him and to his descendants the said land. The king accordingly measured 264 eIls with an elephant and gave it to Thomas and his descendants, together with 62 houses which they had built in that place, with gardens and trees, with the circuits and ways and boundaries and the interior pathways. Roz continues to describe the privileges and rights the king gave him.

Bishop Roz also says, “he could find the name of Thomas of Cananeo, among the names of the saints whom the decon names in the Mass, attributing to him that he gave a large sum of money to the King of Malavar to buy that ground of Cranganor”.

Further Bishop Francis Roz opinionated that , he consider “it to be fable what these Christians narrate, namely that the said Thomas had a wife and a concubine from whom are descended the two kinds of Christians living in this Malavar”.

Regarding the lineage Bishop Francis Roz says, these Christians are descending from Thomas of Cana on the father’s side. Their mother was a Malabar heathen who got herself baptized later.

2. About the name

Reported by Year Name
Penteado 1518 Armenian merchant
Mar Jacob Abuna 1533 From the country of Canane
Correa 1564 Thome Cana
Dionysio 1578 Quinai Thorné
Monserrate 1579 Mar Thomé
Bishop Francis Roz 1604 Thome Cananeo

Penteado (1518) merely calls him an Armenian merchant without giving his name.  Mar Jacob Abuna (1533) mentions from the country of Canane. Correa (1564) call him as Thomé of Canane . Dionysio (1578) call him as Quinai Thorné.He was mentioned as Mar Thomé by Monserrate (1579) and Gouvea (1604) and as Thome Cananeo by Roz (1604) .

The Malayalam form is generally Canai Thomman and is better expressed by Dionysio than others. Mar Thomé is from the Syriac.

3. About the year of arrival

The earliest available report seems to be of Dionysio. Dionysio ( 1578) gives the arrival of Thomas of Cana after Mar Sabrisho and Mar Piruz ie, after 9th century. Gouvea ( 1604) also dates the arrival in 9th century. The Dutch writer Visscher ( 1743) also gives the date as 745 AD. Hugh gives the date as 780 AD. Assemani in 900 AD. Paolo gives the arrival as 825 AD. Some of the 16th century records doesn’t mention the dates.

Reported by Year Year of arrival
Dionysio 1578 After the 9th Century
Gouvea 1604 9th Century
Visscher 1743 745 AD
Hugh 780 AD
Assemani 900 AD
Paolo 825 AD
Local document 18th Century 345 AD ( also according to current Southist tradition)

The Southists ( Thekkumbhagar- Knanaya) tradition gives the year as 345 AD. This is based on an eighteenth century document.

4. Southist version of the tradition

The tradition current among the Southists ( known today with the recently coined term Knanayas) , is that about the year 345 AD, 72 families came to Malabar Coast along with a Bishop under the leadership of Cnai ( Knanaya) Thomman. This was based on the divine intervention of Catholicios of East to send Thomas, a merchant of Jerusalem for the service of Christians of Malabar as they were deprived of priests and partly reverted to idolatry.King Cheraman Perumal honored them with many titles and privileges which were recorded in some Copper plates.

This version is generally based on a record written in Malayalam and Syriac about 1770, and secured through the care of Gavril (Gabriel), a Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) bishop. The document is now preserved in the University library of Leyden. The contents of this document are not historically reliable. (( JPN “Land Anecdota Syriaca”, Leyden, 1862. Text translated and reproduced in S. Giamil, “Genuinae Relationes”, Rome , 1902 pp 552-64. A similar story is also published from a manuscript in Bodleian Library by F Nau in 1912 ))

In 1939, Joseph Chazhikaden ( a member of Southist Community) promulgated a bold Southist legend. He published a Malaylam book  “Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram” [History of the Southist Community]. The English version of the book had the title,  “The Syrian Colonisation of Malabar”. The English title is not an exact rendering of the Malayalam title of the original book. This book is a rambling collection of the noble origins and tradition of the Southists. A major section is devoted to a remarkably extended division narrative between the Northist ( Christians of Saint Thomas) and Southist ( Thekkumbhagar) . Chazhikaden’s Southists are unique from the most ancient time and their uniqueness is not Christian but Jewish.

5. Tekkumbahagar ( Southists) / Knanaya

There are no evidences that Christians in Kerala were known in different distinguish names prior Sixteenth century.

The Malayalam name used to distinguish this division is “Tekkumbhagar“. The English equivalent is “Southist“. They are commonly known as Tekkumbhagar.


The Joseph Chazhikaden book (1939)  is titled as “Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram” [History of the Southist Community]. The book of Dr. Jacob Kollaparampil (1992) is also titled as “The Babylonian origin of the Southists”.

In late 1980’s some Malankra Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) Southist has started using the name  “Knanaya“. In less than a decade, the new name Knanaya mostly replaced the old Tekkumbhagar ( Southist) among both the Malankara Orthodox Church ( Jacobite) and Syro Malabar Church ( Catholic) Southists.

The other name commonly used are  “Charam Kettikal” ( ash- tiers) . This name has its orgin from an old custom practiced by members of this community in carrying a little ash in the corner of the sari or dhoti (mundu). They were also known as “Anchara Pallikar” in 17th/18th centuries, meaning owners of five and half churches.

6. Bishop Thomas of Cana

Regarding this Thomas of Cana, some of the historians say he was not a merchant but a Bishop send by the Patriarch Timothy 1 in 9th century.

J S. Assemani, who came across the story, makes reference to the arrival in India of Bishop Thomas Cana, about A.D. 825. He believes that his ‘wives’ were the two cities of Cranganore and Angamale where he had jurisdiction. ((‘J. S. Assemani, Bibliotheca Orienlalis, vol. III b, pp.ccccxli ff ))

Furthermore, S. Giamil when studying the Leyden text and Assernani’s explanation logically concluded that there were two missions: first came the merchant, Thomas of Jerusalem, accompanied by Joseph, the anonymous Metropolitan of Edcssa. Then there arrived, in A.D. 8oo, Bishop Thomas Cana. (( S Giamil, “Genuinae Relationes” pp 578-82 ))

A. Mingana while analyzing the Lyden text which mentions the arrival of Thomas of Cana in 345 AD writes, ” if this Thomas is an historical personage, he is different from Thomas Cana, another problematical Bishop of Malabar, in about 823 AD. The scene of this merchant Thomas is placed according to Malabar tradition in 345 AD. In this year the Catholics of East was Barba- Shemin , the nephew of the great Simon bar Sabba ( Bedjan- ” Acta Martyrum” ii, 296-303, Assemani-“Acta Mart,i,111-117, Sozomen -Hist. Eccl,ii,14etc) and was in prison from February 345 to 9 January 346, in which he suffered martyrdom. After him, the See was vacant for twenty years. Before the time Catholics was Shahdost, who was himself martyred in 342 and after him the See had become vacant for two years ( Amr-“De Pant” p-12, Mari-“De Pat”,pp 16-18, Bedjan, ibd,ii,276-280 etc).

In their short time of office, during the persecution of Sapor, not one of the above Catholics whose time was mostly spend in prison could have possibly attended to the business of a merchant Thomas from Jerusalem. The whole story is absolutely unhistorical.

I believe that this very late Malabar Syrian tradition might have made a stupid chronological mistake of about four centuries and a half : but then this unhistorical Thomas was a simple merchant and not a bishop, while the possibly historical Thomas Cana was a bishop. No one can fathom the depth of stupidity to which a late and worthless tradition may lead a critic” (( A Mingana – “ Early Spread of Christianity in India p-476 ))

According to A. Mingana, the Bishop Thomas of Cana lived between 795-824 AD. His seat seems to have been a town in the coast of Malabar. There is hardly any reasonable doubt that if this Bishop Thomas has any historical personality at all, he is to be counted among the monks whom the Patriarch Timothy I selected, as the historian Thomas of Marga inform us, ordained bishops and sent to all the countries of the East.

So according to him, even if there is some historical background for the mission attributed to A.D. 345, it must be distinguished from the coming of Bishop Thomas Cana.

Cardinal Tisserant also mentions that there arrived Persian immigrants with Bishop Thomas about 774 or 795. There is a possibility of identifying Bishop Thomas with a certain monk, Thomas who was ordained as a missionary prelate by Timothy I. (( Tisserant- “Eastern Christianity in India” p-14 ))

E R Hambye writes, the first group of Christian immigrants reached about 774/795 AD. It was led by a Bishop called Thomas, perhaps the monk Thomas consecrated by Catholicios Timothy I. (( E R Hambye, “ The Eastern Church” ))

7. About Northist and Southist division

There exist a division among the Christians in Malabar as Northists (Vadakkumbhagar) and Southists ( Thekkumbhagar). This division as it seems has started very late after the arrival of Thomas of Cana in 9th century. Most of the early Portuguese accounts doesn’t mention about any division among the Christians in Kerala. There is much controversy among the St. Thomas Christians themselves, in assigning the cause for the division as questions of prestige, nobility and caste are involved in the matter. These groups are known in Malayalam as Thekkumbhagar (Southists) and Vadakkumbhagar (Northists).

It is Bishop Franics Roz in the “Report on the Serra ( 1603/1604)”, British Library MS Add-9853 gives some information about the quarrels. It appears that this separation in 1603 lead to the building of separate churches. This was also limited in Cranganore.

The Southists generally claim that they are the descendants of Thomas Cana and of others who came with him from abroad and have kept their blood pure without intermingling with the natives. In 1939, Chazhikaden has taken it to another level claiming that the Southist are Jewish Christians. The Northist, ie Christians of Saint Thomas, according to them whether they lived in Malabar before or after the arrival of Thomas Cana, had mixed with the natives

The Northist version for the cause of the division is given in an old manuscript called Sloane MS, 2743 at the British Museum. The substance of the Northist version is that the Southists are descendants of those in Malabar  (Cranganore)  consequent to the arrival of Thomas Cana, who entered into marriage relations with the children of a native woman. This native woman was of the Mainatoo caste(Washer Women) who was a servant of Thomas of Cana. Other stories trace the origins of the Southists to a dobi, a washerwoman, whom Thomas of Cana took as concubine.

These arguments revolve on the legitimate and illegitimate children of Thomas of Cana. Traditions associated with Thomas of Cana was a shared tradition among the Christians in Kerala. These arguments might have been invented to express the odium and hatred each community bore against the other.

The Southist claims and charges are expressed in the book of Joseph Chazhikadan, “Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram” -History of the Southists- (in Malayalam) published in 1940. They have been disputed from the Northist side by Joseph Kurmanakan in the book, “The Southists and Northists” published in 1941. The latest is “The Babylonian origin of the Southists” published in 1992 by Dr. Jacob Kollaparampil. This is an extension of Chazhikadan theme, where Kollaparampil has refuted some of the charges and expanded on the latest noble Jewish Christian claims of the  Southist.

a) Portuguese References about the Northist-Southist division

Reported by Year Gist of the Report
Penteado 1518 Quarrel between the two Sons of Armenian Merchant and the consequences of the quarrel.
Mar Jacob Abuna 1533 No mention of any division among the Christians in Malabar.
Barros 1553 No mention of any division among the Christians in Malabar.
Correa 1564 No mention of any division among the Christians in Malabar.
Goes 1566 No mention of any division among the Christians in Malabar.
Dionysio 1578 No mention of any division among the Christians in Malabar.
Monserrate 1578 First clear report on division. Two wife of Thomas of Cana.
Gouvea 1604 Christians of Cana are the Christians with Thomas of Cana lineage. The division was not known among the Christians of Travancore and Todamala
Bishop Francis Roz 1604 One group were the descendants of Thomas of Cana and the other, the descendants of those Christians who lived there before the arrival of Thomas of Cana. Those descending from Thomas of Cana are on the father’s side (for the mother was a Malabar woman convert).
Bishop Francis Roz 1604 Gives reasons for the quarrels and what lead to the formation of separate churches at Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and Cotete ( Kottayam) for Thekumbhagar.
Bishop Francis Roz 1604 In 1603, quarrels at Udiamper ( Udaymperoor), and Candanate. Christians of St. Thomas  descending from Thomas Cana are few. They are in Udiamper ( Udaymperoor) and in the big church of Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and the big Church of Cotete ( Kottayam) and in Turigure. ( Torure )

1. Penteado ( 1518)

From the early Portuguese documents, Penteado in 1518 seems to assign the origin of the division when he speaks of the quarrel between the two Sons of Thomas of Cana and the consequences of the quarrel.

2.No mention of any division

Barros (1553—63), Goes (1566), both of who have recorded the origin and history of the Christians, have nothing to say about this division or of quarrels. Correa ( 1564) and Bishop Mar Jacob Abuna ( 1533) who knew the tradition of the arrival of Thomas of Cana also do not mention about the divisions. Even Dionysios (1578) who is well informed of the traditions of the Christians does not talk about the division.

3.Monserrate ( 1579)

Monserrate (1579) seems to be the first to give a clear and detailed account of this division. Thomas of Cam had two wives, one noble woman, and the other a slave though belonging to a good caste, (for it was the Custom of the nobles, to sell away those children born on inauspicious days). The proof of this is: besides the tradition of the ancestry there is among the Christians a strong feeling about birth and caste, those descending from the slave being considered lower. And that both the wives were noble, at least Nair women, is proved by this custom existing in Malabar, that there is no pollution between the Christians of St. Thomas and the Nairs, nor penalty of death, if there is marriage or friendship, all of which arise, according to the custom of the country, for castes higher or lower than these two. What is more likely is that the Christian community originated from both, that is from the glorious Apostle St. Thomas and Thomas of Cana; and also from many Nairs who were daily converted to Christianity. They are a Christianity of 72,000 souls and they are reduced to these two clans by the lie of the land and not because they were descended from those women but because some lived on the southern and the others on the northern bank.

Thus Monserrate gives first the local tradition about the division, and then he gives his own opinion. He says that the division was topographical. However, he does not deny that there might have been the other cause also. It is not clear from the text whether he intends to state, as his opinion, that the one group had its origin from the Apostle and the other from Thomas of Cana. It is difficult to interpret his views in that light when he says that most likely the Christians had their origin from both the Apostle Thomas and Thomas of Cana.

4. Gouvea ( 1604)

Gouvea ( 1604), while mentioning this division inform as that the division was not known among the Christians of Travancore and Todamala. According to him the Christians of Cana are the christians with Thomas of Cana lineage.

5. Bishop Francis Roz ( 1603)

Bishop Francis Roz ( 1603) who strongly defends the importance of the Christians existing in Malabar before the arrival of Thomas of Cana. He says that one group were the descendants of Thomas of Cana and the other, the descendants of those Christians who lived there before the arrival of Thomas of Cana. The descendants of Thomas of Cana always kept themselves without mixing with other Christians. There were two lineages among the Christians of Malabar and according to him, one descending from Thomas of Cana on the father’s side (for the mother was a Malabar woman convert); The other on the father’s as well as mother’s side, descending from the Christians of St. Thomas.

Thus according to Bishop Roz only the latter group (obviously the Northists) are to be called the Christians of St. Thomas. These Christians were more careful than the others ( Southists) to increase the membership of the church and hence received into their community many pagans whom they baptized.

Bishop Roz also indicates the cause of the antagonism between the two groups. Some of the people who had served the sons of Cana had some time or other gone over to the other Christians ( Northists) and received their protection (probably he means to say also that they became Christians). Hence the other party (sons of Thomas Cana), began to antagonize them (though they were rich and honorable), calling them their slaves. This gave rise to much discord between these two groups and there were many quarrels in olden times. It was owing to this that in Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and Cotete ( Kottayam) it was found necessary to build separate churches for the one and the other and each party keeping aloof from other.

In the year 1603 (according to him last year- this manuscript is written in 1603 and 1604) there had arisen among those of Udiamper ( Udaymperoor), and Candanate a big quarrel each one defending their own party. Bishop Francis Roz observes: It was a strange thing to see the aversion which one party had for the other, without being able to forget the old things and the fables, which they hold in this matter. The Christians of St. Thomas (here so he calls them also) descending from Thomas Cana are few. They are in Udiamper ( Udaymperoor) and in the big church of Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and the big Church of Cotete ( Kottayam) and in Turigure. ( Torure ?) (( Report on the Serra ( 1603/1604), Bishop Francisco Roz SJ, British Library MS Add-9853 ))

b) Modern history of Thekkumbhagar

With the Coonan Cross Oath (1653) and subsequent happening the Christians of Saint Thomas were divided in two groups as Catholics and Jacobites. It is not very clear if there were any exclusive Southist churches during the Syond of Dimaper (1599) . After the Coonan Cross Oath (1653), some of the Portuguese records indicate that one or two Southist Churches ( Churches where they have the control in 17th century) reconciled with Arch Bishop Gracia before his death.

1)      Among the Malankara Syriac Orthodx Church ( Jacobite)

One of the four councilors of Archdeacon Thomas was a Southist priest Anjilimootil Ittithomman of Kallicherry. The Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church ( Jacobites in India) were governed by the successors of Mar Thomas I after the ordination of Archdeacon Thomas. Mar Thomas I was followed by Mar Thomas II, Mar Thomas III, Mar Thomas IV, Mar Thomas V and all related to Mar Thomas I and to one another. They also received Bishops from Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. There was no division or separate hierarchy based on the segregation as Southist and Northist. The Malankra Syriac Orthodox Church ( Jacobite) saw divisions in 1774 and 1887 but the Southist were not party in this.

Creation of an “exclusive” diocese for Southist among Jacobites

After the incidents which lead to the formation of Malankara Mar Thoma Church (1877) , the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Patriarch of Antioch Abdalla wanted to gain complete authority over Malankara Church. Mar Dionysios, the Metropolitan was a very able man. The Synod of Malankara Church did not want to give more authority than spiritual power to the Jacobite Patriarch. The Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Patriarch was incensed. To take control over the Church and to get more people to his side, he consecrated two bishops. One of them was a Southist named Severios who was a close aide of Mar Dionysios, the Metropoliten of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church.

By this the Patriarch did gain support of one prominent advisor of Mar Dionysios but he gave official recognition to a division among Syrians as Northist and Southist. Hence in 1910, a Southist diocese was officially formed and recognized in  Malankara Syriac Orthodox Chruch (Jacobite) .

What Leslie Brown says in ‘The Indian Christians of Saint Thomas’ is that by this the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Patriarch of Antioch gave recognition to a division among the Syrians which Menezes had tried to heal.

This diocese in Chingavanam was formed with 9 parishes in 1910 and now it has over 60 Churches under the diocese.

2)      Among the Syro Malabar Church ( Catholics)

The Catholic Syrians were ruled by Mar Parampil Chandy ( Alexander de Campo). In succeeding century they were under two administration, the Propaganda  and the  Padrado. All the Christians were together in these administrations as well as during the time ofMar Cariattil Thomas ( Prelate 1782-1786), Paremmakal Thomas Kathanar. There were no separate hierarchy or administration system based on the division as Southist and Northist.

Creation of  an “exclusive” Vicariate and then diocese for Southists among Catholics

In 1878, Rome decided on placing the Syrian Christians under separate administration, appointing two vicars Apostolic of the Latin Rite to govern them. One of those latin rite Bishops, Charles Lavinge, the Bishop of Vicariate of Kottayam ( Changanacherry) left behind the same legacy like his predecessors. For the first time in history, he appointed a separate Vicar General for Southist in January 1890. The Northist – Southist divide which was till then sociological in character got ecclesiastical dimensions among Catholics. In 1896 Mathew Makil  was appointed as the Vicar Apostolate of the then Kottayam ( Changanacherry) Vicariate of Syro Malabar Church . As a priest he was an advocate for foreign rule among the Saint Thomas Christians. He has submitted petitions that the Southist among the Saint Thomas Christians wish to be under foreign rule.

His appointment created tensions and rift among the people. He has to fled to a Southist church in Kottayam to escape public anger. Based on the reports of missionaries, Rome created an exclusive Vicariate for Southist in 1911 at Kottayam with 12 parishes or churches under the Vicariate in Syro Malabar Church.  Mathew Makil was appointed as the Bishop of Kottayam Vicariate in 1911.

This “exclusive” Vicariate was made a diocese in 1923 and as an Arch diocese in 2005. There are at present over 126 parishes under the Kottayam exclusive Southist diocese in Syro Malabar Church.

8. About the Churches at Cranganore

It is difficult to make out from these Portuguese accounts on where exactly the first church of the community stood in Cranganore. The old wooden buildings are said to last for four hundrad years.

According to Bishop Francis Roz ( 1604) , based on a Chaldean book he has read there were three Churches in Cranganore. One dedicated to the Apostle Thomas, another one to Saint Kuriakose and a third one dedicated to Our Lady.

According to Couto, the Apostle landed in Magadover Patanam near Parur and he speaks of a Church left by the Apostle himself there. Bishop Francis Roz also talks about the Parur and says that the present church at Cranganore during the Portuguese time was built by Thomas of Cana. According to Joao Carcere, at the time of his writing ( 1529), the Church which stood in Cranganore had been there from the time of the Aposlte and the pagans williningly or not, paid their respects and offerings to it. Some others such as Abuna, Dionysio, Monserrate mentions that the church at Cranganore was built by Thomas of Cana .

9) Summary

There is no general agreement about the tradition associated with Thomas of Cana. According to many authorities as explained above, there are two missions partially or fully associated with this tradition, first about the merchant, Thomas of Jerusalem, and then the arrival of Bishop Thomas Cana in 9th century.

Thomas of Cana, was a shared tradition among both the Northist and Southist, each one claiming part of the tradition. The early Portuguese records does not mention about any division as Northist and Southist or any families immigration as contained in Southist tradition while referring to the merchant or bishop Thomas. There are also no references about Jewish Christians origins of Southist. In fact, the early 16th Century documents mentions that this merchant or bishop won many converts in Malabar. According to the modern Kerala historians, the Cheraman Perumal’s came to Kerala history scene only after 8th century. It is very unlikely that such a thing happened in 4th century. The Copper plate is also not extant and it has been accused of a forgery by various parties.

The period of arrival of Bishop Thomas of Cana is 9th century as the records about the early tradition indicates. It also seems that the segregation of community as Northist and Southist happened after the arrival of Portuguese. This gradually lead to the formation of separate parishes or churches for the Thekkumbhagar. It seems that Bishop Franics Roz in the Report of Serra of 1604 is mentioning about this segregation while referring to the quarrels of Christians at Udiamper ( Udaymperoor), and Candanate in 1603 and about the churches which came in Southist control at Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and Cotete ( Kottayam) ( year not mentioned for the Churches at Kaduthuruthy and Kottayam).

Until the first decade of 20th Century this division as Southist ( Thekkumbhagar) and Northist ( Christians of Saint Thomas) was of sociological character. The ecclesiastical recognition of this division happened only in 1910 among the Malankara Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites) and in 1911 among the Syro Malabar Church (Catholics). That was an unfortunate turn of history. The  ecclesiastical recognition and decision was influenced by political factors of the first decade of 20th century among Jacobites and Catholics than historical considerations. The only major unification effort between the Southist and Northist happened during the time of Nidhiry Mani Kathanar in the Catholics section.

Note about the sources

Portuguese Records:

  1. Mundadan- ” Saint Thomas Christians 1498-1552″
  2. Mundadan-” Sixteenth Century Traditions of Saint Thomas Christians”
  3. Schurhammer ( 1934)
  4. Nedugant – “ Syond of Diamper Revisited”, Rome
  5. Mingana -“Early Spread of Christianity in India”
  6. Bishop Francis Roz Report- British Museum Manuscript BS Add MS 9853 titled “Report from Serra ( 1603/1604)” – Relacao da Serra – by the first latin prelate of Angamali.

Portuguese Records published in full

  1. Dr. Silva Rego – “ Antonio da, Historia das Missoes do padroado Portugues do Oriente, India Vol I ( 1500-1542)”
  2. Anonio da- “Documentacao para a Historia da Missoes do Padroado Portugues do Oriente”, India 12 Volumes ( 1947)
  3. Wicki Joseph SJ- “ Documenta Indica “ 7 Volumes, Rome ( 1948)
  4. Schurhammer SJ “ Franz Xaver, Sein Leben und seine Zeit” “ Die Zeitgenesischen Quellen zur Geschichte “ “ Epistolae S Francisci Xaverii” “ Historia seraphica da Ordem dos Frades Menores des

Books on Southists/ Thekkumbhagar/ Knanaya

  1. “Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram” [History of the Southist Community] by Joseph Chazhikaden in 1939 ( Southist version)
  2. “The Southists and Northists” by Joseph Kurmanakan in the book in 1941. ( Northist version- Refutation of Southist claims)
  3. “The Babylonian originof theSouthists”by Dr. Jacob Kollaparampil in 1992 ( Southist version)
  4. “Northists and Southists : A Folklore of Kerala Christians” by Richard M Swiderski. ( third party study)
  5. “Moon God Siva and sacred Thomas -The religious community of the Knanaya in Kerala”  by Dr. Kerstin Neumann ( third party study)

Please read the discussion, where different view points are better explained. The article content has been taken from some of the discussion points.


Author can be reached on admin at nasrani dot net

Last revised- Dec 26th 2009.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Tom says

    Knayaya’s were referred earlier as Thekkumbhavar (ie Southists) .

    The social changes of the late nineteenth century included the advance of the Syrian Christians in economic power and social position. This advance exacerbated the divisions within the Syrian Christian community. During the late nineteenth century there was agitation for the establishment of separate parishes and dioceses for the Southists within both the Catholic and Jacobite denominations (Vattukuzhy 1973).

    Accompanying this agitation was a loud claim of Southist social and cultural uniqueness. Southist writers such as E. M. Phillipose wrote polemical articles in Christian journals and attempted to establish publications strictly to air the Southist case (Uthupan 1958, 42). This (” unfortunately,” writes Leslie Brown) led to the establishment of a Southist Jacobite bishopric
    in Chingavanam (1910) and a Southist Catholic bishopric in Kottayam(1911).

    The stories sourrounding the Southist theories emerged during this period.

    Taking his inspiration from the essays of E. M. Phillipose, Joseph Chazhikaden conceived and promulgated a bold Southist legend. Chazhikaden was a representative of the strongly Southist area of Uzhavoor in the Diwan of Travancore and after the formation of Kerala in 1956 in the Kerala State legislature. He was a noted wit whose sallies were widely reported in newspapers and are still alive in oral tradition. In 1939 he published a Malaylam book whose English title, The Syrian Colonisation of Malabar, is not an exact rendering of its main Malayalam title, Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram (History of the Southist Community).

    The book is a rambling collection of evidences for the noble origins and tradition of the Southists.

    A major section is devoted to a remarkably extended division narrative. Instead of beginning with the advent of the Syrian expedition in Malabar Chazhikaden pushes the division all the way back to Biblical times.

    The original Southists, his legend proposes, were the people of the Southern Hebrew kingdom of Judea. The Assyrians invaded and dispersed the Northern Hebrew kingdom, Israel, sending its people into exile and debasing intermixture.The Southern kingdom persisted, however, thanks to the protection of Alexander the Great, and its subjects retained both their racial and cultural uniqueness. The Romans finally conquered and destroyed the Southern kingdom but they could not compromise Southist cultural solidarity. When the Southists, who had turned to Christianity but still retained their identity, fled before the Muslim invaders to Cranganore, Cheraman Perumal welcomed them but the native Christians, of Northist descent, spurned them when they refused to intermarry and dilute their blood.

    Chazhikaden’s Southists are unique from the most ancient time.

    Chazhikaden’s book brought forth sharp condemnation from the Northists (Kurmanakan 1941) and ambiguous support from Southists. He ” carefully ” revised the book for republication in 1961, but never consented to or made an English translation. The book is still readily obtainable today from the Knanaya Catholic diocese bookstore in Kottayam.

    Contemporary Southists (Knanaya) tell Chazhikaden’s legend.

    1. Saji Mathew Palliambil says

      1.This is not correct, their is no native christian when Knai thoma or Thomman Knananayo or Thomas of Kana came to Kerala in AD-345. St Thomas in India is a Myth Propagated by Catholic church
      2. They came to India to escape from Roman church persecution of Jewish Christians

    2. abey says

      To the confusion regarding the Knanaya community listen to T O Alias in u Tube “Proud to be a Knanaya, unknown facts” would help.

    3. C.T. John says

      Whoever wrote this article completely lied when they say “no Portuguese sources stated families came with Thomas of Cana”. The official historian of Portuguese India, chronicler Diogo Do Couto wrote specifically that families accompanied Thomas of Cana and out of the 78 churches the St. Thomas Christians had at the time period, he says the descendants of Thomas of Cana and his party are only found in the 5 churches of the Knanaya. The Knanaya were even known as Ancharapallikar or the owners of five and a half churches because of this reason. Do Couto even goes as far as saying the descendants of Thomas of Cana’s party are “Without doubt Armenians by caste, and their sons to the same because they had brought their wives”. This article is extremely bias and completely manipulates sources against the Knanaya Community. They write that the term Knanaya originates in 1980 as well which is complete nonsense, the term has been around since the 1800’s used as a designation of the community and the term itself is recorded in Knanaya folk songs such as the erection of Kallissery Church in 1580.

  2. Joseph George says

    This is in response to Tom’s comment.

    For quite some time I was pondering on the claim that the original knanayas came to the shores of Malabar on a missionary purpose. Is it true? The answer is NO. They came here to escape the persecution that was going on in the Middle East during the 4th century.

    Missionaries will not come with 72 families to settle down here. The early Christian missionaries never considered the new converts as “impure” race and readily accepted them among themselves intermingling over a period of time because they believed “there is no Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave or freeman, but Christ is all things and in all”(Col.3:11). Also see Gal.3:28 and Rom.10:12).

    So the fact as claimed by the Southists that they did not mingle with the Northist nasranis in Kerala to keep their racial “purity/nobility” shows that they lacked the missionary zeal and they did not have the pure Christian spirit.

    But above all the very concept of “racial purity” itself is a big MYTH and farce. Even the Second World War is a result of misguided notion of racial purity by Adolf Hitler. In fact all human races are “pure” as both Bible and the medical science say that all human beings came (TWICE) from ONE parent, Adam and then Noah after the flood! The moment a human being mixes with any non-human species like chimpanzee or gorilla and reproduces a hybrid species we can claim that the new species is an impure race. But the Creator is wiser than all human beings put together, for He created a “species barrier” so that this will NEVER happen. As long as it never happens all human beings are “pure” as all of them came from a single parent.

    There is/was NEVER a “pure” Jewish race even from the Biblical record. Even the Messiah, Jesus Himself is NOT racially a pure Jew! One of His great grand mothers was not a Jew at all. Ruth, the Moabite was a GENTILE lady who made the famous declaration of faith “Your people shall be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). Since God accepts anyone who proclaims Him in faith as part of His people He accepted Ruth also and thus she became the mother of King David’s grand father!(Ruth 4:17).

    When the Israelites came out from Egypt “a MIXED MULTITUDE” also came out with them and stayed in the Canaan and got intermingled with the children of Israel over a period of time(Exodus 12:38).

    Since “God is not a respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) He has accepted these non-Israeli population also and set the SAME standard for both (Exodus 12:49, Lev 18:26). God asks the Israelites to accept and love these foreigners living among them since He is the same God who made Israel as well as other races (Lev.19:34, Deut.23:16). God accepts their prayers, sacrifices and even the Passover offered by them (Numb 15:14, Exo 12:48).

    Let us go still back in time to Abraham’s time. Israelites are supposed to originate from father Abraham. But Bible clearly shows that along with Isaac other non-Abrahamic people also started the race of Israel(Gen.17:12,23).

    The Bible also claim that throughout the centuries before Christ, the Pharisees were converting so many “impure” gentiles into Judaism who got mingled with the Jews over a period of time(Matth.23:15).

    So from all the above it should be crystal clear that there is no “pure” race as Israel or Jew. It is all a mixture of different races that all started IN FAITH with Abraham and Moses.

    The only difference that can make any impact is the centuries of education and moral character that can transform even the most backward man-eaters in Africa into cultured society. If you consider the ancient great civilizations like China, India, Arabia, Greece etc and the present Europe and America, it was always centuries of education with healthy moral principles that have transformed these people into civilized races.

    While I accept the knanayas as an endogamous migrant society settled in Malabar long ago some of whose features show clearly Middle Eastern characteristics, I do not “buy” their claim of so called “purity”.

    But the question remains who is a pure Jew? The only definition is found in Romans 2:29. He is a pure Jew who is circumcised of the heart and not of the flesh! Ultimately it is God’s acceptance that makes a pure race. Nothing else matters.

    (P.S. I am not advocating inter racial marriages. The point is “pure/impure” races).

  3. Philip says

    I have heard that many knanaya people claim that the syrian immigration only happened in their community.
    Other than that, all the other christians are just brahmin converts because st thomas time they were brahimins in kerala and converted them in to christianity.

    I think knanayas believe that there is no jewish blood in st thomas christians and northist and southist are belong to knanaya group. Accourding to this article, it talks about whole different things. It makes me confused.please send a replay .


  4. Joseph George says

    Dear Philip,

    Claims need not be facts. Any one can make claims. I can claim that I am from the royal lineage of King Nimrod from about 2500 BC! But as long as it remains only a claim without supporting facts it is meaningless.

    I advice you to read all the historical articles in this site as well as related sites. (Go to Index).

    Once you come across several Biblical, historical, traditional and archaelogical accounts you will see the facts.

    Mar Thoma Christians (called as “Northists” by the Knanayas) were always considered as seperate from Knanayas. Together they were known as Syrian Christians though the latter never intermarried with the former group. If both were Knanayas why they did not intermarry? Even most of the Knanaya historians mention that Mar Thoma Christians were existing here prior to Knanaya arrival.

    Mar Thoma Christians were neither exclusively Jewish nor exclusively Brahmin in origin. It comprises pre-Christian Jews, Persians, Roman traders, locals etc.

    Knanayas were NOT the only syrian immigrants to Kerala and Syriac language was NOT brought to India first by the Knanayas. When Seleucus Nicator of Syria (one of the generals of Alexander the Great) became the ruler of the East upto India, Syriac was already an international language of the East. Even prior to this, Syriac had a great influence on India. The great Indian script Brahmee, from which the “scripts” of all the Indian languages like Hindi, Malayalam etc originated, is HEAVILY influenced by Syriac script!

    Also Apostle Thomas who brought Christianity to Indian Hebrews and locals was a Syriac speaking Jew. When Pantaneus, the famous Alexandrian scholar, came to India in 190 AD (one half centuries before Knanayas came to india) he found Syriac literature with the Indian Christians.

    As for Jewish blood, please realise that Juda, from whom the Jewish tribe originated is ONLY ONE of the 12 Israel tribes. In some of the Mar Thoma Christians you will find not only Juda’s (Jewish) blood but also Reuban’s blood, Benjamin’s blood, Levi’s blood, Manasseh’s blood, Dan’s blood etc, etc.

    We need to dig more and study more about the history of Syrian Christianity instead of simply making “claims”.

    All the best for your study.


    1. Saji Mathew Palliambil says

      Syrian Christians were not called St. Thomas Christian until after the fourteenth century and that too by Roman Catholic missionaries. They were called Nasranis or Nasrani Mappila. Bishop Giovanni dei Marignolli, the Franciscan papal legate who built a Roman Catholic church in Quilon, is the first person to use the appellation “St. Thomas” Christians. He did this to distinguish Syrian converts from low-caste Hindu converts in his congregation. This allowed the former Nestorians to retain their caste status as Roman Catholics. The appellation “St. Thomas” Christian is thus of Roman Catholic origin and indicates a social division within the Roman Catholic Church.

      I think the Brahmee and Syriac connection is that both written from left to right. Again the question come how a roman General propagate Syriac , is this the language of Romans .

      The Vatican officially stated in 1952 that the landing of St. Thomas at Cranganore in 52 CE was “unverified (This statement was contained in a message dated 13 November 1952 that was sent to India’s Christians who were preparing to celebrate the 19th centenary (“21-11-52” to 21-11-1952) of St. Thomas. It is not clear who sent the message, but presumably it was from the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites at Rome.

  5. NJ says

    To dear Philip

    Please re read the article and comments,

    especially and

    Till 19th century there was no Knanaya group.
    They themself call as Thekkumbhavar (ie Southists).The name Knanaya is a creation of this century.

    Though there was division based on some reason ( historians differ on whats the reason, many parallel theories exists ) between Northist ( Todays St Thomas Christians barring Knanaya ) and Southist ( Todays Knanaya in Syro Malabar and Jacobite ) in earlier times it was not like as it is seen today.

    Both of them claim the legacy of Knai Thomman . There were no parallel Bishops as seen today. Even there were times where all the Christians of Kerala did not had Bishops for more than 50-60 years.

    The reason for the split as you see today are the divide and rule policy of Portuguese, Jesuits, Carmelite played in Kerala. A divided community wont offer much challenge to anyone.

    Todays Knanaya group creation happened in 1900 beginning.

    The divergence between Suuthists and Northists were aggravated by power hungry leaders under the influence of some Carmelites.

    In the Jacobite the establishment of a Southist Jacobite bishopric in Chingavanam (1910) was due to the inability of leadership. Prominent historian Leslie Brown writes this as ”very unfortunate “.

    In Catholic side it is the Carmelite Bishops Zaleski and Lavigne in 1900’s played the tricks to divide the community.
    Nidhiry Mani Kathanar was the un disputed leader of Syrian catholics. Carmelties in 1900 tried their best to separte Malabarians from the Chaldeans forever. That was being questioned and challenged by Nidhiry and he led the community against Carmelite rule. The movement was so strong that the Carmelites had no other option than to appoint indigenous Bishops.

    The Carmelite accused the leaders of the Syrian Catholics ( Nidhiry ) as schismatic because of their insistence to have native bishops and Chaldean liturgy.The carmelites changed the name of church from Syro Chaldean to Syro Malabar.

    In a bid to split the community the Carmelite Bishop Lavigne suggested dividing in to two sections for administration , the Northists and the Southists.

    When Carmelite had no way than to leave then Lavigne. recommended ordination of two native Bishops and one was Makkil – a southist , who was secretary to the Carmelite Bishop Marcelline as one of the Bishop. It was a move to sideline Nidhiry and keep the community divided.

    So from where the Carmelite got major opposition ( Nidhiry ) , there they installed a Southist Bishop (12,000 Southists and 12 parishes, did not take into account the 90,000 Northists with 64 parishes in Changanasherry )

    Though Makil was a complete failure for Syro Malabar, he was successful in creating the division and identity we see today.Finally he had to move from Changanasherry to Kottayam due to opposition.

    From what was built by Makkil and from the left overs of Carmelite, in 1939 Chazikadan published a Malaylam book whose English title, The Syrian Colonisation of Malabar, is not an exact rendering of its main Malayalam title, Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram (History of the Southist Community).

    What you hear today are just stories from this book !

  6. Olikara says


    I certainly agree with you. Very well written

    There can be no more STUPIDITY (forgive me for my language, but I do get mad when I hear such racial exclusivity theories) than suggesting that the Knanaya community is a racially pure one.

    I for myself have seen no records from travel writers who suggest the exisatence of such a community in Malabar.

    And now common sense, let me throw race at those who call themselves seperate from us racially..

    Look at yourself in the look like any one of us. Compare yourself to your ‘so-called’ brethren in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. See the difference. You would be a misfit.

    And dont tell me that 15 centuries of staying in India have changed your skin tones and features. That does not happen. The Cochini and Baghdadi jews are proof of this.

    And the Parsis of Bombay too. They still look exactly similar to their Zoroastrian counterparts in Iran proper.

    It is time to nail this Knanaya nonsense

    Nidhin Olikara

  7. Joseph George says

    Dear Olikara,

    An impartial historian like you should not get mad at groups of people who do not want to belong to us. If they want to be seperate, let them be. Let us not hold them.

    Let us do our home work of studying more in archaeological and historical records and find out hard facts. These facts alone can make any difference.

    Ultimately it is in the blood of Syrain Christians to be split into numerous groups. Can anyone imagine that such a small community to be split into numerous small denominations failing their power?

    Even when they made a political party known as Kerala Congress (for secular reasons they do not say it is a nasrani party) see how many times it has split. Such a small party has more splits than any other party!

    We “gave in” to the divide and rule policy of Portuguese, Carmelites, Jesuits etc.

    Sometimes I wonder if all the nasranis unite and come under one umbrella socially, culturally and politically, will Kerala remain the same? There will be positive changes.

    Like Mr. Prakash Jose Kokkattu (above response) I too strongly believe that there should be valuable Syrian Christian records not only in Goa but in Portugal and Spain on one hand and Germany and Vatican on the other. Since these countries were actively dealing with Kerala more than a century there certainly must be manuscripts of correspondences both private and public.

    Your recent work on “Syrian Christian Family Portrait” from Portugal is just substantiation of that.

  8. John Mathew says

    RE: Followers of Mani in Kerala

    Does anyone have any information on the Manichaean followers of Kerala? I’ve read some old 19th century books published by British Protestant authors (… of dubious credibility, perhaps! …) that talk of the remnants of Manichaeans in Kerala.

    I’m not talking about the controversy regarding whether the Persian crosses (or, as they say on this site, the Nasrani “Menorah”) are Manichaean or not — this author (who I’ll reproduce when I find the bloody book again!) was talking of bona fide Manichaeans amongst the Syrian Christian community (supposedly introduced during the Syrian migrations).

    Apparently one of the books banned by the “synod” at Diamper was a magic text on Persian Medicine … which perhaps has some connection with Mar Abo and Kadamattom Kathanar (the author of the book makes this connection, saying that the Kadamattom Church was rife with priests who practiced magic).

    Anyways … just thought I’d ask because my parents used to tell me stories of family enemies who had a reputation for conjuring … and I thought perhaps they are referring to remnants of an ancient community of Manichaean spell-casters.

  9. John Mathew says

    Out of curiosity, how old are reports of the Southist-Northist distinction in Kerala?

    For example, did the Portuguese in their reports on our community note a distinct community of Knanaya? Or did that come much later? I’ve heard that one of Mar Thoma I’s (i.e., Thomas Parambil, the leader of the non-Roman faction) advisors—Anjalimootil Itty Cathanar—was supposed to be a Knanaya. Is that just revisionist history written post-17th century, or was their actually a separate community of Southists then?

    As well, in articles on the Knanaya it is mentioned that their churches were separate from those of the mainstream Syrian Christians. How long does that practice go back? We have reports of ancient churches that claim to go back to the 4th century — are any of these Knanaya ones? I’d expect that, if the Knanaya story/history, extends back to antiquity we should see pairs of ancient churches. Is that the case in fact?

    Finally, some have reported that the J2 haplogroup is present in the Christian communities of Kerala only among the non-Knanaya Syrian Christians, and that the Knanaya sampled so far contain the L group. Are there any preliminary conclusions that can be drawn from this?

    I’ve read sociology papers that indicate the Southist-Northist myths tend to be variable. That is, old Northists claim that the Southists are comprised of “converted” local peoples, whereas the Northists are of foreign extraction, while old Southists claim the reverse. I don’t think the fact that Southists tend to practice Jewish/Hebrew customs can be used as proof since (1) the extent to which these customs are of direct descent from Jewish/Hebrew progenitors, or whether they come indirectly via the Hebrew origins of Christianity has not been established and (2) there are cases of imposters immitating Hebrew customs in order to give their (generally backwards) culture a boost.

    … So, what does science and historical records tell us about this Northist-Southist divide? Is it fiction?

  10. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    I have been trying to sit and talk with a Knanya guy for the last few months but have failed. There is a commen story often told by the Northists about the Knanya women/men carrying ash tied at the end of their mundu/kavini. The Northist’s claim is that this practise is proof enough that they are ‘low caste’ people as Knanaya Thomas married washerwomen and it is the practise of all washerfolks to carry ash with them tied to their clothing so as to use it as ‘washing soda’ to bleach the clothes.

    Ofcouse, our forefathers cooked up this story and loved to poke the Knanaya with these. The Knanaya love to go about telling that we are impure Hebrews with leanings towards Hinduism.

    I was told a few months ago that 50% of the Knanya population of India have mirated to the US. As you know they have lots of women nurses and there are many in Calgary and I am sure that there will lots in Toronto. Not many of them know about their own heritage. I once mentioned to a Knanya that we Marthomties are also Hebrew, the Knanya gave me a ‘funny look’ as if to say I was ‘crazy’. They readily admit that they are of Jewish heritage but I doubt if there are many in Canada/India who have a knowledge base as strong as we in the this NSC forum.

    The queries you have raised about the Knanya churches with the NOrthists churches are good. They should be addessed.

  11. Jackson says

    The term Suriani/Suryani is an Assyrian word used to denote a group of Assyrian people (Christians) in Syria, Iraq/Kurdistan, Iran, etc. area many of which are the Chaldean Christians today and they are not natives of Iraq or Iran, etc… But a group of people of their own separate identity as Assyrians (as they claim). Read the Assyrian Zinda magazine article for details from the Chaldean bishop. Article named ‘The Lighthouse’…….

    And if we as St. Thomas Christians also call ourselves ‘Surianis’ then there has to be some past community relation between the group above and our’s. Recollect it was the Assyrians among which the Israelite tribes where dispersed and said to be ‘Lost’ following the Assyrian exile.

    1. Saji Mathew Palliambil says

      Chaldean call them as Surianis
      Syrian Christian got the name because they use Syriac in their liturgy
      Malayalam is a language
      Malayalee – who speak Malayalam.
      Syriac – Language
      Syrians who speak or use Syriac

  12. Jackson says

    Northist-Southist debate

    Following is a research article published in 1980 at USA by Richard Michael Swiderski which probably explains abt the northist/southist origins combining legends and records and linking both groups to West-Asian Jewish (or others) Christian immigrants and their admixture with high-caste/low caste locals respectively………. or otherwise just another legend created in recent times for division.

    The following is an extract from the research article above:

    “Though there are no living oral traditions to this effect, written sources record that early Brahmin settlements in Kerala grouped themselves into “northern ” and ” southern ” divisions around two rival centers (Veluthat n.d.). The Nayars, an
    important Hindu caste in Kerala, also recognized a north/south dividing line (Fuller 1976).
    Another important dual classification, the right -left caste division which some Tamil communities (Beck 1972; Appadurai 1974) employ was not found in Kerala usage. It is quite possible that the Christians copied the north/south division from the prestigious Brahmin community as they copied so many other Brahmin traits.”

    So also I learnt from the comments of an expert on the topic saying that the Knanaya/Southist endogamous practice only came into effect not longer than 400-500 yrs. back, i.e. after the Portuguese era, due an edict released by one of their bishops. But it is to an extent true that
    the Southists tend to emphasize their Jewish roots while the Northists (non-Knas) do not, may be because the Northists already are consciously aware of their Hebraic roots and do not feel the need to harp on it for propaganda.

    It is like, a person knows for sure who his father and mother is, and need not go around emphasizing their names. He is simply aware of the fact. But someone who makes new inventions for identity goes about making new claims, claims which do not have proofs. This true as far as the Namboothiri-claim goes of non-Knas in search of social recognition.

    Similarly some of the oldest churches in Kerala like the Morth Mariam Syrian Jacobite church at Angamali, which was established in 409 AD and re-modelled in 776 AD (with evidence) is not a Knanaya Church but a Northist church even today. This church is said to be established by Syrian Christian Immigrants (not Knai Thoman faction) in Angamali as said in the church history. Similarly many churches in Trichur dist. like those at Pudukkad, Akaparambu, Ambazhakad, etc. are known to be established in 300 – 500 AD period by Jewish Christian settlers in the areas coming from Middle-east (Ref: Bosco Puthur, 2003)

    So also the first Jewish Christian immigration was around 52 AD (not yet officially recorded, I don’t know why but documented in Church and family histories) when such families came here with St. Thomas and were settled at Arthattu, Kunnamkulam and were traders, and many were later dispersed by Tipu Sultan and other Islamic persecutions.These were/are not Knanaya and my own family is a descendent of this group of Jewish Christians in Trichur but I’m not Knanaya. Similarly churches in Kunnamkulam and Arthattu are some of the oldest Syrian churches established by the above community though modelled later as described previously. Oral traditions in various families in Trichur also confirm this fact and the members
    belong to various Northist denominations.

  13. Kezhakken says

    Two things that I have noted
    1. If we consider YSearch, there is at least one more Cohen Modal match from a different family(ID D547Q).
    2. YSearch has Haplogroup Q and H entries for Syrian Christians – going by the names
    Two questions that I had
    1. In the familytreedna project, we have 8 Haplogroup L. How did we come to the conclusion that all are Knanaya? Is this verified? If it is, it is shocking news indeed.
    2. There is another familytreedna project which is specifically for Knanayites. However they have not published any results. This is odd considering that the admins details can be found in YSearch (ID – F5S5U, Haplogroup L). Does anyone know what the Y results of this project are?
    Any inputs to either of my questions will be really welcome.

  14. George Mathew says

    Dear Kezhakken,

    I don’t find it ‘shocking at all’. What is wrong if the Knanayites have Hapalog L? It disproves nothing. They have down through the centuries maintained their Jewish heritage. That itself is a strong case in point overriding that they are not J2 or Levite. Admitted that Hapalog L is African but remember that Israel had and still has a border with Egypt (which is African). I don’t think this is an issue.

  15. John Mathew says

    Sorry George, but Kezhakken has a point that can’t be so easily dismissed.

    Being born and raised in the West, can I make the claim that I’m genetically British because I’ve “maintained Anglo heritage” by speaking English, and generally following a liberal Western lifestyle. Or can I claim Greek ancestry because I subscribe to the philosophies advanced by the ancient Greeks? Or can I claim Jacobite Syrian genetic heritage because I have faithfully maintained the customs of the Jacobites? No.

    The Knanaya claim to be genetically related to the Hebrews—this is a strong claim, and it needs strong proof to be accepted as anything more than a legend. Just because they follow *some* customs that may be of Jewish origin does not stand as *strong* proof. I know a Knanaya woman who loves eating pork — if I went to a *real* Jew and said this woman claimed Jewish origin, he’d probably die of laughter.

    Genes tell a deeper story that heritage, language, culture and customs don’t. People can adopt any custom they want—but they can’t change their genes. Just look at the various nuts around the world that claim to be a member of the lost tribe of Israel. Some have genetic substantiation. Others? Not one iota.

    And finally: Egypt is African only so far as geography is concerned. “Racially” the people are Semitic.

    Kezhakken brought up an important point (one that’s been on my mind for a while too), and you can’t—in all intellectual fairness—dismiss it by overly-simplistic hand-waving. Since we’re talking science, *rigor* is necessary.

    Any genetic experts out there who can shed some light? Hey Jackson? You out there?

  16. Jackson says

    Dear George,

    Let me first of all make one thing very clear at the outset that ‘L’ Hgp. of Y-DNA is “NOT AFRICAN” either in origin or presence. L type of Y-DNA is seen in two geographically distinct areas. One is in India and Srilanka region (also among the Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra) from South Asia thus forming an Indian-type L. Another presence of L is in Lebanon (rarely in Syria, Iraq) area which is also prominent. This L is the middle-eastern type of L which is very different from the Indian type of L based on marker values.

    Another important thing is L haplogroup is considered to be a typical ‘PHOENICIAN’ (ancient Lebanon region) haplogroup among the middle-eastern haplogroup pool and not Israelite/Jewish/Hebraic.

    And ancient Egyptians were not Semitic but Hamitic in descent. If we see any middle-eastern or semitic link/heritage today in Egypt (ancient ‘Misr’) either genetically or communally it’s purely due to the Islamic conquest by the Semitic Moors of the ADs.

  17. George Mathew says

    Dear Jackson,
    In the web I read that Hapalog L is African, hence my belief. Will try to at the web article.
    and to John,
    ” The Knanaya claim to be genetically related to the Hebrews”.
    The Jews are not a race and even the Hebrews are not a race, though by the OT, the Hebrew is a race. As mentioned earlier several non Hebrews left with the Israelites from Egypt at Exodus.

    It was not uncommen for non Jews to embrace Judaism either because they liked it or because ‘their master was Jewish’. They are Jews like Cohen or Levi. Sometimes whole tribes would have embraced Judaism. The Knanayites would have been such people.

    It is wrong to say that because they have L Hapalog they are not Hebrew or Jewish. This is fundamentally wrong by religion and anthropolgoy and sociology.

  18. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    Again, simply because a women who claims she is of Jewish origin eats pork, does not mean that she is not Jewish.
    My ex colleauge was a Jewish Levite but it is now about 6 years that he has seen the inside of a synagouge. Thousands of Jews would have been taken into slavery or related and made to do several unJewish things (the captors or master would have loved to do this on the Jews), yet all these unJewish doings (either willingly or unwillingly) does not make them less Jewish.

    They become unJewish, when they intentionally and willingly without force excerted on them renounce their Jewishness. Thousands of Jews (eg. film director Polanski) are charged with serious wrongs, does that make t hem unJewish? Is eating pork less unJewish than murder/rape/theft ?

    Yeshu and his disciples did not follow Jewish law (eg. washing of their hands before eating and they broke the laws regarding Sabbath), does this mean that they were not Jews?

    Let us not limit Jewishness to outward things. Jewishness is in the heart.

  19. John Mathew says

    1. I am not interested in “Jewishness of the heart.” By that definition, anyone can be a Jew, and this does not get us any closer to the issue of the origin of the Nasrani people.

    2. The issue of the Knanaya women eating pork was raised as an example of how the adoption of “customs” is selective, and merely saying I’ve adopted such-and-such Jewish custom, does not legitimize my claim to be a member of the Jewish religion, or a descendant of the Old Testament-era Jews. I read Psalms every morning; this is a tradition I inherited from my father, who got it from his father. Am I now a Jew, because I’ve adopted this one custom? No. Then why is a Knanaya so special: they only adopt *some* customs which *may* come from the Jews. This is not so significant so as to negate the implications of the L haplogroup.

    3. You say, the Knanaya may be descendants of other peoples who adopted Judaism, though not being a genetic descendant of Jacob. Maybe: I don’t know — by getting an answer on this L haplogroup issue, perhaps we can get an idea. However, your dismissal of Kezhakken’s comment is premature. Once again: just because you *like* or *dislike* an idea, does not make it true or false.

    4. If by Jewish, we are talking about membership in the religion of Judaism, then pork eating, belief in Christ, are *most certainly* important issues. One who disobeys the laws of Judaism (i.e., believing in Jesus as son of God, or eating pork) is not a Jew (e.g., the Messianic Jews are *not* Jews. They are Christians. Go ask a real Rabbi at a real synagogue.)

    5. If by Jewish, we are talking descent from the community of Old Testament Jews, then this Jewishness of the heart concept is further squashed—one must be Jewish (or at least Semitic) in the genes for that theory to fly. So far, the general non-Knanaya populace that’s been sampled has shown signs of Semitic origin (and perhaps bonafide descent from “Aaron”). *But* the Knanaya, don’t seem to have this — they have this L thingie. What does that suggest, scientifically? Jackson provided some important info: that L and the Phoenicians have a connection. This is highly significant in my opinion, since the Phoenicians were master sea-faring peoples. Perhaps the Knanaya came from them! This is not shocking … the Phoenicians are all over the Levant, having contributed their DNA very generously (as sea-faring people are often skilled at) … Maybe, the interesting Middle Eastern customs that the Knanaya possess comes from their distinct origins from the Phoenicians (as opposed to our probable Assyrian/Aramaic/Hebraic origins). Of course, I doubt the Phoenicians would be into segregation as the Knanaya are (the Phoenicians seemed to be more into spreading their seed far and wide, they being master “seamen” … pardon the pun).

    6. You say: “It is wrong to say that because they have L Hapalog they are not Hebrew or Jewish. This is fundamentally wrong by religion and religion anthropology and sociology.”

    Discounting your appeal to anthropology and sociology, yes, you’re right. The Knanaya, you, I, and every other Nasrani are *NOT* Jewish because of one simple fact: we all accept Christ. A person who accepts Christ is not a Jew. Again: go ask a real Rabbi.

    But, you’re missing the central issue:
    The question of who the Nasranis are, in terms of religious affiliation, is not in question. We are all, except for the atheists among us, Christians. There are *no* Jews among us, except theoretically for some converts (if they exist).

