COCHIN JEWS AND ANJUVANNAM AT MUZIRIS(CRANGANORE/KODUNGALLOOR).SIMILARITIES WITH KNANAYA CHRISTIANS

similarities in the migration pattern of Knanites and Jews,Prof. P.M. Jussay, in his1978 paper, found the wedding songs of Cochin Jews and 
Knanites to be mostly identical with only minimum differences in the verses
He found that many words used in 
these songs are of Aramaic, Yemenite, and Spanish origin. After careful study of 
these words he states, “the words found in the songs of these communities, 
which, as far as I know, do not occur in any of the songs of other communities, 
whether Christian or pagan”. 



Dr. J.B. Segal points out that the overwhelming similarities are not limited 
just to the songs. He writes, "Some practices of the Kanayas are regarded as 
Jewish origin: for instance, the wearing of a veil by Kanaya brides and the 
Kanaya burial with the head in the direction of Jerusalem . More significant are 
the Easter customs of the sect. Like the Jews at Passover, they eat unleavened 
bread and partake as an evening meal. They also recount the stories of Creation 
and Exodus from Egypt " (Segal 7).  Dr. Weil also compares Knanite Easter 
customs to Jewish customs. She writes, “The celebration of Easter appears to be 
the test case. On this day, Knanites partake of unleavened bread reminiscent of 
the Jewish matzot and drink wine prepared from coconut milk and plums which is 
of a faint red colour like the wine drunk by Jews on the Passover sader night. 
Before the festive Easter meal, Biblical songs are sung about Creation and 
Exodus from Egypt, this later story being related on the Jewish sader night-in 
addition to stories from the New Testament and Last Supper” (Weil 184). 



Another similarity Dr. Segal points out is the practice of endogamy in these two 
communities. Jews who came from pure middle-eastern origin are called 
Paradesi/White Jews or “Myukhasim”. Those came from converts, manumitted slaves 
and mixed marriages are called Black Jews or “Meshurchrarim”. Paradesis 
(Myukhasim) never married the locals (Meshurchrarim). Segal quotes Ezekiel 
Rahabi, a Cochin White Jew who states, “We are called White Jews, who are people 
who came from the Holy Land , and the Jews whom they call Black were created in 
Malabar from proselytization and manumission, but their laws, regulations, and 
prayer are all like ours. But we do not take their daughters and do not give 
ours.” (Segal 53).  Katz & Goldberg writes, “The Cochinites (Cochin Paradesi 
Jews) were concerned not only about the mother’s substance, but about the purity 
of the father’s substance as well. Marriage and sexual relations were, 
therefore, of paramount concern because if the Jewish blood of a couple was 
considered tainted, the partners and the offspring of that union were no longer 
recognized as Cochinites” (Katz & Goldberg 129).




Referring to another Jewish custom among Knanites, Katz & Goldberg writes, “The 
Knana retained some Jewish observances, and it may be correct to call them 
“Jewish Christians”, a sect which is believed to have expired by the time the 
early church became primarily Gentile, some seventeen centuries ago; their 
vestigial Jewish observances have been noted. The Southists retain the custom of 
tying into a corner of their saris a bit of the hearth ashes or earth from 
Cranganore when the bride leaves her parents’ home for that of her new husband, 
a reenactment of their departure from Jerusalem for Malabar, when they brought 
bits of the earth with them. They are rather derogatorily known to other 
Christians as charamkettikal or ash tiers” (Katz & Goldberg 53).

Dr. ShalvaWeil in examining the similarities between Cochin Jews and Knanites 
observes that, “there is a clear affinity between the White Jew’s songs and 
theKnanite songs. Indeed, many of the parallels in the historical songs refer to 
Cranganore, which so far as has been found almost exclusively in the song books 
of the White Jews and appears to have been omitted by the Black Jews” (Weil 
193).

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Jewish history starts with a migration to Kodungallore after the fall of the
Jewish kingdom of Solomon in Israel . Kodungallore is in Trichur district. The
city was built on the banks of Periar River and was the premier port bustling
with shipping and commerce, on the “spice and silk route to the middle-east”,
until 15th century.

Muziris[MODERN KODUNGALLOOR]
Mucirippattanam
—  ancient port  —

















Muziris
Location of Muziris
in Kerala and India
Coordinates10°9′0″N 76°12′0″ECoordinates: 10°9′0″N 76°12′0″E
CountryIndia
StateKerala

In 52 AD, St. Thomas, being born as a Jew, came to Kodungallore stayed with the
Jews there for many years. He converted some Jews and several locals and
established churches (Weil 181-182).
PERIYAR USED TO EMPTY IN MUZIRIS TILL 1341 A.D. .AFTER VERY HEAVY FLOODS THE RIVER GOT DIVERTED SOUTH ,TO COCHI AND MUZIRIS HARBOUR GOT SILTED UP. THIS MADE THE JEWS ANS CHRISTIANS ,WHO DEPENDED ON IT TO SHIFT

Muziris, as shown in the 4th century Tabula Peutingeriana, with a "Templum Augusti".


Roman trade with India according to the Periplus Maris Erythraei 1st century CE.


BBC News Mobile


Search for India's ancient city

Piece of amphora
Roman amphora pieces abound in Pattanam
Archaeologists working on India's south-west coast believe they may have solved the mystery of the location of a major port which was key to trade between India and the Roman Empire - Muziris, in the modern-day state of Kerala.For many years, people have been in search of the almost mythical port, known as Vanchi to locals.
Much-recorded in Roman times, Muziris was a major centre for trade between Rome and southern India - but appeared to have simply disappeared.
Now, however, an investigation by two archaeologists - KP Shajan and V Selvakumar - has placed the ancient port as having existed where the small town of Pattanam now stands, on India's south-west Malabar coast.
"It is the first time these remains have been found on this coast," Dr Sharjan told BBC World Service's Discovery programme.
"We believe it could be Muziris."
Key evidence
Pattanam is the only site in the region to produce architectural features and material contemporary to the period.
"No other site in India has yielded this much archaeological evidence," said Dr Roberta Tomber, of the British Museum.
"We knew it was very important, and we knew if we could find it, there should be Roman and other Western artefacts there - but we hadn't been able to locate it on the ground."


Ancient bricks used below a modern temple in Pattanam
 Muziris is located on a river, distant from Tindis - by river and sea, 500 stadia; and by river from the shore, 20 stadia 
Roman description of the location of Muziris
Until recently, the best guesses for the location of Muziris centred on the mouth of the Periyar river, at a place called Kodungallor - but now the evidence suggests a smaller town nearby, Pattanam, is the real location.
Drs Shajan and Selvakumar now meet locals on a regular basis as they continue their work, with some older people in particular remembering picking up glass beads and pottery after heavy rains.
Undoubtedly, they told Discovery, the many pieces of amphora are from the Mediterranean - a key to establishing Pattanam as the place where Muziris once stood.
"These amphora are so common," Dr Shajan said.
"We have hundreds of shards of Mediterranean pottery."
Mystery disappearance
Muziris became important because of the Romans' interest in trading, and their desire to have contact with regions beyond the reach of conquest and set up trading routes with these places.
"India had a long fascination for the Romans, going back to Alexander the Great," Dr Tomber said.


