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  #1  
Old May 30, '12, 11:53 am
BVT BVT is offline
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Default New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

The establishment of a Syro-Malabar Church (SMC) diocese in Delhi Latin rite archdiocesan area is a turning-point in Indian Church history.

The SMC, the larger of the two Oriental rites, last weekend erected Faridabad diocese with a Vatican diplomat as its first bishop.The new diocese under Archbishop Mar Kuriakose Bharanikulangara came after decades of negotiations with the Vatican to overcome resistance from India’s Latin rite hierarchy.So far, the jurisdiction of the SMC and the other Oriental rite, Syro-Malankara, was restricted to their base in Kerala state in southern India.The rest of the country was solely under the Latin rite, the product of European missionary work that now accounts for 130 of India’s 165 dioceses.



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  #2  
Old May 30, '12, 12:00 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

The Latin Church in India has traditionally resisted dioceses of other rites in its territory, saying they would show a divided identity for Catholics.Such opposition basically came from the Roman feudal “thought” that saw diocese as a land area and bishop as the sole authority of all Church powers.The Orientals, on the other hand, view the Church as congregations of people whose spiritual needs should be met while respecting their traditions.

The refusal of both groups to understand and accept each other has led to protracted acrimony in India and Rome.The Orientals say the territorial restriction violated the prescriptions of the Second Vatican Council, which upheld the equality of all rites within the Catholic Church. The council also stressed the responsibility of every Christian to evangelize.The main reason for Latin resistance is the differences in liturgy and Church practices also the huge missionary force of Syro Malabar church .While the Latin rite follows the Roman form of liturgy and uses local languages, the Orientals follow the Syrian form of liturgy mostly in Malayalam, Tamil,Hindi their mother tongue, even in other parts of the country.However, the Oriental diocese sharing Latin rite areas, or Latin dioceses getting established among Oriental Christians, is nothing new in India.

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Old May 30, '12, 12:04 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

It began in the 16th century with the Portuguese setting up Latin dioceses among Kerala’s Oriental Christians, who trace their roots to Saint Thomas the Apostle.Successive batches of Portuguese missioners wanted to “correct” the Kerala Christians’ faith practices and spiritual leadership, which triggering a bitter tussle.Violence, litigation and the excommunication of bishops eventually split the monolithic Oriental Church into two in 1653, with one group pledging to have “nothing to do” with Latin missioners.The other group, ancestors of the SMC Catholics, stayed with the Latin Church because of their eagerness to be with the pope of Rome.However, they continued to complain about restrictions from the Latin rite and the Vatican.

“The Vatican is doing great injustice to us,” Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the previous SMC leader, had complained in a recorded interview eight years before his death in 2011.

Cardinal Vithayathil’s prime concern was his Church’s inability to offer spiritual care to its people in Latin rite areas outside Kerala because the Vatican limited his jurisdiction within Kerala, making the southern state his “proper territory.”

Despite being the major archbishop of a “self-governing” Church to establish dioceses and appoint bishops, he could do nothing of that sort outside Kerala.It is this sense of pain and injustice that is being undone through the establishment of Faridabad diocese. It also indicates a thaw in Oriental-Latin tensions.



However, some ambiguities remain.

Last month, the SMC Synod announced that the “Vatican has approved” its decision to establish Faridabad diocese for people in and around New Delhi. But some other statements said the “Vatican has established” the diocese.The first would mean the Vatican has recognized the SMC synod’s canonical power to set up dioceses according to the needs of its people across the globe. The second would mean restrictions remain, and the SMC major archbishop would have only Kerala as his territory.

Faridabad would also encourage the SMC people in other Indian cities to demand similar dioceses.

The challenge for all the rites, therefore, is to give a common witness to their faith in a country where Christians form only 2.3 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people.

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/new-dio...es/18016/daily
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  #4  
Old May 30, '12, 12:50 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

Quote:
Originally Posted by BVT View Post
The Latin Church in India has traditionally resisted dioceses of other rites in its territory, saying they would show a divided identity for Catholics.Such opposition basically came from the Roman feudal “thought” that saw diocese as a land area and bishop as the sole authority of all Church powers.The Orientals, on the other hand, view the Church as congregations of people whose spiritual needs should be met while respecting their traditions.
Tell that to the Russian Orthodox.

