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MALAYATTOOR CHURCH


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 Video In and Around Malayattoor Church
Malayattoor church is one of the famous churches in India. This prominent Christian pilgrimage is located in the Ernakulam district of the state of Kerala in India. St. Thomas the Apostle was the one who started Christianity teachings in south India. He built this church in the Cochin region of Kerala. This church is also very old, it date backs nearly to 52 AD. This church is located at a hill top nearly 10 KM away from Kalady. Malayattoor church has been declared as the international pilgrimage spot by the Vatican. This Shrine was promoted to Archdiocesan status by Archbishop Mar Varkey Vithayathil on 4th September, 1998.

History of the Church
Malayattoor is a village in the North Eastern corner of Ernakulam District in the stae 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.

Kurisumudy is a mountain at Maiayattoor, 1269 feet above sea level.Kurisumudy 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. Taking upon himself this commandment, Thomas set out to India and landed at Kodungalloor in AD 52. He spent 20 years in India and travelled through different parts of this great country of spirituality. He founded seven communities of believers which were Kodungailoor, Palayoor, Kottakavu, Kokkamangalam, Chayal, Kollam, and Niranam.

Upon his visit to India, St. Thomas visited Kurisumudy too. His missionary expeditions took him far and wide and while travelling through the famous caravan route from Kodugalioor to Madras, St. Thomas came to Malayattoor. A hostile reception was in store and his life was in danger. He was forced to flee to the top of the mountain and he spent days together in prayer. According to the 'Ramban Paattu' , St. Thomas went up the mountain to converse with the Lord. 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 strengthen him. He descended from the top hill. His zeal for the Lord took him to Mylapore in Chennai and later died a martyr's death in AD 72


The locals began a practice of lighting an oil lamp and whenever the lamp gave in for the wind, a herd of goats came down wailing and people used to climb the mountain and light the lamp again. Pilgrims, who climb the mountain, even today carry with them seasamum seeds to feed the goats, even though goats are a rare sight.

There are two churches in Malayattoor dedicated to St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ - one on top of the hillock (Kurishumudi) and the other below. Malayattoor St. Thomas Parish Church or Thazathe Palli (the church below) was built in AD 900.

Significance of the Church
The church facade has the traditional Roman architecture but the altar is typically Greek in style. Behind the central altar there are carved designs and paintings including the five stations of joyful mysteries of Lord Jesus Christ. The church is divided into three wings which have separate facilities for confession and adoration. There is an ancient baptismal pond and a traditional pulpit which are of historical relevance.

The pilgrimage to Malayattoor traces back its origin to the visit of the saint to Kerala in AD 52. It is believed that it was St. Thomas who brought Christianity to Kerala. According to the legends, when the saint first came to Malayatoor he had to face a very hostile reception and was forced to flee to the top of the mountain. There he prayed intensely for days together making sign of the cross on the rock. It is believed that Mother Mary appeared to console and strengthen him. Later at this spot on the rock, a golden cross was found. Thus the hillock came to be known as 'Ponnin Kurishumudi' (hill of the golden cross). Nearby the saints footprints and marks of his knees were also found on the rock.

Kurishumudi is located 2km south from Malayattoor St. Thomas Parish Church or Thazathe Palli. The church on top of Kurishumudi was built in 1893 over the golden cross, at 1269 feet above sea level and can be reached only on foot.

Near the Golden cross, a little below there are the footprints (Kaalpadam) of the great saint embedded in the hard rock. The footprints are protected in a glass encasing. Pilgrims pray here to receive favours and miracle cures from the saint.

Towards the east the ruins (a wall )of an ancient chapel (Aana Kuthiya Palli) still remains, but one can find the bearings of the tuskers who tried to demolish it when the place was used to be surrounded by thick jungle.

Rules and Rituals of the Chruch
The Feast at Kurisumudy is on the first Sunday after Easter and the Octave on the following Sunday. People visit this pilgrim centre all through the year but they come in large groups during lenten season. The number of pilgrims go up during the holy week especially on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.A lot of devotees come to the shrine carrying crosses and walking hundereds of Kilometers. Some of the crosses weight more than 75 Kilograms. When the piligrims climb the mountain they chant "Ponnin Kurisu Mala Muthappo Ponmalakayattam" that has almost become a manthra of those who climb.

As reparation for their sins pilgrims climb the hill with prayers on their lips. To climb the hill is not an easy task. It is 1269 ft. high from the sea leavel. The climbing is done as a vow. They come after fasting and penance. As a part of their pilgrimage there are various rituals that a pilgrim can attend. Nearby tourist places to Malayattoor Church

Calicut

Munnar

Thrissur

Wayanad

Difference of religion, caste and creed are not a bar when they come to the rituals. This center is noted for inter-religious harmony and ecumenism. Groups of pilgrims climb the hill praying the Way of the Cross with lighted candles in their hands. During the lenten season the whole atmosphere echos the songs and prayers of the Stations of the Cross. There are women who carry brooms with them when they climb the hill. It is believed that by doing so they grow their hair long and thick. They pray for the abundance of physical and spiritual well being. Pilgrims carrying stones on their heads as they climb the mountain, is a usual seen. They place it near the Fourteenth station at the completion of the Way of the Cross. It is done for the relief of their chronic headaches.

During the festival season,many temporary restaurants are set up to cater for thousands of pilgrims and tourists. Many restaurants and cofee houses operate under the supervision of Malayattoor Church and various volunteering organizations, to meet the needs of the pilgrims properly and timely.

Accommodation Facilities
Malayattoor has got a couple of good hotels and lodges to host pilgrims and tourists. Rooms are available during non festival season without any advance booking. During January - May, it is advisable to book in advance.

How to reach the Church
  • Through Aiways: The new Cochin Internationali Airport (Nedumbassery) is just 15 km from Malayattoor. You may have to depend on a taxi to reach Kalady (5 km), from where you may board a bus or proceed in taxi to Malayattoor.

  • Through Railways: The nearest Railway station is Angamaly for Kalady and is only 17 km from Malayattoor.

  • Through Roadways: Most pilgrims depends on buses, the common man's means of transportation. During the festival season [March-May], Kerala State Transport Corporation (K.S.R.T.C.) runs many services to Malayattoor from different parts of Kerala. A lot of private buses also operate services to Malayattoor from nearby districts.