    The questions of what the origins of the Nasrani community are *IS* in question: we don’t know. We have some clues (as this site so admirably provides), and we have many theories. And, with this genetic information, perhaps we have some scientific corroboration. Many of us descent from Semitic peoples; some descend from a genetic Aaron; and some have this L haplogroup … What are the implications of this?

  20. Philip says

    It not about detailing about israel or jewishness, we are still checking knanayas are genitically jewish or what their dna tells their identity.I think they as not jewish as they claim but they are ofcourse middleeastern. knanayas were the ones have been louding up their voice about Jewishness while nasranis kept silent .Even nasranis forefathers have sincere attitude towards christianiy faded or almost erased their Jewishness. Now the new generation like us are looking back to see where is our possible orgin. that all we are nasrani christians and something important than Jewishness

  21. George Mathew says

    Dear John,
    You are right, we need to check and study DNAs to help determine to place a person or group into a particular slot. It is an aid but not the full thing. Along with DNA tests, there are other tests which are equally and more relavant.

    For instance, if it is now proved that Aaron was not the brother of Moses(meaning not fathered by Moses’s father but by Pharao), does this make all Cohen non Jewish?. Certainly not, all Cohens will certainly be Jewish.

    Likewise, there would be 10000s of Jews in Israel today who have L Hapalog. There is no such thing like a Jewish DNA. If an ethnic or subethnic group believed herself to be Jewish and if the people around them accepted them to be of Jewish heritage, then they are 100% Jewish. Ofcourse, one should use DNAs as a tool to study more and get more information.

    If there are no Jews in Israel or Lebanon or Iran or anywhere with L Hapalog, I would give this matter some thought. But as it is, I am sure that there are Jews with L Hapalog.
    We all know that the Knananites have stuck to a much stronger Jewish heritage than we ‘Northists’ did. They may have ‘teased’ us for being ‘recent Jewish converts’ or ‘pagans converted to Judaism’ etc.. but the fact remains that they have been more loyal to Jewish heritagae than we ‘Northists’ have been.

    Let us not exceed the limit by falsely accusing our Knananites Nasrani brothers for not having a Jewish heritage while they do, because this will invite the wrath of God upon us. Careful where we tred.

    They accused us earlier for being ‘low-born’, that does not mean that we should accuse them now based upon some DNA tests.

  22. George Mathew says

    Dear Philip,

    Reading between the lines of your comment, I get the feeling that because our forefathers sincerely followed Christianity, our Jewish heritage faded’. You can not be more wrong. I will say the opposite. Because we Nasranis did not sincerely follow our Jewish heritage our ‘Christianity faded’.

    You have overlooked the fact that our forefathers were the ‘founding fathers’ of Christianity and it is the Nasranis responsibility to look after the gentile christians. The story of Yeshua must be told through the eyes of a Jew/Nasrani. Please remove the mindset from your (our) mind that we are inferior to the west. I think the ‘west’ has penerated more deep into you than you realize.

    For you and me, there is no difference between Judaism and Christianity. It is not just my view, but also those of several or thousands of Jewish Christians.

  23. Jackson says

    Dear All,

    I am not here for any propaganda or insults against any group or people but to unravel the results of the genetic results. And it is not I but the results that are speaking whatever. My intention is clear and thats unravelling the results based on the tests conducted.

  24. Kezhakken says

    Hi everyone,

    Haplogroup L is found in South India/Sri Lanka, Pakistan and in Middle East. But each three are distinctly different sub-groups of Haplogroup L.

    When I searched for genetic matches in YSearch, the Knanaya results showed other Indians as closest matches. However there was no perfect match. But, looking at the pattern, I assume that the Knanaya results in fact belong to the South Asian variety of Haplogroup L. So, the claim propagated by the Knanaya that they are descendants of immigrants from the Middle East, does not hold water anymore.

    Moreover, the single Knanaya mtDNA result is M*. It doesn’t make much sense to see that both Y and mtDNA results are typical South Asian for a community which claims to be genetically isolated from the rest of the Syrian Christians.

    There is reasonable genetic evidence – provided that the data available in the websites are in fact correct – to challenge the Knanaite claim. And in the age of the the Genographic Project, I hope the truth comes out.

    One question from my end remains: How many of the Haplogroup L results in the Nasrani familytreedna project are Knanaya?


  25. Jackson says

    Dear Kizhakken

    I have noted ur questions from ur two previous posts and will provide u with related info. I have asked Mr. Jacob (project Admin) for details on ur doubt and will provide once I get the answers.

  26. John Mathew says

    Dear George,

    In my experience, the harsher the criticism leveled against a theory, the better the theory subsequently becomes. Earlier, I was harsh in my criticism of the theory that the Nasranis are Jewish (as opposed to general Middle Eastern—read Assyrian—immigrants). This was not because I was against Jewish heritage (the opposite), but because I wanted to see better answers than the overly simplistic “we follow the Sabbath so we were Jews” argument.

    Same with the Knanaya. I have no personal feelings either way (e.g., I’m not affected by their taunts that we were low-born: everything I’ve read seems to indicate the opposite—the Northists had a longer history of calling the Southists low born, than the reverse). However, I find the claims of the Knanaya to be fantastic, and I want to see the truth. The Knanaya legends are very recent (at least the documentary evidence is); there could have been any number of sources for it.

    I think you have a slight problem separating (a) what you want to believe, from (b) what is factually true, and hence you take such exception to any negative feedback applied to (a).

    Finally: “For you and me, there is no difference between Judaism and Christianity. It is not just my view, but also those of several or thousands of Jewish Christians.” Then this is a minority view. Mainstream Christianity and mainstream Judaism are separate religions. There may be cults that spring up claiming to merge the two, but that is, again, their own minority and ill-informed opinion. Sort of like how some Protestants claim to be Orthodox. When “A” and “B” have defined separate meanings, it is no simple matter to claim “A=B”.

    The first century “Jewish Christians” were so called because they were former adherents of Judaism who accepted Christ. They were no longer accepted as Jews, although they practiced Jewish customs while accepting Christ. Don’t forget, the bona fide Jews (the ones who had Christ crucified) were at odds with these apostates. “Jewish” in that sense probably meant “culturally Jewish”.

  27. George Mathew says

    Dear Jackson,

    I meant that down through the past 1700 years the Northists and the Southists believed that the Southists were of ‘Jewish Heritage’ and hence even if any DNA says that they are of Japaneese origin, then higher consideration should be given to matters of ‘ones belief’ than on DNA results.

    I faced a similar situation when a few months ago a distant relative on my paternal side who should have had similar DNA to mine showed something different. I am still in confusion as to what happened. The day I got my DNA results, a freind advised me that ‘I have opened a can full of worms’. How true that statement is.

    I am fully aware that you are not doing anything for propoganda. You want to know the truth.

    Thanks and Regards,

  28. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    For me my spiritual beliefs must tie up with my physical beliefs. This is very difficult. A scientist can easlly get annoyed with me.

    To make matters more compicated, I don’t believe every word written in the Bible is divenely true. I will only say that the words are divenly inspired. This makes living for me very difficult.

    All said, I find myself a very happy man.

  29. Kezhakken says

    Dear George,

    You had mentioned that “I only meant that down through the past 1700 years the Northists and the Southists believed that the Southists were of ‘Jewish Heritage’ and hence even if any DNA says that they are of Japaneese origin, then higher consideration should be given to matters of ‘ones belief’ than on DNA results.”.

    The Southist claim is not based on matters of belief. On the contrary their claim is strictly related to paternal ancestry. And they claim that they have kept the genetic pool undiluted through strict endogamy. Please refer to the website, which says,

    “We are an endogamous community that had migrated from Urha (Edessa) in CE 345 and settled in the ancient port city of Muziris (Kodungallur) in Kerala, South India. The settlers constituted 72 families led by Knai Thoma of Cana and Uraha Mar Ouseph. This ethnic community has successfully maintained its unique identity over the last 1660 years by being very orthodox adherants of Endogamy. ”


  30. George Mathew says

    Dear Kezakken,

    They have been pretty strict, but I don’t they have been very strict. I suspect that their maternal DNAs will show Indian blood. By appearance, is at times very difficult to differentiate between a Northists and Southists.
    I had read the articel you had pointed out. Thanks anyway!

  31. John Mathew says

    Dear George:

    Regarding your statement: “I only meant that down through the past 1700 years the Northists and the Southists believed that the Southists were of ‘Jewish Heritage’ and hence even if any DNA says that they are of Japaneese origin, then higher consideration should be given to matters of ‘ones belief’ than on DNA results.”

    Sorry but *NO*.

    1. There is no evidence of the first part of your statement. What records do we have that states that Northists and Southists believed that the Southists were of Jewish extraction? The Knanaya story has evolved over the past 300 years. First they were Syrians, now they are Jews. Or sometimes it’s vice versa.
    At any rate, the story is only 300 years old. What evidence do we have that the Knanaya existed 1700 years ago? None that I’ve seen. In fact some Catholic and Jacobite writes speak about a ficticious story that was created 300 years ago to explain the Knanaya—and that the story has regrettably led to the creation of separate dioceses.

    2. Beliefs do not trump scientific evidence. Stories and creation myths should be considered *until* better evidence arrives. If the DNA says Japanese, then they are Japanese regardless of what their creation myths say.

    By the way, your reliance on pure creation myths leads to a dilemma. Why? Because:
    A. Some creation myths state that the Northists were the descendants of the Semites and the Knanaya are the descendants of the local Indian peoples.

    B. Others state that the Northists were the descendants of the locals and the Knanaya the descendants of the Semites.

    Well: if you put so much faith in myths, which one do you believe? How do you make the choice? To believe in B makes the Northists myth-writers look like liars. To believe A makes the Southist writers look like liars.

    Forget the myths. They only have their origin in the last 3 or 4 centuries! Look at the genetic evidence (so far). Although not conclusive, it seems that story A has more meat to it.

    And many things can explain the loss of Jewish customs among the Northists. Higher wealth and status might have contributed to it, as would have more extensive migrations across Kerala. To say that the Southists maintained the traditions and so are Semitic/Jewish is overly simplistic. And contradicts the evidence so far.

    Belief is fine … until science comes along and blows it away.

  32. Jackson says

    Dear All,

    Whatever be the recent developments it is NOT for mud-slinging but for clearing myths and false concepts been propagated. This in now way divides but further unites if we are ready to remain so.

    Mr. George, the L haplogroup you read as been African, is for the mtDNA and not Y-DNA (paternal). Yes “L type of ‘mtDNA’ is African” again I repeat. And the L hgp. we are discussing seen in Knas, is for Y-DNA which I stated as held by scientists and historians to be of Phoenician origin “typically”. mtDNA hgps. are different from Y-DNA hgps. (Eg: A type Y-DNA has another thing to say from A type mtDNA).

    Then, another doubt I have is where is this information from, that there are ‘10000s of Jews’ having L haplogroup ? I have checked almost the entire genetic database of Jews from almost all parts of the world as on ftDNA and ysearch but I still have ‘not found’ a single Jew or a person claiming Jewish ancestry to belong to L type of Y-DNA. This is very important. And please do bring to our notice if you find this atleast one or more than one Jewish sample as L. The Jewish genetic database is below.

    Similarly the Phoenician link of L hpg. may be supported as follows. One of Mr. Jacob’s Knanaya friend has been tested as L and this Kna person’s L based on marker valeues matches an L person from Lebanon. So there is something to think about it. And as per Lebanese genetic information more than 20% of them belong to L haplogroup which is significant. Similarly the Knanaya L’s are middle-eastern type L. So that surely says of their middle-eastern link but fails to say their Jewish descent as per genetics.

    Similarly it could be that many of the early Phoenocians converted to Judaism as ancient Judaism surely accepted surrounding nations into their fold by conversions. So the Jewish legacy that the Knanayas “might” carry may be derived in the above manner. Similarly there is a ftDNA project started exclusively and separately for Knanayas recently by some Sundeep Abraham (project Admin). He also has been tested a L hgp. and in his ‘place of origin’ section in the database info sheet he has mentioned his place of Origin as “Cana, Lebanon”. Note that. So I guess when they themselves are becoming sure of their roots then we too have to accept the same or someone does not put something like this as been from “Lebanon” without second thoughts. So the ‘Phoenician/Lebanese genetic link’ is becoming clearer for the Knanayas with ‘Jewishness as part of their cultural heritage’.

    This is totally different from been Israelite/Jew genetically as the Northists are showing in their genes (paternally, as of now) which is an altogether different case. And that they (Northists) have least Jewishness left today ‘in culture’ is also another thing but doesn’t disprove their “genetically Israelite Origins” largely.

    I will get back to you for more on the Knanaya test results since I have asked Mr. Jacob for more info on the same as all of them tested so far are L.

  33. George Mathew says

    Dear Jackson,

    If there are no Jews with L Hapalog, then as I said the matter whether the Knananyites deserves serious atttention.
    But remember, huge chunks of Jews have been killed and huge chunks of Jews have been forcibly converted to other religions. So, this area deserves extra care.

    The Northits have used the Southists as ‘Standard Yard Stick’ for their own research into their heritage. It is indeed strange that Phoenicians should have Jewish traditions etc.. Lebanon and Israel are tiny nations and very close to each other. AS you have agreed, the chances of Lebaneese converting to Judaism is very high. And if these Jews are not any more here in the database, then the chances are high that they have been wiped out.

    Maybe, our Southists brothers fled such ‘killing’ and came to Malabar. We have very little information. In such a situation I am only advocating ‘let us acknowledge them as we did for the last 1700 years, viz as Jewish Christians’.

  34. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    I have not so far heard the story that the southists are only 300 years old. I am hearing this for the first time. My Knanaya freinds have told me that they are Jewish and that they came in around ‘300AD’. Since there are no Knanayites in the Marthoma Church (they are everywhere, even in Pentecostals – I read that about 300 are in Hinduism), you being an Orthodox have a better advantage in knowing more about them.

    You have now put me on a new trail and forced me into thinking from a different angle. Thanks! We are all small insignificant people trying to know ‘history’.

  35. Jackson says

    Dear George,

    About the Knanaya ‘strict endogamy’ term it is again proving ‘mythical’ because their maternal DNA is also M* as the other Northists and Indians. As mythical as our Namboothiri origin claims for now.

  36. Jackson says

    Dear All,

    There is yet another piece of information I would like to add to the genetics part as for now for knowledge and relevant co-relation if any.

    As stated, all Knanayas tested so far belong to L hgp. and some of these have middle-eastern matches from Lebanon/Syria. Similarly the L hgp. in middle-east is seen specifically and typically among the ‘Druze’ ethnic community scattered in Lebanon, Israel and Syria. They are Muslims today but an ancient ethnic community and also claim descent from the Biblical Jethro (Moses’s father-in-law) thus are Hebrews but not Israelites/Jews. More than 35% of Druze men are L hgp. which is rare in other ethnic middle-easterners. This L hgp of the Druze is believed to have originated from South Asia/Persia and froms the middle-east type of L today.

  37. Kezhakken says

    Hi Jackson,

    Regarding – “As stated, all Knanayas tested so far belong to L hgp. and some of these have middle-eastern matches from Lebanon/Syria.”

    Well, I am not sure which result matched results from Lebanon/Syria. This needs to be ratified.
    But I do know this. Kindly do see for yourself. (The link takes time to load). Link

    This one – F5S5U – specifically is not Middle Eastern L but South Indian L. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    We have at least one Knanaite Y result which is not Middle Eastern, but South Indian. We have at least one Kananaite mtDNA results which is Indian. The claim on paternal ancestry and endogamy from the Knanaite side is – at least mathematically – disproved. But this is not Mathematics. We need more samples. More samples are hidden here – The project has 13 members but nothing has been revealed so far. Why the secrecy?

    I earnestly request the KANAIM project admin to make the results public and end the debate.


  38. John Mathew says

    Dear George,

    Sorry for my confusing writing: I didn’t mean to say that the Southist community is only 300 years old. I meant that the *myths* themselves are around 3 or 4 centuries old. They were all put into writing in the last 3 or 4 centuries (by various Catholic and Jacobite/Orthodox writers with possibly vested interests). And they have undergone significant revisions over the centuries.

    All I am try to say is that one can not put too much stake into one’s beliefs. After all, we (the Northists) had this Namboothiri myth, which probably started popping up within the last few centuries due to migration, wealth, and our growing political power. So also with the Knanaya: as I understand it, they were forced into various migrations due to Islamic and other attacks on them. Histories can get distorted into grandiose myths under these circumstances, as a community attempts to explain itself in new (possibly more favorable or relevant) terms.

    Anyways, Jackson’s information is very interesting and presents a possibly more accurate picture of that community grounded in scientific evidence. It may be like one English or Portuguese writer once said about the Northists and the Southists (in the 18/19th century):
    (paraphrasing) “Could it not be that the two communities were simply descendants of two *different* migrations from the Middle East?” So perhaps the Northists and the Southists had different “fathers” who came over from the Middle East (at different times), mixed with the locals, and created two patriarchal communities. They would probably not mix because they were, after all, different communities (“castes”). Remember, yes, the Southists claim endogamy because they don’t marry Northists—but at the same time, the Northists are also endogamous as well: we don’t marry Southists (and non-Northists). And not just because the Southists don’t marry us: the Northists used to claim that the Southists come from low-born local stock, while we were the descendants of pure-born stock. The legend runs both ways: the fact that the Northists lost the legends probably points to two things—(a) we are a more populous community and so don’t need to worry about endogamy (there’s always someone out there for us to marry) and (b) we are generally more affluent and so more prone to losing more “backwards” and provincial customs. Or, perhaps our ancestors just realized that inbreeding leads to problems later on.

  39. George Mathew says

    Dear Jackson,

    I will fully agree with the view that the K’nites maternal side is showing Indian. I knew it otherwise since a long time. Some of their women are indeed Semitic looking, but many are similar to our women.
    Strange, I don’t see any difference in the men. Their men and our men look the same. They certainly do not have the very dark skinned ones as we have.

  40. George Mathew says

    Dear John,
    You mentione earlier that there were and are to and fro allegation between the ‘Northists and the Southists’ that the other is ‘low born’.

    The Northists did say, but more out of fun than otherwise. But the southists were serious. They backed up what they said by refusing to give us women from their fold. The Northists have always been prepared to give them wives, but never the Southists. They really did consider us ‘low born’.
    The Indian blood in them may be from marrying Northists women.

    It is unsual that though we have been so close to each other, there yet not a single L Hapalog in the Northists camp.

    But I am still not convinced that they are not of Jewish heritage. About a year ago, Jacob did tell me that a Lebaneese man has a good match with one of the Knaites.

  41. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    There is yet another observation I have made between the Northists and the Southists. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    The Northists are more educated than the Southists but the Southists are more wealthier (in average only) than the Northists. The Southists are rarely found in poorer areas like Kollam, Alleppy or Kayamkulam urban areas but more around wealthier places like Ranni, Kottayam, Chingavanam etc..
    If only we can get some statistics!

  42. Philip says

    i am from and many neighbours sorrounded my house almost knanites and i have some families in very close contact. But i surprised kna women dna shows indian honestly i saw kna women with non indian features i surprised. I found some really a syrian women or middleastern women. Now i felt their forefathers cut thier foreign looks by marrying dravidan or local women at those early times it just my opnion

  43. Kezhakken says

    Hi Phillip,

    Regarding – “Now i felt their forefathers cut thier foreign looks by marrying dravidan or local women at those early times it just my opnion”

    How will your explain the genetic evidence for Dravidian paternal ancestry in Knanaya? From the results of the KANAIM familytreedna project admin, the paternal ancestry is Dravidian. I might be harping on the same tune again, but the hunch is a very valid one. The KANAIM project is hiding results.

    Speaking about looks, there are many very fair Thiyyas, Nairs, Namboothiris etc who can pass of as people from Near East. Looks in Kerala does not mean much. You will find all sorts of faces in all communities.Physical Anthropology has long been proven as extremely unreliable.

    Phillip, please request [email protected] to reveal the results. This should clear off the confusion and reveal the truth.


  44. Kezhakken says

    I compared the markers for ID N13642 listed in the Syrian Christian familytreedna project, whom I am assuming is a Knanaya from the family name. This one also looks Dravidian.

    Also, from the family names, there looks to be Northist haplogroup Ls as well.

  45. John Mathew says

    Dear George,

    1. Regarding wealth and education.
    Since the Northist population is significantly higher than that of the Southist, it’s to be expected that the Northists would have dispersed to a significantly higher degree than the Southist, including to less affluent areas (those areas probably were very affluent back a few centuries ago when farming was in vogue—nowadays due to the butchered political climate in Kerala, farming in those areas have become less lucrative, in my understanding, leading to their relative poverty).

    2. Regarding inter-marriage and “superiority”
    You make it seem like the Northists are dying to marry the Southists, but they continually get rejected. I doubt this is the case. Do you have any evidence of this claim that the Northists have always been ready to give their women over in marriage to the Southists? At any rate, we can’t really judge these things now because it’s been at least a century since the real conflict between the Northists and the Southist occurred. All I know is that from the articles and books I’ve read, there was a mutual lack of desire for intermarriage.

    Moreover, it seems that historically the Northists were a more powerful community than the Southists; perhaps there might have been some resentment on the part of the latter. For example, in places where the Southists had their own parish, it was often smaller than the neighboring Northist parish. There are exceptions, but in those exceptional areas, there are often several Northist parishes to be found. In areas where the Southists had no parish, they often only got second dibs on the use of the church. So, under these circumstances, I doubt it can be said that the Northists were begging to marry into the Southist community! Who would want to go down on the social ladder. (Not that I support such elitism; however, it is a fact, that in ancient cultures people rarely married “downwards”.)

    Another indicator of the relative relationship between the Northists and the Southists can be found in the Pakalomattom family: they are not Knanaya, right? Yet they were the administrators of the entire Nasrani Church for quite a while — why would that be? Was there a separate administrator for the Knanaya? I doubt it: Anajalimootil Kathanar (the helper of Mar Thoma I) was a Knanaya—why would he support a cleric that was not of his community?

    The Assyrians / Syrians were of dubious enlightenment … although their did consecrate bishops from various communities (there was a Chinese Partriach of the Nestorian Church, after all), they didn’t seem to consecrate any of our people until after the 16th century. I find it telling that of all groups in Kerala they would allow a Northist family (Pakallomattom) and not a “pure-blooded” or “high-born” Knanaya family to be in possession of the Arch-deaconate.

    3. Regarding looks
    I agree with Kezhakken in that relying on looks is a fools game. It depends on sampling! Have we all seen every single Northist and Southist? Not me. All I know is, every Southist I’ve seen in the various Orthodox/Jacobite and Syro-Malabar Churches I’ve gone to, have been, as a rule darker, shorter, and flatter-nosed, than the Northists (with a single exception). In fact, this was what got me interested in the Knanaya story myself–I just couldn’t believe their claim to be of foreign extraction based on looks!

    But at the end of the day, looks don’t tell a better story than genes. You can meet short, dark, and flat nosed Arabs and Jews if you look for ’em. And you can find Caucasoid-looking sub-Saharan Africans as well. Like Kezhakken says: “Physical Anthropology has long been proven as extremely unreliable.”

    4. Jewish Customs
    Finally, regarding Jewish customs. From what I’ve seen on this site, the Northists also practiced Jewish customs. According to some comments, the practice of Jewish customs is not a matter of community (Northist v. Southist) but a matter of geographic location. For example, one person reported that in the northern parts of our realms, Pesaha, etc, are practiced rigorously by both Northist and Southist. Whereas in the southern parts, even the southists don’t practice it. If this is the case, what Jewish customs do the Southists really have that are *exclusive* to them?

    5. Mar Thomite/Pentecostal Southists
    That is fascinating! I never knew there were Knanaya in the Mar Thomite community! Do they only breed with themselves as well? The reason I ask is when I look at the various Knanaya community groups, they always indicate that the Knanaya belong to one of two groups: Syro-Malabar Catholic and Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite). I’ve never seen a single mention of non-Catholic/Orthodox Knanaya. Moreover, I believe the Knanaya are very particular about their denomination. When Mar Ivanios of the Orthodox Church broke away and created the Syro-Malankara Church, the Knanaya left en-masse and joined the Syro-Malabar. But then again, in Kerala, anything is possible!

  46. Philip says

    There was a marriage happened that my moms mother’s sister married by a knanaya man. and it just happened at that time my aunt said. I asked my relatives who are knas and why don’t we have realation with them . Them my aunt literally told me thekkubagar they are different we don’t make marriage with them. even if we did god going to ask for that for generations that much wrong in it. then i said ok.

  47. Philip says

    It’s not about the fairness i was looking but i felt some thing about the kananaya features a syrian one or something. But i am possitive that ofcourse there is dravidan influence in that community. i just said they probably took different wives beause everybody will protect their patrneal side and keeping their roots coustoms and traditons.I also think that even if knas got mixed earlier as long as people stay in the same community and continue to marriy in that commuity makes it kept going not pure as when check their gentics induvidually may be. i felt that they are immigrant community from sryia egypt lebanon or somthing like that but i don’t think they are from solid jewish community. When it comes to jewish i have known they are even in africa and they got mixed and still kept their strong culture also local customs ex in ethiopica europe, manipur, iraq, etc etc and never heard they kept endogamy or creating boderes. still just my opinion

  48. Cheriyan says

    Dear All

    There are many dark skinned male and female thekkumbagors. I think most of the Southist are concentrated in Ranni, Chingavanam, Kaduthuruthy and Uzhavoor. I have seen many dark skinned in all these places.

    I agree with all the points mentioned by John Mathew.

    The reason for non marriages between Northist and Southist are not because Northist are not getting Southist girls to marry like Mathew said. How many Northist in these areas were ready to marry Southist girls ? Actaully, their is a kind of rivalry still existing in all these locations between Southist and Northist.

    Few questions,

    1. How many influential Southist families are there in all these places where both live toghther ?

    What I have seen is Northist position themselves as elite and were prominent in all these locations in terms of “Parmbaraym”. Even in Ranni, Chingavanam,Kaduthuruthy and Uzhavoor, the Southist “rich” families are “dollar” families. Traditionally there are very less Southist rich or wealthy families.

    The credit of Nasrani taking over “ Hospital” career actually goes to Southist and Mar Thomites. More than 90 % of the Southist I know are in hospital careers like nursing. They started it very early in 1960’s and moved to US and are very wealthier. The Northist barring Mar Thomites were late entrants.

    These days Southist try to add lot of clout. I have never seen them discussing their history or orgin outside their community. They generally keep silent on discussing their stories but does makes many prejudiced stories..

    If I am not mistaken they generally throws out people who ask questions. I think they banned and kicked out NSC Admin from one of their orkut communities ( Admin, please clarify ?)

    2. What is the oldest Southist church in Kerala ?
    3. What proff is their to say that their were different priests for Southist community before the arrival of Portuguese ?
    4. Why is that all Southist Churches ( as far as I know all has a history after the arrival of westerners) are few yards away from Northist church and small in size comparing to Northist church like security gate infront of a house ?

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I not blindly against anyone. I heard that in US few months back some Southist priests belonging to Syro Malabar refused to give pastoral care to Northist people. I am interested in knowing what are the real intentions behind such serious activates ? What are the basis and evidences and prof on Southist history and claims?

  49. Cheriyan says

    My understanding from this discussion point to something fishy in the DNA results of Thekkumbagor. Beacuse of some reason they are hiding the result.

    From the Ysearch link what appears to me is the Southist samples indicate clear Indian origin.

    5. Why is that the results not published where most of the DNA projects tries to keep there work and activities transparent .Why are the Southist project hiding the results ?

    Mr. Jackson, Can you please contact the Southist DNA administrator and try to bring some clarity on these issues ?

    6. On looks there are many very fair eastern looking Nasranis, there are also many fair Nair girls. Ezhava girls are also not bad. I have seen many beautiful fair Ezhava girls. There are also drak and not very fair every where. I am doubtful how we can use these kind of comparison in nonsubjective discussions.

  50. George Mathew says

    Dear John,
    You are smart. After I wrote that the Southists are not there in poorer areas like Kayamkulam, Kollam, Alleppey etc. it struck me that these places were once the heart of culture and wealth of Travancore until about the 1930s ‘.

    It was after this peirod, that all this changed. The interiors like Ranni, Kottayam, Malappally grew in wealth because of rubber.
    Smart! particularly since you were not born or raised in Kerala/India.

  51. George Mathew says

    Dear John,

    I meant to write that there are no Knanites amongst the Marthomites, though there are several amongst the Pentecostals.
    It is funny, you see Knanties as more Dravidian looking and I see Knanites as more Semetic looking. But I can be wrong. This whole excercise, is making me to relook into many things.

  52. Jackson says

    Dear All,

    The following info is after verification with Mr.Jacob and also from ftDNA database.

    There are 8 samples tested as L haplogroup in the Nasrani database. Of these 3 samples are of Knas and other 5 are Northists. Almost all the Northist L’s are placed under L1 sub-type (This is still under confirmation tests).

    All the Knas are tested as belonging L3 group. But from ftDNA’s database a Kna Mr. Makil is placed in L1 as against the other Knas who are all under L3. Mr. Jacob also stated there are a few more Knas who have been tested to be L3 but have refused to publicly join/display their results. So that adds to the Kna database. Similarly we have the Kna project head also tested as L. Their mtDNA is M* as stated earlier.

    Now on the sub-clades of L (L1,L2,L3):

    L1 (M27, M76) Typical of Dravidian castes of India and Sri Lanka, with a moderate distribution among Indo-Iranian populations of South Asia

    L2 (M317) Found at low frequency in Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and Southern Europe

    L3 (M357) Found frequently among Burusho, Kalash and Pashtun communities, with a moderate distribution among the general Pakistani population

    Burushos are an ethnic community/tribe in extreme North Pakistan. Pashtuns/Patthaans are another ethnic community found scattered in Iran, Afghanisthan and Pakistan and some Pashtun tribes have North Israelite tribes origin legends but genetically disproved and found to be an Iranian stock people with some admixtures. You may search on Google for more details. And L3 is predominant in the above people as in the Nasrani Knanayas who also are L3.

    The Northists L1 may well be indicating local Dravidian or Aryan origins for these families (considering other factors also, to find which is true). But that Knas are almost all L3 has been confirmed (whether displayed or not). And since some other sample results of Knas are not publicly displayed though been tested indeed raises eye-brows. But the picture is clearer for a wise person, that they far from been Jewish/Israelites “genetically”.

  53. Jackson says

    Dear All,

    Now keep those genetic info and results of Knas as L3 (Iran, Pakistan related) on one hand and keep our Thomas history and tradition on other and let’s see if any picture is emerging.

    Tradition and history says that St.Thomas arrived in Malabar in 52 AD. Before this, his missionary activity is known to be in Persia (Iran) extending to the Indo-Parthian kingdom till ancient Takshila (Pakistian of today). The Pope also attests than Thomas did evangelize in ancient Pakistan area. The Indo-Parthian king Gondophores’s kingdom is also of this exact region and coins proving this have also been found from North Pakistan to prove this tradition true. This King is also said to been converted with his brother Gad in Thomas tradition.Now combine this with the L3 genetic results of Knas as L3 is common in Pakistani populations. Similarly I also read a pakistani government article which states that in Pakistan there is a group of Christians who claim to be Thomasine christians and today are found in Sindh province of Pakistan.

    I don’t know whether I am thinking in the right direction combining tradition and genetic info but seems to give some unavoidable hints which atleast I cannot easily ignore. We can have a discussion on this.

  54. Jackson says

    Dear George,

    Let me also share another info here I got from my family elders. Once I asked them who are these Knanayas. And they were looking at my face to expect an answer from me. They simply haven’t even heard of such a people or group called ‘Knanaya’. Surprising for me.Then I later told them Knas are Jewish in descent as per claims and the response I got to this was a laugh. They simply laughed it off saying it was a ‘new info’ for them but didn’t say anything else, neither did I dig further. May be because we are Thrissurians that they haven’t even heard of them becoz Knas are concentrated in Kottayam dist. region. But that response I saw cannot be dismissed easily as Philip said.

    So I guess these Knanaya exclusivity stories are recent atleast for us North Keralite Nasranis till all this Internet and book material was made for circulation of the same as is the Namboothiri story recent.

  55. Philip says

    As far as i am a ranny guy . i have been exposed to lot of knanites. I truely know that some do have non indian features i saw a knanaya man white as hell. Racially i m thinkin i know they are some kind of group came from somewhere. One nair guy told me they migrated from goa. One knanaya guy hiself told me they were 72 portughese family under knana thommen. Again as far as i knw them they having lot of tradiions like high cast hindu believe me. They are emphasising more on who they are raically instead rooted in bible and biblical matters i think

  56. Kezhakken says

    First of all Jackson, thanks for your effort.

    Let us analyze the data that we have at hand. We have three Kna results in Nasrani project. Two are L3 one is L1(Makil). Then we have the KANAIM admin, who is very clearly L1. The rest have not been made public. Let us not consider those until those are made public as till then it is just hearsay. We have had enough of that.

    Which would mean that 50% of results revealed for Knanaya is South Indian. The presence of a couple of L1s is enough to prove that the claim of racial *purity* is incorrect.

    I think the KANAIM project will continue to hide their results, but from what we have seen so far,

    1. Knanaite mtDNA is M*. Maternal ancestry of Knanaites is purely Indian, typically South Indian.
    2. There is a considerable amount(50% of what is revealed so far) of Y L1 results in Knanaya. A significant part of their paternal ancestry is also South Indian
    3. Knanaites purportedly have L3 results. L3 is found in *low* frequency from Pakistan to Middle East among the Arab tribal population. Further analysis and study should reveal what this means.
    4. Knanaites have no Jewish ancestry whatsoever from paternal or maternal side.

    Northists have Indo-Aryan(R2, H, and Indian R1*), South Indian(L1, J2) and Middle Eastern (very possibly Jewish – J2 Cohen Modal, Q?, Levite R1*) ancestry.


  57. George Mathew says

    Dear Kezakken,

    You mention that there is J2 of South Indian origin in the Northists camp. Can you please give more details?


  58. Kezhakken says

    Hi George,
    There are Syrian Christian Y results in YSearch which are not Cohen Modal. I am assuming that this is Indian and Non-Indo European. However it is found abundantly in North as well but J2 is not something that is tied with Indo-European speakers anywhere. Hence assuming that it should be Dravidian. There are many Hindu J2 in India, please search for Haplogroup J2 in Asia in YSearch.

    1. It is my *assumption* that non Cohen Modal J2 found in Northists is Indian. J2 is pan-Indian.
    2. Please read Dravidian as Non-Indo European

  59. Jackson says

    Dear Kezhakken,

    No geneticist will ever hold J2 is “Indian in origin”. Yes there are few Indians (5-9% max.) who are J2 and these are mainly the Muslims (who have semitic blood admixture) and some Brahmins. But remember that J2 for all reasons is called the most valid and clearest Semitic marker, flowed out from Middle-east elsewhere. And J2 is called a “Jericho culture marker” to be specific. Refer Genographic project marker atlas and National Geographic website. And if few Brahmins also have J2 then it is purely due the above contribution from early semites in Iran who Aryanized and thus arrived in the Indian pool. And I will hold that J2 is ‘not South Indian in origin’ though rarely found in Iyers too but marker values are different from middle-eastern J2 type. Since u have stated some of our J2 is south Indian in origin I would like to see details of the same because I have not yet read a single genetics expert say so.

    And do not conclude that L1 is exclusively Dravidian. The Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra have few L1 in them, so that L1 does not speak of South Indian origin exclusively.

    R2 is also not exclusively Indo-Aryan because there are plenty of Jews who also are R2. So hold onto that for now. But yes, R2 did originate in Iran/Iraq region and there are views that in middle-easterners some R2’s could be some of the Northern Israelite tribes who were mixed in the above regions as there are many Jews who are R2 also. (Abraham was from Mesopotamia and his father was an idol-worshipper/pagan but a Hebrew). Jews were never a distinct “race” from others around them but did genetically get distinct somewhat due to community isolation.

    And as u said we have another family sample who is a J2 Cohen (Abraham Ninan) besides the Manakalathils and I missed out on that. So that takes the Cohen families count to 2 of the total samples.

    There is a H sample in ysearch of some P J Ouseph and is matching some North Indian Brahmins and so could very well be of Aryan origin.

  60. Jackson says

    Dear Kizhakken,

    Yes there are some Indian Hndus J2’s also in ysearch database of Asia. But on comparing all these J2’s including the non-cohen J2’s of our samples u will see that most of our J2’s are genetically distinct from the other J2 Indians, based on genetic distance report. So it talks of our J2’s been almost unrelated to Indian J2 samples.

  61. George Mathew says

    Dear Kezakken,

    I hold the belief of what Jackson said above that the J2s in the Syrian Christian (admin Jacob) is different from the one other J2 in Jacobs database whose ‘owner’ is an Iyer. There is a fair difference which even a non-genetists guy like me can see. The Nasrani values are kind of bunched together, giving an impression that they are related to each other not in the distant past.

    By the latest Certificate issued by ‘Family Tree DNA’ I am a ‘J2 with the subHaplogroup M172+

    I am pasting info. from Wikipedia, which certainly you would have read. I know Wikipedia can’t be always trusted….

    J2 (J2b2+J2a) is mentioned above to be siginificantly present in the South Western part of India (Malabar?).

    Would you please comment based upon the above info. By the way the first name appearing in Jacobs ‘Syrian Christian Data Base as ‘George Palasseril is my goodself.

    Be a little kind to me, I have kicked the Namboothiri and Brahmin heritage the most and now don’t tell me that I am someone with an Indian genetic heritage. Just joking, I want to know your views.

  62. George Mathew says

    One sub Haplogroup M172* is mainly found in the Northern Fertile Crescent, the Mediterranean, Iran, Central Asia, and Southern Europe. It is thought to have originated in Anatolia (Turkey and in the province of Kurdistan) i.e. North Mesopotamia, and spread to Europe and to other Middle countries like Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria. J2 subclades are also found in the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), Iran, Central Asia, and South Asia: for example, Muslim Kurds (28.4%), Central Turks (27.9%), Georgians (26.7%), Iraqis (25.2%), Lebanese (25%), Ashkenazi Jews (23.2%), Sephardi Jews (28.6%), Iranians (23.3%), Tajiks (18.4%), and Pakistanis (14.7%). J2 is not regularly found in Semitic-speaking populations of Africa, such as the Amhara and Tigrinya in Ethiopia (Semino et al. 2004). However, J2 has been found to encompass several subhaplogroups (22 subhaplogroups, including 5 that have high frequencies) that originated in or expanded into different regions: the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, the Balkans, the Aegean, Anatolia (Turkey and Kurds), the Caucasus (Georgia), and Somalia (see ref: Semino et al. 2004). Haplogroup J2 used to be considered a genetic marker of Anatolian Neolithic agriculturalists. It is also very frequent in the Balkans (Greeks 20.6%, Albanians 19.6%) and in Iberia (16.7-29.1%). Its frequency rapidly drops in the Carpathian basin (Ukrainians 7.3%, Croatians 6.2%, Hungarians 2.0%) and in Southeastern Iranian-speaking areas (Pashtuns 5.2%, Pamiris 6.1%). A significant presence of J2 (J2b2+J2a) was detected in western and south-western India (the highest being 21% among Dravidian middle castes, followed by upper castes, 18.6%, and lower castes 14%; Sengupta et al. 2006).

  63. Kezhakken says

    Regarding J2 for Syrian Christians. I did not look deep into the non Cohen J2 results. I assumed that these were Indian, without further analysis. If our results cluster and are different from other Indian results, then please do ignore my statement on our J2 being Indian. My interest was always on the Knanaya story and I think I did not give enough importance to the Northist part. I also hold the myopic view that Northists have Indian ancestry – mostly that is – and tend to think along the same line. But by the look of that is not he case. George, your case was one of those which I had thought was Indian J2. I should have at least checked the genetic distance in YSearch. It does not show any Indian J2 result anywhere near. So as far as Indian J2 in our results, it looks like I am wrong. But then again I am not after the Northist results.

    Regarding L1. It is considered to be the pre Indo European, but post paleolithic migration to India. It has to be the Dravidian speakers. The genetic diversity in India does not strictly follow the state borders or in fact the caste borders. Also L1 is found abundantly in Dravidian speakers but less frequently in North India. L1 is specific to India and I haven’t heard it being present outside India.

    As far as R2 is concerned, as per Wikipedia “At least 90% of R2 individuals are located in the Indian sub-continent.”. So and R2 result in the sub-continent (I should become a commentator) is not surprising. If we need to say that these are infact Jewish R2, then we need to prove that – like J2 – our R2 clusters outside the Indian R2. From Ysearch, the nearest matches are Indian. But there is again, no perfect match and the distance is on the higher side. It could go either way, but my hunch is that our R2 and H results are Indian.


    PS – I did guess that this George was that George.

  64. Kezhakken says

    Thanks again, Jackson! Can you please tell us the IDs of L3-Kna in Nasrani project?

    Two possibilities
    1. Both Northists and Southists have L3. If this is the case then the Southists are in for more disappointment.
    2. We are mistaking L1 for L3. Information that we got might be wrong. There is no L3 in our samples at all. The reason I am proposing this is, L3 is rare even in the Pakistan-Middle East belt. Druze are not many in numbers. My point is that it is unlikely that such a rare haplogroup is found in abundance in a community.


  65. Jackson says

    Dear Kezhakken,

    The IDs of the Kna L3’s as in ftDNA database display are ‘N16084’ and another as ‘83541’. Makil is also a Kna and placed in L1, ID is ‘N13642’. Northist (Kollenore) with L is of ID ‘112920’ and matches the earlier two L3 Knas with 10 or 11 marker matches of 12 which indicates very close genetic relation and is even visually evident on comparing. I am pretty sure there are all possibilities it is L3 though not confirmed yet because of the marker values as I said.

    U may also refer to the L hgp. project. The question mark u see besides L1/L2/L3 in the heading indicates an attempt to sub-type main family of L based on marker value differences and thus origins.

  66. Kezhakken says


    “The K’nites may be from Parthia and their mother’s Jewish.”
    From the samples that we know so far, all mtDNA results for Knanaya are M*. If you can still argue that they might have Jewish heritage from maternal side, I am putting forth the argument that Kananites are from planet Krypton. I would say the probability for both to be true, are almost the same – more so, for mine.

    Please refer to this link. The KANAIM project admin is desperately trying to make sense out of some M results he has got and finally gets the answer that it is indeed South Asian –

    The claim is a farce. The project – as is my suspicion – has proven the same. They are hiding the truth! Meanwhile, we continue to try to fit the Knanaya somewhere in the Middle East. No wonder they were able to hoodwink us for centuries.


  67. Philip says

    Hello keahakkan
    i heard many times from knanites that they are from Syria. Even knanites claim that the order of worship suryani thaksa that they brought and even your church has suryani traditions mean the orgin also connected from somewhere is nt it? I read somewhere that some knanites went to Syria and took the citizenship by proving something regarding your history . Have you heard about it?

  68. Kezhakken says

    Hi Everyone,

    The KANAIM project in ftdna has been removed?


  69. NJ says


    You nailed the coffin of Charamketti DNA .

    It need to be reprimanded. Suspicious, inappropriate behavior straight which for generations Charamkettis were doing.

    It is a continuation of the same behavior. Chazikadan wrote a Malaylam book Tekkumbhagasamudayam Charitram (History of the Southist Community) in 1939. When it was translated to English the name of the book title got changed to The Syrian Colonisation of Malabar.

    They know magic !

    I don’t know why people go beyond the limits of expected behaviour repeating the same sequence..

    Any feedback from Group Administrator: Sundeep Abraham [email protected]

    He should make the project public.

    “This ethnic community has successfully maintained its unique identity over the last 1660 years by being very orthodox adherants of Endogamy.”

    What is the Endogamy- I want to know about this ?


  70. George Mathew says

    Dear NJ,

    Good Day!

    Are we Northist’s any better? If the Southist’s had cooked up the Jewish matter, did not we ‘Northists’ also cook up the Namboodhiri matter?
    To be honest, I can understand the Southist’s claim for Jewish heritage which probably arose due to heavy stress arising from their possible association with ‘Manicheanism’ or related, but the Northist’s claim to Brahmin heritage is not explainable or justifiable other than ‘false pride, negative ego or racism’

  71. Kezhakken says

    Haplogroup L3 is not completely alien to South India. Please refer to the following link. It’s presence is comparable to that of L1 in the North. Or in other words, there is no reason to be surprised about the presence of L3 in a population indigenous to India or even South India.

  72. Nidhin Olikara says


    Excellent news!

    And this is something I have have always believed. My theory has always been the same and simple..Physical features of ethnic groups ALWAYS stand out. The knanayas look like anyone of us, and by us I also include Malayalis of other faiths as well.

    So I have always believed, often facing rebuttals from knanayites that the Knanaya community is of the same gene pool as us. If we are Arab, they are Arab, if we are Jewish, they are Jewish and if we are Paraya, they are also Paraya!

    Very good news.

  73. Jackson says

    Dear Kezhakken and ALL,

    This had to come out some day whether people accept or not or whatever arrangements of terms they use – whether Jewish first or Indian first (I still wonder how did they use the term Jewish for their results when there is not even a faint indication). We had been discussing these things long back here and now it’s public from their own mouths. So also the comments on the web link u provided are really funny. It’s a scene like someone has been hit on the head and he’s seeing sparrows flying around his head. Utterly confused comments and yet not ready to accept the truth.

    Basically as the Northists are not prepared to leave the ‘Namboothiri’ tag so are the Southists hanging on to their tags. It’s an historical effect of centuries won’t erode so fast. Its only a matter of patience and time that will show who is who as it has been shown till now. Similarly let’s not get too excited because I think such facts are not very surprising because they were THERE, only kept covered for whatever valid or invalid reasons. But one thing is ‘largely’ clear that whatever the Southists are, the Northists are not and vice-versa is also true (genetically speaking). But somewhere a common link is shared for few which may have been in a very distinct past when the two communities were not separated drastically. All general rules have rare exceptions and can be expected here too as in the case of L3 also seen in a Northists sample. But the “endogamy bubble” is finally on the verge of been bursted and their propagandists also acknowledge this somewhere as is clear from their comments which reflects a kind of U-turn in attitudes wherein some among them are questioning this endogamy now.

    Since the Southists themselves CHOSE to remain separate we too should leave them alone, I feel, whatever the further developments may be. Also be aware that Community and Geneaological genetics is an extremely touchy subject and must be handled with care, esp. for a community with varied and confused claims. Since Genetics gives more or less a Final SAY to ancestry quests for a community it must be studied carefully before coming to conclusions.


    Let us concentrate more on our community studies and take up the rest as part-time interests or the main task will be left unfinished. The greater the sample size the more assuring the outcome. Hence all are encouraged to join the project and contibute to the scientific studies on our community and help in unravelling the mysteries. It will only help us ! Thanks.

  74. BG says

    Dear Jackson

    That was impressive. But end of the day turth can be frustrating…

    cheers, BG

  75. Philip says

    I heard Thomas of cana story in a new way. In the year 345 A.D Thomas of cana, an Edessan merchant, came to malabar with 472 families of Mesopotomain Christians. The king assigned to Thomas and his followers extensive lands near his Capital city and they settled down there. Unfortunately there arose a split among the colonists, 400 families standing as one party and the rest remaining sepereate. The group of the 400 famillies stettled in the northern street of the colony and the other group in the southern street Those who settled in the north were called Vadakkumbhagar and those in the south Thekkumbhagar. The Vadakkumbhagar carried on evangelization and added new christians to their community. The Thekkumbhagar did not evangelize any and remained a community distinct and isolated. The arrival of these colonists increased the prestige and strength of the malabar church. The racial admixture and social contact of the indian christians with the foreign race served to improve their quality and to better their political, social and economic status

  76. Mapilla says

    Hello Nasrani christianies,

    I am interested in the history of the Knanayas. Wikipedia says they are syro-aramaic jews. Do they follow latin rite or eastern rite in their mass? What do non knanaya nasranies think of their place in the history of nasranies?

  77. John Mathew says

    Dear Mapilla:

    The history of the Knanayas is rife with myths and has been discussed in a variety of forums. You can search around on NSC to see quite a few of the accounts pertaining to the Knanaya.

    You can also read accounts by various Knanaya members, discussing their history. Their accounts tend to advance this “Syro-Aramaic Jew” theory, or various variants. It should be noted that these theories of Knanaya history are highly variable (Jew vs. Syrian vs. Persian; fourth century vs eighth century vs eleventh century) and tend to have their origin in the 17th/18th century (when the Syrian Christians in general were busy spewing all sorts of pseudo-history).

    Then you can search scholarly journals to find various articles pertaining to the Knanaya and their place within (or alongside) the Nasrani community. What you’ll find is a mutual set of legends by the Knanaya *and* the Syrian Christians in which each community claims the other to be an “inferior” and “non-pure” one.

    The legend/account of Thomas of Cana seems to have been shared between the Syrian Christians and the Knanaya. That is, both historically have claimed descent from Thomas of Cana.

    There are reports in some histories about a parallel community of “Manichaeans” who lived along side the Syrian Christians (Britannica 1911 cites W. Germanns 19th century history; there’s also the book “Lingerings of Light …”). But none of those seems to connect the Manichaeans to the Knanaya. However, there seems to be some “original research” (i.e., possibly bogus work) by some guy (I forget his name … you can find his work on the web … I think he’s some kind of an ex-Nasrani Pentecostal whose trying to say that Hinduism and Roman Catholicism are degenerated forms of Christianity with Manichaean/Gnostic influence. Anyways, in the midst of that “theory” — I’d call it B.S. personally — he seems to link the Knanaya to ex-Manichaeans who converted to Christianity due to Portuguese/Nestorian/Jacobite influence).

    SO the story of the Knanaya is complicated by several theories, most of which have no shred of credible evidence.

    The community nowadays is divided into three: one independent diocese of the Syro-Malabar (hence using the East Syriac liturgy), on independent diocese of the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobites, using the West Syriac liturgy), and miscellaneous Knanaya who joined other groups. I think the Malankara Orthodox also have Knanaya in it; I don’t know if they have a separate diocese—I suspect they do, due to political reasons (i.e., to prevent a hemorhage of Knanaya members to the Jacobite Church).

    Regarding what non-Knanaya think, like I said, there’s an excellent scholarly journal article which surveys the various attitudes pertaining to the Knanaya and non-Knanaya. I don’t know what people think in general of the Knanaya, but I suspect there is a majority who don’t care, and a minority who enjoy calling the Knanaya on their mythological stories by challenging the non-existent evidence that the Knanaya myth-writers use. (Personally I’m generally in the camp that doesn’t care, but once in a while I join the other camp, because I personally have a strong distaste for mythological accounts being advanced as theories). I’m sure you can read the various comments on NSC and find examples of both camps.

  78. Sunny Alan says

    Dear John,
    I agree with your bold opinion on Knanaya Nasrani. But I think something has to be added, to be fair.
    Their history is marred with myth, controversy, claims, doubts…..
    True, but the same is applicable to the history of entire Nasrani, from view point of a criticizing/ analyzing non-Nasrani !
    Knanaya’s history is entangled with Nasrani history, more, they have no stand-alone history except their claims of Thomas Cana origin. Their claim must be true; nobody claim the descendants of TC other than them! And TC is very much alive in history books as truth.
    When Nasrani or any ethnic community’s claim of their origin and history of 2000 years, it will be a mixture of truth and beliefs but the gist, backbone will be true laced by legends and many fables and fiction glorified. Mostly the truth become eclipsed and thus unrecognized due to superstitious, glorified claims ! It is universal phenomenon.
    Nasrani’s assertion of St. Thomas connection too is similar; the basics are true with many glorifications. Eg: many a Nasrani’s claim of 100% Judeo or Brahmin origin seems glorification: to be of upper cast, but illogical, given the existence of lower castes.
    Likewise the Knanaya claim of pure TC origin too seems illogical. The claim would have been true, if they were inhabited for last 16 centuries in a marooned island or so! Even though no 72 nuclear families can survive 1600 years, keeping racial purity; from scientific point of view.
    Whatsoever, they know not where they are lead by the belief to: fast extinction !
    (Also I wonder how come they with SMC fold when TC is Antiochean ? If the claim of purity is true they should have been the ardent Antiocheans, at least with Jacobite/Orthodox Christianity rather than with ‘Roman-tainted’ SMC ! Any explanation?)
    Tail piece: Is scientific reasoning forbidden to believer and Nasrani ? Nasrani will be more credible as ethnic race ‘with’ our basic claims, if we could shed many illogical, superficial, near-superstitious ornamentations we carry on our physic. We may have to rewrite our history and heritage deducting such ‘beliefs’ to be acceptable to scientific yardsticks. Along with us Christ too will be more a credible reality to many Christ bashers. This too is a way of apostolate. Till then we will be a race “claiming” suspicious heritage.
    Just analysis, no more judgment. Thanks…..

  79. John Mathew says

    Dear Sunny,

    I believe Thomas of Cana was claimed by both the Nasrani and the Knanaya are their “ancestor”. At least that is what I gathered from my readings long ago on this topic. I can’t cite my references right now, but I can dig them up if needed.

    And who said TC was “Antiochene”? I’ve seen Thomas of Cana being referred to as:
    -a Jewish Christian from Palestine
    -a merchant of “Syria” following the West Syriac Patriarch
    -ditto, but following the East Syriac Catholicos
    -an “Armenian”
    -a Manichaean

    I believe the only ones who claim TC was “Antiochene” are Jacobite Knanaya. I’m sure the SMC Knanaya claim a different origin.

    Now, TC’s historiocity is far from certain. Maybe he existed … but when and where?

    But you’re right, both the Knanaya and the Nasranis seem to have enjoyed mythology over proper history, and I was wrong to imply that only Knanaya history is fictional. But to the credit of the Nasranis, we never seemed to take our fictional histories too seriously — to the extent that we preached/practiced in-breeding (endogamy).

  80. philip says

    I would think like the Syrian Palestine decedents of course in both nothist and southist thorough several immigrations. and some of these people inspired in kerala culture and shared culture by mixing and lived peacefully I don’t think that there is any superior facts in these immigrant Christians to stay away from new converts. I think these Syrian Palestine Christians blood is on northist but it not really evident so far at this point knanaites have. I believe the immigrants Christians already got mixed in their early times but later on being impure from Syrian origin, some group started not to mixed further and stick together so far they feel as the immigrants ones that why I think they do have a malayali look along with their Syrian Palestine looks and posted a tag as knanaya Christians . Again I heard that knanaties had not been had the name knanaites till 19 the century instead they known as just thekkumbhagar southist. But even in northists some family in our place that I know also carrying these evident middle eastern look why. Some achayans are called as sayaps because of their puchakanna and some blond hair too, One lady I saw which is belong in northist look like so foreign her skin color so fair which is not a major fact still she got lot of other features. But I do believe that lot of northist white skin facts are came from these immigrant side rather that saying it came from brahimn or Aryan side

  81. Saji Mathew Palliambil says

    Dear Mr John Mathew

    If you got time and inclination I will sit with you and give a lesson or two about Knanayas and more the hisoty of early chiristianity

    Saji Mathew Palliambil

  82. Saji Mathew Palliambil says

    The Knanaya under the leader ship of Mr Thoman Knanayo ( syrian trader ) came to India In AD 345,along with 400 families,accompanied by decans,prestis and A Bishop Urha Mar Asouep.

    They landed in Kodungallor and presented then the ruler the Cheraman perumal with Gold and other gifr obtained land and allowed to build their church in Mhadevarpattanam.The ruler given them the previlaged status and positions{ ( 74 nos ) Knanai thoman Copper Plates}

    They are Jewsh Christians form South West Asia, and they practised all the jewish traditions like Endogamy,Circusition ,sabath and Passover festival.

    They setteled in the south side of the Mahadevar pattanam and in the north side settled the native christians ( who converted to christiany form the native caste).

