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Christians are a minority in India’s religious statistics; Only one out of every forty Indians is a Christian, about 20 million. They are widely spread; ‘ They are found in practically all sub-cultural areas and regions of the country. They are not there as ‘immigrants’ or ‘foreign citizens’ who come from a different place and culture; Rather, they are sons of the soil and belong to one or the other of the lifestyles that go on to make up the intricate mosaic of India.

. Dravidian or Aryan, high caste or low, city elite or tribal, factory worker or farmer – in all corners of the nation – have accepted Jesus Christ as their master and shared a common way of life with Christians Is.

Of course there is variation in their distribution. A significant number of Christians are found in South India, as Christianity took root there in its early centuries.

One of the most distinctive and noteworthy activities of Christians is their Sunday service. For them Sunday is the Lord’s day. Worship usually includes hymns, various forms of prayer, and reading aloud of certain passages of the Bible. Like the Psalms, these texts refer not only to God but also to the man Jesus Christ, who is referred to as his son. On at least some of the important Sundays, most groups celebrate together a symbolic ‘meal’ in which they remember and in some way commemorate a very important event that took place during the last days of Jesus in the first week of April. It happened at the end of (probably) the year 30 A.D.

In thousands of churches across the country, worship is held on the Sunday after Easter, and some churches celebrate it every day. It is sung in the villages of Chhotanagpur and in the churches of Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Trivandrum. It is conducted in various forms and in many languages.

This form of worship, commonly referred to as the Communion Service, the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper, goes back to remembrance.


About what Jesus did the previous night with his disciples and friends. Writing about this 25 years later, St. Paul describes the event as follows: ‘The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and after giving thanks broke it and said, ‘This is my body’ This is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way he took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. As many times as you drink it for my remembrance, do the same. (Corinthians 11:23-26).

The Sunday service is a continuation of the action at the time of Jesus’ Last Supper. There is a very important mystical element in it. This is not just a prayer meeting; It is an occasion on which the commemoration of Jesus informs the community of what Jesus did and taught, and of his living presence among them and in the world. Thanks to this community gathering at the ‘Lord’s Supper’, the Christian life is an experience that ‘the Lord is alive’, and in this new life, his death is understood as a source of grace for all mankind. Therefore, the memory of Jesus is the core of Christianity. To understand Christianity, we must ask: Who was, or is, Jesus Christ?

Although Jesus is considered by Christians to be the ‘Son of God’ in a very unique sense, this does not make him human. The disciples knew him and knew that he was born and grew up like any other person, tormented by thirst, starved by ignorance, as is inevitable in the human condition. The only thing he didn’t have that can be avoided is sin. Like every man, he eventually died and yet he rose to a new life. This meant for a Christian not only that his self was immortal but that in a wonderful way his whole personality, body and soul, was made new and alive in God. Incidentally, this belief in resurrection is part of the reason for the importance Christians place on the physical world. They do not consider the world and the human body as a prison from which one must escape. Evil and sin come from the heart of man, not from matter. substance is good; An essential part of man, because man was created by God not as a soul or spirit that could exist completely without a body, but as a soul, both aspects of which constitute the true reality and dignity of man. We do. Jesus’ body then rose with him to new life in God, although his new mode of existence no longer belonged to our spatiotemporal continuum. And like the body of Jesus, the ultimate destiny of the world is to find its full reality in God.

Why did Jesus die on the cross? Outwardly, because of the opposition that his new ideas and teachings aroused among his own people, especially the leaders. But in a deep, religious understanding of the event, this death had a special meaning. Christians call it a yajna or a sacrifice, an offering to God, not only to restore cosmic order, but to make possible a new union of man with God, and thus the sinfulness of the world at large. to conquer. With the immense love and loyalty to the Father that Jesus showed even at the time of his death, he opened up the possibility for man to love God. There and then, God gave himself to Jesus and his brothers—the whole human race—in a new way. It means that through the life and death of Jesus, God redeems, renews, and saves. Without that death and the new life that follows, we would be bound by our sins. Thanks to His death, we can have a new life, a new power to love authentically, a complete liberation. We never make full use of this power, but it is manifested in our lives, and it is God’s power reaching all human beings through Jesus.