Glass and stones discovered in Pattanam
Glass and precious stones are key finds in the site area
"Alexander was a huge model for succeeding Roman emperors, and the fact that he had been in India and brought back tales of the fantastic things, the people and products there, heightened the Roman desire to continue that association."
What is known, from a 1st Century document, is that the harbour was "exceptionally important for trade."
Clues to its location are provided in ancient Indian texts. Professor Rajan Gerta, from Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala, said that there are many references to "ships coming with gold, and going back with 'black gold'" - pepper.
"These ships went back with a whole lot of pepper and various aromatic spices, collected from the forests," he added.
Merchants from a number of different cultures are believed to have operated in the port, and there are numerous Indian finds from the time as well as Roman ones.
In 1983, a large hoard of Roman coins was found at a site around six miles from Pattanam.
However, even if Muziris has been found, one mystery remains - how it disappeared so completely in the first place.
Dr Tomber said that it has always been presumed that the flow of the trade between Rome and India lasted between the 1st Century BC through to the end of the 1st Century AD, but that there is growing evidence that this trade continued much longer, into the 6th and early 7th Century - although not necessarily continually.
"We're not quite clear how long it went on in Muziris, and the more evidence we can gather from the artefacts, the clearer the picture that will build up," she added.
"What is interesting is that in the 6th Century, a Greek writer, writing about the Indian Ocean, wrote that the Malabar coast was still a thriving centre for the export of pepper - but he doesn't mention Muziris." 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GOOGLE MAP OF MUZIRIS -CLICK TO SEE:- http://www.wikimapia.org/#lat=10.1571922&lon=76.2096047&z=18&l=0&m=b Current Excavation Site
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The discovery of Port Muziris - The Story of India - BBC



In 345 AD, Thomas of Knana came to Kodungallore and stayed in the part of the
town called Thekumbhagam or also called as Manigrammam (Segal 7, Weil
179). Historians use different spelling such as Caanaya/Cnanaya (from Aramaic
language), 
In 379 AD a group of Jews from the middle-east migrated to Kodungallore under
the leadership of Joseph Rabban and settled in the river mouth of Periyar called
Kadavubhagam or also called as Anjuvannam (segal8)

Most of these Jews and Knanites left Kodungallore in the 14th &
15th century. 
The great flood of the Periar river on 1341 caused silt build up
in Kodungallore harbor, greatly impeding shipping and threatening the city’s
economic base (Katz & Goldberg 56).
The military intrusions of Samothiri
(Zamorin) of Calicut , chief rival of King of Kochi, with the help of the
Muslims were often focused against Jews and Christians. Several churches and
synagogues were burnt.
To get the protection of King of Kochi, Jews moved south
to Cochin , Palayur, Paroor, Mala, etc.
The Knanites moved further south to
Mulanthuruthy and Udayamperoor (near the Thripunithura palace of the Kochi king)
and from there was a migration to Kaduthuruthy and so

[The Perumal
honored them by confirming many titles and privileges and allowed
them to settle as a separate Community in a tax free land gifted
to them on the Southern side of the Mahadevapuram Township
nearby; the northern part already occupied by the native St. Thomas
Christians. Thus the Division as Southerners and Northerners
among Syrian Christians in Kerala.]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Knanaya

Early history

Nasrani had already arrived on the Malabar coast before the traditional 345CE migration date of the Knanaya and included native Indian converts and converted Jewish people - Sephardi, Paradesi, and Cochin Jews - who had settled in Kerala during the Babylonian exile and increasing persecution in Europe.[6] They came mostly from the Northern Kingdom of Israel and became known as Northists.

The Nasrani Menorah also known as the Mar Thoma sliba

The Southist (Thekkumbhagar) Kna'i Kenite/Jewish ancestors of the Knanaya are those who had reclaimed the southern province of Israel known in the Old Testament as the Kingdom of Judah.

In the same tradition as their Maccabee ancestors, Shammai's Kna'im fought against the Romans for the sovereignty of the Jews being deeply against the Roman rule of Israel. It was the zealotry among the Southists (Thekkumbhagar) which led to their strict observance of endogamy in distinction from their more relaxed northern brethren.

 The distinction between the northern heavily exogamous Samaritans and the southern zealously endagamous tribes of Judea led to the difference among the non-Knanaya Nasrani as Northists and the Knanaya as Southists. 

The Knanaya (Kna'i people) continue to remain an endogamous group also within the Nasrani community.

During their struggle against the Romans, the ancestral Knanaya became followers of the Jewish sect led by a certain Ιησο from the Northern "Ναζαρα" community (Jesus of Nazareth), they claim this is why many of Jesus' followers had names typical among the ancestral Knanaya freedom fighters such as "Zealot" (Simon K'na), "Daggerman" (Judas Iscariot), "Rock" (Simon Peter), "Thundersons" (James & John Boanerges) etc..

Indeed they claim that the founders of their 72 families were those hand picked by Jesus in Luke 10:1.


After the crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans in AD 33, the unconverted Southist Zealots intensified their struggle against the Roman rule. In 70 AD, hundreds of them evaded capture from the Romans and took shelter in the fortress at Masada. In 72 AD, after a two year siege, the remaining 960 unwilling to give up to the Romans killed themselves before the Romans could capture them.

 This act of martyrdom is still commemorated in Israel.

 Those who had converted to the Nasrani faith continued to rule in Jerusalem until they migrated between 132 and 135 CE from Jerusalem, Israel to Edessa in Syria (now Şanlıurfa, Turkey) the first city state that embraced Christianity in the Roman Empire.






Remnants of one of several legionary   camps at Masada.

In AD 318 their leadership fell out with Pope Sylvester which resulted in Rome passing death penalty legislation against their passover observances in 333AD. By AD 345 persecution had become so extreme that the central group of Knanaya families descended from the 72 apostles hand picked by Jesus were forced to emigrate to the Jewish trade posts at Kodungallur in Kerala and settled there.

 Thus their descendants are still known today in Kerala as the Southinst Knanaya Nasrani


 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Most of these Jews and Knanites left Kodungallore in the 14th & 
15th century.

 The great flood of the Periar river on 1341 caused silt build up 
in Kodungallore harbor, greatly impeding shipping and threatening the city’s
 
economic base (Katz & Goldberg 56).
 


