St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Edappally

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St. George Syro-Malabar Church, Edappally
St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Edappally
Edapally Church.jpg
10°1′19″N 76°18′19″E / 10.02194°N 76.30528°E / 10.02194; 76.30528Coordinates: 10°1′19″N 76°18′19″E / 10.02194°N 76.30528°E / 10.02194; 76.30528
Location Edappally, Ernakulam
Country India
Denomination Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Churchmanship High church
Website Church web site
History
Former name(s) St. Mary's Church
Founded 594 AD
Dedication Mar Geevarghese Sahada
(Formerly Mother Mary)
Consecrated 19 April 2015
Architecture
Status Church
Functional status Active
Architect(s) Vastushilpalaya, Thiruvananthapuram
Groundbreaking 1 January 2001
Completed 19 April 2015
Administration
Diocese Ernakulam-Angamaly

St. George Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, popularly known as Edappally Mar Geevarghese Sahada Palli or Edapally Palli is situated in Edappally, Kochi, India.[1] This is one of the oldest churches in India, built in 594 AD.[2][3] It was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, called Marth Mariam in the vernacular.[4][5] In 1080, a new church was built adjacent to the old church.[2] Every year, a nine-day festival is celebrated here in the month of April - May.[3][5] The church is also popular among the non-Christians as a pilgrimage centre[3][5] and the popular offerings at the church are chicken and eggs.[2][3][6]

History[edit]

Church well

The St. George Syro-Malabar Forane Church is known to have a history of 14 centuries.[2] Edappally was then a small hamlet, a part of the princely kingdom of Elangalloor.[7] The Syrian Christian congregation at Edappally was small in number[2] and were the descendants of the people converted into Christianity by St. Thomas the Apostle who came to India in 52 AD.[8]

Since the old church was found to be too small to accommodate the overgrown congregation, a new church was built in the present location in A.D. 1080.[5][9] The main altar and the facade of this church was later renovated. The altar was renovated by incorporating the picture of Virgin Mary which was surrounded by sculptures, angels and vines.[9] The facade also was renovated thirty years back, but the facade of the present day church is a return to the original one.

On 1 January 2001, at 8 A.M., the foundation stone, blessed by Pope John Paul II,[10] was laid for the third church.[11] This new church, which was consecrated in April 2015, has a combination of European and Keralite architectural features[12][13] and is one of the largest in India with a built up area of over 88000 square feet.[11] It can hold 5000 worshipers at a time in the main chapel measuring 19500 square feet.[11] Vastushilpalaya, an architectural firm run by Koshy K. Alex and Zeril S. Jose, are the architects of the project.[11] The church courtyard holds a well and the devotees believe the water in the well has curative powers.[2]

Activities[edit]

St. George's Church, Edapally at night

Darsana Samooham[edit]

Darsana Samooham is a religious body associated with the church consisting of laymen, dedicated to Virgin Mary or any other Saint with close connection with a religious order.[14] They usually wear their religious dress, i.e. the oppa and morise. The working committee of the Darsana Samooham includes a president, treasurer, secretary, iskraman, mesakkar and chemmador and is elected by the laithorumar.[14] The Darsana Samooham at Edappally is involved in the organization of the annual feast and takes part in the festival procession.

Marian Sodality[edit]

Marian Sodality was founded by Payyappilly Joseph Kathanar, the then vicar, in 1927.[14] It is engaged in promoting spirituality among the youth of the parish.

Cherupushpa Mission League[edit]

It was started at Edappally in 1972.[14] The members of this league work to instill Christian values in the lives of the youngsters of the parish.

Thirubalasakyam[edit]

Thirubalasakyam is a children's organization associated with the church and most of the children of the parish are members of the organization.[14]

St. Joseph's Maranananthara Sahaya Fund[edit]

This is an association of parish members for assisting financially compromised members of the parish to meet the expenses in the event of deaths in their families.[14] The corpus is formed from life membership or monthly subscriptions collected from the members and the interest is used to provide financial assistance to the family of the deceased.[14]

St. George's Charitable Fund[edit]

A Charitable fund is managed by the church to provide financial assistance to the poor and is distributed irrespective of the religion of the applicant. The assistance is provided according to the requirement of the applicant after scrutiny.[14]

Mar Geevarghese[edit]

This Church was built about 300 years after the martyrdom of Mar Geevarghese. Mar Geevarghese is known to have born in Lod, Syria Palaestina between about 275 AD and 285 AD.[6] He served as a soldier, reaching the rank of Tribunus in the imperial guard of the Emperor Diocletian at Nicomedia.[6] He was a believer in Christ and lived his life true to the Scriptures.[6] During the religious persecution of Emperor Diocletian, he stood up for the faith and was put to death.[6] 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.[15]

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 veneration at this church shows the Saint mounted on his horseback with his spear piercing the 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.[15][16] St. George is considered by the devotees as a great symbol of popular faith and a dependable source of succour.[15] The church is visited by pilgrims all through the year.

Mother Teresa's visit[edit]

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.[17] 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. This Church Bell was a major tourist attraction was demolished later for the visibility of new church.

Location[edit]

St. George Syro-Malabar Forane Church is located in Edappally, about 10 km from the city of Kochi. The church is situated 500 metres from the meeting point of two national highways, NH 47 and NH 17 and is accessible by road from any part of India. The nearest airport is Nedumbassery International Airport, approximately 22 km from the church. There is a railway station at Edappally situated 3 km from the church.[18] Kochi Metro, the metro rail network of Kochi, runs in front of the church.[19]

The shrine on NH 47[edit]

The statue of St. George is placed for reverence in a small shrine in front of the church along NH 47. Everyday hundreds of vehicles from all over Kerala are brought here to be blessed. On the Feast Day of St. George (April 23), a ceremony is held in the church wherein thousands of vehicles are blessed at different times of the day.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.keralatourism.holiday/2014/11/edappally-stgeorge-church.html
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Between the old and the new church". The Hindu. 17 April 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "St. George Forane Church". Web India 123. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ http://deepika.epapr.in/c/5008080
  5. ^ a b c d "Indian cardinal does a Pope Francis at church blessing". Matters India. 20 April 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Edappally Church, Kochi, Kerala, India". Tourfilla. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Temple history". Thrikkannapuram Temple. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Syrian Orthodox Churches in India". Encyclopedia of Christianity. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Kerala Tourism". Government of Kerala. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Consecrated on Birthday". Almaya Sabdam. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Consecration of St George Forane Church Held". New Indian Express. 20 April 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  12. ^ "St George Forane Church consecration today - The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  13. ^ "An Amalgamation of Style, Piety". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "Churches In India". India mapped. 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c "St. George". Brittania. 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  16. ^ "St.George- Geevarghese Sahada traditions and rituals among Nasranis". Nasrani. 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Kochi remembers Mother". The Hindu. 19 October 2003. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Makeover for Edappally railway station likely". Times of India. 29 December 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Kochi Metro route". Railway Technology. 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 

External links[edit]