Saturday, 31 March 2012


tharissappally cheppedu

Syriac Christian Historians have written a lot about their prestigious plates of THARISSAPALLI. Their imaginative stories have created an aversion among secular historians toward these elevated stories. The building of Kurekkenikollam and starting of new Calendar calculations are nothing but a wild imagination by propagandist church historians. It is surprising to note that none of these historians or Malankara Nazranies asked for a modern study on these plates with the help of new scientific techniques.

There are two sets of copperplates, first group contains three plates and the second set contains four plates out of which one plates is missing from first set(some say one each from both sets). One plate from the first set and three plates from the second set are kept at Syriac Orthodox Catholicate Kottayam and other plate from the first set and one from the last set are kept by Pulathin aramana, Marthoma church, Thiruvalla.

DONOR : Ayyan Adikal thiruvadikal(aynadi kudiruvadi),at the time of Thanu Ravi(Kothanu eravikthan)  Time not before A.D.885. Generally historians misunderstand that Thanu Ravi and Ravi khulashekharan are one person .It is a mistake based on recent historical research. There are four SHASANAS dealing with Thanu ravi (Tharisappally shasanam -5th admin year,Iringalakkuda shasanam 11th year,Thiruvattuvay shasanam 17th year,Kadamba mahadevi’s thillai sthanam shasanam ) are available clearly noting his name and one can easily calculate his time of rule . (Read Pracheena Keralathinte Rashtriya charithram By K. Shivashankaran Nair Page133-137)

BENEFICIARY: Kurekkeni kollam Tharissappally ( not today’s Kollam)constructed by ESHODATHAPARAI.  There is no clear indication of Mar sabarisho  but at the  last of the shasana state that ‘AYYANADKAL THIRUVDIYEKONDU MARUVAN CHAPARICH NEERVEEZHTHI ‘ which indicate that the pally was constructed by ESHODATHAPARAI and person who got persuaded the King to grant  the tharishapally shasanam was MARUVAN CHAPARICHA. This is from original PADANUPADA reproduction of shasanam.

Please read the content from ‘PADANUPADA’ reproduction.



Now how can any one arrive that above words indicate Mar Sabhor Isho .I really want to prove this plates belongs to Mar Sabor Isho but sincerely it lacks logical evidences.

LANGUAGE & PLATES: The language of the Shasanam is Tamil along with Koofic, Pahlavi, Hebrew signatures. There is some dispute about the plate which contain signature of the witness in Koofic, Pahlavi, Hebrew. Some historians say the plates belong to first set but others say it belong to the second set. Historian P.V.Mathew gives more details about the signature in his book Keralathile Nazrani Kristhianikal Vol.1. He includes details of missing plate which he got from ZEND AVESTA BY ANQUETTIL DU PERON vol.1 Page 175-178.

tharissappally cheppedu
The claims of Mr. P.V. Mathew is seems more logical to me since the first set of plates contain three OLAS (plates) tied through a ring with equal length and width(each them was two palms in length and four fingers broad) and in diverse characters as reported by Antonio De Gouvea in his JORNADA page (389,390).That is the witness signatures in diverse characters belong to the first set of plates. But the position of  by P.V. Mathew on the subject of witness  with respect to the list provided by Anquettil Duperon may be wrong because the first chepped give incomplete names ie. Two names from the Du Peron’s list with a little deviation – VELKULA SUNDARAM (velkula chandran in duperon list), VIJAYA (vijaya narayan), rest are incomplete. That means this first two names of complete list produced by Du Peron some what agree with minor mistakes. This makes the first set of plate complete .Hence the missing plates may belong to the second set of plates. This puts us in a difficult situation that the donor of the second plate are not clearly defined as the first plates are missing (by some authors). There is also another contradiction that the First set of plates contains no mention of PULAKKUDIPATHI while the witness in Tamil has an entry as PULAKKUDI THANEYAN. This asks more authentic study by scholars to understand the true nature of the Plates. My analysis on the base of translations with me in English and Malayalam by Aquettil Du peron ,P.V. Mathew, and one English copy from a book of Maulana Azad Library ,AMU Algarh.( The author of the book cannot be traceable because that portion of the copy was eaten by termite) .It is also noticed that the translation is done considering  the both sets are one!

Following are the translations with respect to the witnesses(Kufic,Pahlavi & Hebrew) .Interesting thing is that CPT WINKWORTH translated all signatures but only two of the Pahlavi signatures.