 The military intrusions of Samothiri 
(Zamorin) of Calicut , chief rival of King of Kochi, with the help of the 
Muslims were often focused against Jews and Christians. Several churches and 
synagogues were burnt. To get the protection of King of Kochi, Jews moved south 
to Cochin , Palayur, Paroor, Mala, etc. 



The Knanites moved further south to 
Mulanthuruthy and Udayamperoor (near the Thripunithura palace of the Kochi king) 
and from there was a migration to Kaduthuruthy and so on. 



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the five and half churches that southist possessed were Udayamperroor, Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam, Chunkom and Kallissery (these were the five whole churches) and half in ( perhaps) mulanthuruthy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Palathunkal family (Northists ?) of Mulanthuruthy can confirm that Southists originally built the church.  Northists and Southists who fled Kaduthuruthy built the church together--but-
Mulanthuruthy church was said to be built somewhere between A.D 1100 to AD 1125. Kunnassery Kunchakko Tharakan (minister of the Waddakeenkoor Dynasties King of Kaduthuruthy) who was a Southists played a key role in the building of the church----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
anjarakar” or 5 1/2 people  is “anjarapallikar” which means owners of five and a half churches. apparently this is another name for southists from the 15th/16th century when they owned five and a half churches
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
written sources record that early Brahmin settlements in Kerala grouped themselves into “northern ” and ” southern ” divisions around two rival centers (Veluthat n.d.). The Nayars, an
important Hindu caste in Kerala, also recognized a north/south dividing line (Fuller 1976).
It is quite possible that the Christians copied the north/south division from the prestigious Brahmin community as they copied so many other Brahmin traits.”


                              PHOTOS OF COCHIN SYNAGOGUE MADE IN 16TH CENTURY
                             









Mattancherry Palace-temple, which was built during Portuguese period by the Cochin Raja Veera Kerala Varma
IN THE BACK GROUND SYNAGOGUE CAN BE SEEN















                                                          Cochin Jews




Cochin Jews

ETHNONYMS: Cochin Jews, Cochinis (Israel), Malabar Jews, Paradesi Jews, Black Jews

Orientation

Identification and Location. The Cochin Jews constitute one of the smallest Jewish communities in the world. They originate from the Malabar Coast in India and traditionally were divided into two caste-like subgroups: "White" (Paradesi) and "Black" (Malabari, although this entire group of Jews is from Malabar) Jews. The term "Paradesi" means "foreigner, " and the "White" Jews are the descendants of Spanish, Portuguese, Iraqi, and other Jews who arrived on the Malabar Coast from the sixteenth century on. The "White" community has all but disappeared; a total of fifteen Paradesi Jews resided in Kerala in 2001. Almost all of the "Black" community has been transplanted to Israel, where these people have integrated successfully into Israeli society. Less than forty Cochin Jews live in Kerala.
Demography. When the traveler Benjamin of Tudela visited India in about 1170, he reported that there were about a thousand Jews in the south. In 1686 Moses Pereira de Paiva listed 465 Malabar Jews. In 1781 the Dutch governor, A. Moens, recorded 422 families or about 2,000 persons. In 1948, 2,500 Jews were living on the Malabar Coast. In 1953, 2,400 emigrated to Israel, leaving behind only about 100 Paradesi Jews on the Malabar Coast. In 2001 there were only about 80 "White" Jews in the world, in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere. Conversely, the "Black" Jews in Israel are increasing in numbers by marrying Jews of other origins and accepting them within their community. There are approximately 8,000 Jews of Cochini origin in Israel and less than 50 in all of India.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Cochin Jews, like their neighbors, speak Malayalam, a Dravidian language. In Israel they also speak modern Hebrew.

History and Cultural Relations

The settlement of Jews on the Malabar Coast occurred in ancient times. One theory holds that the ancestors of today's Cochin Jews arrived in southern India as King Solomon's merchants, who brought back ivory, monkeys, and parrots for his temple. Sanskrit- and Tamil-derived words appear in I Kings. Another theory suggests that Cochin Jews are descendants of captives taken to Assyria in the eighth century b.c.e. The most popular and likely supposition is that Jews came to southern India some time in the first century c.e., after the destruction of Solomon's second temple. This theory is confirmed by local South Indian Christian legends.
Documentary evidence of Jewish settlement on the southern Indian coast can be found in the Cochin Jewish copperplates in the ancient Tamil script (vattezuthu). These copperplates are the source of numerous arguments both among scholars in regard to their date and meaning and among the Cochin Jews in regard to which particular caste-like subgroup of Cochin Jews are the true owners. Until recently, the Jewish copperplates were dated 345 c.e., but contemporary scholars agree on the date 1000 c.e. In that year, during the reign of Bhaskara Ravi Varman (962-1020 c.e.), the Jews were granted seventy-two privileges including the right to use a day lamp, the right to erect a palanquin, the right to blow a trumpet, and the right to be exempt from and to collect particular taxes. The privileges were bestowed on the Cochin Jewish leader Joseph Rabban, the "proprietor of the 'Anjuvannam', and his male and female issues, nephews, and sons-in-law."
The meaning of the word "Anjuvannam" is also the subject of controversy. The theory that the word refers to a kingdom or a place has been superseded by theories that it was an artisan class, a trade center, or a specifically Jewish guild.
{JEWS WERE FORCED TO SHIFT FROM MUZIRIS(ANJUVANAM) IN 1341 DUE TO FLOODS AND SILTING UP OF HARBOUR
Kochangadi (which literally means “small market)”IN COCHI THEY BUILT THEIR NEW SYNAGOGUE IN 1344}

                 According to traditions the oldest Jewish settlements in Kerala are 


1.     Cranganore 
2.     Paalur or Paalyur
Palur ( Palayoor or Palayur) is a part of Thrissur district and is located on the west coast of Kerala, in India. By road it is 28 km from Thrissur on the Thrissur - Chavakad route via Pavaratty. It is very near to Guruvayoor, which is only 2 km away.

Palayoor is famous for its Christian church, St. Thomas Church (Palayur) which is believed to have been established by St. Thomas the Apostle in AD 52. Palayoor also had an ancient Jewish settlement known as the Jews' Hill. There are evidence for the existance a synagogue in Palayur and a torah finial from this synagogue is still with The Hebrew of Jerusalem, donated by the Cochin Jewish immigrants. And ruins of a synagogue is found near the Church and a Hindu temple. This settlement is also mentioned in “Notisias dos Judeos de Cochim” by the traveler  Moses Pereyra de Paiva.
3.     Polut or Pullut


Pullut is a small and beautiful village located in Kodungallur municipality. It is an island surrounded by Kodungallur back waters.4 bridges at the 4 corners connecting the outside world with Pullut. Near to Kodungallur bared a Jewish community but there exists no physical evidence for that.