    Even today the Knanaya practise Endogamy and if any one do not follow the same he is expelled form the church.Because the Jew practive Endogamy so the Christian of Jewish orgin practice Endogamy.

    If any body need more clarification I will provide.Ask specific questions.

  83. John Mathew says

    Dear Saji Mathew Palliambil,

    No need for private lessons on topics that you don’t seem to have expertise in (judging by your comment which seems only to report only *one* of the many variable myths that exist on the topic). The history of early Christianity is quite well documented, and I’m versed in what’s been written on the topic (there are plenty of books on the topic, including older ones by venerable scholars that are available online at, or any good library, for anyone to become sufficiently versed in).

    Next, the history of the Knanaya consists, at this point, of mere myths that have been developed and re-developed in the centuries after the Portuguese arrived in Kerala.

    1) There is no documented evidence of when Thoma of Cana came to Kerala. Ditto for who he was (Persian, Syrian or Palestinian Jew — all three are mutually exclusive).

    2) There is no documented evidence that he came with Mar Joseph, or even that “Mar Joseph” existed. In fact, even the allegiance of Mar Joseph is disputed: (1) Jacobite Knanaya claim he was sent by the Patriarch of Antioch (which is obviously ridiculous), (2) Syro-Malabar ones claim he was sent by the Catholicos-Patriarch of the East Syrian Church. And *BOTH* of these myths dispute the “Jewish-Christianity” of the Knanaya, since both of those Churches are non-Jewish Christian Churches. Jewish Christianity was centered about the Church of Jerusalem and became largely non-existent by the fourth century. Neither Antioch nor Babylon are Jewish Christian Churches!

    3) Before the 20th century, the non-Knanaya (i.e., the regular Syrian Christians) claimed Thomas of Cana as their ancestor, and viewed the Knanaya as the illegitimate offspring of Thomas. That is, both communities viewed the other as being impure! However, as the 20th century brought more pressing issues for the regular Syrian Christians, they stopped with the Thomas of Cana business.

    4) The Knanaya *DONT* practice *circumcision*.

    If you have some *history* to share, please do. But spare the non-provable myths that (1) have no documented basis, and (2) aren’t even fixed (the Knanaya *story* seems to change based on (1) the denominational affiliation of the story teller, (2) the year, (3) whatever other factor you can think of). We’ve all heard the stories, and most of us have reached nothing but dead ends in trying to figure out the documentation that supports your stories.

    There are some that claim that the Knanaya are nothing more than the Manichaeans that are *documented* (ref. W. Germann) to have existed *alongside* the Syrian Christians (as of the 15th century). These people claim that the Nestorians and later the Portuguse and later the Jacobites *converted* these Manichaeans to Syrian Christianity between the 15th and 17th centuries. Now, is this true? I don’t know. But it is a *story* just like your *story*. The only difference is that there is:
    1) documentation that suggests that a parallel community of Manichaeans existed along side the Nasranis
    2) evidence that the Knanaya were always kept *apart* from the Nasranis (in smaller Churches, no less)
    There is *no* evidence for any of the Knanaya stories.

    If I’m wrong, and you have evidence, please share.

  84. Saji Mathew Palliambil says

    Dear Mr John Thomas

    If there is any documentray evidence that St Thomas came to kerala,if so please give the reference so I can go through that.

  85. George Mathew says

    Dear Saji Mathew

    Your best bet would be to go through this NSC writings and comments. They contain lots of information.

  86. George Mathew says

    Dear Saji Mathew,

    You say that the Northerner’s were converted from ‘local casts’. Please support your statement.

  87. Non-southerner says

    John Mathew “…Before the 20th century, the non-Knanaya (i.e., the regular Syrian Christians) claimed Thomas of Cana as their ancestor, and viewed the Knanaya as the illegitimate offspring of Thomas. That is, both communities viewed the other as being impure! However, as the 20th century brought more pressing issues for the regular Syrian Christians, they stopped with the Thomas of Cana business…..”

    I was thinking about pointing this out, but you did and saved me from some efforts. You can find an old article from an academic journal about this, online.

    Also I want to say that the main stream were never called as Northerner and not required to be so (they had a better name, nazrani.

    My main point in this comment is something else: I was told by an old man that the “uncorrupted tradition” ( unlike the present ‘anybody can make a story’ era) is that Thomas of Yarusalem came in BC with some families and settled here. Then the illegitimacy case you suggested occured and main stream seperated them. Many centuries later St. Thomas came, people from both converted to Xianity, but the sepeartion continued. I wait for your take on this point.

    Another point I wanted to make is that IF St Thomas converted us we are bound to be mainly jewish because, I hope nobody will be offended, untill Xianity being hijacked by St. Paul the Jesus movement has been exclusively for Jews. Mathew’s Gospel is an example. Luke and Acts are FOR Paul. Conversily, IF it can be proved, say by genitics, that majority of Xian in the first century of Malabar are of Jewish origin (almost impossible to prove, I suppose because of mixing), that supports the arrival of St. Thomas here, assuming the Concil of Jerusalem held later than Thomas visit here in 52. To make the theory better the date of arrival of Thomas may be reconsidered, let us say AD 40!! BTW What is the basis for the EXAT year AD 52, every body is so sure about it, nobody wants to say vagualy as first century or soon after resurrection! I saw some where else an exact DATE of his arrival. There must have some reason for the sugested date and I would like to know, if any of you are aware of it.

    One more point: the ‘observation’ of Philip that Thekker is having a more ‘midle easterner look’ is probably wrong. My observation suggests that they are more similar to rest of the people of Malabar than many of the Nasranis are. Philip’s observation might be biased probably he didnot correct his ‘data set ‘ by the ‘immigration/rich’ factor. Dispropotionaly more Thekkar are in less SUNNY countries/areas so they tend to be more fairer than somebody living under sun/kerala, and you might seen many of the just returned/protected from sun, Thekker

  88. abey says

    From your ‘Research’s” you seem to have traced Knanaya DNA’s to, Indians, Lebenese, Pakistanis, Persian’s, Iranians ,Etc. I request you to to search for more connections say 70/72 nations of the world( of
    the old order) probably then we would be able to understand more as to what “Knanaya” is about.. Please
    do it if you are really intreasted.

  89. John Mathew says

    Dear Non-southerner:

    Regarding the term “Nasrani” for the “northerners”.

    I was reading an article (I’ll dig it up, if you want) on the title “Mappila” and it mentioned that the term applied to the various immigrant groups in Kerala: Jews, Christians, Manichaeans, and Muslims.

    And then it gave the terms: Yehudi Mapilla, Nasrani Mapilla, Suriani Mapilla, and Yavana Mappila.

    My questions:
    1) is this terminology correct?

    2) If “Nasrani Mapilla” is the historical term for the Christian northerners, was “Suriani Mapilla” the historical term for the Knanaya/southerners?

    3) Could it then be that the Knanaya (the “Suriani Mappila”) were Manichaeans?

    Finally, I don’t think the “uncorrupted tradition” you mention is any more valid than the current stories — if our people couldn’t keep a decent history pre-16th century, what are the odds that they could keep a decent history stretching back to the BC era. I don’t buy it. But it’s interesting, nonetheless.

  90. philip says

    IF knanaites are Jewish at least show some quality in it and show your biblical rooted culture to others instead don’t walk around in fences to collect mylanchi leaves to increase your fairness of your skin and that seems knanites main agenda and their Jewish ness?. If those agenda try to imply in a REAL nasrani family it totally a pagan one and those individual’ s placements will be out from those nasrani houses. Instead nasrani forefather’ s interested in wake up in morning and open his song book and reading his bible and start doing his own business that thinking u look fair that me isn’t it or let me buy a fair and lovely to increase my fairness. A Jewish rooted person are fully dedicated to god which once god asked Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son and he obeyed but God gave his words on him. And a real Jewish based individual knows what YEHOWAH wants a man to be than lot of gentile in the world doing nasty stuff in their life. And he shall obey all his ten commandments and stay away from all gentile pagan culture and that what I believe all real NASRANIS if exsisting today are all about which I can think at this point

  91. lili says

    the idea of pentecost and thus such a name did not come to be untill the fourth century.
    if i remember correctly the idea was voted upon in that very council of Nicea.
    I advise googling the encyclopedia irania or the word tarsa or tarsagan .
    I believe those communities elsewhere came to light after some inter christian wars, certainly not 1th c. AD
    Rome in it’s byzantian form was merciless. ‘mar’ is connected to sasanian communities (f.i. armenia georgia) and christian sogdian i.e. syriac estrangela.
    THE SYRIAC PSALTER CONTAINS 5th century zoroastrian words.

    Mani also milked the stories of sts. thaddeus and bartholemew sounding almost the same as the legends of Thomas etc. Conversion of royal courts that are all historically unlikely.
    Interesting, but the last word about historic ‘facts’ is far from said; it should not be used as lightly as done in this paper.


    apropos Georgia. On a travel program for MTV about six years back, while visiting an old castle, or at least trying to find it… the anker came upon a guy waving a broadsword at him into the pitchdark mountain night and had to make a running escape.
    It turned out, as the translator discovered the next day, to be a real crusader, all be it in ‘father to son ‘ tradition. Totally unaware of goings on in the rest of the world. Still dressed and smelling like a knight.
    One translation has ‘tarsa’ pejorative as funking=smelling of sex or really bad smell.
    tarsagan- no fear of yhwh
    tarsaq sogdian loanword trs’q
    new persian tarsa
    3th c. zoroastrian priest

    middle persian \ SYRIAC
    N’CL’Y – NASRAYA or DAHLA (yahra)
    cf. Heb. notsri and psalm 135.20 Heb. yirei yhwh ‘fearers of the name.’

    ark ayits ark ay persian ‘king of kings’, sapur I might have deported greek christians to the east.
    noah’s ark- yoah ‘s kingdom? i often wonder about ancient meanings of words especially in myths or stories with a lesson.

  92. lili says

    two books written also on the spread of christanity in arabia and india.
    jacobites, not nestorians for arabia though koran sounds distinctly manichean.

  93. jogy mathew says

    as far as i know there are only 3 primary races among humans. they are caucasian, mangoloids and negroids.the caucasinas are seen from white to skinny(eg. cochini jews)

  94. Vinod Kuriakose says

    Mr.Kezhakken, I have read many heroic stories of Knanayas. Most of them you can see in Internet, with out any bibliographical information. Do you know more about how the Knanaya community was at the time of the Coonen Cross Oath, Syond of Udayamperoor etc. I am trying to see some real documented history keeping the legends apart.

  95. Paul Abraham says

    Dear All
    I am a knanaya christian based in Mumbai and have only an oral tradition to go by. I hate to get bigoted about this but if there is diversity of some kind lets welcome it and enjoy it. However if we need to take ourselves too seriously and insist on the distinctions then we must be ready for scientific scrutiny. I guess the DNA tests are a good scientific basis. I am also sure that somewhere in the not too distant past the distinctions were mentioned in historical texts. The places to go hunt would be in the middle east and in the monasteries of the middle east. I dont think the latin church will have much to go by including the Roman catholic because by the time the Pope indulged us the debate had already become political and like we see in the politics of today positions would have hardened. I also feel that as a catholic the more likely historical connection would be found evaluating the jacoba connection as that stayed connected to the middle eastern origins of the kerala church.
    Does anyone have any material to read which is based on solid research ? Swiderski according to my father (who incidentally is quoted in Blood Weddings) came to Kerala and made some cursory studies and wrote the book which consequently does not seem grounded. Pity both ways. For those who were wanting proof in support of the Suddists and the naysayers.

  96. Paul Abraham says

    Dear All
    I am trying to make a small handbook for my kids who study in Mumbai on the heritage of the Syrian Christian and the Knanaya Christian sub grouping. I dont want them to get any false notions of what this means other than an objective assessment. I also want them to be open to all debate which is kept reasonable. Any suggestions on how to organise myself?
    Paul Abraham

  97. George Thomas says

    Can someone point me to some good reference on Knanaya history. I know a plethora material available in Wikipedia and internet .

    Are these statements from a website correct.

    Before the synod of Udayamperoor in 1599, the Knanites had five churches of their own: Udayamperoor, Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam, Chunkom and Kallissery. In some other churches they had one half the share along with other Syrians (Northists). So Knanites were called Ancharapallikkar (owners of five and half churches).

    Under the Chaldean Bishops some records can be interpreted in the sense. that at one time in the sixteenth century the Southists and Northists had their own archdeacons who exercised ecclesiastical jurisdiction over their own respective communities.

    From the year 1600 onwards, the Latin Bishops of the Portuguese Padroado as well as of the Propaganda Fide, who governed the St Thomas Christians, respected and preserved this distinction between the Southists and the Northists also ecclesiastically, instituting separate parishes for these communities, and appointing only priests of the respective community as parish priests.

  98. John Mathew says

    Dear George Thomas:

    Your quote from that website says it all: “…some records can be interpreted…”
    1. Do they report *which* records? No.
    2. Do they report the text of the records? No.

    The info provided, hence, is useless to anyone trying to obtain a scientific understanding of Knanaya history.

    Much of what’s been written on the topic by Indians and external observers is similarly useless. For example, that site, a Syro-Malabar one, claims the immigrants as from the East Syriac Church. The Syriac Orthodox faction claims that the immigrants came from Antioch. What does this tell us: that no one actually has any objective info on the topic.

    Also, it’s worth noting that in the old days, both the southist and northist communities claimed descent from Thomas of Cana.

    The Knanaya also claim Jewish Ancestry and advance some hybrid Syriac Christian/Jewish identity — not understanding that the Jews were not particularly liked by the Syriac Christians. It seems very doubtful that a West or East Syriac Christian community would exist that claimed pride from Jewish ancestry.

    There are some decent papers on the matter (I can dig them up) but they don’t shed much light other than to expose the fact that there are *no* objective facts on this issue. The Knanaya seem to have a history of spinning new stories. E.g., the East v. West Syriac thing, the Syriac v. Jewish thing, and now this novel theory that two archdeaconates existed! This is absurd, and seems to be nothing more than a subtle re-writing of history to downplay the very real piece of information that messes up their pretensions: that the Archdeacons — those recorded by history — were definitely NOT Knanaya. So now they say there were two streams of Archdeacons. Please. There is no info on this.

    Do I dislike the Knanaya? No. But am I being harsh? Most certainly yes. I have no patience for people who distort and rewrite history. This includes Syrian Christian historians, Knanaya historians, and my favorite distortionists, the Mar Thomites.

    Note: The wikipedia article and anything you’ll find on the web on this topic seem to be utterly useless. There are fools on both sides who have written nothing other than 100% fiction on this topic. I’ll look into digging up the sources I’ve found. Again, these sources are only good because they’re impartial: they have no real substantial history to offer, because none exists.

    Maybe you can ask that Knanaya priest for some more info on the “Chaldean records” that he’s “interpreting.”

  99. John Mathew says

    Perhaps it is also significant that the community claims it’s old name as being “Owners of the five (and a half?) Churches”.

    This seems to conflict with an origin of the Knanaya in the 4th century — or even in the 10th century. Like some have indicated, the origin of the Knanaya seems to be post-Portuguese, and perhaps due to the divisive tactics of the Carmelites (and imitated, it seems, by the Jacobites).

    It may also be significant that Anjilimootil Kathanar, the priest who aided Mar Thoma I of the Puthenkoor, didn’t seem to have any problem being an aide of a non-Knanaya.

    At any rate, these silly pseudo-histories that we find on the web are hollow, lacking any depth to all but the most simple-minded of people.

  100. rp says

    I heard many versions of knanaya stories that knanayas connected to a Muslim race than some connecting it to a Jewish one. One guy said that is why knanayas having mylanchi and marriage traditions like Muslims that it has to be in a luxurious way. If they would have fled Malabar because of religious persecutions from Syria then why they could think not to mix with Hindu or any. Another version says knanaya thommen king named him who was a merchant went to Syria from Malabar and told about Malabar Christian that tons of nairs and namboothris converted in Malabar but the hide to say that they are Christians. Those Christian Syrian decided to go Malabar but made an oath not to mix with Hindu and reached Malabar to give strength to Malabar Christian seems like an purpose tour to Malabar than it says fled Malabar because of religious persecutions.

    Here there is a confusion that persecution happened in west Asia or in Malabar. Some even says we are Portuguese decedents from Goa. I heard from a my close relative sumo driver who is my best friend that he witnessed many marriages the reason that he became a driver and could go anywhere and witnessed almost all cultures. and he is saying kana marriage is the worst luxurious one than he could see any other marriage or functions in his life.

    What I m also thinking northist and southist can be splited from the same group that the king separated because of different opinions among them. I don’t think we can connect those people who converted by St Thomas who were Jewish or may be the nasranis with northist because they are totally different the this separation is not happening at the same time. I would say if I want to find these west Asian /Syrian people I could see them in all denomination and we can find these sort of Persian west Asian look are on many individuals. I thought then what is knanaya is all about which I think those are just people assumptions that they are original since 3 ad or 6 ad unbelievable. Finally, I would say there had been Syrian or west Asian immigrants fled to Malabar but they mixed sort of and distributing these blood in all denominations who are the people devoted to christianity

  101. Elizabeth says

    I am a Kearal Christian did a DNA test and I am exact match with other Knanaya people. I did ask the Geneology department if they had found any matches with the Jews. They couldn’t find a single Jew that remotely matched or has any links with our DNA. If we had Jewish origin there should have been some match with the Jews (atleast some level of matching) . So I am not really sure if we have Jewish origin. We probably have the same traditions but the origin seems a bit doubtful.

    1. Philip Eapen says

      The Jews of today who live in Israel and other parts of the world are NOT descendants of Abraham. They are Askenazi Jews. They are descendants of a European tribe called Khazars. That is why they resemble Europeans instead of the Arabs and Palestinians around them.
      So, if there is no match between your DNA and that of today’s Jews, that is not surprising. The Nasrani community is the living fossil of the ancient Jewish Christian community found in the New Testament.

  102. Elizabeth Blessy says

    I am a Kearala Christian did a DNA test and I am exact match with other Knanaya people. I did ask the Geneology department if they had found any matches with the Jews. They couldn’t find a single Jew that remotely matched or has any links with our DNA. If we had Jewish origin there should have been some match with the Jews (atleast some level of matching) . So I am not really sure if we have Jewish origin. We probably have the same traditions but the origin seems a bit doubtful.

  103. rp says

    Hi Elizabeth Blessy, u want to ask that blessy did your mtdna .right? what i know male have ydna and these can be the same in all patrneal side but in mother/female side it changes on individuals that is why i asked and did you find your mtdna as m* which we found lot of in syrianchristians and knanaya mother/female side. so that is why i m asking to know about it. do you mind say anything about it?

  104. Kezhakken says

    Hi Elizabeth,

    As RP has mentioned, mtDNA of Southists and Northists may be very similar as both are undoubtedly Indian.

    Now, even If you had tested the paternal lineage, – Y chromosome DNA that is – it is still possible to get an Indian result. If you see the Familytreedna site for Syrian Christians, Southists and Northists both have a lot of L1(South Indian) results. Same is the case with the mysterious L3, both groups have it. The fact that a Northist result is identical to that of a Southist is not surprising. We already have such data. And indeed, in such cases the DNA results have so far pointed to Indian ancestry.

    If it is okay with you, kindly share the results (both Southist and Northist) with us in the forum so that we can get this confirmed.

    When our entire mtDNA (except for an R) and when about one half – or more – of our Y-DNA is Indian, the fact remains that we are indeed a good part Indians. But then, there is a strong presence of West Asian DNA as well. The commonsensical explanation is that Northists seem to be mixed. Southists do not have any trace of West Asian DNA.


  105. Elizabeth Blessy says

    Hi rp and Kezhakken,

    Yes I did my mtDNA. My haplogroup is M*. My HVR1 results are exact match of only Knanaya people. Yes I agree female or maternal side can change but won’t it show some connection atleast with the Jews. I would be interested to know if any male Knanaya has done a yDNA and got any Jew match.

  106. Elizabeth Blessy says


    I have joined this discussion with an open mind and am neutral. I don’t want to support any one denomination. I don’t give much importance to denomination because it is man made. Anyone who believes in Our Lord is His child. We all belong to the family of God. There is no denomination there. I am only interested in the ancestory just to know if and how the migration took place.


  107. rp says

    Kezhakken, But whatever it is, both knanaya and northist got some westasian or syrian features. for an easy analysis if kezhakken can take a look for example marthoma tirumenis or any other denominations bishops i think most of them have middleeastern looks. Even if i m a northist but i m still saying some knanaya are looking forigen sort of or i believe sort of an arabic features or something. I do believe in all these but i m not that ok with knanaya saying they were original since long long time ago. So what i want to share is that there are plenty of these westasian looks/features among N/S communites and how is that explain to our dna results. Again recently i heard that L2 halpgroup matched with a cochin jew and it considered as middleeastern. So anyway i mentioned my ideas

  108. Jackson says

    To Elizabeth, Kezhakken and others,

    I would like to clear some of the misconceptions brewing here lately with regards to Elizabeth’s concerns. Please DO NOT to make conclusions on ancestry just from the haplogroup. I have been saying this on the forum since months and thats how it is in geneaology.


    Majority of the Syrian Christians tested for their mtDNA (maternal heritage) have shown it to be M* which is almost entirely supposed to be of Indian origin. This possibly is because of local mixing. Meaning local (Christian/Hindu) wives were taken at an early stage of history when the migrants were settling here. Also since your mtDNA results match with other Knanaya’s mtDNA it only means your specific maternal lineage and those Knanaya people’s maternal lineage came from similar (Indian/Asian) maternal sources. So that just says both Knas and non-Knas have an Indian maternal heritage due to whatever reasons. This in no way speaks for the paternal lineage which is the real long-term indicator of origins/ancestry of a community’s members.

    Kezhakken and All,

    The L haplogroup detected in our samples are NOT OF SOUTH INDIAN origin. The L type of paternal lineage or Y-DNA DID NOT originate in India. You may verify this with National Geographic (not wikipedia please). There is no research evidence to support this theory. L1 is found in India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and other middle-eastern countries. L3 is middle-eastern and largely limited to areas of Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iraq/Iran. L2 is almost indicative of mediterranean descent.

    So the conclusion that L1 is “South Indian in origin” is totally wrong. Also saying L is Indian in origin is another mistake. There is no literature or evidence to support this statement. L haplogroup (including L1 and L*) is very common in Lebanon (esp. those tracking their descent from semitic Phoenicians) and also found in Syrians, Israelis, etc.

    Genealogy genetics goes beyond just seeing haplogroups. It is the characteristic mutations (like SNPs) that give a clearer knowledge of one’s ancestry and this must be studied in combination with community traditions (not folklore), historical data, migration history if any and physical anthropology of one’s family and community members.

    PLEASE NOTE: For an additional information, one of the L samples in the Syrian Christian database is an exact match with a Cochin Jew who also is L haplogroup. Another L1 sample of a Knanaya is a match with samples from Lebanon. Also L haplogroup is yet to be detected in other Keralite populations. It (L1) has been detected in Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra whose origins also is disputed and unclear. If you take a look at the Kerala DNA project all the L haplogroup members in that are Nasranis.

    So that is enough info I presume to not make wild conclusions and generalizations. And the project administrator has received feedbacks from the DNA testing institute (FTDNA) and holds that the L haplogroup (Y-DNA) tested samples in the Syrian Christian project database are almost all of middle-eastern lineage/origin (both Knanaya and non-Knanaya L samples).

  109. Admin says

    Dear All

    I read the different explanations/ interpretations on DNA test results. A possible inference the DNA results can offer with a substantial sample count is too dear. Right now, the sample size is too small and it might not be proper to make any conclusions for any favorite theories by considering the different traditions we have.

    I think in this case enough consideration need to be given to the family history, different writings of sixteenth and seventeenth century. This has been suggested earlier on getting more information about different family history and what exactly was reported earlier atleast since we have some written records and evaluate so and so.

    Some of the prominent families were, Pakalomattam, Sankarapuri, Kalli, Kalikav, Koykkam, Madeipur, Muttodal, Nedumpally, Panakkamattam, Kottakali which claim conversion from Namputhiris .There were priests in some of these families which even claimed 50th or 61st and so succession ordained by Saint Thomas.

    Ramban Pattu mentions Maliekkal and Kadappur as Rambans.

    In a report of 1604, there is a mention of four principal families of Saint Thomas Christians who had come from Mylapore. The mentioned family names are Cotur, Catanal, Onamturte and Narimattam.

    We know about Mudalali ( settled in Cattanur and Kallada ) family as descendents of eight century immigrants. Tholanikunnel as decedents from Edessa. ( Post -7223, has more information)

    Then there are families from Manigrammakkar trade guild ( Some of them are Nairs now and it is said there are families from this guild in Quilon, Kayamkulam, Mavelikara etc), Dhariyaykal trade guild also called as Thiruvankkodanmar ( Some of these families are said to be now in Kundara, Palai, Valavur, Thumapaman, Piravam etc). The Thiruvankkodanmar, especially had Kudumi until three generations back.

    Some of the Thiruvathacot Christians claim they are Chetti converts. ( now they are scattered).Tarisa Christians claims Brahmin origin and even had the practice of tying punul on male children after baptism until two or three generations back.

    We see a very complex mixture from some of the very known family traditions. What I mentioned above are just some of the local traditions. Some families from Karunagapply, Harippad, Kayamkulam maintain that they are Buddhist converts. Some other families maintain they are Jewish in origin and some others as Persian Christians. There were also gradual additions to the community in all the present denominations.

    When we come to the Southist ( Knanaya) story, at least in my opinion what can be read from some of the earlier documents is the claim of their descent from Thomas and his Syrian wife slowly building up with initial records. Thus there is a claim of the blood as pure Syrian. As we gather from the Portuguese writings the initial story of pure Syrian blood was not accepted among the Northist. There were some quotations of some antiquity which say Thomas of Cana married two Indians and settled here.

    Well, as time passed this story was adapted very later into as from Mesopotamia and then finally in to a Jewish theory presenting them as Jewish Christians which we hear today. Syrians hence became pure Jews!

    It would be proper to remember all this before you take any theories seriously. The inter- marriage among Nasranis were also reported differently in some of the travelogues ( like marrying Nairs in Sixteenth century etc). Overall it’s complex and we know very limited to make any conclusions.

  110. Jackson says


    I agree with you fully that it is impossible for us to make generalized conclusions of a heterogenous community like ours. And I guess down the ages as per convenience and social demands certain ancestries or theories found more propaganda than the other and thus became blanket terms for the entire Nasrani community.

    Also I presume you will not be surprised when I say (and its out there) that the title ‘Ramban/Rambam/Rabban’ is of Jewish origin, a title given to a Jewish religious leader, philosopher and/or teacher of high acclaim in Judaism and the Sanhedrin (Jewish council). This title originated in the 1st cent BC-AD Judaism as the religion was splitting into two schools of thoughts of Hillel and Shammai.

    Gamaliel I of the Jewish Sanhedrin of 1st cent. AD was the first person who held the title and he is even mentioned at many places in the Acts of the Apostles having spoken in favour of the early Jewish Nazarene Christian community.

    The Jewish encyclopedia writes on the title Rabban/Ramban/Rambam ………………
    “It is a title given only to patriarchs, the presidents of the Sanhedrin. The first person to be called by this title was the patriarch Gamaliel I., ha-Zaḳen. The title was handed down from him to all succeeding patriarchs. According to Frankel (“Hodegetica in Mischnam,” p. 58), Gamaliel I. received this title because he presided over the Sanhedrin alone without an ab bet din beside him, thus becoming the sole master.”

    “Gamaliel appears also as a prominent member of the Sanhedrin in the account given in Acts (v. 34 et seq.), where he is called a “Pharisee” and a “doctor of the law “much honored by the people. He is there made to speak in favor of the disciples of Jesus, who were threatened with death (v. 38-39): “For if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught: but if it be of God, ye can not overthrow it.” He is also shown to be a legal-religious authority by the two anecdotes (Pes. 88b) in which “the king and the queen” (Agrippa I. and his wife Kypris; according to Büchler, “Das Synhedrion in Jerusalem,” p. 129, Agrippa II. and his sister Berenice) go to him with questions about the ritual. Tradition does not represent Gamaliel as learned in the Scriptures, nor as a teacher, because the school of Hillel, whose head he undoubtedly was, always appears collectively in its controversies with the school of Shammai, and the individual scholars and their opinions are not mentioned. Hence Gamaliel is omitted in the chain of tradition as given in the Mishnah (Abot i., ii.), while Johanan b. Zakkai is mentioned as the next one who continued the tradition after Hillel and Shammai. Gamaliel’s name is seldom mentioned in halakic tradition. The tradition that illustrates the importance of Johanan b. Zakkai with the words, “When lie died the glory of wisdom [scholarship] ceased,” characterizes also the importance of Gamaliel I. by saying: “When he died the honor [outward respect] of the Torah ceased, and purity and piety became extinct” (Soṭah xv: 18).”

    “The title “Rabban,” which, in the learned hierarchy until post-Hadrianic times, was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, was. first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel. That Gamaliel ever taught in public is known, curiously enough, only from the Acts of the Apostles, where (xxii. 3) the apostle Paul prides himself on having sat at the feet of Gamaliel.”

    So why the title Ramban/Rabban/Rambam (acronyms) if an exclusive Jewish authoritarian title (as seen above) was also applied to some famous Nasrani men in history is indeed thought-provoking. I dont know its usage in any other community besides the Jews and Nasranis.

    I know many would still be shocked to read the origin of the title but this is what it is and not a title of christian or hindu origin ! And therefore the term ‘Ramban Paatu’ itself now carries deeper significance. The fact that ‘Ramban Paatu’ was written somewhere in the 15th-16th cent. AD shows the continued usage of the term ‘Ramban’ unforgotten for 1500 yrs. only to be also found in Judaism (among Judaic religious leaders) !

  111. Jackson says

    Also Ramban/Rabban also is apllied to a Jewish master/teacher who in respect and order is higher in degree than a Rabbi (teacher).

    Could someone enlighten why did the Nasranis use this title…. a honorary title exclusively reserved for Jewish religious leaders ? Famous examples include Joseph Rabban, Ramban Maliekal as seen in Nasrani traditions/history. There is a long list of this usage.

  112. Kezhakken says

    Hi Jackson,

    I understand that your argument is that the L1 results are Middle Eastern. As you have mentioned, the occurrence of L1 does span across a huge area and it’s frequency and diversity is highest in Pakistan. So categorizing the Haplogroup L1 as South Indian is incorrect. But when I had mentioned L1 as South Indian, I was specifically referring to the few L1 results that we have at hand.

    I am not an expert – qualified or otherwise – and all I know is to search for genetic matches in YSearch. And here is what I have seen:

    I searched for genetic matches for user ID F5S5U, who is the administrator of the Kanaim project in FTDNA. Immediate matches are other Syrian Christians and Indians (both South Indian and North Indian). He is Haplogroup L1 and considering the matches I place him nearer to Indian population than any other. I search for 4324X, a non-Nasrani South Indian result and get F5S5U as close match.

    Again I search for NDE3H, who has given the name as Kuzhiamplavil and the outcome is similar.

    If I check the Haplogroup L project in FTDNA, our L results do not visibly cluster with Middle Eastern results.

    With the information that I have, I can only place our L1 results closer to Indian L1. If FTDNA has come to any conclusion after comparing a larger number of markers, then we need to request them to publish the numbers. But as I said, from the available data I fail to convince myself that our L1 results are also Middle Eastern.

    As I have mentioned before, our L3 results are quite unique with DYS385a as 7. I haven’t so far seen this outside our community. L3 is found in India but I haven’t been able to locate any such sample so that I can compare. Our (Syrian Christian) L3 is different from the Pakistani or Afghanistani L3, where DYS385a is 9, if I remember it correctly. But again, L3 does not go beyond Afghanistan/Iran and we cannot consider that as Middle Eastern.

    Please do read the news section at FTDNA Haplogroup J project ( They have more Syrian Christian J2a4c results, same as that of Mr. Cherian Amprayil.


  113. Kezhakken says

    Apologies for posting more than once. I just saw that RP has mentioned about the occurrence L2 results among us. Can someone please confirm this?


  114. Admin says

    Dear Jackson

    Ramban or Rabban, is not an exclusive title among Jews or Nasranis. You can see the title among the prominent monks of most of the Eastern Churches. (Some times those in charge of the monasteries).

    Monasticism is very much deeply rooted in Oriental Christianity. Some say Syrian monasticism started independently before 3rd century and others say it started in Egypt under St. Antony and Pachomios and was transplanted to Syriac speaking territories. From 4th century onwards we see Syrian monasticism spreading every where and monasteries ( Dayara) emerged everywhere under the leadership of St. Ephrem, Basil, Chrysostom, Theodore and Philoxenos etc.

    Some of the prominenet Rambans in Church of East were Rabban Hormizd ( 6th century), Rabban Bar-Idta etc

    Historicaly there are some evidences that Monasticism was practiced early by Saint Thomas Christians. Cosmos Indicopleustes ( 535 AD- “They have many martyrs and recluses leading a monastic life”).

    When Mar Timothy, the Great was the Patriarch in Selleucia Ctesiphon, it is recorded that many monks traveled to China, India etc .

    It was a practice to consecrate monks as Bishops for India from Patriarch of Selleucia Ctesiphon. There is a letter from Mar Timothy I, to a Bishop before he leaves for India, “Many monks voyage to India and China with only a stick and a purse. Consider yourself to have gone by sea with as much money as they had “. There is a Persian monk named Thomas as ordained Bishop for India in 9th century.

    In the book “ History of Asceticism in the Syrian Orient” says “ the route from Persia to India was covered with monasteries that created new communication line and enlivened the interchange in the spiritual life between these areas”

    Joesph the Indian ( 1501) and Damnio de Goes also confirms that Saint Thomas Christians have monasteries of monks. “Both monks and nuns live in great observance, honesty, chastity and poverty etc.”

    In 1606, Francis Roz, the first latin prelate of the undivided church of saint Thomas Christians address “ to the Rabbans” and these Rabbans seems to have been monks.

    The Ramban songs or Thoma Parvam was composed first in Niranam by Thomas Ramban in 1601. It claim a prose account handed over in 48 generations by Maliyekkal Ramban.

    Today there are Rambans or Rabbans in some of the famous monasteries in Kerala like dayaras of IOC (Pampady dayara, Vettical dayara,Vallikkattu ), Jacobite (Manjanikkara dayara ), Syro Malabar (Mar Sleeva dayara ) etc. Also in Jacobite/Orthodox side , those priests who wants to enter a monastic life are ordained as Rambans and selection of Bishops are from them.

    Essentially even the Qurbana of Addai and Mari also originated in a Semitic environment. It is most probable that Jewish religious practice exerted a formative influence on Syriac Christianity in general.

    Don’t go overboard with the Jewish ancestry theory.

  115. John Mathew says

    RE: Rabban.

    Jackson wrote: “So why the title Ramban/Rabban/Rambam (acronyms) if an exclusive Jewish authoritarian title (as seen above) was also applied to some famous Nasrani men in history is indeed thought-provoking.”

    Rabban is used by all the Syriac Churches, as Admin explained. If you were to read the histories of the Church of the East or the Syriac Orthodox Church, you will find copious examples of West Asian monks using that title.

    I would like to echo the statement Admin made about not going overboard with the Jewish ancestry thing. In Christianity (whether Roman, Greek, or Syriac), there is quite a bit of Judaism! This is not due to genetics, but because (speaking historically) Christianity “descends” from Judaism.

    Eastern Christianity in particular has many Semitic characteristics—characteristics that are not due to “lost tribes” or Jewish Christianity or genetic descent, but because the Syriacs were Semites. It’s also interesting to note that despite being Semites, the Syriac Christians were also quite anti-Jewish. Not as in European anti-Semiticism, but an intellectual opposition to Judaism and its teachings (versus the teachings of Christ). And if you read further, you’ll find examples of massacres of Syriac Christians by Jews (e.g., Yemen).

    So, next time we observe a supposed “Jewish” characteristic in the nasranis, let’s first double check to ensure that the Judaism is (1) not a general Semetic property and (2) not a general Christian borrowing from Judaism.

    One only wishes that A. Grant and C. Buchanan would have made a modicum of effort in that respect, thus sparing us from their historical pollution.

  116. Jackson says

    Dear Admin and John Mathew,

    I highly appreciate your inputs which I learnt now on the usage of the hebrew title ‘Rabban’ among all Eastern Christians. The point I was making (if you read between the lines) which you two also made is the “cultural impact” and influence early Judaism had in shaping Eastern Christianity including Nasranis. We agree here.

    Now, what I would like to know from you both is where and when was I linking my post or Nasranis or whoever, with “lost tribes”, “genetics” and “Jewish Christianity” ? What made you come to the conclusion that I was speaking on “ancestry” or “descent” ? Point out the above words (the words you two used to misinterpret the entire topic) in my post and I stop posting on NSC henceforth.

    Admin, this was your statement: “Don’t go overboard with the Jewish ancestry theory”.
    John Mathew you said you “echo” the above.

    Now explain on what basis… when I was talking something else (what else if you ask… the very points you also made…. “Culture/Traditions”) ?

  117. A Silent observer says

    @ Jackson,

    Take criticisms in a positive spirit.
    If u are here from the very beginning then u will notice that admin also was ‘gung ho’ about jewish ancestry. So may be he just wanted to tell u to go slow.


    Nice to see u take realistic approch

  118. John Mathew says

    Dear Jackson,

    Sorry if I misinterpreted what you were saying. Perhaps I amplified something I thought was there, distorting it beyond its original meaning. My apologies.

    What I do know is that from reading posts here, and much of the garbage produced on the internet on this topic, and much of the garbage published in India on this topic, *some* people do seem to amplify tiny bits of their own ignorance about Semitic and Eastern Christianity into some distorted view of how the Kerala Nasranis are descendants of (1) lost tribes (2) Jewish Christians (3) Essenes (4) Zealots, (5) name-your-own-favorite-group. E.g., witness the Knanaya, who actually have less historical artifacts and literature than the regular Nasranis (I think their records start at the modern 17th century), but yet they seem to confidently claim absurdly wild — and diverse — theories about their own history. This is perhaps the most extreme example of a disturbing general trend amongst Kerala Christians — writing history whose foundations have the density of a vacuum.

    A. Grant is famous for his idiotic theories on the Nestorians of Urmiah. One only needs to read a fellow Protestant missionary (his book was called “Nestorians and their Rituals” 2 vol, available on Google Books) to see an indictment against Grant’s ignorance. Similarly, Burnell—a fellow Brit—gave a scathing indictment of C. Buchanan’s similarly foolish theories on the Nasranis of Kerala.

    So, Jackson, I apologize if my comment was made in error. But I seem to recall you stated in some old post on how one must take genetics in conjunction with the traditions of the community in question. The danger, as I see it, with this is people may mistakenly claim a “Jewish” characteristics in the Nasranis that is merely a general Eastern/Syriac Christian characteristic, and then amplify the worthiness of their own theories with this mistake.

    If I could change my post, I would not direct it at you, but at the community in general—let’s be more careful, and not claim a Jewish characteristic when it is actually a Syriac Christian characteristic. E.g., people were making a big deal about “Pesaha” as some unique Nasrani festival. Well, I can show you my West Syriac Penqito (and I’m sure my Pazhayakoor brothers can show me the same in their Hudra) which lists the Sedros, Madrashe, etc., to be recited during “Pesaha” — so is Pesaha really unique to us?

  119. Kezhakken says

    Hi Everyone,

    I have some interesting findings on our mysterious L3. As it is evident from the FTDNA Haplogroup L ( page, the unique characteristic of our L3 results is the value of DYS 385 which is 7,16.

    I used the page to try and predict the haplogroup, when only the values of DYS 385a and DYS 385b are given. It predicted that the expected haplogroup is L with a probability of 99.7%. So it happens that these values are quite unique and are found only in L results.

    Then I went to And searched for this combination. There were 6 matches in total. One is a Tamil from India and 5 others are marked as Indians from Malaysia and Singapore. Indian population in Singapore and Malaysia are predominantly Tamil.

    If you look at the collection of DNA samples obtained by Sengupta at you can see that there is an L3 result from Tamil Nadu. From the given abbreviation, I guess that the caste of the individual is Pallan. But this data unfortunately does not have DYS 385 data.

    To me, it looks like our(Syrian Christian) L3 is Tamil/Dravidian. We need not go till Afghanistan and cross over to Iran.

    50% or more of the Southist results known so far are L3. The story can now be retold as someone traveling from Tamil Nadu – in a boat of course – and settling in Kerala

    References to these sites were obtained from


  120. Admin says

    Dear Jackson

    The Thoma Parvam we discussed says Thomas made converts from Jews in Tiruvanchikulam. It also talks about conversion from others as well.

    If you recollect I was also consistently pointing out the possibility of Jews conversion and making comparisons with jewish on many things and at times from very non credible sources too. That’s a wrong approach. We do can find many literature by a through look at our history and there is no need for many of the Knanaya kind of stories in circulation now. There are still articles here which need correction from my side. Some of the points we harp, are the most probable result because of the fact that Jewish religious practice exerted a formative influence on Syriac Christianity in general. Its natural to see Jewishness everywhere when we look only from that prism.

    What John Mathew has mentioned is indeed important and need to be kept in mind by everyone. This is not something to misinterpret or misquote you. After all this is not any blame game. I have also benefited from your posts and am sure many here also feel the very same thing. I do hope that you would be around.

  121. Admin says

    Dear Kezhakken

    Its an interesting information on L3, which being 50 % among Southists so far ( If its an indication). Knanayas as someone “traveling from Tamil Nadu – in a boat of course – and settling in Kerala “can not be ruled out.

    It might be interesting, if we seriously look at some of the folklore’s active in Seventeenth century onwards. There are few Malayalam books which are collections of these ( stories of Veluthedathi or Vellala (Is Pallan the same community ?), Thomas of Cana bringing people from Sri Lanka etc. Though some of these materials are polemical in intention, it would give some leads. Interestingly, what we find as Southist history in wiki or other places are very polemical in intention and are late opinions suggested by some people from Southist community. In this case, ofcourse there are heavy difference between opinions and what can be considered as history. A comparison of both the polemical materials would be beneficial considering the indications.

  122. Jackson says

    Dear Admin,

    I will surely be around on NSC. It is a valuable site for sure. Only that I wanted to make my post clear. Thanks anyway for the imputs.

    And I really do not understand what Kezhakken is upto trying to disprove a particular community by overdoing and overstating certain things when things have already been made clear.


    If you have serious issues or doubts about the Knanaya DNA results you should contact the DNA project admin Mr. Jacob and get things clarified rather than put in your own exclusive understandings and individual mode of researching.


    And finally I would say not as advocacy or support, but the fact is, we (Northists) simply have no right to blame or ridicule the Southists. If the Southists have cooked up some theories, then the Northists have cooked up equal blunders like Namboothiri and upper-caste stories, etc. And it all melts down to culture and traditions more than DNA as we all agree at the end of the day. So for the positive part, the Southists have been more successful and eager to preserve and pass on the Semitic/Jewish culture than most Northists. Of course there are also Northists who too have preserved the same to date. So the solution is not blame game as u said, but that both communities try to learn from the other what is positive and what needs to be preserved. At preserving some of the long forgotten Hebrew customs the Southists should get the credit even if it may originally not be theirs by any possibility.

    I am reminded of the proverb ‘Thinnuge illa, theetikyuge illa’ by our attitudes…. I am not justifying the partisan policies of Southists but trying to see the little good points and enrich my own learning experience. If we are so bothered and opposed to Southists and calling their claims and traditions as stories (as if our Northist stories are not blunders) then why do we fail to preserve the same traditions and heritage while they uphold it ? If those traditions and claims are not at all true why are we bothered and opposing at all ?

    The fact that we oppose them says, down the line we are struggling to get over the wounds of having lost our heritage and feel intimidated/harmfully nostalgic, when some other sub-community still continues to practice them. If not why this Southist “theories” (if stupid) still make headlines and be discussed on most Nasrani forums and blogs ? The sense and hangover of “having lost” has led to this attitude among us. We need to get over this or the blame game will continue.

    The solution: We either get back the lost heritage and customs for ‘all’ Nasranis as we were during pre-portuguese era or just stop squabbling over and ridiculing those who wish to preserve them, irrespective of their DNA and descent and all the crap.

    I would also like to add that, we are been misguided and continuing to interpret things to our advantage for in-fighting rather than learn and explore things and use them as a tool for cognitive research. The DNA project is the latest example wherein we are demonstrating this destructive “skill” of ours which makes lay people still believe DNA projects and testings is for divisions and superiority claims. Some have already demonstrated ! I am afraid we will ever get to really learn anything from the same in the process and the project will dig its own grave and hardly get samples in the process.

    Just raising my concerns……. Shalom !

  123. Kezhakken says

    Hi Jackson,

    I see the point. I was clarifying on the L3. If my repeated taunts related to the Southist claim does not encourage a healthy discussion, then I feel that it is better avoided in future.

    I am particularly opposed to the stance taken by certain elements within the Southist community on adoption. Apart from this, I have nothing against the community and have great respect for their industriousness.


  124. John Mathew says

    Dear Jackson/All:

    Could you please enumerate a list of bonafide Jewish customs followed by the Knanaya? You mentioned your admiration for Knanaya maintenance of the “old” customs. Well, what are these old, unique customs?

    Pesaha is not one of them, since that is also a Northist custom. Descent from Thomas of Cana, neither: the Northists claimed the same.

    Then what else? The only unique characteristic I came across is they have a unique song “Bar Mariam” — but that’s a Christian song.

    So what is so “Jewish” about them other than their myths? I think this is what often irritates Northists: anyone whose seriously studied our history knows that historical records on individual families are quite recent. The only evidence that goes back to antiquity are general assessments of the community of Kerala and/or Indian Christians which point to our connection with the Church of the East—who were definitely not Jews and/or Jewish Christians. Yet, the Knanaya continue to advance their myths as fact. I would liken it to the irritation a scientist feels when confronted with a Creationist. It’s not jealousy, but rather disgust at the diminished intellect of the opponent.

    But I’m interested in knowing once and for all what exactly these Jewish characteristics are. So far, I’ve found nothing Jewish in the customs of the Nasranis and Knanaya, except possibly Pesaha. Certainly no circumcision which is the strongest mark of Judaism.

    And you too. You use “Shalom”. Fine. But why not “Shlomo” which is Syriac— and the Syriacs that the strongest demonstrated link with the Nasranis!? Or why not Pahlavi which is the oldest West Asian link the Nasranis have? (I’m not nit-picking … I’m just trying to understand your mentality. Is Syriac Christianity somehow defective that you need a Jewish identity? Or do you have bonafide evidence of such Jewish origins. And if so, please tell me because I am interested).

  125. Alphy says

    I agree with the Admin’s thoughts on the heterogeneous mix of our people. Even the earliest Jewish coverts of St. Thomas, would have been similar to the brown Jews of Kerala. The earliest generations of Jews had taken local wives and had children. The earliest merchants always traveled alone. Women were rarely taken on journeys across the seas. Even the first generations of British in India had taken Indian wives due to lack of British ladies.

    The only chance of having a large number of Jewish women come across to India is through mass influx. Like what happened to the White/pardesi Jews, who fled from Spain and Portugal after 1400’s. They felt the Brown Jews as inferior because they had mixed blood. They also felt they no longer qualify, as Jews – as Jewishness was to be derived from the mothers side. In the beginning White Jews and Brown Jews used to intermingle, but after they had settled into Kerala and understood the caste system, they choose to be endogamous and would not further interact with the brown Jews to maintain their “purity”. This way they had managed to upsurp many of the powers which hitherto belonged to the Brown jews.

    Not sure of the Knanya story mimics the story of brown jews and white jews.

  126. John Mathew says

    Alphy, do you have any more info on how the white Jews usurped the power of the brown Jews? I read an account of how the Paradesi synagogues used to only tolerate the “brown” Jews.

    Was this perhaps because the white Jews came as merchants with better foreign ties, thus achieving a higher level of prestige? What happened to the brown Jews? Did they merge with the Nasranis, or have they maintained their separate identity to this day?

  127. Admin says

    Dear All

    1.Northists does not have any right to blame Southists.

    We need to talk about history based on facts. History, whether it is of the Northists’ or the Southists’ is always open to scrutiny and criticism. Its up to you whether you should scrutinize or not but do not discourage others from it. Considering the situations which led to lack of documents, we should examine with compassion.

    2. Namboothiri/ Jew origin

    There may be people who are very fond of the Namboothiri/ Jew origin than many of the elements that make up Saint Thomas history. Some people find Namboothiri/ Jew origin not open to criticism while some others find many of the events which led to the formation of different churches not open to investigation and analysis. None of the above seems to be a good approach to me.

    In Post -15057 I have mentioned about Thiruvankkodanmar , Tarisa etc who are very much part of the community. There is no easy way to explain these. These also need to be kept in mind in the pursuit of Namboothiri and upper-caste stories

    3. About Southists’ preservation of traditions.

    I don’t know how many of you are aware that Pulakuli ( 8 days) was active part of the Southist (Knanaya) tradition till 1939. They also had a custom that tendor coconuts should be taken to church. The priest would bless one, drink a little of the water and give to the relatives of the deceased to drink in turn. With my limited understanding, I can add many like these. I get amused by statements like ‘Southists persevered many traditions from extinction’. Does anyone know from when this ’Jewish Christian theory ‘ came into picture in the Southist history ? From when the name ‘Knanaya ‘started to replace ‘tekkumbhagar’ ? I would say that they should do DNA tests with proportionate sample size and make the results public in order to substantiate their claims.

  128. Admin says

    4.Records of History about Southists

    There are only few reference about Southists in the recorded history. In 1516, a Portuguese priest named Penteadu talks about an Armenian merchant (without mentioning any name) who came here for economic interest.

    Later Dionysio in 1578, writes for the first time the name of Cana Thomas in historical records and says he came after the arrival of Mar Saphor and Mar Prodh for trade and converted locals and lived amongst them.

    There is no mention of any Vision, Colony or helping the Church here etc. It talks only about trade interest and put the arrival after Mar Prodh and Mar Saphor.

    I have collected some information about what the various travelogues and letters say but don’t have full content of letters. May be someone can share.

    5. Brown Jews

    Brown Jews seems to have been in existence in 1901. The source is Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol II – ( Pages- 460 onwards). There seems to be a good probability for what Alphy suggested.

  129. Alphy says

    John, The white Jews actually outright discriminated against their brown/black brethren. They did not allow them into the Pardesi synagogues, not did allow them to partake in their feast. Anyone marrying a brown Jew was ostracized and removed from the community. In the last 50 years they started first allowing the black Jews into the courtyard and then later the privilege to sit in the back benches

    But the white jews had no qualms in claiming the same privileges bestowed on Joseph Rabban, and took pride in him, even though they recognized him to be a brown/black Jew. The later maharajas took the leaders of the newer pardesi communities as being representative of the Jewsish community as they had convinced the kings that they were more purer.

    If you go to the Pardesi synagogue in Cochin, you are given the impression, that the Pardesi Jews are the last of the Jews and the Pardesi synagogue is the only synagogue in Kerala. Currently there are not enough Pardesi Jews to have minyan for the service.

    Many times they forget to mention the other bigger synagogues of the black Jews in Chennamngalam and Ernamkulam. The black jews had earlier now defunct synagogues in Ernakulum, Parur, Mala, and the Kadavumbagam and Tekkumbagam synagogues in Mattancheri. There are some 100-150 black jews remaining, the rest of them have migrated to Israel

    In a twist of fate now the Pardesi Jews are depended on the black jews to have minyan and for getting kosher food, the only shochet in Kerala is from the black jews..

    You can find some more pictures/videos/info of the black Jews here


  130. M Thomas Antony says

    Re. Southists preserved our traditions.

    Many of our ancient traditions are still alive probably because the knanaites tried to keep the traditions. Among SMC, many of the traditions are active mainly in the southern dioceses of Changanacherry, Palai, Kanjirappalli belt. This is because of the presence of “Southists” in the region under the Arch diocese of Kottayam. You can see the best example in “peshaha celebration at home”.

    The IOC/Jacobites have mostly lost that tradition at all. Most of my friends of IOC/Jacobites have never heard of that. One of my Marthomite friend thinks it is a Catholic tradition as many of his SMC friends only celebrate it. (If I am wrong, please correct.)

    Among SMC, dioceses at Ernaculum- Trichur belt have lost this tradition.

    My understanding was that Margam Kali was also a purely “southist” one and many years ago, once I asked one of the priests why we are reviving a “southist” tradition among us.

    As Admin has mentioned, many of these traditions were active among SMC until early 1900s and it is clear that when SMC was under foreign prelates, we were very keen in keeping our traditions and when we got our own prelates, they competed each other to get rid of our traditions. When Rome introduced the term “Syro Malabar” instead of “Syro Chaldeans”, our leaders strongly opposed to it and sent letters to Rome. Now, can we expect anyone in SMC want to use the term “Syro Chaldean” ?.

  131. John Mathew says

    RE: Pesaha

    Antony wrote: “The IOC/Jacobites have mostly lost that tradition at all.” I can’t comment about the qualifier “mostly” since I don’t claim to know all Jacobites and/or IOC. But from the ones I do know, every single Jacobite I know from northern dioceses observes the pesaha apam custom, whether Knanaya or non-Knanaya Only a few from the southern ones (Mavelikara-Kollam) do.

    I believe someone else made a comment to this effect on NSC. The observance of Pesaha is less due to Catholic/Orthodox or Northist/Southist, but rather due to geographical location. Again, I’m just repeating this — I don’t know every Nasrani/Knanaya and so can’t comment on this.

    But how old is the Pesaha appam custom? What is the oldest attested date?

    Perhaps this is just a custom that creeped in when the Black/Brown Jews amalgamated with us during the Portuguese/Tippu era — hence, it is not a universal custom, nor such an ancient one. Perhaps *that* is the reason why geography is a factor. Perhaps the nasranis from the regions where the Pesaha appam tradition is observed had more admixture with black jews, while the nasranis of areas where the Pesaha appam tradition isn’t observed didn’t have much admixture with black Jews.

    Just an theory …

    It would be nice to know whether there are any nasrani families that have a tradition of being descended from the mixture of black jews and Christians, and then correlate this with their observance of the pesaha appam tradition.

  132. John Mathew says

    Thanks, Alphy.

    You know, the more I read about the Black Jews, the more I deplore the pseudo-historical noise put forth by various quarters on the Jewish-Nasrani connection.


    Because there must be a connection, a deep one, and one that we ought to explore and examine properly — scientifically, with evidence. If only the propagandists would quit putting forth the fruits of their ignorant fantasies, perhaps we could learn the truth about our relationship to the Black Jews.

    Does anyone have any info on the Shingly rite as used by the Black Jews? Any idea on Nasrani families that intermixed with the Black Jews? Any info on Pesaha observance among the Black Jews?

  133. Easo Pothen says

    Hello Everybody,

    I found a PhD thesis about the endogamous Knanaya community. I found his book very informative and had a gala time reading it. I am quoting from his thesis. Except for the titles none of the below sentences are mine. It is a direct English software translator and kindly bear with the English. Enjoy reading I will share the details of the book later on.

    a) Origin of Knan Country

    I mention the origin of the Knanaya ‘Knan country’

    The name I assume from an article in the newspaper ‘Malayala Manorama’ on 30.4.1995. It is about a Congress Jacobin Knanaya them, the few days previously held.


    b) How Knanaya history is made

    The Knanaya specialists aim is to preserve the myth. They control what the community will be forwarded and how. None of the scientists wonders aloud why no Knanaya own language, at least in
    Fragments, scattered around. The specialists also silent on the period between Portuguese reports of the 16th and 17 Century and occupied the new Samudayam appearance of the end of the 19th Century. For the Meantime, has no event, not even the name of a bishop, to the Existence of the Knanaya out.

    Fathers are key players. Since them the divine instructions directly in Form of a dream story, conveys, sets the story in sacred their existence because of the Knanaya. With them is the beginning of that in one years of the Christian era. As a chronological measure is the time However, no significance, the quality of the annual number of 345 is beyond the Measurable. It means to be close to the origin of everything is founded Knanaya – World understanding, at the beginning divine intervention in the fate of the world in the form of Christian doctrine and the work of the apostles.

