Ayroor Thayillam Family
Following the ascension of Jesus, the bestowal of the Holy Spirit on the disciples at
Christianity in India
Christianity took root on the Malabar coast, India (now Kerala) in the first century AD
around the seven churches that St. Thomas established there. Christian faith has since
flourished across the land, coexisting with other religions.
Kerala is a narrow stretch of lush green territory that lies on the southwest coast of the
Indian subcontinent. Hindu legends claim that Kerala rose from the sea as a gift of God.
The entire land is interlaced with rivers, placid lagoons, paddy fields and coconut palms.
Plantations of rubber, tea, coffee, pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and other spices
cover the highlands in the east.
The lure of spices attracted traders from the Middle East and Europe to the many trading
ports - Calicut, Cranganore, Cochin, Alleppey and Quilon - long before the time of Christ.
And it was on a trading vessel plying between Alexandria and the Malabar coast that St.
Thomas the Apostle landed a merchant ship from Osselis in Arabia at the ancient port of
Muziris (which became extinct in 1341 AD) near Kodungallur.
Muziris is the ancient port city near Kochi (Kerala), the south western state of India known
as 'Vanchi' to locals. It was famous as a major port for trade and commerce for more than
There he began preaching the Gospel. His teachings were accepted not only by those who
chose to become Christians but also by those who chose to remain Hindus. The teachings
eventually got integrated into the beliefs and traditions of the local communities, into their
family history, into their songs and dances.