4.     Madai or Madayi



Madayi is a small place in Cannanore (Kannur district), Kerala, South India. It is located near Payangadi. Madayi today hosts a vibrant community of Hindus and Muslims alike but there is a fact that is given below.

The hillock of Madayipara, which carries several signs of historic relevance, is also a place important from a religious point of view. Here, a pond in the shape of a hand held mirror, connected to ancient Jewish settlers is another historic attraction.”***

This is a relevant detail of the existence of the settlement, and proves the reliability of the tradition too. Apart from that this community has a speciality, that is that this community was established much far from other three ancient jewish communities communites. And this can be counted as the “Jews of Cannanore.”  which is mentioned by many indigenous historians and medieval travelers.
 "Malik bin Habib who constructed and established Madayi mosque in Ezhimala (also known as Mount Deli) found Jews in the place. Even they used to have place of workship  ***
There were other neighboring settlement for Madayi namely Muttam.

From the eighteenth century on, emissaries from the Holy Land began to visit their Cochin Jewish brethren. Indirectly, they helped Cochin Jewry to align with world Jewry and to become part of the "ingathering of the exiles" and request a return to Zion.
In 1949 the first Cochin Jewsseventeen families in allsold their property. Urged on by religious fervor and deteriorating economic conditions in postindependence India, community elders wrote to David Ben-Gurion, prime minister of the newly established state of Israel, requesting that the whole community be allowed to emigrate to Israel. In 19531954, 2,400 Cochin Jews, the vast majority of whom belonged to the "Black" or Malabar subgroup, went to Israel. A small number stayed behind on the Malabar Coast, and at the beginning of the new millennium, very few remained there.

Settlements

In India the Cochin Jews lived in several towns along the Malabar Coast in Kerala: Attencammonal, Chenotta, Ernakulam, Mallah, Mala, Parr, Chennemangalam, and Cochin. Today, individual Jews remain in Ernakulam and in "Jews Town" in Cochin. In Israel, Cochin Jews have settled in moshavim (agricultural settlements), the largest of which is Nevatim in southern Israel. Other large agricultural settlements exclusively inhabited by Cochin Jews are Mesillat Zion in the Jerusalem corridor and Kfar Yuval on Israel's northern border. Other Cochin Jews live in small urban concentrations in Ramat Eliahu, Ashdod, and Jerusalem.

Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. In India the Cochin Jews mainly engaged in petty trading in the towns in which they lived on the Malabar Coast. They often traded in food goods, such as eggs and vinegar, although they rarely grew their own produce. In general, the Paradesi Jews had a higher standard of living and numbered among their ranks several merchants, including international spice merchants, and professionals (lawyers, engineers, teachers, and physicians).
In Israel the Cochin Jews are employed largely in agriculture. The first of these Jews to arrive in Israel were herded from place to place. In an early attempt to isolate them (for fear of contagious diseases), they were taken to outlying moshavim such as Nevatim. Their attempts to make a success of Nevatim failed. By 1962, when a Jewish Agency Settlement Studies Center sociologist conducted a survey of the moshav, he described the situation as one of "failure" and "economic and social crisis" manifested in declining output and emigration from the moshav.
Industrial Arts. The Cochin Jews did not tend to sell or trade industrial goods but did make ritual objects.
Trade. In the 1970s, Nevatim turned into a thriving moshav, producing avocados, olives, citrus fruits, pecans, cotton, potatoes, flowers, and chickens. Today Nevatim (with over six hundred Cochinis) is one of only fifteen successful Cochini moshavim. Some of these, such as Mesillat Zion (with over two hundred Cochin Jews), are populated by a majority of Cochin Jews, while smaller settlements, such as Fedia and Tarom, are heterogeneous.
Division of Labor. In Cochin, men usually had small shops that carried various goods. These shops were situated on the verandas of their houses. The women engaged in domestic pursuits. In Israel the Cochin Jews have taken professional or clerical jobs and are evenly distributed in a variety of occupations. In the younger generations both men and women work to contribute to the family income and work in many different professions.
Land Tenure. In Cochin, families owned their own land and built houses on it. The synagogues also owned large tracts of land, which were share-cropped. The moshavim in Israel are farming communities where each family owns its own plot of land.

Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Cochin Jews observed strict caste endogamy, marrying only other Jews. However, there was no intermarriage between Paradesi and other Malabari Jews. Even within the "White" Jewish subgroup, the "White" meyuhasim (privileged), who claimed direct descent from ancient Israel, did not accept their meshurarim, or manumitted slaves, as marriage partners, although such unions did take place. In the twenty-first century in Israel more than one in every two Cochini marriages is contracted between Cochin Jews and other Israeli Jews.
Kinship Terminology. Each person's name was made up of the first initial of the chamullah, the first initial of the father's name and the individual's first name. Kinship terminology reflects local Malayalam terminology, while in Israel dod (uncle) and doda (aunt) refer to one's mother's and father's siblings without specification.

Marriage and Family

Marriage. In the past Cochin Jews tended to encourage cross-cousin marriage. Marriage is the most important Cochini social occasion and is celebrated in India for a complete week. In Israel celebrations are shorter due to the demands of the working week. Cochin Jews build a manara, or aperion, for the wedding, usually at the groom's house. After a ritual bath the bride receives a tali, an Indian pendant, in imitation of local Nayar practice. The groom enters the synagogue on a white carpet a custom apparently observed by Malabari but not Paradesi Jewsand sits near the podium until the bride's procession arrives. The groom himselfnot a rabbi, as in other Jewish communitiesannounces his betrothal and marriage to his bride.
Domestic Unit. The basic domestic unit is the patrilineal joint family.
Inheritance. Inheritance is patrilineal in accordance with Jewish law and local custom. The family name is passed on through the father.
Socialization. The young couple sets up a new household and in Israel attempts to socialize their children to become Israelis who are proud of their Cochini heritage.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. "Black" Jews claim that they were the original recipients of the copperplates, proving their high status in the South Indian context. However, the copperplates are kept in the Paradesi synagogue.
After the "White" Jews built the Paradesi synagogue in 1568, no "Black" Jews were qualified to pray there. The "Black" Jews had several synagogues that no "White" Jew would enter.
One "White" Jew who rose to prominence under the Dutch, who had taken over in 1668, was Ezekiel Rahabi (1694-1771). For forty-eight years he acted as the principal merchant for the Dutch in Cochin. He had contacts all over the East as well as in Europe, and he signed numerous memoranda in Hebrew.
Political Organization. The Jews' lives on the Malabar Coast were centered on the synagogue, which corporately owned estates in each settlement. The congregation was known as the yogam and administered communal affairs collectively.
Prominent Cochin Jews in Israel have been among the leaders of the moshav movement.
Social Control. The yogam acted as a social control device that determined the fate of its members. In extreme cases, where social taboos were ignored, the congregation could excommunicate a member.
Conflict. One of the earliest records of the division in the community was recorded in 1344, when some of the Jews of Cranganore moved to Cochin, three years after the port of Cranganore was silted up and Cochin was founded. But it was only after Vasco da Gama's expedition, when the Portuguese came to rule Kerela, that some European Jews settled in Cochin. They became the first "White" Jews. By the time Pereira de Paiva visited Cochin in 1686 on behalf of Amsterdam Jewry, he could report that "the 'White' Jews and the 'Malabarees' were neither intermarrying nor inter-dining. "
A famous conflict was the case of A. B. Salem, a lawyer who became the leader of the meshurarim in his fight for equal rights for his group. As late as 1952 the "White" Jews would not let his son marry a "White" Jew in the Paradesi synagogue. When his son and new daughter-in-law returned from their marriage inBombay, all the women in the ladies' gallery of the Paradesi synagogue walked out in protest. Divisions between Cochin Jews all but disappeared after the transplantation of the community to Israel.



Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Cochin Jews believe in a single deity. Their religious observances conform in every way to the Jewish norms established by the halacha (Jewish legal code), and they kept contact with mainstreamJudaism through many generations. While they were fully integrated into Kerala society, they were influenced by Hindu (and Christian) practices and beliefs (e.g., the emphasis on purity of descent, the wedding customs and canopy, and the "asceticism" associated with Passover preparations).
The Cochin Jews have never suffered from anti-Semitism on 
the part of their Hindu neighbors.

Religious Practitioners. Cochin Jews never had any rabbis, but several men served as shochetim (ritual slaughterers) and hazanim (cantors) both for their own communities and for another community of Indian Jews, the Bene Israel in Bombay.
Ceremonies. Both the "White" and the "Black" Jews perform their ceremonies separately in their own synagogues and homes. However, the ceremonies are similar and distinctly Cochini, according to the Shingli (Cranganore) custom. Daily prayers were chanted according to the Shingli custom, a unique version of the standard Jewish prayers. Cochin Jews have incorporated many unique customs into some of the universal Jewish holidays. For example, the festival of the Rejoicing of the Law, which celebrates the conclusion and new beginning of the annual cycle of Torah reading, is celebrated with special liturgy and a majestic procession with the Torah scrolls.

The various stages of the lifecycle are also marked with ceremonies. The circumcision ceremony takes place on the eighth day after the birth of a baby boy. The father carries his son to the main synagogue, where he is circumcised and named after one of his grandfathers. When a baby girl is about six months old, she is named after one of her grandmothers during a Sabbath or festival service. At the age of eight or nine, Cochin boys read the weekly section from the Prophets and at the age of thirteen a boy attains religious majority.
In Israel, the Cochin Jews enact their religious ceremonies according to Cochin custom, but also are influenced by general Israeli Jewish trends.
Arts. The Cochin Jews have a large number of folk songs that the women in particular sing regularly. Some are sung at weddings, some are lullabies, and some specifically recall the return to Zion. In 1984 the Cochin Jews in Israel staged a huge pageant, relating in song and dance the story of their emigration from India and their integration into Israeli society.

Death and Afterlife. The Cochin Jews belief in an afterlife has been influenced both by Jewish and Hindu beliefs. Many of their death and bereavement customs are also connected to Hinduism as well as Middle Eastern Sephardic traditions. The family surrounds the deathbed to witness the departure of life and then the oldest son closes the eyes of the deceased. The dead body, although impure, is respected, and burial in a special Cochin Jewish cemetery takes place within half a day. In Israel the Cochin Jews are buried in regular Jewish cemeteries.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1350 A.D TO 1405 A.D. WARS BETWEEN COCHI RAJA  AND KOZHIKODE RAJA-SAMOODIRI

In 1405 AD, Saamoothiri's army again defeated the Perumpadappu Rajas(Rajas of Kochi as they came to be known later) who then shifted their capital from Thiruvanchikulam (Mahodayapuram) to Kochi. Zamorin conquered Thrikkanamathilakam and it became a threat for Mahodayapuram (Thiruvanchikulam), and this may be the reason that Perumpadapu Swaroopam changed their capital toCochin.AND;[edit]Capture of Kottakkal;
This was followed by the Raja of Kochi accepting the over lordship of the Saamoothiri and became a feudatory of the later.
portuguese fort at cranganore/old muziris/now kodungalore
fort near kozhikode/calicut(old map)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


27
jun

Introducing the Muziris Papyrus

Posted by Maddy in 

Muchiri pattanam, a location close to today’s Kodungallur, was not really a sea port as some believed. It was a city on the banks of the Periyar somewhat inland and accessed through the maze of canals. Roman Ships anchored out in the sea and transported their goods in small boats guided by local pilots through the canals to Pattanam. From centuries in the past until the 14th, the city was well known to the Arab and especially the Roman sailors who conducted trade with Malabar. Sometimes the ships went to Barygaza or Baruch, sometimes to Nelycinda (will be covered in a separate blog) other times, they landed up in Muziris. They came in with Western luxury goods and gold and took away spices and Eastern goods. Sometimes the ships went around the Cape Comorin and docked at Kaveri Poompattinam close to Pondicherry. The Romans had expatriate settlements or colonies in both places as I mentioned before and much information about them can be found in Sangam Era writings like the Silappadhikaram and Manimekhalai. The Peutinger table shows Muziris on the Roman map and even alludes to an Agustus temple (later studies assume it was an Agasthya temple) in Muziris. Writers like Ptolemy, Pliny and so on had written much about the trade, so also the Tamil poets. So let us conclude that robust trade took place, until the floods of the Periyar wherein the riverbed got silted in the 13th Century. Since that event and due to other issues at the Roman and Arab areas, the trade petered off and veered off to other places like the Cochin and Calicut. But by then the Arab traders had a stronghold on the route and they staved off any competition until the next aggressive bunch – the Portuguese came in – followed by the Dutch and finally the English who eventually settled down and colonized the lands they came to trade with. But we will not talk about all the events that took place in the process, we will instead focus on the Muziris papyrus, something that you do not see often mentioned in mainstream media. And so we go to the rather active Roman Colony or river port called Pattanam well before the advent of Christ.
-----------------------------------------------------------Muziris------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When the trade with Muziris started is not known, however a document discovered recently, the Muziris Papyrus in 1985, takes us back to the 2nd century, by which time it seems to have been well established. During the Ptolemaic Roman period (third century B.C. to sixth century A.D), Berenike for example served as a key transit port between ancient Egypt and Rome on one side and the Red Sea-Indian Ocean regions on the other. Exotic goods from Rome and Egypt flowed into Berenike along the same desert road before being loaded into large ships bound for the Indian Ocean as I have explained in the past. According to most accounts, one of the major centers in India that ships from Berenike travelled to, along with the monsoon winds, was the emporium of Muziris, on the Malabar Coast. The presence of much teak in the finds at the red sea coasts also suggested that many of the ships were built in India, one of the indications of a major Indian role in the trade. But Dr. Casson, a specialist in ancient maritime history, says it was also possible that the teak timber was shipped to Berenike and turned into vessels there. Written records refer to ships in the India trade being among the largest of the time. That means, Dr. Casson says, that they could have been as long as 180 feet and capable of carrying upto 1,000 tons of cargo. Such ships had stout hulls and caught the wind with a huge square sail on a stubby mainmast.

