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Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Kerala in 52 AD. Currently Christianity is the third largest religion in India, after Hinduism and Islam, constituting around 2.3% of total Indian population. Find here the advent of Christianity in India from the early period to the modern days.
It was Saint Thomas who introduced Christianity in India in 52 A.D. Saint Thomas then arrived in North West India, and baptized King Gondophares and his brother,
thereby heralding the beginning of Christianity in India. When Saint
Thomas arrived in Kerala and established the Seven Churches and
evangelized in present day Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
converts were Jews, as Saint Thomas was a Jew himself and had the same
language making conversion easier. Even before the start of Christian
Era, India had good trade relations with Central Asia, Mediterranian and
Middle east, which led to these Christian Merchants settling in India.
Around the year 300, David of Basra made many conversions.
Bishops coming from Syria maintained their identity during the first
few years and later amalgamated with the prevailing forms of
Christianity. Nasranis were one of the early Christian Jewish sects in
the modern Era it was the French Missionaries to first touch the Indian
soil. First establishing its foot in Gujarat, they moved to other parts
of India and made large amount of conversions. Portuguese missionaries
had reached the Malabar Coast in the late 15th century and made contact
with the St Thomas Christians in Kerala and sought to introduce the
Catholicism among them.
The period saw a great amount of foreign
missionaries making conversions in India. The Portuguese colonial
Government in Goa offered rice donations to poor and military support to
the rulers for the purpose of spreading Christianity. The present state
of Goa has a substantial population of about 80% Roman Catholics. In
1321, the French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani of Severac (in
South-Western France) landed in a place called Bhatkal near Mangalore
and established a missionary station there. Many locals were converted
to Christianity by him.
In 16th century, the high class Hindus
were converted to Christianity by Portuguese, referred as Portuguese
Christians. These Portuguese Christians adopted the name East Indians.
Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra had more population of Protestant
Christians than the Catholics. It is North Eastern India that retains
the highest number of Christian population.