  134. Easo Pothen says


    c) How the name ‘Knanaya’ came (it was after late Mar Clemis became the bishop)

    Mar Clemis is always personally involved in the fate of the Knanaya – Samudayam involved. What the community is concerned, relates to him. The “Malankara Suriyani Knanaya Church” is identified with Mar Clemis he embodies the common ‘we’ of his church members. In one of our Discussions I asked him what it meant to be Knanaya. He replied:

    “I am proud of my birth-Knanaya. I feel that I have to work here, that I have to give a contribution. It is a homogenous community. The bishop can bring all together. It is a good position but I have no money. Homogenouity means Oneness. It is better to be a Knanaya than to be a Protestant or a Catholic. There you live in a vast field, in a big church. Here you are wanted. You meet the challenge here that is better than going here and thereafter. Mar Clemis is a ‘maker’. The fact that everything on him is, his Plant. He has an idea of the Knanaya identity develops and puts them into practice order. He ‘is’ a tradition that he made it entirely in its meaning and understanding.

    Mar Clemis said:”I want Knanaya-songs to be written – from scientists. Other texts from the bible should also be sung. (On the table lies a printed poster. It shows Knai Thoma, a man with a white beard and turban, rich dressed, with a scepter and palm-leaf script in his hands. In the background is indicated the sea and a large sailing ship.) We will place this picture in the third altar, in all churches. We will do that very slowly. Kalli Sherry church has one for evening procession. We feel that we go on like this. Two painters have done it, maybe it is the last version. There are so many paintings of St. Mary.

    I am planning another picture, when the Cheruman Perumal receives Knai Thoma but it is difficult to depict the king. Then I Want a Knanaya flag. I went to the USA, so many Jewish communities I visited them and asked: where is David’s flag? But they do not know. I want that for ours. The Jews do not know. But we shall have that. Knanaya Songs thus. I made one, that is not enough. I want a nationally-Knanaya song. The Catholics have pope.songs. We have got a hymn-making is to make a song for us. (He voiced the Indian national anthem.) Then we will only continue to exist. We have so many challenges. Only then girls and boys wants to learn and get the right community feeling. Thoma Knai is our identification, and to prove that we want flag, picture and song. The Knanaya Catholic will have to accept when I do all this. Then they will start calling themselves Knanaya, now only Suddhists. They will follow us. We are more creative and we had a bishop first.In everything they follow us. Mar Clemis successfully used to his community by the names’ Thekkumbhagam ‘and’ Suddhist ‘away. Each Designation in relation to another group acts as the self – unique tradition opposite group. Even in his late eighties written manuscript dive bied names, ‘Suddhist’ and
    ‘Knanaya’, equivalent to coexist.

    Today, it seems, is working Mar Clemis a Knanaya identity, the connection between fathers and tradition Orthodox faith the emphasis is more on the people individually Religious steers. An answer to the question whether the new direction of a solution Patriarchy is included, remains at least for the next few years the area speculation arrested. Many travel Jacobin Apostles Christians believe convinced. They say that the ‘clever Metropolitan’ will make in a few years Relics of Knai Thoma arise, the sacralization still a little pushing, and finally a private patriarchy in the name of Thomas Knai will be found.

  135. Easo Pothen says


    d) Unity among Kanayas

    The Syriac Orthodox Church interprets the coming of Kerala Knai Thomas as the beginning of the relationship between the antiochenischen and All Indien. Patriarchate and the Catholic Church historian, on the other hand are now recognized on the conviction that the early Indian Church belong to the Eastern Syriac Church. Cherian wrote: “That the Malabar Church came into contact with the Jacobite Church and its patriarch only about the middle of the 17th century is the generally accepted view at present. Few modern historians believe that the connection goes back to the early centuries of the
    Christian era. ”

    “The Catholics are wrong,” say the Jakobiten, “they came only in the 15-16. century. We have the proper faith. ” Kurian, priests at the seminary in Chingavanam, speaks for all Orthodox Knanaya.

    Jacob Kollaparampil said added a second time in March 1995:

    “The Jacobite Knanaya destorted the whole history. The Knanaya are not coming from Antioch, but from the Persian Empire. And there is no report that the West-Syrian Church was in India before the 17th century. Only after Coonan Cross with one group remained and became Archbishop Thomas Jacobite. The Non-Knanaya Jacobite accept today that before the Portuguese came there was the East-Syrian Church in India. But the Knanaya use this to anticatholic show their feeling. It is all Polemic. And they continue to mislead the people – maybe with a good intention, I do not know.”


    e) Missionary work by Thomas Cana

    Mission and life of the forefathers Knanaya remember today with pride.They speak of the ‘Missionary work’ of their ancestors, by a ‘colonisation for evangelization ‘.

    Mr. Lukose from Chingavanam, with me as a representative of the Press said the Orthodox Church, said:

    “We brought the bible first. St. Thomas converted Hindus, but up to the fourth century these Christians had no bible. There was a Christian community but nobody to guide them, no bishop, no bible, a delaborate Christian community. They said: we need leaders! So who Knai Thommen was on business relations with them asked the bishop, Joseph, and he asked the Patriarch.

    Our forefathers who came to Malabar were very Courageous because they came in a wooden boat. We lost everything, we lost the boat and our language. So, can you imagine now why we are proud? ”

    A Knanaya Catholic priests in a village near Piravam said in an interview:

    “We are Knai Remembering Thoma as the cause and beginning of the Knanaya community in Kerala. Whether there have been Christians before him in India is a question of discussion. Knai Thoma’s coming is a matter of truth.”

  136. Easo Pothen says


    f) What happens if you question Knanaya origin

    You do not always take the easy lay people what they like or have back and forget what does not fit into their picture. Following the publication of the Scripture ‘Symposium on Knanites’, lawyer sought from James Mackil Kottayam a process against Jacob Kollaparambil too.

    In his the source texts had Mackil the version of history found under Thoma Knai the two women and a second woman from the Nayar caste.

    Kollaparambil defended his work as a scientist the publication of the text of Ros for the sake of completeness would have been warranted. Ros’ version, therefore, is of particular Knanaya vehemently oppose.

    He had, in fact knowing that the ‘Southists’ from a’ concubine ‘descended while the Christians, the apostles Descendants of the wife of Thoma Syrian Cana were.

    In a Interview showed he was helpless in the face of the allegations Mr Mackils. This brought on a process that demanded a public correction, even by the publisher of the symposium, and even the bishop, and published two further letters to Kollaparambil in which he, as he said, from a sense of responsibility towards the people of the Knanaya argued. Ros’ version, therefore, is of particular Knanaya vehemently oppose. He had, in fact knowing that the ‘Southists’ from a’ concubine ‘descended while the Christians, the apostles Descendants of the wife of Thoma Syrian Canaaneo were.

  137. Easo Pothen says


    g) About Jewish Link.

    The description of the Knanaya tradition in close connection to Judaism in general and to the Jews in Cochin, in particular, serve the same Interest. In the eighties, studies of Jewish Song traditions of the Cochin-Juden show a possible link

    The work has Vellian causes, the proximity of Jews and Knanaya out. The essays by P.M.Jussay, “The Wedding Songs of the Cochin Jews and of the Knanite Christians of Kerala ‘ The term “Jewish Christians of Kerala” was coined.

    To support his argument looks Vellian society other scientists, such as the Jewish theologian Shalva Weil, an Essay about the similarities of Knanaya and the Jews in Cochin written hat. Shalva Weil, particularly in the fact of Immigration of both groups, and privileges guaranteed to them in the high social status, both groups have always been granted.

    Not only is the wedding rites show Vellian out to Jewish roots. Knanaya celebrated the passover, so he told them. Even the blessing of death totals among the Jewish specificity. The impression is created that not only the important phase of the wedding in the life of a Knanaya ritually strengthened, but, as Vellian writes: “As a community, the Kinanites have many special ceremonies related to various situations in life”.

    He cites death rites including pulakuli, a ceremonial bath after the funeral ceremony, and sradham, celebratory acts of remembrance days on the deceased.

    Striking is that other symbols and rituals of the Jewish religious community absent. For a strictly limited blood purity eight group expected a sign of special affiliation already for early childhood. The Jewish circumcision about which such a unifying featurecould, but do not know Knanaya.

    The bulk of the laity is to all of its scientific exploration Community, and describes their attitude Vellian safely clearly than he to my question about the interest in the proximity of the Jews the simple answer was: “It gives them a good feeling to say they are Jewish because Jesus was a Jew.”

    ‘Jewish-Being’ is more a feeling than a knowledge, separated by a Knowledge of Jewish relatives. The Vellian for Knanaya claimed Blessing of death is a further indication of the discrepancy between what he established cultural ideals and the Laienpraxis. My conversations with Symposium and Shalva Weil demonstrated a possible link between the two groups.

    Both authors use the existing reference material to substantiate their theories on the origin and
    Togetherness of Jews and Knanaya, by the last remaining unsatisfactory, because they Framework of the hypothetical funds.

    The Knanaya does not seek the proximity to the Cochin Jews living in or even to Jewish theology. The religious Over delivery outlined this relationship should not degree of concreteness accept. In fact, a deeper immersion and understanding Jewish history and theology to the holy in the history of the Knanaya Opposition occur, but the Knanaya not realize the actual severity of the fact.

  138. Easo Pothen says

    h) His inference

    The biggest threat to the religious tradition of the Knanaya today lies in of the alleged experts and scientifically-up verifiable historicity of the story. The classification into a chronological framework and to the protection of the narrative as ‘historical reality’ effect of the takeover in history by Specialists.

    Many lay people are confused, they are no longer at ease with the Over delivery.

  139. M Thomas Antony says


    Re pesaha.

    “The observance of Pesaha is less due to Catholic/Orthodox or Northist/Southist, but rather due to geographical location.”

    How can it be correct when the SMC of Southern dioceses and the Jacobites of Northern dioceses only observe pesaha ?

    What do you mean by Jacobites of Northern dioceses ? Do you mean Trichur Kunnamkulam belt ? If so, the SMC of that belt doesn’t observe pesaha. So, your theory is not winning there. If you mean northern dioceses of Jacobites as Muvattupuzha Koothattukulam belt, ( vs Mavelikkara etc) then that is the geographical area where knanaites are present. Then, the presence of Knanaites in the region is the factor.

    I had a colleague from Malta a while ago who told me that Christians of Malta observe pesaha. They are also an apostolic Christian group- St Paul’s Christians. Malta is an island isolated from rest of the World like the Kerala Christians. Could it be that pesaha was a custom of initial christian groups, which became diluted over the time but persisted in isolated pockets like Kerala and Malta ?

    BTW, I have a Maronite colleague who said they don’t observe pesaha at home.

  140. Annie says

    I would like to make a point. Pesaha celebrations that it is also person dependent or family dependent. I have seen one family celebrate but at the same time his brother’s or sister’s family do not. As the families become more and more nuclear, I think unless we put a conscious effort these traditions will die out. My opinion is that Jacobites/Orthodox/Marthoma received English education much earlier (especially in Tiruvalla side ) and many grand mothers of these denominations were working women and have never bothered to make appam on a working day and their children too didn’t bother. I also have not made it so far though my friend informed me its not so difficult to make and she made it for the first time and it did taste good. May be I will do it next year.

  141. Admin says

    Dear Thomas Antony and John Mathew

    I know that Southists both in Catholic as well as Jacobite side like to present them as protectors and preservers of faith and tradition. This role as protectors of faith in Catholic and Jacobite side is actually based on the position some of their leaders has taken in past.

    For eg. in the Jacobite side, after the incidents which lead to the formation of Mar Thoma Church, the Jacobite Patriarch Abdalla wanted to gain complete authority over Malankara Church from Mar Dionysios. The Synod of Malankara Church did not want to give more authority than spiritual power to the Jacobite Patriarch. The Jacobite Patriarch was incensed. To take control over the Church and to get more people to his side, he consecrated two bishops. One of them was a Southist, Severios who was a close aide of Mar Dionysios,

    By this Patriarch did gain support of one prominent advisor of Mar Dionysios but he gave official recognition to a division among Syrians as Northist and Southist. Hence in 1910, a Southist diocese was officially formed and recognized in Jacobite Church.

    What Leslie Brown says in ‘The Indian Christians of Saint Thomas’ is that Jacobite Patriarch given recognition to a division among the Syrians which Menezes had tried to heal.

    In Catholic side, the Southists were against ordination of Indian bishops and these incidents among the Jacobite together with the divide and rule policy of Carmelities influenced the creation of a Southist diocese in 1911. Both these factions say that they were protectors of faith.

    The image of preserver of tradition is based on the identity creation started after the formation of these two dioceses.

    It is incorrect to say that in Southern belt, among the southern dioceses of SMC traditions are active because of Southist presence in Changanacherry, Palai, Kanjirappalli belt.

    In some of these locations we can also see both Jacobite / Orthodox presence as well.

    The restoration of east Syrian liturgical heritage in Syro Malabar was initiated by Rome. What motivated many Priests and lay in Syro Malabar towards the restoration of East Syriac heritage are the works of Fr. Placid, who can be called as the modern father of Syro Malabar Church. As far as I understand, this has nothing to do with any effort or position taken by Southists/ Northists in general.

    Jacobite Southists are convinced that they are from Antioch and came here in 3rd century. Catholic Southists, after the works of Fr. Placid started saying they are from Persia.( earlier it was Pure Syrians).

    In fact, in Southern diocese of Syro Malabar the relation between Southists and Northists were not very smooth after the creation of these diocese. ( Since Southists were against Indian Bishops and later on the Northist were against the consecration of a Southist as their Bishop.).Here the Northists taking inspiration from Bishop Roz sixteenth century account of Southists still call them as Chaaram Kettikal. Also the SMC people from these area are generally more aware of the Southists history and how it evolved than SMC-northern area and other denominations.

    We does can see differences in some of the traditions practiced by Northists and Southists in Southern belt. For example Pulakuli, Northists had it after 10 days where Southists celebrated after 8 days. If we examine the life and nature of Saint Thomas Christians neither divisions can claim the role of ‘preserver of traditions’.

    My understanding is that Pesaha is celebrated by everyone with some exceptions which can be a result of westernization. What I know from my relatives and heard from friends is that in Syro Malabar, people from Thrichur as well as Ernakulam celebrate it. Generally they call the Appam as Kalathappam.

    I know from relatives that it is celebrated among Jacobites/ Orthodox in Ernakulam, Angamaly, Thripunitra and Kothamangalam.

    I heard from friends that Southist Jacobites doesn’t celebrate it in Tiruvalla since they think that it is a catholic tradition.

    Also quoting from ‘Life of the Thomas Christians in the light of the newly discovered documents’ By Dr. Charles Payngot, till the beginning of 19th centaury, Pesaha was celebrated three times a year namely Fourth Wednesday of Great Lent (Mid Lent) , Nalpatham Velli ( 40th day of Lent) and Maundy Thursday.

    In some of the books published before 1980’s this is mentioned as a Chaldean tradition. May be that only recently this has been treated as similarity to ‘Jewishness’. I remember that in some diocese of Syro Malabar there were advices from clergy encouraging Pesaha at home and may be these might have helped in continuing this more in certain areas.

  142. Easo Pothen says

    Hello Everybody,

    I hope you have read my posts. I know it is difficult to read but this gives lots of information about Knanaya. I will give a snapshot of the thesis.

    The PhD thesis by Kerstin Neumann from Rotenburg / Fulda presented in Marburg, in August 1998 is entitled ‘Moon God Siva and sacred Thomas -The religious community of the Knanaya in Kerala’ for the award of Doctor of Theology, The Department of Evangelical Theology,Philipps-Universität Marburg.

    The work was funded by Ecumenical Council of Churches in Geneva, the German federal government and the academics of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen and Waldeck.

    The material for the work has been collected during several research stays in Kerala from 1991 to 1995. Dr. Kerstin Neumann stayed with many Knanaya and non Knanaya (whom he calls Apostle Christians for differentiation purposes only )families. He talked with the both Kunnacherry Bishop head of the Catholic Knanaya( and Late Metropolitan

    Abraham Mar Clemis of Syrian Orthodox branch( and got permission to do a field research work among the members of their churches. He had extensive discussions with both Vellian and Kollaparambil and describes how Kollaparambil did ‘research’ to find an original country for their Samudayam so that their origin can be traced back to David.

    Dr. Kerstin Neumann has recorded the dates of the interview with Bishops, Priests and even laymen. He describes christian history in Kerala, the various versions and there is an extensive list of references.


  143. Easo Pothen says


    Dr. Kerstin Neumann interviews with Metrapolitian Abraham Mar Clemis reveals the actual picture and how a ‘authentic’ history for the Kananaya people was being generated.Well, I can say this, He has successfully removed the name Southists. I believe the Late Metrapolitian was very successful in His intent of raising the stature of Kananya people. If you realy do not know the history, and hear the history from a Knanaya person now, you will even believe that they came from the promised land Cana. Also, now when you see the paintings of Knai Thomman and the reception by Cheraman Perumal, you should know whom to thank.(post 15304 – even if you have not read any of my previous posts you must read this.)

    May be Metrapolitian Abraham Mar Clemis talked openly because of the rivalry between Catholic Knanayas and Jacobite Knanayas.

    He quotes “Since 10.7.1980 is a new, now reigning patriarch Ignatious Zakka I, on the throne of Peter in Damascus. He combines a warm Friendship with Mar Clemis. The two men are fellow students, and it shows that Mar Clemis this close relationship to use”

    He writes on Canonisation of Thomas Cana “Patriarch Ignatious Zakka I replied to the request Mar Clemis’ after only a two month investigation. On 26.2.1990 he sent a telex after Chingavanam in which he Mar Clemis announced that his request positively answered. A letter dated 6 March repeated confirmation in the Number of names of saints named KNAI … THOMA as a ‘Saint’ who has an important part in the history of our Knanaya community in India “.

    Quoting Dr. Kerstin Neumann “Mar Clemis is a charismatic leader figure, a strong interest in power with diplomatic tact and charming manners to combine white. I was in the Mar Ephrem’s Seminar in Chingavanam always warmly welcomed and entertained; Mar Clemis took time for extensive discussions with me.He introduced me to key documents Available, I was allowed to read unpublished book manuscript. I had the impression of an open-minded, generous promoter conveys dignity, even the not so much as a public official had to be addressed, which I rather even be allowed to subscribe friendship. He has in his answers to my questions never hidden, but very clever to information circumvent known. Only the subsequent review of interviews with him, opened me that he never had a crucial information on its own was. I had individual aspects to find him then, and could only respond then reckon with further information or a personal opinion on receive.”

    While about Bishop Kunnachery he writes,”I had only one chance to meet Dr. Kunnacherry. Our anymore lasted less than fifteen minutes and was very formal. He met me as a high public official, distanced, polite, and apparently used to Respect to be treated. After seeing him – without his questions – On my studies and my interest in the Knanaya information was received I will permit my work. For any further a ssistance He referred me to the Knanaya scientist Jacob and Jacob VellianKollaparambil.”

    There are many questions which Dr. Kerstin Neumann raises, like why an endogamous society like theirs have no language and why there is no mention of this in any written document.Why no circumcision? and so forth.

  144. Easo Pothen says

    my musings

    It would be nice if some one get a better translation and I wish our fellow ‘Knanayites’ will step forward for a healthy discussion.

    After wading through the thesis, I would like to say this,

    Universally, ones identity is very important to him/her. So first you are a Man/Woman, secondly from a Particular nationality then maybe religion or Job and so worth.
    So in Kerala, which is Caste influenced society, your religion and caste is a very important identity. And if you are christian, being a Jewish Christian amongst the ‘vast field’ of ordinary Catholics/Jacobites/Orthodox/Protestants gives a nice feeling since Jesus was a Jew.

    Knanya leaders and ‘Scientists’ have followed Paul Joseph Goebbels (German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany)to the letter and made Knanayites a Jewish Christians after repeating it a thousand times.

  145. Jackson says

    Dear M Thomas Anthony,

    You said the SMCians of the Trichur-Kunnamkulam belt don’t observe pesaha !!!???

    This statement is either a white lie or reflects “complete ignorance”. I am an SMCian from Trichur and we as many of the SMCian families here, very much celebrate the Pesaha in the traditional manner every year ! And there are no people who call themselves “Southists” or “Knanayas” in these areas. So your fantasy-theory that Pesaha is a Southist contribution is outright laughable. And I, like the other Northists here wouldnt use the term “Knanaya” for “Southists” for reasons we all know here.

    So you may add the above info to your knowledge database and not repeat the blunder again !

  146. rp says

    My opnion is that as far as i know, me as a marthomites I don’t know who are the ones not obseving peshaha. What are these people saying marthomites and orthodox are not observing it and while having this syrian hasha kramam for the whole week and oshana sunday. Is it because they converted from low caste?. Whoever have that doubt go to these non kna churches and observe these people who these probably are but they don’t worry about and hijack any culture i think , so much surprise. Ok marthomites are not making appam with cocanut milk and same on othodox knanites too and my place Ranny full of orthodox knanaites celebrating it as same as non kna. And tell that scientist to observe northist who they are?
    If knanites were endogamous and pure since unknown or unreachable 3rd century, then they should look pure white and sort of european features even if they r middleeastern and what the explanations that most of them they look pakka ordinary or black except some. What about these similar westasian looks among northist? which i m thinking we need to learn more about west asian immigrations joined among whole malankara syrian christians.

  147. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear Jackson,

    Sorry, if I hurt you. It was my observation when I lived in Trichur for 3 years in mid 1990s with my family. I am very glad to hear that Syro Malabarians in that region are very keen in keeping our traditions.

    I remember when I was a young boy, the priest in the nearby Latin church who was a Syro Malabarian from Wadakkancherry, observed pesaha personally at his residence. It was a silly generalisation by me with my limited observations, just like the people who are writing essays here about Nasrani DNA project with only 30 people’s test results.

    There was an argument among the Syro Malabar priests of Ernaculum- Trichur belt that we are not Syriac Christians and we are not oriental Christians. They say we are “Roman Catholics” and many in the region put “Roman Catholic” as their religion/caste in the records. Jackson, could you reveal what is in your SSLC records?

    Anyway, I am very happy about the fact that SMC in all regions are keeping our traditions and understand our Syriac heritage

    Re Knanaites,

    I am not a Knanaya.
    I haven’t said that pesaha – the celebration of appam and coconut milk at home, not in the church- is a southist contribution, but I think they played a significant role in keeping many traditions like pesaha, maargam kali etc. when the northists were competing to become latinised.

    A best example is the issue of the corrections on the book, Christianity in Travancore by GT Mackenzie, submitted by Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar.

    The missionaries propagated that the Malabar Nasranis were Nestorians and they have converted them to Catholics. Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar published his articles stating that we were in communion with Rome through the Chaldean church well before the arrival of the Missionaries and what the missionaries have done here were to cause a split and the schism. The then Arch Bishop of Verapoly complained to the congregation for the propagation faith in Rome that the Syrians are publishing and teaching against the missionaries and pictures them as the cause of the splits and schisms. The congregation for the propagation faith in Rome sought explanations from the then three Syro Malabar Bishops- Loise Pazheparambil, John Menacherry and Mathew Makil.

    The Northist Bishops of Ernaculum and Trichur- Pazheparambil and Menacherry -were afraid to say it was true and replied that we will take all our efforts to prevent such propaganda in Kerala. It was only the southist Bishop Mar Makil dared to sent a reply to Rome that it was true and we were always in correct faith and it was not the missionaries who brought us to the correct faith. Our orthodoxy is not something new but it was inherited from our forefathers-ex his clare patebit orthodoxiam syro malabarensium non esse quid novi in hisce diebus sed per traditionem veteruim usque nunc perdurasse. He also added to his reply that the missionaries were publishing articles hurting the Syrian Catholics and no one has taken any actions about it. He concluded that it was a good effort by the author to publish that the true faith was preserved in India amidst the pagan faiths as an example for the catholicity of the Universal catholic church and establishing that the Syrian Catholics were in true faith is a honour to the holy see and God.

    Ref. Charles Paingott CMI, Nidheeriachan charithra rekhakalil OIRSI

  148. John Mathew says

    Dear Easo Pothen:

    Thanks for providing info on the thesis.

    It’s good that someone is taking an objective look at matters. I do feel that with the distortion, novel theories, and propaganda being put forth on this issue (by both Southists and non-Southists), the actual history will be soon buried beneath fiction, making it very difficult for future historians to unravel the actual history of that community.

  149. Easo Pothen says

    Dear John,


    If only Knanayas have enough guts to come and discuss about their ancestry in detail.

  150. Easo Pothen says

    To Knanayas (I think you are also reading this)

    I wish you realize that as Christians it does not matter who your father or mother are, but that you believe in Christ.

    In the thesis Dr. Neumann writes that,

    Quote Mr. Lukose, whom I met in Chingavanam, is the only critical voice left, who says: “I do not like to say, we are a caste. Now we believe in saying that we belong to the Jews. What is the benefit of that? I do not find pleasure to say, I am a Jew. I want to say, I am a Christian with a special tradition and with a special share. Before God we are united, not before the people. Why can not we join together – all the churches? Sects exist because of different interpretations. But, we believe in God, we should. We can not come together because we believe in churches, not in God.” unquote

    Yes, it is important to know your roots but what is the point in claiming as somebody whom you are not. It is also important to record the correct history.

    Its better we realize that the way genealogical science progresses, may be History (together with written records) and journey of mankind through ages will indeed be written with the help of Science. (Dinosaurs didn’t write down that they walked on this earth).

    Now claiming that you are a Jew is a matter of pride. If after a few generations, being a ‘pelayan’ is more important, will your history be reinvented again (? ) or will you fall back to “Ros’ version” of the theory and say the Jew theory was one of our brilliant inventions by our scientists of the 20th century ?

    May be you are indeed people from Middle East, may be you really are Jews or some amongst you have Jewish ancestry. Be truthful to yourselves and find out who you are. If you are unwilling to discuss, YOU ARE CHICKEN !!!!

  151. John Mathew says

    Dear Easo:

    You wrote: “If only Knanayas have enough guts to come and discuss about their ancestry in detail.”

    I don’t think it’s a matter of guts — it’s a matter of information. There is very little information on the subject, so it seems that the leaders of the Southists are just writing a history from scratch. And the Southist masses — like any people — follow these leaders.

    I don’t think the individual Southist has anything to do with this — it looks like corrupt leaders such as their archbishops, priests, “scientists” are the problem. One must also include the Pope and the Patriarch of Antioch as facilitators — by creating separate dioceses, by issuing silly pronouncements on the “history” of the community without independent research, these individual have helped the former propagandists.

    The Pope, for example, went on and made a big deal about the lack of evidence supporting St Thomas’ arrival in India. That is fine — it is a truism, and the Malabar Christians shouldn’t have complained, since the complaint made us look like vain idiots. But at the same time, why isn’t the Pope (and the Patriarch for that matter) not similarly dealing with the absence of any information — indeed, *less* information exists about the Southists than exists about the Northists — pertaining to their myths?

    Many of the Southists distortion of history are totally silly. E.g., in an article on the shooting in a Southist Jacobite Church in the US, the priest displayed his profuse ignorance of matters by claiming that the Southists are proud since they brought Syriac and the Qurbana to India. Now, to be honest, I don’t care if the Southists claim to be Jews; the absence of Jewish customs simply makes them look like fools. But to claim that *my* religion came from them, is getting a little personal. My ancestors didn’t convert to Syriac Christianity because of a group of inbreeders — there’s no evidence for that! Indeed there is plenty more evidence to suggest the Assyrian and Persians who were responsible for bringing Syriac Christianity to India, not only brought their religion but also their genes!

    (1) It is known that the Saphor Iso migration brought immigrants who had no problem mixiing with Indians — indeed we know more about the Saphor Iso immigration than any purported “Southist” immigration. There are families to this day in Kallada/Kollam (Thulassery Mannapurath, Muthalaly, etc) claiming to be descendants of those migrants — and these descendents, who have proof, intermarry with Indians, and have done so for generations. They don’t inbreed like the Southists.

    (2) A Catholicos of Babylon wrote letters authorizing the marriage of Persians and Indians. So the phenomena must have been a significant one.

    (3) Our semitic genetic markers — J2 in the Northists.

    (4) More recent examples such as the family Tholanikunnel (mentioned on NSC), the family of Mar Andrews (the ancestral uncle of St Gregorios), the family of Mor Yuhakkim Coorilos, etc.

    So, for the Southists to claim they brought Syriac Christianity to the rest of us — on the basis of no information whatsoever — is highly wrong. Their distortion of history must be countered with facts.

  152. rp says

    Who do you think these marthomite tirumenis look like? or search for more tirumenis and what are these features tell. andthey became tirumenis from ordinary marthomite families. i think it obvious that these identities on many individiuals does not matter which denominations is. It not happening only in knanaya…seems need to learn more.

  153. Kurian Daniel says

    Many of the Knanaya who makes these claims are aware that there are not any historical documents to prove those. Some of these are made up to project a community build up and make the people feel special. There have been wicked people in the Knanaya and continue to exist. Indeed every group and every community that has ever existed has them.

    All people with a reasonable level of intelligence and a sense of truth and those who have done a modicum of research into these events and history, come to the above said conclusion.

    In an ethical world any falsifying the facts of a church history is in dereliction of their duty to the general public and to themselves as human beings and as people of the church of god. It is therefore tantamount to fraud. Therefore those involved should stop the misrepresentation and deliberate fraudulent distortion of the facts.

  154. Admin says

    Dear All

    I wanted to add what Scholars such as J S Assemani, S Giamil, Lequien, Mingana writes about the historicity of Thomas of Cana mission in AD 345. I could not find these in the thesis Eso Pothen ( I did not spend much time translating that) contributed some time back. In the thesis, i could find the observations of Gouvea, Bishop Francis Roz, a Jacobite document of 1770 (Leyden text ) etc as mentioned.

    J S Assemani, who was aware of the stories mentioned by Gouvea as heard from Malabar, make reference to the arrival in India of Bishop Thomas Cana, about AD 825. He believes that his two wives were the two cities of Cranganore and Angamale where he had jurisdiction.

    S Giamil, while studying the Leyden text and Assemanis explanations logically concluded that there were two missions: first came the merchant, Thomas of Jerusalem, accompanied by Joseph, the anonymous Metropolitan of Edessa: then arrived and in AD 800 Bishop Thomas Cana.

    Lequien also writes in similar lines that, Bishop Thomas of Cana is the monk whom Patriarch Timothy I selected and ordained as Bishop referring to historical documents about a Bishop named Thomas who was send to India in the same century.
    According to A Mingana, even if some historical background for the mission attributed to AD 345, it must be distinguished from the coming of Thomas of Cana.

    A Mingana further mentions that there was no Bishop named Jospeh in Edessa.

    But we know how different the stories are written in Wikipedia and at other places about Knanaya history. We hear of vision of Catholics of East about sending Thomas of Cana in AD 345 in our local Eighteenth century documents. It appears that who ever has written those stories in Eighteenth century did not care to check the original sources.

    A Mingana writes, “ The scene of the merchant Thomas is placed in AD 345 according to Malabar tradition. In this year the Catholics of East was Barba- Shemin, the nephew of the great Simon bar Sabba ( Sources- Bedjan, Assemani, Sozomen etc) and was in prison from 345 to 346 and he suffered martyrdom. After him the See was vacant for twenty years. Before the time Catholics of East was Shahdost and he was martyred in 342 and the See was vacant for two years ( Source- Amr, Mari,Bedjan etc)” A Mingana very clearly mentions that, in their short time of office, during the persecution of Saphor, not one of the above Catholics whose time was mostly spend in prison could have possibly attended to the business of a merchant Thomas of Jerusalem. The whole story is absolutely unhistorical.

    A Mingana further says “ I believe that this very late Malabar Syrian tradition might have made a stupid chronological mistake of about four centuries and a half : but then this historical Thomas was a simple merchant and not a bishop, while the possibly historical Thomas Cana was a bishop. No one can fathom the depth of stupidity to which a late and worthless tradition may lead a critic”

    I have not read anything so far which indicates these scholars: A Mingana, J S Assemani, S Giamil, Lequien were wrong

    Anyways, what is mentioned in Wikipedia about Knanaya history is just “JUNK”.

  155. John Mathew says

    It’s not just wikipedia of course.

    Recently, as some one pointed out earlier, there was a website of a SMC Knanaya diocese or priest in which he claimed that the archdeaconate of old was split in two (Nasrani and Southist). Absolute BS, of course. I think the encouragement that the Pope and Patriarch have given these historical frauds (i.e., the writers of this fiction, not individual Southists themselves) is a shame.

    This is curious too. I can understand the Patriarch of Antioch’s support for the “Knanaya” — the Patriarch and his office doesn’t have the means or the interest in conducting proper research into Malabar (the days of scholars like Patriarch Barsoum are long gone it seems). However it is still indefensible — lack of means does not justify lack of rigor (or laziness). At the very least the Patriarch ought to indicate the lack of records justifying the “Knayaya” historical claims — it should not endorse the fiction. And it should severely reprimand fraudulent pseudo-history writing by bishops — especially when such propaganda is anti-Christian (endogamy is not a Christian doctrine).

    But why Rome? Rome has copious scholars (and not just any kind of scholars — it has *good* scholars. As obnoxious as I find some of their biased commentary, I can’t deny that they have excellent standards of diligence and rigor when presenting facts, and often clearly separate facts from commentary), and plenty of resources. Despite the large SMC population, Rome has had no problem commenting on the lack of evidence concerning Thomas’ arrival in India (I actually agree with this; there is no hard evidence, and there is nothing wrong with calling it as it is). But why doesn’t it exhibit a similar degree of rigor concerning the Southists? This is very disappointing. And, like I said, boggles the mind.

    Too bad that thesis dug up by Eso Pothen was in German … Google translate helps though.

  156. M Thomas Antony says

    Re Southists and Northists in SMC,

    As the Vicar General of Changanacherry, Nidheerikal Mani Kathanaar had plans to abolish the Northist- Southist caste distinguish ion among the Pazhayacoor by appointing Southists priests in Northist churches and vice versa to promote intermarriages and to abolish endogamy. Mani Kathanaar wrote “I was the first person to advocate the abolition of the caste distinction between the Northists and the Southists; after consulting with the late Fr. Joseph Tharayil, the Southist councillor to Bishop Lavinge, and some other chief members of the Southist community, we resolved to get a written consent of the influential men of both the parties, to appoint some Southist priests to Northist parishes and vice versa as vicars and through their exhortation and influence to get consent of intermarriage between the two sects, which would gradually lessen and finally abolish the long existing distinction without any violent measure. But the idea was abandoned on account of the pre mature death of Fr Joseph Tharayil and my removal from vicar general ship”.
    (Ref. Father Nidheeri, A history of his time, Abraham M Nidheeri)

    I think we need such a leader now. If Mani Kathanaar had support for this in 1800s, I think more people will support such a move in this era of information and communication, where people can understand the difference between a Christian church and an ethnic group.

    The European Bishops always wanted to create two rival groups in Pazhayacoor by supporting the Southists. Divide and rule policy. They convinced the Southists that they might not get justice under Northist Bishops and hence the Southists were always loyal to the foreign Bishops where as the Northists were rebellions and sent lots of petitions to Rome against the foreign Bishops and demanded indigenous Bishops.

    Rome was mis represented the facts in Malabar by the European Bishops for their benefits. The European Bishops wanted to delay Malabar Syrian Catholics becoming Bishops for their community and represented Rome that the indigenous priests are not mature enough to become Bishops, they are not well trained in Catholic doctrines and if they become Bishops, they might join the schismatics- Puthencoor- as both the communities are so emotionally related. (At that time, none of the priests were trained in Rome and hence the community sent Mar Kurialacherry to Rome to groom as a Catholic Bishop.)

    When Charles Lavigne was the Bishop of Changanacherry, Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar was the vicar general. Later, Lavigne appointed Mar Makil as the second vicar general for Southists only. This was just to widen the rift between the two communities. Later, Lavigne preferred Mar Makil as a Bishop sidelining Mani Kathanaar. Mar Makil as the Vicar General, had no authority over the Northists as he was the VG for Southists only. But now, Mar Makil became a Bishop over Southists and Northists which caused unrest among the majority Northists which prompted Rome to create a Southist diocese and to appoint a Northist as the Bishop for Northists- Mar Thomas Kurialacherry. It may be seen as supporting the Southist legends but actually was an effort of damage control.

  157. anon says

    I have been observing that there have been no new comments for some time. What happened?

  158. RP says

    My thoughts
    Well I m think there can be chance St Thomas Christians. but I think he converted either Israelites or Jews and some others.
    It say in many church history and many book clearly says that what lead St Thomas to Malabar of his own people and lot of books and church history supports the first converts were Jews or Israelites
    There is an article of lost Aramaic bible, act of St Thomas, also Jewish copper plate, bene Israelites in Mumbai claim to be in India since Bcs
    May be some Vedic Brahmin may be converted . Compare to knas they are isolated and completely west Asians. but not namboothris they meant . and these information’s might our forefathers heard and claim. may be early forefathers hid the truth ..later some forefather misunderstood as namboothris converted. But it 100%true that middle eastern migrations and joined there
    Perhaps there is Mar Thoma Christians of Jews Israelites and some Vedic Brahmins . but Indian contest everyone highlight Brahmin story. or even Jewish adopted Brahmin title and that is their nature I think.
    But still knanaya Thommen northist , Mar sabor iso and Mar proth immigrants , Nestorians Chaldeans are among the crowd, and there is noted Armenian immigrants. even if they are not solid Jewish still when lot of Jews converted to Christians they left Jews land and lived in Syrian Lebanon , Jewish Christian Egypt, Assyrian Babylon, Armenia now migrated to Malabar because those kings in kerala welcomed Jews and other and gave em rights
    Well there is some family have that Brahmins but cannot rule out Brahmins as a whole community. why Brahmins have to mix with Dravidian. but we can understand enculturation of west Asian. because they want to indianized because they scare persecution by some others.
    If I claming to be a Brahmin in our Christian community means my convert forefather must be a Brahmin and his wife his kids and that those wife and up to me have to be a Brahmin till 2009 to claim to be a Brahmin and that is just a claim and only few families has that origin.
    I read a book says there is Armenians immigrations. just recently I read that there was a Armenian man and we was a alcoholic and he lived and once he got an accident and sink and died in a river think kalada river something. chaldans are meant to be kaldayakar mean from Babylon and it noted as immigrants.
    Every family has the book and written as Brahmin converted and how is that sounds? while sort of Jewish or middle astern look are there. and people see these kind of white skin and say it from Brahmins…even it say some W Asian pretend as Brahmins the time Brahmin was popular …before they mix or intermarried Persian was also white skinned and claim as Brahmins but some stories like that.
    Like me and Jackson agreed some families has that origin of Brahmins converted but now lot of Christians claim Brahmins convert saying St Thomas walk around and show miracles and tons of Brahmin converted to Christian which is not logics and those families still Middle eastern wife reached and can be mixed and a Semitic or W Asian nature is spreaded out unless there is another huge chunk of Indian convert joined our Syrian Christian community
    So actually if we really look knanaya but I don’t know kanas have a formula to know each other but I see their west Asian features so far in both are almost same but we re bit fluid community and still some converts joined us and their generation mixed and intermarried among us and these middle astern look also distributed I think.
    But knas has border but we don’t but still there is presence of Brahmins there and may are claim to Brahmins just they want like that. while knas claim we are Jewish or from Syria and u guys are just flat Brahmin converts and these are the reason behind it and still both community pretty much the same
    In a way we cannot reject we have some Brahmins can be there. but not a lot as people just throwing stones on us. but the reality we all are still influence to west Asian land that blood are among us.
    If we go by y-dna paternal dna it will be confusing I think. Even knas didn’t get impressive Semitic dna . but we cannot reject they are not influence to west Asian land maternally or paternally even if it does show that they have south Indian which is recently it proofs . Same on us too. that is why if we look there can be some convert dna on y -side but at least mtdna side influence of west Asians mixed in many families and that nature all over the nasrani Christian community I think
    yes regarding chaledean or kaldhayakar immigration is a noted one and East Syrian rite and us like west Syrian rites.
    And it noted history it says in the book and middle Eastern Nestorian are among the crowd and experts says like in my account there is Alexander deep in these kind of knowledge many mid-eastern immigration in different times happened and mixed with us except knanaya ..even expert say there is not such community long time only it pop up recently….So these are the point i just want to write

  159. Cyril Abraham says

    That was a very informative posting (#16847) from Thomas Anthony. Thank you. It accorded me a clearer perspective on the politics of it all – which I suspected all along – but could not put a finger on it, until now.

  160. John Mathew says


    You “think”, eh? A lot of people have “thoughts” about what our origins are — that doesn’t necessarily mean much.

    Also, your reliance on various stories and Church “histories” from Kerala is dangerous if you actually want to learn facts. In Kerala, there seems to be a trend: one idiot writes something, and then a hundred idiots cite the first one. All of a sudden one lie, one distortion, one figment of one fool’s imagination … becomes a “fact” cited by everybody. This is how propaganda works; it is *not* how history or science — or any scholarly pursuit — works.

    Some points from your post:
    1. “It say in many church history and many book clearly says that what lead St Thomas to Malabar of his
    own people and lot of books and church history supports the first converts were Jews or Israelites.”

    First, no one even knows if Thomas came to India. So anyone who claims to know “why” Thomas came to India, is spouting fiction. Church history books say a lot of things … most are uselessly propagandistic partisan political-biased polemics.

    2. “There is an article of lost Aramaic bible, act of St Thomas, also Jewish copper plate, bene Israelites in Mumbai claim to be in India since Bcs”

    The article on the lost Aramaic Bible was written by some monkey from an Indian newspaper with no knowledge of facts; a non-Nasrani, I believe, who likely just talked to some Orthodox priest who lay some big fat hyperbolic story. The Buchanan Bible, as it’s called, is, according to scholars, from the 12th century or so, and was likely brought to Kerala by the West Syriac fathers who came to help the Puthenkoor in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is not from the Jews, since it is a Bible, with a New Testament.

    Sure, there may have been Jews in Kerala from antiquity. And without a doubt they may have intermarried with the Nasranis. But the Nasranis were not a Jewish community — they seemed to be a very absorptive community of Christians, by all indications. Nothing indicates Jewish Christianity’s existence in Kerala. That doesn’t mean it never existed in Kerala — it just means that *WE DO NOT HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE* concerning the truth of that hypothesis. Anyone claiming definitive knowledge on the Jewish Christianity issue is spouting myths.

    On the other hand we have plenty of evidence to support our Church of the East connection from about the 5th century. And the CoE, like the Jacobites, and the Chalcedonians, were definitely not Jewish. There was bad blood between the Christians and the Jews in the Middle East by that point due to various massacres which both sides perpetrated on each other. Some evangelicals and Protestants like to make a connection between Judaism and Syriac Christianity — that is often due to their ignorance in confusing *Semitic* and *oriental* characteristics for Jewish ones.

    3. “I read a book says there is Armenians immigrations. just recently I read that there was a Armenian man and we was a alcoholic and he lived and once he got an accident and sink and died in a river think kalada river something.”

    The term “Armenian” you’ve read is most likely a corruption of Aramean (Assyrians, basically). Although there were bonafide Armenians that migrated to various parts of India, I don’t think many of them were connected to the Nasranis. (Though, they also patronized Mylapore).

    The person you’re talking about is Mar Andrews of Kallada. I’d be careful about mindlessly reciting what you’ve read. Some of us (Orthodox) hold Mar Andrews to be a saintly man who was prescribed local alcohol to deal with various intestinal problems he had when in Kerala. He is the great-…-great Uncle of Mar Gregorios of Parumala, incidentally. (The alcoholic insult is an element of local propaganda; it seems that in Kerala, consumption of alcohol is viewed negatively. Perhaps that’s due to the Malayali inability to drink moderately? In the Middle Eastern Churches, alcohol — wine and beer — is an important part of functions and celebrations. There is no negative stigma attached to alcohol consumption.)

  161. RP says

    ok what john mathew saying is right. Actually if we are thinking there is no proof of anything for sure. but we sure believe that st thomas came to india. we dont have proof but we cannot reject it 100%. many experts think that someone brought the gospel at that first century. If knanayas are claiming knanaya thomen decednts and they claiming there are orginal without any mix till 2009 .then we cannot believe either. and knanaya thommen came in ad 300 and it not that far away to st thomas time than what we are now. that does not mean that it is all the way a made up story. Regarding the jewish facts john mathew is right since i m representing a normal guy as i observed and what it probably think it happened see some one going to come up with the same ideas and thing seem kinda going smooth.
    what i observed as in the begining basically what stuck in my mind was south indian are dravidian but we have sort of a middleastern features or somekinda white features other than being dravidian. Then there were it all started out and some of those people are on these idea. and that is what we all curious to discuss and mr johm mathew knows all that. Even i ment to say jewish on us or semitc on us even semitc only means the decendents of shem. instead what i m trying to prove the immigrants of west asian land and i feeling like that. i alway include knanaya because they are the one stil exixt in our community close live in the faith of west asian land and apostile st thomas and many of em where my neighbour in my home town. And hearing stories from them then i got the interest to know who are nasranis and syrian chrisitans of india.

  162. RP says

    In addition to that mr johm mathew and i withnessed many comment that praising jewish presence, dna by many known people like ambrakayil, gerorge mathew and many others and they got all their comments very much sucess and i dont have to explain much to you.

  163. Simranjit Singh Sandhu says

    Hi there,

    I have been looking for what little info on the L3 hg for a while and chanced upon this discussion.
    I recently got myself tested as L3* on I’m a Punjabi Jatt , as far as i know most Punjabi Jatts are r1a1. L3 is very rarely found in india , as far as i know 2 rajputs and a pallan tribal group were found to have it ( from research papers). But we cannot take that to mean that it is south indian , the same way r1a1 is found in large amounts in the kallar tribals. So far the highest concentration is in North West Pakistan and interestingly the kalash populations have it in as high as 26% of their group , they also have a private subclade l3a which is only so far found in them. As the ftdna results for the l3 shows , there may have been a division of the l3 into 2 new subclades. As i was snp tested i do not know which i belong , but it is very likely i cluster to the pakistani/pashtun samples as our origins are afghan/ central asia.

    L3 is also found in small amounts all over the mideast/turkey as well, so it wouldn’t be wise to assume the l3 that you guys have is south indian in origin as it is very rare there.

    I am getting ftdna test done so that we can establish some proper subclades for l3 as it is very lacking and no researcher has so far written anything on it so far.

    Anyone thing you guys should do is to do a autosomal test , as paternal y-d hg doesn’t really mean much , you could have had a l3 guy marry in 10 generations ago. 23andme does such a test and you can compare your simlarity to other persons of jewish descent etc. I find myself clustering closer to turks/pakis/iranians than to indians for example.

    Good luck!

  164. Philip says

    what we hear all are fake do not believe…now these time which is the time of cheating …lot of em we hear are fake….there was lot of jews converted and they mix with dravidians and our local and living the way they wanted and that is the truth and nobody cannot trace em …they are living in christ and look for the second comming of christ . jew are wise people and god chosen people and those wise and intellegent people know god and the world and they know it through profects . and they are not silly to claim jewish and get some recoginision from the rest of the world…and they are more than that . jews people who got converted and mixed never going to claim as jewish because they can think well and they do not want to be in trouble…other wise they could have calim earlier and those wise jews know there is no benifit to claim like that and they know the gentile world and what they going to do about it….people who claim and said they are jews went back to israel …no jews is in a unsafe mannner with gentiles and say they are jewish and that is not going to happened. if kananya or any community i challenge if they ever have the real blood of jewish never claim for it . other than that what they doing is seems fake because their culture and behavious itselfs prove like that.

  165. Easo Pothen says

    Hello John

    Sorry for such a late reply. Thekkumbagar history is one of creative writing at its zenith.

    When you try to talk history with Southists, they are so gung-ho about the pure blood, Syrian, Jewish tradition etc and the moment we start talking by quoting evidence that the ‘knanaya’ name was started in 1992, all their smugness vanishes and they refuse to talk any further.

    This is the modus operandi. To an ignorant in history, they will shout from the roof tops about their ancestry, purity and what not. But if you have a basic idea , they wont talk at all.

    No chauvinist Southist will respond but he will create article in Wikipedia about their ‘inbreeding’ and about their pure DNA. ( Of course, he knows his DNA is Indian ).

    One generation earlier, the least educated people were the Southists. It was generally difficult to find marriage alliance for the educated women of the Southists community. There were many inter marriages in 1970’s and 1980’s. Sensing the challenge, these Scientists came up with the Jewish story in early 1990’s.

    These people don’t have any documents to prove that they even existed in sixteenth century but they don’t see this as a hindrance for their assertions like they brought bible, they brought liturgy etc

    They claim that the Kottayam diocese was created because of their purity was accepted by the Catholic Church. These people don’t realize that they can’t destroy all the records of their 1910 diocese which was created because of the infighting amongst the clergy.

    In spite of documents, which clearly states the reason for the creation of Kottayam diocese as infighting; the southists still maintains the rationale behind this as acceptance of ‘purity’ by the Catholic church. I am digging more on what M.T Antony wrote on this subject and may be he can share more..

  166. Easo Pothen says

    Hello Everybody,

    I hope that at least this time a Southist will take me up on this.

    I wanted to share with you all a ‘theory!!’ about the origin of Southists.

    These people don’t even have any relationship with Thomas of Cana. They are the Vellala converts to Christianity who escaped the persecution from Kaveripattanam.

    There is an evidence for this. A palm leaf manuscript titled “Keralattil Marga Valiute Avastha” preserved till date by the Syrian Christian family of Karuthedathu in Mavelikara has mentioned the migration of Vella converts from Kaveripattanam in fourth century.

    According to this in AD 339, the Vellala converts to Christianity in Kaveripattanam were persecuted by the King and because of this 72 families embarked on a boat or vessel and came to Korakkeni, where there were already Christians.

    They came in a boat, there were 72 families and reached somewhere already Christians are there.

    Check out the similarity of events in the oral traditions…..that there were 72 families…they came in 4th centuary….they came in a boat….they belonged to one race.

    So quoting from Kezhakken post no. 15158,

    “To me, it looks like our(Syrian Christian) L3 is Tamil/Dravidian. We need not go till Afghanistan and cross over to Iran. 50% or more of the Southist results known so far are L3. The story can now be retold as someone traveling from Tamil Nadu – in a boat of course – and settling in Kerala”

    So Kezhakken hit the nail right on the head…

    Any Southists up for a discussion !!

  167. John Mathew says

    RE: Southists

    Okay, I’m posing a hypothesis here in the hopes that people will assail it and through that process we’ll get some actual information. (Easo: I read your theory, however, I am reluctant to believe anything that invokes dates earlier than the 10th century. I don’t believe that a palm leave record will last from the 4th up to now, and hence can not on the surface accept the theory you proposed. However, if you have some further information that bolsters the claim, I would like to hear about it.)

    Here’s my hypothesis:
    a) we know that Kodungallur (Cranganore) had both Black Jews and Christians
    b) we know that the Black Jews suffered some sort of schism in the 13/14th century
    c) both communities used to be relatively prosperous due to trading, etc.
    d) that prosperity started to decline with the rise of Arab/Muslim power over the seas
    e) due to (b) and (d) the prosperity of the Black Jews began to decline
    f) with rising Muslim power in the North of Kerala, there may also have been persecution of Jews
    g) due to (f) and perhaps due to Nestorian missionary activity, Jews may have converted to Syriac Christianity …
    h) … with the stipulation that they would maintain their *own* ethnic group, intermarrying only with other Jewish converts (i.e., endogamy)
    i) with the conversion, their Jewish history slowly morphed into a Christianized one: hence “Joseph Rabban” (the grantee of the Jewish copper cheppad) became “Mar Joseph” the Syriac Christian bishop.

    Some problems that I see:
    1) how did the Southists get possession of a Pahlavi Cross? Is the Pahlavi Cross that the Southists own one of the older crosses, or a replica?
    2) How did Thomas of Cana figure in? The Northists used to claim descent from Thomas of Cana — why would the Southists also claim descent from a Northist ancestor? Perhaps the Thomas of Cana story was an important facet of the Kerala Syriac Christian community (since, Catholic observers in the 13th century and earlier saw a highly corrupt kind of Christianity — a sort of Thomas worship)? So when the Jews converted, they also appropriated the Thomas of Cana story to give them legitimacy?

    Ok, I know this is only a hypothesis, but it is one that fits the facts that I’ve discovered. I’m not claiming that this is the truth, but I would like to solicit comments from other knowledgeable people out there so I can modify and/or change the theory.

    There are too many exaggerated theories concerning the Southists. The Southists claim one thing, and then the Northists claim the inverse — none of these claims are helpful, so I’ve presented a neutral claim which occurs post-10th century.

  168. John Mathew says


    I have two scientific papers on Cochin Jews, “Genetic Studies on Cochin Jews in Israel” by Cohen et al., from 1980.

    Perhaps you could read them and offer a preliminary opinion on whether there is any connection between the Southist results on FTDNA and this. Email me (or NSC admin) and I’ll send them to you, if you like.

  169. reny says

    i think southist also have west asian features, and as they claim they dont have any impressive dna. we cannot make our theory to them. but it the matter that what ever southist holding that is the samething northist holding. but southist seems to ignore others which something commentable to their orgins. may be southist collected the features but not the ydna that the northist holding. which i think southist were so careful about in marriages and start collecting the features and start making the claims. northist are the orginals and seems to mix with indian bit more than southist. i think there was some nasranis, or westasians or syrians came to kerala and there were so innocent and sincere to christianity . but there was some low caste people start to grab these individuals and collecting those features in their community to get rid of low cast nature and start claim that they are royal blood. if we look at these innocent syrians features are in all group but in northist group it did not happened that syrians mixed in it then it mixed further or didnot care to stick together as syrians. i think these phenomean can be seen. innocent syrians or westasian had no intention for endogamy. but they love kerala and joined with those few chrisitians in our small kerala. probably velluthedanmar or nair or dobby probably behind in these dramatic community. well its an idea tat i feel on them

  170. Admin says

    Dear Easo Pothen

    First of all, thanks for the link about the thesis. As I understood from translation, the author of the thesis mostly relied on “Symposium on Knanites”. Almost all of the early Portuguese accounts he mentions in brief has been published in full by some other authors. I have used the English translation of these in the article. As mentioned in the thesis, it is certainly true that with all the new Scientist theories, the real history of Southists will be lost.

    I also felt that there was no mention about the opinions of major Orientalist like Assemani in the history of Southist in thesis.

    On the theory which you proposed about the origin of Southists- I have only read brief about the palm leaf manuscript “Keralattil Marga Valiute Avastha”. What I have read is akin to what you have mentioned. I think it was T K Joseph who brought this to the limelight. I have not read his article in Kerala Society Papers, which discuss about this. So my response is not very accurate and this is based on some references I read from the papers of Dr. K S Mathew etc about this.

    There is a similarity in the events associated with Southists history. I think the author of the manuscript “Keralattil Marga Valiute Avastha” uses Christian era which indicates that the manuscript is not very old. I am not sure how old is this ! Well, the Leyden text which gives the vision of Catholicos and voyage of Thomas of Cana is also written in eighteenth century. This is not a point, as there is not much antiquity to the generally used documents in Southist history.

    This document “Keralattil Marga Valiute Avastha” has been used generally to identify the history of the local Christian merchant guild called Manigramam. Manigramam was an association of merchants working at various ports such as Quilon ( Copper plate has reference about them), Kodungalloor ( Irvi Kortan plate has reference), Kaveripattanam, Tittadatanapuram etc. I don’t know if Manigramam is stated in this document or it is an observation put forward.

    Do you have more information about this manuscript?

  171. John Mathew says

    Does anyone have an opinion on my connection of “Mar Joseph of Edessa” (from the common Southist story) with Rabban Joseph of the Black Jews?

