The mission of the Apostles and their successors planted the Church of Christ at various places. In divine providence (LG 23), the Indian Church was blessed to have an apostolic foundation in 52 AD through the evangelization mission of St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. This Apostolic Church was in Catholic Communion from the early centuries. It came in contact with the Syro-Chaldean Church of the Middle East and consequently adopted the East Syrian Liturgy.
In the 16th
century, this Apostolic Church came into direct relationship with the Western Church through the Portuguese missionaries. The Portuguese extended the Padroado agreement in their evangelization program over India and wanted to bring the Indian Church of the St. Thomas Christians under this jurisdiction. The Church in India which was rooted in the sociocultural environment and which enjoyed autonomy in internal administration in communion with the Universal Church resisted the unwanted intervention of the Portuguese who brought with them the Western ecclesiastical traditions. The Portuguese missionaries, ignorant of the Oriental traditions of the Indian Church, had the conviction that anything different from the Western Church was schism and heresy. Hence they wanted to latinize the Syrian Christians of India. In 1599 Bishop Franciz Roz (1599-1624) convoked a Synod at Diamper and imposed latinization on the Apostolic Church of India. This was a blow to the identity of the Indian Church. However, the relation continued till the beginning of the second half of the 17th
century. The Church of St.Thomas Christians could not withstand any more the denial of her autonomy. The initial resistance slowly gave way to discontentment, which ended up with the revolt in 1653 known as the 'Koonan Cross Oath'. Thus, the one Church of the St.Thomas Christians was split into two. A large majority of the broken-away-group hesitated to sever ties with Rome and they remained in communion with Rome, but, under the Latin Hierarchy. This group came to be called the Pazhayakoottu. Read More...