HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA PDF
BR H7 v. Hough, James, d. The history of Christianity in India COMPRISING THE HISTORY OF PROTESTANT MISSIONS. TO Cambridge Core - Church History - A History of Christianity in India - by Stephen Neill. PDF; Export citation . 15 - Non-Roman Catholic Christianity in India. WWL Church History and Facts – INDIA. How many Christians? Pop Christians. Chr%. 1,,, 63,, Source: WCD, May
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Christianity is India's second-largest minority religion after Islam, with approximately 28 million .. The origin of Christianity in North Konkan, was due to the proselytising activities of the Portuguese in the 16th "Mar Thoma: The Apostolic Foundation of the Assyrian Church and the Christians of St. Thomas in India" (PDF). in India, the arrival of Portuguese and Protestant missions into the country and their agenda to Christianize India. The origin of Christianity in India. There are . custom-speeches.com DEVELOPMENT OF. CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA. Christianity Is one of the most wide spread religions* Nearly every third person of the world is.
The protection was granted on the condition that the leaders were immediately baptised as Christians and that they would encourage their people also to convert to Christianity; the Portuguese would also gain a strategic foothold and control of the pearl fisheries.
The deal was agreed and some months later 20, Paravars were baptised en masse, and by the entire community had declared itself to be Christian. The Portuguese navy destroyed the Arab fleet at Vedalai on 27 June He arrived in Surat in After his ministry in Gujarat , he reached Quilon in He not only revived Christianity but also brought thousands to the Christian fold.
He brought a message of good will from the Pope to the local rulers. This massive blow to Christendom spurred the age of discovery as Europeans were seeking alternative routes east by sea along with the goal of forging alliances with pre-existing Christian nations.
The missionaries sought to introduce the Latin liturgical rites among them and unify East Syriac Christians in India under the Holy See. In the 16th century, the proselytisation of Asia was linked to the Portuguese colonial policy.
The missionaries of the different orders Franciscans , Dominicans , Jesuits , Augustinians , etc. The history of Portuguese missionaries in India starts with the neo-apostles who reached Kappad near Kozhikode on 20 May along with the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama who was seeking to form anti-Islamic alliances with pre-existing Christian nations.
Thomas Christians who belonged to the then-largest Christian church within India.
Christianity in India
Illustration to the Akbarnama , miniature painting by Nar Singh , ca. Cabral soon won the goodwill of the Raja of Cochin.
He allowed four priests to do apostolic work among the early Christian communities scattered in and around Cochin. Thus Portuguese missionaries established Portuguese Mission in Francis Church using stones and mortar, which was unheard of at that time, as the local prejudices were against such a structure for any purpose other than a royal palace or a temple.
On 12 June , Cochin and Goa became two prominent mission stations under the newly created Diocese of Funchal in Madeira. After four decades of prosperous trading, the missionaries started the proselytisation around and during this period, foreign missionaries also made many new converts to Christianity.
Early Roman Catholic missionaries, particularly the Portuguese, led by the Jesuit St Francis Xavier — , expanded from their bases on the west coast making many converts. The Portuguese colonial government supported the mission and the baptised Christians were given incentives like rice donations, good positions in their colonies.
Hence, these Christians were dubbed Rice Christians who even practised their old religion. Its history was already several centuries old.
Long before Islamic arrivals in India, its character was already changing. See N. Introduction 3 be perceived as such largely because of the paucity of evidence to the contrary. What had begun with the Thomas Tradition—belief that the Apostle brought the Gospel to India in ad 52 and that he suVered martyrdom near what is now Mylapore Mailapur —remains extremely strong, whatever the historicity of this tradition may be.
So much is this so that, at least in metaphorical terms, the tradition retains canonical status.
The Surprisingly Early History of Christianity in India
Still later, over many centuries, refugees Xeeing from persecution by Zoroastrian, Islamic, and other oppressors continued to come to India for more than a thousand years. Each such group often became all but completely cut oV from contacts with the Orthodox, and especially from the Catholic communions of Byzantium and Rome. Christianity in the non-Western world had already expanded eastward in considerable strength, therefore, long before the Great Councils began to codify the institutions of Latin Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christendoms.
Such developments in the West in no way mitigated or nulliWed the various forms of Eastern Christianity which had already become well rooted. The full story about the history of Christianity in India cannot be understood without understanding that, for nearly a thousand years, Christians of the West were so cut oV from Christians of the East that a curtain of darkness, ignorance, and incomprehension descended between their two worlds.
After the shadow of 4 Thomas Christians continue to respond to sceptics that the evidence for Thomas coming to India is as strong as the evidence for Peter coming to Rome. The presence of the Gospel in India, from this perspective, antedates any canon, creed, or council in the West. Just as the ecclesiastical oYces representing the patriarchies of Antioch and Babylon no longer resided in the cities of their founding, records about their bishoprics in India also disappeared and, for the most part, have yet to surface.
One main reason for the curtain of ignorance that descended lies in the fact that in lands where dar-ul-Islam held sway over what were still predominantly Christian populations—as was so in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine until the end of the crusades—local Christians seem to have been neither suYciently free, nor suYciently privileged or resourceful, and hence were obliged to be more circumspect.
