8 April 2007

The Suriyanis Ignoramus

Here are some facts and figures thats you will NOT get from your Sunday schools:
§           First of all, know that Syriac like Sanskrit is more ecclesial; rarely spoken. Broadly classified into two types : West-Syriac (Serto) and East-Syriac (Chaldean). Aramaic is a language using the the Syriac script. Aramaic, and NOT hebrew, is said to be the mother tongue of Jesus.
§           The landing and the martyrdom, of Saint 'the doubting' Thomas in Mylapore-Madras is not fully agreed by many historians and Christians. The Vatican Shepherd recently informed his flocks that the farthest Thomas could have come is Pakistan and NOT Kerala
§           But if the Thomas legend (of South India) can be proven true, then the SyrChrs community in Kerala would be as old as Christianity itself. To highlight this fact: There were churches in Kerala, India, and Christians living peacefully here then when Europeans were still barbaric and when the Americas weren't even discovered!!
§           Ethnically, most SyrChrs maybe composed of a dash of Jewish, Babylonian and Persian genes in a bowl of Keralite chromosomes. The Namboothiri connections maybe true but it is not the only truth; there were converts from most other castes too. Refer the various origin stories and the DNA project.  
§           True, most SyrChrs must have enjoyed very high status and royal privileges in the past but this had more to do with them being enterprising, learned and affluent than for caste-ic reasons.

§           SyrChrs are sometimes called Nazaranis (Nazarenes?). They are in some places also called Mapillas because of their honorary titles and maybe because of their Middle Eastern (Jewish) connection. They maybe who were referred to as Issanis (Essenes) in one of the oldest literature: the
§           As per some historians, in the early first millennium there was 'Mani' flow in SyrChr history accounts; the words Manimekalai, Mani, Manigrammam, and Manivachakkar littering the still surviving pointers. Some say that many SyrChr were influenced back into paganism during this time. This so-called 'paganism' could be some sort of Buddhism, maybe.
§           Many of the original seven and a half churches established by Saint Thomas are disputed and some do not exist today. The Kodungalloor church was probably washed off in the floods of 1341; Pandian bandits and elephants may have destroyed the Nilackal church; the Quilon church is said to be now somewhere 2 km into the sea; Arthattu church, at Kunnumkulam, which claims to be the site of the real Palayoor church was razed to the ground by Tipu's padayottom 
§           NOTE: For at least 50 years (between 1599 and 1653) almost ALL churches in Kerala were (forcibly) latinized' by the Portuguese!
§           The Portuguese ordered the burning of all the SyrChr 'heretical' texts, so we are left with blanks and confusions about SyrChr history prior to 1599.
§           The coonen cross satyam of 1653 held by the SyrChrs at Mattancherry maybe the very first show of Indian-ness in India. And maybe even the first revolt against foreign rule in India. Here, it was against the Parankees (Portuguese). BTW, The coonen (bent) cross is actually straight now! :-)
§           The chain reaction of the many splits to happen in the Malankara/Malabar sabha was triggered from this point in time onwards. Also migrations southwards after many churches were lost in the Malabar (North) region to Catholic loyalists.
§           What represents the Syrian-ness in Kerala today is the following using one form of Syriac in their respective liturgies:
  • One Nestorian ( Assyrian Church of the East) group,
  • One Reformed or Protestant-equivalent (Marthoma church) group,
  • Three Catholic (Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and Knanaya Catholic) groups, and
  • Four Orthodoxy (Jacobite, Indian Orthodox, Knanaya Jacobite and Independent) groups
§           Each of the above factions believes they are the original and the others broke off from them! In fact NO faction today is like the pre-Portuguese period. Too complex to explain here which church did the SyrChrs ancestors belonged to; that's another post.
§           In 1784, our hero Tippu Sultan went on a trip into the Malabar region, destroying many ancient temples and churches and forcibly converting many Christians and Hindus to Muslims. This led to another wave of large migrations to the mid and south Kerala. This why we have more concentrations of SyrChrs starting Thrissur southwards.
§           There are more Orthodoxes southwards and Syro-Malabar Catholics Northwards. So it's also easy to understand why there are only 2 orthodox seven-and-a-half churches, Niranam and Thiruvancode, and both of these in the south.
§           The Mar-Thoma cross or Sleeba (jokingly called Klaver-kurish) maybe a Manichean cross. The SyrChrs would have adopted it when the Mani followers merged with them in order to avoid Portuguese persecution. Some say it's Nestorian in origin. Both Manicheanism and Nestorianism are considered to be heretical by the mainstream Christianity; however this cross is currently the only linking identity among the SyrChr factions.
§           Kadamattom Kathanar was not a Capuchin monk as portrayed in that Chandrakanda styled serial on Asianet channel :)
§           There are in Kerala 20 times the Syrian Christian population in Antioch and its surrounding regions. There is almost zero Syrian Christian population in Persia (Iran) now. In fact Kerala is the one of the very few places in the world where the dying language, Syriac-Aramaic, is still being used in liturgies and taught at Universities here.
§            The places Antioch, Edessa, Mardin and Tur-Abdin are not in present day Syria but in Turkey! FYI, Antioch is where the first converts called themselves Christians. Tur-Abdin is supposedly the ancestral native place of Parumala Thirumeni .
§           Kerala also has a unique place in the Catholic world for accomodating 4 different types of the sharbtho: Latin, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and the Knanaya. 
§           And MANY of the above facts are un-known to 99% of the current SyrChr population!


Kna said...

The Knanaya Christians have a look different from the other Syrian Christians because of their Endogamous practice. Whereas, many Syrian Christians who appear fair with Mid-East features look so because they have added to their lineage Mid-East members during the missionary work of mid-east Metropolitans and their entourage. So, there is a combination and realignment of genes and features. Today's mid east Christians are not of the original Syrian Christian stock as they do not practice endogamy there. At the same time, many Knanaya members have married members from outside and taken their features and DNA with them and merged them with the local Kerala population. The number of intermixes by excommunicated Knanaya members with the local population is far more than that of the Mid-East visitors. One such example is the lineage of Parumala Thirumeni which has been stated in the blog...

FlipFlop said...

A zealot as a 'Kanahi' should be ;-)

Yup, your explanation could be quite right. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

as per jewish tradition they are known to be a highly endogamous population.they rarely do intermarry and if ever so they are ostracized or excomunicated.a non jew is rarely accepted wholly into the fold.besides the jews maintain somewhat careful records(very often not properly understood by a non-jew unless carefully researched into) of their progress through history. a jew who leaves his religion and states himself or herself to be of another community, then intermarries members of the same community who may in all probability themselves be the product of intermarriages down the course of conversions cannot be claimants to judaism.therefore it is to a great extent improbable in claiming the knanaya to be jews...........that is as of now after centuries of intermarriage and donning the title of "christian".

pentatone said...

"One such example is the lineage of Parumala Thirumeni which has been stated in the blog"

This statement sounds misleading so I'm going to comment. If the writer is suggesting that Parumala Thirumeni is the descendant of intermixture between the normal Syrian Christians and the Knanaya, then the writer must clarify, because as far as I've seen, Mor Gregorios is the descendant of one of the brothers of Mor Andreyos, a Syriac prelate who arrived in Kerala in the 17th century. I have not seen any mention of Mor Gregorios being descended from Knanaya ancestors.

pentatone said...

I'm interested in your statement regarding the followers of Mani amongst the Syrian Christians. Could you please cite your sources? I once read about this, but have forgotten the source. I'm now very interested in this, and am trying to consult some references.



FlipFlop said...

Read Fr. Leslie Brown's book 'Indian Christians of St. Thomas' and P.V. Mathews 'Acta Indica' ... the latter is more fictionaly inclined :-)

FlipFlop said...

I did not say Paramula Thirumeni or his ancestors were Knanaya ... it was a comment from somebody else. Read again.

Anonymous said...

As per the four DNA test results available, the maternal ancestry of Knanaites is purely and entirely South Indian. Paternal ancestry is typically South Asian and a good part South Indian. There is nothing that suggests Jewish or Middle Eastern ancestry. The claim has been proven to be a farce!

There is a familytreedna project http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Project%20KANAIM/ which has been around for years and has enough samples, but the administrator is not disclosing the results. Whereas administrator himself has published his results in YSearch, which interestingly suggest South Indian ancestry.

Please refer to the discussion http://nasrani.net/2008/04/15/lifestyle-of-kerala-syrian-christians/ for more interesting and shocking details!!


FlipFlop said...

Yes, I know the administrator and some of the results. I am also ware of the surprise in the other link. However it is too early to deduce anything with 30-40 candidates...to conclude anything in statistical level one would need like thousands of candidate infos. BTW a haplogroup J2 doesnt mean a true 'Syrian'...there are J2s all around the world. Like there are even jews with non-Jewish haplogroups! Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

1. If the Knanaites claim "pure" Jewish blood, then a few "impure" samples are enough to prove the theory false. If there was even a single occurrence of a Middle Eastern or Jewish result, the KANAIM project would have flaunted it, which is not the case. It is high time for the Knanaite community to step out of the vicious circle of self-deception.
2. Haplogroup J2 may not mean anything. But existence of Cohen Modal haplotype does. It is a very strong indication.

FlipFlop said...

Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH) is a strong 'indication' ... only :-)

John said...

what is this nonsense that kna are ethnically different. they look like any other malyalee. this is such a joke. some groups are so deluded and the common denominator among all is religion. religion = brainwashing people to control people.

FlipFlop said...

Right said John. I am as agnostic as you are :)

Anonymous said...

lol wtf,there are 4 classification in the RC community."Kerala also has a unique place in the Christian world for being one place where there are 4 different types of Catholics: Latin, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and the Knanaya." Big goof.....I wish to know more about the sui juridicous church of knanaya community.goof heads....