Sunday, 30 May 2010


By.M Thomas Antony

St Hormiz Church, Angamaly Constructed by Mar Abraham, the last Chaldean Prelate who ruled the undivided St Thomas Christians as his headquarters.

The history of Christianity in Malabar has been well documented after the synod of Diamper. Much information giving light into the ancient period is available as copper plates, inscriptions on rocks, palm leaf documents, artefacts, and oral traditions. Many authors have tried to knit up the loose history from available documents and available oral traditions.

Until the time of the synod of Diamper, there was no evidence available to suggest any divisions among the Syrian Christians. The division after the Synod of Diamper- the Coonan Cross Oath - prompted division of the community and claim over different churches by both parties. After the division, the whole Nasrani community was divided into two groups, one continued to be loyal to the Roman Catholic Church keeping the East Syriac liturgy and traditions, called the “old party” or “Pazhayacoor” and the new party under the Archdeacon as “Puthencoor”. Both were using the same liturgy and traditions for some time, but later, the Puthencoor moved towards the Church of Antioch and adopted the West Syriac liturgy and traditions and thus made the name “Puthencoor” appropriate.
As the community was divided, the churches were also divided among them into two groups but there were a third group of churches remained to be shared between these two communities.

At the time of the Coonan Cross Oath, vast majority of people and churches remained loyal to the Arch Deacon. There are different accounts. “Out of the assumed 200,000 population, only 400 remained loyal to the Portuguese”. (1).Joseph Thekkedathu reports that “some of them speak of 200 laymen and 15-25 Cathanaars. Others say that there were about 1000 laymen and 15 Cathanaars. In any case, it is clear that they were but an insignificant minority” (2)

After the Coonan Cross oath, the Arch deacon was consecrated as a Metropolitan by twelve Cathanaars at Edappalli on 22 May, 1653. The available historical evidences show that this revolt was against Arch Bishop Garcia and the Portuguese authorities and not against the Roman Church or Pope of Rome. This is evident from the available documents regarding the declarations on the occasion and a letter sent to the Portuguese captain at Cochin. (3) (4)

Angamali Padiyola in 1787 reads “upon this, our forefathers assembled at Muttancherry and took an oath that neither they themselves nor their descendants, should ever have anything to do with the Paulists.”- (5)

A Church Mission Society report for 1818-19 states-“After this, all the Syrians assembled at Muttancherry, and thus resolved-These Portuguese having murdered mar Ignatius, we will no longer join them. We renounce them, and do not want either love or their favour. The present Francis Bishop shall not be our Governor. We are not his children or followers. We will not again acknowledge Portuguese bishops”.-(6)

The whole St Thomas Christians were in communion with the Pope of Rome through the Chaldean catholic church after the division in the Church of the East in 1552 and the arrival of Mar Joseph Sulaqa and Mar Elias in 1555. Since the arrival of Portuguese in 1498, the St Thomas Christians were in friendship with them and they were allowed to preach and celebrate mass in the Nasrani churches. Even the Portuguese missionaries established a seminary to train the St Thomas Chrisitians at Kodungalloor in 1541. It has to be noted that two Cathanaars of the St Thomas Christians travelled to Portugal with Portuguese General Cabral and one of them- “Joseph the Indian” as described in the literature visited the Pope Alexander VI. Joseph the Indian was interviewed by some Venicians who published it European languages. (7)(8).This Joseph The Indian was among the delegation to visit the East Syriac Patriarch Simon in AD 1490 who ordained both of them- Joseph and George- as Priests. (9)
The East Syrian prelates at that time were also friendly with the Portuguese. This is evident from the letters of Mar Jabalaha, Mar Denha and Mar Yakob to the Patriarch of Babylon in 1504. (10) (11)

Because of this background, the Arch Deacon and the leaders claimed the mandate of the Pope of Rome for his consecration as a Bishop. The letters read at the time of consecration claimed that it was according to the authority given by the Pope to Mar Ahattalla. (12) When Mar Gregoriose, the Metropolitan from the Church of Antioch arrived, he was also projected as a Bishop appointed by the Pope.

This revolt shook the might of the missionaries, and the Portuguese inquisition team tried to reconcile. Their attempts failed as the Arch Deacon and the leadership were not interested in any negotiations. The Portuguese authorities referred the issue to Rome.
As the Portuguese could successfully convince some of the leaders of St Thomas Christians that this consecration was not legitimate, a section of St Thomas Christians were unhappy about the situation. Two of the 4 advisories of the Arch deacon, Palli veettil Chandy Cathanaar and Kadavil Chandy Cathanaar were among them.

Rome intervened and sent two sets of Carmelite Missionaries to the St Thomas Christians under the leadership of .Fr Joseph Maria in AD1657, and Fr Vincent of Hyacinth in AD1658.
When it was clear that the Consecration of the Arch Deacon was not legitimate, and the Arch Deacon did not have the mandate of the Pope, many people renounced the Arch deacon. Joseph Maria returned to Rome and got consecrated as a Bishop for St Thomas Christians as Joseph Sebastiani 1659.