It is This is the grace of God.





Christians in India and elsewhere emphasize the importance of the community of believers in which they find the living memory of Jesus Christ. For them the Church has an important role in the work of salvation. They see man essentially as a member of a community and not as an isolated island. Man’s salvation is not to be found in pure isolation or cavalya, or a person’s mere escape from the miseries of life. Salvation must involve building true fellowship; And deep dialogue with all men. The Church is a new community where the bonds of friendship and love are expressed in their most deeply institutionalized form, in so far as the union of hearts is expressed through common faith in God and acceptance of the same Lord as Saviour.

This union of heart and mind is not based on racial bonds of birth or caste, common language or culture, nor even on a common way of worship. In fact, as with Christianity, there are many forms of worship even within the same church, and new rites appear all the time. The deep union experienced in the Church is based on love and a shared belief in being made one ‘people’ by God himself through Jesus Christ. This union implies and calls for diversity. One ancient description given of the church is that it is


  Both one and ‘Catholic’. The meaning of ‘Catholic’ is universal, capable of accepting and expressing itself in diverse forms of cultural and even religious existence within the unity of basic faith-experience. Thus, we have Christians in India practically from all its various subcultures and traditions. Bengali Brahmin nationalists of the twentieth century. Brahmabandhav Upadhyay, without betraying his Christian faith, could claim, I am Hindu by birth, Christian by rebirth.’ He actually considered himself a ‘Hindu-Christian’.

The Church exists in a world of pluralism of faiths and secular movements. Christians belong to the larger community of men, both at the national and international levels. Christians as a group within this larger community should be – they do not always succeed in actualizing this desire – a ‘servant church’, a church to be served in the service of man following the example of Jesus Christ but to be served (Matthew 20:28). For this reason the services that the Church conducts for the benefit of men – educational, medical, social, religious – are not only for the Christian community, but are extended to members of other communities as well. The Church is making more and more efforts to enter into dialogue with these communities and to work together for a common service to God and man. An important text of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) of the Catholic Church says; The Catholic Church does not reject anything true and holy in these (other) religions. She looks with true respect to those ways of conduct and life and to those rules and teachings which, though differing in many particulars from what she holds and prescribes, yet often reflect a ray of that truth. Who enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims and must always proclaim Christ, ‘the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), in whom men find the fullness of the righteous life and in whom God has reconciled all things to himself (Jn 14:6). 11 Corinthians: 5) : 1819). Therefore, the Church calls upon its sons to educate their sons judiciously and lovingly, through dialogue with adherents of other faiths, and to accept, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods to be found among these means in evidence of Christian faith and love. It is recommended for value in their society and culture (Declaration on the Church’s Relation to Non-Christian Religions, 2).

The above somewhat idealistic picture of the Christian Church corresponds to a doctrinal framework of what Christians should be. Reality is far from perfect. One of the most painful aspects of Christian life in India and elsewhere is the fact that Christians are divided. It is not just the fact that there are various rites and traditions within the Church that is welcome; But there is no complete agreement about the doctrinal and moral implications of the gospel. For the most part the divisions did not originate in India itself; They have been imported here from the west.

There were two major periods of division during the twenty centuries of Christian history. The first was the split in the eleventh century between the churches in Western Europe, on the one hand, and the churches in Eastern Europe, on the other, with whatever was left of Christianity in North Africa and Asia Minor. Partly due to the division of the Roman Empire after the death of Theodosius I (395 A.D.), a constant feud between these two groups grew for several centuries. The rupture became apparent in 1054 with disputes between papal legates and the patriarch of Constantinople (modern Istanbul). This first major division of Christendom was more political than ideological. Other than their rejection of the supreme authority of the Pope of Rome, little in fact divides the Orthodox from the theological Roman Church.

