Portal:Christianity in India

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THE CHRISTIANITY in INDIA PORTAL

Introduction

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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 Pentecostal Mission (formerly Ceylon Pentecostal Mission), 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.

Selected article

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.

Selected biography

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Henry Martyn (18 February 1781 - 16 October 1812), was an Anglican priest and missionary to the peoples of India and Persia. Born in Truro, Cornwall, he was educated at St John's College, Cambridge. A chance encounter with Charles Simeon led him to become a missionary. He was ordained a priest in the Church of England and became a chaplain for the British East India Company.

Martyn arrived in India in April 1806, where he preached and occupied himself in the study of linguistics. He translated the whole of the New Testament into Urdu, Persian and Judaeo-Persic. He also translated the Psalms into Persian and the Book of Common Prayer into Urdu. From India, he set out for Bushire, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Tabriz. On is way to Constantinople, Martyn was seized with fever, and, though the plague was raging at Tokat, he was forced to stop there, unable to continue. On 16 October 1812 he died. He was remembered for his courage, selflessness and his religious devotion. In parts of the Anglican Communion he is celebrated with a Lesser Festival on 19 October.

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