Mollyson Holidays brings you the Ezharapallikal Tour Package which comprises of the famous seven and a half St Thomas Churches. These Churches of St Thomas are spread across the different region of Kerala which includes Palayur Church, Kottakavu Church, Kodungallur Church, Kokkamangalam Church, Nilakkal Church, Niraman Church, Kollam Church and Thiruvithamkode St Thomas Church.
History of St Thomas Churches in Kerala
It was through the word the ordinances of the almighty were fulfilled in history. St Thomas one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ had a responsibility to fulfill this mission in India and around. By the year 1852 St Thomas reached the Malabar Coast crossing the Seas of great sacrifices. The famous port city of Cranganore unknown at those times was known as Muziris. Many traders from Palestine of West Asia during those times used to come over to Muziris to buy spices especially pepper. The gospel of the Living God was a new message to them like the new heaven and the new earth of Hope and relief.
St Thomas Church at Kodungallur
It is the tradition that the Apostle blessed and founded Ezharapallikal in Malankara. He started the first church at Kodungallur where he landed with a small Jewish community settle there. His mission started smoothly and was well received by the Jews and other people settled in that city. Even today we see the Marthoma Gate his entry point the pontifical shrine built on the site where Saint Thomas established the church. Known as the cradle of Christian community in India today this is the place where the first seed of Christianity was sown by Saint Thomas in the year 52 AD. The right arm of St Thomas is preserved in the shrine and people from all over the world visit this shrine throughout the year.
St Thomas Church at Palayur or Palayoor
Palayur some fifty kilometers north of Kodungallur is the second church established by St Thomas. This church is unique because it is built on the site where Saint Thomas himself built a church. It was here St Thomas performed the most famous miracle among the dominant Brahmins. In the Periyakulam Lake near the temple the Brahmins were offering their morning prayer by sprinkling water upwards by the cup of their palm. The Apostle wish to know why they were doing that and was told that the water was thrown upwards as an offering to the gods. “In that case your offerings do not seem to be acceptable to the powers above otherwise the water wouldn’t have fallen back” said the Apostle. This naturally elicited a retort and the Brahmins challenged where the Saint Thomas could make the water drops stand in mid-air. St Thomas said he could but only if they promise to accept Jesus as their master. They agreed and St Thomas prayed and sprinkled water and the drops remained in the air. Most of the Brahmins accepted Jesus and were baptized. The lake and the remains of the old temple which the brahmins destroyed to build the church are still there for us to see.
St Thomas Church Kottakavu
15 Kms south of Kodungallur and 15 Kms north of the present Cochin city is Paravur then a trade center where St Thomas established the third community. The Kottakavu church built by Saint Thomas is still there renovated and preserved. There is a two thousand-year-old wall built by St Thomas’s men to save the church from the attack of the local king Tipu Sultan and his men. Just behind this old church is the sprawling new Parish Church one of the most beautiful churches found in India.
St Thomas Church at Kokkamangalam
After the Jews, Brahmins and traders St Thomas targeted the farmers and came to Kokkamangalam 50 kilometers south of Cochin and preached the gospel among farmers. Picturesque village surrounded by the back waters on one side and rich plantations on the other side this place was where St Thomas established the fourth church. This church is built on the spot where St Thomas established a cross for worship. He stayed there for a year and converted 1,600 people according to Ramban Pattu ancient form of Christian folk song.
St Thomas Church at Niranam
Niranam an interior village with farming community is the place where St Thomas established the fifth community. He planted a cross for people to worship and preach the gospel. Today this church has maintained by a separate group of Christians called Orthodox judge and will call themselves St Thomas Christians. The priests have a unique dress code and the prayers are also different from the Roman Catholic Church .
St Thomas Church at Kollam
Kollam, 145 kilometers south of the present Cochin city and with a strong fishing community is where St Thomas established the sixth community. This town even today is a Christian strong hold. All these six churches were either on the seashore or close to the coast.
St Thomas Church at Nilackal
Saint Thomas then moved to a popular hill resort cum Trade Center called Nilackal. Since this town was on the border of the major kingdoms of South India that is Chera Chola and Pandya kingdoms it was a busy Trade Center. St Thomas was received well and preached the gospel among the local traders and to those who came from other parts of the country for trade. St Thomas built a church, had many disciples and the Christian faith flourished. St Thomas told his disciples that he had to go to other places of the country and left Nilackal saying he would never return. Later the local religious extremists destroyed the church in 1314 ad attacked the Christians, chase them out and develop their own shrine. The Christians who fled the place even now live in the nearby areas. This prison church is a monument to the history of Nilackal. This is an ecumenical Church the only one of its kind in the world. All denominations of Christians come here for prayer and retreat. The International Centre for retreat and prayer serves the purpose of thousands of devotees who come from all parts of the world and before crossing the Shyadri mountains carrying the message of love.
Ezharapallikal Tour Package Cost
The Spiritual Expedition to The Ezharapallikal of St Thomas comes with an all inclusive package cost of INR 25,000/- Per Person. The details about this tour package is mentioned in the Itinerary section.
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