"Reaching people to the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Reaching people to the Lord Jesus Christ."
This is a documentary of another country and the spread of Christianity, written by a man in India, my adopted son.
Christianity In India
Christianity stands as India's third largest religion, following Hinduism and Islam. Abrahamic religions on the whole date back about 2500 years with the arrival of Judaism, followed by arrival of Christianity around 2000 years ago. Vasco da Gama, seeking pre-existing Christian nations in India, discovered a sea route to India by circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope which caused a major influence on both the histories of Asia and Europe.
The 2001 census recorded over 24 million Indian Christians, comprising 2.3 percent of the country's population. Three main regional concentrations of Christian population exist, namely in South India, on the Konkan Coast, and among tribal people in East, Central, and North-East India with the southern state of Kerala, contributing 25 percent of the total Christian population in India.
The dawn of Christianity to South Asia dates back to the arrival of Saint Thomas to Kodungallur in Kerala in 52 C.E. and establishment of the Seven Churches. Subsequently as a carpenter he offered to build a palace for the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares, later converting the king's daughter and her newlywed groom before returning to Mylapore, Chennai in 72 C.E. where he attained martyrdom. Most of the sources of information on the arrival of Christianity in India come from the Acts of Thomas and a few more oral traditions recorded on documents in later centuries.
First Christians of India
The Syrian Malabar Nasrani people represent an ethnic community in Kerala, South India. Their tradition goes back to the beginnings of first century Christian thought and the seven churches established by St. Thomas the Apostle among the natives and the Jewish diaspora in Kerala. They follow a unique Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition which includes several Jewish elements along with some Hindu customs. There have a Syriac-Keralite heritage, their culture South Indian, their faith, St. Thomas Christian, and their language, Malayalam. According to the Acts of Thomas, Thomas's first converts in India had been Malabari Jews, who had settled in Kerala since the time of King Solomon of Israel. The Christian ideals had been foreign, many Hindus embraced the ideologies of baptism because of its similarities to bathing in the Ganges, first mentioned in the Rig Veda, the Mahabharata, and the Devi Bhagvatam. After evangelizing in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Apostle appears to have been martyred at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and buried on the site of San Thome Cathedral. Members of the Syro-Malabar Church, an eastern rite of the Catholic Church, adopted the Syriac liturgy dating from an unknown period before the fourth Century. In the fourth century, at the instance of Bishop of Edessa of the Kerala Church, removed Apostle’s relics to Edessa, later moving them to Italy. The Christian community founded by St Thomas has since developed into a number of churches during the Portuguese persecution, including Syriac-rite churches in communion with the Roman Catholic, Antiochian Orthodox churches, and "Nestorian" churches.
The Syrian Malabar Nasrani community was further strengthened by various Persian immigrant settlers. The trade routes brought with them not only riches but also stateless nations and nascent worldviews. They seem to have maintained their identity for a long time in the first few centuries and later amalgamated into one patronized community known differently as Nasrani, Malankara Christians, Syrian Christians. The archaeological excavations at Pattanam show that the ancient port town of Muziris was in modern Kerala. The embassy of Alfred in 833 C.E. described the Nestorian Syrian Christians as being prosperous and enjoying high status in the Malabar coast. Marco Polo also mentioned the Nasranis and their ancient church in the Malabar coast in his writings Il Milione.
In the early modern period
Portuguese missionaries, who reached the Malabar Coast in the late fifteenth century, made contact with the St Thomas Christians in Kerala, and sought to introduce them to the Roman (Latin) Rite. Since the Eastern Christian Churches served the priests for St. Thomas Christians, they followed Eastern Christian practices at that time. As a result of Portuguese incentives many converted Indians had been opportunistic Rice Christians, who even practiced their old religion. Seen as a threat to the integrity of the Christian belief, St. Francis Xavier, in a 1545 letter to John III of Portugal, requested an Inquisition be installed in Goa. In 1793, William Carey, an English Baptist Minister came to India as a Missionary. He worked in Serampore, Calcutta, and other places as a missionary. He started the Serampore College. He translated the Bible into Bengali. He worked until his death in 1834.
The total number of Christians in India according to the 2001 census numbered 24.08 million, about 2.3 percent of total population. During the twentieth century, the fastest growing Christian communities have been located in the northeast, among the Khasis, Mizos, Nagas, and other hill tribes. Today Christians have their largest numbers in the northeast (secessionist movements in a few states such as Nagaland have been demanding an independent Christian-majority entity), and in the southwestern states of Kerala and Goa. Indian Christians have contributed significantly to, and have been well represented, in various spheres of national life. They currently serve as chief ministers of the states like Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya, as well as chief ministers earlier of Kerala, Manipur, Goa, and Chattisgarh.
Hindu and Christian
Hindus and Christians have lived in relative peace since the arrival of Christianity in India during early part of the first millennium. The arrival of European colonialists brought about large scale missionary activity in South India and North-East India. Many people from the indigenous cultures converted to Christianity, sometimes voluntarily and other times violently and forcefully. The Goa Inquisition provides an example of forced conversions imposed on Hindus, Muslims, and Jews in India. Hindus who converted to Christianity typically retained their social customs, including caste practices. In more contemporary periods, Hindu-Christian amity has been sometimes challenged by partisan politics and extremism from both communities.
Being Indian, we all live as brothers and so we celebrate all the festivals together.
Christmas is the most celebrated festival amongst the Indian and so I also visited the Church for the first time in my life this year with my sister and her friends. Our nieces were also with us and so everyone enjoyed there. I am sending you the pictures being taken there. Now, I conclude my writing here and soon you will be able to read another article from me.