A Church is Born: Church of South India Inauguration

Christianity Comes to India > Arrival

Christianity comes to India

This is the South India of our story. Though it bristles with many strange and historic names, we have confined ourselves to but three - Travancore, where the earliest Christian churches are located; Madras. the first and principal British stronghold in our area; and Tranquebar, where Protestant missions in India were first established.

It was along the palm fringed shore of Travancore, on the extreme southwest coast,

that Christianity first came to India. The exact year is uncertain,

But this tablet bears witness to the tradition, firmly believed by many Indians, that in the cave to which it is attached, "lay hid Thomas, one of the twelve, the great Apostle of India, the very one who put his fingers into the wounds of his Lord and God." History does not suppor this legend, but there is good reason to believe that early in the fourth century, some two hundred years before Augustine brought the Gospel to Britain, Christianity had become established in India.

Behind this gateway is a Syrian church, a direct descendant of that early Christianity. Here priests and people still follow the old Nestorian rites, and among these believers may be found many who,

like this Bishop Abraham, exemplify in their lives and characters true Christian virtue. After Travancore it was more than a thousand years before Christianity again reached India.

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