Syrian churches of Kerala

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A Saint Thomas Christian cross at Kottayam Knanaya Valiya Pally

This article lists the various old and ancient churches that exist among the Saint Thomas Christians in Kerala.[1][2][3][4]

Thrissur district[edit]

Palayoor Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
Kodungallur Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
Arthat Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Puthenchira Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Thazhekad Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Thazhekkad St Sebastian's Syro-Malabar Church – The Thazhekkad Syrian Church was established in the 10th century. It has hosted the notable Thazhekkad Sasanam where many privileges and grants where given to the Syrian Christians. The Syrian Christian community was primarily under the jurisdiction of Ambazhakad and later under the parish of Marth Mariam church, Velayanad.
  • Arimbur St Anthony's Syro-Malabar Church – The Arimpur Syrian Church was established in the 9th century by the Syrian Christians who migrated from Enamavu who formerly attended the Enammavu Syrian Church.
Pazhuvil Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Pazhuvil St Anthony's Syro-Malabar Church – It was founded in 883. This church is one of the famous pilgrimage centers in Kerala. It is renowned for the feast of St. Joseph on 19 March. The origin of Thattil family in Thrissur is linked with one of the army Chief of The King of Kochi. He was killed in a battle with Zamorin of Kozhikode at Enammavu in Thrissur. As a mark of respect and memory of this great warrior, King promised to construct a church, where his body is buried. The Syrian Christians of Pazhuvil attended the Ennamavu Syrian Church before the establishment of the Pazhuvil Syrian Church in 883 AD.
Mapranam Mar Sleeva Suriyanipally
Koratty Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Koratty St Mary's Syro-Malabar Church – The Thampuratty of the Koratty Kartha constructed a church near the burial place of her chief commander, for the spiritual needs of the Syrian Christians living in that region. Construction work began on 15 August 1381 and was completed with the consecration on 8 September 1382. This church came to be known as the Marian Pilgrim Centre of Koratty Muthy. Ambazhakad Church was the parish for the Syrian Christians of Koratty before the establishment of Koratty church.[10]
Thrissur Kaldaya Syrian Church

Ernakulam district[edit]