    Does anyone know when the Mar Joseph story started?

    I don’t think the Southist story is completely explained by claiming they are converts from a local Indian group — the supposed presence of unique songs and marriage practices amongst them seems to contradict this theory. I also don’t believe in the Mar Joseph/Thomas of Cana story — Thomas of Cana was also claimed as a Northist ancestor, and there’s no evidence of a Mar Joseph. Plus the endogamic practices of the Southists contradict Syriac Christian (West or East) origins — Christians are not endogamous, since the policy seems to conflict with Christian universalism.

    However, if they are converts from a group of Black Jews — *that* might just be possible…, and it would explain a lot of things.

    Of course, it still doesn’t explain how the Southists got possession of Pahlavi Crosses…

  172. Admin says

    Dear John

    I don’t have a definite opinion about the origin of Southist. My gut feeling is that, the details about the division and origin should be there in some documents in the archives in Portugal, Spain or with Jesuits. I don’t buy the Southist legends, as we all know it has been changing continuously through out the decades. That is, I don’t even see any constant tradition among them. The most recent is the Jewish Christian stories. I wont be be surprised if it has been proved later that the division we see today as Northist- Southist started based on some silly reason.

    On the hypothesis you put forward, there are few points worth pursuing in my opinion.

    1. I see the mentioning of “Joseph Rabban (the grantee of the Jewish copper cheppad) became “Mar Joseph” the Syriac Christian bishop” as interesting; as we don’t have any information about the Mar Joseph mentioned in Southist history other than traditions. (?) Kuravilanagdu church has some traditions associated with Mar Joseph from Edessa but again no documents as far us I know. I will confirm from when onwards Mar Joseph came in Southist traditions.

    2. It could be that the Copper Plates Southist claim as given to them by the Cheraman Peruaml ( 9th century) may be the original Jewish copper plates (?).The Portuguese writing mentions about the Thomas of Cana plates ( also called as Mar Jacob plates). Another probability is that the original Thomas of Cana or Mar Jacob Plates, can be some deed Bishop Thomas of Cana got for the Church in Cranganore in 9th century from the King Cheraman Perumal. The Portuguese writings indicate that the language used was also Arabic, which support this. Since it doesn’t exist, cant say more.

    3. I don’t know what exactly happened Meshuhararim Jews ( mixed origin). Did the Meshuhararim join Christianity after the attack by Zamorin and Muslims in Cranganore in 1524 (?).

    The problems adding to what you mentioned to your hypothesis,

    1. No such information is provided in any Portuguese earlier accounts or reference where the division is mentioned and other missionary accounts. ( as far us I know)

    2. Jews also doesn’t have any tradition that many of them got converted to Christianity. ( Are there any ?)

    3. The Southists in reality doesn’t have any tradition which says that they were Jews. The customs they have are similar to Northist like Pulakuli, with some difference. On a lighter vein, they have ‘the decorating of hands of the bride with henna and Oppana..does that make them muslim converts? I am trying to get some more customs from southist. My understating now is that only in 1992, they started the claim of Jewish Christians. (?)

    4. No reference about this in Syond of Diamper decrees. This is keeping in the mind that, there was an organized effort in Syond of Diamper ( 1599) even to bring back those Christians who have reverted to some form of Hinduism. ( Thodamala etc)

    Until some 1524, it is said that Jews, Christians, Nairs etc lived in Cranganore.

    The Raja of Cranganore had quarrels with the Samorin of Calicut. King of Cranganore was a vassal of Samorin of Calicut and seeing that King of Crnaganore was secretly allying with King of Cochin, the Samorin of Calicut attacked Crnaganore sometime in 1524. In this attack, many houses and churches of Christians were burnt down. Some time earlier the Christians who had monopoly of Pepper cultivation had removed Muslims from middlemen role by the actions taken by Mar Jacob. The Muslims were revengeful and this would have also contributed to the destruction. The Church in the name of Apostle at Cranganore was also burnt. It is said that when Muslims turned against Christians, Nairs helped the Christians.

    Jews also suffered in the attack. Regarding the Black Jews at Cranganore, there was a division Meyuhasim ( pure lineage) and Meshuhararim ( mixed origin). It is said that this infighting was also a major reason which lead the destruction of their settlements in Cranganore in 1524, and eventual movement towards Cochin and other areas.

    It is said that among the Meyuhasim, there was a quarrel between the two descendents of Joseph Rabban regarding succession. This split them in to two groups. Both these groups sought the help of Zamorin to put down other. Meshuhararim advised Zamorin to pretend to help both and cheat them. The Zamorin using this opportunity with the help of Muslims attacked Cranganore and destroyed both the settlements of Meyuhasim and Meshuhararim. Then the Paradesi Jews became prominent. They even started claiming the Copper Plates as their own. I don’t know what exactly happened to the Meshuhararim. (?)

    Alphy, some time back mentioned that Southist might have copied some of these stories from Cochin Jews.

    In Bishop Roz Report of 1604, he mentions that only in 1603, there were quarrels at Udiamper ( Udaymperoor), and Candanate. Erection of separate churches for Southist only started from there (?). He also says in 1604, The Christians of St. Thomas descending from Thomas of Cana are few. They are in Udiamper ( Udaymperoor) and in the big church of Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and the big Church of Cotete ( Kottayam) and in Turigure. ( Torure ?) etc.

    In 1578, there were about Sixty Churches for Saint Thomas Christians. There are no reports which mention anything about any of the churches belonging to any separate group. The number of Churches increased during the course of time, and by the year 1644 there were about 94 of them. (?) From the Roz report it appeared to me that only from 1603, they started having their own Church.(?)

    I am not sure from when onwards they came to be known as Ancharappallikkar (?). It seems that gradually they had five churches of their own at Diamper, Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam, Chunkom and Kallissery. May be studying the history of these Churches would give more information (?).

  173. John Mathew says

    Thanks Admin for your detailed response.

    I was under the impression that underneath the layers of myths, there were some (or at least one) “different” traditions involved (e.g., something about different songs they sing, which I believe I learned from Joseph Palackal’s writing on the ethnomusicography of the Nasranis — his CD, which M. Thomas Antony reviews — has a sample song, I think).

    Do you have any ideas about which archives in Portugal or Spain might contain the records regarding our community? I ask just in case I or any other Nasrani makes it to one of those countries one day — we can try to take a deeper look for these records.

  174. Jackson says

    John Mathew,

    Please could u send the papers to my email address… mjjackson_12@yahoo(dot)co(dot)in, since I do not have your id. Will read them and do the needful. Thanks.


  175. M Thomas Antony says

    Dear Easo,

    Regarding the creation of the southist diocese of Kottayam in SMC.

    I have already mentioned that the majority northists were unhappy with the appointment of Mar Makil, a southist as the first native bishop of the Vicariate of Kottayam at Changanacherry. This was because,

    1 Mar Makil was involved in sending letters to Rome against appointment of native bishops.

    2 Mar Makil was close to Charles Lavigne, who was not liked by the Catholic Syrians. He always tried to sideline Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar, who was the strong leader of the Catholic Syrians at that time from north to south regions.

    3 Makil was the secretary to Mar Marsaline, a Portuguese Archbishop of Verapoly.

    4 Centuries old superiority of northists over sudists made this appointment an insult to the superior northists who are the majority.

    5. Mar Makil was the first person who used the term “Syro Malabar” instead of “Syro Chaldean” for Pazhayacoor against their wish, probably for the interest of the European Bishops or to please them.Later, Rome also used the term “Syro Malabar”. The whole community was against this and sent several letters etc to Rome against it to reinstate the term “Syro Chaldean”

    This led wide spread public unrest against Mar Makil. Several letters were sent to Rome and at last, the then three native bishops of the catholic Syrians jointly sent a report to Rome to create a solution to this divide in Changanacherry. As Mar Makil was consecrated as a Bishop already, the only option was to create a sudist diocese for him and consecrate a northist as bishop of Changanacherry. Thus, the Vicariate of Kottayam at Changanacherry was divided into the diocese of Chaganacherry and a new diocese at Kottayam.

    The real emotion at that time period can be seen in this letter sent by Northists to Pope Pius X in 1908-

    “In support of our complaints from a social point of view, we beg to call your Holiness’ kind attention to the past history of the church in Malabar. The sudists, too low and too insignificant to be counted in the general community, were not allowed to be ordained priests; and though there were native bishops even from the time of the apostle, St Thomas, not one of them has been a sudist. The consecration of Mar Makil, a sudist is the first instance of the violation of our admitted superiority and privilege for centuries. Although later on, the sudists were allowed to be ordained as priests through the exertions of Latin bishops, there is no instance of a sudist priest governing even a northist parish. We are therefore extremely sorry that the Vatican with all its proverbial respect for the precedents would think it fit not only to deprive us of or time honoured superiority and privilege but also to subject us to the rule of a sudist bishop-which is indeed a great national insult. Our only consolation when we think of all this is , that Rome has been kept in the dark as to the true state of affairs, and that she will soon rectify this unhappy error.”

    Ref. Changanacherry athiroopatha innale, innu, (1998), Published by the Arch diocese of Changanacherry)

    From this letter, it seems that southists were not allowed to become priests in the past. Has anybody got any more information about this?

    ( I personally do not support any ideas comparing people superior or inferior)

  176. TKV says

    I don’t think northist/southist is superior/inferior. From the practices of the southists(endogamy) they would like to keep themselves different. Whats thier genetic study suggests? All are of same group?
    Its better to rely on genetic studies than archaelogica/historical studies in this case.

  177. Anon says

    M Thomas Antony,

    Your quote said it all! Whenever I look around I see southist are more similar in appearence to natives than Nasranies, make sense now.

    The confidence in Southist in propogating lies without any guilt (an example of their fearlessness to God) had resulted in Abhaya case. Clearly the accused are atheist: Wolf in sheep’s skin.

  178. Easo Pothen says

    Hi Admin & John,
    Thanks. “According to this in AD 339, the Vellala converts to Christianity in Kaveripattanam were persecuted by the King and because of this 72 families embarked on a boat or vessel and came to Korakkeni, where there were already Christians.” This is what is written in the manuscript. The story is so similar to the Knanaya myth and their DNA tests prove it too. That was the reason for my theory.

  179. Easo Pothen says

    Thanks Thomas.
    A fact from Knanaya appeared on Wikipedia’s Main Page in the Did you know? column on 6 March 2005. The text of the entry was as follows:
    • “…that the Nasrani Menorah is the symbol of the Knanaya community in South India, acknowledged as Christian Jews by the Vatican? “
    Did Vatican acknowledge Knanayas as Jewish Christians?

  180. John Mathew says

    What exactly did the Vatican acknowledge with the creation of a separate Southist diocese? Does anyone have an excerpt to share? I doubt there would have been any reference to “”Christian Jews” since “Jewish Christianity” is regarded as heterodox by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Does the Vatican and/or the people responsible for the East Catholic Churches have anything to say about this “Jewish Christian” claim by the Southists?

    Also, are the Southists responsible for this “Nasrani Menorah” misidentification? The Pahlavi inscription — undeniably Christian — and the common Christian style of that Cross (ref: the Georgian and Armenian crosses, the East Syriac and Wes Syriac crosses in the Middle East, Central Asia and China, and the Ravenna Cross in Italy detract from the “Menorah” claim. As does the fact that the same and/or similar design is used in Goa, Ceylon, other parts of Kerala where Southists have no tradition of existing.

    While the common knowledge circulating amongst the public will be faulty and infected with these memes, at least there’s some small comfort that when more intelligent people consult the scholarly body of literature (that last main contributor of which is Gignoux, it seems) they’ll learn the more orthodox nature of our past.

  181. emmarcee says

    When did the information given in “Weekipedia” started to be seen as authentic. Of course the “Persian” Cross looks “Eastern”. Kana is the port in Arabia or Yemen. These overblown stories of “Jewsihness” started only after one of the Knananites wrote up a fake histroy book in 1950. Then another Knanaanite lady translated it when she was in South Africa. Southern Kingdom of Judea? There is no end to perversion. Let me tell you. The one real reason the two groups were separate could be that Kana people could have been Arabic in origin and already existing Christians had Persian connection when they came in. If you guys really want to be Jewish why don’t you apply for immigration to Israel. They will be very happy.

  182. emmarcee says

    I want to point out just one more thing. It is just not in Catholic Church that we have Northist and Southist, it is in Old jacobite church too. That is why there are a lot of Jacobite Syrian Christians belonging to Kna families. They actually marry from Kna Catholics. So there is this group even before Diamper Synod. It can be also said that this group tries to be endogamous. Even a century ago there were many stories behind it. Only within the last decade the “Jewishness” came out. This happened probably after a lots of Kna Mallus went to Canada and USA and started realizing the “greatness” of Jews. Why not have a Jewish ancestry if you can have it. Very exotic!!

    The truth is that Thomas of Kana (which is a port on the southern part of Arabia) came from Edessa. There is no connection what soever to the Cana of Jesus/ Wine fame, which is a small town in Judea. Most probably we had Persian connection at that time. Please note that even Persian Christians are called Syrian Christians, becaus ethey use Aramaic / Syriac liturgy. Historically Persia is our nearest and by first century there were many Christians in the area. They used to send Bishops to Malabar and we even have their Khabars in kerala. Now, probably the Thomas of Kana set himself apart from local Christians and somehow, the division continued on based on stories that are not completely “Christian”. The term “Thekkumbhagar” is completely local in origin and there is no need to make new stories. THis came from the area wherever early settlers decided to stay or to go to once a separation occured.

    Portugese were very good at making stories – including the Brahmin conversions. In AD 52, we can say for sure that there were not many Brahmins in Kerala. Actually there was more chance of finding Brahmins in Parthia or Persia at that time than in Kerala.Mr. John Mathew seems very desparate to establish some Jewish connection- even if it is as “Black Jew”. LOL

  183. John Mathew says


    You wrote: “The truth is that Thomas of Kana (which is a port on the southern part of Arabia) came from Edessa.”

    Really? Where does this “fact” come from? As far as I’ve seen, this is a part of the standard mythology and is not more a “fact” than any of the “Jewish” myths. That is, there is no evidence concerning Thomas of Kana’s arrival, no less that he came from Edessa. Do you also believe he brought along a “Mor Joseph of Edessa” in accordance with the Patriarch of Antioch’s instruction? Fiction.

    Also, your story (and it is a story, not history) ignores the *fact* that the Northists also claimed descent from Thomas of Cana. How do you explain that?

    You wrote: “Kana is the port in Arabia or Yemen”.

    Which one is it, you idiot?

    You wrote: “They [the Persians and/or East Syriacs] used to send Bishops to Malabar and we even have their Khabars in kerala. ”

    Where? There is only one Persian khabar I’m aware of, and that is Mar Abo’s in Thevelakkara — assuming that Mar Abo is the same as Mar Aphroth or Mar Sabor, both of whom are reported to have come around the 10th century. Fortunately, our ancestors possessed sufficient reverence for that cleric, as to bury him and mark his grave. But, apart from Mar Abo, there are no other *old* khabars in Kerala. Note: *Old* here means pre-16th century.

    I don’t doubt that the Persians/East Syriacs sent bishops … however, I do doubt that we have any existing evidence.

    You wrote: “.Mr. John Mathew seems very desparate to establish some Jewish connection- even if it is as “Black Jew”. LOL”

    Are you as stupid as your writing suggests? I’m not even a Southist — and I’m certainly not a subscriber to the “Nasrani as Jew” BS that some morons are advancing on the basis of “faith” rather than “fact”.

    My post in which I ask about the possibility of a Black Jewish origin for the Southists was referring to the fact that both the Southists and the Black Jews claim some connection with a Rabban Joseph (some myths present this as “Mor Joseph of Eddessa”). This seems to be a very curious common characteristic between the Black Jews and the Southists, that should be investigated since it is believed that many Jews did convert to Syriac Christianity over the last several centuries. Others here (who have also been critical of Southist myths) have also indicated that the Southists copper plates are possibly just a reference to the Jewish copper plates— which were given to the Black Jews but now reside with the White Jews (another curiosity … how did that occur?).

    Again, I don’t believe the Southist myths — but they are a separate community and so I am interested in understanding how that separation occurred.

    I want to see facts — and I want to ensure that myths are clearly labeled. What you’ve written is *as* contaminated with myth as what the Southists write. BS all around.

    Finally, cite your source regarding “Kana is the port in Arabia or Yemen.” This is interesting to me … in all likelihood, the Black Jews of India are Himyaritic Jews (i.e., Jews from Yemen). Scholars investigating the Jews of Malabar have indicated similarities between the Malabar and Yemenite Jews.

    But … I don’t have much faith that you’ll provide something tangible and/or credible … you seem to be as dull as the other propagators of myths.

    You wrote: “The one real reason the two groups were separate could be that Kana people could have been Arabic in origin and already existing Christians had Persian connection when they came in.”

    This is possible, but it is in need of facts to support the claim. It is also rife with holes. Why would there be Arabic/Persian tensions? The Church of the East integrated Arabic-speaking Syriac-speaking Persian-speaking peoples with those of other ethnic groups. I doubt such ethnocentric bigotry would have been a characteristic of the old Persian Christians in Kerala. I think there might be something more here than mere language and/or cultural differences…

  184. emmarcee says

    OK, John. Apart from the name callng, I understand that you are deep into this. Tell me, did n’t you know it was always and always claimed that Knananites came from Kanai Thomman and also that other Syraians called them Vella because Kanai Thomman married from a Veluthedathi? Do we really have anything more than thes e “myths’ , traditions and guesses to establish anything?. Is n’t your “suspicion” of black jews converting to Knas actually without any factual basis but just your hu
    nch? Sould I call you imbecile?
    I found “port of Kana” in one of the ancient maps at the southern point of Arabian peninsula. Try googling “port of cana, southern gates of arabia – Google books). He came from Edessa which was a great center of Eastern Orthodoxy. This is what I am proposing. Probably they set themselves apart because they knew the old Christians of Kerala had connection with Persian Church.
    Why are going ballistic about the Persian Church. In all possibility our early church started through our connection with persia. You can see that there is only so many miles you can cover by sea in the first and second century. Where do you think our names like “Mani” “Thomman” came from? Historically Nestorian Church was very missionary. Only when they were uprooted by Islam and trade roots were cut off by Arabs, we started having connection with the real Orthodoxy of East. The Connection to catholic Roman Curch through Chaldean Church is as good a myth as anything the Catholic clergy spreads. The imortance of Papal Rome increased only when Arabs/Turks destroyed Eastern Christian Centers.
    I will leave a piece from New Advent for your belief in our Persian Connection. Was it you who was wondering why we have “pahlavi” in the Persian cross?

  185. emmarcee says

    From New Advent (Catholic)
    Their early prelates
    Of the prelates who governed the Church in India after the Apostle’s death very little is known; that little is collected and reproduced here. John the Persian, who was present at the Council of Nice (325), is the first known to history claiming the title. In his signature to the degrees of the Council he styles himself; John the Persian [presiding] over the churches in all Persia and Great India. The designation implies that he was the [primate] Metropolitan of Persia and also the Bishop of Great India. As metropolitan and the chief bishop of the East he may have represented at the council the Catholics of Seleucia. His control of the Church in India could only have been exercised by his sending priests under his juridiction to minister to those Christians. It is not known at what date India first commenced to have resident bishops; but between the years 530-35 Cosmas Indicopleustes in his “topographia” informs us of the presence of a bishop residing in Caliana, the modern Kalyan at a short distance from Bombay. That residence was, in all probability, chosen because it was then the chief port of commerce on the west coast of India, and had easy access and communication with Persia. We know later of a contention which took place between Jesuab of Adiabene the Nestorian Patriarch and Simeon of Ravardshir, the Metropolitan of Persia, who had left India unprovided with bishops for a long period. The Patriarch reproached him severely for this gross neglect. We may take it that up to the period 650-60 the bishops sent to India, as Cosmas has said, were consecrated in Persia, but after this gross neglect the patriarch reserved to himself the choice and consecration of the prelates he sent out to India, and this practice was continued till the arrival of the Portuguese on the coast in 1504.

    Le Quien places the two brothers Soper Iso and Prodho on the list of bishops of India, but Indian tradition gives it no support, and in this the British Museum Manuscript Report and Gouvea (Jornada, p. 5) concur. The brothers were known as church-builders, and were reputed to be holy men. Moreover, to include Thomas Cana in the lists of bishops is preposterous on the face of the evidence of the copper-plate grant. The “Report” mentions a long period when there was neither bishop nor priest surviving in the land, for they had all died out; the only clerical survival was a deacon far advanced in age. The ignorant Christians, finding themselves without prelates, made him say Mass and even ordain others, but as soon as prelates came from Babylon they put a stop to this disorder. The next authentic information we have on this head comes from the Vatican Library and has been published by Assemani (Bibli. Or., III, 589). It consists of a statement concerning two Nestorian bishops and their companions and a letter the former written in Syriac to the Patriarch announcing their arrival, dated 1504; there is a translation in Latin added to the documents. In 1490 the Christians of Malabar dispatched three messengers to ask the Nestorian Patriarch to send out bishops; one died on the journey, the other two presented themselves before the Patriarch and delivered their message; two monks were selected and the Patriach consecrated them bishops, assigning to one the name of Thomas and to the other that of John. The two bishops started on their journey to India accompanied by the two messengers. On their arrival they were received with great joy by the people, and the bishops commenced consecrating altars and ordaining a large number of priests “as they had been for a long time deprived of bishops”. One of them, John, remained in India, while the other Thomas, accompanied by Joseph, one of the messengers, returned to Mesopotamia, taking with them the offerings collected for the patriarch. Joseph returned to India in 1493, but Thomas remained in Mesopotamia.

  186. emmarcee says

    Other Historians beleive that that this “kalian” cannot be Kalyan of Bombay but Kalliani in Kerala (Northern Kollam? – I forgot). Bombay was not a great trading port as the ports of Kerala and Gujarat at that time.

  187. emmarcee says

    I did n’t see your last paragraph. By 800, probably Syrian Christians of Arab land is already persecuted by raising Islam. Already there is division between Persian Nestorians and Orthodoxy. I would n’t say it will be unnatural for people to set themselves apart in these calamitous situations.

  188. John Mathew says


    I think the problem here is you are a late-comer, and you’ve seen only one post of mine (in which I presented a hypothesis and invited informed criticism), and have come to some ridiculous conclusion that I am somehow ignorant or “against” our connections with the Persian / East Syriac Church. I’ll leave it to you to read more of NSC to learn how wrong you are.

    I don’t know nor care for Kerala Christian oral traditions. I seek knowledge, and not folk history. Hence, I reject the myths about St. Thomas’ arrival in 52 AD, and I reject the Southist myths about Thomas of Cana as well. I reject the Southist Thomas of Cana stories because it seems that in the old days both Northists and Southists claimed origin from Thomas of Cana.

    emarcee, you don’t even know the myths: the oldest stories of Thomas of Cana go like this:
    1) Thomas of Cana came from somewhere in West Asia
    2) He came with a foreign wife, and many fellow immigrants
    3) In Malabar he was received well, and was granted a city
    4) He married a local woman
    5a) The Northists claim that the Northists are the descendants of Thomas of Cana’s children with the *foreign* woman, who later intermarried with the local Christians; they claim that his children with the local woman formed the basis of the “lower class” Southist community
    5b) the Southists claim the reverse

    However, for some reason, the Northists stopped with the Thomas of Cana business in the last few centuries. It seems they had better things to do.

    Now, like I said, I don’t give a second thought to these myths, other than to deride them. For me, Kerala Christian history starts with Cosmas Indicopleatus and the Persian Christian settlements. It continues up to the 10th century, supported by copious documented exchanges between Malabar and the East Syriac Church, the immigration of Mar Sabor and Mar Aproth, and of course the Pahlavi Crosses. And then, there are the sporadic reports by the Europeans (seeing Nestorians and quasi-pagan Christians) throughout the 12-15th century. By the 16th we have definite knowledge of what happened.

    Regarding the Southists, I don’t know about their origins. I know that since the 18th century there has been a continuous evolution in their stories. I discount the affiliation with Thomas of Cana, because there’s no evidence of Thomas of Cana. There’s nothing at all; there’s no evidence of him, any Eddessan connection, and of any Mar Joseph. *However* there is, to me, something fishy about:
    1) the similarity between the Black Jew and Southist reference to a Rabban/Mar Joseph
    2) the reports by some on NSC of the possibility that the Tjomas of Kana cheppds are identical to the Black Jew cheppads

    But, at no point did I ever claim that the Southists were Black Jews. That’s why I’m comfortable calling you an imbecile, and have no faith that you can do the same to me: you claimed your *myth* to be *truth*, whereas I just raised the question. To be honest, I’ve gotten sick of all the Southist-bashing that I’ve seen (people claiming all sorts of idiotic myths, to counteract the idiotic myths the Southists dream up), and I wanted to propose something that might actually have a basis in fact (taking “Mor Joseph” as my starting point). Note: I’m not a Southist, and I’ve even — I’m ashamed to admit — engaged in Southist-bashing.

    And, regarding my hypothesis, I asked others on NSC to assail (criticize) this hypothesis, in the hope that some facts pop up. That is, I want to move the discussion of the Southists from the typical hyperbole and/or insults to something grounded in fact.

    Again, emmarcee, you are new here, it seems, and have no knowledge of my previous “debates” with others who have tried to force “Jewish-origin” myths. My perspective was, and still is, that there is no evidence that the Malabar Christians were anything other than *East Syriac Christians*.

    You wrote: “He came from Edessa which was a great center of Eastern Orthodoxy. This is what I am proposing. Probably they set themselves apart because they knew the old Christians of Kerala had connection with Persian Church.”

    emmarcee, stop now while you’re still ahead, and go and *read* some more books and scholarly papers, because your knowledge is highly flawed. *Edessa* is not a center of “Eastern Orthodoxy”, it is a center of Syriac Christianity. The two are completely different. Both the East Syriacs and the West Syriacs see Edessa as a spiritual home. The East Syriac “Nestorians” claim to be the true orthodox faith; the Jacobites call them heretics. The West Syriac “Jacobites” claim to be the true orthodox faith; the Eastern Orthodox call them heretics. The Eastern Orthodox claim to be the true orthodox faith; the Roman Catholics call them heretics. And vice versa. “True Orthodox” is a variable, subjective term. As such it does not belong in a scholarly debate.

    You seem to be trying to claim that the Southists were Jacobites from Edessa, and so separated themselves from the Northists due to a theological division. This has a severe flaw. The oldest liturgical works that exist in Kerala are *East Syriac* ones (mostly 14-15th century, with a 12th century manuscript reportedly stored in the Vatican). The oldest West Syriac liturgical works in Kerala are all from the time of Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel onwards (post 17th century). There is nothing to suggest that the Southists brought the West Syriac tradition to Kerala. What you are proposing is *wrong*. It also conflicts with the fact that the Catholic Southists claim that Thomas of Cana was sent by the East Syriac Catholicos-Patriarch. And the modern Southist myth is that Thomas of Cana was a Jewish Christian.

    All this tells me is that *NO ONE* knows who Thomas of Cana is! Thomas of Cana is a variable that people assign whatever they want to. As such, he is not a reliable foundation for any theory.

    The question now is: who is this Mar Joseph that some Southist myths refer to? Is it only the Jacobite Southists that claim Mor Joseph of Edessa accompanied Thomas? Or do the other Southists also refer to Mor Joseph? What are the oldest stories concerning Mor Joseph?

    You wrote: “Was it you who was wondering why we have “pahlavi” in the Persian cross?”

    No, you imbecile, it wasn’t me. Perhaps you are referring to my questioning why the *Southists* (who claim Jewish origin) have a Pahlavi Cross. I understand why the Northist Syriac Christians of Kerala have Pahlavi Crosses — those are our most ancient artifacts, and the Northists have always claimed to be Christian in origin. But how did the Southists — who claim Jewish origin (or even Jacobite origin, if we take your moronic theory seriously) — get the Pahlavi *Christian* Cross? It doesn’t fit their myths … unless their myths are wrong, or they obtained the Cross through some other means.

  189. emmarcee says

    Ok Man, Your strategy seems to be the rightful use of “shoot them down” , so you can continue to “propose” whatever BS you are dreaming up. I am new to the site and of course you bet I am irritated by the Knananities misplaced aspiration to be in teh Jewish fold.
    But for a person who is claiming to know a great lot about the Kerala Syrian Chrisitianity, you seem to be lacking the correct perspective. (That is a word I just tend to use).
    How did you “assume” that I have not read anything about the Knaa myths or whatever else you are supposed to be the king of?
    Syriac Christian? and Eastern and Western Syriac Christians? Could you please explain to me how you concocted those names? the etymology?
    Again, as I said, EDESSA was a great seat of Eastern Christianity. This is where they took the relics of St. Thomas to, supposedly from India. Nisibis, which was joined to Persian Empire, in 3rd century, was the main early seat of Nestorian theology. Edessa as such went with Rome and Byzantine, thus Eastern ORTHODOX.
    Your contention that both sides claim they are “Orthodox” does not stand. I kow the word meaning of Ortho-duxo. But we are talking about the legally and internationally accepted term of “Eastern Orthodox: as in the churches which accepted Nicean Creed.
    Yes, also, there is evidence that Thomas Of Cana was a merchant from “Edessa” (if my memory is right).
    Another thing I found in your writing was that you completely avoid the term “Kananaya Christians” which is the original name of the community. “The name Thekkumbhagar” (which you have anglicised -to Southist- which is better for Jewishness proponents) is used only by the other faction and vice versa. I would say this is like saying “Black and white’ instead of other accepted terms of Afr-americans or Caucasians.
    John you should probably start to write in standard terms – otherwise your research may end up nowhere.

  190. John Mathew says


    You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t even know what East and West Syriac refer too? These are standard terms! Break out of your provincial Indian Christian education (woefully deficient) and at least read some Sebastian Brock to learn what the *standard* terms are.

    You claim to know the meaning of the word “orthodox”. Who cares? The meaning is clear, but the application is subjective. Look at the Muslims: they consider themselves to be the True Religion, and the rest to be infidels. But the same is the case with the Christians. And the Jews. Anyone can call themselves a “True” Believer. The term is *variable*.

    The words “orthodox” and “catholic” are neutral terms meaning, essentially, canonical universal. When Christian sects use those terms in their titles, the assumption is:
    a) that they are the True Universal Apostolic Church of Christ
    b) that the others are not.

    Hence, all sects consider themselves to be orthodox and catholic. The Nestorians call themselves a “Catholic” Church and the Roman Catholics call themselves a “Catholic” Church. The Eastern Orthodox call themselves “Orthodox” and the Oriental Orthodox call themselves “Orthodox”. However, *all* four groups consider the other to be un-catholic and un-orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox, in particular, consider the Syriac/Malankara Orthodox to be heretics, and vice versa.

    You wrote: “But we are talking about the legally and internationally accepted term of “Eastern Orthodox: as in the churches which accepted Nicean Creed.”

    You are fantastically ignorant, and are in severe need on an education. You are *wrong*. The Eastern Orthodox label is the label applied to the Byzantine Orthodox Churches (i.e., those that accept Chalcedon, and the other Synods upto the 11th century) — the label does *not* apply to the Oriental Orthodox Churches (which includes the West Syriac “Jacobite” Church) which only accept the first three Synods.

    Here are the divisions of old Christianity:
    a) Church of the East (East Syriac tradition): accepts first 2 councils
    b) Oriental Orthodox Churches (including the West Syriac “Syriac Orthodox” or “Jacobite” Church): accepts first 3 councils (rejects Chalcedon)
    c) Eastern Orthodox: accepts Chalcedon + others upto the 11th century
    d) Roman Catholic: accepts Chalcedon + others upto and after the 11th century

    All of the above consider themselves to be the *true* faith, and apply the labels “Orthodox” and/or “Catholic” to indicate that belief. And all of the above consider the other to be un-orthodox.

    In fact, the Nicene Creed is not an indicator of anything — all of the above sects follow the Nicene Creed; that doesn’t stop each from considering the other to be heretical. If you’re Orthodox (or Jacobite) go to the ultra-conservative monks at Mount Athos and ask them what they think of you — they’ll call you an unorthodox Monophysite heretic because the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Malankara or Syriac) reject the fourth “ecumenical” council.

    You wrote: “How did you “assume” that I have not read anything about the Knaa myths or whatever else you are supposed to be the king of?”

    Because, from what you’ve written, it is clear you only know the Jacobite “Knanaya” myths. You don’t seem to know the Syro-Malabar Knanaya myths (who claim Thomas of Cana was sent by the East Syriacs). And you don’t seem to know that the Northists used to claim descent from Thomas of Cana too. You don’t seem to know much of anything. None of those above myths are Jewish either—they predate the recent Kna Jewish myths: and they still conflict with each other!

    Southist is the historical term as far as I’ve read; Knanaya is the recently invented term. Again, consult some books on the topic rather that regurgitating the myths your grandparents or Church websites may have told you. The term “Southist” doesn’t imply anything Jewish. (Some Kna have claimed that this is a reference to the southern kingdom in Israel — a laughable claim.)

    I’ll use your term, though, since you don’t know sufficient history to be able to cope with the term “Southist”. You say you are “irritated” by the Knanaya myths — that seems to be the case with many people who are proposing ridiculous anti-theories. The Kna seem to want to inflate their status, and people like you want to deflate them — on purely emotional grounds.

    Let’s just eliminate the emotional responses, and look for facts.

    Again, I don’t think I’ve ever proposed a theory as fact (unlike you who believes (a) Knanaya is a historic term, (b) that the Knanaya were Jacobites from Edessa). I merely asked for comments on the Rabban Joseph hypothesis.

    You have nothing substantial to offer here. You don’t have sufficient knowledge to contribute to this discussion. Go back to reciting your myths, fool.

  191. Alphy says

    I am not sure of the veracity of the below claims of Knanya’s from Chapter I

    Some of the things heard was the Catholicose of the East or a Metroploitian had a dream (one version has he heard it from merchants) that the Thomas Christians in Malankara had shortage of ministers. So he sends 72 families under Thomas of Cana to to help strengthen and re-invigorate the weakened St. Thomas Christians of India. And the date derived from Knaithomman Chepped or Knaithomman Copper plates, granted (?) in 345 AD with seventy-two privileges engraved on it.

    But “if” the above date [345 AD] was true……I doubt it would have to do completely with the pathetic state of the St. Thomas Christians. In reality the the Christians in the persian empire were in a worse situation during those times. From 337-350 Persian(Sassanids) under Shapur II (ruler 309 to 379) wages wars against Roman empire. And in response to the Christianization of the Roman Empire under Constantine I (emperoror 306-337), starting with edict of Milan in 313, Shapur II considers all Christians in his kingdom as a fifth column and beging violent pesecution.

    340-363 was considered as The Great Persecution of the Persian church.
    344 Martyrdom of Catholicos Shimun bar Sabbae, 5 bishops and 100 priests
    345 Martyrdom of Catholicos Shahdost
    346 Martyrdom of Catholicos Barbashmin

    This situation rather than the compassion for St. thomas Christians could have led to the exodus of the Knanaya christians from Persia. To escape they get a hold of a merchant who had trade relations with India, Knanya Thoman. And under his leadership reaches India, escaping persecution. Considering the martyrdom of multiple Catholicose during the period, I am not sure if there is much truth to the claims that they were send under his instruction. But such an excuse would have made them more acceptable in this foreign land among their fellow believers.

    This hypotheses would make the Knanya christians Persian christians, and could explain presence of the Persian Crosses in the knanya churches.

    All the above depends on the AD345 date.

  192. John Mathew says


    The problem I have with this is the Pahlavi Crosses are dated to the 7th century or later (ref: Phillipe Gignoux, Burnell, etc.) on the basis of the nature of the inscription. Next, most of the Pahlavi Crosses are in the possession of non-Knanaya — whether it be the Syriac Christians of Kerala, the ruins of Ceylon, Goa, or Mylapore.

    I think that it is highly likely that Persian Christians immigrated to Malabar due to the aforementioned persecutions and for economic reasons. However, I doubt they formed endogamous communities as there is a letter from the East Syriac Catholicos (between the 4th and 11th century … I don’t have the source on hand, but I can dig it up — I believe I posted it elsewhere on this site) authorizing intermarriage between Persian and Indian Christians.

    Does Mar Joseph figure in all Knanaya stories, or just recent ones?

    Do the copper plates you refer to exist anywhere? Copies?

  193. John Mathew says

    Oops, sorry Alphy, I should have read the article you linked to.

    Okay, so Mar Joseph is not just a Jacobite Southist figure, he’s also in the Syro-Malabar Southist stories.

    Maybe if we could get our hands on the Portuguese translation, we could learn some more… and compare it with some of the other Indo-Semitic cheppeds in Kerala (the Kollam ones, the Black Jewish ones).

    I highly doubt the 4th century date though … we don’t have anything in Kerala that’s been around that long… If we did those “anonymous” historians the article refers to would be famous!

  194. emmarcee says

    The Syriac Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Middle East, with members spread throughout the world. It parted ways with Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism over the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which the Syriac Orthodox Church rejects. It is a major inheritor of Syriac Christianity and has Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, as its official language. The church is led by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.
    Official name
    The church is often referred to as Jacobite (after Jacob Baradaeus) or Monophysite, but it rejects these names. In 2000, a Holy Synod ruled that the name of the church in English should be the “‘Syriac Orthodox Church”. Before this it was, and often still is, known as the “Syrian Orthodox Church”. The name was changed to disassociate the church from the polity of Syria. The official name of the church in Syriac is ʿIdto Suryoyto Triṣuṯ Šuḇḥo; this name has not changed, nor has it changed in any language other than English.[6]

  195. emmarcee says

    I posted the above to only show that only a SOB KAA tholican will write that Jacobite Church is not “Orthodox ” because it did not part take in Chalcedonian Council. I will get mor etime when I retire and sit in Canada eating from social security. Till then, whenever I see stupidity this Fool will jump in. Adios.
    and Nicene creed is nothing when you are talking about Orthodoxy!!

  196. John Mathew says

    emmarcee is a fool, as is obvious from his meager posts.

    I’m a Jacobite, as most of the people here know. Unlike him, however, I can separate my canonical affiliation from the pursuit of history.

    Unable to state facts, however, the coward left. Good riddance!

  197. emmarcee says

    Johny, all you know is to call others “you fool”, “Idiot”, as you keep on pushing your own version of history and classifications for your own convenience. In your own classification, (I acknowledge that I did not read that post fully at the time) you include the Jacobites group under Orthodoxy and you accept that East Syrian Church as not Orthodox. Right? Isn’t this the same thing I said? – Catholic, 2 orthodox churches mainly ( I think may be 5 or 6? – in the Chalcedonian accpeting), and fully Persian by history.
    For clarification, is n’t this East Syrian the same as the Nestorian Church ? (so called – but they are denying now?).
    I would like to stick with the name “(a)Syrian”, because they seem to have changed to “Syriac” only because some people were getting confused with Syria the country.

  198. RP says

    Dear Alphy
    Regarding kanaya thommen also read from a syric study note have given in a college that
    In the year 345 A.D Thomas of cana, an Edessan merchant, came to malabar with 472 families of Mesopotomain Christians. The king assigned to Thomas and his followers extensive lands near his Capital city and they settled down there. Unfortunately there arose a split among the colonists, 400 families standing as one party and the rest remaining sepereate. The group of the 400 famillies settled in the northern street of the colony and the other group in the southern street Those who settled in the north were called Vadakkumbhagar and those in the south Thekkumbhagar. The Vadakkumbhagar carried on evangelization and added new christians to their community. The Thekkumbhagar did not evangelize any and remained a community distinct and isolated. The arrival of these colonists increased the prestige and strength of the malabar church. The racial admixture and social contact of the indian christians with the foreign race served to improve their quality and to better their political, social and economic status. And many do mention that they came in malabar because of persecution in those west asian land. that when chrisitaniy became popular. Rome tried to make it underthem. whoever did not accept got killed or ranaway from those places. So these can be the reason for all immigraions to malabar.

  199. John Mathew says


    Those terms were aptly used — you clearly do not know much about general Christianity, other than your own classification system based on a superficial education. Yes, that’s right — it is your classification system that is in error. Consult any source on Christianity and you’ll see what the difference between “Eastern” and “Oriental” Orthodox are. And you’ll see how the terms “Catholic” and “Orthodox” are used by all sects.

    My classification system is not ad hoc — it is based on commonly accepted terms. The term “Orthodox” is used by two broad groups of churches both of which consider the other to be heretics:
    a) the Oriental Orthodox “miaphysites” (which includes the Syriac Orthodox Church)
    b) the Eastern Orthodox “chalcedonians” (which includes the Greek Orthodox Church)
    *Those* are the standard terms. Don’t believe me? Go and research for yourself.

    Now, the term “Assyrian” is not even universally accepted by all “Syriac” speaking peoples: have you even talked to Middle Eastern Syriac Orthodox people? Go to New Jersey and try to push the “Assyrian” label on the Orthodox there. Perhaps in Cali the term may be safely used. Now go to Europe and try the same. At best you’ll get a verbal scolding; at worst you’ll loose some teeth. Many prefer to be called “Aramean”, believing “Assyrian” to be a term introduced by missionaries.

    “Syrian” isn’t even accepted — since it is a Greek term, and the Syriac-speaking peoples are a little bitter about the Greeks.

    -“Syrian” is a term that applies to a geographical location, that doesn’t even really coincide with the home land of the Syriac-speaking peoples (which is Northern Mesopotamia; Tur Abdin, Mardin, Ur — areas that are mostly in Turkey and Iraq).
    -“Syriac” is the commonly-accepted term for the class of languages spoken by both the East Syriac and West Syriac Christians — hence, it is very accurate to call the Churches that use the Syriac language as “Syriac” Churches. It is far more accurate than “Syrian” — a Greek term for a piece of land that has little to do with the Syriac-speaking peoples. Don’t believe me? Go and consult some Syriac scholars. If you really are a Jacobite from the US, you should find plenty of Middle Eastern Syriac Orthodox Rabbans that you can ask. Or you can read the works of Brock, consult the books published by Gorgias Press (run by a Syriac Orthodox layman and Syriac scholar), consult the articles published by the Patriarch and his bishops, etc. You’ll find out how wrong you are (and how accurate it was for me to label you an ignorant idiot …). In fact, you’ll knowledge is so decrepit, that I doubt you’re an Orthodox /Jacobite — I have a hard time believing any of my compadres could be that dull.

    The “Syriac” peoples themselves call themselves “Suryoyo”: “speakers of Syriac”. Nothing to do with Syrian, or Assyrian.

    -East Syriac applies to the eastern group of Syriac languages and the liturgical tradition developed in that language (used by the Nestorians and the Chaldeans: the term East Syriac is commonly used to designate both those groups who have a shared liturgy and history)
    -West Syriac applies to the western group of Syriac languages and the liturgical traditions developed in that language (used by the Syriac Orthodox “Jacobites”, the Maronites, and the Syriac Catholics)
    -Assyrian is a contentious term — many Syriac-speaking people object to that term and prefer “Aramean” — again you, out of your manifest ignorance, “like to use” Assyrian, not knowing that it is a controversial one.

    emmarcee — you claim I am being ad hoc, I claim you are being ad hoc. However, on reading both of our comments, any objective reader with any knowledge of general Christianity will see that your claim is erroneous. Go and read Sebastian Brock’s primers on the subject (Sebastian Brock is an English Syriac scholar, who is recognized by the Patriarch as a *Malphono* — teacher — of the Syriac Orthodox Church).

    Finally, on the topic of “Orthodox” you clearly misread what I was saying. This is not a missionary website: you spouting about how the Catholics are SOBs because they accept Chalcedon, and how we are the *true* Orthodox does not help anything. These matters — “true-nes”, etc — are subjective matters that can’t be debated, because they are up to personal beliefs. I personally object to Chalcedon, but I try not to let that contaminate my arguments by objecting to the use of the terms “Catholic” and “Orthodox” by Chalcedonian Churches. I use the standard terms — again, emmarcee, you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

    Perhaps I was too abrasive — but when one reads the same BS put forth by ignorant people, one tends to get irritated. Go and read some more — you have nothing substantial to contribute at this point, you have no knowledge of these matters. You seem to have been educated by propaganda texts and Church websites — bad sources for a scholarly debate. Go and read some authorities on the topic — start with Brock who is, once again, an authority recognized by Patriarch Zakka as a Malphono (Syriac scholar). You will find that my terminology is highly standard.

  200. emmarcee says

    It was not just the Portugese who tried to convert Syrian christians. There were many more Christians in malabar and now only very few pockets are left because of the Atrocity of Hyder Ali and Tipu who came all the way to Thrichur during their Padayottam. This is why there are only very few pockets of Syrian jacobites north of Cochin – like Kanjagaad? ( I can’t remember exactly the name of the place, where people ran to from different places during this time of terror). It is recorded that Christians in the malabar area had gun weilding militias.

    This fools theory is that there are more Catholics in Cochin area because of the Raja’s connection with the Portugese. It is all business as usual.
    The Jacobite Syrians who did not have support from anybody had to settle mostly in the Northern Travancore area, running between small chieftains – Swaroopams. If they are in trouble in one place they will just move to another small swaroopam area. They had to clear mostly jungly areas, fighting with hard soil to get their life back together. Things probably started getting better once British trade and more stability came in.
    Can the KiIng of the Hill, History Pundit tell us , if the main Knanaya areas are more towards old market areas (like Kottayam) – denoting a tendency to be more business oriented. Did the Portugese try to split the community by creating stories about Kanai Thomman? Just like they probably created stories of St. Thomas converting Brahmins in AD 52.

  201. emmarcee says

    I have a colleague/ good friend who is a Persian Syrian Christrian with whom I always talk history: he refers to the language as Aramaya and always refer to his community as “Syrians”. You will find a lot of them on west coast whether they are Catholics, Protestanta or Chaldean Church. The name and language came from Assyrians of the ancient past, who ran over Northern Kingdoms and made them use this language. Yes I remember him saying something like “Syrayano”.. just as given in the Weekipedia. (The Church’s name in local language stays as–..). So it all depends on whom you ask probabaly. Weekipedia entry by the church people themselves show that the original name was Syrian Church and they changed recently to Syriac, to avoid confusion with Syria the country.
    BTW, when I read it again and thought about it, there could be something in your “Black Jews”. What could have happened to the Jewish merchants of Kerala, when they met the Portugese?. Definietly they must have been in cross roads because already the Arabs were established in Calicut by that time.

    Did the Portugese claim a Cheppedu (Ofcourse the disappearing act – like the plates of Joseph Smith) so that they can take over the land that was granted to the Jews? as in Tharisaappilli? Claiming that the Rabban was a Bishop from Edessa? Very possible. Knowing how history gets manipulated all the time. (Southern kingdom of Judea makes me laugh even now).

  202. JEEVAN PHILIP says



    Your understanding about the geographical distribution of Nazranies is erroneous .Malankara Nazranies are concentrated in and around old capitals or market places while Romo- Syrians are more centered around coastal belt or nearer areas with few exceptions. Knanayas have few pockets but they are not majority even in these pockets. Best example is Kottayam.

  203. John Mathew says


    We all have friends from this or that culture, who try to “inform” us about the “truth”. No offense, but such knowledge is questionable at best. I don’t claim to know more than your friend knows; but I would rather trust my scholars than anecdotal evidence. This is akin to your dislike of wikipedia—I share this dislike, because it includes too much “novel research”, anecdotal evidence, etc. Utterly useless.

    For example, one obvious error in your friend’s statement is that he believes the ancient Assyrians were the fathers of Syriac / Aramaic. This is definitely *not* true: the language certainly did *not* come from the Assyrians of the distant past.

    The old Assyrian conquerors spoke a language descended from Akkadian. The Arameans were an ethnic minority community within the empires of the Assyrians (the Arameans never seemed to have been skilled in warfare, and were basically dominated by X or Y throughout their long history). Due to their mass dispersal through out the empire, however, it was their language — *Aramaic* — that ended up becoming the lingua franca of the Middle East. This process is called “Arameanization” by Assyriologists. It’s a bit of poetic justice … a people who were conquered, ended up culturally conquering their conquerors. Aramaic was so influential that it crept into Pahlavi too. Of Akkadian — the language of the Assyrians — nothing really lives, except what permeated into Aramaic.

    You don’t like wikipedia, and neither do I. It’s decent for objective topics like mathematics or science, but it’s horrible for cultural and religious topics. Great — so go to a library and read about this and you’ll discover what I’m saying is standard knowledge; it’s not novel research, just a reporting of facts. The ancient Assyrian conquerors were not the originators of the “Syriac” language.

    This is but one of the many reasons why there is a huge controversy in the Syriac Orthodox community (and the broader Assyrian/Aramean community) regarding the use of the term “Assyrian” as opposed to the term “Aramean”.

    The Persian Christians (Nestorians and Chaldeans) seem to have no problem with the terms Assyrian and/or Chaldean — but many Jacobites and Syriac-speaking people feel that those terms are inaccurate terms misapplied to the Syriac-speaking peoples by foreign missionaries (Assyrian was favored by the Protestants in labeling the Nestorians, Chaldean was favored by the Catholics in labeling the East Syriacs in communion with Rome).

    The point: Assyrian is no better a term than Syrian or Aramean. All are contentious. The only “unloaded” term that can be used — and it is used by scholars — is Syriac. As in “Syriac Christian”, “Syriac Orthodox”, “Syriac Catholic”, “East Syriac Church”, “West Syriac Church”, “Syriac tradition”, etc.

    But many — especially Indian so-called “scholars” — are still quite lazy, and use the erroneous term “Syrian” (“Syrian language”, “Syrian Christian”, “Syrian Orthodox”, “Orthodox Syrian”, etc.). And others, due to recent tradition, or political inclination, favor the loaded terms “Assyrian” or “Aramean”. For the latter, the best compromise that I’ve seen is the hybrid “Assyrian/Aramean”, which some nationalists have started to use to ensure there is unity.

    But to really show you how useless anecdotal evidence from “friends” are, why don’t you plan a trip to New Jersey and meet some of the MIddle Eastern Jacobites there. Or even better, go to Germany or Sweden. Try to push the “Assyrian” term on them and see what results… Ethnic groups are notorious for hyperbole and inaccurate knowledge — just look at the Southists, and the “Jewish” Nasranis.

    For me, if it can’t be written in a refereed scholarly journal, then it isn’t worth using. That’s why, like I said before, Indian Christian history starts (for me) at the very earliest in the 5th century with Cosmas. And that’s why I reject any of the fantastic dates proposed by Indian scholars like AD 52, AD 72, AD 345, and silly statements on Church websites like “this Church was build in the 4th century by …”, or “Thomas of Cana came in AD 345 with 72 families and Mar Joseph of Edessa/Ur who was deputed by the East/West Syriac Patriarch who had a dream on May 1st at 4:30am GMT …” …

    Come on! The oldest docs we have in Kerala are from the 12th century and they are Nestorian: *nothing* exists before that (that’s been found). The oldest epigraphy: 7th century Pahlavi. Before that? Nothing other than second hand reports by the occasional Nestorian Patriarch or traveler. With such scanty evidence, how could you have any confidence so as to make such definitive statements?

  204. Admin says

    Regarding the Crosses

    As far as I understand, Southists do not have any relation to the Saint Thomas Cross. The entire history of Southist is based on hypothesis, which is with out any evidences. If there was even some possibility, they would have presented the evidence long time back, as they do with everything else. The only thing which link Southists is the presence of the cross in one of their church. That’s only in one Church, which was built later in time, when compared to other churches, where the Cross is found. The Kottayam Southist Church was built in sixteenth century (?). I don’t know how one of these Cross came into Southist possession. Some early accounts such as Jornada says that the Crosses found in Mylapore called Saint Thomas Cross, were seen in all the Churches of Saint Thomas Christians. They claim that they came from somewhere and lived in Cranganore and dispersed to other parts in sixteenth century. Till a century back, Southist were known as Ancharapallikar. The oldest Church which carries this Cross, as I understand is Muttuchira, which is a Saint Thomas Christian Church. The oldest Cross in India is Mylapore Cross. Goan Cross is also dated belonging to 6th century. The Kerala crosses are dated between 6-8th centuries. Anyone has more information about the dating of these Crosses.(?) Florated Persian Cross are also at Niranam and Kottakavu, which belong to Saint Thomas Christians.

    I have revised the article about Crosses and did the corrections we discussed and added some more information.

    It is said that, the Church of Persia had liturgical celebration in Pahlavi. Bishop Ma’na of Rew Ardashir made a Pahlavi translation of Bible in 420 AD. A copy of this Bible in Pahlavi language was excavated in 1966 in Turfan in China. This is now kept at Berlin. ( Gerd Gropp). The Persian Christians in China or anywhere else were not practitioners of endogamy.

    The historical evidence we have, as per from tradition and records is a link with Mar Sapor and Mar Peroz. That is based on the Pahlavi. These Crosses, which were found in locations in the Indian Ocean rim carry Pahlavi inscriptions, and so are the copper plates granted to Mar Sapor and Mar Peroz, which also bear Pahlavi signatures. ( Gerd Cropp- “ Christian Maritime Trade of Sasanian Age in the Persian Gulf” is a good source on the Persian Maritime trade )

    Persian Christians has never been endogamous anywhere as far as I know. Around Six hundred and thirty gravestones have been excavated from a single cemetery in Turkestan. The names written indicate that people from China, India, east and West Turketan, Mongloia, Persia et co – existed there. Some of the names in gravestone are “Terim the Chinese”, Banus the Uighurian”, Sazik the Indian”, Tatta the Mongol” etc. There is no inbreeding as far as I know in Eastern Christianity.

  205. Admin says

    These are some of the statements made by Emmarcee. Can he share more information ?

    1. ” Kananaya Christians” is the original name of Southists.- Based on what information ?
    2. “Portugese were very good at making stories – including the Brahmin conversions”. Which Portuguese account mention this ? What does other Portuguese sources say ?
    3. “There is evidence that Thomas Of Cana was a merchant from “Edessa”- What is the evidence ?
    4. About the population statistics and locations. What Jeevan stated is also wrong. Please provide some statistics, if possible century wise in support of these claims. If you could, Please post these demographic details in the thread on demography. Any idea about how many Catholic Churches were destroyed in Tippu’s padayottam ?

  206. emmarcee says

    To admn:

    There is always higher possibilty of using Pahlavi in liturgy when they wanted to be seen as one with the ruling dynasty. Persian church probably did not want to be seen as an enemy of the state as they were trying to survive at the time of persecution. Also, could Pahlavi add any missionary value to spreading the religion to the northwest India, Afghanistan? Possibly?

  207. emmarcee says

    ooo. admn:
    I will be careful next time. You caught me. These are all my own theories. No proof. I wouid love to go researching . May be another liftime. But for now I beleive I am very good at connecting the dots. I go with the hunch and test it out.
    Kananya: .. I did not know that there was no evidence of this community before Portugese (as somone mentioned in this blog) . What I knew was that this community split when the Jacobites split from Catholic domination in 16th century. So I believe there wwas such a community, which kept its endogamous relation even after Coonan Cross satyam.
    Now legend of Kanai Thomman is not a new one. Even my grandmother knew this. Whereas Thekkumbhagar seems to be a word used by Vadaakkumbhagar (a term I don’t usually come across – may be because I don’t live with the “Southists”)). So to me, it seems like the Thekkumbhagar is just a term denoting the “other people”.. it is really not about a “Southism”.. but more like Southerner.
    I don’t really beleive that there was an original legend that both parties came from Thomas Canai – th e number one story by Northerner is that Knas are children of Veluthedathi (so Charamketti) by Thomas. There is no major legend by Northerner claiming a genetic link to Thomas. May be an year ago I read a detailed study by a young westerner regarding these legends. I was doing a rearch after I heard for the first time that they are Kerala Jews!!

