Sunday, 25 March 2018


Roman Katholics (Syro- Malabar Katholics) and their historians have been propagating a story that Marthoma VI (Valiya Mardivannasiyos) was interested to join Katholic church. In their opinion, he did contact Roman Patriarch and wrote a letter to express his wishes. As an evidence, they put forward the so called letter and its translations. This continuous propaganda and stories slowly crept in to the minds of Malankara Nazranies and their priest historians started to agree with this proposal. Many Malankara Sabha historians started to write that Marthoma VI actually interested to join Katholic church .

This is an attempt t
o study the veracity of these claims and put some light in to the mind of the great visionary called Marthoma VI. Original of this write up was prepared for a reply to “”Sunday Shalom”” in 2000, and  subsequent reply to Nasrani .net . This may be a help to those who want to know the truth about the actions of great visionary Malankara Moopan called Marthoma VI.  

Let us see what is Niranam Grandhavari states about this.

                       (From page 90)

Why did MarthomaVI allow a dialogue with Kariyattil team?  To get an answer we need to understand the social situation of Malankara Nazranies and Romo-Syrians during that time.

Romo-syrians were ruled by foreign bishops during this period. They had very little involvement in temporal matters of the Church. This was questioned by one group who wanted to create a local hierarchy. It was rejected by PADROADO/PROPAGANDA and treated them a second -class citizen. This has insulted the educated among them. When they fed up with Propaganda they turned to Padroado and vice versa. Latinization turned in such a way that they have lost their culture, traditions, noyambs, church names, personal names, taksas, and pally architecture 

What was the condition of Malankara Nazranies?

They have their Malankara Moopan as their metropolitan and their Pallies were ruled by Palliyogakkars. Though they had enjoyed freedom in temporal matters, infiltration in to daily affairs of church was started by Antiochian prelates. Propaganda by supporters of these prelates made confusion in the mind of Malankara Nazranies that the Malankara Moopan need to be re-consecrated. This kind of attitude existed among the Malankara Nazranies since the advent of foreign prelates. This is a trait in built in Malankara Nazrani mind (among minority group), which caused many problems in their development. The dispute between the Prelates (Mar Gregorios & Mar Ivaniyos) and Marthoma VI end up in re-consecration of MarthomaVI as Divannasiyos metropolitan. Most of the prelates visited Malankara tried to overpower Malankara Moopan in Pally matters .The saddest thing is that these prelates came with our invitation and tried to create split among us for the benefit of money &power. This was the situation during MarthomaVI period. He understood the situation and wanted a lasting solution .

Educated Kariyatil malpan was thinking of a plan to achieve his goal of getting a Romo-syrian hierarchy directly from Rome. For this he need to convince the Rome that Rome will be benefited if he could be in charge of their church in Malankara. Kariatil knew the Marthomas struggle against foreign prelates and his victory (marginal) over the prelates. Marthoma also knew the Kariyattil –Paremakkil movement for a local bishop. It is also to be b noted that many of the pallies were shared by Malankara Nazranies and Romo-syrians. This lead to the said dialogue

 Kariatil Joseph malpan and Paremakkil Thomman kathanar visited MarthomaVI for unification of Malankara Nazranies. The idea was welcomed by Marthoma but he had an intention of bringing back deserted sheep to original Nazrani faith. The condition of Romo-syriyans was pathetic under Jesuits and Carmelites while Malankara Nazranies had their hierarchy without many problems except the greediness of those foreign prelates and their few supporters. Marthoma was open in his discussion and said that his church have great regard for Roman Patriarch and will accept his seniority and guidance provided that the Patriarch accept the Malankara Moopan as the head of all Malankara church (Malankara Nazranies and Romo-syriyans).It is also to be noted that MarthomaVI wanted to continue the Aramaic traditions of Malankara church (use of Ammeera, noyambu, traditions, married priests etc.)Marthoma VI put forward a proposal that he had no problem in accepting the roman patriarch his senior if Rome accept the united Malankara church under him with old traditions which existed pre Roman period.

MarthomaVI was a great visionary who could think of a Malankara Sabha  without any foreign interference in temporal matters. As far as spiritual &theological matters we were never been a dogmatic people. We accepted whoever came in Christian love and had given a chance to explain their views . Also please not that during this period prelates from Coe, Chaldean Antiochian  visited Malankara and Malankara Nazranies treated them with warm hearts

But knowingly or unknowingly Kariatil failed to represent the proposal to Rome in right perspective. Rome rejected the proposal. Rome’s proposal was not acceptable to the Valiyamar Divannasiyos and he rejected it out rightly. Before getting any conclusion on this one should analyze it with documentation available.

The documentations related with this subject are
(1)Varthamanapusthakamby Paremackil Thomman kathanar
(2)Manuscripts/copies of letters
(3)Niranam Granthavari-which include diaries ofMarthoma VI .

Many historians produced copies of the letters which said to have been written by MarthomaVI according to their church allegiances . I think these letters have no historical value. But it is interesting to note that the Governodor’s book certainly can give some credible information, but unfortunately we get very little information from this book. It is interesting to note that the Kathanar himself give us the information in chapter 47 that the book contains the details about the Marthoma’s letter on chapter(padam)13,14,15 (publishers says it is damaged by termites). Since the situation is this we are left with nothing but to study available documentation. Here, comes the importance of work like one conducted(conducting)by ISTVAN PERCZEL. Their initial study suggests that the letters produced in different languages have serious differences in content. One should check this difference with related documents such as NIRANAM GRANDHAVARI. Again, we have to compare this result with incidence took place after their Rome expedition to get the truth. (page 68)

What happened to Kariatil expedition? Kariatil did not get any clear answer from Rome. He was advised to meet The Queen. However, he managed to get a Methran posting from The Queen and returned to Goa. The rest is history! What about the socalled unification of Malakara Nazranies?

Vested interest adopted another way to subjugate the Malankara Nazranies. This time through Thachil Mathoo Tharakan.I need not explain here the position of Mathoo Tharakan in those times. Governodor Paremakkil Thomman kathanar and Mathoo Tharakan decided to go ahead with dialogue with the political influence of Tarakan.  But, Marthoma understood the situation and kept his position clear. With the influence of Mathoo Tharakan they managed to get an arrest warrant (on fabricated charges) against Marthoma. Tharakan confiscated the Episcopal staff, cross and mitre of MarthomaVI and also other landed properties of the parishes of Nirnam, Chengannur, Puthenkavu etc. Then they arrested him from Niranam pally and brought to Alappuzha and put him under house arrest. He was forced to celebrate Qurbana according to Roman rite using PATHEERA at Tathampally and sign a contract declaring his union with Roman church. Marthoma had no option but to do whatever Tharakan asked for the sake of Nazranies of Niranam, Chengannur, and Puthencavu. Once he yielded the want of one lakh twenty five thousand Kalippanam was kept aside and Marthoma was released after 32 days of imprisonment. Tharakan deputed Prakkattu Kochitty kathanar for observing whether Marthoma changes his stand or not. The Marthoma could not do anything until God heard his prayers.

 Tharakan was caught by people(Kollavarsham 974 Midhunam 12) from Anchuthengu and forcibly feed him with boiled thakara without salt, cut his ear and brought him to Thiruvanathapuram .Hearing this Kochittitharakan& team fled from Chengannur. Marthoma was released from watchful eyes of Kochitty tharakan and he apologized to Malankara Nazranies for using Patheera. He celebrated qurbana for41 days using Ammeera in repentance. One should understand the political and administrative situation before criticizing him. In my opinion Malankara Nazranies have only one VALIYA MAR DIVANNASIYOS (MARTHOMAVI) to compare with Mar Athanasius of Alexandria or Mar Yacob Burdhana of Antioch.