Witness name in Kufic                                                 

      1)      Ibrahims’s son Mymoon                                                                                                 
      2)      Mani’s son Muhammed                                               
      3)      Ali’s son Sule’                                                                                
      4)      Al Mazhsiban son Uthman                                                         
      5)      Yaha ‘s son ahmed                                                                              
      6)      Ibrahim son Amar                                                          
      7)      Athe’s son Ibrahim                                                      
      8)      Mansoor ‘s son Backer                                                
      9)      Mahmmed’s son Al-kazim                                                             
     10)   Isa’s son Mansoor                                                        
     11)   Yacoub’s son Ismael


1)      Sharbhakth’s son Aphras
2)      Ormasd (8th name)


1)      Hassan ali
2)      Issak
3)      Benmechael
4)      Abraham

Majority of the historians consider this plate belong to the second set of plates without any good evidence. We have more convincing evidence with the names of Tamil witnesses to the first plates (but P.V.Mathew says it is of second set of Plates).Following are the translation of Tamil names provided by Anquttil du Peron in his book Zend Avesta.


     1)      Velkula Chandran(Velkula Sundaran  in the original plates)
     2)      Vijaya narayan(Vijaya in original plates)
     3)      Ithirakshi odiya Kannan nandanan
     4)      Madhineya vinaya dinan
     5)      Kanna nandanan                                                                                         
     6)      Nalathirinju thiriyan
     7)      Kaman kannan
     8)      Chennan kannan
     9)      Kandan cheran                                                                           
    10)   Yakondayan
    11)   Kanavadi athithyenen
    12)   (anayude rupamulla mudra)
    13)   Murugan chathan
    14)   Murugan kamappan
    15)   Poolakkudi thanayan
    16)   Punnathalakodi udayan inkannan
    17)   Punnathalakoranaya komaram kannan
    18)   Sambodhi veerayan

Recent study by some of the scholars was able to translate some more names with much difficulty. They are not quite sure about the correctness of these names.  Those who are interested to know more please use this link

Is it enough to make such a big story about Nestorian /Madanayo Syriac connection? Syriac historians are making tall claims on the basis of these Pahlavi signatures. Please remember the other signatures include Muslim names and some Jews names. If you argue that they were witnesses then the same logic must be applied to the Pahlavi signatures. They have nothing to do except being witnesses. That means the plate was given to Tharissapally which constructed by some YASHODATAPARAI and got a grant from Ayyanadikal  with the instigation of MARUAVAN  CHAPARICHA. So far we are not able to prove any thing except tall claims. It is amusing to note some families of MALANKARA NAZRANIES of Kollam/Kayamkulam claim that they belong to family of Mar sabor Isho.


The place called Kurakkeni kollam is considered as modern Quilon by many of the writers. But some writers clearly states that the Kurakkeni Kollam may not be present day Quilon. Present day Quilon was capital of Deshinga nadu and came in to prominence only after Portuguese made it their centre after 1503.In those days ports were not exactly what is meant today. Many of the earlier maps by colonialists clearly indicate that these places were comparatively open spaces with comparatively less population. Most of the population was concentrated around the capitals where administrative heads lived. It is also noticed that these ports were often shifted to places where more facilities available according to the buyer. This can also be based on the natural calamities , war etc.

William Logan states that the word Kollam derived from Kovilakam. Ibn-batuata wrote about three Kollams of Malabar. First one is at a distance of 5days from Kozhikkod ie.Kollam- Kodungallur. The second Kollam is the capital of Kolathiri nadu ie. Panthalayai Kollam. He stated that he was there for three months taking rest after his illness. He also gave information about an attack from pirates during the travel between this Kollam and Hanover. The third Kollam is at a distance of 10days from Kozhikkod ie. the last Kollam of Malabar –Kurakkani kollam where Panakav kovilakam was situated. This was the capital of Venadu. This indicate that  these Kollams are the places of kovilakams of respective dynasty ie. The Kurakkeni kollam may be in and around the Pnakavu Kovilakam not the Portuguese Kollam of today .

The earlier Kollam port most probably some where nears the mouth of  Ashtamudi kayal region. This is not an assumption rather based on some calculations. Chinese ships mainly traded with Kollam as reported by most of the travelers. Ibn-Batuta  reported that the Chinese ships stops only at kollam on their return to china even though many other leading ports were there on the way. This is because of the peculiarity of the Chinese Junk design. The Chinese junks’s hull design are flat compared to European designs. So they can go into shallow waters and carry out their trade activities. The Kurakkeni kollam being inside the mouth of Ashtamudi kayal these junks are safe from the turbulence of deep see. It is also difficult for them to load the ship with trade items while anchoring at the open see like Portuguese. That is why they preferred Kurekkeni kollam. On the other hand Portuguese ships have comparatively deep Hull design makes them difficult or even impossible to go inside. That is why the port shifted to present day Kollam by Portuguese initiative.

