St. John’s Orthodox Church of Kadammanitta is one of the foundry churches of the Thumpamon diocese. As our church endures its 170 years of glorious service let us take a glimpse of its chronicle.
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was entrenched by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D. 52. We, known as the marthoma Christians prolong to keep up the legacy and patrimony of marthoma sleeha until today. Nilackal diocese includes to one of the seven churches founded by Marthoma Sleeha. The partisans of the Nilackal Christian community had emigrated to Kadambanad and to the inner regions of Kadammanitta.
Prior to 18th century the Syrian Christians or ‘Nasrani’ also known as Saint Thomas Christians had emigrated from various regions of central Travancore to the nature blessed slender areas of Kadammanitta. Today kadammanitta is a land of traditional art forms and culture, the communal and religious harmony that prevails in our locale marks an eminent allusion in the history. These emigrants had performed their religious sacraments and rituals in the neighborhood “Jacobite Syrian Veliyapally” church which is situated in Kozhencherry. Eventually for rituals like anointing of old and sick(Thailabishekam), Holy Communion(Vishudha Qurbana), and moving the departed for funeral and burial ceremony all the way from Kadammanitta to Kozhencherry became a tribulation for the believers and hence the proposal of construction of an Orthodox Syrian church in Kadammanitta was brought up and they meditated and prayed on this issue.
In the year 1018(A.D 1842) the ancestral devotees pledged and meditated in the name of Christ’s forerunner Saint John the Baptist and constructed a chapel. After certain period of time, small pox epidemic swept through the land of Kadammanitta and resulted in the death of two, and affecting many others. The anxious believers beseeched and meditated in the name of Saint John the Baptist and hence the widespread small pox was completely eradicated from the vicinity. Subsequently every year, the 6th and 7th of ‘Makaram’ of the Malayalam month was honored as the ‘Veliyaperunaal’ and as an offertory ‘vellayappam’ and ‘pazham’ was given. Since then until now, these days are honored and celebrated with offerings and sacrifices.
The prevailing chapel was constructed with straw and palm leaves and the chapel was enveloped with dense forest and the folks feared the massive attack of forest fire during extreme hot climate. Hence in place of the earth chapel our ancestors built a ‘madhbaha’ at an elevation of 5m and an ‘haikala’ and stony wall at a height of 3m from ground.
In the year 1044(A.D 1868) government sanctioned a piece of land in the name of a person named Puthenpurackal Chandy Geevarughese and the contemporary church was erected. This church was solemnized by the metropolitan His .Highness Joseph Mar Dionysius 5 of the Pulikattil family in A.D.1869.
In the mean while, son of Puthenpurackal Chandy, Geevarghese was ordained as the priest for the church and all the rituals and ceremonies like Holy Communion was performed without hindrance. Rev.Fr.Geevarghese of Kadammanitta was Parumala Thirumeni’s dearest disciple and he had accompanied Parumala Thirumeni to Jerusalem.
In A.D.1875 the Antioch Patriarchies Bishop His .Holiness. Pathrose Thrithian had arrived to Kerala. At that instant, the parish members aspired to bring His Holiness to Kadammanitta so that his blessings could be bestowed on the devotees as well as the natives. The parish priest Fr.Geevarghese was informed about their desire. By understanding the devotee’s loyalty and faithfulness to the church and diocese and the devoutness and reverence to the Holy Bishop, Fr.Geevarghese made the necessary arrangements for the advent of His Holiness to Kadammanitta.
According to this schedule, in A.D.1875, in the Malayalam month of ‘Thulam 16th’ (October 31st) the Patriarch Bishop had arrived to Kadammanitta. Parumala Thirumeni (Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban) had also accompanied the Patriarch Bishop. Holy Bishop was brought to church from ‘Pariyaram Mylickal’ in a palanquin through a stony and isolated way. On understanding the love and adoration of the devotees, the Bishop blessed the folks and he commanded to build a prominent church there itself, in place of the existing chapel. The Holy bishop laid the foundation stone in favor of St.Paul & St.Peter (the former church). The St.John’s Orthodox Church of Kadammanitta was blessed by the sacred footprints of St. Gregorios (Parumala Thirumeni), which is still considered as a matter of pride.
The growth and development of the former church advanced to the accomplishment of 70 years. Until now the efforts and hardship of the Puthenpurackal family that has done to establish the church is appreciated. For further development of our church and to avoid future conflicts, the congregation desired to register the church and its surroundings. According to the congregation decision, in the year 1086, Malayalam month of ‘Dhanu’ 29th (A.D 1911), the 21 prominent families signed an agreement. The agreement declares that the church and its surrounding shall be independent from Puthepurackal family and the agreement was officially signed off by Kulathoor Idiculla in Idicheriya Aranmula sub-registrar office in the year 1911 Malayalam month of ‘Dhanu’ 30th at 1:00pm. The copy of the agreement which mentions the maintenance of the church and its surroundings was provided to the 21 prominent families.
EFFECT OF SYRO-MALANKARA CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
Malankara Orthodox Sabha faced a lot of challenges and crisis during the year of 1930. His. Holiness. Mar Ivanaious, who was the metropolitan of Orthodox Sabha and one among the founder of Bethany Ashram, implanted the roots of Syro-Malabar Sabha under the Roman Catholic Church in Kerala. A group of priests and devotees of Orthodox Church had accompanied the Bishop. The vicar of Kadammanitta Orthodox Church Rev.Fr.Puthenpurackal Varghese was one among them. He influenced majority of the parish devotees towards this community and declared the church as the Kadammanitta Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. Fr.Varughese locked the church and handed over the key to the parish assistant Pandipurathu Kochukunje.