Throughout the years Rome understands the importance of Malankara Nazranies and their heritage . Had MarthomaVI accepted Rome without any condition then the position of Malankara church would have different today. Certainly, the Indian Katholic church stature had also been different. If MarthomaVI was ready for such a step, he or his successor could have become an Indian Patriarch and could lead whole Indian Katholics. Yes, Valiya Mar Divannasiyos was may be a fool. But his foolishness becomes good for Malankara Nazranies. 

Some Data for further reading and analysis.

1)Consecration of Marthoma VI by Marthoma V -1761 (Kollavrzham 936Midhunam 29 –Niranam Grandhavari.
2) In 1761Marthoma VI raised his anadaravan to thr dignity of episcopa as Marthoma VI and died in 1765,though the re-consecration of the later seems to be an admitted fact . It took place in 1770 and strange as it may appear ,this is the first and last occation when any ordination of a methran of Malankarai took place by admitted authorization of the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch ----- The Syrian Church in India By George Milne Rae.
3) Re-consecration of Marthoma VI by Mar Gregorios & Mar Ivanios  in 1770 (Kollavarsham 945 Mithunam 29) ----- Niranam Grandhavari.
4) Consecration of Ramban Kattumagattu kurien (kattumagattu family says his name is Abraham )by the blind prelate Mar Gregorios in 1771(kollavrsham 947 Vrichikam16)  ---- Niranam grandhavari ,
5) Consecration of Ramban kattumangadan by Mar ivanios  in 1772  ----- Suriyani kristhyanikalude Sabhacharithram by Ittupwriter.
6) Visit of Marthoma VI along with Mar Ivanios to Kandanadu to ascertain the position of consecration of  Kattumangattu Ramban in 1772 (Kollavarshanm947Meenam 12))--- Varthamana pusthakam by Paremakkil Thomman kathanaar.
7) Wiil of Mar Gregorios had written on 1772(Kollavarsham 947 Makaram 23) prompted in Arabic translated by translator of Dutch company Baran paul and Palluruthy Said Ahmed Thangal ,witness writer Juaness Boss and Francis Robert – Ittupwriter in his book.

8) Mathoo Tharakan’s house at Thathampally was razed to the ground (using Elephants by Veluthampi Dalava -Kollavarsham 982 Thulam 19). He was again charged with revolt against Britishers and sentenced for Death (1809). His death sentence was reduced to compensation of Money with the influence of Arch Bishop Raymond of Joseph O.C.D. vicar apostolica of Verapoly.- Br. Leopold in his book Keralathile Latin Kristhyanikal .

8) This money was used to meet the expenses of students of Pazhaya seminary ,Kottayam. -Keralathile Latin Kristhyanikal by Br. Leopold.

9) An amount of Rs 2000/- was received by Pazhaya seminary ---Suriyani kristhyanikalude Sabha charithram by Ittup Writer .

Friday, 25 March 2016


Today historical researches are mainly based on inscriptions, manuscripts, archaeological excavations etc. Of course they are the primary/direct sources . Subjects like linguistic studies, Anthropological studies , Genetics etc.  are used as secondary data or parallel evidences . But there are many non conventional   fields which can help us in knowing our past. 

Food habits or traditional dishes of different communities are one among them. It helps us to understand the hidden story. Often scholars give very little interest in it. It may be because of overlapping or difficulty in arriving any conclusion. But in my opinion it makes one of the best parallel evidences.

“PESAHA” traditions and dishes  of Malankara Nazranies make one of the best examples  in this regard. As you know well, Malankara Nazranies are the direct custodians of a Judeo-Dravidian tradition. They settled on the shores of Malankara (Kerala,South India) at least from the third century onwards. Many traditions indicate that their origin is from a Judeo-Dravidian mixing.  May be the Jews settled on the shores of Malankara supplied the base of this community. Evidences like traditions, beliefs, practices etc. lead us to this conclusion.   St. Thomas stories often propagated by  Malankara Nazranies  find very little concrete evidences to support with but the circumstantial and parallel evidences might have some truth in it even though the stories of Malankara Nazranies  mostly  being illogical . What ever may be the truth DNA analysis indicate the connection with West Asia.

Malankara Nazranies have peculiar traditions on Pesaha (Maundy Thursday) day. There is no other Christian sect in the world keeps such traditions on Maundy Thursday. Why is that? 

In my childhood, it was celebrated in a traditional way. I was born and brought up in a mixed locality. The population of Malankara Nazranies were much lesser as compared with other Christians like Roman Katholics . But we had a peculiar way in celebrating the Pesaha.  We start with our Pesaha celebration in the morning at 4’o clock attending a prolonged service at our Palli (Church). By 6 a.m. in the morning we return to our homes. After the brake fast family members start cleaning the entire house to make ready for Pesaha celebration.  Then women folks of the family get down to prepare special dishes for our Pesaha celebration. These dishes are called KALTHAPPAM ,PESAHAPPAM and PAAL. Kalthappam is an exclusive Pesaha dish only belongs to Malankara Nazranies.  No other Christians who claim syriac background has this particular dish. Though the ingredients are some what similar but the preparations are entirely different.    This has often generated interest in me.

Kalthappam mainly made up of unleavened batter made out of Urad dal , coconut, rice flour, garlic , shallots  etc. It is a kind of pancake , roti or bread prepared in the middle east or West Asia. More interesting is the way in which it is prepared.   It is prepared by heating under and above portions of this Roties. This is an exclusive preparation when we consider the usual cooking methods of Kerala.

The utensils used for Kalthappam preparations called “Varakalam” a large flat mud pot with wide opening. Two Varakalams are required to give heat from both sides of the Kalthappam.  First place the Kalthappam  inside the larger Varakalam and give heat using firewood .Then place the other Varakalam over the first one and put burning logs into it so that it gives heat to front portion of the Kalthappam. It is cooked by the heat environment generated by this particular arrangement. This arrangement can be called a typical “Tandoor”. This part of India never had practiced such cooking methods for other local dishes. Obviously question arises that how did this practice come to exist among Malankara Nazranies? Is it come from their ‘Yahoodi” connections?

Malankara Nazranies also make usual Pesahappam with almost same ingredients except the excessive use of shallots and some other items (in Kalthappam)using steamed cooking  methods like Iddly. PAAL is an associate dish, which may resembles the wine or the curry made during “Yahoodi’’ Pesaha ceremony. It is made of thick jaggery juice ,coconut milk, rice flour, cumin seeds, cardamom etc.

Finally the family get down to break the Kalthappam  (around 4 o’clock in the evening )which decorated with plantain leaf in a cross shape. Starting with a prayer and song exclusive to this Pesaha occasion head of the family or the eldest male member of the family break the Kalthappam and give it to each family member  starting from the eldest to youngest in a revered manner. Family members dip it in to the common PAAL and consume it with prayers. Then they get their glass of Paal and more appams as required. The other Pesahappam also  cut ( it can be cut by a knife because it is flexible due to steamed cooking) follow the same procedure.

It is also noted that the Steamed Pesahappam is called INRI appam by Roman Katholics(SMC & Latin church in Kerala) . Malankara Nazranies never call it by this name or this celebration has any connection with Palli Namaskara Karmams. It is an exclusive family tradition. Currently Roman Katholics and Latin Katholics have started  Pesaha celebrations and they are promoting it as a part of Palli (Church) ritual. But the astonishing thing is that Kalthappaam and its peculiar methods of cooking is exclusive to Malankara Nazranies .

This KALTHAPPAM tradition is exclusive to Malankara Nazranies of North . i.e. Malankara nazranies of south (south of Kottayam) hardly has this practice. I always wondered why did this difference exist? Is it indicating the different groups existed among Malankara nazranies? If that so there must have existed some other peculiar celebrations or traditions in this part. But my search finds no evidence of such exclusivity, Why ?

There were two groups of Malankara Nazranies  from the beginning  1) Chattukulangara( Palur- Arthattu) Nazranies and 2) Kurakkeni Kollam ( Thevalakkara-Kayamkulam) Nazranies. There exist some differences in practices and traditions among them. Is it indicating some kind of different origins? I think most unlikely because these groups were inter connected from the very early period. More over many of the southern families trace back their Northern origin (due to Tippu’s attack and other socio-economic reasons). I think this difference may be because of the geographical distance and over influence of western missionaries.

