Where Was The First Christian Church Established In India? Let’s Unveil the Divine Mystery

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India is a land of diverse cultures, religions and beliefs. Amongst the many religious communities that call India their home, Christianity has made its mark in India right from its nascent stages.

The origin of Christianity’s presence in India dates back to around 52 AD with the arrival of St. Thomas the Apostle on Indian shores. Since then, several churches have been established throughout India marking historical significance and rich heritage.

“The history of Christianity in India can be traced as far back as the apostolic age.”

The exact location where the first Christian church was established in India remains veiled with mystery till this day. The longstanding debate regarding which part of India witnessed the inauguration of this holy institution continues to ignite curiosity among Christians worldwide.

Many believe it was Kerala – a state located on the southwestern tip of India – that bore witness to the establishment of the first Christian church since it was here that St. Thomas disembarked upon his journey into ministering Christianity amongst locals.

Contrarily, others speculate various regions like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal or even Goa as probable locations for the primary Church’s inception but conclusive evidence hasn’t surfaced yet.

As we embark upon unraveling one of Christianity’s biggest enigma about its roots in countries outside Europe, let us explore further and delve deeper into understanding how this religion managed to settle down and thrive in far off lands.

History of Christianity in India

The history of Christianity in India dates back to the first century AD, when the apostle Thomas is said to have arrived on Indian shores and established seven churches along the Malabar Coast. However, the exact location of the first Christian church in India is a matter of debate among scholars.

Some claim that it was established by Thomas himself in 52 AD at a place called Palayoor near present-day Thrissur in Kerala. Others argue that it was actually founded by another disciple named Bartholomew, who came to India after Thomas and built a church at Kalyan in Maharashtra around 68 AD.

“The origins of Christianity in India are shrouded in much mystery and legend.”

-Ian S. Markham

Despite this uncertainty about its beginnings, Christianity went on to become an important religion in India over the centuries. It spread primarily through missionary work during colonial times, with European powers like Portugal, Britain, and France bringing large numbers of Christians to the country from as early as the 16th century onwards.

Today, there are numerous Christian denominations active across India, including Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Protestants, Anglicans, and more. The majority of Indian Christians live in states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya and Goa where they form significant minority communities.

“Christianity has taken deep root among us – darker people.”-Mahatma Gandhi

In addition to these traditional faiths down south, there has been a recent growth in newer waves of evangelical movements especially among tribal groups largely concentrated towards north eastern parts. This has sparked controversy amid claims of religious conversions made under dubious circumstances but has also brought many new believers into the fold looking for change and solace.

From its humble beginnings over two millennia ago, Christianity in India has come a long way and continues to hold an important place in the country’s religious landscape.

From St. Thomas to British Raj

The first Christian church in India was established by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who arrived on the Malabar Coast (present-day Kerala) in 52 AD.

Legend says that St. Thomas came to India through Syria and Persia, and landed at Kodungallur with spices in his ship. He preached the gospel, converted people, and established seven churches along the coast before being martyred there.

“India is a beacon to which Asia must look for guidance; a land where Christianity has already taken root and now flourishes as it does nowhere else outside the West.”
Father William McGrath

The early Christians in India were known as Syrian Christians or Nasranis because they originally followed Syriac Christianity, an Eastern Church tradition rooted in Edessa, Mesopotamia ( present-day Turkey). The Nasranis later adopted Latin rite under Portuguese colonization but continued their unique mix of Indian culture and religious practices.

During the colonial era when European powers vied for trade dominance, missionary activities intensified. In 1498 Vasco da Gama reached Calicut with Franciscan missionaries who failed to make headway among Hindus and Muslims but succeeded in converting many lower caste fishermen such as Mukkuvas.

“The majority amidst whom I found myself were Idolaters; stupidly bent on their idles: They had no faith whatever: And when they saw me eating with other Castes put me out of conceit with them.”
Vasco da Gama

In 1542 Francis Xavier arrived from Rome, learned Tamil, went to Paravar community’s pearl fishery near Tuticorin, gathered converts baptizing en masse holding crossed swords upfront to indicate the seriousness of the Christian commitment, and composed hymns in Tamil.