Large numbers of Roman coins have been discovered on the Malabar coast (e.g. from Eyyal between Cranganore and Palayur, and from Kottayam in North Kerala). Just two years back more than a thousand Roman gold coins were found buried in Parur, also not very distant from Cranganore. What is interesting is that the majority of these coins belong to a period of some 80 years from Augustus to Nero (B.C. 27 to A.D. 68). The Periplus has this remark, "There are imported here (the Malabar Ports), in the first place a great quantity of coin, ..


The Roman ships with their square sail was not quite appropriate for sea travel with the winds, but it is more likely that the ships used were of Arabic Indian design as concluded by scholars. Even though the Muziris area was infested by pirates according to Pliny, and the need for transshipment to smaller boats, it figures to have recived more prominence than other like Nelcynda. One major spice the Romans sought via Muziris was Gangetic nard, spikenard or Jatamansi, after the popular Pepper. What the people in Malabar & Tamil regions needed was ( after the wine) the gold, which they never used as currency (the coins were mostly partly split making them non legal tender in S India) but possibly melted the coins and made ornaments.

What then brings us back to the Muziris papyrus ( also known as the Vienna Papyrus as it is kept in Vienna) ? It is the mention of a loan agreement made in Muziris. Now did Muziris therefore have a Roman settlement? Evidence points to that in two ways, one by a statement in the Periplus “enough grain for those concerned with shipping, because merchants do not have use for it’. The merchants are thus rice eaters, the Indians. Those concerned with shipping are the Yavana trader’s resident at Muziris. To this, one must also connect up the evidence of wine, olive oil and garum jars found at Arikumedu which date to the 3rd Century AD.


the loan agreement was drawn in Muziris,2ND CENTURY A.D. and the papyrus is now housed in a Museum in Vienna



Of inestimable value for a study of the organization of trade are the Muziris papyrus and the archives of Nicanor. The Nicanor archives provide detailed information on the taxes levied on a variety of items transported along the desert roads from Myos Hormos and Berenice to Egypt. The papyrus confirms the distinction between those engaged in travel to the orient and local merchants. 

The creditor lived in Alexandria in the 2nd century, the papyrus was sold by a collector in Egypt in 1980, and the loan agreement was drawn in Muziris and the papyrus is now housed in a Museum in Vienna. Two merchants documented their contract in the said document, listing the items, the costs and the people who owe and are owed money. Customs duties are listed, so also all the links in the chain such as the camel driver and how much he should be paid. I t mentions many people, signifying that this was not a financiers copy but by the trader himself. Interestingly the creditor had the first right of purchase which may possibly have been the first intention. The text also estimate steh value of the goods after a 25% tax has been deducted, but this amount itself is staggering, one shipload worth some 7 million Drachmas or sestertia (A solider was paid 100 drachmas maximum a month or around 800 per annum). The tax due at Alexandria was paid as goods, so the state itself did not get the money immediately. Possibly the trader had only to pass on a credit of the 25% tetarte (tax) and not the goods itself as moving the sates portion of the goods across the Coptos desert was not the traders responsibility. Considering the immense value it was carefully tracked from point to point. The Nard, the cloth and the ivory were the most valuable items in the holds. Camels and donkey owners handling these valuable items minted money from this trade billing the Roman government and were possibly escorted by military compared to the usual caravans. Towns along the Coptos desert charged tolls, and it is seen that the toll was dependent on the financial strength of the payer, thus variable.

No considering that Strabo talked of an average 120 ships going to Muziris every year, and multiplying the figure of 7million drachmas with the ships, you can imagine how much money flowed into Muziris and Malabar. This was how much goods of luxury were worth in those times. The question of if individuals had these kinds of fortunes or if a group worked together is not clear. However it is clear that the cost of failure meant death, so big were the amounts. Imagine a ship wreck or piracy, not thoughts meant for the faint hearted as eminent writer Sidebottom mentions in his book.

The first and second pages of this contract letter are lost so we are unable to know the name of the merchants who were engaged in business and the exact transactions at Muziris. In 1985 H. Harrauer and P. Sijpesteijn published the contents of this papyrus

It reads as follows (for complete paper check this link)

... of your other agents and managers. And I will weigh and give to your cameleer another twenty talents for loading up for the road inland to Koptos, and I will convey [sc. the goods] inland through the desert under guard and under security to the public warehouse for receiving revenues at Koptos, and I will place [them] under your ownership and seal, or of your agents or whoever of them is present, until loading [them] aboard at the river, and I will load [them] aboard at the required time on the river on a boat that is sound, and I will convey [them] downstream to the warehouse that receives the duty of one-fourth at Alexandria and I will similarly place [them] under your ownership and seal or of your agents, assuming all expenditures for the future from now to the payment of one-fourth-the charges for the conveyance through the desert and the charges of the boatmen and for my part of the other expenses.

With regard to there being- if, on the occurrence of the date for repayment specified in the loan agreements at Muziris, I do not then rightfully pay off the aforementioned loan in my name-there then being to you or your agents or managers the choice and full power, at your discretion, to carry out an execution without due notification or summons, you will possess and own the aforementioned security and pay the duty of one-fourth, and the remaining three-fourths you will transfer to where you wish and sell, re-hypothecate, cede to another party, as you may wish, and you will take measures for the items pledged as security in whatever way you wish, sell them for your own account at the then prevailing market price, and deduct and include in the reckoning whatever expenses occur on account of the aforementioned loan, with complete faith for such expenditures being extended to you and your agents or managers and there being no legal action against us [in this regard] in any way. With respect to [your] investment, any shortfall or overage [se. as a result of the disposal of the security] is for my account, the debtor and mortgager...

According to the Historian Thur, the contract between ego and tu was drawn up in Alexandria in two separate documents; one that spelled out the maritime loan and another that spelled out the security involved what the papyrus contains is a portion of the latter, the document that dealt with the security.