Any way KALTHAPPAM and PESAHA celebrations shows the antiquity and traditional connection of Malankara nazranies with Yahoodies.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


This is an old subject but controversial .Church historians of the world tried to paint this great man with their respective church allegiance. But some of them did a good balance study, but still need more evidences to say anything concrete. For the past few years I was searching for some possible logical evidences to understand this historical mystery. The traditions of Malankara Nazranies often find difficult to explain with logical evidence along with historical facts. It is surprising to note that these partisan church Historians often made forged documents to substantiate their claims. But I think a logical mind can see the truth through the modern researches and evidences.

The following analysis is based on my search for truth; it may hurt feelings of conventional churches including the one I belong, but I am least bothered. I am guided by the spirit of Malankara Nazraniath.
The Story of Mor  Ahatallah/Aitalaha is quite known to every Malankara Nazrani. So I am not going to explain it here. The different church historians have written a lot about it. Let us start with different perspective.

Mainly three arguments put forward by the respective church historians. Katholic group states he was a unite katholic from syriac Christianity. Different authors takes their stand depending on their church allegiance with unite Jacobite or unite Nestorian. It is sad to state that the evidences are rare and logic some times takes the shape of their dogmatic beliefs. Some of them produces the copies of letter said to have been written by Mar Ahathalla ,which contradicting each other.

The other group Syriac orthodox (Jacobite /orthodox) claim  his Jacobite origin. They even identify him with Patriarch Ignatius Hidayathulla who reigned during  AD1597-1639.Some of their historians states that he was not a patriarch but a bishop from Jacobite side in order to counter the said story about the ordination/appointment by Coptic patriarch when their list of bishops does not reveal any thing remotely related to Mar Ahatalla.

The third group (most ridiculous)–a section of the IOC historians claim that the bishop is from Patriarch of Babylon When Nestorians themselves are  not sure about the origin.

“Mar Ahatalla may be an expelled  Jacobite patriarch or a metran “ (The Chaldean Syrian church in India By Mar Aprem)

Again in his recent study  he states””  There is a dispute about his identity.  The members of the Church of the East claim that Ahatallah was their bishop.  On the other hand the Syrian Orthodox scholars insist that he was their bishop,  a forerunner of Mar Gregorius of Jerusalem who reached Malabar twelve years later.  The Syro Malabar writers surmise that Ahatallah was their bishop.””( THE HISTORY OF THE ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST SINCE THE TIME OF KING ABGAR UCHAMA IN THE FIRST CENTURY UNTIL THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY by Mar Aprem)

There are at least four versions of letters circulated by these historians with respect to their allegiances. James Hough got the letter from Carmelite Vincent Maria De Caterina de Sienna –Il viggio all indie Orientalli , fol.  1673. James Hough discuss the letter in his book ‘History of Christianity in India Vol 2.’

“””Attalla, Patriarch . I have been sent by Pope Innocent X. to the Malabar Christians of St. Thomas for their consolation. At Calamine I have been taken prisoner by those whose profession it is to be persecute. They will soon send me to Cochin, and thence to Goa. Arm some of your men to deliver me””””  .

Now read another   

A priest from Jacobite point of view to W.A.Mill in 1821 and sited by A. Mingana in his work “The early Spread of Christianity in India (page 50-53)

“”In the year 1653 ,our Father Ignatus ,Patriarch of Antioch came to Mylapore. Two deacons went from Malabar to the church of Mylapore ,in order to worship before the grave of St. Thomas,The Apostle.”””

E.R Hambye states another version(An eastern Prelate in India, Mar Aitallaha 1652-53)
“”In the name of the eternal essence of the Almighty,the Patriarch of the Holy Thomas the Apostle. The peace of God the father, and the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the abiding presence of the holy spirit –hereby, I, Ignatus Patriarch of all India and China, send you a letter through some deacons, who came here from your place ..””

Another interesting version by Dr. Cyril Malancheruvil

“”In the name of the eternal essence, Almighty without beginning and end. The Patriarch Mar Thomas, Apostle. The peace in god , the father, and the mercy of our loard Jesus Christ and communion of the holy spirit. I ,Ignatius, Patriarch of all India and China. Now since I have received this faculty from Lord pope Ignatius , the Plenipotentiary through the grace of the father and the son and the holy spirit…””

You can see that the letter of Ahatallah takes the form and content depending on these authors’ allegiances. Some authors state that the letter is kept in Vatican but no body explains how it reached there. Dr. Joseph Cheeran states in his book” Indian Orthodox Church-History & culture” that he has a copy of that letter. Vengoor Ghevarghese Kassisso also said to have been read this letter. Then how come there exist so many differences in content? It is obvious that the letter is manipulated by respective sides to give credibility to their argument.

Authors like James Hough discussed the contradictory points in the letter in detail with references from Katholic sources. This will force any secular historical student to question the letter itself. The original letter may be lost or made so as to produce more favorable copies. Hough got the letter from Carmelite Vincent Maria De Caterina de Sienna who accompanied the Carmalite mission sent by Rome to bring back the Malankara Nazranies under Roman Papacy.

Now  that explains well about the name of Pope Innocent X in the letter of Mar Ahatallah produced by this devoted Carmelite. But history has strange ways to reveal the truth behind any manipulations like this one. The said letter states that Mar Ahatallah handed over this letter to ST .Thomas Christians at Calamina. But other letters produced by different historians specifically mention the place Mylapore. This is an interesting thing to be noticed by any body who cares about truth. How come these writers translate “Calamina”  as “Mylapore” when the text clearly state Calamina?

It is well known that the place ST. Thomas said to have been martyred is Calamina. But there is no evidence indicating that it represents Mylapore of today. The word Mylapore comes in to picture at the time of the east Syrian bishops around early 14th century. Then how can one attribute Calamina to present Mylapore?
It will be much clearer if we study the Maritime route from Arameae. If some one wants to come to Malakara from this region he can take two routes one through the Persian Gulf or the other through Arabian Gulf. Which ever route he comes, he cannot pass through the region without noticed by watchful eyes of Portuguese naval guards stationed at Hormuz as well as Socotra. Bahrain was under Portuguese rule till 1602 when Shah Abbas I evicted them. The presence of Portuguese in this region lasted till 1680 when the region was completely captured by Dutch. That is Mor Ahatallah could not have travelled through this region without the knowledge of Portuguese.

This being the situation , we see from the story of Mar Ahatallah that he reaches the shore of India at Surat .Of course the historians find evidence in the monk who reached capuchin friars  in Surat. They go on adding that he proceeded to Mylapore to visit The Tomb of St. Thomas and captured there by Jesuits and handed over to Portuguese. How far this narration is correct based on different information we get from various sources. It is interesting to note that none of the authors agree with one another with respect to flight of Mar Ahatallah.

Did Ahatallah reach Surat to come to Malankara? Why was he disembarked at Surat when he could have reached any port in Malankara? To avoid Portuguese watchful eyes is the usual answer to this problem may stand nullified when the very same watch dogs were all over the region –Persian gulf or Arabian Gulf , Socotra ,Hormuz etc. Again the travel to  Mylapore is the most ridiculous thing attached to this badly crafted story. This may be to create an image of Mylapore as resting place of St. Thomas. Unfortunately the word used for the place where he was arrested was “Calamina’’ and do not match the name ” Mylapore” in any way.

Now the so called historians say he reached Mylapore and was staying with Jesuit establishment when he got arrested by Portuguese with the help of the Jesuits. In order to find the correctness of this story we need to check the position of Jesuit establishment at Mylapore. It is reported that the Jesuit established their church and college not later than AD 1648.  We have information about the activities of Jesuits through various letters published around the world. But lack any thing related with Mar Ahatallah except few modern Katholic (especially SMC) priest historians quoting some letters written by Rector of Jesuit college at Mylapore. The information we get from these modern authors are not quite consistent with other writers of the earlier period.

In order to check the veracity of this story it would be advisable to compare the visit of another prelate who happened to visit Malankara within 30 years of Mor Ahatallah’s visit. This prelate also said to have landed at Surat to avoid Portuguese persecution and proceeded to Thalassery and reached Kothamangalam  through the forest . Now a simple question arises here is that why  didn’t Eldo Mor Baselios  take the same route as the Mar Ahatalla despite his port of entry was the same . This question is quite natural because the visit of the prelate was just 30 years after the Mar Ahatallah ‘s visit. The most ridiculous thing is that Mor Ahatallah went directly to Mylapore which is itself was a creation of Portuguese administration. It is difficult for any one with common intelligence to believe the story propagated by these church historians. Was Mor Ahatallah such an unintelligent to understand the  reason behind the very letter of invitation which said to have been received? This explains to any one that there need a rethinking on the so called Mor Ahatallah story.

Let us rewind the story , the prelate was at Cairo when he got the information about the Malankara Church from Coptic Patriarch. Naturally he might have proceeded from Cairo to Malakara through Arabian Gulf, which certainly brought him to Socotra and finally in the hand of Portuguese. It is noted that the Portuguese rule of Socotra was ended much earlier but their presence was there and was very much in control over the maritime trade. But it is also stated that he went his home town before starting the journey to Malankara. Some even state that he went to Moshul to get permission from Nestorian Patriarch. This is another funny thing we get from these church historians that a Monophysite bishop going to a Dyophysite Catholicate to get permission. Any way if he had started from Aleppo he could have followed another route to reach Malankara through Bazrah the southern port of Iraq or through any port in the Persian Gulf region. Though the rule of Portuguese in Bahrain was ended by AD 1540 but they are completely evicted from the region by AD 1680. There were many Portuguese colonies in the region and they were in very much control of maritime trade in the region.i.e.They could have traced Mor Ahatallah easily from this region. Historians argue that the said bishop landed in Surat on the basis of spotting a Sadhu in the Capuchin post in Surat. They spot him in Maylapore on the basis of Calamina reference in his letter supposed to have been sent to Malankara Nazranies. It is also learned from later day SMC historians that they have evidence from some letters (no other historians have ever checked the veracity of these documents) of rector of Jesuit college at Mylapore, who was claimed as his custodian ( will discuss it later).

Understanding the situation prevailed in the region of Arabian Gulf and Persian Gulf during the period of Mor Ahatallah’s visit, one can easily conclude that he could have picked up from the region. It is possible that the Surat story may be created to support the Mylapore myth. This is questionable based on the basis of route followed by Mor Yaldo Basselios who came to Malankara just after 30years of the said visit by Mor Ahatallah. Interesting thing is that the Nestorian bishops who reached Malankara were not much aware of the Maylapore myth as learned from their letter. The letter through which they were informing their Catholicos about the tomb is the best evidence. Only a vested interest can suggest that the said bishop  visited Mylapore to pay respect to ST.Thomas tomb when entire batch of Nestorian bishops(except one during the Portuguese excavations as reported by Portuguese authors) before him or Monophysite Bishops after him were not aware of the Mylapore story.

Then what could have happened actually? Most of the evidences and logical conclusion suggest that he could have picked up some where in the gulf region and brought to Kochi for further action. It is also possible that the said prelate might have met some delegates or merchants of Malankara Nazranies in the gulf region and passed the information. We are well aware that Malankara Nazranies were sending delegation to Patriarchates of Copts ,Antioch and Moshul. There is another possibility that the said delegation (Merchants) met him in Baharin which is identified as Dilmun/Calamina by some historians. Plz  understand that the name of the place where ST.Thomas said to have been buried  addressed  as Mylapore only  during or after 14th century by all authors /travelers  when our bishop clearly state the place is Calamina. This itself shows the Calamina  is not the Mylapore of Portuguese.(To be continued) 

Reference –about  St.Thomas resting place

1) Act of Thomas-says the bones of the apostle must have been removed to Edessa (Acts of Thomas, A F J Klijn)-no place name is given except India

 2) Hippolytus who died a martyr during the reign of the Roman Emperor Sirrus(225-235) has recorded that” the apostle Thomas after having preached the gospel to the Parthians ,Medes, Persians suffered martyrdom at Codamina, a town of India .(E Kenneth, St. Thomas The apostle of India)-Codamina or Calamina first time the place is specified!

3)St. Ephrem (A D 373) had surely the translation of the relics in mind when he wrote in one of his hymns ”Whence is thy origin, O! Thomas that so illustrious thou shouldst become. A merchant  has conveyed thy bones ,a (priest)pontiff has made a celebration for thee; and a king had erected a shrine (for thee)”(David Daniel-The orthodox church of India)-no place name is given except India

4)There is a Syriac book ‘Life of Hermit Yonan’ which is supposed to have been written in the late fourth century and by a certain Zadoe, priest monk and achimandrite of the monastery of St . Thomas in India.(A M Mundadan , History of Christianity in India) no place name is given except India.

5) St. John Chrysostom merely says that the site of St .Thomas tomb is as much known as the site of the tombs of St. Peter, St . Paul and St. John but he does not give any definite indication as its location.(A M Mundadan-History of Christianity in India)

6)Rufus, the Church historian who lived in Edessa and wrote the Chronicles of Edessa contend that it was  in 394 A D that they were transferred to Edessa.(George Milne Rae-the Syrian Church in India ) no indication of place.

7 )The fifth century Martyrologium Hieronymianum assigns 3rd July as the commemoration day in Edessa of the translation of the body of St. Thomas ,who suffered in India.(A M Mundadan,History of Christianity in India) no indication of place.

8) Gregory ,the Bishop of Tours ,in his In Gloria Martyrum writes:Thomas ,the Apostle ,according to history of his passion ,is declared to have suffered in India. After a long time his blessed body was taken into the city which they called Edessa in Syria , and there buried. Therefore ,in that Indian place where he first rested ,there is a monastery and a church of wonderful size and carefully adorned and arrayed.(cited in The Indian church of St.Thomas ,C P Mathew &M M Thomas).Gregory of Tours (A D 594)gives an account of the monastery of St. Thomas in India based on the report he had heard from a monk called Theodore who had visited that monastery .(A M Mundadan, History of Christianity in India)no indication of place.

9)In 841,Suleiman,a muslim traveler, mentions ‘Bethuma’(House of Thomas),which can be reached  10 days from Quilon.(Mundadan-no reference is given,)no indication of place.

10) A monastery in the name of St. Thomas with strength of 200 inmates possibly existed around 363A D or before, near Black Island (South of Baith Katraye),in India ,which itself was near the city of Milon, at a distance of six days ‘journey from Maron.(Z M Paret, Malankara nazranikal Vol.I-ref Fr. Hosten’s Antiquities from San Thoma and Mylapore.)Beth katraye is however an island in Persian gulf .It, there fore , could be contented that black island in the Persian gulf .

11)Pseudo-Sophroniius(A D 7th century )seems to be the first to indicate the place name ‘calamina’ where St.Thomas was martyred and buried .Isidore of Seville(A D636)says’thomas was martyred and buried in Calamina a city of India.(A M Mundadan-no reference is given)

13)Qalimaya, an approximation of Calamina, is found in a Syriac manuscript of A D874 (Hambye”st.thomas”-cited in History of Christianity in India, A M Mundadan)

14)Anglo Saxon Chronicle says in the year 883,”Singeln and Athelstan conveyed to Rome the alms which King Alfred had vowed to send thither and also to India to St.thomas and St.Bartholomai when the tWilliam Malmesbury (A D 1143)says “beyond the sea, to Rome and to St. Thomas in India he(Alfred) send many gifts .The legate employed for this purpose was Singelinus , the bishop of Sherborne ,who with great success arrived in India and every one at this age wonders. Returning thence he brought back exotic gems and aromatic liquors which the land there produces”(George Mark Moraes-A History of Christianity in India).Again no place name!

