Portal:Christianity in India

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THE CHRISTIANITY in INDIA PORTAL

Introduction

Christianity is India's third most followed religion according to the census of 2011, with approximately 28 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India's population. It is traditionally believed that Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who supposedly landed in Kerala in 52 AD. There is a general scholarly consensus that Christianity was definitely established in India by the 6th century AD.

including some communities who used Syriac liturgies, and it is possible that the religion's existence extends as far back as the purported time of St.Thomas's arrival.

Christians are found all across India and in all walks of life, with major populations in parts of South India and the south shore, the Konkan Coast, and Northeast India. Indian Christians have contributed significantly to and are well represented in various spheres of national life. They include former and current chief ministers, governors and chief election commissioners. Indian Christians have the highest ratio of women to men among the various religious communities in India. Christians are the second most educated religious group in India after Jains.

Christianity in India has different denominations. The state of Kerala is home to the Saint Thomas Christian community, an ancient body of Christians, who are now divided into several different churches and traditions. They are East Syriac Saint Thomas Christian churches: the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Syrian Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church, Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and the Malabar Independent Syrian Church are West Syriac Saint Thomas Christian Churches. Since the 19th century Protestant churches have also been present; major denominations include the Baptists, Church of South India (CSI), Evangelical Church of India (ECI), St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India, Believers Eastern Church, the Church of North India (CNI), the Presbyterian Church of India, Pentecostal Church, Apostolics, Lutherans, Traditional Anglicans and other evangelical groups. The Christian Church runs thousands of educational institutions and hospitals which have contributed significantly to the development of the nation.

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Maramon Mar Thoma Church (2005)
Malankara Church of India is the Christian church believed to be started by St. Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ. Maliankara, a place near Muziris, (now known as Pattanam, near Cochin on the Malabar Coast), where Thomas the Apostle first landed in Kerala in AD 52, was the headquarters of the Indian Christian church from the 1st century AD. It is also known as Church of Malabar or Malabar Church. Hence the Christians here are known as Malankara Nazarenes , Saint Thomas Christians, Malabar Christians and Malankara Christians. The history of Indian Christianity hence started 15 centuries even before the arrival of European missionaries in India.

According to tradition, it was on a trading vessel plying between Alexandria and the Malabar Coast that St. Thomas the Apostle arrived in Kodungallur or Cranganore (കൊടുങ്ങല്ലൂര്‍)in AD 52. Modern developments in archaeology, anthropology, numismatics, toponymy, geography and trade route investigations have revealed evidence of the trading which forms the background to the St. Thomas tradition of Kerala. Maliankara was the headquarters of the Church of Malabar from the 1st century. (Malankara is cognate of Maliankara) and hence the church was known as the Malankara Church.

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Administrative map of Goa.png
Credit: Nichalp

Roman Catholicism reached Goa during the period of European colonisation, which began in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on the Malabar coast. With the establishment of Goa Inquisition in 1560, a large section of the population became Roman Catholic.

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Philomena Church Mysore.JPG

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Ravi Zacharias.jpg
Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias (born 1946) is an Indian-born, Canadian-American evangelical Christian philosopher, apologist, and evangelist. Zacharias is the author of numerous Christian books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner Can Man Live Without God? and bestsellers Light in the Shadow of Jihad and The Grand Weaver. He is also president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, host of a weekly radio program, and visiting professor at Wycliffe Hall of Oxford, where he teaches apologetics and evangelism. Previously, Zacharias studied as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and held the chair in Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary from 1981 to 1984.

Zacharias was born in Madras, India and converted to Christianity following a suicide attempt at the age of 17. In May 1972 Zacharias married Margarette ("Margie") Reynolds, whom he met at his church's youth group. They have three grown children, Nathan, Naomi and Sarah. Zacharias asserts that the apologist must argue from three levels: the theoretical to line up the logic of the argument, the arts to illustrate, and "kitchen table talk" to conclude and apply.

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