Syrian Orthodox bishop doubts St Thomas visited South India – Times News Network

Geevarghese Mor Coorilos

St. Thomas did not visit Kerala and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity. – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Jacobite Syrian Church

The following remarkable news item appeared in The Times of India, Kochi edition, on 13 April 2018:

Udukki: After the land scam, another controversy has erupted in the Syro-Malabar Church. This time around, the ruckus is over the historical validity of the claim that St. Thomas the apostle had visited Kerala.

Three days ago, bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Niranam diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Church said St. Thomas hadn’t visited the state and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity.

Syro-Malabar Church official spokesperson and senior priest belonging to Enakulam-Angamali diocese Fr. Paul Thelekatt too agreed with the Niranam bishop: “There is no valid evidence to prove the visit of St. Thomas to Kerala. It is believed that he visited Kerala in the first century and converted Brahmins to Christianity. But the migration of Brahmins to Kerala began only in the 7th century,[1] indicating that such claims were false. The fact is that a group of people followed Christianity for several centuries in Kerala.”

Syrian Christians in Kerala believe that St. Thomas had visited Kerala and converted the upper caste Namboodiris to Christianity. They believe St. Thomas had also built eight churches (also known as 7.5 churches) in various parts of Kerala. The Syrian Christians are also known as St. Thomas Christians. “Even the Pope has made it clear that St. Thomas had not visited Kerala. But a certain section among Kerala Christians have been nursing a certain caste bias claiming to be descendants of upper caste Hindus who were converted to Christianity,” said Fr. Thelakkat. In fact, Syrian Christians in Changanacherry, Pala and Kanjirappally claim that they belong to upper caste Hindu families converted by St. Thomas. Most of the families in these areas reportedly claim they hail from “Athi Puratana Katholika Kudumbam”.

However, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) doesn’t seemed to be amused over the controversy.

“There is no need to discuss the issue now. Those who raised the issue should solve it,” said KCBC official spokesperson Fr. Varghese Vallikkatt. – The Times of India, 3 April 2018


1. There is a record of Namboodiri Brahmins in Kerala in the middle of the fourth century CE, when the practice of the Vedic Shrauta traditions were revived. The sixth or seventh century dates for their appearance is a politically-coloured Marxist conjecture. But it is true that there is no record of Namboodiris in Kerala in the first three and a half centuries CE (as there is none for Christians).

St. Thomas & Hindu Assassin


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3 Responses

  1. Paul Thelekatt
    “Fr Thelakkat’s statement on St Thomas baseless” says Syro-Malabar Church – Times News Network – Kochi – April 17, 2018

    Idukki: The authorities of Syro Malabar Church, on Sunday, refuted the statement made by former church spokesperson Fr Paul Thelakkat, who had said that there was no evidence to suggest that St Thomas had come to India and converted upper caste Hindus to Christianity. Thelakkat’s remarks had triggered off a controversy within the Church.
    Curia bishop Sebastian Vaniapurakal said the statement was baseless and not based on valid facts. “The official stand of Syro-Malabar Church is that St Thomas had visited India. Many historians and historical documents have already proved it. However, we agree that a small section of historians may have raised their disagreement over St Thomas’s visit,” said the statement.

    Last week, bishop Geevarghese Coorilos of the Niranam diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Church said St Thomas hadn’t visited the state and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity. Later, Fr Thelakkat also came out with a statement supporting the Nirnanam bishop’s remark.

    However, Thelakkat’s statement created a tiff within the Church, with a group of priests and laity members seeking action against the priest. The Changanacherry archdiocese has expressed its displeasure over the comment.

    “There is enough proof to establish that St Thomas had visited Kerala. Some revisionist historians are trying to create doubts in this regard. St Thomas had come to Kerala in a ship. At the same time, St Thomas could not have visited Malayattoor. Basically there is no historical evidence to the footprints of St Thomas and the Gold Cross on Malayatoor hills,” said Fr Jose Kochuparampil, former Mar Thoma Vidyaniketan director and senior priest belonging to Changanachery archdiocese, adding that St Thomas’s Malayattoor connection is a belief followed only by Syrian Christians, which is not validated by historical aspects.

    • Fr Paul Thelakkat’s statement is factually correct.

      And it should be noted that the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is going against the categorical statement of their own pope, Benedict XVI, by continuing to maintain the falsehood that St Thomas visited South India.

      St Thomas did establish a church in Fars, Persia (Parthia), from which Christians emigrated to India as refugees in the 4th century. There is no historical evidence for Christians in India prior to this date, as there is none for Namboodiri Brahmins.

      Christians should stop pretending their religious mythology is Indian history!

      • Note that Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos’s church, the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, is affiliated with the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and was in communion with the Church of the East from the 5th century. Its bishops used to be brought from Persia. Historically, it may claim to be the one of the oldest—if not the oldest—Christian church in India. The Syro-Malabar Church, big and bumbling and corrupt as it is, can only claim to be an oriental branch of the Roman Catholic Church.

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