The Christian Church in Kerala per-dates the Vatican Church of Rome – because just after the death of the Christ and much before St. Paul reached Rome, St. Thomas the Apostle landed in South India to spread new gospel. The first conversions were therefore local Hindus, who developed their own forms of worship. Even today, their rituals are quite different from those of Catholic and Protestant Churches in Europe and in the West. The shrine at Parumala is the main centre of worship for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
Built to commemorate Kerala’s principal Saint, this new Church accommodates 2,00 worshippers inside its walls and more than 3,000 outside. The form of the Church is derived from the try-partite structure of Coptic and Syrian traditions (which, in the 5th Century, deeply influenced the Kerala Church). However, the rituals themselves, with the faithful sitting and kneeling on the floor, are completely indigenous.