The Saint Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Christians of India, Nasrani or Malankara Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila, are an ethnoreligious community of Indian (Malayali) Syriac Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical, religious, and liturgical connection to Syriac Christianity. The term Nasrani was derived from Semitic languages and refers to Christians in general.

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  • The Saint Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Christians of India, Nasrani or Malankara Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila, are an ethnoreligious community of Indian (Malayali) Syriac Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical, religious, and liturgical connection to Syriac Christianity. The term Nasrani was derived from Semitic languages and refers to Christians in general. Historically, this community was organised as the Province of India of the Church of the East by Patriarch Timothy I (780–823 AD) in the eighth century, served by bishops and a local dynastic archdeacon. In the 16th century, as the Church of the East declined, the overtures of the Portuguese padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into the Catholic Church led to the first of several rifts in the community. The majority joined in formal communion with Holy See in Rome, forming the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, which is distinct from the Latin Church but is one of the Eastern Catholic Churches; they follow the East Syriac Rite of the historic Church of the East, the Liturgy of Addai and Mari, which date back to third-century Edessa in Upper Mesopotamia. The remaining group resisted the Portuguese and entered into a new communion with the Syriac Orthodox Church, an Oriental Orthodox group, forming the Malankara Church; they inherited from the Syriac Orthodox Church the West Syriac Rite, which uses the Liturgy of Saint James, an ancient rite of the Church of Jerusalem. Since that time, further splits have occurred, and the Saint Thomas Christians are now divided into several different Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Protestant, and independent bodies, each with their own liturgies and traditions. The Eastern Catholic faction is in full communion with the Holy See in Rome. This includes the aforementioned Syro-Malabar Catholic Church as well as the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the latter arising from a Oriental Orthodox faction that entered into communion with Rome in 1930 under Bishop Geevarghese Ivanios (d. 1953). The Oriental Orthodox faction includes the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, resulting from a split within the Malankara Church in 1912 over whether the church should be autocephalous or rather under the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch. As such, the Malankara Orthodox Church is headed by Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan in Kottayam, whereas the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church and is headed by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch. Independents include the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church and the Chaldean Syrian Church of India. The Marthoma Syrian Church were a part of the Malankara Church that went through a reformation movement under Abraham Malpan due to influence of British Anglican missionaries in the 1800s. The Mar Thoma Church follows a reformed variant of the liturgical West Syriac Rite. The Chaldean Syrian Church is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq. They were a minority faction within the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, who split off and joined with the Church of the East Bishop during the 1870s. Saint Thomas Christians represent a multi-ethnic group. Their culture is largely derived from East Syriac, Hindu, Jewish, and West Syriac influences, blended with local customs and later elements derived from indigenous Indian and European colonial contacts. Their language is Malayalam, the language of Kerala, and Syriac is used for liturgical purposes. The Saint Thomas Christians are classified as a Forward caste by the Government of India under its system of positive discrimination. (en)
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  • The Saint Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Christians of India, Nasrani or Malankara Nasrani or Nasrani Mappila, are an ethnoreligious community of Indian (Malayali) Syriac Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The terms Syrian or Syriac relate not to their ethnicity but to their historical, religious, and liturgical connection to Syriac Christianity. The term Nasrani was derived from Semitic languages and refers to Christians in general. (en)
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  • Saint Thomas Christians (en)
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  • Saint Thomas Christians (en)
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