Thekkumbhaga (Southists): Jewish Christians: Kerala, India


Jewish Christians

It is important to mention here that a group of Christians in Kerala, the Thekkumbhagar (Southists), call themselves Jewish Christians. They claim that their ancestors made up of 72 Jewish Christian families from around Baghdad, Nineveh, and Jerusalem came to India under the leadership of one Thomas of Cana (the place where Jesus turned water into wine), a blood-relative of Jesus. These new colonists settled down on the south-ern shore of the Periyar; hence they received the name “Southists,” as opposed to the local “Northist” Christians who lived north of the river in Cranganore.

These St. Thomas Christians followed the Aramaic language in their liturgy and were under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Oriental Patriarch of Celusia-Ctesiphon of Persia (Babylon) up until the arrival of the Portuguese in the fifteenth century. Until that time the Christians of Kerala were very Indian in their culture, though Middle-Eastern in worship.

(Mention of some not so peaceful Christians)

The Portuguese considered it their duty to bring these Oriental Christians under the supremacy of the Pope of Rome by Latinizing their Syrian liturgy and by purging them of their errors or “heresies.” Dom Menezes, the Arch-bishop of Goa, convened a Synod at Udaimperur in 1599 for changing the Syrian Christians into “true” Roman Catholics. Dom Menezes persuaded the Synod delegates to pass several decrees which admitted that their Church had been heretical in some tenets and practices. The Synod severed the connection between the Kerala Church and the “heretical” Persian Church and declared their fealty to the Pope of Rome. Oom Menezes then appointed a Portuguese bishop over the Syrian Church.

A large number of the Syrian Christians resented this foreign incur-sion in the internal affairs of their Church. They wanted their own Syrian bishops. In 1653, Ahatulla, A Syrian bishop, arrived in Kerala, but he was detained illegally by the Portuguese, who — it was rumored — even assassina-ted him on his way from Mylapore to Kerala. The enraged Syrian Christians believing the rumors were true, assembled in thousands in front of the ancient cross (koonan kurisu) at Mattancherry and took a solemn pledge with oath that they would never again obey the Latin Archbishop or the Jesuits.

These de-fiant Christians came to be called Puthencoor (Protestant) Syrians and those who remained loyal to the Roman Pontiff came to be called Pazhayacoor (Orthodox) Syrians. This basic division, with many subdivisions among the Puthencoor Syrians, persists even today.


One may access the detail account by clicking the link given in the beginning of this post.



Nice try but Dr. Zacharias Thundy (a supposed scholar) made a slight mistake in his assertion. The Orthodox are not in communion with the Roman Pontiff. Also, his works are not to be taken seriously since he also bolters the Ahmadiyya’s belief that Jesus, the Buddha and Krishna are somehow correlated.


Cath - are these guys members of the Orthodox church then. I don’t think most Muslims here grasp the distinction between the Orthodox and Catholic churchs are there is a tendency to just lump everyone in under the general heading of Christians.


Most are members of the Oriental Orthodox churches. There are a few who are in communion with Rome - Syro-Malabar Church, (which follows the Chaldean tradition) and the Syro-Malankara Church (which follows the Antiochean tradition). There are also splinter groups from the Oriental Orthodox churches that allied with the Anglican Church and have their own liturgies and seminaries. You can learn more about the Saint Thomas Christians from wikipedia. Not entirely reliable i know, but i have checked with a few official Malabar church websites and its pretty close.


I’m aware of the Syro-Malabar church from knowing members of it who live in London. It appears once again Paarsurrey is commenting on issues he is not really au fait with. It smacks of me trying to comment on the complexity that is Hindusim without understanding the differences between various traditions and movements.


I know these kana Christians well. They are people who consider high caste and they think that they are socially very high and coming from the line of jews. All these are fake. Compared to the St thomas christians in Kerala, they have no culture. They are drinking alcohol in their festival occassions, women children, elders, priests all will drink. I know many of them engaging in sex without marriage. These are practices not done by St thomas Christians in Kerala.
But these thekkumkoors think that they are very superior. But looking at their culture and their skin colour they are ugly. Most of them have a foul smell also. Their white colour is not attractive.