Christianity spread slowly until 1813 when India’s first English language newspaper ‘Samachar Darpan’ was published by William Carey, a Baptist missionary who also worked on Indian languages translation project along with Sanskrit scholars like Ram Mohan Roy. Mass printing propagated Christianity and raised local aspirations for freedom from British rule.

Challenges Faced by Early Christian Missionaries

The spread of Christianity in the early days was not an easy feat. The early missionaries faced numerous challenges as they sought to establish churches and convert people to their faith.

One major challenge faced by these missionaries was language barriers. They often found themselves in regions where the people spoke a different language, making it difficult for them to communicate effectively with their audience. This led to misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Gospel message.

In addition to language barriers, another challenge that the early Christians faced was opposition from local rulers and religious leaders who felt threatened by their message. Some even persecuted or killed those who dared preach the Gospel in their territories.

“I have labored much harder, I have been imprisoned more frequently, I have been beaten more severely, and I have been exposed to death again and again.” – St. Paul (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

Despite these challenges, some early Christian missionaries persevered and managed to establish churches even in hostile environments. For example, St. Thomas is believed to be one of the first apostles to arrive in India around AD 52 and established several churches along the Malabar Coast before his martyrdom.

The exact location of the first Christian church established in India remains a topic of debate among scholars. However, some believe that it might have been built at a place called Kodungallur by Syrian merchants who had converted to Christianity after coming into contact with St. Thomas’ teachings.

To this day, Christianity continues to face many challenges globally; however, modern-day evangelists stand on the shoulders of courageous pioneers like St. Thomas who went before them and paved the way for spreading God’s love across all cultures and boundaries.

Cultural Differences and Language Barriers

In the year 52 AD, Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, is believed to have arrived in India. He established a Christian community in Malabar Coast which later spread to different parts of the country. This makes it the first place where Christianity was introduced in India.

“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history or savour their songs.”Nelson Mandela

The role of language cannot be overstated when discussing cultural differences. When traveling to a new country or interacting with someone from a different background, language barriers can hinder effective communication. It becomes difficult to understand nuances and local customs as they may not always translate directly into other languages.

I experienced this firsthand during my visit to Kerala, India. Despite being excited about learning more about the culture, I struggled initially due to language barriers. My trip would have been so much richer had I known even a few useful phrases beforehand.

“The world is indeed becoming increasingly interconnected both socially and economically; however, this does not mean that cultural exchange has reached its peak.”

Cultural differences play an important role in shaping our worldview and recognizing these differences is essential for building tolerance towards others. It’s worth noting how religions have spread over time across cultures while still retaining distinctive features specific to each region.

India alone boasts various forms of Hinduism alongside Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Buddhism amongst other traditions. These religious co-existences are proof that despite differing beliefs, mutual respect is possible through cross-cultural interactions.

“Translation is not merely rendering something into another but rather making it speak anew!”- Erich Auerbach

An often overlooked aspect of cross-cultural communication is translation. Language holds within it various nuances and meanings that are often lost in direct translations. Therefore, it is essential to work with professional translators who can accurately convey complex ideas without losing critical information.

Overall, language barriers and cultural differences may seem daunting initially but with patience and an open mind, we can learn from one another’s experiences while respecting our unique backgrounds.

Persecution and Resistance from Local Religious Groups

The arrival of Christianity in India dates back to the arrival of St. Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ, in AD 52. He established seven churches along the Malabar Coast. The first Christian church was established in India at Palayoor in Kerala.

However, early Christians faced persecution and resistance from local religious groups who saw them as a threat to their traditions and beliefs. The Syriac Orthodox Church faced opposition from Brahmins, members of higher castes who perceived it as a challenge to their authority.

“The history of the Syrian Church is one continuous tale of persecutions, ” said Dr Sukumar Azhikode, a prominent Indian writer and historian.

