St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor
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|St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church|
|St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, Malayattoor|
|Location||Malayattoor, Ernakulam, Kerala|
The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Malayattoor (or Malayatoor Church) is one of the most prominent Christian pilgrim centers in the Malayattoor, Ernakulam district of Kerala, India. The Malayatoor Church attracts a large number of devotees from not just Kerala, but from all over India. St. Thomas the Apostle was the one who took initiative to begin Christian community in Kerala. He also set up the church here which has been designated by the Vatican as one among the eight International shrines in the world. It is believed that St. Thomas held prayer at this church when he landed in Kerala. The hilltop church is located 15 km away from the town of Kalady. Malayatoor and Kodanad villages are located on the opposite banks of the Periyar river with unspoiled and rustic views of the surroundings.
St. Thomas is believed to have landed in KERALA at Kodungallur (Cranganore) in AD 52. Oral tradition says that while travelling through Malayattor, faced with hostile natives, he fled to the hilltop where he is said to have remained in prayer and that he left his foot prints on one of the rocks. According to beliefs, during prayer, he touched a rock, upon which blood poured from it.
The chief festival is on the first Sunday after Easter. It is traditionally believed that St. Thomas used to make the Sign of the Cross on the rock, kiss it and pray at Kurisumudi. The story has it that a miraculous golden cross appeared at that particular spot. Pilgrims going up the hill to call out incessantly "Ponnum Kurishu Muthappo, Ponmala Kayattom", meaning "O Patriarch of the Golden Cross! Climb we shall, this golden hill!"
This Shrine was promoted to Archdiocesan status by Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil on 4 September 1998. There is also a very ancient Church in the name of St Thomas (Estd. 900) at Malayattoor on the bank of Periyar River which serves as the parish Church at present. The annual festival of this church is known as 'Malayatoor Perunal' and it is celebrated in the months of March–April.
Kurishumudi (Hill of the holy cross) is a mountain at Malayattoor, has its fame as a place visited by St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave a mandate to his Apostles to go out to the whole world and to proclaim the Good News. Thomas set out to India and landed at Kodungalloor in AD 52. A hostile reception was given and his life was in danger. He was forced to flee to the top of the mountain and had spent days in the abode of God. In deep anguish and agony, St. Thomas prayed to the Lord and he made a sign of the cross on the rock. The Mother of Our Lord, Blessed Mary, appeared to console and strengthens him. He descended from the top hill and continued his journey to Mylapoore in Tamil Nadu. Later on the hunters went to the mountain for hunting. While they stayed in the night they saw a glittering sign of cross on the rock. Out of curiosity they struck there with their rude weapons. To their surprise blood gushed out. They ran to the valley and told the locals. They went to the mountain and while they prayed there they got many miracles. This is the humble beginning of Pilgrimage to Kurishumudi
Kurishumudi is where one can find the Golden Cross believed to have formed when St. Thomas knelt on a rock and signed a cross with his finger. He remained there praying for a long time, and ultimately a golden cross appeared on the spot.
Footprints of St Thomas
One of the most curious sights at the mountain was the permanent footprint and the marks of knees of St. Thomas imprinted on the rock.currently the natural footprint is not there but a manmade footprint is there by church
The ancient chapel struck by the elephants
An ancient chapel at Kurishumudi, it was attacked by tuskers in the past when it used to be surrounded by thick jungle. Deep tusk marks can still be found on the back wall of the chapel.
The miraculous water spring
A well, situated near the ancient chapel at the top of the mount is believed to be the spot from where St. Thomas quenched his thirst during his time of prayer. Feeling thirsty, he struck the rock from which fresh water started flowing. Pilgrims consider the water in the well to possess divine power to heal ailments.
With its recent recognition by Vatican as an international pilgrim centre, this famous shrine at Malayattoor dedicated to St. Thomas would be extending its healing touch and spiritual bliss to more visitors and for those who come to enjoy its serenity.
St. Thomas founded churches in different places in Kerala including Kollam, Kodungalloor, Nilakkal, Niranam, etc. One can easily seek spiritual happiness and satisfaction amidst the calm and serene locales surrounding Malayatoor. In fact, this center is the most popular and largest St. Thomas shrine in India. It is a popular tourist center and many people throng this place to have a look at this magnificent church. It is a must visit while traveling to Cochin.
Every year on the first Sunday after Easter, thousands of pilgrims throng to this shrine to seek holy blessings. The church has been decorated with beautiful carvings, designs and paintings that depict the life of Jesus Christ. There are facilities for confession and adoration also in this church. The church also has an ancient pond that was used for baptism purposes and a traditional pulpit that is considered to be of much historical significance.
How to reach Malayattoor Church
- By air
The Cochin International Airport is at a distance of 15 kilometers from here.
- By rail
The Angamaly railway station is at a distance of 17 kilometers from Malayattoor, but since most train do not stop at Angamaly you can get down at the next railway station Aluva (Alwaye)as every train halts here.
- By road
Malayattoor Church is easily reachable from anywhere in Kerala and Cochin as the place is well connected by a wide network of roads. To get to Malayatoor driving down on the NH47, one will have to take a diversion towards Kalady from Angamaly and drive all the way up to Kalady town which will take about 10 minutes. Then take a left towards Malayatoor. Folks driving down from Ernakulam / Cochin can drive up to Angamaly and take the same route or take the left towards Kalady after Cochin International Airport on the NH47. The latter route is shorter but the time taken will be a little more due to the small roads one will have to drive in.
There is a new bridge from Kodanad to Malayatoor which makes it easy for people coming from the eastern side like Kothamangalam, Munnar etc. They can take the turn at Kuruppampady towards Kodanad and reach Malayatoor in 20 minutes by car. People coming from Perumbavoor can take the Vallom - Kodanad road to access the same bridge to reach Malayatoor in less than 20 minutes.
- "International and National Shrines". gcatholic.org. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "The Hindu : Kerala / Kochi News : Malayattoor church festival held". hindu.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Malayattoor.|
- "Welcome to St. Thomas International Shrine". malayattoorkurisumudy.in. Retrieved 2014-06-06.