This unit provides an account of the history of Christianity in India from its inception until the current period. From the earliest period, the movement has been associated with St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Further, it explores the historical blending of Syriac Christianity (first and second Syrian migration), Nestorian Christianity (Nestorianism), Portuguese Christianity (Catholicism), and Dutch and English missionaries (Protestantism) with Indian Christianity. It especially examines the nature and development of Syriac/Orthodox/Jacobite Christians and the modern Western mission in India. While investigating these historical movements, the unit contemplates the implications, challenges, and evolution that shaped Indian Christianity in its current form.

Unit code: CH3310A

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Blended

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Articulate the history, nature and development of Indian Christianity from first Century to the contemporary era.


Evaluate the historical shifts in Indian Christianity using primary and secondary sources.


Assess the impact of Western colonialism in the life and witness of Christianity in India.


Demonstrate the connection between the history of Indian Christianity and world Christianity.


Analyse the historiographical tools to understand various historical nuances of Christian traditions in India.

Unit sequence



Pre-recorded lectures, class presentations, guiding reading, and weekly tutorials.

Indicative Bibliography

Arakkal, John., M.V. Cyriac., and Abraham Koothottil. “Alienation or Liberation? Towards an Evaluation of the History of Christianity in India.” Jeevadhara 7, no. 37 (1977): 17–85.

Athanasius, Mor Paulose. The Syrian Orthodox Church: Its Religion and Philosophy. Changanaserry, Kerala: Mor Adai Study Centre, 2005.

Ayyar, L.K. Anantakrishna. Anthropology of the Syrian Christians. Ernakulam: The Cochin Government Press, 1926.

Bauman, Chad M., and Richard Fox Young Constructing Indian Christianities: Culture, Conversion and Caste. New Delhi: Routledge, 2014.

Brown, L.W. The Indian Christians of St. Thomas: An Account of the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar. Cambridge: The University Press, 1956.

Cheriyan, P. The Malabar Syrian and the Church Missionary Society, 1816-1840. Kottyam, Kerala: Church Missionary Society’s Press and Book Depot, 1935.

Daughrity, Dyron B., Athyal, Jesudas M. Understanding World Christianity: India. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016.

Frykenberg, Robert Eric. Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication Since 1500 With Special Reference to Caste, Conversion and Colonialism. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.

Gladstone, J.W. Protestant Christianity and Peoples Movements in Kerala 1850-1936. Trivandrum: Seminary Publications, 1984.

Mathew, C.P. and M.M. Thomas. The Indian Churches of St. Thomas 2nd Edition. Delhi: DJVP/ISPCK, 2006.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper 1500 30.0
Critical Review 1750 35.0
Essay 1750 35.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 9 Sep, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-09-09 12:42:23 +1000