03 January 2013

360th anniversary of Coonan Cross Oath (Koonan Kurishu Satyam).

03 Jan'13
360th anniversary of Coonan Cross Oath (Koonan Kurishu Satyam).

The Roman Catholic faith started to had its foothold in Malankara with the arrival of Vasco De Gama, the famous Portuguese sailor in 1498. Initially the Portuguese Priests concentrated on the poor people living on the sea coast of Kerala and Goa and converted many to the Latin Catholic faith, some times even forcibly. But later they tried to introduce their faith among the Syrian Christians... of Kerala. For that they even adopted some unholy practices.

On June 20, 1599 the Roman Catholic Archbishop Menezes, with the help of local rulers, convened the historical Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor) and thereafter started forcibly converting the Syrian churches as Latin, burned all the historical documents, and thereby terrified the Syrian Christians. The Malankara Church had to suffer servitude and indignities under the Roman Catholic bishops.

Finally in response to the continuous appeal of the Thomas Arkadiyakon (archdeacon), who was then giving leadership to Malankara Church; from the Patriarchate of Antioch came Mor Ignatius Ahattula in 1653. The tradition is that the Portuguese arrested him, tied him up and cast him in the Ocean. Consequently, the Syrian Christians get agitated and as a result, a large gathering of about 25,000 assembled at Mattancherry and took Oath at 'Koonan Cross' which happens to be known as the historical 'Koonam Kurisu Sathayam' in 1653 and declared that they and their future generations will ever be loyal to the throne of Antioch and also vowed to fight against the atrocities of the Roman/Latin Catholics.

The Malankara Church sent request to the Patriarch of Antioch again and in 1665 Saint Gregorios of Jerusalem was deputed to Malankara. The link between Malankara and Antioch that was broken and remained separated for about 150 years was re-established with the arrival of this holy father. Saint Gregorios ordained, Arakadiyakon as Bishop who assumed charge as MarThoma I. And once again, Malankara Church become the integral part of the Syrian Orthodox Church, adopting its rituals, rites and liturgy as before.


  1. We cannot rule out the possibility of St. Thomas's visit to India. St. Thomas's presence in the palace of Gondopharnes is confirmed by the discovery of coins. Apart from numismatic evidence, the presence of Christian population in and arond Taxila is another strong evidence for the missionary activities of St.Thomas. Pope Benedict, historian and research scholar, would have probably doubted St. Thomas' visit to Kerala. But Thomas' missionary activities in the Persian region was never doubted by scholars. He probably would have extended his missionary activities beyond Taxila and come to Mylapore where he was killed. His followers would have come to Kerala to spread the gospel. Mylapore Christians were probably known at that time as St. Thomas Christians. Their missionary activities in Kerala in converting people and building churches would have been probably attributed to St. Thomas.

    There is, of course. no eviidence for the conversion of Jews in Kerala. The very fact that Christian population was greater than White and Black Jews is an unassailable evidence that Jews were not converted. Portuguese and Dutch writers do not make any reference to Christian Jews in Kerala. The Dutch and English were Protestants and they supported missionary activities of Protestant missiionaries. Protestant missionaries did not find any Christian Jewish family in any part of Kerala to pursue their activites. According to Portuguese and Syrian writers about 200,000 Christians assembled at Matancherry at the time of the Coonen Cross revolt. They were not Jews or Nambudiri Brahmins or Nairs. There would not have been 200 Jews in Kochi at that time. At the most there would have been 300 Nambudiris in and around Mattancherry. Nairs would never join because they were forcing Christians to work as labourers in their paddy fields (oozhiyam service). It is quite obvious the large crowd near the Coonen Cross were local Christians. Only from the coastal area such a large number of people could be collected by the Archdeacon Thomas. . Even the Archdeacon probably would have belonged to fishermen community. When St. Xavier visited Kochi he was greeted by two mukkuva (fishermen) Christians. The only Church in Kerala before the arrival of European powers was the Syrian church, and the mukkuas belonged to Syrian church.It becomes clear from these historical facts that there were no Christian Jews in Kerala in the pre-Portuguese period.

  2. Jewish ancestry exists among Indian Christians as proven by DNA evidence recorded by National Geographic’s Genographic Project.

    I am a multi-generational Indian Orthodox Christian (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church) hailing from the MANAKALATHIL family in Amichakary, Kerala, India.
    I & several male members of our family including several distant male cousins (upto 7 generations removed) had our Paternal DNA tested by National Geographic’s GENOGRAPHIC PROJECT.
    DNA test results reveal an EXACT DNA MATCH with several (around 50, who have done the same Paternal DNA test) KOHANIM JEWS (descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses) around the world including the USA.
    DNA evidence states that we are all descendants of a common “Jewish male ancestor” on the basis of our Y Chromosome exactly matching each other, and the fact that everyone but our family are all currently Jews (Cohen, Katz, Rosenberg, Kessler, Kaplan, etc.) outside India. For your information, among males, the Y Chromosome does not change across generations, and so this evidence is scientifically undeniable.

    When exactly our family’s conversion from Judaism to Christianity happened cannot be proven as yet, but if one looks historically at the early Christian Church, the first Christian converts were Jews and the Apostles early Christian converts were Jews. Based on that, there is every reason to believe that Apostle Thomas also came to India to convert Jews to Christianity. Also, based on my family’s Jewish DNA lineage, we know that Jewish converts to Christianity exist to this day in India.

    My family - MANAKALATHIL family from Amichakary, Kerala, India is living proof that Jewish ancestry exists in the Christian Community in India.