  208. emmarcee says

    It is evident that the story of Barhmin conversion is a concocted one. The legend is of enough antiquity that by now every Suriani Christiani in Kerala beleives that his or her family came from Pakalomattom. People have even started making their own family legends tracing this ancestry. Now, when and who would have done this and aided this? Who had power over the entire Christian group of Malabar around 4 centuries ago? Definitely these stories came out before the English era. English did not care much about Christians. Dutch did not have enough power and they were more protestant (?)/ Who was involved with re-writing of Kerala’s church history and destruction of old liturgy? Who was more ant-Brahminic as they knew they are the leaders of the idolators? Who found St.Thomas mount in Madras?

    The Roman Catholic Clergy who came with the Portugese studied the local culture and politics and formed a detailed game plan. They had known that St.Thomas came to India, but did not know where or any details as to what he could have done.
    Can somebody do a real research into these Paattukal – I am sure that they will find the Malayalam used in those songs are not older than 4 or 5 centuries. When people make up pseudo histories they leave evidence behind.

  209. emmarcee says

    Edessa – I have to withdraw the whole thing. May be it was something that I just “read” somwhere. Each time you read and research, these things appear differently. This time it is the Bishop from Edessa – could be an invention.

  210. John Mathew says

    RE: emmarcee:

    He wrote: “I don’t really beleive that there was an original legend that both parties came from Thomas Canai – th e number one story by Northerner is that Knas are children of Veluthedathi (so Charamketti) by Thomas. There is no major legend by Northerner claiming a genetic link to Thomas.”

    Oh! E doesn’t “believe” it eh? That’s E’s tool — faith and belief. If only science would permeate the vacuum between his ears. “The number one story …” … is that the number one story your grandmother told you? Or do you have some ranking system we should know of?

    Obviously this individual basis his entire world view on the limited knowledge he has access too, and allows his “faith” to contaminate and filter that knowledge. What a useless source of information …

    You can consult:
    Northists and Southists: A Folklore of Kerala Christians
    Author(s): Richard Michael Swiderski
    Source: Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1 (1988), pp. 73-92
    to learn that the legends of Thomas of Cana’s two wives are indeed very old. The article discusses the history of the various “Knanaya” legends, from the earliest “two wive theory” that both Northists and Southists propagated, to the 20th century fantasies of E.M.Philippose and the “Knanaya as Jew” BS.

    I don’t know when and why the Northists stopped claiming descent from Thomas of Cana, but it certainly appears that in the past they also claimed descent from Thomas of Cana.

    There must be other reasons for the Southist practice of endogamy other than “foreign” origin hypothesis. In Kollam there are plenty of families that claim to have come with Mar Sabor and Mar Aproth during the 10th century immigration — however, *none* of them practice endogamy. And, as Admin mentioned, there is no report of endogamy amongst the Syriac Christians of West Asia, or other Eastern Christian populations — such racialist ideas are decidedly un-Christian.

    emmarcee likes to play his childish games of connect the dots — unfortunately, the dots he uses are imprecise and corrupt … due — once again — to his sheer lack of knowledge.

  211. emmarcee says

    It must be your superior skills making you dependent on the Swiderski’s writing. This is the same thing I read last year or so. It is not real research. I don’t want to blame the writer because he is just going around asking questions. Answer depends on who you are asking, You are the one getting into conclusions. You have to decide which is the most prevalent idea. If I say that you were born as a bastard, and all the others in your village says I am lying, will my version be counted as “one of the legends?”. You yourself says that you don’t know why the Vadakkumbhagar stopped claiming the ancestry. Sooner or later we may have to come to a consensus. Southern Kingdom of Judea should be out of the window. The only thing we know is that “Thekkumbhagar” southerners (not southist – as if they made a pledge to stay on South? ) were content to marry into their own people. May be

  212. emmarcee says

    If I remember correctly at the end of the book/ Paper, the writer does not give any conclusion. Looks like you are the person depending on legends than using your own brain to throw out the unwanted info and put pieces together.
    My professor used to say: Information is nobody’s personal property. You can read books, you can google, you can check weeki whatever: what matters is how you use the information. I would continue to be a child.

  213. John Mathew says


    Swiderski is not inventing facts; he cites older sources. Nor is Swiderski my only source. I only cited him to counter your ridiculously confident assertion that there were no Northist claims to Thomas of Cana.

    At any rate, I could care less about this topic because I’ve read too many baseless stories connected to Thomas of Cana—I’m more interested in exploring Rabban Joseph of the Black Jews and Mar Joseph of Southist legends. Unlike you, I haven’t drawn and connections yet; however, I would like more information. (In addition to your sheer lack of knowledge, this is another difference between you and I: you are quick to draw conclusions, while I am always on the fence, looking for more information.)

    Like I said before, any reference to “Thomas of Cana” is suspect to me since there’s no evidence concerning him. I merely provided a cite to Swiderski to show that there indeed are old legends regarding Thomas’ two wives. This is something that the old Portuguese writer’s refer to too — this is significant since the Ports are the oldest of the modern writers on our history. You may not like them (that’s your prejudice) but they are the only ones out there who wrote about things in that era.Our native Indian historians, folk traditions, and stories circulated by grandparents and priests are pretty much useless due to the high content of hyperbolic fantasies.

    And regarding your question about bastards: yes, as far as I’m concerned:
    a) if ones person, A, says “x” without proof, and
    b) if n people, B1, B2, … Bn, says “y” without proof
    then as far as I am concerned “x” and “y” are both **assertions without proof** that both deserve to be in the same bin (i.e., the bin of useless facts) until more information comes to light where they can be weighed and placed in an order of value.

    The weight that should be applied to “x” or “y” should come not from the number of people who claim “x” or “y” but from the amount of factual evidence that supports “x” or “y”. History is not by consensus or anecdote (have you even read my refutation of your Persian Christian friend’s erroneous history of Syriac, yet?) but by evidence, science, and logic.

  214. John Mathew says


    I’m surprised to learn that you actually went to a university, let alone have any form of formal schooling. It’s unbelievable that anyone with a modern education could have such ignorance of basic logic and science.

    At any rate, you’ve been asked for information by two people now, but have only printed more anecdotes, and referred to your “faith-based” mental filter. And this is after you said you’d leave because you were tired of my slaughtering of your useless “facts”.

    If you do indeed have an education, and perhaps have some ability to read books (as opposed to relying on your grandparent’s fairy tales, anecdotal evidence, etc.) perhaps you should put this literacy (if you do possess it) to work and consult some sources in a library or a scholarly journal. Perhaps remove the biases of your faith, and try to filter information objectively based on how much *evidence* is there, rather than simply how many people have made the claim.

    Then come back, and perhaps you’ll be able to actually make a cogent statement without inserting your foot in your mouth.

    (And I still can’t believe that you are a Jacobite… this is highly disillusioning — so much so that I refuse to believe it…).

  215. emmarcee says

    O don’t blame the Persian, I have done my own reading. The guy uses these terms when he talks about “Syrians” of – for example “California”.
    BTW, are you one of the admn too? or am I running into assumption? I am easily corrected.

  216. John Mathew says

    I’m definitely not Admin and am in no way associated with this site; in fact, I’m a relative new-comer (~2 years).

    The Admin is a much nicer person who never resorts to personal insults, even when confronted with BS.

    I only the other hand, am not so mature.

  217. Admin says

    Dear John Mathew

    About the Archive- Portugal was ruled by Spanish kings also and some of the governmental archives are in Spain and some other in Portugal. I heard that there are many which are not cataloged. I don’t know where those are. Dr. Silva Rego has published some of these accounts. Two books of Mundadan, ” Saint Thomas Christians 1498-1552″ and ” Sixteenth Century Traditions of Saint Thomas Christians” is completely based on various information from different archives and libraries. But he has not provided complete translation of some important documents which he has used in these books.

    About Southist origin-What makes the possibility you suggested interesting to me is based on the fact that I am not aware of any other Christian community who does inbreeding. Are there any ?. This factor itself makes all their meager claims regarding Syriac Christianity null.

    It may be due to these reasons that the Southists Scientists from 1992 started propagating the Jewish Christian identity.

    As far as I understand, the songs Southist claim which indicate that they came in 345 AD and with a colony and Bishop etc are few songs such as “ Nallorososilam”, “ Innu ni nannale” etc. I am not aware of any MS of these songs. I don’t know certainly the antiquity. I have not read anyone other than Southists harping on this songs as evidence. What I understand is the sources of these songs are a book published by Lukose in 1910. He himself has not mentioned how he got the songs, that is there are no MS as far as I understand. I read that songs are in modern Malayalam.

    About Mar Joseph- The Mar Joseph, in the Southist tradition, is definitely Jacobite in Origin. Gouvea, Roz, Couto and other early Portuguese authors doesn’t mention any Bishop who came with Thomas of Cana. So are Sebastiani, La Croze, Assemanus, Raulin etc.

    His first appearance with out a name is in the Leyden text written in Eighteenth century, (1720) by someone named Mathew. The author of the text just mentions that “the Bishop who saw the vision, and later went with emigrants to Cranganore”. There is no mention of any name. The name actually came in some articles written by CMS missionaries in nineteenth century, which they claim got from Jacobites. I heard that in one of those article, the Bishop was named as Mar Joseph. There are some articles I read based on this which say Bishops came from Antioch.

    About Kottayam diocese- The reason for the creation of a separate diocese for Southist in Kottayam as mentioned by most Catholic writes ( Hambye – “Catholic Thomas Christians” ) is the appointment of Makkil as Bishop in Changanassery. In the Papal Bull for the creation of Kottayam diocese, they are mentioned as Southist. ( Suddistica) ( The names Southist and Northist is written differently in Vatican documents. Southists are written differently as Suddists, Sudists which are Italinaisms ( in Italian”south” is “sud”) . Northists are also written as Norddist, Nordist etc)

    The reasons for the Catholic Southist diocese creation is mentioned by Thomas Antony ( 1911). Among the Jacobite, the Patriarch Abdalla created a Southist diocese to get a prominent supporter of Mar Dionysios to his side in the faction fight. A co- trustee of Mar Dionysios was ordained as a Southist Bishop and he thus became a staunch supporter of Patriarch in the faction fight. ( Leslie Brown- The Indian Christians of Saint Thomas” page -152)

    May be a Southist can share more information on this. Emmarcee does not even appear to know the intricacies of southist stories.

  218. Admin says


    Have you read what I posted in the article? Almost all the information which I could get from reliable and well known sources are enumerated there. Do you have any contrary information to share? If so, pls do that with the references.

    Also, please try to talk by citing sources. Regarding this particular topic, we have read lot of junk.

    About the liturgy in Pahlavi- what I wrote was: it is said that it was Pahlavi in Church of Persia. This is hypothesis, and if you read research papers you can see the arguments supporting the hypothesis. As far as I know, there are no concrete evidences for Pahlavi as liturgical language. The Church of Mesopotamia (Ctesiphon) had the liturgical celebrations in Syriac. In case of Church of Persia as well, there are evidence that the Canons of Simon, Metropolitan of Riwardashir, who died about 670 was written in Pahlavi as well as Syriac.

    Regarding the Portuguese- I expect you to cite sources, when you make these statements. You seem to have improper idea about what you talk about. Of course, you might have read and heard many things but it is apparent that you are too bad with data and even have not read at least one Portuguese account.

    Your entire statements reek of lack of knowledge about Colonial influence, be it Portuguese or Dutch or English. Did the Portuguese re-write the history of Christians in Kerala? They just documented what they found and heard. So did the Dutch and English. The Portuguese dominance which did not last long was focused in certain areas, and there also it was challenged quite often. It is the Christians who asked Portuguese help, and they did make use of Portuguese in reinforcing many of the privileges they enjoyed earlier. The Southist stories as we heard today ( any version) are not written in Portuguese time. The document ( Leyden text) which claim the vision, emigration etc is dated in eighteenth century. It is not from Portuguese period.

    Swiderski – If the content is not palatable, does that mean it disqualifies from being real research This is one of the best materials available on this topic in comparison to the stories Southists writes about Biblical times. Do you have any evidence to suggest that the major points mentioned in Swiderski’s paper are wrong ? If so, please pick some of his observation and cross examine for our understanding.

    Thomas of Cana, a shared tradition- In the Report on the Serra ( 1603/1604), Bishop Francisco Roz SJ, British Library MS Add-9853, it is written that, The Christians of St. Thomas (here so he calls them also) descending from Thomas Cana are few. They are in Udiamper ( Udaymperoor) and in the big church of Carturte ( Kaduthuruthy) and the big Church of Cotete ( Kottayam) and in Turigure. ( Torure ?) .

    Thomas of Cana is a shared story among the Southist and Northist. As quoted above Bishop Roz says that the descendents are among the Saint Thomas Christians in Udaymperoor, Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam and Torure.

    Thekkumbhagar- Even the books published by Southist carries the title Thekkumbhagar. It has already been discussed that Knanaya is a new term invented in 1991. If you have difference of opinion, please cite sources.

  219. emmarcee says

    “Cross- Examination” is not “valid” and “scientific” as per “some” “scholars” in your site. (Ofcourse at the same time they don’t hesitate to assert their on “gut feelings” as in the case of the “Black Jew” case.

    Even though you are doing a great service to the Kerala Christian history, I still find a little skewed to the original myths of Apostolic tradition. You are also giving too much of sympathy and reverance to Portugese historians. I can only guess where that comes from. Even if there is something mentioned in a 16th or 17th century book, as you know, it does not need to be reflecting facts. It would only show that “there is existance of such a myth”. It is not scientific proof of anything. Concrete evidence comes from archeological studies. History as John Mathew sees it is not a perfect science to start with – it is very imperfect.

    If you know of any study on Malayalam used in the famed old historical “pattukal” (Narration of history), I would like to know what year (and what location) these songs were formed. To me, that study will be much more scientifc than dwelling in the writings of Cathiolic Portugese writers.

  220. John Mathew says


    Unfortunately you are a product of the standard “Puthenkoor” education system where the Portuguese were demonized, perhaps more than necessary. I was also a product of the same system (as is evident from some of my idiotic first posts on this site); this was corrected not by my Syro-Malabar friends (not that I have any problem with that; I only state this explicitly lest you accuse me I’m a Catholic in Orthodox clothing).

    Rather, I was corrected after looking at the available historical sources myself.

    It seems that the Nasranis were not perfectly faithful “Christians” throughout their history. There were periods where various sections of our community lapsed into paganism, or quasi-paganism. Then there were periods where our community seemed to act in vile, un-Christian ways towards other castes, there are reports of polygamy (not that I have a personal problem with that, but it isn’t standard Christian living), etc. And we had also lost much of our (purported) economic and political power.

    In many ways, our contact with the Ports helped to improve much of this — as fellow Christians, they initially helped to rebuild and improve many of our old, decrepit Churches (e.g. look at our oldest Churches — they all have Portuguese facades), to bring the outlying parts of our community back from being un-serviced, bringing back the quasi-pagans to orthodox Christianity, bolstered our political and economic status, etc.

    For us Jacobites, they did another service. In bringing the community from Nestorianism to Catholicism, they helped us make the transition to the Syriac Orthodox faith. Nestorianism and Jacobitism are essentially on diametrically opposite Christological ends (despite the common language, tradition and culture). The Catholics and Greek Orthodox (Chalcedonians) are on the middle ground. I doubt the Orthodox would even have existed had it not been for the Catholic intermediary.

    The Jacobites and the Orthodox have demonized the Ports and, by extension, the Roman Catholics for a long time. This is unfortunately and ill-advised — although it may have made some political sense, it also paved the way for the Protestants to infect the Puthenkoor. By demonizing a faith, the RCs, that is in many ways very congruent to Orthodox, we enabled the Protestants (a faith that is completely at odds with Orthodoxy) to make unfortunate inroads to our community.

    Emmarcee, if you’re a Jacobite in the US, then you’ve definitely seen the results. How many of our Churches are infected with idiotic choirs massacring the old tunes, and other morons trying to modify and MarThomitize our faith? Look at our bishops and priests — educated in seminaries with Protestant affiliations. Absolute BS. Our fathers made a big mistake in demonizing the RCs. And you are making a historical error in trying to ignore them completely — the Catholics have a high sense of scholarship, and are very keen on reporting facts. They also include nauseating commentaries too — but that is usually separated from the reporting.

    Look at the Catholic encyclopedias — yes, they are theologically biased, but that bias doesn’t taint the reporting. It is only added as a commentary.

    Okay, I’ll leave it to you to discover this for yourself.

    Some of our teachers in the jacobite and Orthodox Church do a real disservice to the truth. Not all teachers, but some. For example, Mor Adai Study Center publishes a “Four Historical Documents” including Claudius Buchanan, but ignoring the far more important Catholic writers. What foolishness! Buchanan problem never wrote a single informed word in his life. His facts were tainted by ignorance and bias. His reporting *and* his commentary were both biased and flawed. Yet, because he was an anti-RC writer, he’s celebrated by some Puthenkoor.

    Don’t go that route E! Engage your critical mind and ignore the moronic propaganda.

    It is only in Kerala where Orthodox-Protestant ties (e.g., Orthodox-MarThomite, etc) are stronger than Orthodox-Catholic ties. In most of the world, the Orthodox and the Catholics stand together, despite a hostile history. Theology ought to be thicker than politics.

    Even Patriarch Aphrem Barsoum — arguably the best scholar in the Syriac Church of the 20th century — was educated in a Catholic seminary. Compare him to the ignorant bishops we have in Kerala educated in Protestant seminaries. No contest.

  221. emmarcee says

    John, You are running wild with your praise of the RC. I get it too. Give the devil its due. Even globally, no matter what the Protestants say, Christianity would have withered if not for the aggressive strategy of the Roman Church. Islam would have spread the whole world and probably we will be sitting in a Madrassa at this time. In Kerala a lots of developments came to Christian life because of the Christian colonialists. Overall, new technolgy came in with the colonialists which included language development.

    But, please do not tell me that the Portugese Catholic clergy and missionaries did not have any underlying “scheme” for the native Christian brothers they found in “Malabar”. If you are neutral like you claim, how could you discard the atrocities they embarked on whoever was not under the Pope. Just the other day I was reading about the letters they sent out to their authorities in Portugal, detailing their scheme to make an army of native Christians, to fight for for their own colonial purpose. YOu should also note that this era witnessed one of the most notoriously aggressive Catholic programs of eliminating anybody who questioned Catholic authority. How Christian was it?

    Only because our forefathers (a species with spine – as we say in Kerala) confronted them and opposed them, the Catholic clergy had to change their program of getting rid of anything that was Syrian/ Persian in origin. Do you deny that? (No Catholic encyclopedia will not tell you that)
    If you care about the “truth of history” more than your own spirituality, (as you claimed) how could you write so leniently about the colonialists? If you are a real student of history, you would have seen this is the same ploy they used from Middle East to South America. Making a deal with colonialist devils never helped anybody in the long run. The use of history is to learn something from what happened in the past- not to quote senslessly what appeared in what book.
    I am not just trying to bring in emontionality to the table.
    Yes, there could have been some people who gained financially from this. For true history of the area, did this change anything?
    The Catholic encyclopedias are so full of lies that they have twisted the whole story of the Syrian church of India. I would not blame them, but I will blame those people who tell me I should implicitly believe what is written by the Catholic Church.
    In this site, I saw a particular usage – The Coonan Cross Tragedy! Tragedy?

    If you are above petty spiritual hang ups, why are you so worried about the Protestants. Except for certain ridiculous faith attitiude (will not pray for the departed!!) , I still think those churches are filled with spirit than ritualistc old churches. If you beleive in history, why can’t you see that the songs and tunes need to change with the times? The Persian/middle eastern tunes were for another time. New wine needs a new wineskin casket?

    Historically speaking do you think anything bad would have happened if we continued Nestorian connection? Ofcourse the Persian church would have gone exinct. We would have contacted one of the other middle eastern churches and continued as before.
    Even your term “Puthiya Koottukar” “reeks” of Catholic bigotry. May be you received too much of Catholic teaching. Well, I think anyway I have to accept you as a brother Christian.

  222. John Mathew says


    Thankfully, you’re not the kind of Orthodox I’m accustomed too. If you see more in common with the Protestants than the Catholics, then that explains much!

    The term “Puthenkoor” is apt: the Orthodox follow a new rite, that of St James. It’s newer (in Kerala) than the East Syriac rite that the Nestorians and the Syro-Malabar follow. Nothing wrong with the term, as far as I can see.

    If the Nestorians went extinct, we would have no other Church to contact: all other Churches consider them to be heterodox. We’d probably have became Chaldeans or Syro-Malabars …

    You say our fathers had a spine for standing up to the Ports. Don’t forget that Catholics also stood up to them. Also don’t forget how our fathers basically committed a great error in letting the Anglicans in. So we weren’t perfectly un-spineless ourselves.

    You need more perspective, more knowledge, more … of a lot of things.

  223. John Mathew says


    RE: “If you are above petty spiritual hang ups, why are you so worried about the Protestants”

    I never said the former.

    The four Apostolic Churches differ from each other in a few respects, basically concerning the theological formulae they use. According to recent discussions between all four, however, it seems that these disputes are more due to the differences in nomenclature between Syriac, Greek and Latin, than due to substance. In particular, all 4 Churches generally recognize the validity of each others orders and sacraments. Intermarriage is not a big deal either.

    The Protestants are an entirely different animal. It is not as you claim, merely a simple matter of “faith” or some simple differences. They have different ideas on the universe, essentially. The differences are too great to enumerate here. I’ve don’t so piecemeal in previous emails when dealing with Protestants or crypto-Protestants (as you seem to be). This is a huge subject in and of itself.

    Personally, I feel all sects are self-serving. I don’t personally trust the Patriarch or Catholicos more or less than the Pope. They are not concerned about me, I believe, and I’m unconcerned about them. I don’t feel our Priests are any more or less noble or self-serving than the Catholic missionaries back in the 17th century. As far as I’m concerned, everyone out there wants to use me for something. The Ports wanted a native army of Indian Christians. Well so did our own bishops. The Orthodox bishops (the Mar Thoma series) used to brag about their militias. It’s all BS and the people are fodder.

    So that’s why I can disassociate myself from my Church affiliation, and try to deal with everyone on an objective matter (or so I try). Because I know that my Church would stab me in the back if it was profitable.

    To be honest, Orthodoxy for me is the books I have on by bookshelf containing the prayers of the old hermits, monks, and Fathers. It is not the Priests, Bishops, and laypeople of the institution. This is probably heterodox thinking actually — we’re supposed to feel that the Body of Christ is the Church, the people, etc. I don’t. For me, the Church, Christianity, is an idea. And the idea can be committed to books and transmitted. That’s what I believe. I don’t believe in the Institution, etc. I believe in the ideas; for me, the bishops, priests, etc., are all liabilities, except when they perform the rituals. Then they animate the ideas stored in the books, and for that brief 2 hour window, they are meaningful to me.

    I call myself Orthodox, but that is because the books I have were authored by the old Orthodox Syriac fathers. I don’t call myself Orthodox because I feel “one” with the broader Orthodox community. I could care less about any community.

    Since the Catholic books (I mean the writings of the Catholic fathers) are similar in content to those of the Orthodox ones, I also feel at home with those writings. Hence, I have a soft spot for Catholicism.

    I have no such admiration for the vacuous rambling of the idiots to bore Protestantism. For me, their writings are vacuous testaments to the depths to which the human mind and spirit could descend.

  224. Admin says

    Emmarcee- regarding your Post- 17793. Why blame someone else for your ignorance? I thought you were a Southist, who at least knew some of these. It seems that you don’t have any opinion about the quotations I used in the article. You don’t appear to be what you claim. Your opinions are vacuous. You circumvent the issue thereby making meaning full conversation impossible. What I asked was to mention your sources and cite references. Is that too difficult to do, if you have done the reading you claim?

    I have seen many like you, and there is nothing strange if we consider the stupid materials created about history by those who have no deep knowledge about what they talk.

    I am not doing any service. I am just trying to understand the history better and so are the others here. Of course, in the process we were overwhelmed with BS.

    You wrote about the ‘myth’ of apostolic tradition. What has been quoted about the Apostolate of Saint Thomas are from early church fathers of different apostolic tradition. This information is from different church doctors, patriarchs, monks, missionaries and others.

    Apostolic tradition is not like the fancies nepotistic Southist started creating from eighteenth century,or the inferior material the Anglicans created in nineteenth century. It is so much accredited that, which even made renewed historians like A Mingana remark “It is the constant tradition of the Eastern Church that the Apostle Thomas evangelized India, and there is no historian, no poet, no breviary, no liturgy, and no writer of any kind who, having the opportunity of speaking of Thomas does not associate his name with India.”

    If you have sources, please feel free to use the threads relating this topic and share your sources.

    A number of sources used in this site are from early church fathers . Of course while talking about 16th/17th centuries, I have used materials by Portuguese extensively and different Catholic missionaries. This is because those are the finest information available. Depending on who wrote each account, there are errors based on their own interpretations, which can be understood. There are no other worthwhile sources. If you have particular opinion about an any Portuguese writing ( there are many), please cite sources and share your specific opinion.

    I had conversation with many Southists, and till date no one has asked me details about their ( as they claim) songs. You seem to be a different Southist. From the posts you made so far, what I understand is that you don’t have any idea about 14th or 15th or 16th centuries. How do all these really matter to a person who doesn’t care about the available records to go around few songs?

  225. Admin says

    Emmarcee in Post- 17800, has claimed with out mentioning any sources that Portuguese and Catholic missionaries committed many crimes.

    I am not whitewashing anything they have done. Can you take a two decade period ( say 1500-1520), or any other period which we have not much discussed, and explain with sources the atrocities committed.

    Did the Portuguese help or did they torture the Christians ? Did the Portuguese destruct churches or did they build churches for native Christians ? Did they make Christians to take arms for their cause ? Share and enlighten us with sources.

    By 1662, it was Dutch Protestants who became the Masters. I have not read about any other colonist other than the Dutch Calvinist who destructed church in Kerala. They destroyed church in Cochin and even converted another Church to their store room. They made the Christians especially the Latin Christians to take arms for their cause. Did they make any serious attempt to recruit people to their creed? But, by large the later Dutch period were peaceful for the Christians.

    When the British came, according to Colonel Munro it was his birth right to interfere in the Jacobite affairs. The Anglicans, who blamed the Catholics, did many cursive activities to make Malankara Jacobites to accept the views of Church of England. It was the strong position taken by some of the Jacobite leadership, and their efforts in strengthening the spiritual relationship with Antioch that saved them. Other wise, history would have been different and the entire Jacobites in Kerala would have been one of the constituent in CSI when the communion was built.

    Do you have any particular reason to blame Portuguese and hail the Dutch and British? Also, are you aware of interesting statements made by Dutch and British about why they need the Christians here. Please respond with sources.

  226. Jake Varghese says

    I believe that Knanayas have some Jewish ancestry but it has been greatly diluted. I have Nasrani friends who are extremely dark with completely South Indian features; you really cannot tell them from other South Indian people; the only difference is religion and some Syrian ancestry far, far back. But then, the Northern Indians usually have more Aryan heritage, so the “Syriac-Keralite Christians” are no more outsiders than they are. We are all equally “Indian” no matter our genetics.

  227. rp says

    Dear jake,
    it not really the matter to look foreign regarding nasranis.
    it the matter that we are understanding more regrading our past histroy than we are going behind world history and indian histroy..what about our history?
    yes we are indian that if we look lot of em just acceptin knanaya and they are the immigrants
    more than that there many west asian immigranion happened and i would think or feel that lot of kerala nasrani populatons are of these west asians features may locally married and pouplated
    actually there is no proof for knanaya thommen immigraion while we have mar sabor iso and mar porth immigrations proof exist in marthoma and orthodox library
    there is proof of armenian immigratons , nestorian chldean , bar yeshu etc
    these stock were here in malabar and the settled and populatied that we think ton of brahimn converted and say we all are came from brahimns and that is wrong i think
    if we think why brahimn have to mix with dravidians but many west asian did married locally and indianized and our west asian traditions still kept
    this is also similar to muslim community
    if our forefather were rooted in chrisitanity and been centuries in kerala must have these west asian influnces like muslim have still and strongly rooted arabic influences
    i sw many kanaya black but dravidian features claiming they r still orginal since they migrated 3rd centurey
    i sw many west asian features northist more surprising than southist communities.
    i think the real middleastern people or syrians feel each other even if they locally married and i dont think that these west asian much care about being orginal keeping features and making claims that they reality they migrated and lived as keralaites till now.

  228. rp says

    since i hear about knanaya. what is it really to identify knanayas.- I know that myself or i see many in other denomination or relatives a syrian look i felt even before i came to these websites. That why we need to know clearly what happened in the past. Why people are really going behind identity and being racial. I may say other than knanaya i can show nice west asian features in many non kanaya families and i observerd, many are not worried such an idenity and they are simply laughing those agendas.

    But we can think our christiany has this west asian influences as a whole nasranis and it the matter of biblical bonds that many nasrani forefather so much devoted to christianity and got blessing and that is what a true christianiy. I would think this is possible of jewish presence as st thomas converted in our community. which i think a semitc culture non pagen one. One of my friend close to mala jewish area that he saying for sure that many jewish converted to christianity and they did not have no choice for centuries and few orthodox jews did not convert.

    Even if we look ethiopeans (many of my co workers )has westasian features thus i call these spreaded group as semitc or a semitic culture that mainly they dont eat pork and they cut the meat and let the blood out and they cook clean meat,serving small cup of tea, making bread sit in group and sharing kissing each other to welcome or to say goodbye. I would say knanaya agenda seem to me a pagen one. As Knanayas seems syrians now they may have protughese blood seems them a racisit attutde

    Nasranis meant to marry local or dravidian wives thus the generations got more to the indian blood that they adopted and lived in indian soil. Many of the nasranis ancient histories burned by protughese the reason they want em to join latin and they burned histories to earase their semitic background and it almost lost after 15th century. If Knanayas did not go through these historical event then still kananayas have no solid proofs and having claims as who they are. knanayas seems to think being knanaya a big deal or something but as far i see many nasranis simply dont care about this subjects. Again i might say even if syrians locally married syrians feel themselves. I would appreicate knanaya community that they stick together but their agenda should not be higlitig racism.

    Many knanayas are themselves confused that they are syrian jewish or something. But tested samples of knanayas ydna is no showing clearly jewish or atleast semitic makers as they claim One expert told me what knanaya hold a persian cross of 9 th century and the copper plate exist today is mar sabor iso and mar proth group , there is also noted armeanian immigration, nestorian, chaldeans, are among the crowd. Bar yeshu another bishops who brought a small syrian immigraion

    If knanaya were jewish still syrian are diffenent. syria assrura kingdom. Even one knanaya man told me that they religion close to muslim that they from syria and they have a luxrious marriage tradition like mylanchi as mulims. Again that relating it to a muslim tradition not jewish.Even the imigration time 3rd century muslims were not exist in middleast and it came much later in middleast. and many of these claims of knanayas often a failure. I may think migratied west asians were jewish because many jewish christian believers and syrian assyrians lived together as christians after christ. I would think if such a semitc community much care of their community that they should circumsised, do not touch pork, observe sabbath, all that and that not really seems to happen in our community yet we can feel the west asian presences. We could say that there were aramic speaking people like syria to bablyon that they fled to malabar because of persections.

    One of my friend a historian and expert in history said total nasrnis had contact with westasia and bishops often reached kerala in arab ship by wind and stayed malabar and after few months later when the wind heading towards middleast the ship go back to surya and bishiops often brought families from west asia. If non knanayas (jacobites or orthodox)has noting to do with anthioh in the past then why they had to look of anthiohan bishop to appoint their next bishop in malabar. He even remember a history that when protughese been blocking bishops came to malabar then some orthodox prest changed appearance, went to anothola turkey where an anthiohan bishop held at jail and these preasts went there spoke arabic to him got his hand blessings and came back to malabar and became bishiops. There is also another orthodox history that a bishop changed his appearace and acted as a crew member in a ship and reached malabar and prest found him and got him in a church after passing a jungle and his got in church and did his service and after a week he died. Mr alexander a historian not at all agree there was such isolated knanaya community exist in the past but southist but northist southist has a different story of their division from syrian immigrants. Regarding these stories northist and southist hold many stories. He is so confident that his father and his grandfather lifestyles were more semitic and also featured semitic and he himself felt like to pick up language or syric and arabic while he was in middleast. and many unknowlingly considered him as a arabic man. He think if any family were brahimn and they were not touch meat at all. If some faimily from protughese then they loved pork. He felt his family has armeanian backgound.

    Know that it just recently centuries that all the suryani church worship converted to malayalam before it was all in syric mean many of these members were rooted to suryanis. There were syric missonaries converted many and marry them thus the community has converted ones and migratied ones from west asian and this is not at all a big deal This is pretty much same on muslim community either.

    I think many people are so much disturbed in their idenity matter and many are seeking a recognision by other that they are jewish or something. As far as i can think and our forefathere were really stand for true chrisitianity and they we very strict and devoted and i would say it not really their nature to hold the pride that they are jewish or westasian. But it still a reality that many forefather were from west asia and now we have a syrian chrisitian community along with other hindu commmunity in malabar. It being a political sencse that knanaya catholic they are the only diosis as knanaya and having jewish traditons of cocunut milk and Pessiah. but there are plenty of knanaya orthodox diosis also and they having peshiah celbration almost same as non knanaya my hometown PTA.

    I would takes it as a pribe that we had such a past from this biblcal area that god give as privilage to being like that to be a good chrisitan —

  229. rp says

    Since i hear about knanaya. what is it really to identify knanayas.- I know that myself or i see many in other denomination even CSI or relatives a syrian look That why we need to know clearly what happened in the past.

    I could see other than knanaya i can show nice west asian features in many non kanaya families and i observerd, many are not worried such an idenity and they are simply laughing those agendas.

    But we can think our christiany has this west asian influences as a whole nasranis. This is possible of jewish presence as st thomas converted in our community. which i think a semitc culture non pagen one.

    EVIDENCE: One of my friend close to mala jewish settlement that he saying for sure that” many jewish converted to christianity and they did not have no choice for centuries and few orthodox jews did not convert”.still it was not really converting but they accepted yeshu messiah and aramic worships. he was in contact with many jewish who left israel from mala. It is a fact that Mala jewish synagogae and cemetry still exist.

    Even if we look ethiopeans (many of my co workers )has westasian features these are spreaded group as semitc or a semitic culture that mainly they dont eat pork and they cut the meat and let the blood out and they cook clean meat,serving small cup of tea, making bread sit in group and sharing kissing each other to welcome or to say goodbye. knanaya agenda seem to me very immature claims.

    Nasranis meant to marry local or dravidian wives thus the generations got more to the indian blood that they adopted and lived in indian soil.

    FACT: Many of the nasranis ancient histories burned by protughese the reason they want em to join latin and they burned histories to erase their semitic background and it almost lost after 15th century. If Knanayas did not go through these historical event then still kananayas have no solid proofs and having claims as who they are. knanayas seems to think being knanaya a big deal or something but as far i see many nasranis simply dont care about this subjects. If syrians locally married syrians feel themselves.

    Many knanayas are themselves confused that they are syrian jewish or something. But tested samples(FACT) of knanayas Ydna is not showing clearly jewish or atleast semitic makers as they claim.

    FACT : An expert says what knanaya hold a persian cross of 9 th century and the copper plate exist today is mar sabor iso and mar proth group , there is also noted armeanian immigration, nestorian, chaldeans, are among the crowd. Bar yeshu another bishops who brought a small syrian immigraion . AND the copper plate still exist relate to mar sabor iso and mar proth immigration 9 th centure at marthoma sc tiruvilla and orthodox old seminary kottayam. The appearance of cheramal perumal regarding knanaya story actually being a king at 9 th century that this king give copperplate to maruvan sabor iso and mar proth.

    FACT : If knanaya were jewish still syrian are diffenent. syria surya suryanikal sun worshippers but semitic. There is also assyrian assuryia non sun worshippers but semitics.There is a fact that migratied west asians were jewish because many jewish christian believers and syrian assyrians lived together as christians after christ.

    FACT : a semitc community much care of their community that they should circumsised, do not touch pork, observe sabbath, all that and that not really seems to happen in our community yet we can feel the west asian presences. We could say that there were aramic speaking people like syria to bablyon that they fled to malabar because of persections.

    FACT: Some commented that knanaya at the 3rd century brough suryani and churches using suryanis but 1600 to back centuries was considered as nestorian sytle of aramaic worship (Pazhayacure) Patros simhasanam. After (1700) putthencure yakoob simhasanam new baba appointed from jerusulem then only the malabar jacobites and some migration also noted and yakobaya syrian liturgy holy qurbana then adopted to other denominations. Mr Alexander mentioning ” some suryani nasranis surrendered (abhayam cholli) to Rome and made them a diosis Kottayam named they were the immigrant one as knanaya catholic amd got benifit from Rome. Thus It being a political sense that knanaya catholic they are the only diosis as knanaya and having jewish traditons of cocunut milk and Pessiah. but there are plenty of knanaya orthodox diosis also and they having peshiah celebration almost same as non knanaya my hometown PTA.

    FACT: One of my friend a historian Mr Alexander an expert in history said “total nasranis had contact with westasia and bishops often reached kerala in arab ship by wind and stayed malabar and after few months later when the wind heading towards middleast the ship go back to surya and bishiops often brought families from west asia.”

    ORAL HISTORIES: If non knanayas suryanis has noting to do with anthioh in the past then why they had to look of anthiohan bishop to appoint their next bishop in malabar?

    He even remember a history that “when protughese been blocking bishops came to malabar then some orthodox prest changed appearance, went to anothola turkey where an antiochian bishop held at jail and these preasts went there spoke arabic to him got his hand blessings and came back to malabar and became bishiops”.

    He said another orthodox history that “a west asian bishop changed his appearace and acted as a crew member in a ship and reached malabar and preast found him and got him in a church after passing a jungle and his got in church and did his service and after a week he died”.

    These is also stories of parumala tirumeni being semmashen and being assisting bishiop from west asia and surving stories small pox etc etc prove syrian contacts of nasrani in the past

    Mr alexander a HISTORIAN not at all agrees “there was such isolated knanaya community exist in the past but southist. But northist southist has a different story of their division from syrian/ Westasian or semitic groups”

    (PERSONAL EXPERIENCES) He is so confident that his father and his grandfather lifestyles were more semitic and also featured semitic and he himself felt like to pick up language or syric and arabic while he was in middleast. and many unknowlingly considered him as a arabic man”. He felt his family has armeanian backgound.” He think if any family were brahimn and they were not touch meat at all. If families from protughese then they loved pork” Yet it also a fact that some brahimn families converted to chrisitanity by st thomas. “knanaya also a noted place in Turkey” he mentioned.

    General concept that non knanaya are of hindu converts that while southist have borders. northist do not have borders that others may enter in to it. An expert point out that even if it happens many generation may not have to mix with others other than west asian orgin in that nasrani community.

    FROM BOOKS informations that when st thomas came palayoor preached about yeshu messhiah, many jews did not converted to christanity as many assume but acceped yeshu messiah but they been practising jewish customs. They were known as naszranes. then it called nasranis. There are researches finding that they were naszranes sect early jewish people accepted yehshu messiah but continuing living as a part of jewish sect found their dead sea scrolls that rome found em in the mountains that they still escaped and dispersed further to malabar as early naszranies as nasranis.

    There were some vedic brahimns says as few families also converted that many jews/isrealites taken brahimn wives and adopt their family names like shankaramangalam ,pakallomatton etc. and also such few brahimns converted and intermarried. Thus nasrani also had the orgin from brahimn travad.These people were considered Mar Thoma christian ( st thomas christians) later on syrian and assyrian christians joined them.

    Also know that brahimn community is a minority who lives close to temples that many think that 1000s of brahimn converted at 1st century by st thomas was a hoax. Brahimn history only going back to 8-9 centry then only nairs and then hinduism in kerala. before kerala was part of tamil dravidian place that only possible religion buddism from Ashoka spreaded all the way to srilanka cambodia etc.

    Informations we have that when st thomas tried to evangalize mylapore that he could see brahimns there and that could irritate many brahimns and become revangeous to st thomas and died

    FACT :Story of Vattipanam of Queen of england gave it to the orthodox in malabar that money was in distribution to the churches of syria was another issiue in the past.

    FACT: Know that it just recent centuries that all the suryani church worship transilated to malayalam before it was all in syric mean many of these members were rooted to suryanis. There were syric missonaries converted more of local populations and marry them thus the community has converted ones and migratied ones from west asia intermarried and this is not at all a big deal. There was oral infos that tradition existed that different times bishiop came from surya (syria) few families came and settled malabar and often had marriage between earliest one and latest immigrants.

    ORAL INFORMATION regarding knanaya that there was syrian came malabar may be of knanaya thommen group or 9 century group often had accidental contact with some fair skinned lower cast women.and these women often got pregnant carrying syrian child and the mainstream nasrani families did not accept these kind of generation at that time. and they were revengeous to nasrani community and kept the syrian blood as much they can over centuries while nasranis themselves offically married locally.

    KNANAYA ORAL INFORMATION: Even one knanaya man told that they religion close to muslim that they from syria and they have a luxrious marriage tradition like mylanchi as mulims. Again that relating it to a muslim tradition not jewish. Even the imigration time 3rd century muslims were not exist in middleast and it came much later in middleast but ismailis something different that really unknown to our history. and many of these claims of knanayas often a failure.

    KNANAYA ORAL INFORMATIONs there were ton of nair and namboothirs converted by st thomas. afterwards an armenian merchant came malabar at the 3rd century and saw bad circumstance of early christians suffereing persecutions in kerala and he went to syria and told the syrians that they are christian in malabar suffering persecution and syrian took an oath non to mix with hindus but migrate malabar and strengthen the christians.

    Nasrani forefathers (Nasrani traditons )were really stand for true chrisitianity and they we very strict and devoted and not really their nature to hold the pride that they are jewish or westasian. Thus the TRADITIONS became unimportant to nasranis compare to southist. It the matter that none of us dont know the history of past but it more reliable to think that west asian influnce over total nasrani population in the past.

  230. Timmy Philip says

    Im a Knanyna Catholic, born and bred in New York, USA. I don’t understand why everyone has a problem with us. We don’t bother anyone. History is told by the victors and unfortunately many artifacts and historical claims are lost to time. We are proud of our culture and we have the right to be just like anyone else. Period. As for your DNA tests, no single jew can prove they are pure! There can be many reasons for other identifying markers entering the gene pool…..rape…war….extramarital affairs, etc. I for one don’t care, it has always been non-knanaya’s who hate the fact that we say we’re jewish by blood. Why does it make you so upset. Is it so hard to believe we were jewish at one point, migrated to Syria and later settled in India? Thanks Jackson for clearing that up. Do you know why we don’t convert others to christianity, ask the Parsis. When they came from Iran, the Gujurati King at the time granted them land but on the condition that they do not convert the locals. Could this be the same reason initially? Plus, in ancient India, hindus were extremely strict about caste and rules. Even today, conversion is a touchy topic, look at Orissa. The truth is and I have seen it with my own eyes, Christian priests with money from various NGO’s and the Vatican seduce the poor to convert with promises of money, education and food. If you were a beggar with a family to feed, it would be easy to see why one would convert. Let me make it clear I am not against conversion, just against using material objects to entice others to convert. If someone converts for such reasons it isn’t for God, it is for greed or desperation. Coming back to the Knanyna Church, we are recognized by the Vatican. The issue is constanly raked up by other christian communities, who seek power (money) and status via the Vatican. The bottom line is we are all christian.

  231. Timmy Philip says


    I guess you’ll never know. For all we know, knanyna men could’ve had affairs with women from other communities and that’s probably why you see some similiariities. Also, you forgot about the practice of endogamy. But what you fail to realize is what happens to a person once they marry outside the Knanyna Church. They’re banned from taking part in the Church. This could be another possible reason for similiar features. As for the “knanyna people” that you talked to, maybe they don’t know much. I think the problem is outsiders like yourself make it a bigger deal than it really is.

    Your statement:
    “Nasrani forefathers (Nasrani traditons )were really stand for true chrisitianity and they we very strict and devoted and not really their nature to hold the pride that they are jewish or westasian. Thus the TRADITIONS became unimportant to nasranis compare to southist. It the matter that none of us dont know the history of past but it more reliable to think that west asian influnce over total nasrani population in the past.”

    It seems like you’re a nasrani, so be it. I think the communities that lived among us made it a bigger deal than it was, and we simply had to adjust to it. When the Portuguese came, they destroyed a lot of historical artifacts and forced us to change our christian ways to suit Latin Rome.

  232. John Mathew says


    I agree that the quick comments by Nasranis against “Knanaya” seem mean-spirited; however, you should do some research into your own community, and find out how significantly the history of your people has varied. At one time you were Persians, at other Syriacs, and at another Jews. Then some of your historians thought they could make a connection to specific Jews in Babylon. It’s quite a story. There was a German who did a Ph.D. on the topic, which is online. You can read that to learn about how a Jacobite bishop was responsible for much of this.

    As for extracting power and money from the Vatican, you’ll also find it’s the other way around. The Jacobites created a separate diocese for the Southists (as your community was originally known), in order to cause a disturbance and siphon of Catholic Southists (who did not have a diocese). So the Catholic Southists agitated and got a diocese of their own.

    Do yourself a favor and actually try to establish your community’s history with research, and you’ll see how quickly the trail goes cold, replaced by a long history of varying stories invented by varying personalities.

    As for me, I do believe that the Southists have a connection to Judaism. It seems to me that you were a splinter group of the Black Jews, which is how you got the “Mar Joseph” idea (Rabban Joseph helped found the Black Jews). As the Muslims put pressure on the Black Jews, a segment probably converted to Christianity, but desired to maintain genetic segregation.

    The “Thomas of Cana” plates have never been found; likely this is a vague remembrance of the Jewish plates your community once had.

    This is my theory, and it’s as good as any of the other myths that exist out there.

    Regarding what kind of Jewish origins: I think you’ll be disappointed to learn that the Jewish Priesthood lineage seems to be absent from the Southists. For that, the Nasranis possess the marker. Several Nasranis seem to possess the J2 Cohen Marker (ref: George Mathew’s posts), and several possess J2. I’m told that a Black Jew tested L — which to me seems to be corroboration for my theory. But why don’t you do a DNA test and find out what it shows?

    I don’t mean to be adversarial, so if I come across that way, I apologize. But to be honest, the history/myth-making is quite ridiculous in your community, so much so that anyone with even a slight appreciation for logic, reason, and evidence would be put off. So with a scientific eye, why don’t you re-assess your history and find out how solid it actually isn’t. (Of course, silly posts like RP’s make no sense, and seem more like jealousy than anything.)

  233. Timmy Philip says

    I don’t feel bad, I simply don’t know. I am what I am, what do you want me to do feel sad and depressed about it. Come on now, this is our history. LET’S MAKE ONE THING CLEAR ASK ANY KNANYNA PERSON WHERE THEIR ROOTS ARE FROM AND YOU ‘LL HEAR ONE WORD, JEWISH. Do you think a group of people just made this stuff up from their imagination? It would take a mass hypnotism and for how many centuries? You ask for proof as in writing, unfortunately in ancient Kerala writing down historical events wasn’t very popular and mostly done on palm. Copper plates? I don’t have a clue. Can you tell me where grandmother’s glasses are now? Nobody in our community has ever said we are syrians, persians, armenians, etc. Exactly where in the middle east, I can only make a honest assumption. Babylon doesn’t far fetched at all, when you think logically . In fact, jews migrated thoughout the world. In present day Iran, you have iranian jews did you know that. Being a jew means being part of 12 tribes of Israel. Does modern day Israel have blood samples for every tribe. NO! In fact, these blood samples can only be tested against two particular family lines. There are even claims of a lost 13th tribe. A previous post by Jackson states there is proof between cochin jews. I can’t say it speaks of all Knanyans, but it does speak volumes. Let’s think logically for a moment, is it hard to see folks “mingling” with one another. It might have been a different time, but we are humans after all. My father;s brother had many artifacts but they were sadly lost in Kuwait during the 1st Persian Gulf War. For a moment lets think logically again, is it possible throughout the centuries various members of the community suffered greatly during wars and invasions? If it can happen in the 21st century, why not the 4, 5, 6 or 16 centruy? As I said before and I’ll say it again. History is always told by the victors. Think about it you are looking for historical facts from the Portuguese. The same folks who committed the Goan Inquisiton (worse than the Spanish) for nealry 400 years and guess what? We only found out about it thru a French prisoner who was imprisoned there for a few years. Remember we barely heard of Pazhassi Raja and he’s from my parents’ hometown, Kottayam. Within my family, I have an uncle and cousin born with red hair. I have family members with asian features (there is recent research that links jews to the Northeast). I even have a nephew with cat eyes (different colored eyes). Who cares…I don’t but you do! Unfortunately, all the research in the world won’t be able to satisfy many individuals’ disdain towards members of my community. Simply because proof without a doubt is beyond our capacity to prove due to various factors. The previous post by RP subtly reminded me that he isn’t the only person who is jealous. I’m not sure why he and others are jealous but I have some ideas mainly regarding marriage. What a good friend of mine would say (he is jacobite) is that Knanyna guys were thendi’s but our women were gorgeous! I spent sometime in bangaIore and malus treated me differently. I am not interested in this nonsense. I am marrying a white American woman who I love dearly. I grew up in the New York throughout my life and not a single person believed me when I told them I was Indian. Before I depart, I firmly believe this is a problem plaguing not just malus but all of India. The Brits did a good job dividing, but now we got to do a better job uniting us.

    My view…..look we ‘re a bunch of christian jews who were trying to make a living in the middle east. An opportunity knocks at our door and some families took it. We went to India, help repopulate the community and made some trade contacts. Atlas, we made the best of it. End of story.

    I am more than willing to take a DNA test if you’re more than willing to pay of it. Seems to bother you more than me.

    The problem with your theory is that you are questioning it. Not us!

  234. Timmy Philip says

    I am having some doubts as to why this forum was created in the fiirst place……mmmm

    To the Admin, Google Portuguese Inquistion and please try to take a less biased approach to this forum . You critized Emarcee but failed to critique other on the very same post who made wild opinions and theories without any proof as well. Double Standards, tsk tsk. Sounds like this site was created by some other malu christians so that they could crib all day. This is really pathetic.

  235. Timmy Philip says

    “I’d call it B.S. personally — he seems to link the Knanaya to ex-Manichaeans who converted to Christianity due to Portuguese/Nestorian/Jacobite influence).”……………………..The funny part and this is where is gets interesting, my good friend’s father had his bllod tested and guess what he had markers indicating descent from Tokoyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. When I think about it, there are many families who have memebers who definitely have oriental features.

  236. Timmy Philip says

    “But to be honest, the history/myth-making is quite ridiculous in your community, so much so that anyone with even a slight appreciation for logic, reason, and evidence would be put off. ”

    Hold up, you act as if myth making is endemic to our community…..look at all religions. You see we don’t go around questioning others. It seems someone is jealous, extremely jealous. Looks like all this is due to politics of long ago and unfortunately things haven’t died down. It seems many of you guys are hung up that we have pride for our community and maybe you don’t.

  237. Easo Pothen says

    Another gung ho Charam Ketty Party who does not know what he is talking about. See how meaning less he makes the conversation. Are these people so hopeless!! Do these guys really care about history ?

    The evidences are better for theories that these Southists are ex- concubines or ex- Manichianes or some Muslims who converted to Christianity or even some leftover black jews or may be some parayas and other low caste converts to Christianity or may be the Vellala Chetty’s of Thamizhu nadu. These are better than any of the recent hypothetical stories floated by Southists.

    People don’t care if you tell that I have this story from 16th century document. What does the 16th century documents talk about you – that you guys are concubine. When you say contrary story based on the fertile imagination of your very recent grandfather Chazhikadan, others are not up to buy what you omit.

    You guys are CHICKEN for a true reason.

  238. John Mathew says


    There’s no need for jealousy on either side of this debate. The Nasranis have a longer recorded history, and we know who our fathers are. The oldest evidence that exists in Malabar pertains to our community, and as far as I see, the myth-making on our side only pertains to Church history (Orthodox v Catholic v Protestant) and not on the lines of ancestry.

    And the Southists can claim some pride in being a distinctive community, as well.

    However, let’s be clear: if you look at how the Southist story has changed over the years you’ll see that the claim of being “Jewish” is recent, and not ancient at all. In fact, I’m not that old (a few decades) and I remember the time when my Southist friends were claiming to be Syrians, with no claim of Judaism.

    The claims that have been made by your leaders are highly variable.

    (Finally: there are white people in our community as well, who get mistaken for being Europeans or Arabs or Jews or whatever. And there are dark people in your community. These silly anecdotes have no place in a substantial debate. But I doubt you have any interest in a logical debate.)

  239. rp says

    Dear timmy,
    I clearly feel many syrian looks in many families and i feel it. Please read over my paragraphs i am not strongly commenting things to somebody ..instead i posted oral informations we heard.
    I came to know kerala christian history by an agressive talk from a knanaya man. and i felt like to laugh one dravidian featured knanaya man talking they were orginal people that came from syria unreacheable 3rd century. I would say many of the nasranis are not much in to debate and discrimiating history , but they simply laughing at these agendas. I recently asked these fact to many of my elders and experts i found em in orkut and emails. I bit felt this racist attitued in our own kerala christian denomination recently and surprised recently. I was thinking many of our denomnation being syrian chrurch that i thought that we had some syrian or middleastern or west asian influences on us untill i heard these surpsing history from an aggressive kananaya men and i got offended. Then i came to know this websites and start posting and staring infromations and this is not a big deal. Timmy people often have right to share thing and this is not wrong so dont be worried too much. If i am jealous how can i propagate things without any proofs or atleast valuable opnion and how can i suceed in it. Please explain reading again my comments. I know all about knanaya tradition that i am from ranny and i was sourrrounded by many knanaya families. That time i was not aware of different denominations and histories. and i heard from many kananites that we were from syria, none of em say they are jewish. I am pointing out things because i really fell odd from these histories that i even kinda feel middleastern and many family members especially from my mother families. Could these observation and many people conducting dna project are agree witht the same thing. Rape and war can reason to have genitics but we have clear decent immigration record and Informations that is how the geneitics it showing. i was trying to express some of these fact to my little writings.

  240. rp says

    Our family histories noted that our great grand father took intivative to bring lot of knanaya nasranis to ranny and this forefather in honoured and burried in ranny kananay church. My mother mother sister married to a knanaya familiy. My mother house neighbour was a knanaya and they were so close and intimate that they let em come for all their ceremonies and getting opnion from em. Actually i meant to involve in these commenting for learning process and to find more syrian christian histoires. many jews who migrated never been practiced endogamy and they adopted local customs than anybody else. Parsis are the one who strictly practice endogamy and they are really distinct from the look from rest of the indians. ethipean jews, manipuri jew, beni israelites who left from maharastra are the examples. they were just like rest of the mumbai people. but they found their distict vessels and tradition they kept. these i am point out not to be aganist to timmy but to learn more. as far i involved in websites and talking to experts we went more ahead that we stuck in to traditonal northist and southist history and people are really practically involving in this matter that i am sure. yes since am being narsani i heard many syrian influenced stories from non kananaya orthodox marthomites and knanayas. both have many stories to tell but i consider my self to learn more. The experts i talked to are really confident and if they start explaining thing no going to finish at least 5 hours and i recorded on my cell phones. There are not at all influeced to jewish itself. Jews and arabs often travel and had contact with womens but if the mother jew they consder the generation as jewish. He is explainng, noha history, askenazi generations, messoptomia, mediterarian area, who are aryans from arrat mountain. abraham was a central asian guy migrated to west. brahimins , hinduism all that and dont misunderstand that i am for jewish . but am trying to understand as whole centralsian aryan jews that we need to learn more about and how all connected as i hear from Mr alexander.

