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Mar Sapir and Mar Prot, according to Syrian Malabar Christian tradition, were two Syrian missionaries who, with a migrant group, landed in the port of Kollam (in present-day Kerala) in 823 AD. The mission is said to have received permission from the then king of Kerala to build a church in Kollam.
That the historicity of this mission cannot be verified does not dispute epigraphical evidence that Christians have been on the Malabar Coast in 9th century AD. Kollam Syrian copper plates, an 9th century a royal grant from Kerala, mentions that certain Mar Sapir built a church at Kollam with the blessing of the then king of Kerala. It is likely that Mar Sapir had a companion named Mar Prot. A stone cross, one of the five Persian Crosses, with Sassanid Pahlavi inscription recovered also mentions certain "Afras the Syrian" as "the son of Chaharabukht".
The two bishops are said to have died in Kerala and have been considered as saints by the Saint Thomas Christians.
Mar is a Syriac term meaning 'Saint'
When they arrived on the Malabar Coast, the Portuguese noted at least 78 extant church communities closely interwoven with the local community in different parts of Kerala. Quilon, Angamaly, Kaduthuruthy and Cranganore (now known as Kodungallur) had the largest population of Saint Thomas Christians in Kerala. Giovanni Empoli, who came to Quilon in 1503, estimated that there were more than three thousand St. Thomas Christians in Quilon alone.
After 1561, Thomas Christians were branded heretics by the Goa Inquisition. The infamous Synod of Diamper (1599) anathematized all Christians of India who did not submit to Rome. The synod even branded Mar Sapir and Mar Prot as "Nestorian heretics" at the instance of the Portuguese.