Now, St Thomas Christians became freed from the Jesuits and the Arch Bishop Garcia and they have a new Bishop who is not a Jesuit but a Carmelite. This was what the Arch deacon demanded soon after the Coonan Cross oath.(13). Within a year, Sebastiani could win 40 churches and by 1663, 84 churches were under Roman obedience and only 32 remained with the Arch deacon. (14) Later, Political situation became hostile for the Catholic side as Dutch captured Cochin in 1663 and Sebastiani had to leave. He consecrated Palliveettil Chandy Cathanaar as a Bishop for the St Thomas Christians and Vicar Apostolic of the Arch Diocese of Angamali on 1 February 1663.

This made two rival factions with native leaders, Palliveettil Chandy Cathanaar with a legitimate Bishopric consecration and Mar Thoma I without a legitimate Bishopric consecration which made it easy for Palliveettil Chandy Metran to win more people.

Another factor for the success of the missionaries was the political tactics by the Portuguese by taking the local Rajahs on their sides to make them compel the Christians to submit to the Catholic fold. Fr Hyacinth could expel the Arch Deacon from Kaduthuruthy with the help of the king of Vadakkumkoor and banned fromentering the Kingdom of Cochin. (15) With the help of the Portuguese General, Ignatius Sermento, Sebastiani obtained the submission of several churches in the Kingdom of Cochin. (16) Churches at Champakulam and Kudamalur under the King of Purakkad stayed with the Arch Deacon until 1659 when the King of Purakkad ordered them to join the Pazhayacoor. (17). James Hough in his book describes how cold the reception to Carmelite Bishop Joseph Sebastiani at Champakulam on 25 Aug 1661 even when the Rajah of Purakkad sent an Officer to the occasion to compel people. (18)

At this point, the Arch Deacon’s position became very critical and he decided to negotiate with the Jesuits. He sent a Cathanaar to the rector of the Jesuit seminary at Ambalakkadu with the massage that he wished to make his submission to the Catholic Church provided it could be effected without loss of honour and without humiliation 1655. (19) Further negotiations continued and it was thought that the division among St Thomas Christians was going to end but all changed on arrival of Mar Gregorios from the Church of Antioch in 1665. Mar Gregorios was also received by the Arch Deacon as a Metropolitan sent by the Pope. But Cathanaars and people under the Arch deacon became unhappy on the new way of celebration of Qurbana by the new Bishop Mar Gregorios. Mar Thoma I persuaded him to use the local rite, which he did refusing only to use unleavened bread. (20) (21)
This unhappiness also might have helped the catholic side.

Some authors have tried to catalogue the ancient Nasrani churches in the past. There is documentation available about the churches at the time of the synod of Diamper. Various authors and authorities have catalogued the churches later viz. Menesis, 1599, Raulini 1745, Du Perron 1758, Paoli 1760, Whitehouse 1873.White house, in his book, interestingly reviewed the available literature at his time and published a comparison table in his book Lingerings of light in the dark land which is very helpful to identify the places as the names of different places are pronounced differently by different authors and some place names have changed over time.


This is a list of Christian churches/ congregations present at the time of the Synod of Diamper.The list was compiled by Mr P J Tomy as an appendix to his article Kerala Coast, the Portuguese contributions. This contains both Syrian and Latin churches. This list was compiled on the basis of Antoneo de Gouvea’s book “Jornada do Arcebispo de Goa Dom Frei Alexio de menezes Primaz da India Orientali, Religiosoda Ordem de S. Agostinho. Quando foy as Serras do malavar, & lugaresem que moralo os antigos Chrisaos de S. Thomae & os tirou de muytos erros & obdeiencia da Santa Igreja Romana, da qual passava de mil annos que estavo & reduzio a nossa Sancta Fe Catholica & obediencia da Santa Igreja Romana, da qual passava de mil annosqhe estavao apartados” and its quotations in books by Bernard TOCD, Placid Podipara, D Jessole, and Bishop Arattukulam.(22)