As Casson concludes - One of the great contributions of the papyrus is the concrete evidence it furnishes of the huge amounts of money that the trade with India required. The six parcels of the shipment recorded on the verso had a value of just short of 1155 talents almost as much as it cost to build the aqueduct at Alexandria The parcel of ivory and the parcel of fabric together weighed 92 talents and were worth 528,775 drachmas. A Roman merchantman of just ordinary size had a capacity of 340 tons; it was capable of carrying over 11,000 talents of such merchandise. And the weather conditions on the route to India were such as to require the use of vessels of at least this size. Loaded with cargoes of the likes of that recorded in this papyrus, they were veritable treasure ships.

With the listed part of that ships goods (only a part load) pegged at 131 talents, one could buy 2500 acres of finest farmland in Egypt and if there were 150 such ships every year, what would have that trade been worth? Immense, to say the least. The historian Pliny, who died in 79 A.D., has left us a contemporary account of these early voyages. "It will not be amiss," he says in his Natural History, "to set forth the whole of the route from Egypt, which has been stated to us of late, upon information on which reliance may be placed and is here published for the first time. The subject is one well worthy of our notice, seeing that in no year does India drain our empire of less than five hundred and fifty millions of sesterces [many many million dollars], giving back her own wares in exchange, which are sold among us at fully one hundred times their cost price.

Strangely the Malayali’s acquired taste of fancy Italian wine seems to have been eroded from the genetic code, to be replaced by the stuff from Scotland. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         LOCAL TRADITIONS
      




Thoma Parvam:-

Which is handed down through generations and written down in 1601
The Songs of Thomas
By tradition these songs were written by 
Thomas Rambaan 
the first Brahmin convert to Christianity
 Which is handed down through generations 
and written down in 1601

I will sing of the way
in which our holy religion was introduced in Malankara..
The Apostle Thomas landed at Maliankara with the merchant Habban.
He performed miracles and in eight months 
he established the Church of Jesus Christ in that city.

Then he went to Mailepuram (Madras)
where he preached the Gospel of the Lord 
for four and a half months
and then took ship for China.

He stayed four and a half months in China
and returned to Mailepuram.

After he had been there for about a month,
 the son-in-law of the Rajah the king of Thiruvanchikulam came to him 
and begged him to return to Malabar.

They took ship and came to Maliankara
where the apostle converted the Rajah and his family,
forty Jews and four hundred others in less than six months.

He preached to the people,
built a church with a cross,
and ordained priests.

One of the first whom he consecrated
was the Rajah’s son-in-law
and was called Kepha.

Accompanied by Kepha he went to Quilon
 where he set up a cross and baptized 2400 people.

From Quilon, he went on to Chayal, in the mountains,
Stayed there a whole year as he had done in Quilon,
Baptized 2800 people and set up a cross.

At the request of the rulers of Tripaleswaram,
he returned to that village.
But when he saw that the people had desecrated the cross
which he had set up,
he cursed that place.
Nonetheless, he remained there for two months.
He once more set up a cross
and instructed the people
so that they should no longer return to heathendom
and ordained as a priest Thomas,
one of the leaders who had remained true to his faith.

During these two months that he stayed in Tripaleswaram
He strengthened all the Christians in their faith
and converted two hundred heathens.

Not far from there, further south,
he built the church of Niranam
and ordained as priest
his first pupil Thomas Maliyekal
who had been born there.

Then he went to Kokkamangalam,
where he stayed for a year
and converted fifteen hundred people,
set up a cross
and taught the people how they were to worship God.

He again visited Kottakavu Parur,
stayed almost a year there
and converted 2200 people.

From there he went to Maliankara along the southern road,
and was pleasantly surprised
to see the flourishing state of the Christian community there.
He stayed there only two weeks
and went away to the north, to Palayur,
Where in one month
he baptized 1280 people
and according to his custom set up a great cross.

Towards the end of the year (59 AD)he returned to Mailepuram.

He went back once more to Malabar
and the angels protected him on his journey.

He stayed two months at Maleattur
and converted 220 people,

Stayed a whole year at Niranam
and was satisfied with the faith of the people
and the exemplary life that they led;

He gave communion to those
who had not yet received the sacrament.
Then he took his leave of the Christians
and told them that they would never see him again,
and set off for the land of the Tamils.

Thomas Rabban and Kepha the son-in-law of the Rajah
accompanied him for seven and a half miles
and then took their leave of him.
It would be impossible to relate
 all the wonders which our  saint performed
by making the sign of the cross
with the hands that had touched the wounds of the Lord.

He raised 29 dead men to life,
Freed 250 who were possessed by devils,
Healed 330 lepers,
Restored their sight to 250 blind people
And the use of their Limbs to 120 cripples,
And their speech to 20 deaf mutes.

He healed 280 sick people
 who had been given up by their physicians.
He converted to the Christian faith
17,490 Brahmins;
350 Vaisyas (merchants) and farmers,
and 4289 Sudras.
He ordained two bishops and seven priests,
Of whom four were called Rabban
And appointed 21 deacons.
Ramban song does not mention Taxila mission and hence this must have been an earlier mission.  Since Thomas landed in a ship in Kodungallur in 52 AD we could assume the Taxila mission was somewhere in 40 – 52 AD during the time of Gondaphores.  He might have made his first mission trip to China during this 12 year period, for which we have no mention positively.     The song  mentions the mission trip to China by sea which might have been a follow up mission as he seems to have done in South Indian areas also.
-------------------------------------------------------------

       PALAYOOR CHURCH of ST. THOMAS Thrissur Kerala India

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 saras@indianchristianity.com
only three of the original seven St.Thomas churches viz Parur in the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam, Palayur in the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Trichur, and Niranam under the Orthodox Syrian Church (Devalokam Aramana) could claim a continuous existence from the time of their establishment by the Apostle in the middle of the first century after Christ. 

Origins of the Christian Community at Palayur Palayoor had its origin as a christian centre from the time of the preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle of Christ at Palayoor, early in the second half of the first century A.D.

The Apostle’s visit and activities are thus described by the author of the Ramban Song:-

  “........................................................., he travelled to the north, And thus in the space of a fortnight he reached the village of Palur, In those parts also he preached the religion for a year. During that time, He baptised one thousand and fifty persons.” Planting of the Cross After baptising the people of Palayoor the Apostle also made sure that they were properly trained in matters liturgical. To that end “.................................................................................

