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Coonan Cross Oath (കൂനൻ കുരിശു സത്യം)

  • After the Synod of Diamper (ഉദയംപേരൂർ സൂനഹദോസ്), the Syrian Christians came under the control of the Pope.

  • European bishops were appointed to Kerala by the Portugese King.

  • These European bishops were very arrogant. So the natives did not like them.

  • Later, issues were raised between the Syrian Christians and the Portugese, over the appointment of bishops.

  • Because of the arrogance of the Portugese, the Syrian Christians ended all connections with the Pope and they accepted the leadership 'Patriarch of Antioch' (അന്ത്യോക്ക്യയിലെ പാത്രിയാർക്ക്).

  • The Patriarch of Antioch send a bishop named 'Ahatalla' to Kerala.

  • The Portugese somehow knew about the arrival of Ahatalla. They imprisoned him during his journey to Kerala. There was also a gossip that Ahatalla was killed by the Portugese.

  • All these news provoked the Syrian Christians. Thousands of them assembled before an old cross in Mattancherry.

  • From there, they took an oath that they would not obey the European bishops and priests.

  • They took this oath by touching the cross. Since all the people could not touch the cross, a long rope was tied around the cross and the people were holding on this rope while taking the oath. Because of this, the cross was bent. The cross became known as 'Coonan cross' (bent cross) and this event is called as 'Coonan Cross oath'. This event was in 1653.

After Effects of Coonan Cross Oath

  • Syrian Christians were split into two:

    • Roman Syrians; they agree the suzerainty of the Pope (പഴയ കൂറ്റുകാർ).

    • Jacobite Syrians; they agree the suzerainty of the Patriarch of Antioch (പുത്തൻ കൂറ്റുകാർ).

  • The decline of the Portugese started in Kerala. They lost all the local support. The Dutch took over the place of the Portugese.

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