The Knanaya (also known as the Southists or Tekkumbhagar) are an endogamous group in the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala, India. They are differentiated from another part of the community, known in this context as the Northists. Today there are around 50,000 Knanaya in India and elsewhere. The origins of the division of the Saint Thomas Christians into Northist and Southist groups are unclear. Various traditions trace it back to the arrival of the Syrian merchant Thomas of Cana in the 4th century. Other versions trace the origins of the Knanaya to Jews in the Middle East. The rift in the community was noted through the period of European colonization. Today the Knanaya are members of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Malankara Churches. They became increasingly prominent in Kerala in the late 19th century.
Contributions by Jmatpeters, 126.96.36.199, and Robin klein.