Now let us find out what is meant by “Kurakkenikollam”. It is obvious that the Kollam of today is not Kurakkenikollam of 9th century. The word meaning may give some clue in that direction. “KURANK” means curved and “KENI” means small streams(Neer  thodukal), kinar (well),small pond etc. as noted by V.V.K.VALATH in KERALATHILE STHALA CHARITHRANGAL. Is this indicating that the Kurakkeni kollam is known by such name because of the curved ship channels inside the Ashtamudi Kayal? It is well known that any place name is derived from the particularity/specialty of that place. Some historians like K. Shivashankaran nair in his book Prachina Keralathinte Rashtreeya Charithram give another explanation to this. He says that the place which is projected towards the see (south of Ashtamudikkayal) where the new port is situated is called Kurakkenikollam without any evidences. This may be because of over influence of Syriac church historians whom are very eager to promote that Mar Sabor Isho built the new Kollam and started Kollavarsham . It is true that the months of the Kollavarsham has a similarity with months of Greek year but hardly came from Mar Sabor isho who might have followed Syriac calendar or Persian calendar. Over enthusiastic church historians built stories like Sabarisho built the city of Kollam and started the new calendar calculation –Kollavarsham. What a great idea to promote! If it was true then it would be the first time in world history a group of refugees who fled their country because of religious intolerance built a city and started another calendar calculation in the country of their migration!

But it is interesting to note that the evidence against these church historians is there in the Tharissapalli cheppedu itself. It clearly state that the church is built by YASHODATHAPARAI and the cheppedu is given to Tharissapalli on the influence of one MARVAN CHAPARICHA. This itself shows that the Pally was built by some one else and the role of Marvan Chaparicha in this cheppedu is only a facilitator. Hence the arguments of the so called Syriac Church historians are nothing but wild imagination to elevate their position.


Church historians differ in the meaning and origin of the word ‘THARISSA’. Most of the Katholic historians state that it is Theresapalli the cheppedu is mentioning and so they were Katholics. These historians have not taken any care to study the history of eastern Christianity before jump into conclusions. Now it has convincingly proved that the word “THARISSA” represent”TRISSO “ a Syriac word denote ‘ORTHODOX’ . If it is true then the Tharissa pally means an eastern church. It is also interesting to note that there is a similar word called THARSAKAN in UYGUR language denoting orthodox Christians. Plz note that UYGUR language was used by Syriac Christians, Manicheans etc. in Central Asia.

Now let us find out the possible location of the Tharissa pally. Most of the church historians state that the Pally which was handed over to Prtughese could be the Tharissapally. This conclusion is based on the assumption that the Kollam of today is Kurakkenikollam and Mar Sabor built the Kurakkani kollam. But we found that was unlikely on the basis of evidence from the Cheppedu itself. Another important thing to be noticed here is that the leaders of Kollam Nazranies were from KAYAMKULAM , CHATHANNUR, THEVALAKKARA area . One among them noted by Portuguese writers was MATHIAS OF KAYAMKULAM and he was staying in new Kollam and leading the NAZRANI traders. He was very friendly with Portuguese and even written to King Manual I(Albuquerque,Cartas,II,Page268f,History of Christianity in India Vol.I by M. Mundadan Page278).He helped Portuguese in acquiring the required pepper and other items in return they disburse money for his expenses during his stay in cochin(for business purposes). This clearly suggests that the Nazranies of Kurekkeni kollam shifted to New Kollam for business purposes and even built church there for their use. This church was placed some where near the new port where Portuguese built their fort. The church built by Nazranies of Kurakkenikollam at the new port was in the name of ST.Thomas as evident from Travancore State manual Vol.I page 679. “’The Portuguese commander pursued the Mohammedans to Vilinjam and burned the palace which gave them refuge. The later retaliated by burning St.Thomas Christian Church at Quilon in 1516””(Yes there is some confusion here but will be cleared later) But the Nazranies built another church above the new Kollam town and worshiped there. Though the church is known as Kandisha pally it was originally named after ST. Thomas church as confirmed by Anquettile Du peron. He  visited the church during AD 1758(Zend Avesta by Du Peron Vol.I Page 188) .It is logical to believe that the new church was built to replace the old church which was burned by Muslims and used by Portuguese. But if this was the church built by Mar Sabor or buried , Malankara Nazranies would not have handed over  it to Portuguese at any cost.  So it is logical to believe that the said church was built by Malankara Nazranies of Kurakkeni kollam in new Kollam in order to use when they shifted to new Kollam for business purpose. Another interesting thing to be noted that the church rebuilt by the Portuguese after the destruction by Muslims named after ST. Mary (St. Thomas encyclopaedia of India , a detailed story is available in History of Christianity In India by Mundadan  Page 280,281, Keralathile Nazrani Kristhianikal  Vol.1 By P.V.Mathew,Jornada by Antonio De Gouvea Page378).

