The Church History Association of India (CHAI) is an ecumenical body of those interested in the history of Christianity in India. Founded by Protestant Church historians in 1935, the CHAI had a flickering existence until late 1960’s, with its base at Serampore College, Kolkata. The entry of Catholic Church historians into CHAI was facilitated in the post-Vatican II period, which saw the beginning of a new ecumenical movement. Eventually CHAI became truly an ecumenical body of Church Historians representing many linguistic, regional and denominational groups. The Church History Association of India celebrated its Platinum Jubilee at the Fifteenth Triennial Conference held at Hyderabad.

A History of the CHAI:

(History of Christianity in India multi-volume project, in the first General Editors’ own words)

Dr. D. V. Singh, General Editor, Bishop’s College, Calcutta wrote in February 1983:

The six volume history of Christianity in India was first launched at the Triennial meeting of the Church History Association of India held at Dharmaram College, Bangalore in 1973…

The first meeting of the Editorial Board was held at the Andhra Christian Theological College at Secundarabad, in February, 1974. The deliberations of this meeting were formulated in the form of a ‘Scheme’ which envisaged that this history be written in six volumes with a single perspective… It was decided that the first three volumes would be written by single authors; and the last three volumes, which deal with the 19th and 20th centuries, will each have an editor, with histories of different regions being written by authors knowledgeable in the region…

This “Scheme” prepared in 1974 envisaged that the work would be completed within five years! This proved too optimistic…Volume II of the series was published in 1982. Volume I is now placed in your hands in 1983. It is expected that volume III will be published in 1984

Dr. A. M. Mundadan, the second General Editor, adds, from Dharmaram College, Bangalore, Christmas, 1997:

The story of writing that history was equally a chequered one. Volume II was published in 1982, and Volume I in 1984 (both reprinted 1989). Vol. IV, Part 2 in 1990; Vol.V, Part 5 in 1992. And Volume III in 1997.”

Dr. George Oommen, the General Secretary of CHAI, writes from New Theological College, Dehradun in October 2012:

“After a gap of 15 years, Part 2 of Vol.V, which is the next book in the series is now completed. But Fr. Dr. A. Mathias Mundadan, who faithfully pursued this project with diligence and patience, is not in our midst to see this day. He has left for his eternal rest on Aug 31, 2012, after handing over the mantle of leadership to Fr. Dr. Leonard Fernando, the present General Editor of the Project. This is truly the end of an era and beginning of another in the history of the association.”

History of Christianity in India, Vol. III: Eighteenth Century (review by Pullapilly, Cyriac K)

The Catholic Historical Review — Volume 88, Number 4, October 2002, pp. 818 – 821

The Catholic University of America Press

History of Christianity in India, Vol. III: The Eighteenth Century. By E. R. Hambye, S.J. (Bangalore: The Church History Association of India. 1997. Pp. xxiv, 562. $40.00.) This book is Volume III of a six-volume series on the History of Christianity in India prepared under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board and published from Bangalore by the interdenominational Church History Association of India. Together, the six volumes cover the history of Christianity in India from its inception as a result of Apostle Thomas’ evangelization in the first century to the present time. This volume, as the title indicates, covers the eighteenth century. The author, a Jesuit priest and Belgian by birth, spent over half a century in various parts of India as a professor in different Catholic institutions of higher learning. During that lengthy period, he gained familiarity with the languages and cultures of many regions of India and became a prime mover of studies in the history of the Church in India. Several books…

History of Christianity in India: Tamilnadu in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, vol. 4, pt. 2.

(International Bulletin of Missionary Research, John C. B. Webster, 1 April, 1993)

This is the third book in the Church History Association of India’s (CHAI) multivolume history of Christianity in India and the first one dealing with the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. CHAI’s guidelines call for a history that is ecumenical in scope and treats Christianity as part of the sociocultural history of the Indian people. These pose a serious challenge, especially since the southern state of Tamilnadu has a large and diverse Christian population with a long history. Dr. Hugald Grafe, a missionary in India 1961 – 75 and currently a secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran …