Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Christians in India Gaining Prominence Death of Mother Teresa Casts New Spotlight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Christians in India Gaining Prominence Death of Mother Teresa Casts New Spotlight

Article excerpt

Mother Teresa's death has thrown a spotlight on the Christian minority that has played a long and significant role in India's spiritual and intellectual history.

Although European missionaries and their American counterparts were very active in India in the century before independence in 1947, they did not bring Christianity to India.

Indians believe that St. Thomas the Apostle landed on the western coast in the first century, following Jesus' exhortation to "go forth into the world and teach all nations." According to legend, he was assassinated by a Hindu and is buried in Madras. The descendants of the earliest Indian Christians - most of them high caste southerners who followed Syrian rites - lived in a region that now comprises the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Jews and Muslims from the Middle East also settled on India's Indian Ocean coast. Roman Catholicism was introduced much later, in the 15th and early 16th centuries by the Portuguese. Protestantism was brought by missionaries in the age of empire. In what is now Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, Christians established the leading schools, colleges, hospitals and medical schools. Among these is Calcutta's Loreto Convent School, where Mother Teresa's body lay in state last week. …

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