From my research and the stories I heard, it is seen that Thomas of Kana married a low caste woman who was a cloth washer or cleaner. He gave her stay ona room which was at the south of his house (thekku). The children born on them are called thekkumbagham or kana Christians. Othrs call them “Charamkotties”.
Only think is that they have much communalism. Many of them are in foreign countries. Now they are rich. But thier history cannot be whitewashed.


Hey hup guys a bit of mind-boggling racism and prejudice to start the sunday morning of for me in London.


Wow, i have never seen so much racism and bigoted claims spew from one post alone. Something tells me you smell of paarsurrey. This is your post from another thread:

Pope is only the successor of St. Paul. Paul had gone to Rome preached there established church.

I hope the Mods do a background check on you to confirm.


I’m hoping it’s not paarsurrey -he struck me as a bit more pleasant than that for all he has some silly posts.


I hope not either. I am refraining from reporting it to the Mods, but as an experienced Mod myself, i know how trolls come on board trying to put an altogether different personality. A simple IP check can confirm if he’s paarsurrey or not, unless he used tunneling methods.


What I have stated are all true. My aim is not to spread racism.
I am a syro malabar christian who is seeing the things happening in Kerala. All my statements are facts accepted or said by syrian christians in Kerala.


Of course, why didn’t i think you could be a Syro-Malabar Christian? :rolleyes: You think that claim alone is enough is convince me you are one? Your post hardly reflects the behaviour of your community.


Okay, WHOA. if you’re speaking of Canaanites/Kannanites (im not entirely sure of the spelling), that’s really harsh. you cannot make such a stereotypical statement about a group of people.
Yes, Kanannites do exclude themselves from other Indian Catholics and their tradition is very unique (with many Jewish traditions still kept in tact), but not ALL of them “smell” and are “foul” and “unattractive.” AND, HUGE side note, just like everywhere else in the world, I’m sure there are Malayali Catholics who are engaging in premartial sex, IT HAPPENS. Just as alcohol is consumed at parties. I think it’s time for you to step out of your bubble and see the real world.


Originally Posted by codebilly:
The Kerala Church

Antony Nirappel

Changanacherry Kerala, India

*The Gospel was proclaimed in India by Saint Thomas the Apostle. He
landed at Kodungalloor (Crangannore) in Kerala in A.D. 52 *


What Gospel did Saint Thomas and his followers follow? Did they use the KJV- the Protestant Bible or the Catholic Bible or JWs Bible or the Mormon Bible and in what language? Just for information; anybody, please, I am interested to know.



Originally Posted by JharekCarnelian:
the bible was not organised in the form you see it now until about the 3rd century, in AD 52 by no means all the books that comprise it had even been written down yet. The Gospel is refering to Christ’s message rather than a literal book in this context.


I am interested in the Gospel of Jesus and not the one compiled by the Church without any permission/authorization from Jesus untill about the 3rd century as you have mentioned above.

What written book/s did Saint Thomas had with him in AD 52 when he went to Kerala?



This is the best article about Kerala’s Catholic and Christian history and tradition.


St. Thomas was an Apostle of Jesus ( direct disciple ). Jesus is the Living Word.

READ THIS and its references please. You will see that all “Paul invented Christianity” theories are false and omit this important history.

The Gospel was proclaimed in India by Saint Thomas the Apostle. He landed at Kodungalloor (Crangannore) in Kerala in A.D. 52 and kindled the light of faith on this land with the baptism of our forefathers.[1] The ancient Church of Kerala founded by St.
Thomas, despite the multitude of vicissitudes she has encountered,
continues to flourish to this day. The Saint Thomas Christians of
India known also as the “Nazaranees,” have maintained the treasure
of their faith with a sense of genuine honor and orthodoxy; at the
same time they have retained the culture, social customs and
decorum of the land, while contributing-their share to the Kerala
and Indian culture.