Wherever possible, Islamic institutions seem to have stiXed missionary or mercantile enterprises of subject Christian communities in their midst. The nature of high religion in India during medieval times, at least from the Hejra to the arrival of Catholic Christendom in the ships of Vasco da Gama in , serves to explain much about the political and religious encounters that took place thereafter.
Such being the case, it is important to understand the high culture of Brahmanical religion that was evolving within India itself and that, while it had no single name, it might best be described by two words: dharma and Sanskriti.
This paradigm Wts all of the continent except that, in the south, the inXuence of high or classical civilization was perhaps at times as closely associated with Sangam Cankam Tamil culture, as can be seen in the residues of literatures, arts, and sciences that survived. Also, in order to consider the combined impacts of European Christendom and Western Christianity, it is important to understand the wider contexts within which such impacts were felt.
Proliferation and Propagation Just as tiny streams trickle out of snow peaks of the Himalayas and gradually merge and mingle with other streams descending from various peaks before plunging down onto the plains of Hindustan where they join one of the three great river systems and Xow slowly toward the sea and break up into Introduction 5 vastly complex deltas, so also tiny streams of Christian presence have trickled into India and then merged and mingled with multiple histories of Christianity in India before breaking into patterns of extraordinary complexity.
As far as can be determined, there is almost no form of Christianity that has ever existed in the world—ancient, medieval, or modern—that has not entered and that does not still thrive somewhere within the continent aka subcontinent. Such movements have even made gains in the former princely states of the north-east, such as Manipur and Tripura. Still turning Christian in huge numbers, they are the beneWciaries of missionary eVorts being sent to help them from almost all of the earlier and older Christian communities.
Syrian or Thomas Christian missionaries, whether Catholic or Evangelical, are to be found in the jungled frontiers—not a few of them being numbered among the persecuted and martyred Christians of recent years.
Nevertheless, while no one seems to know exactly how many indigenous Christian missionaries there are in India, conservative estimates put the number of missionaries at over 40, with some wilder estimates going as high as ,, or one lakh.
The lower number is some ten times the number of foreign missionaries who ever served in India at one time. It is signiWcant that much of the historical record of the Christians of India has come from Thomas Christians or from Christians of upper-class, uppercaste, backgrounds.
This is hardly surprising, since such Christians had educational advantages, reinforced by cultural legacies, that enabled them to become more articulate and to leave behind written materials, whether in manuscript or printed form. These, whether philosophers, 6 Introduction poets, or activists, have almost all tended to accentuate their links to high Sanskriti or high Tamil or high Islamic civilization. They have spent much of their lives building bridges between their Christian convictions and the cultural heritage from which they emerged.
So many are the separate stories of distinct Christian communities that, short of producing an encyclopedic work encompassing every tiny element, the task of the historian is to develop a strategy or a tactical paradigm by which to determine not so much what to include as what to exclude. As in all historical work, much of the coverage and many details had to be left out.
Most of the Christian movements cannot be examined. Indeed, any historian is apt to be smitten with remorse at the number of truly noteworthy episodes or narratives of individual Christians, both indigenous and alien, that must be omitted, and not even mentioned.
The same can be said for many truly noteworthy Catholic saints and scholars, even including Mother Teresa.
So many are the instances that might be cited that it is pointless even to try to list the most glaring omissions. But justiWcation for omissions can be partially, if not entirely, explained by indicating that this is a study of Christians of India. For the most part, this study strives to be Indocentric—that is, to emphasize, as much as possible, those features of this history that have contributed most to the ongoing vitality of Christians and of Christianity within the continent.
Even so, many a truly fascinating but relatively unknown Indian Christian leader, whether pastor, teacher, lawyer, or writer, whose inXuence or whose work was noteworthy, has not been touched. It is lamentable, for example, that the history of Christianity in Sri Lanka, and of Nepal, not to mention such areas as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, as well as Punjab and Burma Myanmar , could not be given more extensive attention within this study.
Similarly, what now constitute Bangladesh and Pakistan, in both of which Christians make up the second largest minority, have not been dealt with, except as they were parts of the continent of Greater India until they became politically distinct sovereign entities sixty years ago.
In Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, the presence of Christians can be traced back to ancient times. Certainly, Catholic clergy subject to the Padroado of Goa later held positions in Colombo and in other Portuguese holdings along the shores and in places not subject to the Kingdom of Kandy in the upland interior of the island.
Similarly, from the time that Dutch forces took JaVna from the Portuguese in , Catholicism, although Introduction 7 outlawed, survived. Dutch chaplains led by Philip Baldaeus5 took over the grand and commodious church buildings at Batticotta and then strove to turn Tamil-speaking Christians into members of the Reformed Church.
The Catholic Historical Review
As a result, changes were quite superWcial. While the number of Christians within the old JaVna Kingdom came to ,, on paper, these seem to have been linked to only thirty-seven congregations scattered throughout Wve provinces, inasmuch as relatively few persons seem to have attended Christian worship.
