On Christianity in the Indian Malabar Coast and on the arrival of the Portuguese in a Syriac document from 1504

Michael Abdalla


The early presence of Christians in India is documented with numerous confirmed accounts referring to St. Tomas and with material monuments among which the two copper tablets (one of them dated back to the 3rd or 4th century, while the 2nd one to the 8th century) are the most important ones. The text engraved on them includes the names of Mesopotamian shepherds and Christian notables who arrived to India in the 4th, 8th and 9th centuries and mentions privileges granted to them in the local caste system.  Before the Portuguese came to India the Church of Malabar had still had contacts with the Mesopotamian homeland. Information referring to this fact can be found in the document in the Syriac language translated in this article. Its content reflects the joy of the local Syriac Christians on the arrival of the Portuguese. However, later the relations with the visitors deteriorated, which gave rise to a great deal of bad emotions, mainly, due to the preplanned policy of proselytism and hegemony pursued by Rome and its European allies in the 16th century.

Słowa kluczowe

India, Christians, Malabar, Syriac, Portuguese

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Copyright (c) 2015 Michael Abdalla