We missed the bus and so as things would have it, we had to wait another day and this day being Sunday, I heard bells ringing. It was a Catholic church and the mass was at 6pm and I was happy to assist.
I never would have dreamt to find a Catholic church in these parts. It was of the Syro Malankar rite which has been here for centuries. I met a sister from Kerala. It was quite a surprise! The ‘church’ was rather a modest chapel and very warm inside.
Below is a picture which gives and idea how colorful some of their ceremonies can be.
The Saint Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Christians or Nasrani, are an ancient body of Christians from the Indianstate of Kerala who trace their origins to the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The community was historically united in leadership and liturgy, but since the 17th century have been split into several different church groups and traditions.
Historically the Saint Thomas Christian community was part of the Church of the East, centred in Persia. They were organised as the Ecclesiastical Province of India in the 8th century, served by bishops and a hereditary Archdeacon. In the 16th century the overtures of the Portuguese padroado to bring the Saint Thomas Christians into the Catholic Church led to the first of several rifts in the community and the establishment of Syrian Catholic and Malankara Church factions. Since that time further splits have occurred, and the Saint Thomas Christians are now divided into several different Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, and independent bodies, each with their own liturgies and traditions.
The Saint Thomas Christians represent a single ethnic group. Saint Thomas Christian culture is largely developed from East Syrian influences blended with local customs and later elements derived from indigenous Indian and European colonial contacts. Their language is Malayalam, the local tongue of Kerala
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It can be quite spectaclar in some areas. The mass in Joti Math was said in English.