It's not feudalism (nor is feudalism especially Roman), but a continuation of the Early Church model of geographical dioceses.

In the modern world, with all the mixing of peoples that occurs, we have three basic choices:

1) Force people of a differing liturgical and spiritual tradition to conform to the norms of the local Church.

2) Diversify local dioceses to include many distinct ancient traditions in different parishes or other communities.

3) Create overlapping dioceses/eparchies in the same geographical area for Catholics of different traditions.

The downside of option 1 is that people would be pressured out of the authentic traditions of those who had evangelized them. The downside of option 2 is that Catholics of traditions that are in the minority in the region won't get their own bishop who speaks their language (figuratively or even literally speaking) and understands their needs. The downside of option 3 is that the Catholics of a local area will no longer be united as a single Church community under a common bishop, as had been the case through most of Church history.

In regions in which the primitive situation of a single Catholic diocese/eparchy of a single tradition has been retained, those "native" Catholics of the region and especially their bishops are likely to feel threatened by the prospect of other traditions and see them as a threat to the unity of the local Church and a potential source of confusion and even scandal among the faithful and among non-Catholics. Therefore they are likely to oppose options 2 and 3. Meanwhile the Catholics of the minority tradition are likely to want to retain their unique traditions and identity and to have their own bishop, leading them to oppose options 1 and 2.

The result is that no one takes option 2 seriously, and there is a tension between those who want option 1 or option 3. In this era of increased Latin appreciation of Eastern traditions, and also Latin experience in Eastern Europe as minorities opposed by locally larger and better established Christian traditions, we've seen a shift from preference for option 1 to preference for option 3.

I guess the main thing I want to point out is that each option has its benefits and drawbacks. We should seek to understand the concerns of all sides on this question and recognize that each has valid points, while submitting to the final decisions of the Church on how to handle the problem.
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Last edited by Aelred Minor; May 30, '12 at 1:04 pm.
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  #5  
Old May 30, '12, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

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Last month, the SMC Synod announced that the “Vatican has approved” its decision to establish Faridabad diocese for people in and around New Delhi. But some other statements said the “Vatican has established” the diocese.The first would mean the Vatican has recognized the SMC synod’s canonical power to set up dioceses according to the needs of its people across the globe. The second would mean restrictions remain, and the SMC major archbishop would have only Kerala as his territory.
It seems to me that the two things are not necessarily different, or mutually exclusive, at all. For example, IIRC, the Maronite diocese in Australia was erected on the initiative of the Patriarch & Synod, but was subject to "approval" (read: actual establishment) by Rome. Had Rome not "approved," the diocese would not have been established.

The idea here is that Rome considers India (pretty much beyond present-day Kerala), as its own territory, the same as it considers Australia or North America or South America or China, or Europe as its own territory. IOW, the "Patriarchal Territories" of the Orient & East are confined by history, but those of Rome are not. Hence, Rome will always require its "approval" of anything an Oriental or Eastern Synod decides in respect to those territories.

Just my
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  #6  
Old May 30, '12, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

Saint Thomas, pray pray that everyone does the right thing.
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  #7  
Old May 30, '12, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

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Originally Posted by malphono View Post
It seems to me that the two things are not necessarily different, or mutually exclusive, at all. For example, IIRC, the Maronite diocese in Australia was erected on the initiative of the Patriarch & Synod, but was subject to "approval" (read: actual establishment) by Rome. Had Rome not "approved," the diocese would not have been established.

The idea here is that Rome considers India (pretty much beyond present-day Kerala), as its own territory, the same as it considers Australia or North America or South America or China, or Europe as its own territory. IOW, the "Patriarchal Territories" of the Orient & East are confined by history, but those of Rome are not. Hence, Rome will always require its "approval" of anything an Oriental or Eastern Synod decides in respect to those territories.

Just my
I'm not sure what your point is about territories being confined by history or not. It's a matter of who evangelized you or your spiritual ancestors. The Gospel came to the peoples of the Americas, Australia, East Asia, and much of sub-Saharan Africa, overwhelmingly from Latin sources, and so these regions are especially Latin in character for the same reason Scandinavia and the British Isles are, and for the same reason that Ukraine is Byzantine in character. Though of course in each case there's a minority of people who come from a different tradition, and that's where we run into this pastoral difficulty.
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  #8  
Old May 30, '12, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

Yet we live in an era where we are supposedly encouraged by the Catholic Church at the highest level to embrace the fullness of the Church, East and West, and "breath with two lungs" ... yada yada ...

