St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor
Approved as internmational
place of Pilgrimage
Saint Thomas the Apostle is
often regarded as the Patron Saint of India,
Malayattoor is a village in the
North Eastern corner of Ernakulam District in the state of Kerala in South
India. The name `Malayattoor' is an amalgamation of three small words. Mala (Mountain)
Arr (River) Oore (Place). This is to say, Malayattoor is a meeting place of
mountain, river, and land.
Located 52 km from Kochi, the
Malayatoor Church is situated atop the 609 m high Malayatoor Hill. The church is
dedicated to St. Thomas, who is believed to have prayed at this shrine. One of
the most important Christian pilgrim centres in Kerala, this holy shrine
attracts devotees in very large numbers not only from Kerala but also from the
neighbouring states. This famous church is situated at Kurisumudi, a verdant
hill in the Western Ghats girdled partially by the Periyar (river). The Church
has a life-size statue of St. Thomas and the imprint of the feet of the Apostle
on a rock. This shrine has now been accorded an international pilgrimage
Malayattoor a meeting place of mountain
and river shot into prominence when she was blessed by the missionary work of
St. Thomas the apostle of Jesus Christ. He set foot at Kodungalloor, in AD 52
and founded the famous seven churches. On his way to Mylapore, he stopped at
A hostile reception was given and his life
was in danger. According to the Ramban Paattu, 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 upon touching the rock, blood sprang
forth from it. In AD 52 he reached Malayattoor and selected the place for prayer
and worship. His zeal for the Lord took him to Mylapore and later died a
martyr's death there in AD 72.
Later, while on hunting the local people
found a divine light emanating from the hard rock and upon examining the source
they found a golden cross. They later discovered the footprints of the great
saint and when this extra ordinary piece of news reached the plains, people
began to flock the hills of Malayattoor
Malayattoor is a part of the
Malayattoor-Neeleeswaram Panchayat (Local governing body) of Ernakulam Dist.
Most people follow Catholic and Hindu
beliefs. All the families are known by traditional family names . Christian 1.
Catholics 2. Pentecost – Assembly of God church Malayattoor
Athirapilly, Vazhachal are some 25
kilometres from this place.This attracts tourists from all over Kerala.Also the
international shrine of Malayattoor welcomes a huge number of pilgrims.Kalady
famous as the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya is also popular among the
tourists as it is some 10 kilometres from malayattoor.Mahogany Thottam is also a
scenic place nearby. Abhayaranyam ( elephants are trained ) is also near and is
a place of interest.
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 Archbishop Mar Varkey 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.
St. Thomas and Thamizakam :The place of St. Thomas in the life of Tamil
believers is something not to be overlooked. Anyone would be moved at the sight
of an ardent but the simple faith of a Tamil pilgrim, a usual scene on the
mountain. According to Rt. Rev. Dr. Soosa Pakiam the "Archbishop of Trivandrum,
"Muthappan" the name by which the devotes invoke St. Thomas on the mountain, may
have come from Tamizakam. A good number of pilgrims that visit Kurisumudy and
seek Muthappan's blessings is from Tamil Nadu. The vital role played by the
caravan route that existed between Kodungalloor and Madras from time immemorial
has certainly contributed to this spiritual and cultural bond that exists
between Kerala and 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 Kurisumudy Pilgrimage.
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