On the light of these evidences we can be sure that the Tharissa Pally is certainly not the pally in new Kollam or near to it but possibly some where in the region between Kayam kulam to Ashtamudi kayal. But we do not know whether this Church exist today or not because of lack of clear evidence. But one can logically deduct that if the church exist it must be some where in the Kurakkeni kollam (old Kollam) area.
Now let us study the other evidences in tracing the Tharissa pally. We know that the OLAS of Tharissa palli cheppedu are kept in the custody of the Malankara Orthodox Syriac Church and Mar Thoma Church. But we know that Arch. Bishop Menezez after the DE AMPERITANA SYNODO visited important churches to force the decision of the synod. On his journey he visited THEVALAKKARA CHURCH in the old Kollam area. He was faced much resistance from the members of this church. After the repeated promise from the bishop they showed him their Copper plates which received from the rulers of old Kollam. This was the first time any European authority came across the prestigious Tarissa pally Cheppedu. Plz read what Antonio De Gouvea in his JORNADA page (389,390)

………….and before leaving the Christians brought to show him big olas of copper written in diverse characters, which contain many privileges and incomes which king who founded Coulao gave to the church which was built there by the two who came from Babylonia, Mar Xapor and Mar Prodh as we have said above ,which olas are retained by Christian of this church as an invaluable treasure …………
…… and each them was two palms in length and four fingers broad, written on both sides, and all the three kept hanging by an iron ring……….. This is valuable evidence, indeed!

This evidence forces me to suggest that this is the Pally we are searching for? But the history student in me does not agree until and unless I get more evidences to support the suggestion. Are there any evidences available related with this? Yes I think there is.

Let us go back to Portuguese documents. “””””””””According to Damio de Goes in Cronica dofellicissimo Rei D. Manuel vol .l p 169 there were some 2000 families of these Christians in the whole kingdom of Quilon. According to Empoli in the town itself there were 3000 of them residing around their church and they were called Nazareni Christians. In the town there stood an ancient church (strangely enough, called our lady of Mercy) which according to the tradition of the community was built either by st.thomas the apostle himself or by one of his servants or by sts sapor and Prot, who lay buried in it.””””””””””””(Cited in History of Christianity in India by M.Mundadan).

We have discussed that the church at new Kollam (the one who burnt by Muslims) was in the name of St.Thomas and  the Nazranies easily left the church to Portuguese and built another one at Melekollath( upper land of thangassery). If this was the church built by their saints and buried any one’s body there, would they leave it so easily to Portuguese? That force me to suggest that the said church is not the  Tharissapally . But we know that the church at Thevalakkara has a saint called Mar ABO is buried and often confused for Mar Sabor(or Aphrot). Is it possible that the Said Sabor (or Aphrot) is the same ABO. I think there is a strong possibility. The Mar Sabor (or Aphrot) is associated with one of the Malankara Nazrani’s Head Pally called KADAMATTOM PALLY. The Guru of one of the Kadamattathu Kathanar(Magician Kathanar) was this Mar ABO. We have historical record that the church members had the first set of Tharissapalli cheppedu with them. This along with evidences related with Kurakkenikollam and other various records by Portuguese sources force me to arrive a conclusion that the THEVALAKKARA PALLY  certainly has connection to Tharissapally or it maybe possible that it itself is the THARISSAPALLY.

Kindly note that this analysis is true provided that YASODATAPARAI and MARUVAN CHAPARICHA has something to do with Mar Sabor and mar Aphrot. I think future study by scholars will prove this. It all depends on the wish and will of MALANKARA NAZRANIES.

This is  added to the article in response to readers request. “Tarissa or Tharissa” is most likely from Syriac word “Triso”. 

It is also to be noted that  “Tarsakan” was the Iranian word for Orthodox/Nestorian Christians beyond the Oxus river ,which passed on to central Asia through Uygur Language . Malankara nazranies have a group called Dhariyaykkal (Orthodox Christians) or Tarissa chettikal- at Thiruvithamocde ,who excelled in trading . It is evident from Thaliyola preserved in a Malankara Nazrani family called Karuthedathu of Mavelikkara.   (page 5)


Jeevan Philip.