1. Alappuzha
2. Alengad with two chapels
3. Ambazhakkad
4. Angamali three churches
5. Athirampuzha
6. Arthinkal with two chapels
7. Akapparambu
8. Arakkuzha
9. Anchikaimol- Ernakulum
10. Aranmula
11. Bharananganam
12. Chetwa
13. Chennamangalam
14. Chennamangalam south
15. Cheria parur
16. Cheria parur kizhakke palli
17. Changanasserry
18. Chengannur
19. Chettukulangara
20. Chalakkudi
21. Chermpil
22. Cathiath
23. Cherpunkal
24. Chungam
25. Cruz-di-Milagre
26. Edappalli
27. Edacochin
28. Elangi
29. Enamakal
30. Kannur
31. Kozhikkode
32. Kochi
33. Kodungallur I
34. Kodungallur II
35. Kollam I
36. Kollam II
37. Kayamkulam
38. Kottayam Cheria palli
39. Kundara
40. Karunagappalli
41. Kalluppara
42. Kuravilnangadu
43. Kadamattom
44. Kanjirappalli
45. Kothamangalam cheria palli
46. Koratty
47. Kolencherry
48. Kothanellur
49. Kuthiathode
50. Kunnamkulangara
51. Kuruppampady
52. Kudavechoor
53. Karakkunnam
54. Kottekkadu
55. Mulanthuruthy
56. Muttam
57. Mavelikkara
58. Muttuchira
59. Mattancherry
60. Mailakkompu
61. Muthalakkodam
62. Moozhukkulam
63. Manjappra
64. Manasserry
65. Muhamma
66. Maramon
67. Ngarakkal
68. Nediyasala
69. Nagappuzha
70. Niranom
71. Omallur
72. Pattamara parur
73. Purakkadu
74. Piravom
75. Pala
76. Pulincunnu
77. Pallippuram
78. Poonjar
79. Palluruthy
80. Pothanikkadu
81. Puthiyakavu
82. Pallikkara
83. Puthechira
84. Saudi Dumina NS
85. Thumbamon
86. Thekkeparur
87. Thalipparambu
88. Thrippunuthura
89. Thekkankoottu
90. Thuruthippuram
91. Udayamperoor
92. Vadakara
93. Venmani
94. Veliyanadu
95. Venduruthy
96. Vallarpadam
97. Vypin
98. Varappuzha
99. Vadakkepudukkadu
100. Vadayar
101. Vaypoor
102. Vadakkancherry
103. Kothamangalam
104. St Jaro Palluruthy
105. Malayattoor
106. Puthuppally
107. Thottappally
108. Mattathil
109. Chazhoor
110. Kalparambil
111. Kanjoor
112. Chowara
113. Kattoor
114. Thumpoly
115. Ramapuram
116. Thevalakkara
117. Maungali
118. Thiruvanculam
119. Nagappara
120. Kudamalur
121. Pullala
122. Anakkallumgal
123. Koranadu
124. Kottara
125. Kuravankulangare
126. Caramattom
127. Palli port south
128. Kandanadu
129. Cheppadu
130. Palayam

Indistinct locations

1. Comiligi
2. Quejecca
3. Blagatte
4. Cormor
5. Vinecca palli
6. Covere
7. Vallet
8. Codangoth
9. Bucin
10. Mopencherry
11. Canna
12. Ginucotte
13. Mudela court
14. Advombare
15. Mulicor
16. Elongmil- (could be elanji)
17. Farete- (sounds like Piravom)
18. Bareate
19. Calete
20. Idatur- (erattupetta)
21. Corcilanate
22. Cadagol
23. Roipur
24. Calurcherro
25. Neonanur-(Niranom)
26. Calera
27. Tempucar (Tumpamon)
28. Mormonor
29. Colour superior (Kayamkulam)
30. Tempureer
31. Tanrgali
32. Cottette(Kottayam)
33. Rapolin (Edappalli)
34. Manongate

The following churches are labelled as latin in the list according to Placid Podipara
(Historia Ecclesia Malabarical Cum Synoda Deaipral pp. 428-429 quoted by Placid J. Podipara p.104)
Varapuzha, Chetwa (Citna by Rantin) Thiruvanathapuram, Pallipuram (Baleport)
Chathiathu, Vendurathi, Mattancherry,Dumina NS de salute (Saudi), Manasserry, (St.Luis-Raulin) Mundanveli,Edacochin (Castella-Raulin) S. Andre (Arthunkal-Raulin- with two chapels)

In addition to the above the following churches were also Latin according to Bernard
TOCD) Kannur, Kozhikode,Kodungallor(two churches) ,Chattukulangara, Kundara, Manongats, Thevalakkara.(22)

It looks like this list contains many duplications as many places are pronounced differently in different books and time periods and many different pronunciations are listed as different churches. Some of the affiliations are also not correct.

Thomas Whitehouse has compared the churches according to the local kingdoms, their affiliation to Jacobite Syrian, Catholic Syrian and mixed according to four different authors which make it very helpful to compare and identify the places easily. It seems that the affiliation and region were compiled by Du Perron as on 1758.

It seems that some of the places are not keeping with the regions and some of the affiliation is wrong.

Kingdom of Cochin -

Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 Du Perron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse1873
Molundurte Molandurte Molandurte
Holy Virgin Molunturuti
St Mary Mulanturutta
Caromattan Caramattam
Holy Virgin Kadamattom
St George Kadamattom
Racati Raakate
Holy Virgin Rakada
Meliatur Maleatour
Holy Virgin Maleatur
St Thomas
Do Oratory in the mountain Malleatur
Little Paru Paru Tekeparrour
St John Baptist Tekenparur South Parur
Narame Trepuntare Naramel
Holy Virgin Nharamel Trepuntara
Holy Virgin Caringacera
(? karingachira)
Momuacheri Mamlascheri
Holy Virgin Mamalaceri
St Michael Mamalasheri
Pallicare Pallikare
Holy Virgin Pallicare
St Mary Pallikkara
Cantanate Candanate
Holy Virgin Candanata
St Mary Kanadanada
Carpumpiali Kourripoupali
Holy Virgin Curupeupadi
St Mary Kuruppampady
Holy Virgin Perumettam
St Mary Peyrumattam
Holy Virgin
Ditto Holy Virgin Codamangalam
St Mary
Ditto St Mary Kothamangalum
Palliporam Palliport Palliporam
Holy virgin Pallipuram
St Mary South palliport or Pallipuram
Muttan Mutton Mouttam
Holy Virgin Muttam
St Mary Muttam
Diamper Diamper Odiamper
SS Gervasis & Protasius
Cajoukambalam Odiamper
SS Gervasis & Protasius Udiamparur
Colongeri Kolangouri
SS peter & paul
Pudupalli Pouttenpali
St Theresia Puttenpalli
St Theresia Puthenpalli
Mangalam Kadamungalum Codamangalum
St Mary Kothamungalam
Canhur Canchur Cagnour
Holy Virgin Canhur
St Mary Kanhura
(? kanjoor)
Cheguree Covere Shouvere
Holy Virgin Ciovare
St Mary Chewurrah
Vaipicotta Canotta Shenotte
Exaltation of Cross Cenotta
St Crucis Chennum
Gnarica Gnarika
Holy Virgin Nharica
St Mary Narikal
Valeport Balarparte
Holy Virgin Balarpart
(? Vallarpadom)
Angicaimal Ernagolta
Holy Virgin Eranaculata, or Angicaimal
St Mary Ernaculum
Matanger Matingeri Matencheri Matincera Muttancherry

