Christianity in Tamil Nadu

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Church at Yercaud Yercaud Church.jpg
Church at Yercaud
Thiruvithamcode Arappally under Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is believed to be built by Thomas the Apostle Arappally02.jpg
Thiruvithamcode Arappally under Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is believed to be built by Thomas the Apostle
San Thome Basilica, Chennai is built over the site where St.Thomas is believed to be originally interred Santhome Basilica.jpg
San Thome Basilica, Chennai is built over the site where St.Thomas is believed to be originally interred
Our lady of Lourdes Latin Catholic Church in Tiruchirappalli St. lourdes church.jpg
Our lady of Lourdes Latin Catholic Church in Tiruchirappalli

Christianity in the state of Tamil Nadu, India is the second largest religion in the state. According to tradition, St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, landed in Malabar Coast (modern day Kerala) in 52 CE. In the colonial age many Portuguese, Dutch, British and Italian Christians came to Tamil Nadu. Priests accompanied them not only to minister the colonisers but also to spread the Christian faith among the non-Christians in Tamil Nadu. Currently, Christians are a minority community comprising 6% of the total population. [1] Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu - Kanyakumari (48.7% of the population, 2001 [1] ), Thoothukudi (17%, 2001) and Tirunelveli (11%, 2001).

Contents

The Roman Catholic Church (Latin Rite), the Church of South India, The Salvation Army Church,the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Evangelical Church of India, the Pentacosts, the Apostolics, and other evangelical denominations constitute the Christian population in Tamil Nadu. The Latin Rite of Roman Catholic Church is the oldest and the largest among all. With 15 dioceses including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madras and Mylapore and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai, the Latin Rite has a homogeneous presence throughout the state. The second-largest church by the number of members is the Church of South India with 8 dioceses in Tamil Nadu. They are Coimbatore Diocese, Kanyakumari Diocese, Madras Diocese, Madurai-Ramnad Diocese, Thoothukudi – Nazareth Diocese, Tirunelveli Diocese, Trichy-Tanjore Diocese and the Vellore Diocese. Church of South India Synod, the highest administrative body of the Church of South India, is in Chennai. The vast majority of Christians in Tamil Nadu are either members of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church or the Church of South India. The Pentecostal Mission (TPM) is headquartered in Chennai.

Salvation Army in Tamil Nadu

The Salvation Army is an International Christian Church and charitable organisation. There are six territories in India; Eastern, Western, Northern, Central, South Eastern and South Western Territory. Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry come under the Central and South Eastern Territory. There are more than 1000 churches over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. School, colleges, homes, shelters, and medical services are provided here. The Salvation Army does missionary, medical, educational, emergency disaster, and social services.

The Salvation Army operation commenced on 27 May 1892 as a result of the vision received by Major Deva Sundaram at "Medicine Hill" near Nagercoil in Kanyakumari District. He had been praying and fasting with three officers in South Tamil Nadu. As the Army experienced rapid growth in South India, the Territory was separated from Southern Territory on 1 October 1970. States included in the territory: Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry. 'The Salvation Army' in Tamil: Ratchaniya Senai in Malayalam: Raksha Sainyam. Languages in which the gospel is preached: English, Malayalam, Tamil. Periodicals: Chiruveeran (Tamil), Home League Quarterly, Poresatham (Tamil), The Officer (Tamil)

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

In 1996, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church created its first `Diocese of Thuckalay` in Kanyakumari district, (which was under the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Changanassery in Kerala till then), of Tamil Nadu. The same year the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has also newly established the `Diocese of Marthandam` (bifurcated from its Archdiocese of Trivandrum) in Kanyakumari district. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church established its first diocese Chennai Diocese in the year 1979. St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, was believed to have been martyred, is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. The Santhome Basilica, supposedly built atop the tomb of St. Thomas, and the Vailankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health—revered churches by India's Roman Catholics—are good examples of majestic church architectures in Tamil Nadu.

Christianity In Kanyakumari District

One of the disciples of Jesus Christ, St.Thomas introduced Christianity in Kanyakumari. He built a church in Thiruvithamcode in 63 AD. In the first half of the 16th century, thousands of fishermen converted to Catholicism due to the efforts of Francis Xavier. In 18th century European missionaries including William Tobias Ringeltaube established protestant churches and propagated Christianity in Kanyakumari.

Caste discrimination was so severe in some parts of the district ,that many low castes were not allowed to enter temples and lower caste women were not allowed to cover their breasts. During its reign the Kingdom of Travancore enacted several laws which suppressed lower-caste people. Missionaries fought for the rights of the suppressed people and pushed the Kingdom of Travancore to restore only some basic rights for the converted Christians. As a result many suppressed people embraced Christianity. [2]

Demographics

Christians in Tamil Nadu
YearNumberPercentage
2001 [3]
3,785,060
6.06
2011 [4]
4,418,331
6.12