Within the Western Church, a deep split occurred in the sixteenth century and developed further in subsequent centuries. This was the ‘Reformation’, which began in Germany and soon spread to much of central and northern Europe and England. Main leader of separatist or ‘reform’ party

Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and Melanchthon. Eventually Henry VIII in England followed suit. This split included not only the rejection of the Pope but also many changes in the doctrine and later moral expressions of Christianity. The Reformation, however, was primarily a movement not of division but of purification. What the reformers wanted was the reformation of the abuses that had entered into the Christian way of life. But a side effect was the division of Christendom.

Therefore, we currently have three main bodies or groups of churches in the Christian world: the various churches of Eastern Europe and the Middle East, of which the Orthodox Church is the most representative; The Roman Catholic Church is governed by a college of bishops headed by the Pope;

  and various forms of Reformed or Protestant churches, some of which are much closer in belief and practice to the other two traditions (such as the Anglican Church), and others which have developed along new lines of doctrine and practice.

India has been a victim of these divisions of Christendom in the West. The first communities in India were part of the universal, undivided Church of antiquity. Such was the Malabar Church, which was in close contact with Christian communities in Persia, from where bishops came in the early centuries. There is a solid tradition and strong belief that one of the disciples of Jesus, S. Thomas is the originator of this church. In the sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church appeared on the scene. When the missionaries who accompanied the Portuguese met the Christian communities of Kerala, they compared notes on each other’s beliefs and practices. At first there was a period of mutual recognition and acceptance but as might be expected at a time when communication was still very difficult, many misunderstandings and estrangements arose. Eventually, a section of the Church in Kerala accepted its communion with the Romans, while another section refused to accept it as it saw the danger of ‘Latinisation’. Thus the Jacobite Church in Kerala emerged in direct contact with the Syrian Jacobite Church and the Catholic Church. To the east, the Mar-Thomas Church emerged in the 19th century. There are three different ‘sacraments’ (traditions and ways of worship) in the Catholic Church; Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and Latin Rites. Although there are differences between these rites, there is no division in the faith, and one notices a growing cooperation and awareness of their oneness. The Christian Church in Kerala has also spread to North India and brought with it its own traditions and rituals. Many of its priests and nuns have volunteered to work elsewhere in India and abroad. Many dedicated persons of the Church in Kerala have attained a high degree of sanctity, such as the Venerable Sister Alphonsa (1910–1949) and Fr. Kuriakose Chavara (1815–1871), founder of the monastic order of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. The entire Christian Church in North India, and indeed the country, owes a debt of gratitude to the services of the Malabar Church.

The Latin branch of the Roman Catholic Church is spread throughout the country. It became firmly established in the sixteenth century mostly on the western and southern coasts of the country. Thereafter two important groups were formed: the

Goan-Mangalorean-Maharashtrian community which became somewhat

Westernization in language and culture, and Tamil communities that stayed close to their ancient language and traditions. The West Coast Churches, along with the Christians in Kerala, have been the main agents of educational, social and medical services offered in many areas of India. They have produced outstanding patriots like freedom fighter Kaka Baptista; Important literary works such as Krista Purana of Father Stephens in early Marathi (early seventeenth century); and iconic artists like Angelo Fonseca and Trinidad. Also theological inspiration has been given by holy men of this community, such as the Venerable Joseph Vaz (1651–1710), a missionary to Sri Lanka and Fr. Agnello de Souza (1869–1927) of the Missionary Society of St. Paul.

  1. Javier, in Pilar, Goa, and St. Gonzalo Garcia, a Franciscan martyr for Christianity in Japan in the sixteenth century. In the history of the Tamilian Church, one of the most important events is the effort of Robert de Nobili (1577–1656) for greater indigenization of Christianity. Already in the sixteenth century he learned not only Tamil, but also Telugu and Sanskrit, adopted an ascetic lifestyle and defended the customs of the Brahmins of the time which were compatible with Christianity. His writings on the ordeal of Brahmins to their Roman authorities in the early seventeenth century give a surprising amount of insight into contemporary Hinduism in South India. Many companions followed his example and through his inspiring and saintly life, people of many castes came to believe in Jesus Christ. Among these, Nilakantha Devasagayam Pillai (1712–1752) is reserved as a martyr. The first printed books in Indian languages came from this Christian community, and classics of Tamil literature such as C. Beschi’s Thembavani (1726) are still studied in South Indian universities.

