Knanaya Christian DNA Test

Knanaya history states that a group of 72 Early Christian families migrated from Asia Minor with their leader Knai Thoma, Bishop Urha Mar Yoseph of the Church of the East, priests, and deacons to the Malabar Coast to spread the word of Christ and reinvigorate the local St.Thomas Christian population. Another version states these Early Christians fled the Middle East (due to Christian persecution) to the Malabar Coast with Knai Thoma,Bishop Urha Mar Yoseph, priests, and deacons.

I recently viewed a Knanaya DNA test which was taken in 2007 and made public online. I am proud to say that it states Knanaya ancestry is predominantly of Middle Eastern Origin. This DNA test proves the Knanaya Traditional Origins which other St.Thomas Christians have denounced for near a century. It does also state though that their has been some genetic contribution from the local Kerala state population in the Knanaya Community. This probably resulted from exogamous marriages in the Knanaya Community.

“Results of this preliminary study indicate the Knanaya are genetically affiliated with Middle Eastern populations confirming the traditional historical narrative of migration from the Middle East. Results also indicate that the Knanaya stand out as a genetically unique population among Middle Eastern genetic groups. This might reflect historical endogamy…” (Page 5).

Knanaya Ancestory Project PDF



Dear Thomas48 , I found that you are so much attracted towards your knanaya community’s traditions and practices. Watch the folllowing videos carefully and give me an answer. See that how the following points will affect the entire catholic community in kerala.

Interesting video Amal but not very relevant.I have not been caught up on the Abhaya case but If the priests and the sister are guilty than let justice play its part. No one should try to hide the truth whatever it may be. I pray that this case ends and that the family of Sister Abhaya may get peace of mind.

You say that priests and sister, but it is beyond that. Not priests, it goes some more higher level. That is, to the level of a bishop. What do you say about that.

Whoever may be involved, whatever rank or standing they may have it does not matter because if they are truly guilty, than they are guilty. All that matters is that justice plays its part. Please message me if you have anymore questions :slight_smile: because this is off topic for this thread.

This is very interesting. I am actually a chaldean catholic (middle eastern rite) and I have heard about chaldeans, along with st thomas himself, have traveled east all the way to india to evangelize. Another interesting thing is tat we have a chaldean family named hindu (that is their last name). Coincidence? I don’t think so :wink:

I think this is interesting and fantastic, I love it when history and tradition comes together!

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I wonder if these evangelizing Chaldeans included the 72 Knanaya Families?

I mean no disrespect, but this is laughable. I’m Knanya, and I don’t think your DNA is accurate or applied with high standards. Were samples taken of many “so called Knanaya” keralites, or just yours. If you look at many Knanya, they look like more South Indian then anything. I do believe there are Knanayas that validate your assertion, but they are not the majority. There has been strong intermixing. How could there not be? Knanaya have been in Kerela since the 4th century. Most Knanaya are dark, and their ancestors were not. That’s just a fact.

Your fine my friend and you are right, there has definitely been admixture. I wrote this thread during a time when I still held on to somewhat of a bias, time has helped me to see through this. In my research I have found that Knanaya culture is the admixture of Hindu, Jewish, and Syriac tradition and that we did practice endogamy. However you cannot simply look on the surface of a culture and negate it. There are records since the 15 hundreds of Knanaya endogamy, the question we must ask is the origins of this endogamy and the stress of importance the community gave to it at periods of history. No matter, I could care less what about endogamy, what matters to me is answering the question of the origins of Knanaya traditions and customs that hold a very close affinity to the three cultures I mentioned above, though this in part could help to discover the origins of our endogamy (since it is clearly not from pure Middle Eastern/Jewish origins). Whether the community wishes to practice endogamy in the future is up to them, I would not mind if my kids chose not to (the majority of my family has married out anyhow).

I completly agree with your quote above, except for the “most Knanaya are of darker skin tone”. I don’t know how it is down is Miami but numerous times (I believe about 5 on count now) on meeting other St. Thomas Christians (there is large Malayali Christian Community in Houston) , they have labeled me Knanaya without even asking. Whenever I ask why do you think this, they reply “light skin”. The kiddos and many of my Knanaya friends have experienced the same thing. Not negating/defending the purist endogamy theory, simply stating my experience.