Kottakkavu Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
Malayattoor Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
Kothamangalam Marth Mariam Valiyapally
Kandanad Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Kandanad St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral – Kandanad Valiyapally is a prominent church in the Kandanad village of Ernakulam District of Kerala. This church is believed to have been built around the 4th century, belongs to Kandanad West Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The migrants from North Paravur had built the Kandanad Syrian Church.
Angamaly Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Angamaly St Mary's Jacobite Syrian Church – The Angamaly St Mary's Soonoro Jacobite Syriac Church was established in 409 AD by th Syrian Christians who migrated to Angamaly from Kodungallur. Later in the following centuries several waves of Syrian Christian migration happened into Angamaly.
  • Angamaly St George's Syro-Malabar Basilica – Established in 430 by the Syrian Christian migrants from Kodungallur and North Paravur to Angamaly. Eventually the majority of Syrian Christians of Kodungallur had migrated to Angamaly in several waves of migrations due to wars between rivals and the great flood of 1381 AD.
Angamaly Mar Hormidz Suriyanipally
Udayamperoor Mar Sabor Mar Aphroth Kadeesha Suriyanipally
Edappally Mar Geevarghese Sahadha Suriyanipally
Piravom Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Piravom St Mary's Orthodox Cathedral – The Piravom Syrian Cathedral was consecrated in the 6th century and is dedicated to the Holy Magi, St. Mary, St. Peter, St. Paul and St. George. One among the three Biblical Magi was from India and was a member of the Chalissery Karthakal, a feudal Nair family from Piravom, Kerala, India. After returning to India, the scholar made a temple with the idol of Mary and infant Jesus and named the idol as "Bala Karthyayani" and kept it besides other Hindu deities. Later in the 5th century when the Saint Thomas Syrian Christian community was firmly established the temple was reconstructed as the Piravom Syrian Church. Later many Syrian Christian migrations happened in the following centuries from North Paravur and Pallippuram to Piravom.
  • Moozhikkulam St Mary's Syro-Malabar Forane Church – Established in 601 AD by the Syrian Christians who migrated from Kodungallur and by those who separated from the Angamaly Old Syrian Church.
Kolenchery Mar Pathrose Paulose Sleeha Suriyanipally
Karingachira Mar Geevarghese Sahadha Suriyanipally
Akaparambu Mar Sabor Mar Aphroth Kadeesha Suriyanipally
Kadamattom Mar Geevarghese Sahadha Suriyanipally
  • Kadamattom St George's Orthodox Syrian Church–The church is believed to have been established in the 9th century by Mar Sabor. A 9th-century stone Persian cross with four equal-size arms sits on the right wall of the Madbaha or altar room. The arms are tipped with floral designs and is claimed to have been made by Mar Sabor. Around the cross is engraved a Pahlavi inscription. The Syrian Christians of Kadamattom attended the Piravom and Kolenchery churches for worship before the establishment of the Kadamattom Syrian Church.
Pallikkara Morakkala Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Morakkala St Mary's Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Pallikkara – The Morakkala St Mary's Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Pallikara was established in 905 AD by the Syrian Christians of Morakkala and Pallikkara who were parishioners of the Edappally Syrian Church.
Arakuzha Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Kanjur Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Nadamel Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Mulanthuruthy Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Mulanthuruthy St Thomas Orthodox Syrian Cathedral – The church was established in 1225 (11th century) and modified in 16th century (in 1550) by the Knanaya Tharakan (minister) Kunchacko of the Kunnassery family. Due to an altercation between the Syrian Christians and the Kingdom of Vadakkumkur Kunchacko had gathered the Knanaya of St. Mary's Knanaya Valiyapally, Kaduthuruthy as well as all Syrian Christians he could find within Vadakkumkur and moved them to Mulanthuruthy. Upon arrival Kunchacko had sanctioned the building of the Mulanthuruthy Church. Later the Knanaya were called back to their home church of Kaduthuruthy by the descendants of the King of Vadakkumkur, leaving Mulanthuruthy Church in the care of the Syrian Christians who remained there.[13][14]
  • Karakunnam Morth Mariam Jacobite Syrian Cathedral – The Karakunnam Syrian Church was established in the 13th century by the Syrian Christians who separated from the Kadammattom Syrian Church.
Alangad Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Kuruppampady Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Manjapra Mar Sleeva Suriyanipally
Vallam Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Kothamangalam Mar Thoma Sleeha Cheriyapally


Vadakkan Paravoor Mar Thoma Sleeha Yakobaya Suriyanipally

Idukki district (Thodupuzha region)[edit]

Kottayam district[edit]