In the following centuries, the Roman Catholic Church established significant new communities among caste people in Andhra (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) and among the aborigines of Bihar and Assam (nineteenth and twentieth centuries) and among the Scheduled Castes in many parts of India. Of. especially in the Gangetic plain (20th century). Anglo-Indian general

They usually belong to either the Roman Catholic Church or the Protestant Church.

not that the Christians were

Absent from northern India before the nineteenth century. In addition to the early centers of contact with the Syrian Church, already in the sixteenth century the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar requested the presence of some Jesuit priests at his court to discuss religious matters. To these priests we owe some of the most fascinating historical accounts of life at the court of the Mughal emperors, for example, Montserrat’s Memoirs (1582 and 1590). Thanks to a decree of Akbar, a small church was built at the Agra court around 1599. language, in Latin, by Roth in 1805, about a century and a half before Colebrooke’s better known grammar.

Meanwhile, Protestant Christianity also entered India for the first time in 1706 under the Lutheran Mission’s B. With the arrival of Ziegenbalg in Tranquebar and later with the landing in Calcutta of William Carey in 1793, who settled at Serampore in West Bengal by 800. and many others who followed them in later centuries, especially once missionary societies were formed

Protestant countries, we owe much to the development of regional languages and printing in India, especially to their concern for early translations of the Bible. These churches paved the way for the development of literacy across the country and many of India’s most respected educational institutions were started under their patronage. In fact it can be said that much of the credit for the renaissance of India inaugurated by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in Bengal goes to these Christian churches. Among the outstanding mystics and saints of the Protestant churches, we find Sadhu Sunder Singh (1889–1929), Narayan Seshadri (1820–1891), Narayan Vaman Tilak (1861–1919), Dhanjibhai Naoroji (1820–1908) and Reverend Imad-ud- Din (1822–1900) (cf.P.J. Thomas, 100 Indian Witnesses of Jesus Christ, Bombay, 1974). Many Protestant Christians, notably C.F. Andrews worked side by side with Gandhi in the struggle for social reform and political freedom.

11.3 The Bible

Whatever their sectarian differences, Christians share not only the living memory of Jesus Christ, but a common sacred writing, the Bible or Holy Scripture. A great love of the Bible has been expressed throughout the twenty centuries of Christian history. Perhaps no other book has had a more profound effect on any civilization than on Christendom. Certainly no other book has been so copied, illustrated, printed, studied, commented upon, analyzed and interpreted as this text, the first complete book to be printed in 1456. Portions of this book are read in most Christian services. Commented out and often. Christians find in the Bible not only a historical account of the life and teachings of Jesus, but also a record of the past. For them the Bible today is a living book: God’s own word resounds whenever these pages are read with faith and devotion.

This belief does not mean that the Bible is the work of human authors, or that God ‘wrote’ its contents onto humans. Christians know and accept that the Bible is clearly the work of the human mind and was written 20 or 25 centuries ago in very human languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, often in a very elegant style, but at times quite clumsy. In feelings God’s own Word, through these words and the styles of individual men. His call and His presence come to meet man. This is why Christians love and revere the Bible. However, for them the Bible never takes the place of Jesus Christ. In this sense, Christianity is not primarily a religion of the book, but a religion of Jesus.

The Bible is not actually a ‘book’ in the modern sense of the word, but a collection of 73 writings from around the ninth century BCE. By the end of the 1st century AD the writings in the Bible are divided into two main sections: the ‘Old Testament’, with 46 writings, and the ‘New Testament’, with 27. The Old Testament, a testament about four times longer than the New Testament, corresponds to the Bible of Judaism and forms the background for Christians and the preparation for the New Testament which refers directly and historically to the person of Jesus Christ.