  241. rp says

    See we both need to understand there is a situation going on with our communites. it quet natural that people get involve in it and have some studies or opnionregarding this matter. it not really to be mean with these matter. See an example that my wife learned syric from an actual college a priest give these classes and i am having her notes and i came across some histories that
    “In the year 345 A.D Thomas of cana, an Edessan merchant, came to malabar with 472 families of Mesopotomain Christians. The king assigned to Thomas and his followers extensive lands near his Capital city and they settled down there. Unfortunately there arose a split among the colonists, 400 families standing as one party and the rest remaining sepereate. The group of the 400 famillies settled in the northern street of the colony and the other group in the southern street Those who settled in the north were called Vadakkumbhagar and those in the south Thekkumbhagar. The Vadakkumbhagar carried on evangelization and added new christians to their community. The Thekkumbhagar did not evangelize any and remained a community distinct and isolated. The arrival of these colonists increased the prestige and strength of the malabar church. The racial admixture and social contact of the indian christians with the foreign race served to improve their quality and to better their political, social and economic status. And many do mention that they came in malabar because of persecution in those west asian land. that when chrisitaniy became popular. Rome tried to make it underthem. whoever did not accept got killed or ranaway from those places. So these can be the reason for all immigraions to malabar.”
    so hope u are not going to tell that prest being jealous and made this wricked this history. that we need to understand everybody have their own reason to handle this same subject even if kanaya have a different prespective and that is why i am consider these matter to learn more

  242. rp says

    See we both need to understand there is a situation going on with our communites. it quet natural that people get involve in it and have some studies or opnionregarding this matter. it not really to be mean with these matter. See an example that my wife learned syric from an actual college a priest give these classes and i am having her notes and i came across some histories that
    “In the year 345 A.D Thomas of cana, an Edessan merchant, came to malabar with 472 families of Mesopotomain Christians. The king assigned to Thomas and his followers extensive lands near his Capital city and they settled down there. Unfortunately there arose a split among the colonists, 400 families standing as one party and the rest remaining sepereate. The group of the 400 famillies settled in the northern street of the colony and the other group in the southern street Those who settled in the north were called Vadakkumbhagar and those in the south Thekkumbhagar. The Vadakkumbhagar carried on evangelization and added new christians to their community. The Thekkumbhagar did not evangelize any and remained a community distinct and isolated. The arrival of these colonists increased the prestige and strength of the malabar church. The racial admixture and social contact of the indian christians with the foreign race served to improve their quality and to better their political, social and economic status. And many do mention that they came in malabar because of persecution in those west asian land. that when chrisitaniy became popular. Rome tried to make it underthem. whoever did not accept got killed or ranaway from those places. So these can be the reason for all immigraions to malabar.”
    so hope u are not going to tell that prest being jealous and made this wricked this history. that we need to understand everybody have their own reason to handle this same subject even if kanaya have a different prespective and that is why i am consider these matter to learn more

    i should point out that i also having red and always pop gold beard on my cheeks that i noticed that me and my wife family being marthomite. long time by elbow hair was goldish and friends often round it picked it up i remember. I heard from my mother in law that her brother was fair and gold hair at young age and people called him sayap but it just disappeared .now his daugher has sort of black goldish hair and this could come to em thought so much evident middleastern grandmother i wife back hair is almost reddish and she never even think to put color on her hair. i would consider to learn more about total nasrnai populaton

  243. Timmy Philip says

    Potten ….I guarantee you wouldn’t say it to my face……

  244. Timmy Philip says

    Parsis distinct form Indians…..are yo kidding me. I dated a parsis from bangalore. No offence bro but you dont’t have a clue. She had more Indian features than me.

  245. Timmy Philip says

    Mr. Mathew you can’t handle logic. I gave you numerous reasons as to why your theories may or may not work out. Let’s keep it simple. Look another jealous person is Potten. So you guys are arguing that nasrani’s are jews and knanya aren’t? Funny don’t you think! You guys just want to debunk something that cannot be proven or disproven anymore. So get over it. My Grandmother had blond hair but I suspect it was due to oil. Sorry, my family don’t use Henna to make their hair red. You ever think to ask yourselves why are married grown men so obsessed with us. Hatred and jealous, everything that is Un- christian like. I MADE IT CLEAR PAY FOR MY TEST AND I WILL TAKE A DNA TEST. Funny seems you missed a couple of my points and no rebuttals to my thoughts. You are asking people in the community who don’t know themselves. I grew with your kind all my life trying to put me down saying knanyas don’t exist. Well guess what I am living proof. Go to a source…….there a couple of folks on this site itself who made it very clear that would sit and explain thing s to you. have you made any attempts to contact them. Seems like your motives are very clear, just like the recent ruling by the Vatican that stated Knanya cannot have their own diocese. Seems like politics to me, don;t you think. Let’s be honest, why do you think the Vatican changed their ruling? Think …damnit,,,think……who gains who loses….think. I can’t do everything for you guys. Atlas, as for your proof…….your proof is BS. Most of you guys state family friends or someone who happened to be knanya,…..what proof is that. How many youngsters care about this… comes and goes…how many attend Sunday School? Finally, we practice endogamy yet it is very possible that affairs occurred. I have friends of all types of demonations, I don’t discrimnate and neither my family. It is a community and we enjoy each other’;s company for the most part.

  246. Timmy Philip says

    Sorry RP, Mathew
    I understand its important to relook at history, but l ike I said there are so many factors and variables. Did we ever take into account, invasions by tipu and other malus. It so easy to see why DNA may have changed over time. The only way you can be completely pure is if you lived on an Island with no contact no other community. I think endogamy started as a means to ensure continuity of the community just like the parsis. But for us to say parsis are distinct, no way. With my hand on the bible, my ex looked desi.

  247. John Mathew says


    I could care less if you took a DNA test.

    If you want to believe myths, go ahead. I could care less about debunking Southist myths as well. Unlike the Southists, I know who my fathers are and were and do not have no invent self-aggrandizing myths to bolster my identity.

    I never said the Southists weren’t Jews and the Northists were. I did say that the Northists actually have certain sub-groups who have various DNA markers common to Jews and the Cohenim. I also did say that the Southists definitely do not seem to have those markers. So it definitely seems that both communities have different origins, at least on the patriarchal line.

    Again, you can do what you want. But you came on here with all guns shooting asking why people doubt the Southist story. Well, that’s because some of us have a stronger intellect that you seem to posses, and have decided to do some hard work, dig up the old sources, and look at our history. Personally, I don’t care about Southist history because they are a minority that has not produced much in terms of Malabar Christian culture. All of the great leaders were definitely Northists, as were all the administrators (Pakallomattom), as were all of the major Malpans. That’s what I’m focussing on. But on the way, I’ve pickup up elements of Southist history from the oldest sources.

    Do I wish to debate this with you? No, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder and that makes you basically useless as a person to have a scholarly debate.

    If you want to see a scholar’s take on your community (as opposed to the self-aggrandizing myths your leaders make) go and dig up the PhD thesis that was done on your community.

    If you don’t want to, that’s fine to.

    Personally, I can sympathize with you getting ticked off by people who insult the Southists. But I don’t think I’ve insulted the Southists; I’ve merely pointed out the high variability in the stories that the Southists have created over the years. That’s all. I’ve also criticized my own community for sloppiness and variability as well.

  248. John Mathew says

    Does anyone here with a more balanced view of things have any clue of what Timmy the Apostate** means when he says:

    “… just like the recent ruling by the Vatican that stated Knanya cannot have their own diocese…”

    **Since he’s clearly not a practitioner of endogamy, putting him at odds with that communities breeding policy.

  249. rp says

    Timmy, my neighbor in my apartment is a knanaya man and i admit that he has evident middleastern look and i see these same phenomenom on same other demomination. but since that community is not for migratory history based then these fact kept silent. But in Knanaya community even if an average look guy eager to say they are from middleaast. Many of the co worker often believe i many from egypt or middleast and i have to explain to em that i m a southindian keralite.
    just now me and that knanaya neighbout went for shopping and talked about his gulf army life and all that. and he also sw timmy’s post and he just laughed. i think some of few other kanaya i met in work place also kinda feel each other as middleastern. there were all the fuss in about. but i see many non knana has middleastrern or syrian feature and i used to kept these in that mind. that is why i kinda search histories and posting my findings. paris may look indian…yes i don t have much clue. there is a biju in houston who does sound and he married to a indian look pasi and we met at at party. i am not blaming a knanaya dravidian featureed guy is not knanaya but i see his middleastern fact but he has also a syrian look …yes i feel it. but i want knanaites to accept that these phenmemon on many non kanaya families that a syrian look i could easly find or i am thinking these strong biblical backgroud of many nasrnai families is because of jewish presence or sure a mediterian influeces there. you know i am just sharing.

  250. rp says

    and these knanaya neighbour of mine wife is so dawn dark dravidian look women. but i dont blame it. because this fact not a surprise to me. i asked him he said oh her grand fatther was dark…but u know i smile.anyway one thing that i am not aganist but as knanaya claim and there didnot mixed up much then the ydna should show more to the semitic one or we are looking forward to it and i wish u could have those…and if so it so cool.. but nasrani community accepting of mix ups. and it really a nice fact that nasrani ydna showing jewish matches and r1a1 as mine and my mother familiy has clear askenazi jewish matches .

  251. rp says


  252. Timmy Philip says


    I could care less if you took a DNA test.

    Look calling me names shows your immaturity. Anyway, I figured you wouldn’t care because in your peanut sized brain I figured you wouldn’t want the truth to hit you where the sun don’t shine. I simply thought you were so interested in what my blood would say…so put your money where mouth is. Simple. Look there is no ring on finger yet lol, so I am not in the bad side of the community yet. There is debate about allowing those who married out but it will take time. As I might leave the community, there is a young community who is over zealous to the Knanya cause. so be it.

    Rp thanks for responding in a manner conducive for discussion. There is definitely some mixing. One of my good friends looks tamil and a few uncles also. As far as DNA testing goes, how can any conclusion be made when only a handful of folks from the knanaya community have done genetic testing. I wish some uncles from the community who definitely look jewish did so. Growing up I never felt my ancestors may be from the middle east. But I also see some others who are very dark looking. One of my good friends knanya jacobite who is dark told me when she was on a bus in kerala, locals could tell she was Knanya. How, I don’t know because was pretty dark (I guess facial features).

    G. Mathew
    Listen scholarly debate went out the window when you and others attacked and demeaned the knanya community. Look back at your previous posts. And guess what? I’m waiting for a comeback.

  253. Timmy Philip says

    Shove the intellect up your ass G. Mathew. Maybe nursing wounds because some aunty or girl said Hell No to you. Whatever. Digging up facts…what bloody facts? Nada. just beacause nasrani community may have it, doesn’t mean anything. How do you know nobody from our community didn’t marry into yours? Do you idea how many Knanyas married out all these years. Looking up facts but the facts seem to completely be one sided. Why don’t you post the links to Phd plz.

    You are full of crap beacuse you state you want scholarly debate yet you go and ask some knanya “friend” for info. Yeah great debate asshole.

  254. TK says

    Hi there,
    The Knanayas I see in Amerika are looking ordinary! They don’t look like syrians /white jews. They are not better looking than other syrian christian too. Infact some of their people and even priests are blacker than other syrian christians. But I don’t dent the fact that the northist syrian christians looks very different(wide range). May be knanayas having jewish blood,or some genes , but out ward appearance is just like any of the average northist syrian christian.

    If an average northist and southist stand together, you cannot differenciate them from their features/colour or heigt/any physical appearance!!

  255. rp says

    now these days i get to hear that there is arab christians as we see many have pretty much middleastern features even they became little tanned. but there is acturally a jewish nazranes even if many have dravidian looks …i belive that is a hidden story that nobody get to comment about. that is on many normal christian community. i think we all being nasty with these subject i think some way we are being arab christians i think that this arab christian all over in syrian church which i think all these joined malabar after many jewish converted by st thomas at early century…u knw i m sharing something new …mr ambooken my friend lived close to mala jewish settlement given surety that many converted to christianity later on ..because they didnot have no choice. only orthodox jews didnot converted. and mr ambooken said many jews then litterely married to fellow hindus and spreaded out. well ambooken said they did not have much middleaastern look as we feel the look of syrian among us or we can call those arab christian. we are being the immaturety of arab pride or sort of superioty thinking yelling and being aggressive as we are jewish and forgeting the importance of good christians. mr ambooken said these jews were very fair and more close to european look than typical beardish arab looks. and they simply just married to local population as it noted. we all need to understand god set us in to the indiansoil for evangalization of hindus and gospel has to reach all over the world and as marthomites believe everysingle marthomites evenif being syrian influenced church be a missonary for the gospel of god to reach all over india and we must aleast to do something than we are involving in this racist matter.

  256. Easo Pothen says

    Timmy- Potten ….I guarantee you wouldn’t say it to my face……

    You look that bad ? If that is unbearable, try plastic surgery.

    There was this Charam Ketty uncle in Ranni. Daily after three four bottles from the local toddy shop, he has his performance in streets. If one day he claims Thekkumbhagar ( as he calls after drinks, -this “Knanaya” name Charam Kettys repeat these days is a new name came in use after 1990’s- after getting kicks from toddy he uses the old antique name Thekkumbhagar) came from Grece, the next day he will claim they are from Anadaman and Nicobar Islands.

    You sound worst than him. He was an uneducated mess and you seem to be a gung ho stupid Charam Ketty. If you want others to buy your story, try to convince them by giving evidences. On the other hand if you are not aware, try politeness and be frank that your great ( not so great) grandfather Chazhikadan had this story and as his grandson you are repeating this with no evidences and strings attached. Try a simple disclaimer that this is fertile imagination.

    You and the Charam Ketty toddy uncle of Ranni has same culture, same tone and language. He was an uneducated mess and so are you as it seems. Try debating when your overall culture is improved.

  257. rp says

    Dear pothen…as a historical point of view, what is charam ketty mean?.
    honestly we are not familier with this there any historical stories for it..or could you explain to us?

  258. Francis Ouseph says

    This community has become something of a joke among Nasranis here. Had k’Nayas shared some consistent physical features with that of the the Jews one could understand. Many of k’Nayas have ordinary desi features. Some look a bit different but that is the case with our communities too, we also have a fair share of fair complexioned, cat-eyed, brown-haired and long-nosed ones amongst us.

    In spite of their tall claims to racial purity k’Nayas may at their best prove themselves as a part of a bastardized race. Maybe that’s why they keep inventing new forefathers every now and then. If their claims make them feel better let them say whatever they want. But they did a bad thing by splitting the already splintered traditional churches on imaginary ethnic lines.

    You marry a non-k’Naya and you are thrown out of the church ! How did Rome and Antioch allow then to form such churches ?

  259. suraj says

    “How did Rome and Antioch allow then to form such churches ?”

    Anything to divide and rule.

  260. Mary says

    Timmy my love,
    Get a grip! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and your community. No one hates you and more importantly, no one is “jealous” of you or your community’s history. In fact, I admire your community for having the courage to promote a non-Indian identity in an Indian environment. I also like that the Knanaya youth compared to some of the Northist Nazranee youth I know, have a strong sense of identity (even if that identity is debatable) and are actually aware of their history (even if their history is debatable).

    However you have to admit that your history has a lot of holes. Even wikipedia can’t decide on the accuracy of your history and that says a lot, because wikipedia is not even reputable source. You can continue to be in denial OR actually research your history and stop being so defensive and touchy.

    Regarding your claim that the Northists are “jealous” of your supposed Jewish ancestry, I must disagree. Some Northists, through DNA test results, proved to have the Jewish Priesthood lineage, which was of course highly unexpected since the Northists always claimed to be descendants of the Hindu Priestly class. Even with the DNA results, most Northists remain adamant on preserving their Hindu Priestly Class origin story and in turn, ignore their possibly Middle-eastern Jewish genes. So you see, there’s no way that the Northists are “jealous” of your comunity’s supposed Jewish history. They would rather have a Hindu ancestry.

    It’s a bit twisted really. The Northists have evidence of a Jewish ancestry (through DNA tests and practices) but would rather carry on with their forged Hindu Priestly class history while the Southists have no evidence of a Jewish past and yet they cling on to their supposed Jewish origin. Basically, the community that actually has evidence of a Jewish ancestry does not acknowledge it while the other community with no evidence of a Jewish ancestry embraces their non-existent Jewish origin. Ya gotta love the Northists and the Southists. Both with identity crises of their own.

    I am amazed at how some people here still hold physical features as though they are the ultimate determinants of a person’s identity. Physical features are just that – physical features – and nothing beyond that. If anything, they usually mislead people.

    My hunch is that the Knanaya people were once Manicheans. Sorry Timmy, if that really is your name. I can’t fathom why a grown man would resort to such a childish adaptation of the name “Tim” or “Timothy”.

    Conclusion: The Northists and the Southists both have identity crises of their own. Physical features don’t determine a person’s identity or ancestry.

    שלום (you do understand that, don’t you?) Timmy!

    PS – Why are there more male participants as opposed to women? Yikes.

  261. jessop says

    //Conclusion: The Northists and the Southists both have identity crises of their own. Physical features don’t determine a person’s identity or ancestry. //

    This conclusion not seems to be true. Yes, It is the physical features that matters. Physical features comes from the ANCESTORS.

  262. John Mathew says


    I think Mary was making a correct assessment about physical anthropology. Anecdotal comments about one’s physical characteristics are far from being scientific. Go and read some history of science and you’ll see that physical anthropology of this sort was thrown out long ago. Why? Because, while, yes, physical characteristics come from one’s ancestors, there is no clear way of separating physical characteristics from one’s ancestors. There is a many to one mapping, hence one can’t go in reverse.

    One has millions of ancestors. Even at a depth of only four ancestors back one can have 16 different ancestors. Which one contributed to your characteristic? It’s impossible to tell. And look at any one community: there is high variation between peoples. And the anecdoctal junk evidence people offer demonstrates this: everyone knows a fair, dark, short, tall, blue-eyed, mongoloid nasrani, southist, jew, brother, sister, father, cousin, etc, etc. So what does that prove? You show me your anecdote, and I’ll show you ten more than tell the reverse story.

    DNA is a far better tool, which enables an accurate portrayal of who one’s patriarch was and who one’s matriarch was: which, for patriarchal societies such as ours, are very relevant.

  263. jessop says

    Dear John,
    I never said DNA analysis is not a far better tool. Now a days every laymen knows this and taken for granted. But I was responding to that very knowligible “”MARY”” about her conclusion. When was DNA analysis started?

    Ofcourse it is a better tool, not only better ,but it is the only one scientific tool available now for tracing the ancestry. But we should understand that many of these physical characters are determined by genes. This is applicable only in pure races.Especially in the case of Northists, It is a highly mixed population.So in this case DNA analysis is a better tool. But from physical characters one can say something. For example , When some body see you in US you are easily identified as an INDIAN/srilankan. Why? Why you are not identified as an middle east Syrian?(The example said not particularly for you but for the Malabarese)

  264. Mary says

    Mr. Jessop,

    “For example , When some body see you in US you are easily identified as an INDIAN/srilankan. Why? Why you are not identified as an middle east Syrian?(The example said not particularly for you but for the Malabarese)”

    I disagree. Not every Indian looks like an Indian, not every Sri Lankan looks like a Sri Lankan, and lastly, not every Syrian looks like a Syrian! I have been mistaken for a South American, Canadian Aboriginal, Afghan, and Middle-Eastern person. My brother on the other hand, is often mistaken to be Sri Lankan. See what I mean by physical features often mislead a person’s judgement?

    “Especially in the case of Northists, It is a highly mixed population.So in this case DNA analysis is a better tool. ”

    In this statement, you agree that DNA tests are far better in determining your ancestry. But later on in your reply, you revert back to saying that physical features determine one’s race. You are contradicting yourself. There is no logic in your reasoning, therefore it fails to make any sense to me.

    Oh and Mr. Jessop, I don’t claim to be “knowledgeable” but I do stand by my conclusion. Cut out the sarcasm. I don’t see any need for it.

  265. John Mathew says

    RE: Southists being Manichaeans

    This is debatable as well …

    I don’t think there’s much to this theory. Have any Manichaean artifacts been found in Malabar? No, not to my knowledge. Yes, the ingredients are there in Malabar (Persians, Buddhists, Syriac Christians), but the evidence isn’t. A.C. Burnell was positive he’d find a Manichaean relic in India, but that didn’t pan out. He was forced to admit that the Pahlavi Crosses are undeniably Christian relics — the oldest relics of any Abrahamic religion in Malabar, I might add.

    Whitehouse refers to a community of “different” people living alongside the Nasranis of Kayamkulam (the 1912 Ency. Britannica seems to extrapolate this to mean Manicheans), and speaks of how they — fed up with being treated as second-class citizens by the Nasranis — decided to become absorbed to the Nair caste. But this doesn’t seem to reflect on the Southists, as Kayamkulam isn’t, AFAIK, a Southist town.

    Now for the Jewish theories. Yes, as Mary says the DNA evidence (preliminary) seems to indicate that some Nasrani families have markers that suggest West Asian, and in some cases, Cohenim, descent. And it doesn’t seem that the Southists shares this origin — what I’ve seen (which is paltry because the Southist DNA projects don’t seem to advertise their disappointing results), is that the Southists are generally L.

    But, then again, the Southists seem to maintain one or two unique customs. I think most of the so-called “Jewish” customs (of the Nasranis or the Southists) are utterly false — being Christian as opposed to Jewish — but it seems they have some kind of unique “yell” that is emitted during marriages, and some unique blessing that seems “Jewish” (of course, the blessing could easily be used by Christians, who also revere the Jewish Patriarchs, so this is not a definitive proof of anything). Perhaps the yell (which seems to be an Arabic-like trait, no?) is an indication of a Yemeni Jewish past?

    Certainly the Black Jews of Kerala (who seem to possess some Yemeni Jewish background based on some musicological studies by Shalwa Weil, I think; I’ve also heard someone claim that the Black Jews have the L type, but I lack the source now) have a record of a schism in their pre-16th century past. And they have a record of a Joseph Rabban who was an early leader.

    Perhaps this explains some of the Southists origins:

    1. they split from the Black Jews, retaining a memory of their forefather/leader Joseph Rabban
    2. they later became Christian, perhaps under the influence of Mar Thomas of Cana (who seems to have been one of the East Syriac prelates who visited India in the 12th century)
    3. Joseph Rabban was retconned to “Mar Joseph of Edessa”
    4. They maintained endogamy and some other elements of their Jewish past (though, notably, not circumcision — a wise choice!)

    The “Mar Joseph of Edessa” story is obviously a fraud. First, we have no history of anything in Malabar prior to the 8th century (apart from Cosmas seeing Persian Christians in Malabar in the 5th century). Second, the stories on Mor Joseph are variable: the SyroMalabar Southists claim him as being deputed by the Catholicose-Patriarch of Babylon (i.e., a Nestorian) while the Jacobite Southists claim the deputation was from the Patriarch of Antioch. So which one is it? This is likely a latter-day retconning of history.

    I think my proposal is a far better theory than (1) the Southist’s theories that confuse Syriac Christians and Jews, or (2) the Manichaean one. The Black Jew theory at least has some parallels to our actual history. It also seems to match up with the AD 325 date the Southists like to give — if we take the AD to be ME, then yes, it seems 825+325 = 1150 AD which coincides somewhat with when Mar Thomas of Cana (the East Syriac bishop) came.

    The only think I find objectionable about the Southists, is the re-writing of history to claim that *they* brought the Syriac rite to Malabar. That is utter BS without any merit whatsoever. But their claim to Jewish ancestry does seem to have some — slight — merit if we take them to be apostates from the Black Jews who later converted and merged with the (more powerful) Syriac Christians.

  266. jessop says

    //I disagree. Not every Indian looks like an Indian, not every Sri Lankan looks like a Sri Lankan, and lastly, not every Syrian looks like a Syrian! I have been mistaken for a South American, Canadian Aboriginal, Afghan, and Middle-Eastern person. My brother on the other hand, is often mistaken to be Sri Lankan. See what I mean by physical features often mislead a person’s judgement?//
    This generally not true. A trained eye can easily catch you, a layman may not. A real afgan is a pashtun ,is certainly different from you. Even a Sindhi or Baluchi is different from you. You are different from the Sikh.From the first instance a European Identify U as an Asian. How?
    The physical characters were used to determine the type of people especially in pure races like Pashtuns.But if you are mixed it is not easy. Then DNA is a better tool. A blonde hair blue eyed man with certain characters can be identified as a particular group. Can you distinguish the europenas? But a trained europen can do. Can you really distinguish the different English? But a trained Englishman can do.
    So I never said Physical characters are applicable in all cases. But where do these physical characters come from?It is hereditary;that means genetic ;that means DNA.
    You and your brother may be different because of the difference in gene expressions.
    So mary , I like you because you talk like a men

  267. rp says

    i dont think we dont need to explain too much and confused with it..yes there is a sort of middleastern suryani looks evident or mildly on many nasrani population. and there is some kind a arabic middleastern semitc touch i can find compare to aryan hindu communities. and this is somewhat evident fact and yes nasranis intermarried a lot. but we know thing more than we tired with explaining thing and i think this is both southist and northist. it s not the matter i am not implying a theory that i felt these thing in my mind but recently some knanites offened to say we are the syrian came from syria and rest of you guy are brahimns converts and we brought suyrani text at 3rd century. while there is no trace of west syric in malabar that Yakobaya kramam is from Jerusalem. It is from the early century till now. Nothing to do with Kananaya. Malayalees brought this to Kottayam recently with in 200 years. There was a period between 1700 and 1900 Malayalee church was under Roman-Portugese Kramam-Then Koonankurshu sambhavam, later problem with Anthyokia, so the leaders in Kottayam went to Jerusalem and the Bava of Jerusalem came to Kottayam.There is no border between east and west. present day Israel and Lebanon are in the west. Nesthorians where all in Iraq and Persian area
    may be east of the River. In the middle east there were no such community as Kananaya until recently, around couple of years earlier. The difference were Romans, Greeks, Anthyokian, Assyrians (Nesthorians) Alexandrians (Coptic), Persians. Suriyani did mean
    surya-yani. If he study Persian culture language he may understand. Earlier Persia was from India to Mediterenian. Need to study some history and cultural background of those lands from India to Mediteranian and Europe. There are names such as Roohani, Nasrani, Iessani, Mirchandani, etc… Abraham’s time was about 4000 + years ago. The present DNA is based on people living today. We do not have the DNA of Abraham. Even though Abraham was from Central Asia, all his children and later Generation lived in the West Asia and got their children from west Asian family for last more than 4000 years, so less chance they might have central Asian DNA. It is very natural that west Asian people are Mediterranean. Lot of inter cultural marriage happened during those years.Israel is the Name of Jaacob son of Isaac later it become a country in the country of israel there are other people other than Jews. again That was how the early Christians were Jews. Even now the Suryiani church Yerusalem has all the parallel Koodaha from the Jewish. Nazranis where Semetic in Origin (Nasrani mapila) among arab and muslim community, they used the word Nasrani to identify Muslims from Suriyani, malayalees because they both had very close cultures and had very good relationship. Romans from the begening tried to distroy Nasranis.70 C E In fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus (Luke 19:41., 21 I 20-24) Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus after the crushing of the first Jewish revolt. 132-135 After the crushing of the second Jewish revolt of Bar Kokhba Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a Roman city and called it Aelia Capitolina. Roman temples were built over Jewish and Christian sacred sites. The Jews were forbiden to enter the city under penalty of death. 330 Constantine converted Jerusalem into a Christian city. The first Ordained Church Bishop was Yacob (James). The name Nazraani is confusing. Present Jerusalem Orthodox Church is the Closest one to the First Church in Yerusalem. Please see the video again from the bigening to the end and pay full attention.

  268. John Mathew says


    You’re taking it as a foregone conclusion that the Southists are pure. First, the notion of purity is ridiculous, when you consider the manner in which humans reproduce — sexually — in which two individuals essentially mix. The only pure race is one that doesn’t reproduce, and hence, would be extinct. So all humans who are alive now, are the product of some sort of mixing. And since mixing of relatives is a historic taboo, all have mixed outside their own family. So when you say purity, you are talking about something that doesn’t exist.

    But let’s take a weak form of purity: let’s say purity means they all have the same haplotype —can you establish this by DNA results for the Southists? Perhaps — I don’t know. If so, then they are all L, and definitely *NOT* Cohenim. Perhaps that’s why the Southists were historically excluded from the priesthood until the Latins and the Jacobites came…

    How could you then explain the tremendous variation of Southists features. A cursory search for examples on the Internet, for examples, shows a great diversity of types in the Southist community. I’m not trying to prove anything by this: only trying to provide an observation which is against what you’re trying to prove. The Southists are definitely not homogeneous physically, and as a rule they don’t all look Middle Eastern to any greater degree than Northists do.

    The Northists are basically endogamous, usually marrying only their kind (i.e., other Northists). Of course, they don’t seem to have the expulsion rules of the Southists (which are themselves controversial amongst the Southists). In fact, the first Europeans to note the Malabar Christians noticed that there were two endogamous communities: Northists and Southists.

    Yet the Northists are quite heterogeneous genetically: Semites (J2), Persians (likely the R1a — ref: the Tharakan and Thevalakarra results on the Syr Chr DNA project; Tharakan and Thev., are likely representatives of the 10th century Mar Sabor immigration to Kollam), various “Indian” types, etc. So, although endogamous, they are far from “pure”.

    You comment about a “trained” person being able to distinguish types (to downplay the fact that Mary reports that she has West Asian characteristics: do you even know Mary and how she looks like?). What sort of training are you talking about? What school does one have to enter to learn to “train” oneself. Looks like the same old unscientific junk that people like to throw around when science fails to justify their myths. Rather than resort to this, you should rather blame the clerics such as E.M. Philip, and Mor Cleemis who deliberately fabricated myths to carve out an alternative history.

    We all have anecdoctal stories about x y and z. Like I said, you show me your Middle Eastern looking Southists and I’ll show you my ME looking Northists. For example, look at the Catholicoi of the Malankara Orthodox and Jacobite Churches for example. I’ll put them up against any of the “Knanaya” bishops any day in a (admittedly foolish) fight over who looks more Jewish. I can expand that list to include Mor Gregorios of Parumala, many of the bishops from the classical era of the Jacobite and Orthodox Churches in India, and many of the malpans of the same. Add to that Mani Kathanar and many of the great malpans and clerics of the Syro-Malabar who weren’t Southists (the majority of course). We all have anecdotal evidence. All of which is useless since we also have anecdotal evidence that contradicts the former!

    Another final anecdote: it seems that J2 Cohen is present in Pakallomattom. Have you seen the Pakallomattom bishops of the last two centuries (from the Orthodox, Catholic, Jacobite and Mar Thomite Churches)? Most of them look utterly Indian—yet they (unlike the Southists) have actually Jewish DNA pumping through their veins. Note: few if any of the actual Middle Eastern looking bishops — the Catholicoi I mentioned above — are from Pakallomattom, yet they look Middle Eastern. Anecdotes are so utterly useless.

  269. Joseph says

    Catholicsm distroyed the Syro-Malabar community.
    As anybody can see, the lack of Abraham’s Y chromosome in some people (women) made them to disobey commandment 6, which in the past few centuries made our DNA this much corrupted. Many of those ugly looking Syrian catholics may still have Y chromosome from Abraham but other 45 chromosmes might bee from Pulayas, Parayas who at the right oppertunity joined the syrian christians to boost their life and ego. Some idiot forefathers thought that women only provide a womb (and heridty exclusively comes from man) and so allowed it to happen. But later when they realised that they made a mistake their Y chromosome (commadment 5) did not allow them to do anything. This scenario was encouraged by many frustrated roman trained catholic preists upon their realization that their genes are not going to survive anyway. They let the community be corrupted by finding refuge in rich Rome and their theology. They went so far that the basic thing of life (race) was replaced by religion and made even the word race an ugly thing not even to pronounce.

  270. jessop says

    I never said southists are pure or northists are impure. I have no hatred to either of them.
    //when you consider the manner in which humans reproduce — sexually — in which two individuals essentially mix. The only pure race is one that doesn’t reproduce, and hence, would be extinct.//
    This statement is quite ambigous.Everything is relative. When we say pure ,we are assigning some characters to that group ,which they generally express.This character may be seen in other groups also but cannot generalize.
    The southist people are not much different from the Northists. Some of them are white and some are black. This is the case in northist too.Both are not pure races.
    //In fact, the first Europeans to note the Malabar Christians noticed that there were two endogamous communities: Northists and Southists.//
    I understand that northists were not endogamous and they were usually intermarried with hindus too.
    If they were endogamous how can they be so heterogenous?
    //the Tharakan and Thevalakarra results on the Syr Chr DNA project; Tharakan and Thev., are likely representatives of the 10th century Mar Sabor immigration to Kollam), various “Indian” types, etc. So, although endogamous, they are far from “pure”. //
    By waht means you claim they were endogamous?

  271. jessop says

    //You comment about a “trained” person being able to distinguish types (to downplay the fact that Mary reports that she has West Asian characteristics: do you even know Mary and how she looks like?). What sort of training are you talking about? What school does one have to enter to learn to “train” oneself. Looks like the same old unscientific junk that people like to throw around when science fails to justify their myths.//
    Science is nothing but provable truths which was developed by trial and error method. Trianing is also a form of convensional science. But now a days people think that science means only hightech science.
    I will tell you an example in Organic chemistry. If you are given an unknown compound &asked to identify and provide a possible structure for that ;what you do?We can analyse these compounds with IR and NMR spectrum or Mass spectrometry. But instruments donot have intelligence. They provide some signals based on the presence and abscence of some groups or atoms.These signals are not the compound. But a trained man should interpret the spectrum, logically think and propose a structure based on many many facts. This needs good training.
    Then about Marys west asian characteristics- certainly I know how much west asian looks she has unless she had been intermarried with a west asian.
    //it seems that J2 Cohen is present in Pakallomattom. Have you seen the Pakallomattom bishops of the last two centuries (from the Orthodox, Catholic, Jacobite and Mar Thomite Churches)? Most of them look utterly Indian—yet they (unlike the Southists) have actually Jewish DNA pumping through their veins. //
    I give the least importance to these type of things. Jewish DNA? what is it actually?I know so many Malabary blacks are claimimg jewish DNA.May be a jewish person might have married a ezhava converted woman. Their offsprings also claim jewish DNA. Their present looks attests this.
    I don’t see much greatness about pakalomattom. For various reasons the members from that family became bishops. That doesnot mean they did it because they were SO CALLED cohanims.The black malabari needs something to boast to hide their inferiority complex.

  272. mathew says

    to jessop’s comment over finding a unknown compound there you go.You said the fact ..yes basedon some functional groups,physical and the chemical characteristics we conclude the compound.You agreed it s right…Thats the same thing southist did.Our ancesitors couldnt able to find any IR NMR GCor LC that time.How cave man tried to know that time during those time,how they find the directions?After all what makes a group of people so jealous for the southist? we never bother anyone like this..after all faith of a religion depends on the people who believe it not for the others…we never force do so….

  273. jessop says

    After all there is no meaning in keeping endogamy. If you were identified as a pure race it can be justified. But southists just like the northists are a mixed race. Great diversity in their physical features justify this.Believe me when I hear Knanaya, the first face coming coming to my mind is an ugly looking woman always BOASTING about knanaya. If her face justifies what she says ,its ok;but her facial features look like a wide short nosed ezhava. At least one thing you can advice your members is that, please don’t boast about knanaya unless they look a real west asian!!!!

  274. John Mathew says


    I don’t know whether anyone is jealous of the Southists. I think it is more that people are reacting to an obviously fabricated history.

    For example, when I see a Mar Thomite claiming to be a reformed Orthodox, I response. Not because I’m jealous. Personally, I pity them for their dissolution into heterodoxy and heresy. But I feel the need to correct their erroneous reporting of facts. The Mar Thomites are Protestant and should not claim to be something they’re not (“reformed” Orthodox, which is nonsensical as the “reformation” was inconsistent with orthodoxy).

    Similarly, if the Southists claimed to be descendants of Black/Brown Jews or their converts, and left it at that, that would be fine — there may be some justification for this (notwithstanding the absence of real Judaic practices amongst them).

    What is wrong is they claim to have brought the Syriac rite to India. This is ridiculous and false. They claim to have come in 345 AD with a “Mor Joseph of Edessa” which is not based on anything. They claim to have been sent by either: (1) the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch and/or (2) the Nestorian Patriarch of Babylon — both of whom were enemies of each other. This is nonsense.

    The main problem with the Southists is not their community but their idiotic bishops and priests who contaminate their actual history with historical forgeries. If the Southists could get beyond the vile distortion of history engaged by Mor Clemis and his Catholic counterparts, they would be a lot closer to the truth, and a lot further from spouting silly histories with copious holes and falsities.

    If the Southists were an important community, then your claim of jealousy would be valid. But the Southists have always gotten the short end of the stick: smaller Churches, lack of priestly ordination (in ancient times), lack of control of the archdeaconate, etc. Why would anyone be jealous of this?

  275. rp says

    probably some one is looking for umbralla eyebrow and long noise enough to qualify em to say they are middleastern. or they want to be proud that they are close to a european look so they are more likely to be friend with whites that they look close to a white guy..woh. i think i see these tendency is many southist. and they kind a feel like they saying they are migrated ones while they live in kerala and living and loving eating our nadan dishes. woh. people are really getting crazy with this matter. i think all the syrian chruch ancient and existing bishops already had this thick features and they lived and died in kerala. many migrated histories does prove this matter. . Whatever the reason does not matter some middleastern blood in kerala but what if they r not married to the exact ones? if they did not married to their exact ones in kerala then they mixed and it proves. and it does not make sense that they want others accept em that they are orginal. i give validity to a natural fact that these blood on lot of nasranis populations and they living as good christians.

  276. M Thomas Antony says

    John’s theory of Yemeni Jews became Southists should be taken seriously and needs to be researched.

    We know that Patriarch Thimothy I (AD 779-823) tried to amalgamate the supposedly existed two castes of the then East Syriac Christians- the Indian St Thomas Christians and the Persian Christians in that period. We have to assume that the Persian Christians would not have stayed away from that instruction even if Indian group decided to do so due to their inborn caste feelings. It looks like the two groups amalgamated to become the present Syriac Christian community in Kerala. Now, this endogamous group who keep their purity must be a later addition to the community. That means, the Southist group originated probably post AD 823.

    Then, are they the Sabour Afroath group? John Mathew has always argued that the Sabour- Afroath group got mixed in well. Then the Southists should be some other group who came in or originated after AD 823. (Are they anyway related to Mar Afroath ? Two of Mar Afroath’s Persian Crosses are in Kottayam valiya palli. If it was Mar Afroath, their legendary leader would have been Mar Afroath rather than Canai Thomas which has more historical grounds.)

    I am going through the book “Kerala Society Papers” now. “Kerala Society papers” is a series of research papers published in 1928 which talks about a Sloane MS 2743 kept in British Museum, London ( KSP Series 9 p200). This is a Portuguese text by the Vicar of the Ernaculum Church dated 1676 AD or after with six lines of notes.

    It reads:-

    “The King Sacara Vittia ( Chakravarthy- Emperor) gave a woman, a native of this Kingdom as interpreter and cook to the said Canai Thomas and they say that this person was a woman whose occupation was that of mainatto- washer woman and washing clothes and consequently of sevile and low caste. And the children of this woman, instructed by the said Canai Thomas in the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ were the progenitors and founders of the Christians of St Thomas who are called the South…………..”.

    This can be taken as the oral or other tradition prevailed in AD 1676 period.

    Are there any other old documents describing the story of Southists available?

  277. Mathew says

    Well,Comments on a religion should not be based on a person whom we met in our life that could quote as blindness not wisdom…Any one can make comments like this …ugly woman!!! so on and so forth…before making such comments look back into your community…Do you all compete for miss universe or mr universe..may be i dont know ..if so i agree to your point….and i am proud to be from that region…great…first try to understand that the enviorment that we live in have a great place to do with the physical features of living things..ok..Well thomas where were your great intellectual people when Gov.Menasis made the forceble conversions.Where they were attending some G8 or UN general assembely.There was only a few brave hearts to protest(may be that made call us the real blood) that is the reason as you say we got the smaller part of the stick…we never thought of the ratio of the stick but our motto was to uphold the religious faith not the ratio of stick…we are happy what we have and we always talk with respect of other religion….

  278. jessop says

    I am not against your community. But just I mentioned the boasting nature of that woman that did not correlate with her physical features. Certainly your clan is a good people practicing endogamy for some reasons. I don’t deny the fact that many of the woman in Northist community is not good looking. I used the word ugly just in protest of her boasting.It is a fact that majority of the Southist community are ordinary in looks,but there are very good looking people too.This is the case in Northist community also. In northist community, the mixing is more since they are not endogamous. You are just simply boasting about your bravery.What is a real blood? In America you are one among the blacks or you selfimagine that you are a west asian or white man dreaming infront of the mirror?This type of boasting provocates others.

  279. enarsea says

    Cardinal Gracias and Cardinal Toppo Dedicate the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India to the Nation

    GUWAHATI, March 3

    The publication of the three volumes of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India is a worthy model for the world Churches and an incomparable achievement and contribution of the Church in India, stated Oswald Cardinal Gracias in Guwahati, dedicating the work to the nation. The publication of the third and final volume is something of which the Encyclopaedia team can be justly proud, but they should not rest on their oars but must continue their much needed work of service to the Church in India today, His Eminence went on to say. Telespore P. Cardinal Toppo dedicated the volumes to the world Christian community. The two Cardinals officially released the Encyclopaedia by exchanging copies of the work, in the presence of Archbishops and Bishops from all over India and members of the CBCI Commissions. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Prof. George Menachery the Editor of the Encyclopaedia, and Dr. George Plathottam the secretary of the CBCI Commission for Media also spoke on the occasion.

    The Encyclopaedia comprises the contributions of hundreds of well-known scholars from all over India and abroad. There are articles on almost every aspect of Christianity in india, dealing with all chronological, denominational, and geographical divisions. The more than thousand illustrations on art plates, half of them on full colour art plates, in addition to the dozens of maps including a whole Christian and Linguistic atlas of India, and the graphs, tables, figures, and sketches go to make the work an exhaustive reference tool. Each major article is supported by bibliographies and inclusive end-notes, making the encyclopaedia an indispensible reference work for seminaries and teheological colleges. universities and colleges, and libraries of ecclesiastical establishments and headquarters and formation houses of religious congregations.

  280. John Mathew says

    Dear M. Thomas Antony:

    Thanks for responding to my theory, and for presenting some of what you’ve found. Some comments:

    0. As far as I know, the letter of Patr Timothy authorizes the intermarriage of Persian Christians and Indian Christians, so perhaps rather than being an attempt at integration, it was an authorization to allow the intermarriage — perhaps the people were requesting clarification. Though, I can’t imagine why: the East Syriacs seemed to have been a cosmopolitan Church. Perhaps, like you said, it was the caste consciousness of the Indians that necessitated the explicit authorization.

    1a. Yes, I’ve argued that the Mar Sabor group got mixed with the existing Nasranis because that immigration still has people in Kollam district who claim origin from it: Muthulaly in Kallada/Kollam, Thulassery Manapurathu in Kallada/Kollam, and possibly others. Tharakan in Thevalakarra claims origin with Mar Abo, who they call “Nisam Timotheos”. And none of those communities are definitely not endogamous. They’re proud of their origins, but they have no bars on marriage.

    1b. On the SyrChr DNA project, you’ll find a Tharakan and a Thevalakara sample, by the way. I don’t know who those people are, but if they are from the Thevalakkara families that claim origin with Mar Abo, then it’s interesting to note that they are Ra1 — which is, if I’m not mistaken, a possible indicator of Persian (non-Semitic) origin.

    2. The Mar Aproth theory is very interesting, but I’m not sure I can agree with it. I don’t see how Mar Sabor’s community could be cosmopolitan while that of Mar Aproth would be insular. But it’s possible, of course.

    Then again, the Mar Aproth Churches in Kerala seem to all be Northist Churches, no? Are any within the geographic domain of the Southists? Is even one “Kadesshangal” Church Southist? But it is a curiosity as to how the Southists got a Persian Cross. (Of course, Kottayam Valiapally might be an exception, since the rule is that the Northists are in possession of most of the Persian Crosses).

    Further, I can’t see rigorous endogamy as being from *any* Christian society. Even modern “ethnic” Christian societies may prefer their children to marry within the group, but they do not “expel” people from the group when intermarriages occur. The Syriacs and the Persians too would likely not have practiced endogamy, since those cultures have a long history of cross cultural intercourse: Greeks, Arabs, Syriacs, Persians, Armenians, Romans, etc., have long engaged in mixing (the Lebanese being the best example of this).

    Hence, the rigorous endogamy of the Southists to me is a strong indicator that they came from a non-Christian Jewish background. Their L type seems to agree with a Yemeni Jewish background — i.e., Black Jews. Their story of “Mar Joseph” parallels Joseph Rabban, as is their talk of copper plates that no longer exist (perhaps because their non-apostate brothers, the Black Jews, kept the plates). And the well-known schism that occurred with the Black Jews is another pointer. Finally, the purported roots of the Southists in Kodungalloor are another pointer.

    It’s too bad Mor Clemis and the other writers of fiction lacked the intellectual strength to at least forge theories with some basis in reality.

    (Executive summary: in simple language, I am arguing *for* a Jewish origin of the Southists. I’m also rejecting claims of the Southist’s Syriac Christian origin, since this lacks any basis whatsoever (and of course, the two are exclusive to each other; one can’t be a Syriac Christian and a Jew, it makes no sense. For those who don’t understand, pick up either (1) if you’re East Syriac, the Hudra, or (2) if your West Syriac, the Penkito, and read how the Syriac Christians describe the Jews.)

  281. rp says

    Finally, As far as i see southist nature does not prove me they are jewish..seems like they meant to drink liquor give an affection that they are migrated people..and they kept shouting the nature the we are not indians with a slavary mind instead they are provoking. one southist man always an expert commenting who is ashari, chovan, nair thing i notice he felt big deal with these subject. he is really good at using pan parag while he has lot of jewish stories to tell. I feel there had been some immigrants from semitic area came and intermarried and some reason some group are collecting these features and making claim. and being agressive. while i see many nasranis families living so calm and peaceful and simply laughing with these agendas yet these semitic features are there also.

  282. Mary says

    Mr. Mathew,

    I must confess that I haven’t had the time to do an extensive amount of research on the Manichaean theory. I managed to read a few essays suggesting the possibility of Manicheans residing in Malabar (which is how I got the idea in the first place), but that’s about it. This is also why I specifically used the word “hunch” when I first conveyed my theory.

    Your theory sounds realistic. It never occurred to me that a portion of the Black Jews might have been the founders of the Southist community. It fits quite nicely, better than any theory I’ve come across so far. However, I do have some doubts about it. Perhaps you can clear them for me.

    The Nazranees and the Black Jews were both immigrants to Malabar. As far as the DNA results go, large portions of the Nazranees are semitic and a few even carry the Cohenim gene. From the little research I have been able to do in my spare time, I learned that the Nazranees and the Black Jews maintained cordial relations and even had a sense of brotherhood. Both of these communities received copper plates and were looked upon in a favorable light by the monarchy and the local people. Basically, the Nazranees and the Black Jews were equal in terms of status. Moreover, the Northists do have some customs that seem Jewish (even if they may not be Jewish). The Nazranees and the Southists on the other hand, had a rocky relationship from the start. As you know, the Nazranees treated the Southists despicably. They excluded them, looked down upon them, practiced endogamy to avoid mixing with them, and separated themselves from the Southist community entirely. If the first Southists were Black Jews, why then would the Nazranees be unwilling to associate with them (the Black Jews that is)? After all, some Nazranees are Jewish by blood and others are Semitic. In addition to having a great history together, the Nazranee community is composed of a few Black Jews who converted to Christianity (some willingly and some others, not so willingly). In any case, the two communities (the Nazranee and the Black Jewish communities) respected each other and were similar in a few cases. I think the Nazranee community would have no problem in marrying the Black Jews and even including them in the Nazranee community.

    What would make the Nazranees despise a community so much as to refuse to associate or marry members from that community? Perhaps if they were people from the lower class who were complete pagans (neither Christian, Jew, or Muslim)? The Nazranees were conscious of status and power. Therefore, they would probably have looked down upon and refused to intermarry with the lower classes (although they might have had concubines from those classes). The only people that fit this description are the Brown Jews (Meschurarim) who were manumitted slaves of the Jewish community. The Brown Jews had a history of slavery, their ancestors were probably lower class Hindu people, and they have zero semitic blood. Moreover, their former masters (the Malabar Jews) excluded them from their own community even though they converted to Judaism. I have no evidence to support this theory, so it’s just a thought. I am aware that the Southists DNA results don’t go with this theory. However, we are aware of only three or four DNA results so far.


    “They maintained endogamy and some other elements of their Jewish past”

    I think they were forced to maintain endogamy because the Nazranees excluded them to such an extent that they had no choice. After all, the Nazranees were the only other Christian community in Malabar.

    My gran’s input on the matter of Southist endogamy:
    It was the opposite. The Nazranees maintained endogamy. It was the Southist men who hoped to marry Nazranee women but of course that never happened. So it was only the poor (but good) Nazranee families who married the Southists because they had no choice. Also, the Southist men apparently took care of all the expenses because they were rich. When I asked my gran about why we never intermarried with the Southists, she said that their ways were different and that was the only answer I was given.

    “Perhaps the yell (which seems to be an Arabic-like trait, no?) is an indication of a Yemeni Jewish past?”

    Yup, yelling is so very Arab! I think a portion of the Black Jews’ ancestors were actually Yemenite Jews too. A lot of essays are in favour of this theory. Tests (can’t remember exactly which ones but I can dig them up for you.) done on them indicate a closer relationship between them.

    PS – Thanks for answering Mr. Jessop’s posts, Mr. Mathew. I couldn’t have answered them better myself.

  283. John Mathew says


    You raise an interesting point, a hole in my theory. If the Black Jews and Nasranis got on historically well, then why would they treat the Southists improperly? I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe there’s a reason.

    I’d like to learn more about the relationship that existed between the Black Jews and the Nasranis. It seems that there was cooperative ventures for sure, but there also seems to have been some problems. If you look at the account in Jornada, the Christians and the Jews had some fights—whether this was due to Portuguese interference, I don’t know.

    Syriac Christianity is not all that friendly to Judaism. There are historical examples of great violence between done between adherents of both in West Asia (e.g., Yemen, where the Jews there engaged in a mass slaughter of the Christians). So perhaps there was some of that in Malabar. Certainly the liturgical poetry is not all that … “friendly”.

    I know there’s a modern tendency of Nasranis to wipe that aside and make the trivial assumption that the use of Aramaic, and the Semitic origin necessitates some bond, but that’s overly simplistic. (Nathan Katz’ work is an excellent example of “scholars” who make the same error.) Before becoming Christian, the Semitic Arameans and Assyrians were pagans, and not Jews. The use of Aramaic by Jews (like the use of Greek) was due to imperialism, and not because Aramaic was a “Jewish” language. One can read surveys of Syriac literature and find that “the literature of Syriac is essentially a Christian literature”.

    Anyways … I’m sure my theory has holes, and is probably wrong. I’d like to understand more of historical data about the situation — about the Black Jews and the Southists in particular — to help refine the theory.

    Finally, I also recall reading some accounts of how the Northists abused the Southists in the past, but lack the citations for this since it was long ago and when I wasn’t really interested in this division. Do you have any references to this?

  284. rp says

    i heard from an expert that There were no Jews fighting against Christians. Jews were scattered after AD70 until 1948. Romans were The Crusaders. Any one did not accept Roman Church and Authority, either Killed tortured so many people both Jewish, Jewish-Christians moved out from the Roman land Later in the 1100s Arabs captured Romans and they converted many to Islam. Muslims and Arabs did not have any hostility toward Jews or Jewish Christians know as Nasranies. Western scholers do not understand what happened in The Arabian, Persian lands, There are written informations in Suriyani, and other middle eastern culture.

  285. John Mathew says

    Your expert is not an expert then. The massacre of Christians by Jews in Yemen is well known.

  286. Mary says

    Mr. Mathew,

    “You raise an interesting point…”

    Why thank you.

    “Anyways … I’m sure my theory has holes, and is probably wrong.”

    I wouldn’t discard your theory just yet. Perhaps there was a possible animosity between the Black Jews and the Nazranees, that hasn’t been discovered yet. During the Portuguese era in Malabar, the Malabar Jews were persecuted for their faith. The Nazranee community too suffered under their rule because of their resistance to Catholicism and the fact they adhered to some aspects of the Mosaic Law. It was after the Portuguese left that the Nazranees started claiming Hindu priestly status. Some reasons for this claim might be to probably draw attention away from the fact that they were not native to the land and/or their possible Jewish heritage. In order to preserve this claim, they might have detested anything and anyone Jewish. This might explain their treatment of the Southists (that is, if we’re going with your theory of the Black Jews being the founders of the Southist community). However, the Southists claim of Jewish ancestry is fairly recent, is it not?

    “I’d like to learn more about the relationship that existed between the Black Jews and the Nasranis.”

    Same here. This is my area of interest actually. I will be heading to Malabar (or I should say Kerala) in three months, to actually do some hardcore research.

    “Syriac Christianity is not all that friendly to Judaism. There are historical examples of great violence between done between adherents of both in West Asia…”

    It is important to note that Malabar is not West Asia and West Asia is not Malabar. The only reason I emphasize this distinction is because the atmosphere and demography in Malabar was altogether different. Malabar’s population was heterogeneous with a large Hindu and Muslim population. The Jewish and Nazranee communities were minorities. In addition, Malabar was largely made up of immigrant communities. This may seem simplistic but the Jews and Christians did get along surprisingly well. Of all the essays I’ve read about the Malabar Jews and Christians, not one mentioned any sort of quarrel or display of hatred between the two groups. Of course this doesn’t mean there weren’t any. In Israel, the Cochin Jews are one of the only groups of Jews who didn’t have any problems with the Christians. I don’t know why this is but it may be due to the fact that both groups were similar in some cases – genealogy and practices.

    I came across this interesting little tidbit of information in this essay – Dempsey, Corinne. “Lessons in Miracles from Kerala, South India: Stories of Three “Christian” Saints.” History of Religions. 39.2 (1999): 150-176. Print. – In the Marthasmuni church in Peroor, there are two menorahs present. This is of course terribly unusual, not to mention odd. Apparently, the menorahs are there in remembrance of a Jewish saint (?), called Marttasmuni, who refused to eat pork and give up Judaism in Iraq.

    I am not familiar with Syriac Christianity, so you must excuse my ignorance. I have a question for you – how old is Syriac Christianity in Kerala? The answer may help explain the relationship between the adherents of Syriac Christianity and Judaism in Malabar.

    “Finally, I also recall reading some accounts of how the Northists abused the Southists in the past…Do you have any references to this?”

    This is the only one I saved. Come to think of it, there aren’t a lot of essays out there on how the Northists abused the Southists in the past, perhaps this is another tale or exaggeration? I am seriously starting to doubt everything I believe in, so far. However, I do remembering come across far more essays that deal with this subject last september (till december) but I deleted them and saved only this one because I simply didn’t know what to believe.

    Swiderski, Richard. “Northists and Southists: A Folklore of Kerala Christians .” Asian Folklore Studies. 47.1 (1988): 73-92. Print.

  287. christine says

    Being a non historian and a knanaya, i find it very interesting that only non knanayas are engaged in proving our history wrong. is it bcoz they are finding it offensive that we are of jewish lineage or is it bcoz we refuse to marry them. Your lineage may or maynot be jewish, we dont care. We are.

    By the way, my husband and I have middle eastern features. And i do know for a fact that environment plays a lot of havoc on genetics.

  288. John Mathew says


    Regarding the history of Syriac Christianity in Kerala. It seems that the history of Christians in Kerala *is* the history of Syriac Christianity in Kerala. That is, barring the legendary stuff about St Thomas (which I personally don’t really believe in anymore, not that this is relevant), our history starts with Cosmas’ observations: seeing Persian Christians. Persian Christians were Syriac Christians, of course. The earliest artifacts of any Semitic religion in India would be the Pahlavi Crosses in India — which are most likely monuments of “Nestorian” activity.

