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Migration Among Syro-Malabar Catholics

Migration plays a significant role in the lives of Syro-Malabar Catholics. Families commonly have at least one family member living abroad for employment purposes, particularly in the Gulf States, but also in Europe, other parts of India, and other parts of the world. A 2013 study claims that 75 percent of Syro-Malabar youth are migrants. The church claims that more than 500,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics are living abroad, and half as many are living in parts of India outside of dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Kerala is the best educated state in India, and through Catholic schools, Keralite Catholics have a strong start on English, nursing, and other skills that serve them well in the global marketplace. 

Kerala demographer K.C. Zachariah estimates that Syrian Christians there migrate at almost double the average rate for all Keralites.1 Higher migration and lower fertility rates have actually meant that Syrian Christians actually declined as a portion of the population of Kerala since peaking in 1961 at 21.2%.2

In the video, believers recreate the Kappalottam feast in Kuwait.

  • 1. K.C. Zachariah, The Syrian Christians of Kerala, (Hyderabad, India: Orient Longman Private Limited, 2006), 17.
  • 2. Zachariah, The Syrian Christian of Kerala

Practices & Values in the Syro-Malabar Church