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Churches In India
India, being a country of cultural and religious diversity, with native predominant population of Hindus, next coming Muslims, the position of third largest population is held by Christianity, which religion has established Churches in India ever since it arrived at India in the first century AD.
The number of churches in India is around 24 million as per 2001 census, the majority of Christians in India are Roman Catholics, while about 500000 out of 17.3 million members, belong to the major archiepiscopal churches, the Syro-Malabar Church and Syro-Malankara church, which are headed by the Pope.
With an approximate membership of 4 million, the largest Protestant Christians belong to Church of South India, which is basically the union of Presbyterian, Congregational,Reformed, Methodist and Anglican congregations among Churches in India, which is also one of the four united churches in the Anglican Communion, while its counterpart in the north, the Church of North India covers 1.25 million members and the Mar Thoma Church with approximately 9 lakh members,although not a full member, is in communion with Anglican Communion.
The Churches in India today come broadly under classifications of
Roman Catholic-Latin Rite
Roman Catholic-East Syrian Rite
Roman Catholic-West Syrian Rite
Church of the East
Latter Day Saints
while there are some small sub-groupings and churches in different callings maintained for the benefit of Christians living in various regions of the country.
The Presbyterian Church of India (PCI) which is among Protestant Churches in India has members mostly in Northeast India, with its headquarters in Shillong, which is capital of Meghalaya state belonging to Northeast India, subscribing to the Westminster Confession of Faith and this Church maintains relationships with the Uniting Church in Australia of America, the Presbyterian Church of Korea, andPresbyterian Church in the United States.
Christianity arrived at India, at the Kerala State locations, in Southern part of the country, tracing back its origin to the visit of St. Thomas one of the Apostles, who had reached there in AD 52, stayed there for subsequent spiritual stabilization, after rendering quite an impressive mission, he rested in peace at St. Thomas mount in the then Madras, now Chennai, and interned at Santhome Cathedral there.
The Church Union in North India, after a series of negotiations commencing in 1951 by the Church bodies like United Church of Northern India, the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, the Methodist Church in Southern Asia and the Council of the Baptist Churches in Northern India, later the Church of the Brethren and the Disciples of Christ also joining, was finally inaugurated on 29 November, 1970 at Nagpur.