Districts with significant percentage of Christians as per 2001 census

Districts with significant percentage of Christians as per 2001 census
DistrictChristian (%)Christian (numbers)
Tamil Nadu6.023,785,060
Kanyakumari 48.74795,406
Thoothukudi 16.70262,718
The Nilgiris 11.4587,272
Tirunelveli 10.88296,578
Tiruchirappalli 9.01218,033
Chennai 7.62331,261
Dindigul 7.55145,265
Ramanathapuram 7.0884,092
Kanchipuram 5.92170,416
Sivaganga 5.8667,739
Thanjavur 5.63124,945
Tiruvallur 5.56169,719
Ariyalur 5.2136,261
Pudukkottai 4.5566,432
Coimbatore 4.34185,737
Viluppuram 3.90115,745
Virudhunagar 3.8968,295
Madurai 3.3486,352
Cuddalore 3.2273,611
Teni 3.0933,830
Nagapattinam 3.0745,780
Vellore 2.94102,477
Tiruvarur 2.7031,621
Tiruvannamalai 2.5255,180
Erode 2.1455,414
Perambalur 1.708,412
Salem 1.6750,450
Karur 1.4813,863
Dharmapuri 1.3639,019
Namakkal 0.8013,137

Important Basilicas

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni, Tamil Nadu Entrance Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni, Tamil Nadu Entrance.jpg
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni, Tamil Nadu Entrance
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health Vailankanni Basilica1.jpg
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is located in the small town of Velankanni in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. The Roman Catholic basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health of Velankanni can be traced to the mid-16th century and is attributed to three miracles at different sites around where the basilica currently stands: the apparition of Mary and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a violent sea storm. [5]

Although all three apparitions ultimately resulted in the erection of a shrine to our Lady, it was the promise of the Portuguese sailors that was the proximate cause of a permanent edifice being built at Velankanni. The chapel was dedicated on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8 September), the day of their safe landing. More than 500 years later, the nine-day festival and celebration is still observed and draws nearly 5 million pilgrims each year. The Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni, also known as the "Lourdes of the East," [6] is one of the most important Christian religious sites frequented by Christians in India.

San Thome Basilica

San Thome Basilica at evening SanThomeCathedralBasilica.jpg
San Thome Basilica at evening

San Thome Basilica is a Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) minor basilica in Santhome, in the city of Chennai (Madras), India. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, and rebuilt again with the status of a cathedral by the British in 1893. The British version still stands today. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style, favoured by British architects in the late 19th century. Christian tradition holds that St. Thomas arrived in Kerala in 52 A.D. preached between 52 A.D. and 72 A.D., when he was believed to be martyred on St. Thomas Mount. The basilica is built over the site where he was believed originally to be interred.

San Thome Basilica is the principal church of the Madras-Mylapore Catholic Archdiocese. In 1956, Pope Pius XII raised the church to the status of a Minor Basilica, and on 11 February 2006, it was declared a national shrine by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. The San Thome Basilica is a pilgrimage centre for Christians in India. The church also has an attached museum. [7]

Poondi Madha Basilica

Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica, Poondi, is a Catholic pilgrimage centre located in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, South India. Poondi is a small village located in Thiruvaiyaru Taluk (also spelled as Taluka), about 35 km away from Thanjavur. It is considered as one of the Roman Catholic pilgrim centres similar to Velankanni, which houses the famous Poondi Madha Shrine that attracts pilgrims from all over India.

Contributions to literature

Thambiran Vanakkam 1578.JPG
Thambiran Vanakkam first Tamil Christian book (1578)
Tranqebar bible 1713.JPG
Tamil New Testament (1713)

Christians of Tamil Nadu who have made concrete contributions to Tamil language and Tamil literature are

Christians who had been born in Europe, but were adopted to Tamil culture and made major contributions to Tamil language and literature are

Christian pilgrimages

New Jerusalem Church, Tranquebar The New Jerusalem Church.JPG
New Jerusalem Church, Tranquebar

Notable Christian churches and pilgrimage sites in Tamil Nadu.

List of denominations

Apostolic Christian Assembly [9]

Further reading

See also

Related Research Articles

Mylapore Neighbourhood in Chennai District, Tamil Nadu, India

Mylapore is a neighborhood in the central part of the city of Chennai, India. It is one of the oldest residential parts of the city. It is also called Thirumayilai. The locality is claimed to be the birthplace of the celebrated Tamil philosopher Valluvar.

Velankanni Special Grade Town Panchayat in Tamil Nadu, India

Velankanni (Vēḷāṅkaṇṇi), is a Special Grade Panchayat Town in Nagapattinam district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, 350 km south of Chennai (Madras) and 12 km south of Nagapattinam.

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St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai Church in Tamil Nadu, India

San Thome Church, also known as St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Thomas, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Santhome, in the city of Chennai (Madras), India. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. In 1893, it was rebuilt as a church with the status of a cathedral by the British. The British version still stands today. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style, favoured by British architects in the late 19th century. This church is one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain.

Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Thoothukudi Church in Tamil Nadu, India

Our Lady of Snows Shrine Basilica is located at Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Catholic pilgrimage centers in India dedicated to the Our Lady of Snows, a title given to St. Mary. The Shrine name refers to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.