Kingdom of the Samorin

Menesis 1599 Roulini 1745 Du Perron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Cottacolongate Schatta Kolangouri
Holy Virgin
Oratory St Cross Cahatukulangare
Potincera Puttenschera
Holy Virgin Puttenceri
St Mary Puthenshery
Holy Virgin Coretti
St Mary
Holy Virgin Cialacudi
St Mary Shalakudy
Balianat Valenate
Holy Virgin Valeanate
St Mary Waliyanata
Pallur Pallur Pallour
St Macaire Palur
St Macharius Palur
Cottapili Cottapari
St Lazarus Cottapadi
St Lazarus Cottapaddy
Mattatil Mattatile
Holy Virgin Mattatil
St Mary
St Cross
St Thomas Ambalakada
St John Mapranam
St Anthony
Holy Virgin
Nativity of Virgin

Kingdom of Paru, NE of Cochin

Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 Du Perron 1758 Paoli 1780 Whitehouse
Paru Paru Paru
St Thomas Parur
St Thomas Parur
SS Gervasis & protais Parur
SS Gervasius & Protasius Parur
Muricolour Mourikolam
Holy Virgin Mushicollam
Manhapara Mangnapara
Holy Virgin Manhapra Mapranam
(? manjapra)

Oratory of St Joseph Cottamattil
Little St Mary

Kingdom of Bellouta Tavagi ( Angamali)

Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 Du Perron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Angamale Angamale Angamale
Holy Virgin Angamali
St Mary Angamale
Holy Virgin
St Ormisdas Angamale
St George
St Hormisdas Angamale
Agaparambin Aparam
St Gervais Agaparambil
SS Gervasius & Protasius Agaparumba

Kingdom of Mangate or Karta Tavagi
Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 Du Perron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Mangate Mangate Mangate
St Mary, the Great
Oratory exaltation of the Cross Alengatta or mangatta
Blessed Virgin
Two oratories
One belonging to the Carmelites Allangada

Klanganour Sorousan, NW of Cochin

Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 Du Perron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse 1873
Calupare Calloupar
Holy Virgin Kallupara
Rapolin Edapali or Rapolin
SS Peter & Paul Edapuli or Rapolin
St george, also SS Peter & Paul Eddapally
Holy Virgin Vaypur
St Mary Wiyapur

Barekangour(Wadakkencore) SE & SSE of Cochin

Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 DuPerron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse 1873
Coramalur Caramalur Codamalour
SS Gervais & Protais Codamalur
SS Gervasius & Protasius Codamalur
( Is it Kothanallur?)
SS Gervais & Protais Elur
St Stephen Ellur
Baragarou Badagare
St John Baptist Wadacara
Mulicolour Moulecoulan
St Alexis Mulaculum
Prouto Farete Parotto
3 Kings Parotta
3 Kings Puruwum
Cembil Schembi
St Mary Cembi
St Mary Chembil
Corolongate Corolongati Karlongate
Holy Virgin Corolongatta
St Mary, the Great Corolnagada
Elognil Elagni
SS Peter & Paul Elangnil
SS Peter & Paul Elanhil
(? Elanji)
Romram Ramrat
St Augustine Ramaratta
St Augustine Ramapuram
Bariate Bariate
St Saviour Badeate
St Saviour Wuddiar
Bechur Beschour
St Mary Veciur or Codavecior
St Mary Cuday Vaychur
Paligunde Puligune Poulingounel
St Mary Pullingune
Giuncotti Jungom
St Michael Ciungatta Chungum
Modelacort Modelakorte Modelacodum
St George Muddalacoddao
Maila Cambil Mailacamba
St Thomas Mailacamba
St Thomas Milacumbu
Holy Virgin Aaragoshe
St Mary (? Arakkuzha )
Holy Virgin Wattathattil
Holy Virgin Nediale
St Mary Nediala
( ?Nediasala)
Nagpili and Ignapili Nagapare Nagapoje
Holy Virgin Nagapushe Nagapare
( ? Nagapuzha)
Carturte Carturti Carturte
St paul
Ditto Holy Virgin Cadaturutto
St Thomas
Ditto St Mary Cadaturutta
( Kaduthuruthy)