Kuravilangad Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Kuravilangad Marth Mariam Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church – One of the oldest churches of Kerala is the St. Mary's Church Kuravilangad,[17][18] which is supposed to have been established in 105 AD by the Syrian Christians who migrated from Kodungallur, North Paravur and Palayoor
  • Aruvithura St George's Syro-Malabar Church – It is believed that St. Thomas visited Irapeli in Arivithura and converted many prominent Jewish families into Christianity among them is the Thengummootil family, and laid a cross on the banks of the Meenachil River which in the year 151 was built as a church. Many Syrian Christians migrated from Kuravilangad to Aruvithura owing to the trading potential. In the 14th century when Nilackal (Chayal) was looted by the Pandya Kingdom of Madurai, the church of Nilackal (Chayal), established by Thomas the Apostle was destroyed and many Syrian Christian families migrated to Arivithura in Erattupetta, these immigrants joined the Aruvithura Syrian Church.
Kaduthuruthy Knanaya Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Muttuchira Ruhada Kudisha Suriyanipally
  • Muttuchira Ruhada Kudisha Syro-Malabar Church – The consecration day of Muttuchira church was on the arrival of Pentecost on 25 May 550. The Muttuchira church is one of the most ancient churches in India. It is believed to have been built in the sixth century. The Christians were brought to this territory by the dependants of the then landlord Myal Pazhur Naboothiripadu and Mamalassery Kaimal. These local rulers helped the Christian congregation to build a new church in that area. The prominent Kallarveli family helped to build the church. The Syrian Christian ps of Muttuchira attended the Kuravilangad church before the establishment of Muttuchira church.
  • Kothanalloor St. Gervasis and St. Prothasis Syro-Malabar Forane Church – The church is believed to have been built in 826 AD by Persian Nestorians Mar Sabor and Mar Aphroth and is well known for its twin patron saints, St. Gervasis and St. Prothasis.
Athirampuzha Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Manarcaud Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Bharananganam Anakkal Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Kudamaloor Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Kudavechoor Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Ramapuram Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Ramapuram St Mary's and St Augustine's Syro Malabar Twin Churches – The centuries-old twin churches of Ramapuram are two of the oldest churches in Kerala. The complex consists of a smaller church dedicated to St. Augustine and a larger one dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The church dedicated to St. Augustine dates to 1450, which was buily by the King of Vadakkumkoor and the Karokkal Kaimal family (a feudal Nair family), while the one dedicated to the Blessed Virgin was erected in 1864. The Syrian Christians of Ramapuram had migrated from Aruvithura and Kuravilangad into Ramapuram in the early 12th century.
  • Poonjar St Mary's Syro Malabar Forane Church – The Syrian Christians who migrated from Nilackal, Kanjirapally and the Syrian Christians who separated from the Aruvithura Syrian Church together built the Poonjar Church in 1542 AD. Many Syrian Christian migrations happened to and from Poonjar as it was an ancient trading point in the hilly regions along with Kanjirappally, Nilakkal and Ranni. The spices and the trading goods were transported to inland trade centres like Athirampuzha, Thazhathangady, Kottayam etc. through rivers like Meenachilar, Manimalayar and Pamba to the trading ports such as Purakkad Chennamkary and Kudavechoor. Many Syrian Christians of Kottayam trace their origins to Poonjar.
  • Thazhathangady Orthodox Syrian Church – A worshiping community of Syrian Christian adherents existed in Thazhathangady dating back to the 12th century. Thazhathangady was the headquarters of the Thekkumkoor (Thekkumkur) Rajas who ruled over a principality which includes the larger parts of the present Kottayam and Idukki districts. The Thazhathangady Church was established in the 16th century by Syrian Christian migrants from Poonjar, Athirampuzha, Pallam, Chengannur and Kanjirappally.
Kottayam Martha Mariam Valiyapally
Kottayam Martha Mariam Cheriyapally

Alappuzha district[edit]

Kokkamangalam Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally Church
Champakulam Kalloorkadu Marth Mariam Suriyanipally
Chengannur Pazhaya Suriyanipally
Karthikapally Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
  • Karthikapally St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Church – The Karthikappally Kottakkakathu Old Syrian Church was established in 829 AD by the Syrian Christians who separated from the Chengannur Syrian Church. In the 11th century when the Old Haripad Church was demolished by the Karthikapally Naduvazhi, half of the parishioners established the Cheppad Syrian Church and the other half joined the Karthikapally Syrian Church.
  • Mavelikkara St Mary's Syrian Orthodox Church, Puthiyakavu – The Syrian Christians of Mavelikkara used to worship at the Kayamkulam Kadeesha Syrian Church but as it was far away the Nasranis with the help of the Mavelikkara Madamkoor King built the Kandiyoor Church at Mavelikkara at AD 943. But, the Kayamkulam King burned the Kandiyoor Church as a revenge to the Mavelikkara Madamkoor King. Thus the Mavelikkara Puthiyakavu Syrian Church was established in 943 AD by the Syrian Christians of Mavelikkara with the help of the Mavelikkara Madamkoor King. Many Syrian Christians from Kadampanad and Thiruvithamcode had migrated to Mavelikkara.
Chennamkary Mar Youseph Suriyanipally
Muttom St Mary's Forane Syrian Church, Cherthala
Cheppad Mar Geevarghese Sahadha Suriyanipally
  • Cheppad St George Orthodox Syrian Church – It is believed that the church may have been founded in 1175 by the Syrian Christians who separated from Old Haripad Church. The Old Haripad Church existed from the 7th century but it was demolished in the 11th century as a result half of the parishioners established the Cheppad church and the other half joined the Karthikapally Syrian Church. The Cheppad Syrian Church has many centuries old murals depicting Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Byzantine and traditional Kerala folk painting artworks. It also has an Ethiopian cross.[24]
  • Purakkad Mar Sleeva Syro Malabar Church – The Purakkad Mar Sleeva Church was established in 1410 by the ruler of the Chempakassery Kingdom for his Syrian Christian soldiers of Champakulam. Purakkad which developed into a major trading port witnessed significant Syrian Christian migration.
  • Thathampally St Michael's Syro Malabar Church, Alappuzha – The Thathampally Syrian Church was established in 1404 by the Alavoor Matham (Naduvazhi) and the native Syrian Christians of Northern Aryanad who were former attendees of the Vadassery Syrian Church.
  • Mattel St Thomas Syro Malabar Church, Pallippuram – The Mattel Syrian Church was established before the 15th century at the place where the Saint Thomas Cross which sank in the Vembanad Lake at Gokkamangalam was found.
Alappuzha Pazhavangadi Mar Sleeva Suriyanipally

