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Christianity In Pre-Colonial Indonesia

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Chapter Summary

The South Indian Thomas Christians trace their faith back to the Apostle Thomas and sometimes also to S. Bartholomew. The merchant Thomas of Cana and other saintly men are mentioned in old documents as preachers of Christianity in 345. Christians preferred to travel with Persians and on their ships. Among them even some monks sailed to South-East Asia. Nestorian church documents speak about itinerant bishops in India and the lands beyond. This background is the setting for the question whether there have been Christian communities on Indonesian soil before the arrival of the Portuguese in these waters. The chapter on India speaks about the Apostle Thomas as its first missionary, about the Christians in the city of Quilon on the coast of Travancore (South India), and its churches. Recent excavations have shown close connections between Baros, India and the Persian Gulf existing from the ninth to the eleventh century.

Keywords: Apostle Thomas; Baros; Christianity; Indonesia; Persians; South India

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