From very early times, India carried on a flourishing trade with
the Middle East and the Western countries, particularly with
Antioch, Alexandria and Rome by both land and sea. Pliny, in his
, written in the middle of the first century
A.D., speaks of the sea route to India and of the monsoon winds of
July, and says that from Osselis in Arabia, the ship took forty
days to reach Mussirissi (Kodungalloor), the chief port and center
of commerce on the Malabar coast.[2] Rawlinson, in his book, , traces the effect of the "Pax Romano"
of Augustus upon trade and establishes that Roman and Indian
rulers sent their representatives to each other. In 20 B.C., the
Pandya King of Madura (India) sent a diplomatic mission to
Augustus ( 18 (1886), 309).
The coins of Augustus and Nero were found in abundance in South
India, and the Roman aureus circulated there as currency.

A drama written in Alexandria in the first century A.D. has one of
its characters speaking Canarese, an Indian language. Evidently,
foreign merchants learned Indian languages just as the South
Indians had an appreciable mastery of Aramaic.


We read in the that Saint Thomas the Apostle,
after preaching the Gospel to the Parthians, the Persians, et al.,
went to India, where he taught the Christian religion and
established the Church . . . and that he died a martyr at Calamina
at the order of the idolatrous king of the place.

There is an ancient work known as , originally written
in Edessa in the second or early third century. Its Syriac, Greek,
Latin, Armenian and Coptic editions acquired wide publicity in the
Middle East in the early centuries. It narrates that Thomas
went to the court of King Gondophares in North India and preached
there for some years, after which, becoming aware of the demise of
the Blessed Virgin Mary, he went back to Jerusalem; that on the
second journey, the Apostle came to Malabar, established the
Church and preached there for many years; that he then went to the
Coromandel Coast, where he died a martyr at Calamina (Mylapore) by
the order of Masdai, king of that place.[5]

As a result of the excavations conducted in North India about the
year 1830, certain coins have been discovered which prove beyond
doubt that there was a king named Gondophares of a Parthian
dynasty. These coins are preserved in the Lahore Museum. This king
has been mentioned in no record except the <Acta.>

Numismatists confirm that these coins were minted
between A.D. 10 and 50. A votive inscription of the same period
was discovered in Peshawar in 1857, called the Takhti-Bahi
inscription. In 1902-03, a coin bearing the name Gad was unearthed
at Charbade. This may be the same Gad mentioned as the brother of
Gondophares in the <Acta.> Nowhere else has that name been heard
of. Gondophares might have been the last king of his dynasty. The
powerful Kushan kings who succeeded him may have obliterated his
name from history.

The tradition in Kerala, constant and
definite, may be summed up thus:

The Apostle St. Thomas landed in Kodungalloor (Cragannore) or
Maliankara in A.D. 52. The Greeks called this place Mousiris and
the Jews, Muzirikode. While the Apostle was going to the Jewish
colony nearby, he had to cross the village of Palayur, where he
saw the Hindu temple and the temple tanks. Certain Nambooris
(Brahmins) were bathing in the tank. St. Thomas worked a miracle
there. The Nambooris took water in their palms and threw it
upwards reciting “mantes” (prayers). Seeing the same water falling
down, the apostle asked them why their deity refused to accept
their offering. He then took some water from the pond, and calling
on the Name of Jesus Christ, threw it upwards. Those water drops
assumed the shape of rose flowers and remained suspended in
midair. Because of this manifestation many of the Nambooris
believed in Christ and received baptism. However, a small number
of them became enraged at the incident, cursed the place, and went
to another village called Vempanad. The place they cursed is known
as “Sapakkad,” the accursed place. Even today, the Nambooris
crossing that village refrain from bathing or eating there. At
Palayur, near Kodungalloor, one can see today the Jews Hill, with
a Catholic Church nearby surrounded by tanks. This is the Palayur
parish church. Hindu idols, sacrificial stones and other articles
relating to a Hindu temple are seen there in abundance. Can this
coincidence of the traditions of Hindus and Christians be mere
accidental?[7] –


They followed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons did not exist at that time.

Simple as.



Why don’t the Catholics also follow the Gospel of Jesus which Saint Thoams had?



There is no such Gospel of Jesus, why don’t you ask LDNCatholic to show the reference.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit