(Last Updated on : 15/02/2011)
Christianity in India is credited to St. Thomas and his apostles. The religion became one of the largest practised in the country. India has a vast majority of Christians spread from South India to North East. The religion has different sects which developed gradually based on the differences of opinion and principles. Christianity is divided into three major branches - the 'Roman Catholics' who trace their spiritual history to the early disciples of Jesus, ' Eastern Orthodox Church' that was formed in the 4th century due to the political reasons and the two churches officially separated in 1054. In addition to that the Protestants splitted up from Roman Catholicism during the Reformation because of the differences and reformations that were introduced in the sixteenth and seventeenth century series in the doctrines and practices of the Church.
However, the Indian Christians consist of three main sects namely, the Syrian Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants. Christianity came to India around the 1st century and was spread in the country much before many European countries like Britain and Germany. Christian Communities in India thus were predominant since the commencement of the Christianity. The major communities in the country are Roman Catholics, Syrian Christians, Protestants community
and the Anglo Indian community
as well as the Kannada Catholic Community. According to records, around seventy percent of Christians in India belong to the Roman Catholic Community, and the rest mainly are the Protestants and other communities.
The colony of Syrian Christians
, which was established at Kodungallur, became the first recorded Christian Communities in India. Roman Catholic Community
is the largest community of Christians found in the country. Roman Catholic denomination is higher than other denominations in the country. The Roman Catholic Church is administered by a priest or bishop. Among the other Christian communities of India, Protestants also include among the major sects of Christianity.
Among the other Christian Communities in India, Protestant Communities are also present in the country. However, it is a very small section of Christians belonging to this community. In India, the Protestant missionaries came to India. Within the Protestants there were several divisions. Protestant Communities came into existence with the advocate Martin Luther and he is of the faith that not the Pope, but the Bible, was the infallible authority. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was founded in America in 1701 and after a few years, the first Protestant Mission was established in India. The largest Protestant denomination in the country is the Church of South India.
The Anglo-Indian Community among the Christian Communities in India can also be found spread all over the country. The Anglo-Indian community was started with the founding of the British settlement at Fort St. George, Madras, in 1639. However, the community traces its origin to the Eurasian and Anglo-Indian Association which was inaugurated on 16 December, 1876. Kannada Catholic Community was found just after the capture of Goa in 1510, the Portuguese established factories at Honore, Barcelore and Mangalore. In a short period Christian Catholic settlements started up in these towns and several other places in the interior of Kannada.