Pathanamthitta district[edit]

Niranam Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Nilakkal (Chayal) Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
  • Nilackal St Thomas Ecumenical Syrian Church – The Nilackal (Chayal) Syrian Church in Angamoozhy was established by Thomas the Apostle in 54 AD and is among the Ezharappallikal. The Syrian Christians of Nilakkal had migrated to nearby regions of Kadampanad, Adoor, Thumpamon and Chengannur between the 2nd and the 8th centuries. According to tradition many Tamil Brahmins, Vellalars and Chettiars were converted by St Thomas the apostle in the Coromandel coast near Mylapore, these converts from Coromandel later flocked towards the Syrian Christian strongholds in Kerala like Nilakkal(Chayal) and Kollam. Nilakkal was an important trading city in the erstwhile Chempakassery Kingdom and had flourishing trade with the Pandya Kingdom of Madurai. But in 1325, Chembakacherry had a war with the kingdom of Madurai, probably owing to a trade dispute. The city was looted and torched and nothing remained of it. The Nilakkal church was burned and the Syrian Christians of Nilakkal migrated to regions like Kanjirappally, Poonjar, Aruvithura, Ranni, Vadasserikara, Vaipur and Erumeli.
Kadampanad Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
Adoor Kannamcode Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
Thumpamon Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Kallooppara Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
Kozhencherry Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
  • Kozhenchery St Thomas Mar Thoma Syrian Church – Certain ancient Christian families who resided on the banks of river Pampa have recorded their origins and this evidence indicates that the early Christian settlers around Kozhencherry worshiped in the churches at Maramon and Chengannur. According to these records, the earliest church at Kozhencherry was constructed in 1599, according to the Malayalam Era (M.E. 775).

Kollam district[edit]

Thevalakkara Martha Mariam Suriyanipally
  • Thevalakkara Martha Mariam Orthodox Syrian ChurchThomas the Apostle established a church in Kollam in 54 AD. The church was lost to sea erosion in the 4th century. It was rebuilt in the 4th century in Thevelakkara, near Kollam. Later Mar Abo and Mar Aphroth from Nineveh in Iraq travelled to Kollam and rebuilt the church again at Thevelakkara for the Syrian Christian community in 825. Thevalakkara had also received the Tharissaykal, Syrian Christians of Thiruvithamcode who had migrated to Kerala. According to tradition many Tamil Brahmins, Vellalars and Chettiars were converted by St Thomas the apostle in the Coromandel coast near Mylapore, these converts from the Coromandel coast later flocked towards the Syrian Christian strongholds in Kerala like Nilakkal(Chayal) and Kollam.
Kollam Mar Sabor Mar Aphroth Kadeesha Suriyanipally
  • Kollam Kadeesha Orthodox Syrian Church – The Kollam Kadeesha Syrian Church also known as Tharisappally/Tharisappalli Church was established in 823 AD by the Persian Saints Mar Sapor and Mar Aphroth. The Tharisappally Quilon Syrian Copper Plates were issued for this church. Many Syrian Christians from Thiruvithamcode, known as Tharissaykal had migrated to Kollam. The St Thomas converts from mylapore in the coromandel coast also migrated to Syrian Christian strongholds in Kerala like Kollam and Nilakkal.
  • Kallada St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church – The Kallada Church was established in the 9th century by Persian traders Mar Sabor and Mar Proth for the Syrian Christians of Kallada who attended the Thevalakkara Syrian Church. Later in the 12th century many Syrian Christians migrated to Kallada from Kollam and Kadampanad. The tomb of Mar Anthrayos Bava (Kallada Valyappooppan) who arrived in 1678 is in the Kallada Syrian Church. The first Church in Kallada was destroyed by internecine feud between the Karthas of east Kallada and west Kallada and a matriarch of Thulassery Manapurathu Syrian family recovered the cross of the destroyed Church from the river and prevailed on Avani Rajni (Queen of west Kallada) to allot some land for building a new Church. She was won over by handsome gifts of precious stones by the members of Thulassery Manapurathu Tharavad.The Kallada St Mary's ValiyaPalli also known as Thulassery Manapurathu Marthamariyam Church was established by the descendants of the West Asian migration to Kollam in 9th century AD.
Kundara Mar Thoma Sleeha Suriyanipally
  • Kundara St Thomas Orthodox Syrian Valiyapally – The St. Thomas Valiyapally in Kundara was established in 835 AD by Mar Sabor and Mar Aphroth and the Eliyedath Rajah of Kottarakkara for the Syrian Christians of Kundara who formerly attended the Kollam Kadeesha Syrian Church and the Thevalakkara church.