Tekengour ( Thekkencore) SW of Cochin
Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 DuPerron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Maruquitil Manirgat Manargate Manargada
St Mary Manyarukada
Changanagere Chonganari Schanganascheri Cianganaceri
St Mary Changanashery
Changanore Cenganur Schenganour
Holy Virgin Cenganur
St Mary Chenganur
Naranam Neonaor Nernate
Holy Virgin Neranatta Neranum
Calurceri Kattouscheri/Kallouscheri Callucera
St Mary Kalluchery
Moramanor Maramanil
Holy Virgin Maramanur
Holy Virgin Coshencere
St Mary Koranchery
Cotette Cottette Ceria Cotette Coittotta
St Mary Cottayam
Pudupalli Poudonpouli
Holy Virgin Pudupulla Puthuppalli
Poecitanate Penoutara
Holy Virgin Punutra Punathara
Cotette Cottette Cotatte- another church Cottayam
Cerpungel Scherpengue
St Cross Cerpunghal
St Cross Cherpungnel
Pulala Palaia
St Thomas Palaya
St Thomas, Seminary Palai
Our lady of Mount Carmel Larat Lalao or Lalum
Canhara Palli Cangnharapalli
Holy Virgin Cangnarapalli
St Mary Kanyerapally
St Cross Paincollata
St Cross Paingalum
Anacalungel Anagalenguel
Holy Virgin Aanacallunghel Anacalunguell
Idatur Iratour
Holy Virgin Iratushe
St Mary Yeddatuwa
( ? Irattupetta/aruvithura, unlikely edathua)
Pugnatil Pungnhate
Holy Virgin Punhada
St Mary Punyada
( ? Poonjar)
Caromattan Kadappelamattan Cadamettam
St George Kadamattam
( ? kadaplamattom ?
Holy Virgin ( ?Kidangur)

Porca Shembanasheri Sourouvam ( porcada)

Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 DuPerron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Calucate Calaorati Kalourcate
Holy Virgin Callurcatta
Holy Virgin Kalurcada
Porca Porca Porca
St Cross Porocada
St Thomas Poracada
Allapare Alapaje
Holy Virgin Aalapushe
St Mary Alleppey
Codamalur Kadamalour
Holy Virgin Kadamaur

Alikoulam Scherravi, and other tavagis and nambouris
Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 DuPerron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Coulan Colour Superior Kalicoulan
Holy Virgin Cayamcollan
SS Gervasius & Protasius Kaiyenkullam
Pudagabo Pudigabo Poudiagavil
Holy Virgin Mavelicare Mavelicare
Bemena Bemmani Bemanil
Holy Virgin Bemanil
St Mary Wemmany
Catigapalay Catiapali Kartiapalli
St Thomas Cartyapalli
St Mary Kartigapally
Curiamgolangare Curiem Colongare Kojienkolangare or kolnagouri Teken Collangare Cheppada
Tempone Tembucur Tombonour Tumbanum
St mary Thombana
(? Thumpamon)
Tellycare Tevelecare Teulecare Tevelacare Thevalacara
Omalour Omolour Omelur
St Mary Omallur
Calera Calera Kallare Catare
St Mary Kallada
Caramanate Caramanate karamanatara Cadambara
St Mary Kadumbanada
Gundara Gundare Kondoura Condur
St Mary Kundara
Kottagarekare Kottarakerry

Koulan (Quilon)
Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 DuPerron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Koulon Koulon
St Thomas Quilon

Ancient Travancore
Menesis 1599 Raulini 1745 DuPerron 1758 Paoli 1760 Whitehouse
Travancore Travancotta
St Thomas Travancore


We have already seen that at the time of the Coonan Cross oath, vast majority of St Thomas Christians were with the Archdeacon. But, due to the following factors, majority of them returned to the catholic fold-

1. The revolt was not against Pope or Catholic Church. The replacement of Jesuits with Carmelites who got the recommendation earlier from Archdeacon
2. The Claims of Archdeacon and Party having the mandate of Pope was proved wrong by Carmelite missionaries
3. Political tactics of the Portuguese by winning the local Kings in favour of them. This was evident in the kingdoms of Vadakkumkoor, Purakkadu and Cochin.
4. Change in the Political scene as the Dutch captured Cochin. The Portuguese were in a troubled time with increasing attacks from Dutch during the entire period. So, they were willing to yield much for reconciliation which was seen in their attitude.
5. At one point, Palliveettil Chandy Metran had legitimate Bishopric consecration while Mar Thoma I was still waiting for a legitimate Bishopric consecration.
6. Previous relation to the Catholic church and Pope via the Chaldean Bishops at the last part of the Babylonian connection and about 100 years of communion of which the last fifty years under Portuguese Padraodo bishops.
7. There was no permanent division till 1665. Only after the arrival of Mar Gregorious, the permanent division happened in the community.

Whitehouse reviews the available data of population statistics by different authors as he comments “some strangely exaggerated statements as to the numerical strengths of the Syrians in former times having found their way into print, and being repeated by one writer after another, some remarks on the subject of statistics are called for”. He continues-(24)

The oldest well authenticated report about the population statistics of Syriac Christians are seen in the letters of four East Syriac Bishops to their Patriarch Elias in 1504-“There are here about thirty thousand Christian families holding the same faith as ourselves, and they pray to the Lord that we may be preserved unhurt.” (24)

Roulini enlists the churches of the Christians of St Thomas as 113 out of a total of 128.Of these 113, he calls 30 as schismatics –as Jacobite Syrians and the rest 83 as Romo Syrians.(25)
Du Perron enlists 31 Jacobite Syrian, 57 Catholic Syrians and 20 mixed. (1758).