When will this end? The more I read of this "triumph" in India, the more reminiscent of late 19th / early 20th century America it appears to be. While we are greatful for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that has lead to this important decision and development, it is still painful to see that we as Catholics would suppress the traditions of other Catholics simply over a perceived matter of (or mindset centering on) territoriality.
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Old May 30, '12, 9:53 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

"The Faridabad diocese will serve some 1.5 lakh Syro-Malabar Catholics. A total of 88 priests and 855 religious women work at the convents, religious homes, schools and hospitals in the area."

http://in.christiantoday.com/article...alled/7329.htm

(A lahk is one hundred thousand, so 150,000 Catholics.)
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  #10  
Old May 31, '12, 5:02 am
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

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Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
Tell that to the Russian Orthodox.
???confused:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
It's not feudalism (nor is feudalism especially Roman), but a continuation of the Early Church model of geographical dioceses.

Historically the Prelates of St. Thomas Christians were called Metropolitan of India. The titles used for them were “Metropolitan and Gate of All India ” or “Gate of India ”. This indicates the highest rank of authority in the Indian Church and the extend of its jurisdiction. He enjoyed an All India Jurisdiction, the Ruler of the entire Holy Church of Christians of India.The Vatican Codex 22, written in Cranganore in 1301 gives the titles as Metropolitan and the director of the entire holy church of Christian India”.In the year 1564 Pope Pius IV created Archdiocese of Angamali for the syrian Catholics(With Jurisdiction over all India).In 1600 the Metropolitan status of the see of Angamaly (metropolitan of all India, or Gate of India)was abolished by the portughese and was made suffragon to Goa, with far reaching consequences.The news of the reduction of the see of Angamaly from the Metropolitan to a suffragan caused much unrest among the St. Thomas Christians.They lost the title of “ALL INDIA ” which belonged to the prelates of St. Thomas Christians for centuries.Later the Metropolitan status was restored to the see of Angamaly(As Eranakulam-Angamali) but never the title “All India ”.In 1896 Syro Malabar Catholic got their own hierarchy but instead of re-establishing their old Jurisdiction over all India,three Apostolic Vicariates were established in Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanassery.


In the modern world, with all the mixing of peoples that occurs, we have three basic choices:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
1) Force people of a differing liturgical and spiritual tradition to conform to the norms of the local Church.

2) Diversify local dioceses to include many distinct ancient traditions in different parishes or other communities.

3) Create overlapping dioceses/eparchies in the same geographical area for Catholics of different traditions.
The Problem in Indian church is that the concern of disunity arises only when an oriental Diocese is formed in the TRADITIONAL Latin area. But Latins are free to establish diocese in TRADITIONAL Oriental area.Even the Archiepiscopal See of Major archbishop (Eranakulam-Angamali) is overlapping with the Latin Diocese of Verapolly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
We should seek to understand the concerns of all sides on this question and recognize that each has valid points, while submitting to the final decisions of the Church on how to handle the problem.
As Far as i know the only problem with opposition of latin heirarchy against syro malabar diocese in india is this.


Unlike most of other eastern rites Syro malabar church is mostly a Missionary oriented church like Latins.More thaan 60-70 % Missionaries working in Latin Dioceses in India are from Syro malabar rite(It is estimated that there are some 2000 priests and 8000 religious sisters of the Syro-Malabar Church who are working in Latin dioceses outside Kerala accepting the Latin Rite. )

The Syro malabr, Syro Malankara,Latin Rites Co-exist Peacefully in Kerala(All the three rites have jurisdiction in Kerala).There is no Confusion regarding the rite.In the past 100 years all the three rites converted many people without any confusion.I have seen many oriental orthodox church leaders mentioning about this unity.But the ignorant Latin bishops out side kerala see new Syro malabar diocese as a threat to their Mission monopoly and fear that giving Syro malabar church All india Juridistiction means they will start Evangelising of their own.Latin church in India will loose Its Monopoly in mission work and the huge Vocations in the Syromalabar church will be redirected to Syro malabar Mission Diocese.