.Thereafter, In order that they all might perform all the rites of worship, There he set up a Cross of beautiful form.” The Thomas Event at Palayoor in Kerala Tradition Many other details of the work of St. Thomas at Palayoor are available from Kerala tradition and folklore and in works like ‘Ancient Wedding Songs


The following is a typical version of what happened at Palayoor during the first encounter of the Apostle with the local people, as universally attested to in Kerala tradition:--: “When Thomas came to the great Brahmin centre of Palayur, a leading Brahmin Gramam among the 64, he came across some Brahmins doing the Pithru Yajna or Pooja to the manes or ghosts of deceased ancestors. They were throwing water into the air (Tharpanam) while reciting manthras. The Apostle learned from them the meaning of this ritual and remarked: ‘If your perfor-mance is acceptable to the gods they could keep the water suspended in the air without allowing it to fall doagain and again’. “The Brahmins said that this was unthinkable as it was opposed to the laws of nature. Then Thomas asserted that the One true God he worshipped could do it, and he proceeded to perform a miracle on condition that the Brahmins accept his faith if he is successful. The Apostle, invoking the Holy Trinity, made the sign of the Cross and threw a handful of water up into the sky. After reaching a particular height the water stood still in the air, the particles glittering like diamonds. Looking down the Brahmins could see the cavity made by the removal of the water still there in the pond. Most of the witnesses were baptised on the spot. However those Brahmins who did not accept the faith called the place ‘Shapa Kadu’ or Cursed Place and left the place immediately promising to take the next bath only at Vembanattu, unpolluted by the new faith. Even today, true to the oath taken by their ancestors, the Brahmins do not eat or drink in the vicinity of Palayur or Chowghat (Shapa Kadu).”modified into Chavakatt, and Anglicised into Chowghat”
 One family alone of the unconverted Brahmins remained in Palayur. This place, one kilometre south of Palayur today, has come to be called Orumanayoor or the ‘place of the single mana’ or Nampoothiri family.
 
According to the Ramban Song, he ordained priests and consecrated bishops. Kepa and Paul are said to have been consecrated bishops. Two families, Sankarapuri and Pakalomattam, even today claim a continual line of priests starting from those ordained by the Apostle.” The two families Sankarapuri and Pakalomattam were among those who received their faith from Apostle Thomas at Palayur.
Some other families tracing their Christian origin to the Palayur event are : Kalli, Kaliyankavu, Kottakkali, Koyikkam, Nedumpalli, Panakkamattam, Madamboor, Muttodan....although the most famous examples are those of Sankarapuri and Pakalomattam which have contributed to the Kerala Church some of its best known leaders, priests, and administrators
Here it may be remembered that the custom of white dress, the njori or fan-like appendix at the back symbolic of the greatest modesty, and the taboo regarding the use of nasal ornaments among the highest ranking Nambudhiri women or Antharjanams is perhaps copied from the Thomas Christian women because such customs are not to be found among Brahmins anywhere else in the country. Compulsory use of white dress and the avoidance of Nasabharanam are among the sixtyfour Anacharams of Adi Sankaracharya (b.ca.8th c. A.D.) 
 [scholarly opinion that the Nabudhiris are perhaps a community with only perhaps a thousand or so years’ history in Kerala,]

  HISTORY OF The First Church at Palayur:-
 was fully made of teakwood. Then the Italian missionary decided to build a new church around the old one, without harming it. After he had completed the new church in ca.1607 he was able to get the people to agree to demolish the old structure. Finally the triumphant missionary says, “ The wooden structure still remained inside the new church. They believed that if that were to be demolished the person so doing would die on the spot. But I was able to remove that fear through a sermon. Straightaway they removed the old church.
  Tippu Sultan’s army set fire to the church in the 18th century,so that it had to be reconstructed

Jews in palayoor:-

According Moses Pereya de Paiva there were in Palayur one synagogue and ten families of Jews in 1686. The Juden Kunnu (hill) of old records now termed the Jewish Bazar at Palayur is a living testimony to the presence and prominence of Jews there in the early centuries. The area at the foot of this spot is still called Angadythazham, which could be translated as the place at the foot of the (Jewish) bazar or hill. There is mention of a Jewish flute-girl in connection with the story of St.Thomas’ arrival in Kerala, and also mention of the Apostle converting forty Jews.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Song of St. Thomas[BY THOMAS RAMBAN]"St. Thomas, my namesake, the great teacher of the religion of grace,
(He) in company with Avan, the agent of King Cholan,
Embarked in Arabia and arrived at Maliamkara
..........................................................................
Thereafter he made haste and soon reached Mylapore."

"In one month’s time him to come back to the Kerala country,
The nephew of the King of Tiruvanchikkulam arrived in that land (the Cholan’s land),
And, kissing his blessed foot, entreated. They voyaged in a ship,
And, undoubtedly, came to Maliamkara...."



There (in Kodungallur) by his miraculous deeds, in eight days he established the religion"
Returning there from Mylapore at the invitation of the King from Kodungallur in the company of the King’s nephew,
"Together with the King’s family, three thousand heathens, unbelievers,
As well as forty Jews who had settled in the country,
Received baptism in a year and a half."
Thus the capital of the Chera empire receives the Apostle and his message with an open heart, and thereafter becomes the fountainhead of faith for the whole country. Therefore:
"There for worship (St. Thomas) erected a church and a cross." 
Not only that. Now that the King of Tiruvanchikkulam and the whole royal family had accepted the message St. Thomas forthwith consecrates the King’s nephew a bishop:
"Grace to become priests and bishops of the religion
And knowledge of the mysteries of it (the religion) he gave in public.
The reigning King Anthrayos’ (Andrew’s)
Nephew Keppa (Cephas) he consecrated a bishop."8 
And now with Bishop Keppa, the King’s nephew he starts his journeys to various parts of the Kingdom and is very successful in his mission all over the Kingdom.
After successfully preaching the Gospel in Quilon, Trikkapeleswaram, Chayal, Gokkamangalam, and Kottakkayal,
"Travelling southwards he arived at Maliamkara,
And was glad to find everything in proper order there."
After another trip to Mylapur he is in Kodungallur again on his way to Parur from Palayur and Malayattur.
" His first disciple Keppa,(Cephas) [the King of Tiruvanchikkulam’s nephew, ] who never had parted from him,
He dressed (him) in his garment, and on his head he placed his hand.
As the governance of his believers he entrusted to him.
He quickly enjoined on them to accept (Cephas) as they (accepted) him.
Thus , as in many other places and continents, it was royal patronage that made things easy for the spread of the Christian religion in Kerala

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Margamkali is a very ancient and the most popular artistic performance prevalent among the Syrian Christians ofKerala. The word 'margam' means 'path' and it was meant for the propagation of Christian religious ideas. Margamkali is performed mainly by men on festive occasions, especially during the time of marriage. The dance is performed by 12 members moving in a circle around a lighted oil lamp. Theoil lamp denotes Christ and the dancers symbolizes his disciples.

The songs of the Margamkali are composed in modern Malayalam. The dancers sing themselves while performing the dance. Unlike other dance forms of Kerala, Margamkali lacks musical accompaniment. The traditional text of the song is an elaboration of the activities and martyrdom of St. Thomas in Kerala. Later many other songs were also added to the original test.

Margam Kali - Classical Christian women's dance of Kerala, India


 



Chavittunatakom - a latin Christian art form of Kerala, Christian Play



Chavittunatakam