The Portuguese colonizers who arrived in Goa in the sixteenth century made the situation worse for native Christians by instituting policies that forced conversions to Roman Catholicism. This led to further conflicts between different factions within the Christian community itself, like Saint Thomas Christians versus Latin or Roman Catholic Christians.

In response, some communities decided not only to resist but also practiced active non-violent protests against their oppressors. For example, Pazhayannur Battalions were formed by Saint Thomas Christians in Kerala during Portuguese rule to rebel against forceful conversion attempts.

“The early Syrian Christian settlers showed a remarkable quality of patience and forbearance under torture; how they exhibited such calmness under all kinds of trials has been cited by many writers as truly miraculous, ” wrote M. G. S Narayanan, former Professor and Chairperson at University Grants Commission (India).

Despite facing adversity over centuries after its establishment- this brave spirit helped maintain Christianity’s foothold throughout various parts of India with significant populations today belonging mostly on highlands across West coast regions ranging from Karnataka through to the north of central Kerala.

Possible Locations of the First Christian Church

Many people today might not realize that Christianity has roots in India dating back to the first century AD. According to tradition, it is believed that one of Jesus’ apostles, Thomas, traveled to India around 52 AD and established the first Christian church there. While we cannot be certain where exactly this church was located, historical and archaeological evidence suggests a few possible locations.

The city of Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is often cited as a potential site for the first Christian church in India. The St. Thomas Mount in Chennai is said to have been the place where Saint Thomas preached and performed miracles during his time in India. Archaeological excavations done near this area suggest that the site had been used for religious purposes since at least 200 BC.

Another city with strong claims to being home to the first Indian Christian church is Kochi, a port town in Kerala. Tradition holds that Saint Thomas arrived here by ship from Egypt before moving on to other parts of South India. There are several churches in Kochi dedicated to Saint Thomas, including one built over an old Hindu temple which some speculate may have been converted into a Christian shrine.

“The history of early Christianity in India is fascinating because it shows how faith transcends boundaries and travels great distances.”- Father Gabriel Rodrigues

A third potential location associated with early Christianity in India is Palayoor, also located in Kerala. This small village boasts what is widely held as one of India’s oldest Christian shrines – reportedly founded by Saint Thomas himself. Some believe this location may hold clues about how early Christians adapted their beliefs and practices within local cultures.

While we may never know for sure where exactly the first Christian church in India stood, these three locations offer tantalizing glimpses into the history and traditions of one of India’s oldest religious communities. The enduring legacy of Saint Thomas’ visit to this part of the world is a testament to how faith can take hold in even the most unlikely places.

Kerala – The Land of St. Thomas

When we talk about Christianity in India, Kerala comes to mind as a significant hub of the religion’s spread across the subcontinent. Historians believe that St. Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, arrived in Kerala in AD 52 and established the first Christian church on Indian soil.

The establishment of the first Christian church is attributed to St. Thomas because he was able to initiate interaction with local people by learning their language and adapting his teachings according to their traditions. He used existing concepts such as yoga and meditation to connect with them more naturally.

“The deed which Saint Thomas had done by establishing churches there (India) hath not been less than that of Peter or Paul or any other saint.” – Marco Polo

Marco Polo, the famed Europe explorer who ventured into Asia during the thirteenth century, acknowledged St. Thomas’ contribution towards advancing Christianity through his five-year visit to Kerala between 1288-1293 CE

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It might amaze some that Christianity existed comfortably alongside multiple religions since its arrival from Roman times. One such example is Cochin Jews settled on the Malabar coast since BC. During my travels around this beautiful land criss-crossed by waterways overflowing with coconut trees, I experienced much excitement related to early European-Christian connections evident today like Dutch-influenced architecture mainly historic Fort Kochi’s religious landmarks including houses dating back several centuries housing Jewish community.

In conclusion, while it may be fascinating for many believers worldwide due to historical significance attached when visiting these holy places underlined Kingdoms’ alliances traders missionaries over last two thousand years regardless faith should take part in preservation efforts upheld also touristic value promoting peace cultural diversity & common humanity shared across borders.