15)Bar-Ebraya(1226-1286) has also given an account of the translation of the relics to Edessa in his work ‘OUSAR ROSSAE’.”Addai (Thaddeus) ,the chief of the 70 evangelist s, is the twin brother of St. Thomas and hence was called the Twin, St. Thomas ,130yers after his death ,appeared to Habban ,the grand son of the Habban the merchant ,one night in dream and told him that he was duty bound to take his body and bury  it beside his brother’s: it was his grandfather Habban who had brought him to India hence he was duty bound to bring him back to Urhai (Edessa)beside his brother Addai .Immediately he took the holy body of the Apostle to Edessa ,and placed it beside Addai’s grave, where he built a church”(Bar-Ebraya:Ousar Rosse,Quoted and translated in Malayalam by Fr. Abraham Konat, in Malankara Sabha Vol.29 issue 10 1974 october.) Again no place name!

16)Mar Solomon (13th century),a Nestorian bishop, writes in his Book of theBee: Thomas was from Jerusalem of the tribe of Juda. He taught the Persians , Medes and Indians; because he baptized  the daughter of the King of Indians he stabbed him with a spear and he died. Habban the merchant brought his body and laid it in Edessa, the blessed city of our Lord. Others say that he was buried  Mahluph a city in the land of Indians.(The book of bee, edited by E A W Budge.)

17)Marco Polo(A D 1293), who said to have been visited the burial place of St.Thomas  wrote “it is in the province which is styled the greater India ,at the gulf between Ceylon and the main land that the body of Messer St. Thomas lies at a certain town having no great population ;it is a place not very accessible.”(A M Mundadan, History of Christianity in India, Ref:Medlycott).No mention of the place. 

18)John Monte Corvino(A D 1291) “I…….departed from Tauris, a city of Persians ,in the year of Lord 1291,and proceeded to India .And I remained in the country of India ,wherein stands the church of St. Thomas the Apostle, for thirteen months, and in that region baptized in different places about one hundred persons. The companion of my journey was Friar Nicholas of Pistoia, of the order of preachers, who died their, and buried in the church aforesaid.”(Cathay and the way thither,Vol.lll;A E Medlycott ,India and Apostle Thomas) no mention about the place.

19)Bl. Oderic(1325):After discussing Malabar, which he calls Minibar:” there is a journey of ten days to another realm which is called Mobar, and this is very great, and hath in it many cities and towns .And in this realm is laid the body of the Blessed Thomas the Apostle .His church is filled with idols, and beside it are some fifteen houses of Nestorians; that is to say, Christians, but vile and pestilent heretics.”(A E Medlycott, India and Apostle Thomas).No mention about the name of the place.

20)John De Marignolli(1349):He says of the shrine:”the third province of india is called Maabar,and the Church of St.Thomas, which he built with his own hands, is there besides another which he built by the agency of workmen .Regarding a local tradition of the apostle’s presence on the is lsland of Ceylon. He report the saint ordering the trunk of a tree that had been cut down on the island’Go and tarry for us at the haven of the city of MIRAPOLIS; which, as Yule observe, is a Graecized form of the name Mylapore.”(cited in A E Medlycott, India and Apostle Thomas ,Yule -Cathey and the way Thither)  Marignolli adds that the Jews, Muslims, and even some of the Christians, regarded the Latins as the worst of idolaters , because they use statues and images in their churches.(A M Mundadan,History of Christianity in india)

21)Nicolo de Conti (1425-1430):”Proceeding onwards the said Nicolo arrived at a maritime city ,which is named Malepur(should be Malpuria),situated in the second gulf beyond the Indus(the bay of Bengal).Here the body of St. Thomas lies honorably buried in a large and beautiful church: it is worshipped by heretics ,who are called Nestorians, and inhabit this city to the number of thousand .these Nestorians are scattered over all India, as the Jew among us.(A E Medlycott, India and Apostle Thomas-Quoted from  R H Major’s India in the Fifth century, Hakluyt society, London.)

22)Amr ,son of Matthew,(1340): a Nestorian writer ,”His tomb stands on the peninsula MEILAN in India, to the right of the altar in the monastery bearing his name.” (A E Medlycott, India and Apostle Thomas)

23)Nestorian Bishops (1504):”The houses as well of saint Thomas the apostle have commenced to be occupied by some Christians who are looking after the repairs ;they are situated at a distance from our aforesaid Christians of about twenty five days, and stand in a city on the sea named MELIAPOR, in the province of Silan ,which is one of the provinces of India”(A E Medlycott, India and Apostle Thomas; quoted from Assemani ,Bibl. Oriental.)

Now see there is no identification of place where St.Thomas died or Buried by these authors/travelers  until  7th century. It was Pseudo-Sophroniius(A D 7th century) first clearly noted the place as “Calamina” (Plz note that no reference is given by Fr.Mundadan ,no exact date of the author or ). But it is also interesting to note the writings of Fr. Hosten- Antiquities from San Thoma and Mylapore noted by Z.M Paret. Read “”A monastery in the name of St. Thomas with strength of 200 inmates possibly existed around 363A D or before, near Black Island (South of Baith Katraye),in India ,which itself was near the city of Milon, at a distance of six days ‘journey from Maron”” This ‘Baith Katraye”  is however an island in Persian gulf. Is it indicating St.Thomas buried in some where in Persian Gulf?

Again read further the ‘Calamina’  continued to surface in the writings of the authors till  Bl. Oderic(1325) first locate the place. But he give us a very ,very important evidence that the place was filled with Idols. Nestorians and Idols clearly indicate that it was not Nestorians he met rather Manichaean church with Idols . Have ever come across a Nestorian church with idols?

What I want to say is that history has nothing to offer as evidences to Mylapore. It is all a vague reference of Malpuria, Mailan,Malepur ,Mirapolis etc. after AD 1325.

Friday, 16 August 2013


It is very interesting to read the story about Archadiyokons of Malankara. The word Archdiyokon is a syriacised Greek word 'Archon' .So I suggest that we should use Moopan instead the Greek import Archadiokon of 15th century. It is also noted that the word Moopan is associated with Dravidian Tharakootangal. Some argue that this position is called Jathikku Karthavyan without knowing the etymological origin of the words called ‘Jath’ & ‘kartha’. These words came to Malankara only after 8th century when Malai Nattu Tamil undergo Sanskritisation at large scale.

Coming to the topic let us seek the information about the first known Archadiyokon(Malakara Moopan).We have no information about any Archadiyokon earlier than Ghevarghese Moopan .The information we get about Ghevarghese Moopan is limited. Niranam Grandhavari makes a passive reference about him. Though people claim that he is from Pakalomattom family but there is no convincible evidence. This seems to be a claim put forward by some vested interest in later period. Niranam Grandhavari gives information about a Moopan called” Malanara”. Though the name is unfamiliar the period coincide with Ghevarghese moopan. It is also noted that there is no information available about this Moopan except some passive reference in Niranam Grandhavari.

But interestingly there is another document gives light into this period. “””A padiyola document written in palm leaves which is now in the possession of Pothanikat family at Kothamangalam mentions an Archdeacon in the early years of Sixteenth Century. The document says that in the year 1509, Archdeacon Ittikuriath effected a compromise between two parties contending for the ownerships of two Churches at Kothamangalam. Archdeacon Ittikuriath seems to be the George Pakalomattam mentioned earlier.”””