    I’ve read some of Dempsey’s work; it’s mostly junk, in my opinion. The author provides a very superficial look at Kerala with useless reports from Indians. For example, Mart Smooi is a Jewish “saint” (ref: the book of Maccabees). But her devotion was brought to Kerala late: within the last 2 centuries by Indian Jacobites who visited West Asia and brought back devotion to Mart Smooni. So the presence of a Church devoted to Mart Smooni means nothing; she is revered by the Greeks, Latins, and Jacobites, and her cult was brought to India by Jacobites very late.

    Dempsey’s report of a Menorah is curious — but is this just (the same old tired) misreading of the standard candles that Nasrani Churches have (nay, all Syriac Churches, Indian or not) have? Or perhaps the Pahlavi Cross which is definitely not a Menorah.

    I’ve seen the paper of Swiderski. I was hoping there were more reports of this.

    May I ask what sort of research you’re doing in Kerala? I’m actually very curious about any scholarly work in this area (as opposed to the noxious historical “research” conducted by Indian Church historians).

  289. rp says not really the matter that non knanaya to tell knanaya are not really jewish…and i personally think knanayas are not really jewish itself..instead it obvious here is lot of middleastern feautured syrian christians in both community. and we kind a know abut these fac yet we dont have much of clear immigrantion history yet it generally says ancient time we marthomites orthodox etc etc which all syrian christians had ancient west asian contact and we have to admit it. and we are not the community to tell you are not something and we are something . there were we need to study what really had been happened in the past.

  290. John Mathew says


    You’re treating both communities as homogeneous with respect to opinions, whereas in fact there are a variety of opinions from both Nasranis and Southists regarding Southist history. Not all Nasranis are critical of Southist claims, and not all Southists buy into the “Knanaya” story which was developed during the first half of the 20th century. If you look at this site, there are Nasranis who have defended Southists and their contributions, and their are also Southists who’ve expressed disbelief in the “Knanaya” story.

    I don’t claim to know the motives of everyone, but I’m sure some are motivated by a desire to understand history. And perhaps some are annoyed by what they perceive to be a highly-variable retelling of history (first Persian/Syriac, then Jewish). I doubt it’s due to the intermarriage prohibition though — because as far as I can see, the Northists seemed to have a historic aversion for Southist as well.

    Now, the idea that the Southists are “Jewish” is not an old claim at all; as far as I’ve seen, these claims started during the first half of the 20th century. Prior to that, the claim was Syriac, and or Persian origin. The story of Thomas of Cana being a Jew sent by a Syriac Christian Patriarch/Catholicos is obviously false. 1) Which is it: Nestorian Catholicos or Jacobite Patriarch? 2) How is it that a Jew decided to be sent by a Christian, with a Christian accompanying Metropolitan? Back in the 4th century, the Jews and Christians were mortal enemies. The story makes *no* sense. A German scholar has actually studied the origins of the mythology: most of which was codified by the Jacobite bishop Mor Clemis in the 20th century.

    Also, “Middle Eastern” looks is definitely not specific to the Southists. We all have our examples of Middle Eastern-looking friends, family, etc., from both sides. And we have counter examples too.

    Now, your statement: “And i do know for a fact that environment plays a lot of havoc on genetics.” is interesting. So are you saying that somehow being in India changed the *genetic* makeup of the Southists? This is very strange indeed. At the end of the day, what we do know (at a preliminary level) is that the J2 type — which is a Semitic marker found in many, if not most, Jews — is present in the Nasranis, and not the Southists. The Southists seem to be testing L.

    I personally do believe the Southists are Jews. But not mainstream Jews—the mainstream “J2” Jewish type is found in the Northists and not with the Southists. Rather, Yemeni Jews, Black Jews, and/or their Brown Jew converts is the most likely candidate.

    And the environment certainly wouldn’t play a role in changing an L to a J2 or a J2 to and L. That kind of stuff persists, at least for the timescales we’re talking about (centuries, one or two millenia).

    I don’t know what Southists think in general. But I’m sure that — just like with the Nasranis — they must have people who are critical and want to understand the truth. Similar to how many Nasranis want to dig under the “Brahmin convert” BS that the Nasranis have been spouting. Perhaps an NSC-like site for Southists exists somewhere, where people are trying to learn more based on a scientific, critical approach, as opposed to a blindly dogmatic approach.

  291. M Thomas Antony says

    If you look at the Indian cultural situation, Indian people are strict endogamous with respect to their castes. See the Nairs only marry the Nairs, Ezhavas only marry Ezhavas, Syriac Christians only marry Syriac Christians and similarly, the Southists only marry Southists. Even when Syro Malabars are in catholic communion for about 400 years, still SMC-Latin marriages are very rare. This is due to the strong caste feeling in the Indian community. Many communities have practices of out casting the members even today for various reasons, but due to public outcry and legal issues, it is not usually publicised. Those members will not get support from their caste hierarchy; will not get the “desakkuri” for marriage etc.

    You have to remember, until 1900 period, Syrian Christians were also proud to say we are a caste- eg. Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar and Nasrani jathi aikya sangham-(Society for Nasrani caste Unity.). The Arch deacon was the “jathikku karthavyan”- administrator of the caste. So, I am not too surprised about the practice of endogamy which is a reality even today in all communities in Kerala.

    Re. very strict endogamous practice among Southist community-

    As all know, Southists and Northists among the Syriac Christians of Malabar behaved like two castes. Hence they were two castes with the same religion and hence endogamous within their castes. There are suggestions that Southists were considered a bit inferior to Northists in the past-( ref. Sloane MS 2743 dated AD1676 kept in British Museum, London, Letter sent from Northists of the Vicariat of Changanacherry to Rome against the Southist Bishop Mar Makil) As Southists were a very small community, and there were no other Christian community around, they became strictly endogamous within that small community.

    100 years ago, no one in Keralan Society can think about intercaste marriages. In the modern world, after the social renaissance in Kerala especially with teachings of Sri Narayana Guru etc against caste system and its evils and promoting inter caste marriages, things are a little bit improved now, but still I would say, intercaste and inter religious marriages are rare.

    Now, it may be the later day attempts of Southists to redefine and justify the reasons for endogamy is creating stories to project them Jewish pure blood and strict rules to out caste the members if they marry from other communities. Projecting superior is a basic instinct of Indians where caste feeling is inborn in their blood. Every group is projecting themselves superior and push the rest as inferior. The best example is the Northist claim of Brahmin origin.

    Re Syrian christian DNA project. I am still very sceptical about this project. This project doesn’t have a control group. Unless it is proved that the rest of the Keralan Community doesn’t have the so called specific Jewish DNAs, then only we can say that this results are unique for Syriac Christians.

    First thing to prove is that the presence of Jewish DNAs among Northists is statistically significant comparing to the rest of Keralan community

    The argument that specific Jewish DNAs are not reported in Southists yet should also be taken considering statistical principles. Comparing the population of Northists and Southists, how many Southists should be tested against a specific number of Northists to compare the results to show that this finding is statistically significant?

    I do not consider having Jewish or Brahmin DNAs is something great. The Christian churches are not ethnic groups, but they are groups with different traditions and rituals due to the experience of Christianity in a certain cultural milieu. ( Arch Bishop Joseph Powathil) Northists and Southists are same in this context. There were attempts by Nidheerickal Mani Kathanaar with the support of prominent Southist leaders to slowly amalgamate both Communities but that failed.

  292. Mary says

    Mr. Mathew,

    “Dempsey, Corinne. “Lessons in Miracles from Kerala, South India: Stories of Three “Christian” Saints.” History of Religions. 39.2 (1999): 150-176. Print.”

    This was my first time reading Dempsey. I agree with your take on her work. This particular essay is not scholarly or well researched, mainly because it is composed of reports from common people around Kerala. It reads like a journal. I didn’t pay attention to the essay on the whole, but when I saw the picture of the menorah in the church, it caught my attention; and yes, it is a menorah. Of course, this doesn’t mean anything and I’m sorry I didn’t specify that in my previous post. The menorah in a church setting was just odd and somewhat hilarious because it looked so out of place, and I thought I’d share. I guess I’ll stop sharing such oddities from now on. I’ll spare you from my odd sense of humor Mr. Mathew.

    “’I’ve seen the paper of Swiderski. I was hoping there were more reports of this.”

    Swiderski did write a book on the Knanaya community. It’s called The Blood Weddings: The Knanaya of Kerala. I’m sure you’ve come across it by now.

    “May I ask what sort of research you’re doing in Kerala?”

    Sure. As I mentioned earlier, I am interested in the history of the Black Jewish community and their relationship with the neighboring Nazranee community. In other words, the relationship between the Jews and Christians in Kerala. So this is my focus and area of concentration. I am not so much interested in their present relationship quite obviously; it’s the past I’m concerned about.

    This is not outside my usual research because I study the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in Europe. The smooth coexistence of Jews and Christians in Kerala fascinates me. I am hoping to come across some historic conflicts between the two communities; and if there weren’t any major conflicts, then I would be interested in exploring the cause of the peaceful relationship between them. It’s like you said, Syriac Christians and Jews did not have a peaceful history in the Middle East, so I wonder why Kerala should be any different.

  293. John Mathew says


    I’m personally very interested in the Black Jews, particularly because so little (of worth) has been written about them.

    Regarding the “peaceful” coexistance in the past, however, I wouldn’t say it was all cozy. What I have read from third party observations of the Jews and Christians of Kerala (i.e., reports from the European Catholic missionaries of the 12th – 16th centuries) indicates that the Jews and Christians did fight each other on occasion.

    One writer (I forget who, but it should be easy to figure out who since there are not that many writers from that era) wrote that the Jews and the Christians have frequent battles, which the Christians usually one. In the Jornada of Menezes (the latest account, 16th C), you’ll read some detailed accounts of some fights that broke out between the two.

    One may claim that the anti-Semiticism of the Portuguese may have had something to do with the latter fights — but the earlier accounts seem to indicate that perhaps there were some native reasons for the conflict as well.

    Certainly if you inspect the East Syriac liturgy (and the West as well), you’ll find harsh criticism of the Jews as the “nation of the crucifiers.”

  294. Mary says

    Mr. Mathew,

    “What I have read from third party observations of the Jews and Christians of Kerala (i.e., reports from the European Catholic missionaries of the 12th – 16th centuries) indicates that the Jews and Christians did fight each other on occasion.”

    I’m sorry to be such a bother but can you possibly locate those accounts, by any chance? I just need the title of the work and the author. Thanks.

  295. John Mathew says


    There were two references.

    When I came across the first, I wasn’t looking for it and so did not pursue the matter. What I do remember is I think I was searching for info on the Jews of Kollam (Quilon), and the reference was quoting from one of the early European monks who came to Malabar (e.g., Jordanus, John of Florence, etc.). It was definitely pre-16th century, and talked about how the two tend to fight each other.

    The second reference was the Jornada of Archbp. Menesis. You can get this from the Liturgical Research Center of the SyroMalabar Church in Cochin. The admin of NSC has posted an excellent article on this book on this site.

    Regarding your research. I don’t know if you intend to pursue the Southist-as-Black-Jew angle, but if so, it might be worthwhile to check out the oldest Southist parishes (Kadurthuruthy, etc.) for evidence of this. From my understanding of things, it seems the Jews and Southists likely fled the north in the 15th/16th, and came down to Cochin and Kottayam. So perhaps the schism of the Southists from the Jews starts there?

    As well, I hope you do find something interesting about the Jews of Kollam, since it seems the oldest evidence (i.e., non-oral tradition) of Jews in Kerala would be the copper plates of “Tarisapalli” in which there are Hebrew signatures. These would be far older than the next piece of evidence of Judaism in Kerala which are the 12th c cemeteries NE of Cochin.

    Good luck — if I find better refs I’ll share. Otherwise, if any publications come out of your research please share the citations here.

  296. Alphy says

    I came across below article about Christianity in Arbela. from

    Christianity in Arbela

    “Arbela was an early center of Assyrian Christianity. By AD 100 there was a bishop seated in the city. Most of the early bishops had Jewish names, suggesting that most of the early Christians in this city were converts from Judaism.[4] The conversions worked both ways, with some early Assyrian Pagans and Christians converting to Judaism then back again.

    The queen of Adiabene (which was a Neo Assyrian kingdom) adopted Judaism, however the majority population were ethnic Assyrians who began to adopt Christianity from the 1st Century AD, and the area became a Christian stronghold. It served as the seat of a Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East.

    From its Christian period come many church fathers and well-known authors in Syriac, the classical language off-shoot of Aramaic. The 13th century Syriac writer Gewargis Warda Arbillaya [from Arbil] identifies the Christian population of Arbil and neighboring areas as Assyrian in a prayer dedicated to the Rogation of the Ninevites.”

    My belief as I had mentioned before is that the Knanya were Persian christians (or a section of them who decided to remain endogamous) escaping persecution under Shapur II (ruler 309 to 379). From above we see that some of the persian christians were Jewish converts and some of them were not ethnic Jews to begin with. This could be knanaya link to Jews. Were the Persian Jewish christians endogamous? Did they intermarry with other persian christians who were assyrians?

    I also believe that this migration also brought over and entrenched the east syrian liturgy in kerala as most of these christians belonged to the Assyrian church of the east and continued contacts with the mother church.

  297. Genetist says

    It may be intresting for some of you, that Francis Ittykkora a fictional Nazrani created (2009) by T D Ramakrishnan is of Jewish orgin. I am glad that atleast some of the hindu writers, fictionist or non fictionist (MGS Narayanan) have no problem in accepting that the nucleus of present day Nazrani community arised out Jewishness. Only some vested interested Nazranies (who accidently made a fortune and tries hard to earn respect too) want to rewrite history so that they can also belong to elite Nazrani community , by hook or crook.

  298. Byju Michael says

    My maternal grand father is from the Knanaya stock of Kallissery ‘Parayil’ in Chengannur. His uncle and father accepted the Lord as their personal saviour and was baptised by ‘Kumbanat Mammen’ (who incidentally had brought them to the saving knowledge) on the banks of the river there. People gathered on both sides of the river it seems on the day of the baptism expecting trouble from the Knanaya community who had vowed to disrupt the baptism service and the ceremony and to kill my great grand father and great uncle for betraying their community. Consequence of their missionary zeal, they were driven out of that place by the KNANAYA community and had to settle elsewhere.

    My Grand father very frankly told me that they were the offsprings of the union between Knai Thomman and the washerwoman and which is why the northies of the pure ‘Antioch” stock would not give their sons or daughters in marriage to them.

    Lord’s disciple St. Thomas came to Kerala because he was ‘chosen by lot’ by other disciples to seek out and preach the gospel to the Jewish in India as part of an erroneously held theological conviction by the Lord’s disciples that gospel that the word of God was to be praeched only to the Jewish. Since the knowledge of the existence of the Jewish community in Cochin present from King Solomon’s time was common knowledge in Antioch it was natural that Thomas would come to Kerala in 52 AD via what is now known as Pakistan and then Knai Thomman would follow with his entourage later in 345 AD when persecuted. Knai Thomman came with a small party firts and went back to Antioch (with an intention) to bring with him bishops, deacons and 72 families, (money and manpower) and took over the humble christian assemblies planted by St. Thomas and made them into churches.

    With that kind of mind set imported, is it not natural that the divisions flourish and debates continue even as of today..

  299. Byju Michael says

    Knai Thommaen was obviuosly not a good man in the sense that he was not a true believer of teh teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. Being a Christian he had an illicit affair with a washerwoman. He had become a nominal Christian. He called himself Christian yet he was holding on to Jewish heritage and would not give up the ‘Old Law’ and Mosaic customs like many of Lord’s disciples and others which itself was a cause of schism between Paul and other apostles. Paul opposed Peter in the face when he started endorsing James’s (Lord’s brother) view that early christians had to be circumcised in order to become true christians. Paul empasised in his teachings taht chritians are under a new law as the old law had paased away with the sacrifice of Lord Jesus Christ on teh cross of Calvary.

    Knai Thommen was a merchant and his building of ‘Seven and half’ churches with his money had nothing to do with missionary zeal and the advancement of the Christ’s gospel. It was only to show the local already available christians who were true believers (converted by St. Thomas) his muscle and money power and then try to subdue them with the ‘imported’ teachings to them. The original believers simply had to move away and gather elsewhere because of the imported teachings that Knai Thommen was trying to Impose on them through the new churches built by him. His people got a taste of his own medicine later when teh Portugese held a Synod at ‘Udayamperoor’ in the15th century with the help of teh King of Cochin and forced all christians in Kerala to follow the Pope!!

    Lord’s disciple Thomas planted assemblies which were founded on the teaching of Lord Jesus Christ in letter and in spirit. They were humble gathering usually held at homes of believers. This was the practice in the apostolic tradition of early christianity in Antioch and in Jerusalem. Churches came later and imposing church buildings ensued. The face of Christianity was changing also in Antioch which had become the centre of Chritianity since th fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

    In the 1st Century itself in Antioch the converted Jewish Christians were facing persecution by the Romans probabl;y instigated by the ‘Other Jewish’ and moved away to Hedessah which was part of the Persian/Babylonian empire and is now in Iraq. Jewish Christians later had to flee Hedessah when Catholic percecution widened and affcted them and probably around the same time Knai Thommen informed them of that faraway land called ‘Muziris’ where Jewish had been settling in peace from King Solomon’s times and which now also had a settlement of Jews and locals converted to Christioanity by Lord’s own disciple St. Thomas.

    Their route to Kerala was the well traveresed ancient route along the river Tigris/Euphrates reaching what is now the area of Kuwait/river mouth of ‘Shaat al Arab’ to the Arabian Gulf and the Ahwaz side of Pesia where historically Jewish people were treated good for centuries, along waht is now Pakistan, supping and rejoicing with the believers converted by St. Thomas there, probably also stopping by in What is now Gujrat and seeing christians there, then to Kerala.

    What they did after reaching Kerala in anybody’s guess.

    True: Knai Thommaen had an illicit affair with a washerwoman.
    True: The offsprings were ill treated and held as slaves by teh so called true sons of Knai Thommen.
    True: They were called brown Jews????? ( I am not sure but I believe this is the only probablity)

    Later came more Jewish Christian converts to Kerala to settle. Chaldea Syrians are Jewish Christians and came from Persia but their stock is Jewish.

    The real Jewish ‘Jewish’ migrated to Kerala from Spain fleeing from Inquisition and from Baghdad and other places only after the 14th century. They were anyway European and of mid Esatern pure stock and kept themselves pure throughout and had settled in Chendamangalam and also ‘Saudi’ in Fort Cochin (before it became Fort Cochin while it was still with Chendamangalam Paliyam). When Fort Cochin area was given to teh Portugese by the Paliath Achan they persecuted the Jewish living in Saudi and all of them ran to the mattancherry palace of teh King of Cochin looking for shelter and they were given a place to stay in and around the old palace area. (The Dutch later built teh mattancherry palace for teh King of Cochin). They also built a Synagogue there and this in my knowledge never ever entertained brown Jews to come and worshup there.

  300. joseph says

    as far as i am concerned their is a clear distinction between Knanaya people and Syro Malabar people. i can not explain this distinction but i have seen it many times i have relatives that are members of both of these communities and i could always sense a difference in their behavior. i am a Knanite and i don’t completely understand my heritage. the rest of you have pointed out many holes in the commonly known southist theory. but what i don’t understand is that how can a group of people just out of nowhere adopt a culture that is not theirs. i think its a little far fetched to think that Knanaya people just made all this up to raise their status in society. but i am intrigued by John Mathews theory about knanaya people as a group of black Jews that converted to Christianity and chose to become endogamous. i am also intrigued by pothens theory of Knanites being a group of people from Tamil Nadu. but i would like to point out that their is NO evidence to back up these claims so that makes these theories just as invaluable and as the commonly known Knanaya theory

  301. John Mathew says


    The commonality between the Southist’s stories (Mar Joseph, some minor quasi-Jewish practices, references to them seeming to start in the 15th-16th century and not before) and those of the Black Jews (Joseph Rabban, bonafide Jewish origins, a schism in the 15th-16th century causing a split in the community, respectively) constitute far more substantial foundations for a theory than the absolute lack of evidence that the modern day “Knanaya” movement uses (e.g., origins as Jewish Zealots, or Babylonian Jewish refugees, or South Kingdom refugees, or people who are simultaneously Jews and Syriac Christians in the *4th* century: a paradox because the latter was, like the Greeks and Romans, unfriendly to Judaism in the 4th century).

    Just pointing out that my hypothesis has far more substance than the myths propagated by both Southists and anti-Southists on the topic of Southist history. There’s a nice German thesis which outlines the origins of the modern Knanaya theory as coming from a 20th century Jacobite bishop who desired to create an identity for his community. (Why? Perhaps because the Knanaya/Southists had no defined coherent history prior to that, with all the historical pretenders creating a confusing array of silly myths and counter myths).

  302. John Mathew says


    Also: “but what i don’t understand is that how can a group of people just out of nowhere adopt a culture that is not theirs.”

    This happens quite a bit. Look at NRIs in North America. Look at Jews and Christians in the Middle East that converted to Islam, and who now engage in honor killings. Look at our own ancestors, some of whom came from West Asia, yet who all now are decidedly Malayali in culture. For example, in the Puthenkoor community, you can look at St Gregorios: his recent ancestors were from TurAbdin. Yet, if you look at his family (who exist to this day) you couldn’t tell. Or the Mar Thomites have a “bishop”, Yukhakim, who has more recent Syriac ancestry with no trace of it in his culture.

    Or look at how the two brother communities, the Syro Malabar and the Syriac Orthodox, diverged, purely due to doctrinal affiliations. They are one people, yet culturally they have unique traits. Ditto for the Mar Thomites/CSIs and the Orthodox. Or the Rite and the Orthodox. All of these are examples of the same people who, due to doctrinal affiliation, came into contact with different cultures and thus absorbed some of that influence and created distinct societies.

    Not that this proves anything. I’m just showing that it is very easy for a people of one “culture” to adopt a new one very quickly due to various reasons. On a personal level: when I was studying Syriac, I became a huge fan of Syriac and Syria culture, and overrode my previous “Malankara” culture with Syriacisms that none of my ancestors even possessed. It was quite ridiculous, and I finally snapped out of it when I took stock and realized that Syriac culture is essentially a dead culture that killed itself, while Indian culture continues.

    When people get ideas into their head, they get sufficient will power to attempt absurd changes. But on the topic of the Southists, I don’t believe they’re faking Jewishness. What I do think is that they are Black Jews who converted in the 15th/16th century, who unfortunately have rewritten their story in recent years. The truth may be far more interesting than the myths…

  303. joseph says

    pardon me for being a little behind on knanaya history but can one of u clarify if the copper plates said to have been granted to knai thomman by cheramar perumal have ever been retained and examined.

    it would also be greatly apreciated if one of you could clarify about the genetic testing done on knanaites and non knanaites because it seems like their was a discrepancy about where the L3 marker is found.

    and another thing i was wondering is that if knanites are black Jews that converted to Christianity in the 15th/16th centuries then why did Portuguese missionaries and other foreign observers notice a division amongst the native Christians. if the st. Thomas Christians openly accepted converts and intermarried with them than why was their a rivalry between the black Jews and the northists?

  304. rl says

    i may say some thing i recently come to know that let me say i m outsider not belong to any of those syrian chruch. and what the knanayas and the orthodox are from one of the west asians but knanayas say we are not mixed but othodox say we are patrneally westasisn which the church belong to and we either married locally or orthodox collected their convert in those syrian church. i m thinking that the early ancient nasranis who can be jewish, brahimns or non syrian but persians may not belong to syrian church, because st thomas also evengalised Umera in persia and conversion story in kerala and umera is similar.. so they might have been had different form of christianity early said there had been some nestorians adopted lot of hindu styles and even had hindu syle of worship. but at the same time sabbath and pessiah seems to celebrate. i dont think that we can give knanaya an external jewish ancestroy other than they very much saying their inspriation of mar ignious saka of anthiochian
    .so they could be a semitic people just close to israel but once they got in malabar turned out become jewish. still early nasranis might have joined may be csi, evenglical vervad, ,marthomites or roman catholic that they did not seems to become part of syrian chruch even after coonon kurshu sathyam. but the things is these syrian orthodox familes daughter could married to nasranis hence they could be some suryanism in the mother side and many could cofused regarding this matter, instead patrneal side is valid.

  305. Jacob John says

    Rivalry between the Black Jews and the Northist’s? Where did you pick this information up? Kindly explain.

  306. joseph says

    i was talking about how the Portuguese recorded a division amongst the local christians and that their was a violent rivalry between the two parties so we can assume that they were the southists and the northists. so if john mathews theory that southists are converted black jews then why would a group of non endogamous christians( black jews ) that became endogamouse have a rivalry with a non endogamouse group of christians.

  307. John Mathew says

    Interesting question, but not difficult to address. Why does a heterogeneous population of racially and culturally mixed people (us Indians) become so averse to race mixing when we emigrate? I don’t know, but the phenomena obviously exists. Perhaps the black jews converted for political reasons, but wanted to remain separate. Or perhaps the existing christians didn’t want to accept the newcomers: nasranis don’t seem to like converts very much even to this day (despite all this endogamy/nonendogamy talk, both groups are basically endomagous, not mixing with each other).

  308. rl says

    I am not refusing the above comment but i am just saying what i knew. So my the knanites in Ranny which i directly heard from them they are the community inspired by anthiochean. or their whispering talks like we came from syria.

    They really seems to be proud of jacobites sects that they are the ones are orginal or rest of their groups are intemarried as different sections of orthodox or jacobites or others are brahimns.
    regarding black jews what my opnion was that these community could not even accepted any dravidianism even if they community obviously showing that presence.

    It like what i observed as that there are some people are white or syrian looks or their skin types really seems that they may came from syria.

    Such few type only qualify to me that they are little different from the so called community called knanaya.Majority ot people featured among the communities same as ordinary malayaless and they culture, behaiviour, life syles does not even qulitfy to them that they are syrians.

    but if we observe they r people as a whole nasranis has surprising features of a non indian skin tone or they hair and features can be seen which seems to me are west asians.

    I dont think that nasani identity is just the people who are belong to syrain church or just having suryanism. Even pentacoastal pastor can be a nasrani and he knows his identiy through his biblical passions.
    I have seen that and they are not belong to none of the knanaya community. and they dont have any clue about knanayas. Or none of them dont even worry about these community at all.

    There was an event even notted that a little argument the soutish people like in the other side of the river pumba and the northist lived in the other side
    But once i remember there was an rss problem arised regarding nilikcal problem both knanites and nasranis stood up. so for me things are really clear to me without expecting an answer from someone. but i thought i just want to speak out a littlebit.

  309. rl says

    Other than that one evangalical church family i know they are my aunts neighbors
    They are the ones i ve seen that they had worst non indian features.
    They been leading a very normal life that they used to have cows or they used to help neighboring house for their living which the time i knew them in early days
    now their son and daughter grew up get married to and their sons went aboard.
    now their parent re in their home and one of their youger daughter and their grand father litterly had blound hair and all of them have a fair skin really seems a non indian skin tone.
    How do we define these kind of phenomen. we goin to become really a failure if a community stood up and tried to define their stories.

  310. joseph says

    today i was reading a book called knanite history heritage and culture it was written by a priest of the kottayam diocess so it may not be the most reliable source but in the book it claims that ancient knanaya songs and ancient cochin jews songs are strikingly similar can sombody who is familiar with the the cochin jews and their history confirm this

  311. Jacob John says

    If the priest is still around, he may be contacted and asked for more information. For the present, you can share the page in the book with us. The scholastic level of the priest is important to establish. Good old John Mathew sar can help in this.

  312. Kurian Zachariah says

    I refer the following passage to all from the book “History of Syrian Church of India by Ignatius Yacoub III
    (Patriarch of Antioch) translated by Matti Moosa. This book covers the history of Syrian Church of India from its founding by apastle Thomas in 52A.D until the first half of twentieth century. “that the church was subject to the Sea of Antioch is evidenced by emigration in 345 A.D of seventytwo Syrian families of Edessa (Al-Ruha) to Malabar. They came to be known as Canaanites——–“. The endogomy practiced by Kananites from time immemmorial whether it is good or bad is circumstancial evidence for the existence of the community and it is not a myth.

  313. rl says

    i was puzzled to think that if antiochean representing group of community may be called knanites were in here since 3rd century, then these west syric rites been in malabar since that time.
    Who are really the representatives of west syric of antoiochians are jacobites and these churches seems to orginated in recent centuries.
    if knanites are that much sure about their endogamy, then i am not sure about their feautres that i am not arguing for that but i m learning what are the real facts
    there can be a chances of persian nestorians before that and st thomas also evangalize perisan and these stories are matches each other. so oral information regarding chuches had ancient persian contact seems true.
    see we need to really work out the difference between what knanyas and jacobites.
    These in conflict between orthodox and jacoties sort of sense that we came from the recent antiochian tradtion . so we still accept antiochan bishop and administration.
    otherwise knanayas should be an ancient community has totally a different jewish community converted to christianity. but from my neighboring knanyas from my hometown i grew up only reflecting recent jacobites connectin to antiochean.
    or knanaya story itself is a true story not related to jacoties instead early percuted syrian palastinean aramic chrisian fled to malabar and joined the chrisians.
    or these stoies hijacked to certain manipulated communites.
    or what proves that the nasrani communities become persecuted by portughese and lost document. or if so called knanaites had their history then what more explanations regarding this?
    i did not even want to get in to topic of middleastern syrian looks on many nasrani families.

  314. John Mathew says

    The endogomy of the Southists is obviously not a myth.

    What is a myth are the copious theories concerning the origin of the Southists in which they are portrayed as Jews from Edessa who arrived in the 4th century but also simultaneously members of the Syriac Orthodox and/or Nestorian Churches. This makes no sense at all.

    Patriarch Jacob was hardly a scholar of history; he simply repeats the mainstream myth around in kerala at that time. I’m sure the Syro-Malabar Southists would take exception to the identification of the Southists as being subject to the Jacobite sea. Their story would be that the Southists were subject to the Nestorian Church.

    When did the “Knanaya” identity start anyways? Sometime in the 20th century.

  315. Kurian Zachariah says

    Names undergo changes. The names of Indian states have undergone changes and so also have names of countries, religions and communities. History many times are based on word of mouth passed on from generation to generations and not on documentary proofs and belief.
    It is not that one fine morning a group of people sat together and plotted that we wiill form a separate community and make a story of our orgin and that became a reality from time immemmorial. Highly unimaginable. For what benefit they get out of it. ?


  316. John Mathew says

    Highly unimaginable, eh? There’s an entire Ph.D. thesis on this topic. Specifically, it discusses the reinvention of the Southist identity that occurred during the 20th century. One of the major bishops involved with this, Severios, is even quoted in it: his aims were clearly spelled out *by himself*. He wanted to boost the community from being a people with a past to one with a “glorious” past. He says this explicitly. I’ve mentioned this thesis before, as have others, on this forum. Patriarch Jacob was a contemporary of this bishop Severios, and likely was just parroting with Severios fed him. For we all know that the Jacobites have zero documented connection with Malabar prior to the 17th century.

    If you look at what we know of Southist history, their origins were never quite clearly known. All we know is that they kept separate form the Northists. All this stuff about being Canaanites or Southern Kingdom Jews or Babylonian Jews is modern fiction, which I think is based on a kernel of truth: the Southists were, very likely, descendants of Jews who had settled in India a long time ago. For some reason, they left Judaism (perhaps Islamic persecution against the smaller Jewish community pushed them towards an alliance with the numerically superior Christians?). But this bunk about coming with “Mor/Mar Joseph of Edessa” is nothing more than pure retroactive history writing to give them some credibility as Christians—after all, how would they get separate dioceses and metropolitanates if they were merely Jewish converts to Christianity? No, they needed to take their story back to the old days and claim to be some sort of hybrid Jew/Christian mix with simultaneous connection to (1) ancient Jews of Israel (2) the Nestorians and (3) the Jacobites. It’s absurd, because no self-respecting Nestorian or Jacobite would call themselves a Jew — ancient Syriac Christianity is pretty anti-Semitic (at least towards Jews who remained Jews after Christ came — you can read about this), just as anti-Semitic as Roman or Greek Christianity.

    History is being re-written constantly. Recently a Southist was claiming that a parallel arch-deaconate existed in Malabar, one for the Southists and one for the Northists. This is an obvious fabrication to counter the uncomfortable reality that the highest position in Malabar were occupied by Northists. If the Southists had an arch-deaconate, then why did Itty Thoma Kathanar help the Northist Mar Thoma? Why didn’t he assist his own archdeacon? Because said rival arch deacon did not exist.

    Anyways, people reinvent themselves all the time. Entire cultures reinvent themselves. Look at all of recent claimants to Judaism from Africa and India. Some of them may have Jewish roots; many of them are frauds, as determined by Jewish scholars in Israel.

    If one doesn’t have a history; re-writing it is very easy and profitable. Just look at the Northists with their stories of St Thomas converting 7 families. We can barely see clearly past the 13th century, have only artifacts of the 8th, and faint echoes from the 5th … yet people still claim as incontrovertible fact that St Thomas came to Kerala and converted 7 specific families. I’d like to believe it, but it has no solid basis. Our (i.e., the Northists) ancestors were likely Persian immigrants who intermarried with Indians as (1) evidenced by Cosmas, (2) evidenced by our oldest inscriptions which are in Pahlavi, (3) evidenced by old families in Kollam who still recall their migration from Persia. Yet know one will say that; no, they’d rather predate their family to some mythical Brahmin convert by St Thomas than to their true fathers, who were ordinary, hardworking people who fled Zoroastrian and later Islamic persecution in Iran.

  317. rl says

    Dear Zachariah you don’t have to that extent to justify something.
    how can someone succeed in plotting stories. it never going to work and knanaites going to be knanites and nasranis going to nasranis for ever.
    this is just an opportunity and I accidentally get in to this site and interested to spend time on.
    this is only the place what my opinion and others also can put their thoughts or experiences.
    none of the above thoughts are not written as a clear history to someone to believe. many are try to communicate the logic in it.
    If Zachariah has opinions or logic information to communicate to us the please do it so. and would welcome 100% to accept it.
    How come knanaites seems to aggressively try to define nasrani history while there is lot of things need to consider who they are. For ex Nasrani are low born, Hindus pagan and southist are exempt from it and they are superior to others.
    How can we give up the fact that early Jewish converts to nasranis, About the a Syrian Palestinian Aramaic Christians , Perisian Nestorians influences , Armenian immigration to Malabar, what about the clear evident mass immigration of 9 th century immigration to Malabar. so these are among the crowd.
    Nasranis seems to celebrate pessaih not adopted from any other community.. it just the matter that none of the nasranis do not care about these subjects.
    If such s mass conversion of Brahmins or Hindus converted it would have been reflected many ways and it should not become a hidden history hard to define.
    Or if such population converted why they have to married locally or having Dravidian influences.
    So not all the brahimn stories can be true, I believe it more like perisan influences just matches up with brahimn in many case yet some brahimn famiies are converted.
    Many Brahmin origin history book are just traditionally unique and many elders just say its written as it is but many elders I knew are not sure about it.
    We know that how Kerala is culturally sharp and how this Brahmin in the ancient time easily jump in to meat dishes and I may say about alcohol.
    still regardless of nasranis true identify the sense of suryanism is so evident in the community. and I am thinking that could be the Syrian influences spread inside the nasani community?
    Again I felt that true identify of Syrians was that they seems to mix with converts and these woman would have married in to converted families and these Christian blood spreaded out and turned out become one. And there is no discrimination thoughts regarding this. For example, some suryanis are now mixed with Latin and basically Syrian are now began to flow in Latin communities too.
    In case of true nasrani families, I believe a point seems to true that does not matter nasrnais take woman in their families that fathers side does not going to change. And any woman came in to their families and the son and daughter are belong to that particular community only.
    If my opinion annoyed to southist then think if their fathers are from west Asia then it not going to change and yes they have the heritage from west Asia nobody cannot change it anyway and
    I believe that what nasrani community stand for.
    I knew an oral history Ethiopian Jews taken wife from Brahmin families.
    Or maybe today knanites can be Syrians later on some group began to stick together and become a community. but there is nothing wrong with people want to take a look or speak out some non logical facts in it.

  318. Joseph says

    does anybody here know about any DNA tests done on cochin jews or chitpavam brahmins of maharashtra?

  319. Kurian Zachariah says

    The central dogma of christiandom in India is the following:
    That St.Thomas the appostle arrived in Malabar coast to propogate the teachings of Christ. That some locals including Brahmins followed him and converted to christian belief. After a long spell of 3 centuries Thomas of Cana from edessa with 72 families arrived Crangannore. This Syrian Immigration is the beginning of Syrian rites and Jacob’s Thaksa which is followed by the Present day Syrian Christians of Jacobite and Catholicose factions and to some extent Marthomites. That the Portugese came in the 16th century and succeeded in converting a large section of these christians to Roman Cathotholic faith. That Protestant missionaries in large numbers came to India during the British rule and lured people to protestanism. Then came the penticostal churches and established roots in several parts of the country.
    If the above central dogma is not accepted it would be a futile exercise to discuss further regarding the exact years, composition of people, geographical origins of immigrants etc,etc.
    Shyness of accepting this central dogma has resulted in rhetoric outbursts of a low quality in respect of human immigration which happened in the history of christiandom in India.
    Pariarch Yacoub III of Antioch may not be a scholar of History. But he is a scholar of history of the church which he heads. His account of the history of the church which he heads is more authentic than the several portugese historians who have biased and distorted history for obvious reasons.

    Kurian Zachariah

  320. Kezhakken says


    I am not sure whether you have gone through the discussion on this forum about the DNA results of the Southists. There might have been a migration of Christians from Persia (or wherever) under the leadership of Thomas (of Cana or wherever). But the people who call themselves Knanaya these days cannot be the descendents of immigrants.
    1) Maternal ancestry of all the (Knanaya) results known so far is purely Indian (Haplogroup M). How can a community of immigrants, who later on have been practicing maniacal endogamy end up with pure Indian mtDNA?
    2) Paternal ancestry is also entirely Indian (L and J2b?). Some are most probably similar to that of Tamil results.
    You can repeat the fabricated storyline a million times. You can brainwash your progeny at will. You can claim that all Southists are snow-white and have red (or purple) hair. But in reality, these elaborate acts of pretense will not get you anywhere. Scientific evidence is against you.


  321. John Mathew says


    The accepted dogma which you report is *only* accepted by a minority of the most fanatical Puthenkoor, that is, those who follow the West Syriac rite in India. And even among the Puthenkoor a large minority of scholarly ones already understand and accept that we were Nestorians before the Portuguese arrived.

    A minority of the more fanatical Syriac/Malankara Orthodox members try to claim that the connection with the Nestorians was some how a temporary occurrence and that we were Jacobites (using the liturgy of Saint James) before that. This of course has zero evidence. All evidence starting from the earliest reports of Christians in malabar (Cosmas) to the latest reports in the 15th century point to a non-Jacobite Nestorian origin. The Jacobites were hardly a significant population east of Iraq. The Nestorians were a huge Church from Cyprus to China, and included India.

    Even among Southists your dogma is not accepted. The Syro-Malabar Southists believe Thomas of Cana came from Edessa as a representative of the East Syriac patriarch! Now, what does that tell you? Jacobites claim Thoma d-Cana was a Jacobite, Catholic ones claim he was a Nestorian. Obviously *no* one knows who he was.

    Finally, Thomas of Cana was believed by the Northists to be their father, and that the Southists were nothing but the offspring of Thomas of Cana and a slave/servant of his. So even this is a contentious matter.

    (What I think is that the Southists have no connection to Thomas of Cana. The Southists were, in my theory, Black Jews, who separated from the Black Jew community and joined the Christians. [Perhaps they were “Brown Jews” fed up with being treated as second class citizens by the Black Jews; perhaps this is why the Southists lack the J2 haplogroup?] But when they joined the Christians they maintained some echoes of their past:
    a) they remember their father Rabban Joseph, but Christianized his memory as Mor/Mar Joseph of Edessa
    b) they maintained their “genetic purity” by not intermarrying with the Northists
    When they joined, they appropriated the memory of a Northist father, Thomas of Cana, and claimed Thoma as their father mixing him with Rabban Joseph.

    The theory that the Southists were Syriac Christians from ancient times is likely false; Syriac Christians intermarried copiously: they mixed with Greeks, Romans, Armenians and Georgians in the West, Copts and Ethiopians in the South, and Persians in the East. It is *highly* unlikely and out of character that they would come to India and maintain a segregated lifestyle. But the Southists may have been Black or Brown Jews; that would explain the endogamy thing very well.)

    Regarding Patr Jacob’s scholarship: I’m sorry to say this (because I’m a member of the same Church) but the Syriac Orthodox Church has only produced a handful of proper scholars in the last century: Aprem Barsoum, Philoxenus Dolabani and Julius Cicek; Patr Jacob was no scholar. And those were mainly scholars of Syriac, not history. Patr Jacob was in no position to comment on matters of Kerala Christian history prior to the arrival of Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, since there is no record of Kerala in the Syriac Orthodox Church prior to that. Patr Jacob was a scholar that managed to preserve much of the Beth Gazzo, but he was not a historian. I learned Syriac so that I could try to uncover West Syriac sources that talk about Malabar. There’s nothing; I invite you to learn Syriac to reproduce this effort. You’ll be enlightened and someone (initially) disappointed to learn that, yes, we were really Nestorians.

    “His account of the history of the church which he heads is more authentic than the several portugese historians who have biased and distorted history for obvious reasons.”

    Not really. Almost every one who writes about Malabar history is biased; everyone has an angle and it seems that no one is able to present an objective survey of our history, other than secular scholars. Brock and Perczel have written quite a bit of useful stuff on our history; if you want to speak from fact rather than dogma you’d be well-advised to do some reading of what they say. If you want to claim that they are biased, I’d note that Brock received a commendation from the Patriarch of Antioch, so he’s not an anti-Syriac Orthodox writer.

    Dogma is rarely useful in obtaining a scientific understand of history (or anything for that matter).

  322. Joseph says

    i though the L3 DNA in knanayas was from Pakistan? and how many mt DNA tests of knanayas are their?

  323. Sujith Philipose says

    Wow! you’ve got some good theories John

  324. rl says

    Regarding Black jews, this is could be the reason as i heard from the the adminstrator of syrian chrisitian dna project that cochin jews as malayalee jews are matching with knanayas as L haplogroup.
    But they were trying to see it matches people with lebanon. and they found one like that as administratror said.

    Pretty much all the middleastern makers are all some kind of J halpogroup, and People in Israel showing J2s and other whole lot of middleastern populations are J1 or many J catogerios.

    Another facts is that i know Mr Ambooken who personally have close relations with the jews who lived in Mala, says many jews also joined nasranis by simply married to nasrani families or hindus and become christians..
    He said Jews did not have any choice over centuries and many converted and joined to christians.
    And he also mentioned as a seperate fact to me that some black jews from cochin are now with knanaya christians.
    recently i heard from close related elder said that yehudha women married to nasrani families too.
    and many elders saying that Thomas of cana is the primary father of nasranis and Thomas of cana to southist is from someother reationship and southist are not good at listening these matters.

  325. Kurian Zachariah says

    Nestorianism started after the Council of Ephesus in 432 A.D where as Thomas of Kana and 72 families came to Malabar in 340 A.D. Therefore, the statement that thomas of Kana and his goup were Nestorians are far from truth.
    I squarely blame the Knananites themselves (at least some of them) who have the habbit of boasting about the purity of blood, Jewis blood etc.etc. This might have excited others and incurred all the funny names they have been called and this need to be ignored as they are out of the main line of discussion.
    In my previous post, I have mentioned the central dogma of christiandom in India and the four landmarks on of them being the Syrian immigration under the leadership of Thomas of Kana. No feedback have been received except some baseless theories about Kananites. There seem to be a confusion among these posters. In one place it is stated that Knanaya is a fabrication. In another place it is stated that the knanites are the descendents from slaves of Thomas of Kana. Remember that Thomas of Kana has come with 72 families and not alone. I am positive that the immediate feed back I am going to get is that this 72 family is a fabrication. This is not going to take us anywhere. This type of incongruities will arise if the central dogma mentioned in my previous post is not accepted.

    Kurian Zachariah

  326. Aji Mathew says

    John Mathew,
    You did a good job! Your observations are right. The present escavations too say the theories you have observed. Recently I came to know that there are some hints regarding the early Chrisitians in “Hortus Malabaricus’. I don’t have a copy of it. There were Jews and Jewish colony in Kerala even at the time of King Solomon. The Alabaster Box that is broken by Mary at the feet of Jesus was from Kerala. On the day of Pentecost there were people from Kerala. They came back and spread the gospel in Kerala. For hundreds of years there were Christian fellowships without any heirarchy as like the churches in the first century in Kerala. Pantaneus and Cosmos also testified the presence of Christians in Kerala. I pray and hope that let the truth be revealed in the coming days. Let Christ alone be glorified.

    Aji Mathew

  327. John Mathew says


    Okay, yes, there were no Nestorians back then, and by the same token there were no Jacobites back then either (the Jacobites were only organized after the Nestorians). I was sloppy in my use of Nestorian — I should have said “Syriac Church”.

    Note: the Church of Antioch (the ancestor of the Jacobites) was *Greek* back in those days, so the term Syriac Church refers to the Church that eventually became the Church of the East (i.e., the Nestorians, not the Jacobites). When the Jacobite Church formed, they split from the Greek Church and incorporated some of the Syriac Church’s literature to form a Syriac version of the Greek Church, which continues to this day as the Syriac Orthodox Church. (That is, the Jacobite Church was the 5th century version of the Malankara Orthodox Church: the latter split from the Syriacs to form a new Indian identity, the former split from the Greeks to form a new Syriac identity). The point is: Thomas of Kana is attributed by different groups to have been deputed to India by different patriarchs — this is hardly a good sign! This means no one really knows about Thomas of Cana.

    Now, back to your concept of the central dogma. The basic comment here: the timing of Thomas of Cana’s immigration to India is unknown. Some say the 4th century probably to align up with the persecution of Persian Christians back then, but there is no hard basis to the AD 340 date, and most of the historians who talk about this are more inclined to date the immigration to the 8th-11th century. You can read about this; real scholars have talked about this (in contrast to the unscholarly Indian polemicists and story writers who basically are an embarrassment).

    Go and look for sources with regards to the Thomas of Cana immigration. There are none. No plates, no nothing. There’s just some faint memory of it. (Contrast this to the immigration of Kollam Christians in the 10th century; there are still families who remember this. And there are copper plates that attest to this. And there are supposed graves of bishops who came from that era.)

    You can talk dogma; I’ll talk facts, and here they are:
    1. earliest uncontroversial references to Malabar Christians: Cosmas Indico. 5th century
    2. oldest Christian monument in Kerala: 8th century (?) Pahlavi crosses
    3. earliest pieces of evidence concerning immigrations: copper plates that concern the Kollam Christians who migrated to Kerala from Persia around the 10th century.

    There is nothing else. Everything else is dogma; fiction; myth; legend. Nothing else has any basis. You show me your dogma, I’ll show you other dogmas that contest it.

    Now, for the AD 340 thing, I think that was a bit of creative writing by the Syrian Christians in Kerala during the 19th and 20th centuries to give some meat to their sparse and largely nonexistent history. That’s the cold hard truth. And the same silliness gets repeated today as dogma. You may claim my theories as baseless; fine, but that is curious because I can cite things that are historically uncontroversial that can support my theory, while you can’t. Perhaps if you are really committed to understanding our history you’ll do some more reading from sources other than webpages and wikipedia. Perhaps you’ll consult some more authoritative scholarly sources, learn Syriac, and then come with some proper perspective on how much of Nasrani history is actually fiction dreamed for various reasons (I refer to both Southist and Northist myths).

  328. Joseph says

    The book i had mentioned earlier also talks about where Knanayas came from, the book states that Thomas of Cana did not come from Canaan but rather he came from Kynai which is a town located 70 kilometers south of Baghdad. Kynai, Ezra, Uruk (Uraha), and the country of Huz also known as Uz are all located in ancient Babylon(all these places are mentioned in ancient Knanaya folk songs) as opposed to some Knanaya stories that say that the Southist originate from the southern kingdom of Judah. In the 90’s Fr. Jacob Kollaparambil and Fr. Jacob Vellian traveled to these cities to find information regarding the Knanayas. the research team soon realized that their were no Knanayas or Jewish Christians in modern day Kynai or any of the other cities but in a nearby village they found a group of people called the Benimalek which translated means sons of the king(the book mentions how in the ancient Knanaya song Munnam Malankara the Knanayas are called rajamakel which means children of the king) the Benimalek say that according to oral traditions they hail from Kind David. they interviewed and elderly Benimalek man named Yousif Kakos who gave a description of his wedding in 1940. from the interview they found that the unique Knanaya wedding ceremonies(antham charth and mailanchi ideel) are also practiced by the Benimalek. this was very intrigueing to me so i just wanted to share but i would like to make it clear that i am not claiming that Knanaites are Benimalek.

    it would be very interesting if we could get some DNA tests done on these “Benimalek”

  329. rl says

    I have mentioned the central dogma of christiandom in India and the four landmarks on of them being the Syrian immigration under the leadership of Thomas of Kana from syric note given in pambady college an achen officially teach to the student.

    In the year 345 A.D Thomas of cana, an Edessan merchant, came to malabar with 472 families of Mesopotomain Christians. The king assigned to Thomas and his followers extensive lands near his Capital city and they settled down there. Unfortunately there arose a split among the colonists, 400 families standing as one party and the rest remaining sepereate. The group of the 400 famillies stettled in the northern street of the colony and the other group in the southern street Those who settled in the north were called Vadakkumbhagar and those in the south Thekkumbhagar.The Vadakkumbhagar carried on evangelization and added new christians to their community. The Thekkumbhagar did not evangelize any and remained a community distinct and isolated. The arrival of these colonists increased the prestige and strength of the malabar church. The racial admixture and social contact of the indian christians with the foreign race served to improve their quality and to better their political, social and economic status.

    This way of claim also refer in two books i read.I am not writing this to support the todays knanaya claim is correct since it has to do with nasrani based on this paragraph.Instead there might some syrian palestian persian or mesopotomian christians might have reached malabar and there were not ofcourse todays jacobites who brought west syriac taksa.

  330. Kurian Zachariah says

    The Central Dogma is the backbone of Christiandom in India. Orgin of Knanaya community seems to be one landmark in the Central Dogma which is the most disputed one. Unfortunately Knananites are unable to provide convincing documentary evidence to support their believed origin except circumstantial evidence.
    where as the Knanaties are united in their belief the rest are disunited in their opinion on Knananaites. This is understandable. One can certainly talk of the ancientness of this community by a visit of their churches such as the Kottayam Valiapally which has a history of almost 500 years. The church and thePersian cross with Pahlavi inscriptions is one the tourist map of Kottayam.
    Kurian zachariah

  331. John Mathew says


    There is absolutely no relationship between history (especially mythical pseudo-history) and Christianity. In India, our forefathers said the Nicene Creed, not some bogus historical fiction that you term the “Central Dogma” (by the way, try that Central Dogma on a Syro-Malabar Southist and we’ll see how far you get). The basis of Christianity are the principles of Christ, and the teachings of the fathers — not some foolish set of stories pieced together in the last 200 years to cover up the almost non-existent history of our community. If you can’t grasp this, you should try harder and actually study our history using real sources. Giving this historical fiction a capitalized title — Central Dogma, as you put it — doesn’t confer any authority. Most who’ve studied our history see that dogma as just another one of the many stories that popped up in the last 200 years to give various political factions some basis for their meaningless fights.

    And if you think Kottayam Valiyapally is an ancient Church, you’ve obviously not studied our history nor our Churches. Kottayam Valiapally is a young Church compared to the truly ancient ones in Malabar. It may be ancient for your community because your community is a recent one with historical references only *starting* at around the 15th century. But for the general Nasranis (the Northists) a 16th century Church is no ancient Church. Most of ours stem from the 8th to 10th centuries, with some claimants to the 6th (I’m not sure about the veracity of the early claimants, but the 8th to 10th century ones have some basis).

    The Pahlavi Cross at the Kottayam Valliyapally is the only one that your community possesses, and may be a late copy (certainly Burnell believed that) due to the Estrangelo inscription. All others (Pahlavi only) are in Northist Churches (Kadamattom, etc.), plus Goa, Ceylon and Mylapore. If the Pahlavi cross has any connection to your community (as opposed to it being a copy made by your ancestors when they became Christians), explain how Pahlavi — a Persian language — was used by Eddesan Syrian Christians? This makes no sense. Pahlavi was used by Northist /Nasrani ancestors — certainly all of our oldest historical documents (the sassanams of the Nasranis) bear witness to our partial origin in the Persian Empire. But your community, according to your Central Dogma, is supposed to come from Edessa, right? People from a Greek/Syriac city, using Pahlavi and waxing nostalgically about Nineveh?

  332. Anah Thomas says

    There are two contentious issues in the Central Dogma. One of them is the landing of Appostle Thomas in Malabar coast in A.D 52. This has been contested by Western church historians mainly Prof.Ray. The brilliant book “Indian Church of St.Thomas” written in English by the Indian auther E.M.Philip extesively covers this field. He concludes this book with a statement that unless otherwise proved St.Thomas works in India is a reality and not a myth.
    The second contentious issue is the Syrian Immigration of 72 families under the leadership of Thomas of Kana and the origin of the Knanaya community. To a Knananite discounting this as a silly story with all kinds of adjuctives will tantamount to a sacrilegious act if not blasphemic. Because Thomas of Cana is now declared as a saint and remembered in all Knanai churches during the holy mass. They have preserved this belief with sacred fervour which stood the test of time. Circumstantial evidence is key in arriving at conclusions more than books. The protagonsits of a theory will always question the competeness of authors who are opposed to their theory. Where as circumstantial evidences are right in front of you and you don’t need a hind eye to see it.
    Anah Thomas

  333. John Mathew says

    “They have preserved this belief with sacred fervour which stood the test of time.”

    If you consider one or two centuries to be the “test of time” then sure. This belief is hardly two centuries old, and has several permutations many of which are incompatible with each other. Mor Clemis Abraham did a good job of forging a single historical myth for the Jacobite Southists, but before him there were a plurality of stories on this matter.

  334. rl says

    Dear John Mathew,
    This video i am posting to watch and see the validity in it.
    Is it has any logical truth in it?

  335. Anah Thomas says

    I am impressed by the Central Dogma of Christiandom in India inuntiated by Kurian Zachariah. He has correctly stated that if this central dogma is not accepted, it would be futile to discuss further. All kinds of incongrous arguments will follow in such cases. For example, in one of the posts it is stated that the Knananite community has only 200 years history. True. that the name might have originated late. But the community existed before that. Kottayam Valiapally was built in the year 1550. Look at the year in which Angilimoottil Ittythommen Kathanar (Knanaya) gave leadership to Koonan Kurusu Pledge. These are all evidences in front of you and people should get figures right.
    I am convinced that The Central Dogma is the skeleton. This skeleton is to be filled with the right muscles to get the life of Christiandom in India. It should not be filled with biased and mutually discordant and perverse informations.
    Anah Thomas

  336. Sujith Philipose says

    On the video >>
    Good history lesson except for the :
    – Antiochean connection with Mar-Sabor & Afroth
    – Statement that “..we would always be under the Antiochean patriarch..” during the coonen cross revolt

  337. Philip Nellicheril says

    The video is a Jacobite Version with some bias linking what ever they can to the See of Antioch. These are some contradictions.

    1) 345 AD – that the Thomas of Cana is from Edessa and the Antioch connection. This version is the story we know from today’s knowledge as first recorded in 18th century . There were many stories which were recorded before that.
    2) 822 AD – that Mar Sabor and Mar Aphroth are from Antioch. I doubt if there are any records of any Antioch connection in this story. They were from the Persian Church with out any doubt.
    3) AD 1599- The notion that few Suriyani Christians joined Latin rite is wrong. There were no Churches which were outside the jurisdiction of latin rite bishops. Everyone was