Paoli, a Carmelite missionary, lists 118 churches of which 83 were loyal to Rome and 35 independent of Rome.

Mar Gabriel to Visscher, the Dutch Captain- that of the original 64 churches of the diocese, the Syrians had 44 and the Carmelites 20. Whitehouse comments that “he under rated the numerical strength of the Romo Syrian party, but probably had in his mind only the old churches over which his predecessors exercised jurisdiction.” Here, we need to find out what did he mean by Syrians. Mar Gabriel was a Nestorian Bishop who came to Malabar in 1708.When he arrived, a large number of Catholic Syrian and Jacobite Syrian parishes joined him thus creating a middle party under him. All of them returned to their former affiliations after his death. He might have mentioned the number of churches accepting him compared to those of Carmelites.(26)

Stephen Neill says in “History of Christianity in India”.

“Attempts to calculate the number of St Thomas Christians and their parishes which adhered to the rival bishops cannot be more than tentative since our authorities contradict one another at every point……………When all factors have been taken into consideration, the figure of two thirds to Chandy and one third to Thomas may be regarded as acceptable. But it seems that the larger churches and those nearer to the main centres of civilisation adhered to Chandy; strong support for Thomas lay in the remote areas, and among those less influenced by the contacts with the west.”(27)

Richard Collins observes that the number of Jacobite Syrians and Catholic Syrians are almost equal. (28)

Thomas Yates in his book Indian Church History, quotes Fr Paulino (Paoli) who was in Kerala between 1776 and 1789 that according to Bishop Florentines Jesu, of Malabar Vicariate who died in 1773, there were 94000 St Thomas Christians and when the poll tax was in contemplation in Travancore in the year 1787, they were numbered at 100, 000. During the war against Tippoo, 10000 of them lost their lives but still there remains 90,000 Christians following Syro Chaldean rituals. They have in their possession 64 churches, some of them however, were destroyed by Tippoo.The Jacobites have 32 churches, to which belong 50,000. These therefore form altogether 140,000 Christians who adhere to the Syro chaldaic rites.

Thomas Yates also quotes Rev Dr Kerr, (dated Madras 1806) that Jacobite Syrians have 55 churches, and the number of their people as given to the resident of Travancore is 23,000. The Catholic Syrians’ numbers, Yates comments, “it is conjectured, are under rated in the statement given in to the resident”, as it is generally supposed, that they may be estimated at 70 or 80 thousand.

Dr. Kerr continues about Catholic Syrians as quoted by Yates-The Syrian Roman Catholics, were constrained to join the Latin church after a long struggle for the power, of maintaining their purity and independence, are still appear a people perfectly distinct from Latin church, being allowed to chant and perform all the services….They are said to have 86 parishes and are numbered 90,000. (29)

G T Mackenzie, in his book Christianity in Travancore in 1901 observes that the bulk of Syrian Christians in Travancore are Syrian Roman Catholics-“these Syrian Christians are found in central and north Travancore, in the Cochin state and the Malabar district of British India. There are none in south Travancore. The bulk of them are Roman Catholics but nevertheless follow their own Syriac rite. Others adhere to the Jacobite patriarch of Antioch. The remainder approach the protestant standards of doctrine and ritual and are usually called as reformed Syrians, although they themselves dislike that term and call themselves, Christians of St Thomas.”(30)

George Milne Rae observes in his book The Syrian Church of India 1892 that “it is not possible from the census reports as exact classification. The number of Jacobite Syrians may be taken as approximately 330, 000 and the number of Romo Syrians as 110,000.The number of protestant Syrians are comparatively small. (31) His numbers are not keeping with other authors. He is not providing any references and admits that there are no available census reports. It may be that he was talking about a region in Kerala like Travancore alone.

Cardinal Tisserant gives the figure of 1876 for Catholics. The total numbers of Syro Malabar faithful were estimated at 200,000. There were 420 priests, 215 Churches and Chapels, 125 seminarians and 6 houses of the Syrian Carmelites. (32)

The Syriac churches are further divided and now comprise 7 different branches. They follow basically two different Syriac traditions, the ancient East Syriac and the newly introduced West Syriac traditions. Because of multiple splits and litigations, it is very difficult to estimate an exact population statistics now. There are no available data published from the non Catholic groups where as for Catholic groups, such data is available. The approximate current statistics can be seen in here. (33)

The different branches of the St Thomas Christians are as follows.

Syro Malabar Catholic Church Catholic Communion
Chaldean Church of Trichur Church of the East

WEST SYRIAC TRADITIONMalankara Orthodox Syriac Church Autocephalous
Malankara Jacobite Syriac Church Church of Antioch
Thozhiyoor Independent Syriac Church Autocephalous
Syro Malankara Catholic Church Catholic Communion

Mar Thoma Syrian Church Protestant reformation

It has to be remembered that some of the Catholic Syriac group ended up in Latin Church also. They are mainly the families of those Priests ordained by Arch bishop Menesis who were not accepted by the St Thomas Christian community and those who did not participate in Coonan cross oath.

