Ancient Beginnings

52 According to tradition, the Apostle Thomas arrives in India and establishes seven congregations.

c. 189 Pantaenus, a missionary from Alexandria, arrives in India.

c. 200 The Syriac Chronicle of Edessa describes a "church of the Christians" in India.

345 During the Great Persecution in Persia, Thomas a Kana leads 400 Christian refugees to the Malabar coast.

883 Anglo-Saxons bishops sent by King Alfred visit the tomb of St. Thomas (Mylapore).

c. 1293 Marco Polo stays on the Coromandel Coast, describes the tomb of St. Thomas as a place of pilgrimage, and visits Christians and Jews in Quilon.

1502 Thomas Christian leaders ask Vasco da Gama for an alliance against Muslim predators.

The Dawn of Missions

1542 Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier and two Tamil assistants teach the Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, and Ten Commandments to Paravars (fisherfolk on Coromandel Coast), baptizing 10,000 in a single month.

1606 Roberto de Nobili begins a 50-year career in the Jesuit Madurai Mission, adopting Brahman culture and becoming a renowned scholar and poet.

1622 Congregatio de Propaganda Fide is created to send missionaries into areas of India outside of Portuguese Padroado authority.

1653 At Koonen Cross, some Thomas Christians declare independence from Roman Catholic authority.

1706 German Pietists Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau reach Tranquebar and establish a printing press and charity school.

1710 Jesuit missionary Constanzo Giuseppe Beschi begins a spectacular career as the greatest Tamil scholar of the age.

1733 Aaron becomes the first Tamil evangelical pastor in Thanjavur.

1750 C. F. Schwartz begins career as a renowned evangelical missionary-statesman-scholar, diplomat, and mentor to leaders of later mass ...

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