Robert Eric Frykenberg

in Christianity in India

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780198263777
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191714191 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church


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This chapter examines Catholic Christianity in India. A high degree of indigenizing acculturation characterized Catholic Christianity in India. This was especially so outside of Goa and enclaves under Pfarangi rule. After the Portuguese arrival in 1498 and the establishment of their Estado da India, Catholic orders under the Padroado of Goa enjoyed considerable autonomy. However, despite expanding clerical domains and newly won converts — sometimes at the expense of ancient Christian communities, including whole communities along southern shorelines and a high-profile learned tradition — Catholics failed to make any significant inroads within Mughal India. Yet, in the centuries which followed the earliest and strongest expressions of indigenous Christianity anywhere in the continent in both ideological and institutional forms, continued to survive in those communities that still claimed and accepted the apostolic tradition of St Thomas as the historic basis for their origin and as the doctrinal basis for their ecclesiastical authority.

Keywords: Catholic Christianity; India; missionaries; Pfarangi; Padroado; Jesuits; Pfarangi rule; Mughal

Chapter.  12071 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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