The writings of the Old Testament first contain a record of the historical experiences of the nation of people, ‘Israel’. The various ups and downs in Israel’s history and the awareness of its religious leaders that God came to them as savior and that God is always faithful in his promises of mercy and love stem from the core of Old Testament literature. The most important event is the ‘Exodus’ or flight to freedom of a group of slaves working in Egypt. To this historical core were added the writings of the prophets. Who lived in the 8th and 3rd centuries BC. appeared in the history of Israel to explain

  The religious meaning of events in their national and political life to the people. He continually brought the people face to face with their infidelity, their oppression of the weak, their sinfulness, and reminded them of the demands of goodness and justice on the part of their savior God. In addition, a collection of prayers or ‘psalms’ and other songs frequently used in the public worship of the Jews was also added to the Bible. They show a great sense of devotion

, and express feelings of faith, trust, love repentance, etc. Another set of Old Testament writings express the people’s deep religious beliefs about the origin of mankind (the creation account) and suffering (‘the Fall’) and the meaning of history in a great expression ‘the day of God’ (apocalyptic literature). ) is moving towards. Finally, some stories and ‘wisdom’ literature convey practical implications for a life of faith and devotion to God. The New Testament includes:

(1) the four gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John about the life teaching of Jesus Christ, death and resurrection as experienced by his closest disciples;

(2) A historical account of the early preaching and establishment of Christianity in the countries surrounding the eastern Mediterranean

(Acts of the Apostles, possibly written by Luke);

(3) the twenty-one letters or writings of the early disciples of Jesus, especially those of an outstanding mystic and thinker, St. Paul; that convey the meaning of the person and work of Jesus and encourage Christian communities to live their new faith passionately; And

(4) Finally, there is an allegorical writing, the book of ‘Revelation’ or ‘Apocalypse’; Its authors attempt to instill a sense of hope and courage in early persecuted Christians, and use very colorful symbols that are difficult to understand or interpret today.

In all these writings, despite their heterogeneity, there is a clear theological unity, a common outlook on man and his relationship with God, and a consistent view of the way of life based on the Christian faith. His teachings and symbols form the fabric of Christian culture. The Bible has been translated into all known languages of the world, and new translations are made every year. In English, the superlative King James Version (Authorized Version) dates only from the seventeenth century. More updated translations are commonly used today.

The burden of translating and publishing the Bible in India rests mostly with Protestant churches. The first printed Bible was a Tamil translation by Ziegenbalg and Schultz in the early eighteenth century (NT in 1715: OT in 1726). But the most influential effort came from Serampore in Bengal, where William Carey, assisted by Ward and Marshman, published at least 40 Bible translations between 1800 and 1834. Indian languages. There is a continuous process of improving and more reliable translation in all languages and in cooperation with all Churches in general. Today the Bible is available partially or fully in at least 32 Indian languages.

great commandment

Once, near the end of Jesus’ life, a priest approached him and asked him this question: ‘Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied:

You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is this: You must love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets rest on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:36-40)

This precise, very definite teaching of Jesus is the prime model of the Christian vision of life. Man is made to love and love means self-surrender, self-giving, self-sacrifice. The object of man’s love is first and foremost God, who alone is fully worthy of love and who himself in love creates and saves man. The purpose of Christian existence is to make this love a reality in our lives. Eternal life, which would extend beyond death, would be the blossoming of this love in the presence of God Himself, experienced without hindrance.

But this love for God finds its concrete expression in love for other men. No one can love God who does not love his fellow man. And thus service to man is always embedded in the Christian theological ideal. All the activities and attitudes of human beings are ultimately judged by this single law of love; All striving to promote great social justice in the world, all working to build a new humanity where the unique dignity of each individual is respected and where all have equal opportunities, all individual and structural oppression struggle for freedom from, every form of human activity has a religious value, if it is

Inspired by this law of love.

In our world of struggle and strife, this law of love cannot be lived without accepting a lot of self-sacrifice, sufferings, persecutions and sacrifices that life may demand. We are called not to be intimidated by them. Suffering has a mystical value when combined with love, for love reveals all its beauty when it is afflicted. This is why the most simple and inspiringly powerful symbol of Christianity is the cross: on this sign of torture and shame, Jesus, the Son of God, was hanged and given

His life is in the fullness of love for God and for man. Through this he and all of us got a new life. Through his cross, Christians believe, comes salvation for all human beings and this is exactly what Christians celebrate in their Sunday worship.

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