People of different faiths are at the origin of the celebration, fixed for the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle, the first evangelizer of the country according to tradition. The event aims to highlight that Christianity is not a foreign religion in India, as Hindu extremists claim. For Father Joseph, âAny effort to undo this great civilizational contribution is to deny the very foundation of India itself. “
June 30, 2021
By Nirmala Carvalho
On July 3, the feast of Saint Thomas, Christians of all faiths will also celebrate Indian Christian Day (Yeshu Bhakti Divas) for the first time.
The event, designed by members of different Churches across the country, aims to highlight the fact that Christianity is not a foreign religion in India.
The date, July 3, was chosen “because it is traditionally observed as St. Thomas, the day of the celebration of the apostle Saint Thomas who came to India in AD 52” and brought the message of Jesus. “It is historically believed that Saint Thomas was martyred near Chennai in AD 72.”
Thus, for the promoters of the Day, âBy marking it in 2021 and now every year, we, disciples of the Lord Jesus, can preserve our identity within the cultural heritage of India, while uniting ourselves with all those who wish celebrate it, whatever the language. , custom, belief, region or religion.
“With the celebration of the Indian Christian Day”, the promoters of the initiative also want to “launch a Decade of celebration (2021-2030) to honor the 2000th anniversary of the earthly mission of the Lord Jesus Christ whose teaching and principles of life have helped shape and transform India and the world.
Verbite Father Babu Joseph, former spokesperson for the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCI), is in favor of the initiative, welcoming it because it is the work of a “group of members belonging to different Christian denominations”.
According to him, the choice of the feast of Saint Thomas “signals a positive step towards overcoming the apparent divergent opinions on the history of the arrival of Saint Thomas in India”.
To move the project forward, Father Joseph would like UNESCO to recognize some of the ancient churches in India and for some publications to highlight Christian contributions in Indian history.
âIt would be an important step in making Christianity a part of Indian history and ethics,â he said. In fact, âIn light of the attempts by some right-wing organizations to create the impression that Christianity is alien to India, it is necessary to underline its seniority in the country.
âChristianity has been an integral part of Indian history for 2000 years and has given rise to many indigenous forms of Christian life. Any effort to undo this great civilizational contribution is to deny the very foundation of India itself. “
“Christianity introduced new social teachings which served as a catalyst for several movements for social reform” and “was instrumental in the introduction of modern education”.ââ News from Asia