St. Francis Xaviers Cathedral, Kottar building in India

The St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral also St. Xavier Church is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite shrine located at Kottar, Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state, India. While Saint Xavier was doing missionary work at Kottar and its neighbourhood, he averted an invasion of Vadugas with the help of the army of Paravars and Padaiyatchis of Kottar, at Vadasery, thus protected the people of Venad kingdom from that attack which was appreciated by the king, Unni Kerala Varma, who became closer to the priest and befriended him from then on. In recognition of Xavier’s services, the king allotted him a piece of land to construct a Catholic church, as a gesture of goodwill, as per the church records. There was already a small church, in the same place where St. Xavier’s church stands at present, dedicated to Mary the Mother of God, since AD 1544. Church records indicate that St. Xavier Church was built in 1600. In 1865, the Shrine of Mary was renovated and enlarged. In 1930, the church was raised to the status of a cathedral. The annual festival is celebrated during November – December, lasting for 10 days.

Christianity is the third-most practised religion in Kerala, accounting for 18% of the population according to the Indian census. Although a minority, the Christian population of Kerala is proportionally much larger than that of India as a whole. A significant portion of the Indian Christian population resides in the state.

Tirunelveli City being the district headquarters of Tirunelveli District in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It has a very extensive transport network. Tirunelveli is a vital tourist destination with lot of religious places, monuments and hill stations. Tirunelveli is also a major junction for transportation around Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari Districts.

Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Pallippuram Church in Kerala, India

The Basilica of Our Lady of Snow, Pallippuram, Ernakulam, Kerala, is a minor basilica. The basilica decree was issued on 27 August 2012. The raising of the Pallippuram church was officially announced at the conclusion of the silver jubilee celebrations of the diocese on 7 October.

St. Sebastian Church, Papanasam Church in Tamil Nadu, India

Shrine of St. Sebastian is a church in the town of Papanasam in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, India. It was constructed as a mud church in about 1870 by Fr. Abraham, the parish priest of Thiruvaiyaru. It was renovated by Abraham's successor Gabriel Playoust and consecrated on 20 January 1894. The church is known for the car festival during Easter. The church is a part of the diocese of Kumbakonam. It was bifurcated from the parish of Ayyampettai. Rev. Fr. Cyrian Kappen was the first parish priest. It started functioning as an independent parish from 1933 February 11 onwards.

Territories of Catholic dioceses in India

This page gives a list of the territories of the dioceses of the Catholic Church in India.

The Diocese of Tirunelveli is one among the 24 dioceses of the Church of South India (CSI).It is based at Tirunelveli, in the state of Tamil Nadu, southern India. The diocese has 687 churches, 101 pastors, and a membership of 1,86,000.Holy Trinity Cathedral, at Palayamkottai is the Cathedral of Tirunelveli Diocese. The churches were established by church missionary society (CMS) missionaries and Society for propagating gospel (SPG) missionaries. In the year of 1919 Tinnevely Diocese Trust Association (TDTA)was formed by uniting both mission and also with baptists and presbyterians churches in the neighbourhood.

Diocese of Madras of the Church of South India

The Diocese of Madras is a diocese of Church of South India in Tamil Nadu state of India.The diocese is one among the 22 dioceses of Church of South India.

Diocese of Kanyakumari of the Church of South India

The Diocese of Kanyakumari is one of the 24 dioceses under the Church of South India. The diocese was constituted on 2 June 1959.

Thoothukudi - Nazareth Diocese of the Church of South India

The Thoothukudi - Nazareth Diocese is a diocese of Church of South India in Tamil nadu state of India.The diocese is one among the 22 dioceses of Church of South India in India.The cathedral of the diocese is St. John's Cathedral at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu.

In the state of Tamil Nadu the most widely professed religion is Hinduism, with significant Christian and Muslim communities. Tamil Nadu has centers of worship for a multitude of faiths. According to 2011 Census of India figures, 87.58% of Tamil Nadu's population are Hindus, 6.12% are Christians, 5.86% are Muslims, 0.12% are Jains, 0.02% are Buddhists and 0.02% are Sikhs.

Christianity in Kanyakumari district

Christianity in Kanyakumari district is its second largest religion. The Catholic Church has about 400,000 followers, while the Protestant groups have about 200,000 members. Currently, Christians are a minority community in Kanyakumari District comprising 46% of the population.

References

  1. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "AGITATION FOR UPPER CLOTH IN KANYAKUMARI DISTRICT | rjisacjournal.com" . Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  3. "Total population by religious communities". Censusindia.gov.in. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  4. "Indian Census 2011". Census Department, Government of India. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. "History of Velankanni". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  6. Hindus join in India's Marian pilgrimage on Catholic World News
  7. "Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas". SanThomeChurch.com. Archived from the original on 2 March 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  8. "Thiruvithamcode church to be global pilgrim centre". hindu.com. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 World Christian Encyclopedia, Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 368
  10. 1 2 3 4 World Christian Encyclopedia, Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 369
  11. Church of South India
  12. Church of North India
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 World Christian Encyclopedia, Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 370
  14. World Christian Encyclopedia, Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 371