The Malankara Church and Malankara Nazranis
Our church the Malankara Church is as old as christianity and was founded by Apostle St. Thomas in the 1st century. There was only one church, the Malankara Church and one Christian community known as Malankara Nazranis in Malankara till the invasion of Portuguese Roman Catholic Archbishop, Meneses of Goa in the 16th Century. Those who came here by sea gave the name Malankara as the Western Ghats was the border of the place. Nazranis meant the followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Portuguese Christians instead of being happy to see a Christian community in this remote corner of the world and extending the hand of Christian brotherhood and fellowship, ruthlessly and cruelly tried to harass them and bring them under the church of Rome by any means with their military strength and influence on the local government.
The invasion resulted in the division of the Malankara Church in many places. The people living around our church at Edappally joined the Catholics enbloc out of fear, leaving no one to represent
our ancient church in Ernakulam.
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Ernakulam
In the beginning of the 20th Century there were only a few members of our church in Ernakulam. Most of them came here in connection with their trade, vocation and education. They had to approach nearby parishes like Tripunithura for their spiritual accomplishments. The journey to such places were difficult during those days owing to lack of facilities. Therefore a church in Ernakulam became an absolute necessity.
Four illustrious and devout sons of our church got together and decided to purchase a piece of land for the construction of church building in Ernakulam. They were P.V. Philip Vakil, Rao Sahib P.K. Varghese, Sri. M.G. Varkey and Sri. M.A. Chacko. As a result of this, a committee of 11 persons purchased 28 cents of land in 1922 with the help of Cherai and Ayyampilly parishes.
Philip Vakil who tried hard in building the church passed away before the fulfilment of his ambition. The burial was done in the plot purchased for the church with the special permission of the Government. His tomb is now seen at the northern side of the present church. The remaining members of the pioneer team along with others including K.C Varkey Master, Sri, M.T Mathew and Sri. T. Thomas built a hall at the southern side of the plot and decided to use the same as a church. The church was consecrated on 6th October 1926 by the vicar of Ayyampilly church, Rev. Fr. Geevarghese Murimattathil of Kolenchery with the assistance of Rev. Fr. M.P. Pathrose (The Late Mar Pathrose Osthathios) and Rev. Fr. Mureekal Yaccob (the first vicar) Rev. Fr Mureekal and the first Trustee Sri. P.V. Kurian continued in their positions for a long time.
The church was afterwards made more spacious by adding two sides, verandhas and extensions to the hall.
A Cemetry and Chapel at Chittoor Road
It was felt that a church without a cemetry was incomplete and therefore a raffle was organised to collect funds for building a cemetry and chapel under the leadership of Sri. M.A. Chacko and Dr. Paul Puthooran in 1932. The Raffle was very successful and the proceeds were utilised for purchasing 15 cents of land at Chittoor Road for a cemetry and chapel. Enough money was left to add 5.5 cents to the church plot and construction of a wall at the northern end of the church.
Demolition of the hall and construction of a new church
With the establishment of peace between the Jacobite and Orthodox factions of the Church in 1958, Ernakulam Church came under the jurisdiction of HG Poulose Mar Severios, A meeting of the Parishoners held on 22nd January 1958 decided to rebuild the church as the church built in 1926 was very small to suit its growth and eminence. The foundation stone was laid by the Catholicose H H Mar Baselius Geevarghese II on St. Mary’s day January 15, 1959. The Diocesan Metropolitan H G Paulose Mar Severios, H G Ougen Mar Thimotheos and H G Paulose Mar Philoxenos assisted His Holiness in the foundation stone laying service.
Subsequently, a construction committee consisting of 25 members was formed under the leadership of Hon Retd. Chief Justice Sri. K.T Koshy. Sri. George Paul Puthooran was the Treasurer. Engineer T.K Thomas prepared the plan & estimate and supervised the construction. Adv. M.G George and Sri. M.K Varghese also took keen interest in collecting necessary funds and in the completion of the church.
When the construction was completed a committee under Sri. Abraham was formed to make necessary arrangements for the consecration. H H the Catholicose Mar Baselius Geevarghese II assisted by the Diocesan Metropolitan, H G Paulose Mar Sevarios and H G Augen Mar Themotheus of Kandanad Diocese consecrated the Church with five altars and celebrated the Holy Qurbana.