1 G T Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore, 1901, p27

2 Joseph Thekkedathu, The troubled days of Garcia, quoted in The History of Christianity in India p94)

3 . Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, Rome ( Jesuite Archives) Vol 68(1) f 102 f 225 Garcia’s letter to Fr Hyacinth of St Vincent, Vol 68 (2) ff 451-2, Historical Archives of Goa Livro das MongcesVol 25 f 130, all quoted by Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India, p93

4. Historical Archives of Goa, Livro das Mongces Vol 25 f 121 quoted by Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity In India p94)

5. A document signed by all the church people of Malankara beginning with Ankamale who were assembled at the large church of Angamale on the first of February (old reckoning) in the year of our Lord 1787, in reference to the increase of true faith, and with regard to the bringing about a real union in our church, and a walk according to the manners and customs of our forefathers quoted by Thomas Whitehouse, Lingerings of light--- Appendix E
(The Padiyola is available online- )

6. Abstract of a brief history of Syrians in Malabar, preserved among themselves as genuine history, Church missionary society report for 1818-19 , page 317, quoted by Thomas Whitehouse in Lingering of light---Appendix D

7. India in 1500 AD, Fr Antony Vallavanthara, quoted in Changanasseerry Athiroopatha innale innu vol I p 36)

8. G T Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore, 1901 p 12(Mackenzie reports that Guuvea p5 says that it is in Latin and appended to Fasciculus Temporum. An Italian version appeared at Vicenza in 1507 called Paesi novamente retrovati. It is cited also as Novus Orbis or as The Travels of Joseph the Indian.)

9.East Syrian Mission to Asia with Special Reference to Malabar Coast from Sixth Century to Sixteenth Century AD and its Influence on Indian Religion Society and Culture by Elias TP, 2005 Doctoral Thesis to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala Guided by Fr Baby Varghese, SEERI, Kottayam)

10Schurhammer, The Malabar church, pp 5-7 quoted in Changanacherry athiroopatha innale innu vol I p 38)

11. G T Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore (1901) pp11-12

12.Joseph Thekkedathu, The Troubled days of Arch Bishop Garcia. quoted in History of Christianity In India p 94)

13. Historical Archives of Goa, Livro das Mongces Vol 25 f 121 quoted by Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity In India p 94.

14. G T Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore (1901) p 30. Quoting Paul of Bartholomew, India Orientalis Christiania.

15. Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India, p99 quoting from his book The troubled days of Arch bishop Garcia.

16. Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity In India p 99.

17.Joseph Thekkedathu, The troubled days of Francis Garcia SJ, PP 143-44 quoted in Changanasserry athiroopatha, innale innu, vol II p 266

18. Christianity in India Book 4 P359 James Hough.

19. Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India p 100.

20. LW Browne, Indian Christians of St Thomas page 111 quoted by Joseph Thekkedathu, History of Christianity in India.p 101

21. Stephen Neill, History of Christianity in India.

22. P J Tomy, Rtd Asso. Professor, Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala Coast, the Portuguese contributions (

23. Thomas Whitehouse, Lingerings of Light in a dark land- bring researches intothe past history and present conditions of the Syrian church of Malabar. 1873, Appendix A
24. Thomas Whitehouse, Lingerings of Light in a dark land- bring researches into the past history and present conditions of the Syrian church of Malabar. 1873 Appendix H

25. Historia Ecclesiae malabaricae Romae 1745 p 428 quoted by
Thomas Whitehouse, Lingerings of Light in a dark land- bring researches intothe past history and present conditions of the Syrian church of Malabar. 1873

26. Thomas Whitehouse, Lingerings of Light in a dark land- bring researches intothe past history and present conditions of the Syrian church of Malabar. 1873 Appendix H

27. The History of Christianity in India, The beginnings to AD 1707, Stephen Neill, University of Cambridge, 1984.

28. Richard Collins, Missionary enterprise of the east, 1873

29. Thomas Yates, Indian Church History or an account of the first planting of the gospel in Syria, Mesopotamia and India with an accurate relation of the first Christian missions in china, London, 1818.

30 G T Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore(1901) P 1.

31. George Milne Rae, The Syrian Church of India, , Notes to ch XVI.

32. Eugene Tisserant, Eastern Christianity in India, P139 quoted in

33. Population Statistics and Demography of Saint Thomas Christians, Churches with historical references.


JOYAL said...

nd grt 2...............

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

When St. Thomas visited Kerala and introduced Christianity, the early converts belonging to different grades in society on the basis of occupation were commonly called Christians. But the name Christian was changed to Nasrani when the Arabs came to Kerala. Muslims used the word Nasrtani in a contemptuous and derogatory manner. Christians and Jews were hated by Muslims in the Middle east and so they used the word 'Nasrani' in a derogatory and spitedul manner, as the Greeks called others 'barbarians.' Muslims quote the Koran to call Christians andf Jews as 'Nasranis.'
This is the basis of the verse.
1. " Jews say: 'Uzair is the son of God' and the Christians say: 'The Messiah, son of God'. Such is their saying with their mouths, they imitate the infidels saying earlier. Allah has cursed them, how are they to turn? "(Surat al-Tawbah: 30)
2. "Sesungguhnya been disbelievers are those who said: "Verily, Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary", when the Messiah (himself) said: "O Children of Israel, worship Allah my Lord and your Lord." Surely those who ascribe (something to) Allah, then surely Allah forbid him Paradise, and his place is hell, it is not there for people unjust helpers.. "(Surat al-Maidah: 72)Even today all Christians are contemptuously called Nasranis in the Middle East by the Arabs. In Kerala also, after the Arabs gave the derogatory name 'Nasranis' to Christians, Brahmins and Nairs also used that word in a derogatory and insulting manner till the arrival of colonial powers. When the Portuguese and the British educated these hapless Christians and appointed them as soldiers, businessmen and planters, Christians ascended to top position making Brahmins and Nairs inferiors.

