St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Kokkamangalam

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Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Kokkamangalam

St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Kokkamangalam (9°40′58″N 76°22′31″E / 9.682732°N 76.3752°E / 9.682732; 76.3752Coordinates: 9°40′58″N 76°22′31″E / 9.682732°N 76.3752°E / 9.682732; 76.3752) which holds a midway position among the seven churches founded by St. Thomas, is in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, in the South Indian state of Kerala. A portrait of St. Thomas is venerated here and was brought from the Carmelite Monastery Mannanam in 1897 by "Albhutha Mathai", pursuant to a revelation. This portrait is mounted in a decorated waft of great artistic value.

St. Thomas sailed to Kokkamangalam where he preached the gospel for about a year. 1600 people converted to Christianity through him according to the narration in "Rampan Pattu", an ancient form of Christian folk-song prevalent in Kerala. He formed a Christian community at Kokkamangalam and enshrined a Cross for the faithful. This cross was later cut off by saboteurs, and thrown into the Lake Vembanad, through which it floated up to Pallippuram, where it is enshrined.[1]

The Relic of Apostle St. Thomas enshrined here was brought from Ortona in Italy by Pope John Paul II in November 1999. Special Novena prayers are held on Friday evenings to venerate the Relic. Devotees who aspire for jobs in foreign countries seek the intercession of the Apostle here.

The cross reputedly erected by the Apostle Thomas in Kokkamangalam (the original one is at Pallippuram; the replica in stone was erected in 2002).

The seven storied Kerala lamp burning in front of the Relic denotes the integration of seven Christian Communities founded by the Apostle. Pouring coconut oil in this lamp is a sacred practice here. The archives of Kokkamangalam are also an attraction with historians, pilgrims and tourists.

The principal feast of Kokkamangalam the "Puthunjayar Thirunal" is observed on the first Sunday after Easter. Thousands of people irrespective of caste and creed participate in the feast. The celebration begins on Thursday and concludes on Sunday. The colorful procession of the feast is a special attraction.

The feast of July 3 "Dukrana" marking the martyrdom of St. Thomas is also celebrated with great devotion. Offerings of "Pachor Nercha" are distributed among the devotees.

The "Thiruseship Prathishta Thirunal" celebrated on every 13 November commemorate the enshrining of the Relic attracts people from India and abroad.

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