RE: unity I don’t think it will be that …
Comment posted Population Statistics and Demography of Saint Thomas Christians, Churches with historical references by John Mathew.
I don’t think it will be that easy to revert to pre-Portuguese Christianity, nor do I necessarily agree with it.
My perspective is that the faith of my father is closer to me than that of my grand-father (or his forefathers). So even if it is definitively shown that the Syrian Christians were exclusively members of the Church of the East prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, that would not compel me to leave my West Syrian Orthodox faith—for the simple reasons that my ancestors (for at least ten generations, by my research) were Orthodox. So, to me and my ancestors, a reversion to the East Syrian faith would be a reversion to something alien. I feel that the same may be true of a Syro-Malabar Catholic who, in order to revert to the pre-Portuguese faith, would have to give up the modifications that have been injected into that Church over the past few centuries.
And then consider the Mar Thomites who most certainly would not cast off their Protestantism in favor of a bona fide eastern faith (it would be far easier for a rich man to enter heaven, than for a Mar Thomite to become an Eastern Christian…!). (Sorry NSC, I just had to put that in !!!)
The fact is regardless of our doctrinal and liturgical differences, all communities accept something from the past and retain a connection to it. The Syro-Malabar retain some of the East Syrian liturgy and language. The Orthodox retain the reverence of the original Kadishangal–Mar Sabor and Mar Aphroth, celebrate liturgies honoring some of the true (non-Chaldean) East Syrian fathers, and have been less interested in destroying old Churches and altars in favor of modernity/western compliance. Both communities, depending on geographical location, retain some of the old customs as well. And all communities (even my favorite Protestants, the Mar Thomites) have expressed some interest in supporting the Syrian (East or West) language and heritage (via the Mar Ephrem institute, managed by the Syro-Malankara Catholics). So I think neither unity nor ecumenism of the Churches are necessary — since nothing has really been lost, and we’re in no danger of being destroyed.
And regarding the new Christians … I don’t know. I think new converts to the Syro-Malabar or Orthodox faiths should be accepted unhesitatingly. After all, the general Syrian Christian community must certainly consists of the descendants of peoples who were native sons of India and who converted over the past two millenia (in addition to Jews, Arabs, Persians, other Middle Easterners, etc., who arrived via immigration).
*But* I think the Nasranis should exclude all Protestants (Pentecostals, the CSIs, and so on), include the “new Christian” converts to Protestantism. Those communities are not Nasranis, and have no connection to the Nasrani way. Even if they descend from people who used to be Nasranis. To accept Protestants and those allied with Protestantism would certainly dilute, pollute, and pervert our people.
(And to Sunny: to claim that those who disagree with George Mathew’s over-enthusiasm for “Jewish Christianity” are ignorant, is ridiculous. There is no evidence that our pre-Portuguese ancestors were Jewish Christians… most of the evidence suggests that they were bona fide Church of the East members. If Jewish Christianity existed, it existed way back in the mists of time—the first century—only to be destroyed by Gentile Christianity: and again, all of us Syrians—Syro-Malabar, Orthodox, and COE—subscribe to Gentile Christianity, not Jewish Christianity. Read a little more rather than relying on fantasy-driven speculation. Or, put your money where your mouth is, go and get circumcised yourself, and become a Jewish Christian—if you read anything on the topic you’d know that’s what they required, as well as a Jewish mother.)
Related NSC Network Articles
- Sixteenth Century Churches – Churches belonging to Catholics and Syriac Orthodox ( 1818 AD-Statistics)
- Ancient Churches with traditional dates of foundation & Stone Crosses of Kerala- Saint Thomas Cross, Nazraney Sthambams and other Persian Crosses
- ‘The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Demographic and Socio-Economic Transition In The Twentieth Century’ by K. C. Zachariah
- Surviving MSS- Old Testament Manuscripts, Psalms and New Testament Manuscripts of Christians of Saint Thomas
- SRITE- Project for Preserving the Manuscripts of the Syrian Christians in India
- ‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India’- Volume II , Chief Editor Prof.George Menachery
- Palm Sunday ( Kuruthola Perunnal), Maundy Thursday( Pesaha), Good Friday (Dukha Velli) and Easter among Saint Thomas Christians of India
Get NEW Articles by e-mail / Enter your e-mail
Nasrani Syrian Christians NETWORK Snapshot
- Nazrani History and Discourse on Early Nationalism in Varthamanapusthakam
- PESAHA CELEBRATION OF NASRANIS: A SOCIO-CULTURAL ANALYSIS
- Saint Thomas Christians in the Shaping of Modern Kerala
- Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr
- MS Vatican Syriac 22 & MS Vatican Syriac 17: Syriac Manuscripts copied in South India
- Patriarchate Of India- An Appraisal Of The Evolution Of The Episcopal Hierarchy Among Thomas Christians Of Malabar