"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

St Thomas Christians in India

In my time working for the World Council of Churches in the 1990s, I often encountered so-called Thomas Christians from India. As I was very new to the bewildering world of Eastern Christianity, it was hard to sort everyone out, but I learned that Syrian Orthodox clerics and hierarchs from India were often easy to sort out from the rest of a crowd by distinctive cassocks that were often a riot of wonderful colours--oranges, pinks, and so on--that most other traditions soberly scorned, to their loss.

Since that time, we have continued to learn more about the various so-called Oriental Orthodox Churches. In June of this year we will have a new book deepening our understanding further: St. Thomas and India: Recent Research is authored by K. S. Mathew, Joseph Chacko Chennattuserry, and Antony Bungalowparambil (Augsburg Press, 2020), 200pp.

About this book we are told this by the publisher:
In St. Thomas and India, renowned scholars trace the historical, religious, and cultural connections link India's Syrian Christian community with St. Thomas the Apostle. They use modern historiographical methods seek to corroborate the ancient tradition that tells of St. Thomas's missionary journey to India in the middle of the first century, in which he established seven churches in some of the major commercial centers of Malabar. From this first churches, Christianity spread throughout the region. St. Thomas in India also examines the legacy of the ancient Christianity on the Syrian community in India today, as well as exploring the various cultural and religious connections between the Syrian church in Indian and other ancient churches in the east.

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