Knanaya Community is formed 1700 years back in Kerala with the arrival of Thomas of Cana in AD 345 with a group of people from Mesopotamia. Mar Knai Thomman (Thomas of Cana) was a merchant who had business with Kerala at that time. With his leadership, 72 families with around 400 people migrated to Kerala to strengthen local Christian community. The group included Bishop Urhah Mar Yousef and some priests. 72 families were from the 7 tribes of Israel (Bagi, Belkuth, Hadi, Kujalig, Koja, Mugmuth, Thegmuth)
They came to Kodungallur in Thrissur district. Cheraman Perumal was the King at that time and he welcomed the new immigrants with 72 privileges engraved in a copper plate which is called Knai Thomman Chepped.
With modern transportation and need for skilled workers in many parts of the world, Knanaya people migrated to many countries now. Since community is spread across many countries, it created many challenges to keep the community together. KnanayCommunity.org is an attempt to connect community through technology and make its survival possible as long as there is “Sun and Moon” as famously quoted by our Bishop Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry.
Recently, my maternal family name was built within an ancestry tree through KnanayaCommunity.org. It is truly something I think will benefit generations, especially if everyone in our community participates. There will be a time when we cannot ask our parents or our grandparents what the family name is of someone that we just met. It is very nice that there is a system being built right now in place for that time. The beauty of the community is the foundation of the Knanaya people. You would not believe the mountains of money and time people spend to look up their ancestry roots! For anyone in our community to connect with people, it has always been a very simple task. We take that for granted but stop and think of your grandchildren or great grandchildren. They will benefit from this for sure. It may take ten minutes of your time to build your profile but once everyone does this, it will be a connection to the world that will benefit the future generations of this community. I encourage all families to do it so that one day, I can go through it with my grandchildren so they can continue to experience the benefit of knowing everyone with one simple website. Our community is something to be proud of and so why not?
Jincy Philip Njaravelil, PharmD