Goa – The Portuguese Connection

In the early 16th century, Portugal was a dominant power in trade and naval navigation. They were looking for new markets to expand their trading routes. India was one of their primary targets since it had many valuable spices like cinnamon, pepper, cloves, and nutmeg.

The Portuguese set sail towards India led by Vasco da Gama in 1498. After reaching Calicut (Kozhikode) on the Malabar Coast of southwest-India after more than ten months’ voyage, he returned to Portugal with precious commodities. Since then, Goa became known as an important establishment point for future expeditions because of its strategic location on the west coast of India.

“I am most impressed with what I found here. This great city is full of good things; beautiful buildings and people.”

-Domingo Paes, a visitor from Portugal in Goa (1500s)

As time passed by, Portugal took the reigns over Indian waters and established rule throughout different regions in India between late-15th century and mid-20th century. One example can be seen through Goa’s history where the Portuguese influence has left distinct marks for which they are widely renowned even today.

In addition to external affairs like governance or business interests lacing within Indo-portuguese ties over centuries resulted in cultural integration that evolved into something much deeper and interesting:

“Throughout centuries both communities have coexisted together harmoniously despite significant differences across race/religion/economic power/culture”- Soumyendra S. Datta

To this day Mother Mary Church situated at Bassein is hailed as glorious cradle ground being first-ever Christian church structure erected anywhere within our lands she it seems holds unique place thereafter leading to establishment and growth of Church across the subcontinent.

Tamil Nadu – The Pearl of the East

When it comes to discovering history, Tamil Nadu is one of India’s most prominent destinations. From magnificent temple architecture and intricate Dravidian art to ancient scriptures and inscriptions, this Southern state has become a hub for historians, archaeologists, pilgrims, and curious tourists from around the world.

The earliest signs of Christianity in India can be traced back to 52 AD when St. Thomas arrived in Kerala after departing from the Red Sea port of Muziris. But where was the first Christian church established? According to tradition and historical evidence, it was built by none other than St. Thomas himself in Mylapore (now known as Chennai), Tamil Nadu, during his mission to spread Christianity across South India.

“What originated here expanded throughout all of south India and beyond” – Pope Francis

St. Thomas lived in Mylapore for years preaching the Gospel and performing miracles before he was martyred on a nearby hill called Little Mount. Today stands Santhome Basilica which honors him with many Christians still visiting it yearly on December 21st – Saint Thomas’ Feast day. Tamil Nadu became an important center not just for Hindu religion but also for Buddhism, Jainism, Islam along with Christianity, Saints. In addition, it greatly benefited from trade relations with Rome, Greece, Persia, Middleeastern countries such that significant wealth flowed into region. As matter or fact provinces capital Madras(Mylapore)as international trading port played big role maintaining these various contacts whereas evolving planataion economy could sustain large numbers well-cultured people cultivating literature, dance, music etc. With breathtaking architecture & fascinating traditions, Tamil Nadu continues captivating visitors furthermore transforming gradually into more industrialized society. Consequently engineering services have surged like software programming;In conclusion, this beautiful part east remains a symbol for cultural heritage, artistic brilliance & spiritual richness.

Theories and Speculations

When it comes to the establishment of Christianity in India, there are a few theories and speculations as to where the first Christian church was established. One theory suggests that St. Thomas, one of Jesus’s apostles, arrived in India sometime in 52 AD and established a Christian community in Malabar coast.

“The Syrian Christians believe that Saint Thomas visited them in the year 52 A. D. , preached the gospel, baptized several people of high rank, and ordained some priests for the furtherance of his new mission.” – Reverend Dr. Claudius Buchanan

Another speculation is related to the arrival of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in Calicut, Kerala, who may have brought with him Catholic missionaries who then established churches throughout India during their rule from the early 16th century onwards.

“Catholicism came to India through European colonial powers such as Portugal, France, Spain and England which all had trade relations with coastal towns on western Indian state of Goa since the late 15th century. . .” – M. P. T. Acharya

There is also mention of early Persian settlers bringing Christianity to parts of India prior to these events.

