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Achayan (അച്ചായന്‍) is a term used to address elder males belonging to the Saint Thomas Christians or Syrian Malabar Nasranis, irrespective of denomination, hailing from central and southern parts of Kerala corresponding to the former Travancore kingdom. In Travancore, Achayans are mainly present in Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki and certain parts of Ernakulam like Muvattupuzha which were under the Travancore Kingdom.

Thrissur Syrian Christians and other denominations including the Latin Christians, Pentecostal et al. are not considered as Achayans.


The term Achayan comes from the way elder males are addressed in the Syrian Christian community [1][2]. This term corresponds to "elder brother" in malayalam [3]. Achayans are usually members of the St.Thomas Christians who are now split into Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, The Jacobite Syrian Church and Marthoma Syrian Church.


Achayans are traditionally employed the agriculture sector (especially rubber) and trade. From the time of their settlement in the region, Achayans used to be painstaking and family oriented[2]. They are pretty much far-sighted and modern. The enthusiasm they possess in acquiring knowledge and education paved way for numerous institutions for elementary as well as higher education in the region.

Educational institutions

Many prominent educational institutions in the region are run by Syrian Christians. Some of them are listed below:

  • St. Antony's Public School and Junior College, Anakkal, Kanjirapally
  • Nirmala Higher Secondary School and Public School, Muvattupuzha
  • Nirmala College, Muvattupuzha
  • St. Berchmans College, Changanassery
  • Assumption College, Changanasserry
  • Alphonsa College, Pala
  • St. Thomas College Pala
  • St. Dominics College, Kanjirappally
  • Marthoma College, Thiruvalla
  • BCM College Kottayam
  • Baselius College, Kottayam
  • St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry
  • Amal Jyoti College of Engineering, Kanjirappally
  • Vishwajyothi College of Engineering, Muvattupuzha
  • Pushpagiri College of Medical Sciences,Thiruvalla

Current status

A new generation of professionals and NRI's are now the new dominant group among Travancore Christians now. They are one of the most educated and prosperous Christian communities in India. A large number of expatriate communities are found in the Middle East, Europe and the USA.

Eminent personalities

  • K.M.Chandy
  • K. M. George
  • Dr. Sibichen K Mathew IRS (Author and Commissioner of Income Tax Bangalore)
  • C. M. Stephen
  • P. C. Thomas, former Muvattupuzha M.P.
  • K. M. Mani
  • A. K. Antony, Defence Minister of India
  • Oommen Chandy, C.M. of Kerala
  • T. M. Jacob, Kerala Congress (Jacob) leader
  • Johnny Nellore, former Muvattupuzha M.L.A.
  • P. J. Joseph
  • Francis George
  • P. C. George
  • Mathulla Mapillai (Kandathil Family, Malayala Manorama)
  • K. C. Mammen Mappillai (Malayala Manorama)
  • K M Mathew (Mathukuttychayan, Malayala Manorama)
  • K. M. Mammen Mappillai (MRF)
  • Babu Antony
  • Lalu Alex
  • Kunchacko Boban
  • Ponkunnam Varkey
  • Jimmy George


  1. Economic and Political Weekly Published by Sameeksha Trust., 1973 pg 1552
  2. 2.0 2.1 Keralites in America Published by K.P. Andrews for Literary Market Review, Inc., 1983 pg 114 & 119
  3. Human Resource Development: The Indian Experience By D. M. Silvera Published by Newsindia Publications, 1988 pg 172
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