According to the Pew Research Center, total Christian population is estimated to be 2.18 billion, out of 6.9 billion world population. Although the faith is considered to be a new advent in comparison with Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Judaism, yet the religion got popularity in all corners within few centuries of its advent. The credit certainly goes to the saints, preachers and the dedicated adherents of the faith, which turned out to be supportive in spreading its noble teachings. Although the founder of Christian faith belonged to Nazareth, the present day Asian state of Israel, yet it is very popular in Europe, America, Australia, Africa and remote areas of Asia.
Growth of Christianity in India
Although there is a misconception about the advent of the Christian faith in the aftermath of the European invasions on the sub-continent and colonization era, yet the belief has been introduced in the region during the apostolic age. Historical evidence reveals the very fact that Christianity got its way to the Indian sub-continent during the first century A.D., where St. Judas Thomas, one of the most dynamic pupils of Jesus Christ, was instructed to reach the northern parts of the country in order to spread the message of Christ and Scripture to the indigenous Indian population during the era of Indo-Parthian Kingdom of Takhshashila (Ninan, 2004: 5). ii The Acts of Thomasiii demonstrates that Thomas was successful in communicating the religious belief system to the monarch and subjects as well. Consequently, the king, his family and significant number of courtiers embraced Christianity. Kerala is stated to be the first region to accept Christianity by 3rd century A.D. Missickiv (2002) notices the existence of an ancient Christian people living along the coast of Malabar in southern India whose origins extend back over one thousand years before they were discovered by European explorers. This is the same community that is claimed to be established by St. Thomas. Taken after the name of St. Thomas, this Mar-Thoma Christian community followed the Assyrian traditions of the faith, which actually consisted of the same conventions, language and teachings that had been attributed to Jesus Christ and his followers belonging to the areas situated in the present day Middle East. With the passage of time, Assyrian faith got popularity in the neighboring parts of the country, and the Indians suppressed under the nefarious clutches of caste and class Hindu system, sought relief in a religion that used to advocate equality, justice and respect of every citizen without discrimination. Consequently, the eastern and southern parts of the sub-continent also started welcoming Christianity with open arms. Ninan also observes the arrival of Apostle Barthemew by 55 A.D. near Bombay, (present day coastal cosmopolitan city of Mumbai), who taught Gospel and other religious teachings to the local people, and played very important role in convincing different strata of the then Indian population. As a result, the members from the religious Brahman, warriors and peasant communities embraced new faith quite willingly.v However, it does not mean that the apostles and saints did not undergo trials and oppositions altogether in India. On the contrary, they had to face chains of difficulties and mountains of hardships during the course of introducing a religion that appeared to be quite opposite to the prevailing idol-worshipping teachings of the indigenous Hinduism. Thus, the apostles determined to spread Christianity in India had to meet with the same fate the African saints including St. Perpetua, St. Monica, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine of Hippo and others