The pallies mentioned in this document seems to be Kothamangalam Marthamariyam Valiapalli and Marthoma cheria Palli . That means the said “Ittikurian” was Malankara Nazrani Moopan during this period. How are we going to solve this issue. Niranam Granthavari talk about “Malanara” and the document in possession with Pothanikkattu family talk about Moopan ‘Ittikuriath’.It is also noted that the Niranam Grandhavari also talk about Ghevarghese Moopan in a passive way. Some Portuguese documents talk about Archdeacon George in their documents. Now how are we going to solve this confusion. To understand the situation we need to read “Kadamattath Achanmar” portion of Niranam Grandhavari. It clearly states that the portion containing details about the Moopans destroyed by termites

However it gives information about the moopans from Malanara. This is a valued information and more authentic than many of the Portuguese documents. It is also noted that the said Grandhavari speak about Moopan Ghevarghese .It is possible that the said Malanara and Ghevarghese are one or the same person. The “Malanara’ may be some syriac word like “Maronitha”.What ever it may be the same Grandhavari talk about both names indicate that the same person. Then how are we going to solve ‘Ittikuriath” moopan? It is not easy to solve this problem. Since Niranam Granthavari states only the date on which he died give us another option that Ittikuriath may be someone else who reigned before or after him. This is possible because the Niranam Grandhavari talk about another Ittikuriath who died on Kollam 815 Meenam 5(1640).It may be possible that the date mentioned by the Pothanikkattu document may entered wrongly. That is  Ghevarghese moopan and Malanara are the same person.

Another interesting thing is that  no document mention about his family and all we have got is the wild imagination created by partisan authors in later period! But Niranam Grandhavari states that the Malanara belongs to Palamattom family .At the same time it refers passively about the Ghevarghese moopan . It is logical to conclude that these two names belong to the same Moopan from Palamattom family.

Yohannan Moopan(1570-1593)

Next Moopan we come across is Yohannan (Niranam Grandhavari) who died on Kollam 768 Meenam 30(1593).But Katholic sources created another Archdeacon Jacob in between without any records. So far no records have been produced in support of this Archdeacon Jacob.NSC ( states it is purely based on tradition! God knows where this tradition comes from? This seems to be a creation of Katholics to give credibility to Rome!

Ghevarghese moopan(1593-1604)
He was Malankara Moopan during the troubled days of De Amperitana Synodo. He put up valiant resistance to Roman forces. Many records are available about this Moopan and his activities. No records reveal his family name as Pakalomatton while Niranam Grandhavari clearly mentioned that he was from Palamattom Family (Niranam Grandhavari page.127).But Pakalomattom family propaganda along with Katholic interests propagated that he belongs to Pakalomattom family. But it is interesting to note that there is no single evidence to show that he belongs to Pakalomattom family of Kuravilangadu!
It is the stupidity and subservient attitude of Katholics named him “George of the cross” to give credibility to their argument.

Ittikuriath Moopan(1604-1640)
Niranam Grandhavari states that he died on Kollam 815 Meenam 5. It is also possible that this Ittikuriath Moopan solved the dispute between the pallies of Kothamangalam. It is also to be noted that there was a dispute between Marthamariam Valiyapally and Marthoma Cheriyapally existed during this period. The manuscript with Pothanikkattu family clearly states about this. The wrong recording of the date may be considered as a mistake.

He was the last Moopan ruled Malankara Nazranies and Romo-syrians together. After this Malankara Nazranies were ruled by Palamattom Thoma and Romo-Syrians were ruled by Parambil ThomaKurien Arkadiyokon. This Parambil Thoma Kurien was appointed by Stephen  Britto(History of Christianity in India. Vol.2 By Joseph thekkedath)

Katholic historians made a blunder by thinking the said Ghevarghese Moopan died in 1640.Niranam Grandhavari and other documents like Pothanikkattu Manuscripts clearly give us the details of Moopan Ittikuriath. This mistake was deliberately committed by Romo-Syrian historians in order to create a link between Parambil Chandi and Ghevarghese Moopan. That way they intended to give credibility to the enthronement of Parambil chandy as a substitution. But Niranam Grandhavari spoiled the whole manipulation. This mistake has been copied by some Malankara Nazrani historians like Z.M.Paret. It is possible that Z.M Paret might not have seen Niranam Grandhavari before writing this as reported by P.V.Mathew.

Palamattom Thoma Moopan.

Niranam Grandavari states that he was from Palamattom Family. Paremmakkil Thomman Kathanar’s Varthamana Pusthakam states that Thoma Moopan was from Palamattom Family (varthamana Pusthakam Bhagam 2)

Mavelikkara Padiyola states”Palamattathu Tharavattil kazhinja melpattakkarude vasthuvakakalum seminariyil varuthi””.It is  noted that the property of Palamattom(Kadamattom) melpattakkar (24 title deeds) was also included while settling the case with Anglican Missionaries regarding Seminary and other properties.(The Malabar Syrians and Church missionary society by P. Cherian –appendix R.Page 402)

But the Romo-syrians were ruled by Parmbil Thoma appointed by Stephen Britto. Plz note that there is a tug of war going on between Palliveetil(kalliveetil) family and so called Pakalomattom family of Kuravilangadu about the family of parambil Thumi!!!

That is why I stated that Paranbil Chandi is the relative of Parambil Thoma, not Palamattom Thoma of malankara nazranies. This Palamattom Thoma was the Moopan Of Malankara Nazranies while Parambil Thommi was a duplicate created by Rome.

Now the picture is clear. Malankara nazranies ruled by Palamattom Moopans and have nothing to do with Pakalomattom story of Kuravilangadu. This story is created by vested interest to elevate absurd family called Pakalomattom in later period. The translators of Niranam Grandhavari are also taken for a ride with this propaganda. These story writers have no references or manuscripts to prove their stories except their wild imaginations.

Malankara Nazrani moopans lineage is continuous and clear with family name Palamattom of Kadamattom. But the Romo-Syrian lineage is built on changing names or adopting fictitious characters like Jacob, Kunnel Mathai etc. They conveniently forget the last Moopan “Ittikuriath” who ruled Malankara Nazranies and Romo-Syrians in order to create continuity in their lineage. The policy of creating duplicate Archdeacon was practiced by Rome when ever required like in the case of Kunnel Mathai. Read it from a Katholic Historian.

It was Rome directed and played the major role against Malankara Nazranies. The role of Romo –Syrians were just like slaves. They obeyed their Latin masters to destroy Malankara Nazranies. All Malankara Moopans tried to resist this colonial power and protected their mother church. But the   Romo-Syrians enjoyed money and facility provided by Rome against their help in destroying Malankara Nazranies. Now this Romo-Syrians is trying to re- write their history  through manipulations and fake documents.

Now those who need the story of deplorable manipulations and family story writers in search of greatness plz read.

They think history is a manipulative science! The struggle put up by each Malankara Nazrani  can not be used to elevate such  families. It is hilarious to see Pakalomattom added all successful families of Malankara to its list. This is nothing but propaganda created during the early 19th century to elevate certain families. It is amusing to read Palliveetil historians claiming greatness by explaining the manipulation by Pakalomattom. They do not know that history has its own ways to reveal the truth!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Persian Crosses of South India and Its Possible Manichaean Origin

St.Thomas Mount cross

This is a controversial subject among Syriac Christians of Malankara. Majority of church historians put forward the Persian cross as the prime evidence for the existence of Persian Christianity in Malankara . These so called crosses have termed Persian crosses because of Pahlavi writing on them. Many scholars have tried to decipher the writing on these crosses and produced diametrically opposite results. This is the problem with Pahlavi script which is mainly Logogrammatic

Kottayam Cross -1,Kerala.,India.

We find two types of crosses named as Persian Crosses at various locations .These locations are

1)     St.Thomas Mount, Chennai, Tamilnadu:-The Cross is at Our Lady of Expectations Church under the Latin Catholic diocese of Chingelpet ( Madras-Mylapore).

2)     Kadamattom ,Kerala:- This cross is at St. George Orthodox Syriac Church, Kadamattom, Kerala.This Cross was found at the southern wall of the Madbaha.

3)     Kottayam,Kerala:- There are two Crosses at St. Mary's Syriac Orthodox Church, Kottayam,Kerala. One cross is considered of late origin (10th century) and the other dated between 6-8th century.

