LOCAL TRADITIONS
       


Thoma Parvam

The Songs of Thomas


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  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.

Among the first converts there were forty members of the Jewish community including Rabbi Paul of the Cranganore Synagogue where every Saturday the Apostle used to go and read and explain the Old Testament for the Jewish congregation. Though Rabbi Paul received baptism and became a Christian, a good number of the Cranganore Jewish community continued to stick fast to their ancestral religion and gave the Christians the name "Nazaranis ", meaning followers of the man from Nazareth i.e.; Jesus Christ.
Prof. M.M.Ninan - Thomas
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... and the Periplus, on the north bank of Periyar River today. It is also known as Maliankara in ancient times. It is now known as Pattanam, is near Cochin

Athen Cheran I
The story starts with a a human sacrifice in the Kali temple in Kodungallur. It was the practive to select a male child under 5 years old from one of prominent families by lot.  The lot that year fell on Kunjan, the nephew of King Aten Cheran I while he was on tour to the Pandyan empire.  The family of Kunjan came to the new divine person recently arrived from abroad for help.  Thomas and his Jewish friends were present at the ceremony and promised the family that they will save the child if they will believe in Isa.  Before delivering the child for sacrifice the child was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and sealed him with the Holy Spirit.  The Brahmin Priest took the child into the inner sanctuary of Kali and the door was shut.  However the door was never reopened announcing the fulfillment of sacrifice.  When the waiting crowd finally forced opened the door, Kunjan was standing there smiling and the Priest was not to be found anywhere.
“The whole city which was present accepted Jesus and were baptized in a repetition of Pentecostal day. The custom of Narabali came to an end. Thus Kodungaloor became a Christian city. It is since then known as the city of the Great God, city of Mahathevar viz., Mahodayapuram. The king on his return himself became a Christian under the name Andrew.  Kunjan being saved from Narabali became ‘Kepa’.”
P.E.Easow








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