Endogamy aside, in studying our culture, you will notice ties to Hindu, Jewish, and Syriac tradition. Most recently I have been looking into the Jewish (Cochin Jew) symmetry which the Knanaya culture holds a heavy resemblance to. Take a look at this video:

It’s quite amazing, the video shows a Cochin Jewish wedding. If you listen closely, the first song the woman are singing is “Vazhvenna Vazvhu” which is the exact same wedding song that we sing. Towards the end of the video you see what seems to resemble a Chandam Charthal, which is the same ceremonial shave custom the Knanaya give to the groom before the wedding night. Knanayas and Cochin Jews share numerous wedding songs and wedding customs, that no other communities envelope. This topic was so observed that the late Dr. P.M Jussay (a Cochin Jew scholar) wrote an entire text on the similarities of our wedding traditions. This is a citation to his text:

Jussay, P.M. (1986) “The Wedding Songs of the Cochin Jews and of the Knanite Christians of Kerala: A Study in Comparison”. Symposium.

This sounds conspicuous. Isn’t it theology is not primordially heretical?

I’m not Knanaya but I’ve had my DNA tested. About 99% S. Asian, 0.3% MENA, 0.3% East Asian (i.e. Korea–explains my dry earwax), and 0.3% Scandinavian (assuming Dutch East India company or trade in 1600s).

Which company did u use? I read that AncestryDNA uses probabilities not hard science to determine their result. Also, Scandavanian doesn’t mean from the region, many Brits have Scandinavian dnA

Just 23andMe. It’s accurate. They have nothing about my information, just a DNA sample and they use SNP analysis. All my close relatives are malayalees. In fact I met a relative and we worked backwards to find our relation. She’s a college student in Penn but we are actuall 2nd cousins thru mom.

As for that, it’s technically “Northern European,” but you can see your relatives. A small portion of chromosomes 2 and 10 I share with mostly Swedes, so that’s why my assumption is Scandinavia though “Northern European” can be as south as France according to their logarithm.

When it comes to proving your origin on the father’s side, Y-DNA tests are the one to go.

There is a DNA Project set up for Syriac-Christians of Kerala (India). So far about 144 members have tested. Some of the members are known to be from Knanaya community.

The Paternal DNA of the “Thekkumbaghom” members are showing L haplogoup - which is South Indian. One of the “Thekkumbaghom” member with family name Makil ( Raju Makil Kit# N13642) also belong to the L Haplogroup. You can read more about the L-M20 haplogroup online (

The DNA results of the members who participated from the various Syriac-Christian denominations can be seen at .

The J2 (mostly semitic/Jewish haplogroup ) is absent in the so called “Knanaya” sect. But many Northists have J2 haplogroup. On the wake of this finding, can the Archeparchy of Kottayam try to come up with the truth of the actual origins of Thekkumbhagam. So far it looks like Kna are south Indian which means the “Kna” have no relation to Thomas of Cana.

Meanwhile another DNA project done exclusively on the Kna community on Family tree DNA is raising suspicions since the Admin of the Project ( a Kna by the name Sundeep Thamarapally) is hiding the results. He himself has been tested and found out to be L haplogroup again. The project set up by him can be found at

I would suggest more members of the “Kna” community test their Y-DNA through Family Tree DNA website. So far Kna members have been found to be L haplogroup (Y-DNA ) and M (Mt-DNA) - both south Indian. We need more results before we could make a conclusion.

Dude, thanks for that link! I’m not Knanaya here. I am L1c-m357 paternally. It’s interesting because the concentration of this haplotype is in Pakistan/Afghanistan and also a smaller amount in Kerala…but uncommon in between. The hypothesis of Keralite settlers sailing down the West Indian coast and establishing residence in Kerala fits nicely.

L1a and L1c-M357 are found at 24% among Balochis, L1a and L1c are found at 8% among the Dravidian-speaking Brahui, L1c is found at 25% among Kalash, L1c is found at 15% among Buruscho, L1a-M76 and L1b-M317 are found at 2% among the Makranis, and L1c is found at 3.6% of Sindhis according to Julie di Cristofaro et al. 2013.[5] L3a is found at 23% among the Nuristanis in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.[6]