The Advent of Christianity in India

1075

The Eastern Christian writings and the Christian scholars suggest that Christianity was introduced in India (the subcontinent) by Saint Thomas- the Apostle of Jesus Christ.

According to the primeval Indian Christian traditions, the Apostle arrived in Kodungallur, also known as Muziris and Kerala. His missionary work yielded seven Churches in the region. The present day Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the places where the Apostle substantially evangelized.

 

The earliest converts to embrace Christianity were the Jewish followers who had settled in this region, presumably as early as 562 BC, subsequent to the destruction of the First Temple. It’s believed that the preaching was carried out in Aramaic as the local Jews spoke Aramaic

 

Although owing to the deficiency of extensive evidences, the exact year of Saint Thomas’s visit to India is not known. But the Bible provides credible evidence of his visit to this region. According to Acts, the Apostle Thomas was commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself although the Apostle was reluctant at first. But the Lord’s Word prevailed over him, compelled by the circumstances he was induced to go along with an Indian merchant “Abbanes” native of Northwest India. Upon arrival, he rendered his services to the “King Gondophares” an Indo-Parthian. The archaic 3rd century Syriac work also identified as the “Acts of Thomas” chronicles Saint Thomas’s missionary work in link to two kings in India, one of North and the other of South. In the North, his work ostensibly yielded massive conversions including the northern King and his brother. The Apostle’s subsequent mission in India was spotted in a southern-kingdom which was under the decree of  King Mahadwa. The traditions of “Church of Thomas” record that the Apostle evangelized along the southwestern coastline of Malabar in Kerala state.

 

Saint Thomas preached to all divisions of people in India, most of them belonged to the Jewish line. The Gospel was accepted by more or less 17,000 people in India, in consequence of his missionary work. The world’s oldest known Church structure is considered to be fabricated by Apostle Thomas in 57 AD  in Tamil Nadu, India.