Multistoreyed Parish building
In the year 1963 Armenian Catholicose H H Vazgan I during his visit of the Malankara Church laid the foundation stone for the construction of the multi-storeyed building by the side of the church. The services rendered by Asst. Vicar Rev. Fr. K.V Samuel, for the construction of the building was conspicuous. Engineers K.K Zachariah and Mathew Varghese prepared the plan and took great interest in the construction work.
Cemetry and Mar Gregorios Chapel at Elamkulam
During the months of February and April 1972, 37.35 cents of land was purchased at Elamkulam for a cemetry. On 17th November of the same year 26.5 cents was purchased for building a chapel.
On 9th June 1974, the Diocesan Metropolitan H G Yuhanon Mar Severios laid the foundation stone of the Mar Gregorios Chapel. On 30th and 31st October 1976, the rites in connection with the consecration of the church were performed and the first Holy Qurbana was celebrated by the Catholicose, H H Baselius Marthoma Mathews I assisted by H G Yuhanon Mar Severios and H G Joseph Mar Pachomios.
The design for the beautiful chapel was prepared by Architect Thomas George (Silpi Babu). Mr. P.K.Isaac was the construction Engineer and the work was carried out under the supervision of Sri. P.P George.
St. Mary’s Kurisinthotty at Elamkulam Jn
On 12th January 1976, 9 cents of land was purchased at Elamkulam Junction for the construction of a Kurisinthotty. H G Joseph Mar Pachomios, the Metropolitan of Kandanad laid the foundation stone on 24th December 1978 and the Diocesan Metropolitan Consecrated the Kurisinthotty in the name of St. Mary during 1st and 2nd November 1980.
Land at Padamughal
41.5 cents of land was purchased at Thrikakkara near Padamughal junction in the months of March and June 1986 and July 1987.
St. Thomas Chapel Thevara
35 cents of land was purchased at Thevara for building a chapel on 26th August 1975. The foundation stone for the chapel in the name of St. Thomas was laid by H G Yuhanon Mar Severios, the Diocesan Metropolitan on 5th October 1986. The consecration was performed by the Catholicose H H Baselius Marthoma Mathews I with the assistance of H G Joseph Mar Pachomios, the Metropolitan of Kandanad Diocese on 24th and 25th of January 1987. The Architect was Sri. Thomas George. Mr. P.K. Isaac was the construction Engineer. Sri. P.P George supervised the work.
St. George Chapel, Palarivattom
31.835 cents for a chapel at Palarivattom was purchased in the year 1980, Rev. Fr. O.V. Elias the Vicar laid the foundation stone for the chapel in the name of St. George on 14th September 1986. The Chapel was consecrated by H H Catholicose Designate Mathews Mar Coorilos, during 9th and 10th May 1987. He was assisted by the Diocesan Metropolitan H G Yuhanon Mar Severios and H G Paulose Mar Milithios Metropolitan of Kunnamkulam Diocese. The Architect was Sri. Thomas George (Silpi Babu) & Mr. C. George Philip was the construction engineer.
Vault at Chittoor Road Cemetry
A vault with 72 cells was built at chittoor road Cemetry. 36 cells were reserved for general burial and the remaining were set apart for reservation by individuals. The Diocesan Metropolitan consecrated the vault on 14th December 1986.
Roll of Honour
Two of our priests, Fr.P.V.Joseph and Fr.K.I.Paul, have become Metropolitans during their service period at our Parish. We thank God Almighty for giving us the opportunity to associate with them.
1. H G . Joseph Mar Pachomios Metropolitan (Fr.P.V.Joseph)
Served as Asst.Vicar at our Parish from 1956 to 58 and 1962 to 65.
Served as Vicar from 1-4-1965 to 12-2-1975.
Ordained Metropolitan on 12-2-1975.
And Entered into eternal rest on 19-8-1991.
2. H B Paulose Mar Milithios (Fr.K.I.Paul)
Served as Asst. Vicar from 1-7-1976 to 29-5-1983.
Ordained Metropolitan on 15-5-85
Elected successor to the Catholicose of the East and Malankara Metropolitan H H Baselius Mar Thoma Didymus I on 12-10-2006.