Note:Diocese of Thuckalay is a mission diocese of Syro Malabar church erected in 1996.Now there are more than 100,000 syro Malabar Catholics in this diocese.
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  #11  
Old May 31, '12, 9:51 am
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

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Originally Posted by BVT View Post
???confused:
The Russian Orthodox Church, within its own claimed territory, takes the territorial view you describe as "Roman", and it's not alone in that viewpoint among Eastern Christians. My only point is that this difference in thinking is not Eastern/Western but a difference that arises when a region with a primitive ecclesial structure encounters the prospect of new overlapping dioceses.


Quote:
Historically the Prelates of St. Thomas Christians were called Metropolitan of India. The titles used for them were “Metropolitan and Gate of All India ” or “Gate of India ”. This indicates the highest rank of authority in the Indian Church and the extend of its jurisdiction. He enjoyed an All India Jurisdiction, the Ruler of the entire Holy Church of Christians of India.The Vatican Codex 22, written in Cranganore in 1301 gives the titles as Metropolitan and the director of the entire holy church of Christian India”.In the year 1564 Pope Pius IV created Archdiocese of Angamali for the syrian Catholics(With Jurisdiction over all India).In 1600 the Metropolitan status of the see of Angamaly (metropolitan of all India, or Gate of India)was abolished by the portughese and was made suffragon to Goa, with far reaching consequences.The news of the reduction of the see of Angamaly from the Metropolitan to a suffragan caused much unrest among the St. Thomas Christians.They lost the title of “ALL INDIA ” which belonged to the prelates of St. Thomas Christians for centuries.Later the Metropolitan status was restored to the see of Angamaly(As Eranakulam-Angamali) but never the title “All India ”.In 1896 Syro Malabar Catholic got their own hierarchy but instead of re-establishing their old Jurisdiction over all India,three Apostolic Vicariates were established in Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanassery.
That's all very interesting, an important part of your history, but it doesn't change the fact today the Catholics in parts of India are of the Latin tradition. Again, what's important is not who had the claim to a particular territory centuries ago so much as what the tradition and heritage of the Christians, especially Catholics, who live in the region today is, and what the current ecclesial structure in the region looks like.

Quote:
The Problem in Indian church is that the concern of disunity arises only when an oriental Diocese is formed in the TRADITIONAL Latin area. But Latins are free to establish diocese in TRADITIONAL Oriental area.Even the Archiepiscopal See of Major archbishop (Eranakulam-Angamali) is overlapping with the Latin Diocese of Verapolly.
This again sounds reminiscent of the situation with the Russian Orthodox. They object to anyone else, Catholic or Orthodox, operating in their territory and yet set up eparchies, seminaries, etc. in other Churches' territories. Hypocrisy? Perhaps, though I'm sure for their part they could give an explanation, valid or invalid, for why the situation is different.

Again, I'm not defending or condemning anyone here, just pointing out that each side has its own understandable concerns and we should seek to understand and respect those, especially when we are talking about Catholic bishops, and pray for the Church as a whole to navigate the problem wisely.
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Old May 31, '12, 10:07 am
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

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Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
That's all very interesting, an important part of your history, but it doesn't change the fact today the Catholics in parts of India are of the Latin tradition. Again, what's important is not who had the claim to a particular territory centuries ago so much as what the tradition and heritage of the Christians, especially Catholics, who live in the region today is, and what the current ecclesial structure in the region looks like. ...

Again, I'm not defending or condemning anyone here, just pointing out that each side has its own understandable concerns and we should seek to understand and respect those, especially when we are talking about Catholic bishops, and pray for the Church as a whole to navigate the problem wisely.
I'm not an expert on Syro-Malabar history, and I'm sure that BVT will be able to provide much more on this, but in the wake of the Synod of Diamper in 1599, what transpired was that the Syro-Malabars were essentially forbidden to evangelize anywhere in India outside of their own proper territory (basically present-day Kerala). This was pretty much concurrent with the demotion of the See of Angamaly from a Metropolitan See in its own right (and the stripping of the title "All India") to suffragan of Goa. The rest of India was considered "Latin territory" and so it remains today.
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Old Jun 1, '12, 4:01 am
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

Syro Malabar Church is the fastest growing eastern catholic rite.. It is now third biggest rite in the catholic church..
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Old Jun 1, '12, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: New diocese in India signals thaw between rites

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I'm not an expert on Syro-Malabar history, and I'm sure that BVT will be able to provide much more on this, but in the wake of the Synod of Diamper in 1599, what transpired was that the Syro-Malabars were essentially forbidden to evangelize anywhere in India outside of their own proper territory (basically present-day Kerala). This was pretty much concurrent with the demotion of the See of Angamaly from a Metropolitan See in its own right (and the stripping of the title "All India") to suffragan of Goa. The rest of India was considered "Latin territory" and so it remains today.