  1. ^ For a list of the old churches and their approx. dates cf. George Menachery, ed. The Thomapedia, Ollur, 2000; George Menachery, ed. The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Trichur, 1973; George Menachery, ed. The Indian Church History Classics, Vol.1, The Nazranies, SARAS, Ollur, 1998; George Menachery, The Elephant and the Thomas Christian, 2014; George Menachery, Murals in Kerala Churches, Ollur, 2015.
  2. ^ For a list of old Kerala churches cf. George Menachery, "The Elephant and the Christians", Malayalam. SARAS, Ollur, 2014
  3. ^ "Pallikalile Chitrabhasangal" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Aanayum NazraniyumThe Elephant in Kerala Churches" (PDF).
  5. ^ Menon (1962), p. 72, 100, 611.
  6. ^ "Marthoma Church at Azhikode, Marthoma Pontifical Shrine | Religious sites at Muziris Heritage Area, Ernakulam". Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Seven and a Half Churches of the Ezhara Pallikal established by St. Thomas| Christianity | Kerala Tourism".
  8. ^ "History". Ambazhakad Church. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Welcome to Diocese of Irinjalakuda". Diocese of Irinjalakuda. 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Koratty Muthy", Thrissur Rural Police
  11. ^ a b c Malekandathil (2020).
  12. ^ Encyclopaedia of sects & religious doctrines, Volume 4 By Charles George Herbermann page 1180,1181
  13. ^ Karukaparambil 2005, p. 150.
  14. ^ Whitehouse 1873, p. 125.
  15. ^ "St. Thomas Forane Church Mailacombu::Kothamangalam Eparchy:: Syro Malabar Church Parish". Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  16. ^ "Architecture of Churches in Kerala | Christianity in Kerala | Kerala Tourism". Christianity. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  17. ^ "70". Archived from the original on 25 February 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  18. ^ "評判の良い美容整形外科|目白ポセンシアで受ける整形". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  19. ^ Dr. E. J. James Menachery,Thomas Christian Architecture P.145 in STCEI Vol.2, Ed. George Menachery, Trichur, 1973
  20. ^ "Champakulam Kalloorkkadu St Mary's Church- The Hidden Pearl in Nasrani History". 29 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Archdiocese Of Changancherry".[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Ancient Churches". Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Ancient Churches with traditional dates of foundation & Stone Crosses of Kerala- Saint Thomas Cross, Nazraney Sthambams and other Persian Crosses". 15 January 2007.
  24. ^ "St. George Orthodox Church, Cheppad | Mural Paintings in Kerala Churches | Christianity of Kerala | Kerala Tourism". Christianity. Retrieved 11 April 2020.


External links[edit]

St. Mary's Forane Church, Muttom, cherthala-688524; Alappuzha District