These Christians were predominantly drawn from aristocratic Vellalar and learned Brahman families. Not surprisingly, their elite values were much the same as those of other Vellalar and Brahman families, even when transformed into a mainly Christian vocabulary.
They wrote of their beliefs in Sanskrit and Tamil poetry and literature, metaphorically or mythically tracing their ancient lineages back to Abraham and Keturah.
The Christian culture that developed during the eighteenth century, the small Brahman Evangelical community of JaVna, about which Dennis Hudson has so eloquently written, made contributions to what would become the Evangelical Christian cultures of Thanjavur.
What new missionaries encountered, especially in the south, was a Sinhalese culture that, outside of the Tamil north and shorelines of seafaring folk, was in large measure Buddhist. This was dominated by a Theravada or Hinayana aristocracy that prided itself on being the homeland from whence Buddhist institutions and impulses had been exported to Burma aka Myanmar , Thailand, and Cambodia.
Churchill, , iii. Eerdmans, , 5—9. However these early events may be viewed, there can be no denying the fact that, within the current island population of 19,,, some 13,, or In this connection, four observations are relevant.
First, while it has been a criminal oVence, sometimes even a capital oVence, for a Nepali subject to turn Christian, circumstances have combined during the past half-century to bring about a dramatic turning of Nepali peoples to Christianity, in spite of the penalties and risks entailed.
Between , when the King expelled Capuchins from Kathmandu, and , when a small congregation was established, there seems to have been no public symbol of Christianity within the kingdom. Second, due to nearly two hundred years of recruitment and service as mercenary soldiers, initially as distinct Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army, Wrst under the Raj and then, with competing claims, under the British Crown and under the Indian Republic, hundreds of thousands of Nepali families have migrated to the far corners of the world.
As part of an upwardly mobile and prosperous worldwide diaspora, many Nepalis have not only become Christians, but have increasingly participated in or supported missionary activities within their ancient homeland. Young and G. Young and S. Introduction 9 Nepal as a princely state has been in many respects no diVerent from many other former princely states of the Indian Union, some of whom were much larger Hyderabad, Kashmir, Mysore, Travancore, etc.
Finally, although Western missionaries, as such, were never oYcially allowed into Nepal until comparatively recent times, and even then under only very qualiWed and restricted conditions, American and European including Commonwealth Christians who came into Nepal were allowed to enter the country only to provide discrete public services, most of which were medical in nature. Nevertheless, these conditions enabled them to build up and provide many of those most valuable infrastructural services that, during previous centuries among other peoples, had been the most eVective and valuable means of strengthening the culturally indigenous forms of Christianity in India.
This is especially crucial if one wishes to attempt an explanation of how or why it was that Christianity was received and appropriated in signiWcant measure by some communities and not by others.
While this issue underlies the entire history of Christianity in India, it rises to the surface in Chapters 8 and There have been scores, if not hundreds, of separate peoples in each of these two categories. Each of these peoples, in one way or another, was more directly linked to its own uniquely developed forms of primal religion than to the particular forms of Hindu or Islamic culture which sought to dominate, exploit, or oppress it.
Among the second type, especially in thickly forested areas of mountainous frontiers surrounding the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, were such tribal peoples as the Khasis, Mizos, Nagas, and many more; and within similarly remote frontiers of the interior were tribal peoples such as the Bhils, Gonds aka Khonds , Mundas, Santals, and others.
For all such peoples as these, primal religions and world views played a prominent part in daily life and primal religions would Wnd aYnity with Christian faith. Primal religion posits the existence of something universally present within all humankind. This presupposition holds that there is no person or people, anywhere in the world or at any time in the past, that has not had to respond, in one way or another, to deeply embedded religious impulses.
Whether fully articulated or not, any individual or community that feels anxiety, panic, or threats to survival instinctively resorts to primal religion. Primal responses, outcries of anguish and fear, calls for help, or prayers for escape may be involuntary.
Faced with terror, violence, or imminent death, an elemental urgency is evoked. Primordial quests for security and satisfaction and well-being are primal.
Such quests are, quite essentially, and not unusually, religious. As applied to speciWc religions, it denotes a basic, elemental impulse within human experience that is anterior, in time, place, and status, to any superimposed religious impulses or subsequent religious institutions. Introduction 11 something innate lying beneath other forms of religious experience.Subscription required help.
Vasco da Gama, on his first voyage to India is reported to have met on the East African coast some ships of the Christians of Malabar. Serampore mission did not see preaching the Bible, leading Bible class, or making members of church made much difference, but the difference in the attitude to become Christian can only come when the society can understand and learn in their own culture.
Dalrymple further points out that as late as 6 September, when calling the inhabitants of Delhi to rally against the upcoming British assault, Zafar issued a proclamation stating that this was a religious war being prosecuted on behalf of 'the faith', and that all Muslim and Hindu residents of the imperial city, or of the countryside were encouraged to stay true to their faith and creeds.
We need to remember that it was only in the Synod of Isaac in AD , almost a century later, that the Persian church, with some modifications, accepted the decrees of the Council of Nicea.
At the same time many New Christians from Portugal migrated to India as a result of the inquisition in Portugal.
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