St. George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Edappally
|St. George's Syro-Malabar Church, Edappally|
|St. George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Edappally|
|Denomination||Syro-Malabar Catholic Church|
St. George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, popularly known as Edappally Church, is situated in Edappally, which is about 10 km from Cochin. This is one of the oldest churches in Kerala built in 594 AD. In 1080, a new church was built adjacent to the old church. Every year, a grand nine-day festival is celebrated here in the month of April - May. The church is also quite popular amongst the non-Christians, who also come here for veneration.
The St.George's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church has a history of 14 centuries. In those days the Arabian Sea reached all the way up to the shore of Edappally. Edappally was then a small hamlet, a part of the princely kingdom of Elangalloor. The people of Edappally lived a simple life, the comforts of life being non-existent at that time. The Christian congregation at Edappally was rather small and they were all descendants of the people converted into Christianity by St. Thomas the Apostle (alias Dideemos) who came to India to preach the Gospel.
Since the old church was found to be too small to accommodate the overgrown congregation in A.D. 1080 a new church was built in the present location. The main altar and the facade of this church was later renovated. The altar renovated by incorporating the picture of Virgin Mary which was surrounded by sculptures, angels and vines. The paintings depicting the heaven on the wall behind the altar fills one's heart with joy and piety
The facade also was renovated thirty years back to the existing one in the name of modernisation, but today acknowledging the fact that 'Old is Gold' we are changing the existing facade to the original one.
On the first day of the Third Millennium at 8 A.M. the foundation stone, blessed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, was laid for the New Church.
Darsana Samooham is always a religious body consisting of laymen, dedicated to Virgin Mary or any other Saint with close connection with a religious order. They usually wear their religious dress, i.e. the oppa and morise. The working committee of the Darsana Samooham will have a president, treasurer, secretary, iskraman, mesakkar and chemmador. This working committee is elected by the laithorumar. The Darsana Samooham at Edappally is an active organization and plays a key role in making the Feast and the procession a great success.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Payyappilly, the then Vicar, started the Marian Sodality at Edappally in 1927. It is actively engaged in enlivening the spiritual life of the youth of the parish.
Cherupushpa Mission League
It was started at Edappally in 1972. The members of this league, who work most enthusiastically instilling Christian values in the lives of the youngsters of the parish, are an asset to the parish.
It is an organization set up to mould the religious life of the growing children and instil wisdom and Christian values in them so that they grow up as useful for the family, the Church, the society and God. Almost all the children of the parish are members of this association.
St. Joseph's Maranananthara Sahaya Fund
This is an association of parishioners formed to render aid to each other in case of death in the family of the members. Each member contributes a certain amount per month (there is also life membership with a lump sum payment) towards a common fund. From the accrued fund and its interest, an amount is made available to the deceased's family to meet the funeral expenses.
St. George's Charitable Fund
Everyday hundreds of people from all over Kerala, of different castes, creeds and religions, come here seeking financial support for their needs. Each one is given the necessary help after studying his/her need. It is a great relief to all in need.
This Church was built about 300 years after the martyrdom of St. George. It was originally built in the name of Virgin Mary. St.George was likely born in Lod, Syria Palaestina between about 275 AD and 285 AD. He served as a soldier, reaching the rank of Tribunus in the imperial guard of the Emperor Diocletian at Nicomedia. He was an ardent and firm believer in Christ and lived his life true to the Scriptures. During the religious persecution of Emperor Diocletian, he stood up for the faith and was put to death. From that time, the soldier became St.George and thousands of churches sprang up all over Europe and parts of the East in the name of St.George. He was officially recognized as the Patron Saint of England.
In due course, the Edappally Church also came to be known as the St. George's Church. The statue of St.George placed prominently for vineration at this church shows the Saint mounted on his horseback with his spear piercing the ugly head of the monstrous serpent lying under the hooves of his horse. It is believed to be symbolic of the faith and courage of the Saint who overpowered the devil. There is also Italian legend that the Saint was rescuing a noble damsel who was offered to the monster as his daily quota of food. St. George is a great symbol of popular faith and a dependable source of succour. The miracles worked by the saint and his infinite kindness captivate the minds of thousands thronging this church. The continuous and steady flow of pilgrims to St. George's Church, Edappally, clearly indicates this truth.
Mother Teresa's visit
The 14th Centenary Celebrations of the founding of the Church was celebrated with great zeal and solemnity by the parish on 18 January 1994. Apart from the holy Masses and other special prayers, there was a public meeting attended by a huge crowd. Mother Teresa came from Calcutta as the Chief Guest. As a monument of the centenary celebrations and the visit of Mother Theresa, a Bell Tower was constructed on the church premises and a mammoth bell was installed therein. This Church Bell is a major tourist attraction too.
St. George Syro-Malabar Forane Church is located in Edappally, about 10 km from the city of Kochi. It is accessible by road from any part of India. Two national highways NH 47 and NH 17 join the bypass junction at Edappally which begins and continues up to Panvel, Maharashtra, in India. The nearest airport is Nedumbassery International Airport, hardly 22 km from Edappally. Edapally is also connected by rail, and there is a railway station at Edappally. Edappally is a fast growing suburb of Cochin City in Kerala state, southern India.
The shrine on NH 47
The statue of St. George is placed for worship in a small shrine in front of the church by the side of N.H. 47. Everyday hundreds of vehicles from all over Kerala, both new and used, are brought here to be blessed. On the Feast Day of St. George (April 23), there is a beautiful ceremony in the church wherein thousands of vehicles are blessed at different times of the day.