Copper-Plate at Devalokam, Kottayam A.D 774
Some light upon the condition of the Church of Malankara at seventh centaury may be obtained from four documents, which have been preserved to this day. They are two copper-plate grants and the inscriptions on two stone slabs. These stones can be seen in the "Cheria palle" Orthodox church at Kottayam. That church is only three hundred years old but the stones are said to have been brought from a much older church that existed near Cranganore. On each of the stones is carved a Cross and an inscription runs above and below the cross. The older stone has the legend in Pahlavi, which was the official language of the Sassanides dynasty in Persia. A similar inscription and cross is on the stone in the church on St. Thomas' Mount near Madras. The letters of this inscription on the older stone at Kottayam and on the stone at the Mount are said to be of date about the second half of the seventh century, but may, of course, be much later, because lapidary inscriptions are often written in antique characters of a former period. The letters are said to resemble the letters on a stone in China erected in the year 781 to record the arrival of some Chaldean missionaries in 636. Attempts to translate the inscription at the Mount and on the older stone at Kottayam have given widely differing results. Dr. Burnell translated as follows: "In punishment by the cross was the suffering of this one, who is the true Christ God above and Guide ever pure." The translation by Dr. E. W. West is: " "What freed the true Messiah, the forgiving, the upbraiding, from hardship? The crucifixion from the tree and the anguish of this." Dr. Haug of Munich translates it as follows: "He that believes in the Messiah and in God in the height and also in the Holy Ghost is in the grace of him who suffered the pain of the cross." The other stone in the Periapalle church at Kottayam is said to be of later date, probably about the tenth century. Above the cross is half of the Pahlavi inscription of the older stone, ""The Messiah and God in the height and the Holy Ghost." " Below the cross is a Syriac version of Galatians 6: 14, "Let me not glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." The copper plate grants are in the Catholicate Palace, Devalokam, Kottayam . The older grant is on a single copper plate, said by Dr. Burnell to be of date 774. It is a grant by King Vira Raghava Chakravarti to Iravi Korttan of Cranganore, making over to him the territory of Manigramam and giving him the rank of merchant. It is in old Tamil letters with some Grantha letters intermingled. The later document is on five sheets of copper fastened together by a ring. Of the ten pages of copper thus furnished, seven pages are written in Tamil and two pages are written in Pahlavi and Arabic with Kufic characters. Four of the signatures are Hebrew. This Kottayam five plate grant is said to be of date 824. Its purport is that with the permission of King Sthanu Ravi Gupta one Miruvan Sapir is gives certain land near Quilon to the church. From these inscriptions on stone and copper plate appears that the Christians at that time built and endowed churches and had a recognised position in the country.