A community of Goan, East Indian and Mangalorean Catholics of Texas

Our Cultural Heritage

Our Culture is the heartbeat of G.E.Ms

Cultural Heritage of G.E.Ms of Texas

Histroy reminds us that Christianity first came in India in the year 52 AD when one of the disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ , St.Thomas, came to South India, in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In one of his prophecies Saint Thomas predicted that 14 centuries later white kined men will come from the west to evangilize India.However there are reports that another apostle of the Lord Jesus , St. Bartemomeo too came to India and that was in the Konkan, which may explain why traces of Christianity were found in Costal Maharashtra prior to the arrival of the Portuguese. Though it is commonly thought that the origin of Christianity in North Konkan, was due to the proselytizing activities of the Portuguese in the 16th Century, it was St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, who preached in North Konkan. There are indisputable evidences of this fact by the writings of Kosmos Indicopleustes of his having seen in Kalyana a flourishing Christian Community in the 6th Century and of Jordanus, of his having labored among the Christians in Thana and Sopara in the 13th Century. The French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani of Severac (in south-western France) started evangelizing activities in Thana and Sapora was the first work of Rome in North Konkan. Sopara was an ancient port and an international trading center. The water once extended all the way to Bhayander creek thus making the whole area extending from Arnala to Bhayander an island - referred to as Salsette island. In the time of the Buddha, Sopara (ancient Shurparaka), was an important port and a gateway settlement. Perhaps this induced Ashoka to install his edicts there. Sopara is referred in the Old Testament as Ophir, the place from which King Solomon brought gold, Josephus identifies Ophir with Aurea Chersonesus, belonging to India. Septuagint translates Ophir as Sophia, which is Coptic for India. This refers to the ancient city of Soupara or Ouppara on the western coast of India. It should then come as no surprise that contact with India dates as far back as the days of King Solomon. Pantaneus visited India about AD 180 and there he found a Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew language, left with the Christians there by St. Barthlomew. This is mentioned by Eusebius, and by Jerome in one of his letters. The finding of a Gospel of Matthew left with the Christians by Bartholomew is very strong evidence to the existence of a Christian community in India in the first century at the time of the visit of St. Bartholomew. It traces the history of the Church in India to the first century. In fact, it is an independent confirmation of the Indian church�s ancient and apostolic origin. Most history of The Indian Church was lost between the 9th and the 14th Century, as Persia went over to the Nestorianism in 800 AD. Since the provision of Church offices and all the apparatus of public worship, was looked to a foreign source; when this foreign aid was withdrawn. the Indian Christians were reduced to "nominal" Christians As St Thomas predicted Vasco Da Gama was the first western sailor to reach India via sea. This Portuguese explorer reached Calicut in Kerala on May 23rd 1498 Vasco's journey was followed by missionaries like St.Francis Xavier who converted mainly the folks of Goa and Mumbai to Roman Catholicism. With the coming of the British and strenghtening of the Portuguese Rule in Goa various comunities formed. Today in Independent India along with the Catholic community from Kerala there are three major Catholic Communities In West India all diverse in Culture but United through Christ. These communities once refered to as "Portuguese Christians" are

1) The East Indian Catholic Community of Mumbai.

2) The Goan Catholic Community from Goa.

3) The Mangalorean Catholic Community from Udupi and South Canara District of the state of Karnataka. Read subsequent sections to find out more on these communities.