1. Country S Asia, S of the Himalayas, bet. Bay of Bengal and Arab. Sea. Area: ca. 1, 269,420 sq. mi. Earliest evidences of civilization date back to the 3d and 2d millenniums BC Aryans or Hindus invaded 2400 to 1500 BC Alexander III (the Great; 356323 BC king of Macedonia 336) invaded ca. 327326, withdrew 325324; Muslim invaders founded the Mogul empire 1526 AD Port. practically monopolized trade with India in the 16th c., followed by Dutch, Fr., and Eng. in the 1st half of the 17th century. Eng. est. a beachhead through the Eng. E India Company. Brit. supremacy was secured by defeat of Fr. and Muslim forces in the 1760s and by subsequent pacification or conquest of Indian kingdoms by war or treaty. India became a mem. of the Brit. Commonwealth of Nations 1947 (when India became indep. and was divided into India and Pakistan [see Asia, B 2], a partition marked by much bloodshed and massive migrations), a sovereign democratic rep. in the Commonwealth 1950.
2. Religions of India: Hinduism* (ca. 85%); Islam* (ca. 9.9%); Christianity (ca. 2.3%); Sikhism (see Sikhs; ca. 1.7%); Jainism,* Buddhism,* Zoroastrianism,* Judaism,* etc. (ca. 1.1%).
3. Indian soc. is divided into castes (see Brahmanism, 3; Hinduism, 3); the system is slowly losing rigidity.
4. Christianity may have come to India as early as the 1st c. An archaeological find indicates that Pallivaanavar, a Christian, was king in Kerala in the middle of the 2d c.
5. The Syrian Christians (reason for Syrian hard to determine), or Thomas Christians, of Kerala claim that the apostle Thomas arrived in that area at Malankara, near Cranganur (Cranganore), ca. the middle of the 1st c. and converted their ancestors. Other possibilities for the origin of Syrian Christians in Jndia include a 4th or 7th c. (or later) immigration by Christians from Syria under a Thomas (of) Cana (or Thomas Cannaneo) and Nestorian influence of the patriarch of Seleucia; Eusebius* of Caesarea (HE, V, x, 23) connects the apostle Bartholomew and Pantaenus* with India.
6. The first Christians in India may have been converted by missionaries from Antioch or Edessa; in course of time they accepted Nestorian bps., perhaps from Seleucia. Port. RC missionaries came to them ca. the beginning of the 16th c., initiating a period of transition. The Syrian Christians in India were forced 1599 (see Diamper, Synod of) to accede to many RC teachings and practices (including celibacy of priests and Communion under one kind) and to destroy E Syrian MSS Many revolted against Rome and seceded, esp. 1653, going back to the Antioch patriarchate, which was now Monophysitic (see Monophysitism). Dutch influence abetted separation from RCm Later Brit. influence attracted some. Further schisms are a tragic commentary on this ancient ch. and on problems of a religious group which had become in effect a caste of its own. The Mar* Thoma Ch. sent missionaries to the Tibetan border 1954. See also Nonchalcedonian Churches, 2.
7. There are more than 2 million Syrian Christians in India, chiefly in Kerala, which includes Malabar Coast: ca. 1,200,000 RCs of the Syro-Malabar rite (called Malabars), a uniate ch. (see Uniate Churches) using a Syriac liturgy; ca. 130,000 RCs of the Syro-Malankara rite (called Malankars), using a Malayalam (Dravidian language of Kerala) liturgy; ca. 700,000 Jacobites or Syrian Orthodox Christians whose allegiance is to the patriarch of Antioch and to the catholicos* in Kottayam, Kerala (after yrs. of litigation over the relative authority of the patriarch and the catholicos this group composed its differences 1959, the suit finally decided by the Supreme Court of India); ca. 300,000 Mar Thoma Christians, a reforming group which broke away from the Jacobites in the 1870s, maintaining an E Cath. type of episcopacy, though with local consecration; ca. 100,000 former Angls. who have joined the CSI; a group of ca. 5,000 mems. which has reest. a Nestorian connection; the Thozhiyur diocese, small but important for supplying a consecrating bp. for the Mar Thoma Ch. See also Malabar Christians; Nonchalcedonian Churches, 2.
8. Syrian Christians have been influential in Christian circles in India and in the WCC
9. The 149798 discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama (ca. 14691524; Port. navigator) gave impetus to RC missions. Goa became a bishopric in the 1530s, archbishopric ca. 1558. RC missionaries include F. Xavier* and Robert(o) de Nobili.* Sp. lent govt. support to missions in India in the 16th and 17th c.
10. Prot. missions in India were initiated 1706 by Frederick* IV of Den. Prominent missionaries included B. Ziegenbalg,* H. Plütschau,* J. P. Fabricius,* C. W. Gericke,* C. F. Schwartz.* Ger. rationalism, the Napoleonic wars, and disease and poverty in the Tranquebar area wrought havoc in the miss. All stations except Tranquebar were turned over 1825 to the SPCK, which later gave them to the SPG A. F. Kemmerer's* work in Tranquebar was curtailed by royal resolution 1825 but renewed by J. H. K. Cordes.* Work of the Ev. Luth. Miss. of Leipzig* and of the Church of Swed. Missions resulted 1919 in the Tamil Ev. Luth. Ch. See also Missions, 56.
W. Carey,* J. Marshman,* and W. Ward* est. an effective miss. base at Serampore (see also Serampore Trio). Other missionaries sponsored by Eng. socs. include W. T. Ringeltaube,* K. T. E. Rhenius.*
11. ABCFM missionaries 1812: A. Judson,* S. Newell,* G. Hall,* L. Rice,* S. Nott.* Judson and Rice became Bap. en route to India. Rice returned to Am. 1813 and helped organize the Am. Bap. Miss. Union, which supported Judson, began work 1840 among Telugu around Nellore, S Andhra Pradesh, S India, and 1841 in Assam, NE Indian Union.
12. A. Duff's* emphasis on secondary and higher educ. encouraged other miss. socs. and the Indian govt.; schools, colleges, and univs. were est., with govt. grants in many cases covering the operating costs of miss. schools.
Zenana (Hindi belonging to women) work and med. miss. are distinct branches of miss. work in India. Zenanas are quarters for seclusion of women, who can usually be reached there with physical and spiritual ministry only by trained women workers. An assoc. for zenana work was formed 1852.
13. The Basel* Miss. Soc. entered India at Mangalore, S. Kanara, 1834. The Gossner* Miss. Soc. worked chiefly among Kols in Chota Nagpur. The autonomous Gossner Ev. Luth. Ch. in Chota Nagpur and Assam was est. 1919. J. C. F. Heyer* arrived Ceylon 1842.
K. G. T. Nüther* and F. E. Mohn* began the work of the Missouri Ev. Luth. India Miss. in N Arcot 1895. Work spread into the Salem, Mysore, and Tinnevelly Dists. and was begun in Travancore (present Kerala) 1907. Ceylon was entered 1927 (see also Asia, B 3). Wandoor has been served since 1950, Bombay since 1954. The India Ev. Luth. Ch. was organized 1958, accepted 1959 as a sister ch. of the LCMS Work is done in Eng., Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Urdu, Kanarese, Marathi, and Gujerati and includes educ., med., pub., and radio activities.
The Hermannsburg* Miss. began work in the middle 1860s at Nellore. Two stations were sold 1912 to the Ev. Luth. Joint Syn. of Ohio* and Other States, which took over the whole field 1916. In 1930 the miss. came under the ALC Bd. of For. Miss. The South Andhra Luth. Ch. was organized for autonomy and self-support 1945. For Luth. Ch. in the Andhra Country of India see United Lutheran Church in America, The, III.
14. The Church* of S India was formed 1947. It observes an episcopate in practice, but no specific doctrine of apostolic succession is accepted. The Ch. of S India and Luths. have been in conversation since 1947.
15. See Church of North India.
16. In 1968 the India Ev. Luth. Ch. (see section 13 above) joined The Fed. of Ev. Luth. Chs. in India, formed 1926 and granting its mems. autonomy. All Luth. chs. in India are mems. of the Fed., which helps maintain contact among ca. 800,000 Luths. in India spread chiefly along the E coast. Chs. of considerable strength work in 6 different language areas, and at least 6 other languages are used. BHJ, HMZ, AJB.
See also Abdul Masih; Accommodation, 5; Brahmanism.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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