The Untold History of St Thomas Christians of India-550AD-850AD
Cosmas Indicopleustes (literally "Cosmas who sailed to India"; also known as Cosmas the Monk) was an Alexandrian Nestorian merchant ,probably a monk and later hermit, He was a 6th-century traveller, who made several voyages to India during the reign of emperor Justinian. His work Topography contained some of the earliest and most famous world maps.

He is the first traveler (Even though Theophilus surnamed the Indian claimed to be visited Malabar in AD 354 it’s not clear whether he was mentioning about the Arabian peninsula or Malabar) to mention presence of Christians in Malabar unlike Theophilus cosmos give a clear idea about the local flora and fauna of Malabar region which indicate that he actually visited Malabar. He wrote,


“Even in the Island of Taprorane(Sri Lanka) in Further India. where the Indian sea is, there is a church of Christians with clergy and congregation of believers,....And such also is the case in the land called Male(Malabar)…where the pepper grows and in the place called Calliana(Goa-Canara)' there is a bishop appointed from Persia…as well as in the island which they call the Isle of Dioscoris(Socotra) in the same Indian Sea. The inhabitants of that island speak Greek, having been originally settled there by the Ptolemies who ruled after Alexander of Macedon. There are clergy there also, ordained and sent from Persia to minister among the people of the of the island and a multitude of Christians.






Recently excavated Persian cross(8th century) from Agassim Goa
Recently excavated Persian cross() from Agassim Goa suggests that it was once a centre of thriving Persian Christian community Possibly between 600-800 AD. This cross was discovered by Fr Cosme Costa SFX, an archaeologist cum historian of the Pilar Society of Goa accidentally on 27th of April 2001. This was found in a mound of Rock in a thicket in the premises of Saint Peter’s chapel at Dandiin Agaism at the fag end of the old port of Gopakapattana. This was actually the base of granite cross of Latin design- plain cross- which had crumbled down around 1995 on a cyclonic storm and was neglected since then. This Persian cross was hidden inside the mound and had come out and was about to fall into the sea. This was a granite slab with a Persian cross similar to the Mount cross- the two pillars and the arch encircling the Persian cross in a niche carved in granite. The round edge of the upper part shows the same Pahlavi inscriptions. The cross is similar to mount cross with dove above, three steps and the petal arrangement as in mount cross, equal armed cross with ends like a bud.There was a Portuguese inscription on the bottom of the niche. This cross was broken and only 4/5th of the cross were found. Hence half of the Pahlavi inscriptions are lost. The Portuguese inscription runs like this- ‘…A DE s.TOME…..DO R….ILEZ VS…..642…..’which has been interpreted as ‘A deS (Sao) Tome…do R(Regiao?) Ilez (Ilhas?) vs (Vizinhas?)…642(1642)’ It could be roughly translated as That which belongs to Saint Thomas’ (Christians?) from the region of (the neighbouring) islands (Tiswadi) 1642’ .This cross is unique in that we can see the evidence that this Persian cross was destroyed and put in the mound and erected another cross instead on the same site.

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Old Jun 2, '12, 6:39 am
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Now What happened to this Thomas Christians of Goa(Calliana) and Srilanka?


The new book, "Apostolic Christianity in Goa and the West Coast" was recently released. This work is not only historical but has spiritual dimensions, stated Professor and Head, Department of Philosophy and Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at the Goa University, Dr A V Afonso on the occasion. Affirming that this booking is a path breaking study he further said that this book is a must-read by historians as well as lay people.

The book is the fruit of a strenuous research of Father Cosme Jose Costa who discovered the St Thomas Cross (Marthoma Sliba) in the village of Agasaim, providing evidence that St Thomas Christians (Marthoma Nazranis) existed in Goa and the West Coast of India long before the arrival of the Portuguese in 1510. The finding of Marthoma Sliba in Agasaim, Goa inspired to write the book "Apostolic Christianity in Goa", reports Fr Cosme Jose Costa.
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