- (c. 1766-1806)early Indian convert and supporter of ProtestantismClorinda, a well-to-do Brahmin convert to Christianity, gave the money to erect the first Protestant church building in India. She was a Maratta Brahmin and the wife of a government employee. Following the death of her husband, she was expected to throw herself on his funeral pyre, but she was brought under protection to the British military camp in Tanjore. She later moved, having begun a relationship with a British officer, to Palayamcottah, where in the 1770s she met Lutheran missionary Christian Friedrich Schwartz.Kokila, as she was then known, asked Schwartz to baptize her, but he refused until she ended her affair with the officer. Shortly thereafter, the officer became ill and died. On February 25, 1778, she was baptized, and afterward became known as Clorinda. She began to evangelize in Palayamcottah and quickly gathered a small worshipping community; some 40 people participated in the first baptismal service.Relatively wealthy, Clorinda paid for Schwartz's assistant Sathiyanandan to come as pastor of the growing church. She herself gave money to build a sanctuary, dedicated in 1785. The building, known locally as the Brahman Lady's church, remains in use today. It became the center of a large movement of people into Christianity. Clorinda founded the first school in the area, which eventually evolved into St. John's College.Clorinda died in 1806 and is buried in Palayamcottah. The work she helped start is now part of the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches of India.See also India.Further reading:■ Franklyn J. Balasundaran, "Clorinda" in A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, ed. Scott W. Sunquist (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2001)■ William H. Price, The Life and Labors of the Rev. Christian Frederick Schwartz, the Great Lutheran Missionary to India (Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1895).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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