Rajan Rajiv said...

In the establishment of Protestant churches also Hindus had helped them. In Kottayam, Travancore Maharajah not only supplied land freely but timber and slaves as labourers and elephants to build churches and Seminary. But they don't claim on that basis that they are linked to Nambudhiris and they are descendants of Nambudhiris. The whole article is distorted and flawed because you want to establish you are descendantrs of Nambudhiris. The population ratio itself wil be a solid proof that St Thomas Christians have nothing to do with Brahmins. Socio-cultural life will tell that beef and pork eating Christians are making fake claims of Brahmin descent. There are real Brahmin converts in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, Mangalore, Karnataka, Pune, Mahrashtra and Kolkota. Some of them are descendants of Krishnamachari. Pundit Ream Bai and Mohan Roy. They still wear sacred thread (ponool) and are pure vegetarians. But it is a small minority. How can a vast majority of St Thaoms Christians outnumbering Nambudhiris claim they are Brahmin descendants? As a Christian researcher, tell the truth. Don't write an article just to establsih your false views. Others are not fools to understand your hidden motive.Other denominations have also very old churches

Kunjuvareed said...

The St. Thomas Crosses are symbolic of the ancient tradition of Thomas Christians. The ancient Murals of many Thomas Christian churches also indicate the antiquity and cultural heritage of the Nazraneys. You may browse this page for a study of the Nazraney Mural School:

kunjuvareed said...

The St. Thomas Crosses are symbolic of the ancient tradition of Thomas Christians. The ancient Murals of many Thomas Christian churches also indicate the antiquity and cultural heritage of the Nazraneys. You may browse this page for a study of the Nazraney Mural School:

historicus said...

A comprehensive study. The interested researchers can access manyn of the source books and articles at on the BOOKS page. Also most of the oft quoted books may be found fully reproduced in the Indian Church History Classics Vol.I: The Nazranies, Ed. George Menachery (1998). The following books are reproduc3ed in full there:Books reproduced in full:

GEDDES: A short history of the Church of Malabar together with The Synod of Diamper.

G.T. MACKENZIE: Christianity in Travancore.

GEORGE CATHANAR: The Orthodoxy of the St.Thomas Christians.

MEDLYCOTT: India and The Apostle Thomas.

A SYRIAN CATHOLIC: A Synopsis of the history of the Syrian Church in Malabar.

PANJIKARAN: The Syrian Church in Malabar.

BERNARD: A Brief Sketch of the History of the St. Thomas Christians.

FARQUHAR: The Apostle Thomas in North India.

FARQUHAR: The Apostle Thomas in South India.

D’CRUZ: St. Thomas the Apostle in India.

PLACID: The Syrian Church of Malabar.

JOB: The Syrian Church of Malabar.

KAITHANAL: Christianity in Malabar.

DANIEL: The Syrian Church of Malabar.

JUHANON MAR THOMA: Christianity in India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

Lengthy extracts are included from:

ADRIAAN MOENS: The Dutch in Malabar.

JAMES HOUGH: The History of Christianity in India.

FRANCIS DAY: The Land of the Permauls or Cochin its past and its present.

C.M.AGUR: Church History of Travancore.

LADISLAS-MICHEL ZALESKI: The Apostle St. Thomas in India.

J.N. OGILVIE: The Apostle of India.

W.S. HUNT: The Anglican Church in Travancore & Cochin.

GILLE A.: Christianity at Home.

K.P. PADMANABHA MENON: History of Kerala.

K.M. PANIKKAR: Malabar and the Dutch.

L.K. ANANTAKRISHNA AYYAR: Anthropology of the Syrian Christians.

A. MINGANA: Early Spread of Christianity.

JOHN STEWART: Nestorian Missionary Enterprise.

H. HOSTEN: The Song of Thomas Ramban.

GEORGE SCHURHAMMER: The Malabar Church and Rome during the
Portuguese period & c

P. CHERIYAN: The Malabar Syrians and the Church Missionary Society.

H.HOSTEN S.J.: Antiquities from San Thome and Mylapore.

H.W. CODRINGTON: Studies of the Syrian Liturgies.

D. FERROLI, S.J.: The Jesuits in Malabar.

GERARD GARITTE: The Georgian Narrative of the Martyrdom of St. Thomas.

S.S. KODER et al: The Cochin Jews.

ALEXANDER MAR THOMA: The Marthoma Church Heritage and Mission.

Jo Abraham said...

A good Roman Catholic version of history.
May be read more of from the other side. Coonan Kruz oath was against catholic Church, in general. Roman Catholic Church even today want all christians to be thiers. So you can assume what might have happend in 16th century.
Please be submissive ONLY to God. One need not have to bow ans bhishop, to be a true Christian.