Michael Sargon, Indian Jew, Baptised January 21 1818
Bersntein’s Summary (p449):
Sargon, Michael, was born of Jewish parents at Cochin in 1795, and died about 1855. He was converted  in 1818, through the preaching of J. Jarrett of Madras, and became the first missionary of the L.J.S. to the Jews in India. In 1820 Sargon visited his parents at Cochin, who received him kindly, and for a time the Jews there seemed to have no objection to discussing with him his new faith. A local committee was found in Madras with Sargon as the representative missionary. Madras became the centre of the Society’s work in India. In 1822 Sargon had 116 Jewish children under his charge at Cochin, but in 1824 he was transferred to Bombay, where he opened, under the auspices of the L.J.S., a school exclusively for Jews. In Cochin Sargon baptized a Jew and two Jewesses in 1828. He and his brother Abraham continued their educational activity for nearly thirty-nine years after the Society had ceased to give a grant to the Bombay mission. (Report of L.J.S., 1821.)
From the Jewish Enclycopedia
Indian convert to Christianity; born in Cochin 1795; died about 1855. He was converted in 1818 by T. Jarrett of Madras, and became the first missionary in India of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews. In 1820 Sargon visited his parents at Cochin, who received him kindly; and for a time the Cochin Jews seemed to have no objection to discussing with him his new faith. This reception appeared to promise well for a conversionist propaganda in India; and a local committee of the London society was formed in Madras with Sargon as the representative missionary. Madras became the center of the society’s work in Asia. By 1822 Sargon had 116 Jewish children under his charge at Cochin; but in 1824 he was transferred to Bombay, where he opened under the auspices of the London society a school exclusively for Jews, obtaining forty pupils. The result of his labors in Cochin was the baptism of one Jew and of two Jewesses in 1828; and shortly afterward the activity of the London society ceased in India.
Sargon and his brother Abraham, however, continued their educational activity in Bombay, where for nearly thirty years they taught the Jewish children the tenets of Judaism without any attempt to convert them. While Sargon is regarded by the London society as one of its pioneer workers, the Beni-Israel of Bombay consider him one of the agents in the revival of religious feeling among them.
- T. Gidney, Sites and Scenes, 2d ed., 1899, pp. 226-227;
- Report of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews, 1821, p. 103;
- Samuel, A Sketch of the History of Beni-Israel, p. 21, Bombay, n.d.
The Rev. Robert Fleming, a missionary of the London Missionary Society at Madras, reported in 1820 that a Cochin Jew, Michael Sargon by name, born in 1795, had been converted to Christianity, and baptized by the Rev. V. A. Keating, Chaplain of St. Mary’s Church, Fort St. George, on January 21st, 1818.
Mr. Fleming bore witness to the genuine Christian spirit and conduct of this new convert. A Mr. Jarrett, with whom Sargon had resided, and who had instructed him in Christianity, afterward distributed amongst the Jews a quantity of Testaments which the Committee sent out for that purpose.
Michael Sargon arrived at Cochin in April: on a visit to his parents, they received him with unexpected kindness, and permitted him to discuss the difference between his religion and theirs. He gave portions of the Old and New Testaments, and tracts, Jews eagerly asking for them, some of whom came from distant countries; and had the satisfaction of seeing a spirit of enquiry and a disposition to search the Scriptures.
As a result of this visit, a Corresponding Committee formed at Madras, with the Archdeacon as President, for the establishment of a mission to the Cochin Jews, and shortly afterward Sargon was stationed there as Christian teacher to Jewish children, some of whom were soon gathered around him.
The Committee proposed to disseminate from there the Scriptures and tracts into all parts of Asia, estimating the Jewish population in Persia, India, China, and Tartar exceeded 300.000.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for your servants Michael and Abraham Sargon, and for their pioneering work amongst their people in Indai. Help us to run the race with perseverance today, looking to you, the author and perfecter of our faith, who pioneered the way for us to follow. In your name we pray – Amen.
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