The first Christian Church in…INDIA?

On the east coast of India near Piravom, there stands a church called St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral.  But it also has gone by another name:  Rajakkalude Pally (“Holy Magi church”)

This obviously got my attention.  Being so far from the area where Christianity spread first (far from places like Antioch and Ephesus and the sort), it struck me odd when I heard it claimed, by legend, to be the first Christian church in the world!

This church is a part of the Malankara tradition which originated when the Saint Thomas Christians had their first contact with Portuguese Catholic missionaries.  The Saint Thomas Christians had been worshiping, untouched by the power of Rome, for centuries.  But they practiced things the Pope called blasphemy, like married clergy.  The persecution that spawned from that sent many looking for a place to worship as they were taught. This tradition resisted the Catholic pressure and sided with Syric tradition.

They still practice a Holy Mass daily officiated by three clergy (“Vishudha Moonninmel Kurbana”) and there is a mention in the Wiki page of an ‘astrological competence’ there.  All of this sounds oddly familiar, right?  One of the major exports of Piravom was spices for many years.

It is seen in the History of St. Thomas (Page. 15; Suriyani Sabha, Kaniyanparambil Kurian Corepiscopa) that the ‘Megusans’(MAGI), who made offerings to Infant Jesus had been sanctified as Christians in India by St. Thomas, when St. Thomas was in missionary works in Kerala. -Wikipedia

 

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