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The Goa-Ceylon religious connection: a review of the ‘The Indian Cry’ of Alvares Mar Julius, Archbishop of Ceylon, Goa and India

Author:

Pratima P. Kamat

Goa University, IN
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Abstract

Goa, a former Portuguese colony and, at present, a state of the Republic of India, located on the west coast of the subcontinent, has an interesting history of commercial and cultural contacts with Ceylon that were nurtured through the maritime route, especially during the colonial period.

Portuguese Goa enjoyed thriving trade relations with the Ilha de Ceilão. It also participated in the Christianisation of this island both under the Portuguese and later, in the seventeenth century, when the Goan priest, Fr. Joseph Vaz, and other Oratorians, made a bid to revive Roman Catholicism there. In 1885, Msgr. Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado was deputed to Ceylon as its Vicar-General. He served there for two years and with the surrender of their mission of Ceylon by the Portuguese, he returned to Goa in 1887. And in the very same year, 1887, another Goan priest, Padre Alvares, journeyed to Ceylon to contribute to its religious history: initially, to rally the Goan clergy posted there in their fight against the Concordat of 1886, and later to perform his episcopal duties as the Archbishop of Ceylon, Goa and India.

Alvares Mar Julius, also known as Padre Alvares, was an editor, writer, founder of educational and social institutions, patriot and, above all, a dedicated social worker. In the pursuit of the spiritual and socio-political uplift of his people, Padre Alvares was branded seditious by the colonial Government of Goa, ex-communicated by the Roman Catholic Church, and elevated to episcopal stature by the Syrian Orthodox Church in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

The present article focuses on the socio-political contributions of Alvares Mar Julius both before he joined the Syrian Orthodox Church and after. It examines the ideology of economic nationalism espoused by Padre Alvares, the “swadeshi” (nationalist) ideology, and attempts to situate this revolutionary priest in the context of local resistance to colonial hegemony in nineteenth century Goa. Further, it reviews the contributions of Alvares Mar Julius to the Syrian Orthodox Church which have been many-fold, with a special focus on his activities in Ceylon in the context of The Padroado Defence Association, the Independent Catholic Mission, and as his mission-field.

“I have fought the Good Fight
I have finished the race
I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/suslj.v12i1.7024

Sabaragamuwa University Journal 2013; V. 12 No. 1 pp 61-82

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/suslj.v12i1.7024
How to Cite: Kamat, P.P., (2014). The Goa-Ceylon religious connection: a review of the ‘The Indian Cry’ of Alvares Mar Julius, Archbishop of Ceylon, Goa and India. Sabaragamuwa University Journal. 12(1), pp.61–82. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/suslj.v12i1.7024
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Published on 12 Jun 2014.
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