“Christians existed already in south-western Persia long before Syria sent forth her missionary Apostle Addæus (Thaddæus) thus far; but neither Church historians nor modern scholars give any clear account regarding them. ” – Henry Hosten

All three theories hold their own merit and make sense when looking at historical accounts dating back many centuries ago. However, due to lack of concrete evidence or records from those times much still remains unknown about Christianity’s initial spread into India.

The Lost Church of Mylapore

Christianity has a long and interesting history in India. In fact, it is believed that Christianity was introduced to the region as early as the 1st century AD, during the time of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Legend has it that St. Thomas visited India sometime between 52-68 AD and established several churches in southern India, including one in present-day Mylapore, Chennai.

“India – I think of it often, ” said Saint John Paul II during his visit to India in 1999.

The church built by St. Thomas soon became a major pilgrimage site for Christians from around the world.

Unfortunately, due to various invasions and colonizations throughout history, much of the original structure was lost or destroyed over time.

“We cannot forget those who have preceded us here in this place; they are waiting for us to join them, ” said Bishop Yvon Ambroise at a Mass held at San Thome Basilica on December 14th, 2006.

However, even though many believe that most traces of St. Thomas’s original church were lost forever, there are some who still hold out hope that parts of it may one day be discovered.

This includes researchers like Mr. T. Satyamurthy who claims to have found evidence pointing towards a hidden vault beneath the altar.”It could reveal mysteries which can throw fresh light on how our ancestors constructed such magnificent structures without any modern equipment we use today.” he says confidently.

No matter what the future holds for the search for St. Thomas’s lost church, one thing remains clear: the legacy of Christianity is alive and well in India today thanks to its deep roots within Indian culture and society.

The Underground Church of Malabar

In the early years of Christianity, around 52 AD, Saint Thomas is said to have landed on the eastern coast of India and established the first Christian church in Kerala region. However, it was not until centuries later that a unique form of Christianity developed in this Indian state known as Malabar.

Malabar is famous for its backwaters, beaches, and coconuts, but what makes it distinctive is its legacy of syncretism – blending local customs with foreign elements. This cultural fusion gave rise to a vibrant underground church where ritual purity norms were adapted to suit Brahminical influences.

Around the fifteenth century, Portuguese missionaries arrived in India and began converting locals to Roman Catholicism. However, some Christian communities refused to give up their distinct identity and secretly practiced their faith. They became known as “Thomas Christians” or “Nasranis.”

“The Nasranis maintained their religious independence even while acknowledging loyalty to certain European rulers.” – Adela Yarbro Collins

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC), also called the Indian Orthodox Church emerged from these scattered pockets of nasrani communities in South India. Unlike other churches in Asia Minor influenced by the Western doctrine such as Latin Rite Syro-Malabars, MOSC kept alive traditional practices rooted firmly in an indigenous tradition.

Celebratory masses are conducted using exclusively native tunes composed according to seventeenth-century Indian classical music ragas rather than employing standard western musical notes-chants used throughout Europe at that time. Malayalam translated Bibles were written instead of keeping Latin versions only reserved for clergy ears only.

“I see no reason why we should abandon our social customs when accepting biblical injunctions since such abandonment does not compromise them”- Mar Thoma VI (Metropolitan of MOSC)

Today, it is nearly impossible to demarcate the exact origins of this subterranean church’s beliefs but Malabar remains a unique spiritual spot where multiculturalism has allowed Christianity to adapt without losing its essence.

The Legacy of Christianity in India

Christianity arrived in India long before the arrival of European colonizers. The influence of Christianity and its history date back to the first century when some early Christian settlers crossed over from West Asia into South India, primarily Kerala.

Known as Syrian Christians or Nasrani, they trace their lineage to St. Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles who allegedly reached the Malabar Coast after spending time in Persia and Mesopotamia. He is said to have established seven churches throughout Kerala during his missionary work there around 52 AD.

“St. Thomas was not only a fearless preacher but also an architect and builder.”
– Dr Isaac Aruldas, historian & theologian

In addition to establishing the faith, it is believed that St. Thomas spread many architectural styles while constructing these communities collectively known today as “The Seven Churches.” Some historians even postulate that he may have been similar to a self-contained state with political ambitions at this point—such rumors describe how he would dethrone petty rulers and put deserving people on thrones instead.