The dejected minority parish members commemorated the dedicated endeavors and far-sighted works of their ancestors. They could not tolerate the church undergoing these drastic changes. Hence they informed the Parish metropolitan His.Holiness.Puthenkavil Kochu Thirumeni (Geevarugese Peelaksinos). On receiving the message, Thirumeni decided to visit the church and informed the members to do the necessary preparation for his visit. The congregation also assured Thirumeni that under any circumstances Thirumeni will be greeted to the church. According to this, Thirumeni travelled up to ‘Manarkulum’ and from there our ancestors seated the holy bishop on a chair and carried up to Kadammanitta. The closed church was opened by Shri. Oonununni Kizakeyparambil (K.M.Varughese), by removing the roof of the church and greeted the holy bishop in to the church. The message was thereafter passed on to the Kadammanitta locals. On the very next day the holy bishop conducted Holy Qurbana and the church was sustained as St John’s Orthodox Parish.
In order to sustain the church from facing various calamities, the parish metropolitan His Holiness Puthenkavil Kochu Thirumeni, His Holiness Geevarghese Cor-episcopa (Thengumtharayil), Rev Fr. Vadakedathu Geevarghese, Adv. Peter Mathew, Shri. Varghese Vadakedathu (Local bank manager), the dejected minorities of our ancestor who were parish members and especially Shri. Kulathoor Mathai (Karingattil) who is the asset of the church through his various endeavors and Shri. V.P Chacko (secretary); contributed their efforts and gave continuous support to the church. In the 170th celebration of our church, we commemorate these great people for all their valuable deeds to the church.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW CHURCH- ‘KOODHASHA’
Due to the increasing number of parishioners, the congregation held on the November 10th of A.D.1968 decided to construct a church that would accommodate the parish members. However the property where the former church was located was insufficient to erect a new church that could accommodate the entire parish members of the locale. Accordingly a new land of 75 cents was acquired from ‘Chavadyil Mrs.Sosamma George and Mr.Babu and registered in the name of His.Holiness.Daniel Mar Peelaksinos in the year 1975 at the time of Fr.P.K.Mathews. The initial construction works of the new church began from then.
In 1983, during the service period of Fr.Thaiyil.T.M.Samuel, in the month of October, the diocese metropolitan His.Holiness.Daniel Mar Peelaksinos conducted the ceremonies for laying the foundation stone. In 1985, Fr.Peter Thomas was christened as the parish vicar. By the support and guidance of the vicar Fr.Peter, the parish priest Karingattil Fr.K.C.Jacob, Kizhakeparambil Fr.K.T.Mathukutty (Convener of church construction) and the hard work and effort of the folks, led to the accomplishment of church construction in 1989. On 20th and 21st January, in the presence of the eminent bishop of Malankara Orthodox Church His.Holiness.Baselios Marthoma Mathews, the Catholicate Designate(Neeyuktha Bava) His. Holiness. Mathew Mar Coorilos, His. Holiness. Daniel Mar Philexinos (Thumpamon diocese), Geevarughese Mar Osthanious (Niranam), Philipos Mar Yuosebious (Thumpamon diocese) consecrated the contemporary church.
THE PRIEST IN-CHARGE OF THE PARISH SERVICES
Puthenpurackal Geevarghese Geevarghese Kathanar was the first priest of St John’s Orthodox Parish. He was one of the most reverence priests who served the church for many years. He was a great follower of Parishudha Parumala Thirumeni as he has visited Jerusalem with this Holy Bishop. In the year 1990 he had accompanied Parumala Thirumeni to Trivandrum St George Orthodox Church to perform the consecration of the church. Meanwhile, the dearest follower of Parishudha Parumala Thirumeni was bound by a terrible disease and after few days departed to heaven. Sadly, the body was buried in an English cemetery as it was difficult to bring the body back to Kadammanitta and the funeral service was led by Parishudha Parumala Thirumeni. For the growth and development of the parish, we commemorate this great priest for all his efforts and deeds that he has contributed to the church and may his soul rest in peace.
Following 1900 until 1930, Palumootil Thengumtharayil Geevarughese Cor-Episcopa, Thengumtharayil Fr.T.C. Geevarughese, Mezhuveli Kadavatharayil Veliyachen, Kochachen, had served as the parish vicars. According to the will of God Almighty, P.C.Geevarughese, son of Puthenpurackal Fr. Geevarughese Geevarughese, was ordained as a priest for the church. As a parish vicar Fr.P.C.Geevarughese served as a faithful and a devoted steward to the parish and parishioners.
Subsequently Vayalathala Vadasheriyath Fr.Gaberial, Puthenpeedika Thekkutathil Fr.K.C.Koshy had administrated the works of the parish. After these priests, in 1946 a member of Puthenpurackal family, Karingattil Fr.K.C.Jacob received the ordination as a priest for the church and served in devoutness for the growth and development of the church.
Until 1971 services in the church was held only alternatively every month increased to four times during the dedicated service of Fr.K.C.Oommen. In 1975 Fr. K.T Mathews Kizhakeparambil, Son of Sri.K.G.Thomas Kizhakeparampil, was ordained as the priest. He served the church with devotion and led to the prosperity and progression of the church.
We honor and pay tribute to our ancestors who worked for the development and growth of the church especially the Karingattil family who offered their possession of land where the contemporary church resides. The St.John’s Orthodox Church as we see it now is the work of the Lord through His people. It is the culmination of the devotion, self-sacrifice, co-operation and the dedicated endeavors of the parishioners. Once again we commemorate all those who have helped and supported the church through their prayers, hardship, efforts, intelligence and generous contribution for the prosperity of the church.
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