4)     Kothanellur, Kerala:- This cross is at St. Gervasis and Prothasis Roman Catholic (Syro-Malabar) church, Kothanellur,Kerala.The Cross said to have been discovered during renovation at 1895.

5)     Muttuchira,Kerala:-This Cross is at Holy Ghost Roman Catholic church(Syro-Malabar) at Muttuchira, Kerala.This is also said to have been discovered during renovation of the church.

6)     Alangadu, Kerala:-This cross is at St.Mary's Roman Catholic (Syro-Malabar) Church ,Alangadu,Kerala.This is a very recent discovery.

Besides these locations church historians state that similar crosses have been found at Goa, India; Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka and Taxila, Pakistan.

Goa Cross,India

Goa cross:-Among these  three crosses, Goa cross is   only similar to the cross of 
St.Thomas Mount but its origin is questionable because of Portuguese inscription on them .The cross has been discovered by Fr.Cosme Costa S.F.X near river Zuari at Agasaim on 27th April 2001. The Cross is now kept at Pilar Seminary Museum.

 The Portuguese inscription  state     “”A DE S. TOME DO R. ILEZVS 1642 “” . “A DE S.TOME” means ““which belongs to St.Thomas “” (by Pius Malekandathil).Why didn’t they use similar inscriptions in the other crosses of south India especially on the St. Thomas Mount cross?  Was it a later day copy to give credibility to their missions? We can not say anything concrete about this cross due to lack of research work on it.

Anuradhapura Cross,Sri Lanka

 Cross of Anuradhapura:- It is totally different from any of these crosses. It is placed (possibly) in a flower which is different from any of these Persian crosses. It is more similar to some of the Katchkhar crosses of Armenia . There is no Pahlavi inscription on it and no descending dove as like in the St.Thomas Mount cross.

Taxila Cross,Pakistan 

Taxila Cross :-It was found in 1935 in a field near the site of the ancient  city of Sirkap,Taxila,Pakistan.The local zamindar gave it to Mrs.C. King  wife of British deputy commissioner of Rawalpindi who then presented to the cathedral at Lahore. Most astonishing thing about this Taxila cross is that it does not even resemble  with the said Persian Crosses. But many Syriac Church historians wrote a lot about this without making a basic enquiry !                                                      

The two types(south Indian crosses) are easily distinguishable because of their pattern of construction. One group has clearly defined descending dove along with lotus base and creatures carved with the cross while the other group have no dove forms or lotus base. These distinctive styles are difficult for us to arrive in any concrete conclusion. The crosses at  St.Thomas Mount and Kadamattam along with one cross at Kottayam comprise the first group while the other cross at Kottayam leads the other group. Why and how did these distinctive styles come in to existence? It is still an unanswered question!

It is very difficult to prove the origin of these crosses because of the difficulty in deciphering the Pahlavi writing on them. We also have no supportive documents or evidences to indicate their possible origin. It is noted that Cross had been a symbol to many sects and religion before Christianity. Even Buddhists and Hindus used crosses in different forms as one of their symbols. This makes our task very difficult.

I think it is better to start our study by understanding the various translations of the Pahlavi inscriptions on them. We have many translations available with us. These translations are the best evidences to find their origin.

Different translations of Pahlavi inscriptions

1)     "In punishment by the cross (was) the suffering on this (one); (He) who (is) true Christ and God above, and Guide ever Pure" (Burnnell1873)

2)       He who believes in the Messiah and in God on high and also in the holy Ghost is in the Grace of Him who bore the pain of the cross(Martin Haug 1874)

3)       He who is the Messiah , the reconciler, the resuscitator, for ever purified by virtue of his crucifixion.(Harlez 1892)

4)      Such was the affliction of the wounding and spearing of him on the cross, who was the faithful Messiah, the merciful one, the descendant of the great Abraham, who was the descendant of Chaharbukht. (Sanjana 1914)

5)      I, a beautiful bird from Nineveh, (have come) to this (country).Written (by) Mar Shapur.I,whom(?)Messiah, the forgiver, freed from danger(or terror). (Modi 1924)

6)      My lord Christ , have mercy upon Afras son of Chaharbukht, the Syrian who cut this.(winkworth,1929) 

7)      Our Lord Messiah may show on Gabriel , the son of Chaharbokht (literally meaning having four sons), the grand son of Durzad (literally meaning born in distsnd land), who made this (cross) (Gerd Gropp 1970)

Now which one is correct and how can we find out the veracity of their claims. This is the problem with Pahlavi Language which is logogrammatic in writing. Probably we will never know! ( any body want to know what is logogrammatic writing plz google it ). I haven’t included the translations by Kanara Brahman and Fr.Burthey, S.J a Roman Katholic.

Why it has most probably a Manichaean origin?

1)     The most acceptable translation by Burnell indicates that the trinity suffered on the cross which is a heresy similar to Sabellianism or Patrippasianism

2)      These crosses are found only in places where Manichaean had considerable influence

3)      The place where one of the cross was unearthed –Mylapore- were found worshiped by all religion like Muslims, Hindus etc. There was no special importance to this place in the history of Malankara Nazranies. The detail about the excavations conducted by Portuguese surely indicates their special interest in the subject to attach the place to St. Thomas

4)      There is no believable records relating to Mylapore before the advent of Portuguese or Malankara Nazranies have any documents, myths relating to Mylapore story prior to the Portuguese Manipulations. Most of the travelers indicate the place where St. Thomas said to have been martyred as CALAMIANA which is yet to be identified

5)      Bl.Odoric of Pordenon a Franciscan friar visited India during the time of Jordanus Catalani talk about this so called Mylapore”””And in this realm is laid the body of the Blessed Thomas the Apostle. His church is FILLED WITH IDOLS, AND BESIDE IT ARE SOME FIFTEEN HOUSES OF NESTORIANS; THAT IS TO SAY, CHRISTIANS, BUT VILE AND PESTILENT HERETICS”””. (Wow, NESTORIANS and IDOLS!!) This indicates that the church belongs to some heretics who worshipped idols. Who else it can be?

6)      Arab geographer Abu Zaid about 916AD wrote about Sarandib(Ceylon) “there is a numerous colony of Jews in Sarandib ,and people of other religions especially Manichaeans””

7)      Manichaean used cross with decoration of plants, flowers etc. because they believed Mani the Jesus or the Apostle of Jesus died on cross. They were true vegetarian and respected plants, flowers and animals. All their paintings reflect their philosophy and attitude

8)      Manichaean adopted many things from other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism etc. and used it to propagate their religion in the respective countries/regions

9)      Mani considered himself as Paraclete and his followers naturally depicted him as descending “dove”

10)   Manichaean used Aramaic, Pahlavi and Sogadian languages to propagate their religion in respective regions and engraved/painted on their artifacts.

11)   The cross with descending dove is found only in the areas where Manichaean church existed and it is specifically towards the east
12)   If the cross with dove is peculiar to Persian Christians there must have been some literature related with it considering their rivalry with churches of the Roman Empire

13)   How many of this type crosses found from the places where the Manichaean church did not have any influence?

14)   Manichaean church was “DUALISTS” and so with NESTORIANS and the church historians always referred them as heretics and often misunderstood

15)   Manichaean practiced BEMA and Qurbana so the NESTORIANS

16)   Malankara has a peculiar name called “MANI” pronounced as “MAANI” which is unheard in  Christendom. How many Persian Christians have this name? (Please do not come with manipulations like Mani derived from Manual etc.)

Why is it a Manichaean cross?

Followers of Mani considered his death was by cross and gave much importance to cross in their religion. He himself considered as a Paraclete and it is possible that his followers depicted him as a descending Dove along with a cross

--The great historian of the early Christian church Eusebius Bishop of Caesarea also mentions the Manichaean religion: Mani the mad man driven by the devil himself. He was a barbarian and tried to represent himself as Christ by saying that he was the Paraclete----Page 37 (MANI by L.J.R Ort.)