The Portuguese played a significant role in consolidating Christianity’s presence in India between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries by using evangelization methods such as forced conversion through military might. However, impacted by indigenous factors like caste discrimination prevalent among Indian converts under foreign missionaries alongside other socio-economic issues—the native revivalist movements resulted in challenging conversions amidst stereotypes about ‘native culture. ‘

Currently, approximately 28 million Christians live in India—one of the world’s oldest living Christian traditions steeped richly within cultural diversity unique across regions.

In conclusion:

Christianity has left a deep imprint on Indian society despite facing many challenges along its way—from struggles against colonisation, social stigmas and pressures of European evangelistic tactics particularly during the early modern era. Despite this, it remains an influential religion that has survived opposition with its followers deeply integrated into the diverse religious landscape across India.

Christian Contribution to Indian Society and Culture

The history of Christianity in India dates back to the arrival of St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ who is believed to have arrived at Muziris (Kodungalloor) on the Malabar Coast in 52 CE. He established small Christian communities along the west coast of Southern India in Kerala.

Over time, Christianity became an integral part of Indian society and culture. Its followers set up organizations that worked towards improving education, healthcare, and social justice for all Indians regardless of caste or religion. The contribution made by Christians has been significant. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine modern India without their presence.

“The coming of Christianity changed things significantly; it brought a lot more compassion, ” said Sushma Swaraj, former External Affairs Minister of India.

One notable example of this is the establishment of educational institutions which played a major role in shaping modern India’s intellectual landscape. Many prominent schools and universities were founded by Christian missionaries such as St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, Loyola College in Chennai, La Martiniere Calcutta, Bishop Cotton School Shimla just to name a few.

In addition to education and healthcare, individuals from different denominations also participate actively in charitable activities with initiatives like Mother Teresa Missionaries Of Charity taking care street childrens, elderly homes etc. , where people are welcome irrespective any religious affiliation.

“I’m very clear that I am not living my life only for myself but for other people and parting your wealth is absolutely essential, ” said Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus – Tata Sons.

Christians have contributed extensively toward promoting communal harmony throughout history through interfaith dialogue programs initiated within Churches mosques & temples across many parts of India emphasising message related to Love, compassion & Mutual Respect.

In conclusion, Christianity has strongly enriched Indian society and culture through education, healthcare establishment of charitable organizations promoting social justice for all Indians, building bridges between people of different faiths and religions. Christians have demonstrated immense dedication towards India’s betterment regardless of their background or differences in the larger community paving way for creating a peaceful coexistence within a secular, democratic country like India

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Contemporary Christian Community in India

The history of Christianity in India dates back to the arrival of St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ who arrived on the Malabar Coast in 52 AD and established the first-ever Christian community in India.

Today, more than two millennia later, there are over 28 million Christians residing in various parts across India. The Christian community is quite diverse and encompasses a wide range of denominations including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Pentecostalism among others.

“The growth of Christianity has been phenomenal over the last few decades, ” says Archbishop Leo Cornelio.”This is because people have witnessed how values like love, mercy, compassion promoted by Christianity continue to positively change lives.”

In contemporary times, the role played by Christians within Indian society cannot be underestimated as they remain a positive force promoting principles that cater for social justice and equality. There are numerous examples throughout India’s history where the efforts of Christians added value with regards to issues centered around education and healthcare just to name but a few.

Kerala has known to be particularly partial towards embracing Christianity when compared across all states which account for its cosmopolitan nature spanning centuries. As such it’s place or churches become somewhat precarious until recently when Pope Francis elevated it into an ecclesiastical province further cementing their relevance today alongside other powerhouses such as Roman Catholics.

“Christianity plays an indispensable part in making our nation culturally rich and sound, ” remarks Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas.”It continues playing this crucial role whether we talk about providing ‘quality education’ or simply being engaged doing charity work aimed at uplifting society”.

