• A mural next to St. Mary's Forane church, Kanjoor, depicts the attempted martyrdom of St. Sebastian.
  • People begin to gather at a shrine for a novena service for St. Sebastian in the lead up to his feast at St. Mary's Forane Church, Kanjoor, Kerala.
  • A Eucharistic adoration chapel across from St. Mary's Cathedral and Basilica, seat of the Syro-Malabar diocese in Kochi, Kerala. Chapels like these have sprung up all over India in the last 20 years.
  • A statue of St. Sebastian at St. Mary's Forane in Kanjoor, Kerala.
  • St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor, Kerala.

Though a minority religion, Catholicism has ancient and deep roots in the southern Indian state of Kerala, home to more than 33 million people.  Kerala is the heartland for two Syrian-rite Catholic Churches, the Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara Churches, and is home to a large Latin-rite Catholic population. In 2011, according to the Kerala census, Christians constituted 18% of the population, a much higher ratio than is true for India as a whole.1

Explore other Indian states and churches.

  • 1K. C. Zachariah, "The Syrian Christians of Kerala: Demographic and Socioeconomic Transition in the Twentieth Century," (working paper, Center for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, November 2001), 14