---- There is an allusion in the Chinese Treatise to ‘the pure marvelous wind(spirit) which is a white dove’. This Christian image of the Holy Spirit as the ‘white dove’ recalls the argument maintained by Mani in disputing with Bishop Archaleus concerning the dove which descended upon Jesus in his baptism--- (Researches in Manichaeism by A.V.W.Jackson)

Read from the world renowned scholars from academics

Manichaean Art On The Silk Road By Hans-Joachim Klimkeit

If we trace the silk road towards the east we see four religion (Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity, & Manichaean) existed together along with local Persian/Chinese religions. A further study on their writings, paintings and other artifacts is sufficient to prove their religious syncretism. This may look little problematic /awkward to a blind believers of any religion of today, but the fact is fact. 

If we study the practices Christians follow with respect to their believes, festivals, religious costumes etc. are mostly from the Pagan background. The Christmas (date) we celebrate today have the pagan origin and do not have any biblical or apostolic background. If this is the case, then there is sufficient logic to suggest that the said Cross probably have a Manichaean origin based on the evidences stated here. It is also to be noted that the cross with dove mostly found from the places were Manichaean church existed. The authors whom I quoted have clearly answered the objection raised with respect to non occurrence of this type of cross in the west. The religious or cultural syncretism takes place not in the crucible rather the open world which is influenced by many factors.

It is also to be noted that the Manichaean church is culturally closer to Syriac Christianity of the east. The languages these religions used were also similar. Most striking thing is that the leaders/propagators of these religions were from the same background and even practiced both these religions in their life time. 

Again read 

Manichaean Art On The Silk Road By Hans-Joachim Klimkeit

 Now understand the position Of Mani and Manichaeism. He was quite aware of Christ and Christian teachings. Christianity faced maximum heresy during this period and he was fascinated by these teachings. No wonder he adopted many things from Christianity. 


It is quiet natural that Manichaeism was a dualistic concept closely identified with another dualistic concept called Nestorianism. 

History of Civilization of Central Asia, Vol.3&4 By Clifford Edmund Bosworth, M.S. Asimov 

Read above scholars and understand where a group of Syriac Church historians stand in front of scientific and secular studies. It is not the study of a separate group among Syriac Christians but world renowned scholars of Manichaeism and Eastern Christianity. 

This is not to embarrass the Manichean cross supporters but to stop the wrong identification of the same as Nazrani Cross.

Pahlavi Language as Evidence

The next argument the followers of Manichaean Cross put forward is the Pahlavi Language of inscription. This is an old argument that we find Pahlavi inscriptions on these crosses and Pahlavi literature like Pahlavi Psalter from Church of Fars. It seems logical from out side but if we go little deep on these languages used by these religions we will find the truth. The language Pahlavi was used by many religions of the region such as Zoroastrians, Manichaean, and Persian Christians etc. So there is no exclusivity of this language to any particular religion. So this is not an evidence to prove that the said crosses belong to Syriac Christianity. It is also noticed that these religions used other languages like Dari-Persian, Sogadian etc.

Read from “”History of Civilization of Central Asia, Vol.3&4 By Clifford Edmund Bosworth,M.S.Asimov””

Pahlavi was the language of Zoroastrians, Manichaean, Persian Christian etc.

 Dari-Persian was also the language of these religions

These religions also used Sogadian language for their writings and existed in Turfan side by side 

This shows that the language Pahlavi was not an evidence at all as put forward by supporters of Manichaean Cross (Kaldayavadikal of SMC and other Syriac Christian supporters).There can be any one like Manichaean also be the makers of these crosses. Since historians trace the presence of Manichaean in those places where these crosses are found, it is most probably the Manichaean behind the crosses.

Pahlavi Script as Evidence

Next argument put forward by the supporters of Manichaean Cross is based on Pahlavi script. They say that the script used by Manicheans is different and easily distinguishable. Some cases it is true where Aramaic or Sogadian influence were played a major role. Every religion in ancient times produced some exclusiveness in their practices and programs .But it is difficult to distinguish these traits when the concerned social organizations lived and thrived together. Any way for the sake of argument let me agree with that the Manichaean Pahlavi is different or rather the script.

Which are the Pahlavi scripts? 

1) Inscription Pahlavi :- 

-Inscriptional Pahlavi is the earliest attested form, and is evident in clay fragments that have been dated to the reign of Mithridates I (r. 171–138 BC). Other early evidence includes the Pahlavi inscriptions of Arsacid era coins and rock inscriptions of Sassanid kings and other notables such as Kartir. This script contains 19 characters which are not joined

 2) Book Pahlavi:-

Book Pahlavi is a smoother script in which letters are joined to each other and often form complicated ligatures. Book Pahlavi was the most common form of the script, with only 12 or 13graphemes (13 when including aleph) representing 24 sounds. The formal coalescence of originally different letters caused ambiguity, and the letters became even less distinct when they formed part of a ligature. In its later forms, attempts were made to improve the consonantary and reduce ambiguity through diacritic marks. Book Pahlavi continued to be in common use until about AD 900. After that date, Pahlavi was preserved only by the Zoroastrian clergy (plz note Book Pahlavi is not Inscription Pahlavi)

 3) Psalter Pahlavi:-

Psalter Pahlavi derives its name from the so-called "Pahlavi Psalter", a 6th- or 7th-century translation of a Syriac book of psalms. This text, which was found at Bulayiq near Turpan in northwest China, is the earliest evidence of literary composition in Pahlavi, dating to the 6th or 7th century AD. The extant manuscript dates no earlier than the mid-6th century since the translation reflects liturgical additions to the Syriac original by Mar Aba I, who was Patriarch of the Church of the East c. 540 - 552.]The script of the psalms has altogether 18 graphemes, 5 more than Book Pahlavi and one less than Inscriptional Pahlavi. As in Book Pahlavi, letters are connected to each other. The only other surviving source of Psalter Pahlavi are the inscriptions on a bronze processional cross found at Herat, in present-day Afghanistan.

4Manichaean script. 

This script was used by Manichaean to write their holy books and was developed from Estrangelo with influence from Sogadian script. It was used extensively during the early years of Manichaeism. That does not mean that the Manichean used only Manichean script.

 Now understand these scripts and situation respect with Manichaean crosses of south India. It is clear from above that “Inscription Pahlavi” and “Book Pahlavi “are different. The same way “Book Pahlavi” and “Psalter Pahlavi” are different. Psalter Pahlavi was the language of Persian Christians and they used it starting from 6th century. It is not surprising that they used this Psalter Pahlavi for their cross inscriptions in Heart, in present day Afghanistan . This is one of the valuable evidence against the supporters of Manichean cross as Nestorian cross. If the said cross were belong to Nestorians or any form of Persian Christianity it would have been inscribed by Psalter Pahlavi script (since the very same Nestorians used Psalter Pahlavi to inscribe the cross in Heart). 

It is also noted that no scholar clearly identify the said inscription with established group of scripts. They agree that the scripts are cursive scripts some time it joined together and other times separated . Even if we identify the said inscription with book Pahlavi , it does not prove that the cross belongs to eastern Christianity. Book Pahlavi was used by Zoroastrians , Manichaean & Persian Christians.

So this being the situation how can we attribute these crosses to Nestorians? There is no logic or supportive evidence to prove without doubt about its origin. When we consider the so called translations of those inscriptions along with these linguistic realities increases the possibility of a Manichaean origin.

I have clearly stated that the usage of various forms of Pahlavi by different religions in central Asia during the 3rd to 10th century period earlier along with respective Photo shots of scholarly works. These religions also used other languages such as Sogadian, Dari-Persian, and Uygur etc to propagate their respective religion. Please be noted that the identification based on scripts may not be a correct technique when we deal with religions which are extinct or almost assimilated to other religions.

A real time situation

There is another real time situation also to be considered before deciding any conclusion. Why would a Manichaean convert from Zoroastrianism or any pagan Iranian religion use Manichean Estrangelo script to propagate his new found religion? Why is it applied only to Manichean church, not to other religions?