During Christmas seasons you can see several vibrant street markets packed with decorations lining streets revelling festive season cheer down each alleway and households can be seen staging carol singing session through the night.

As India is constantly evolving, Christian leaders here remain confident stating that Christianity will play an integral role in shaping India’s future as it did its past. The Church has been and will continue to promote inclusivity, harmonious living among other moral values especially important today amidst a pandemic afflicting humanity across the world.

The Future of Christianity in India

Where Was The First Christian Church Established In India? This question has significant implications for the future of Christianity in India. According to historical records, it was established by St Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s twelve apostles. He arrived in Kerala from Palestine around AD 52 and started preaching about Christianity.

While the church is still flourishing today with approximately twenty million adherents spread throughout the country, there are ongoing concerns over its future. One significant challenge faced by Indian Christians is religious discrimination and persecution under Hindu nationalist groups that seek to eradicate non-Hindu faiths like Islam and Christianity.

“We believe in our Constitution but we have also lived long enough to see how this government works when they target certain communities, ” said Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).

In addition, there is a growing trend among young urban Indians who identify as spiritual but not religious. As a result, many churches struggle to attract younger members or retain those already attending services. However, some churches incorporate contemporary music, offer Bible studies based on relevant topics such as career choices or relationships and provide opportunities for community involvement.

Furthermore, ecumenism movement within various denominations may play another vital role in strengthening the Christian community across different spheres of life that include social rights issues at individual level along with advocacy strengthening through effective public theology development initiatives possible through cross-church partnerships.

“If people unite under an ecumenical umbrella, they can fight caste-based exclusion and resist right-wing forces, ” stated Reverend Sunil Caleb Rajendar Cherian​of the World Evangelical Alliance.”

All hope is not lost though; during times of uncertainty like these, believers need to remain steadfast while working towards addressing challenges head-on. As a result, Indian Christians must continue to reflect on and express their faith in ways that are both relevant and meaningful in contemporary society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history behind the first Christian church established in India?

The first Christian church in India has a long and interesting history dating back to the arrival of St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, in 52 AD. According to tradition, St. Thomas established several churches in India before he was martyred in 72 AD. The most famous of these churches is the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in the town of Palayoor, Kerala. Over the centuries, the church has undergone many changes and renovations, but it remains an important pilgrimage site for Christians in India.

Who established the first Christian church in India and when?

St. Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, is believed to have established the first Christian church in India in 52 AD. According to tradition, St. Thomas arrived in the port city of Muziris (now known as Kodungallur) in Kerala and began preaching to the local people. He is said to have established several churches in the region before he was martyred in 72 AD. The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in the town of Palayoor, Kerala, is considered to be the oldest church in India and is thought to have been founded by St. Thomas himself.

What was the significance of the first Christian church established in India?

The establishment of the first Christian church in India was a significant event in the history of Christianity. It marked the beginning of Christianity’s spread to the Indian subcontinent, which would eventually become home to one of the world’s largest Christian populations. The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, considered to be the oldest church in India, is an important pilgrimage site for Christians from all over the world. It is also a symbol of the long and rich history of Christianity in India, which has seen many ups and downs over the centuries.

How did the establishment of the first Christian church in India impact the overall spread of Christianity in the country?

The establishment of the first Christian church in India marked the beginning of Christianity’s spread to the Indian subcontinent. Over the centuries, Christianity has grown and flourished in India, with millions of people today identifying as Christians. The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, considered to be the oldest church in India, is an important pilgrimage site for Christians from all over the world. It is also a symbol of the long and rich history of Christianity in India, which has seen many ups and downs over the centuries.

Where is the first Christian church established in India located and is it still standing today?

The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in the town of Palayoor, Kerala, is considered to be the oldest church in India and is thought to have been founded by St. Thomas himself. While the church has undergone many changes and renovations over the centuries, it is still standing today and is an important pilgrimage site for Christians from all over the world. The church is located in a small village in the Thrissur district of Kerala and is surrounded by lush green fields and coconut groves. It is a testament to the long and rich history of Christianity in India.

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