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Knai Thomman

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'Knai Thomman or in English, Bishop Thomas of Cana, was a prominent Knanaya merchant or a Bishop from Edessa (Or Urfa), know known as Şanlıurfa, Turkey. According to tradition recorded in eighteenth century document, with the instructions from the Patriarch of Antioch, Mor Yusthedius,he came with 72 families to Malabar Coast in Kerala, India in 345 AD.[1]

The details about this merchant or bishop are shrouded in mystery and there is no agreement on the year/period of his arrival, or from where he arrived, or on what grounds.[2]

Veracity of these claims

Veracity of these claims Edit

It should be noted that there is contention amongst the Kananaya as to whether a Syriac Orthodox Patriarch or an East Syriac Patriarch gave the order. Moreover, there is no historical information from India that justifies the story of Thomas of Cana---the earliest accounts of the Nasranis (from the 16th century) seem to indicate that Thomas of Cana was the progenitor of both the Syriac Christians (who were the dominant ethnic group, possessing the Archdeaconate) and the Knanaya Christians. there is a good chance that the year 345 is in kolla varsham as they may have followed three centuries after Mar Sapor arrival TO KOLLAM port which was situated at THEKKUMBAGAM (and whose arrival started the kolla varsham in 825 AD) ,a natural port 1 km inside Astamudi lake at the mouth of the Arabian sea in kollam till the Flood of 1341 in the 14th century . Only when sand dunes obstructed one of the worlds most re owned natural ports then , the ships started to call on the sea side at kollam only from the 14th century.the simple reason that they came via thekkumbagam may have lend the name to them when they reached kottayam for settling.More over all historical back ground in persia then shows their arrival was in the 12th century .

Finally, the "Jewish Christian" account, which is of very recent origin, should be regarded with a critical eye---the Nasranis were, by all accounts, East Syriac Christians from their earliest (documented) days. There is a wide chasm between East Syriac Christianity and Jewish Christianity and/or Judaism, as evidenced from the variety of polemics issued by the Syriac Christians doctors of the Middle East (who were not Jewish Christians by any means; ref. Jacob of Edessa) against the Jewish faith. Moreover, the Jewish communities of the East seemed to have no love for the Christians, given the massacres of Syriac Christians by Jewish tribal leaders in, for example, Yemen.


  1. http://nasrani.net/2007/02/17/historical-references-about-southist-community-tekkumbhagar-knanaya/
  2. http://nasrani.net/2007/02/17/historical-references-about-southist-community-tekkumbhagar-knanaya/

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