Saint Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam, Kalloorkad, Alleppey, Kerala, India also known as St.Marys Forane Church, Champakulam Kalloorkad (also called Champakulam Valia Palli) is one of the oldest Christian churches in India and the mother church of almost all Catholic Syrian churches in Alleppey District.
There are many archaeological artifacts found around the church about its history. Champakulam church was once under Niranam Church, which was founded by the Apostle Saint Thomas himself. Champakulam Church had very friendly relations with the Jacobite Syrian group and had a pivotal role in many ecumenical efforts in the Eighteenth century. One of the martyrs of east Syrian Catholics (nasranis), Ikkako Kathanar was born to this parish.
Champakulam church has been recognised by the Universal Church as a Basilica. On 27 November 2016, the church was officially declared as a Basilica by Mar Joseph perumthottam, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Changanacherry. This is the first Basilica in the archdiocese of Changanasserry, 4th in the Syro Malabar Church, 9th in Kerala and the 23rd basilica in India.
History of Saint Mary's Basilica, Champakulam
Saint Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam or Champakulam Church in Alappuzha is believed to be one of the seven established by St. Thomas in AD 427. Situated on the western bank of River Pamba. Champakulam Kalloorkad Church is the first one under the church at Niranam which is believed to have been founded by St.Thomas, the Apostle himself. Other churches founded by the Apostle were at Palayoor, Kodungalloor (Cranganoor), Kottakkavu, Kokkamangalam, Kollam and Chayal (Nilackal).
The churches at Mylakkombu, Kaduthuruthy, Aruvithura and Kuravilangad took their origin by end of the fourth century AD while the churches at Champakulam (Kalloorkad), Udayamperoor and Edappally were founded during the early years of the fifth century AD. Considering the time of founding, Champakulam Kalloorkkad Church is one among the second generation of churches in kerala.
Saint Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam rebuilt many times and the many rock inscriptions found around the church tell us about the history of the church. The open air Rock Cross at Champakulam church is one of the most ancient ones with clear documentation of its antiquity up to AD 1151. There are many archaeological artifacts found around the church about its history. Champakulam church was once under Niranam Church, which was founded by the Apostle Saint Thomas himself.. Champakulam Church had very friendly relations with the Jacobite Syrian group and had a pivotal role in many ecumenical efforts in the Eighteenth century.
Saint Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam several renovation works had been carried out since the inception of the Church.The inscription on the pedestal of Granite Cross at the south court yard shows that there had been a renovation in 1151 AD, though it is said that in 1720 AD the Chempakassery ruler took the initiative and gave all cooperation and full encouragement for the reconstruction of the church, no concrete evidence is available in this regard. One thing is certain that as the Christian families within the parish proliferated and faithful increased in the number, the need for a larger church might have become a necessity.
Around the year 1720 AD the general body of the members of the parish appears to have arrived at he the decision. They might have received immense help, instructions and pieces of advice from the Chempakassery ruler. On the plot reclaimed from the land under water out of the sheer generosity of the Chempakassery King the works of the church began in 1720 and completed in 1730. In this regard it is but reasonable to accept the inscription on the grider (Sheelanti) donated by Thamalloor ittykkuruvila Kthanar.
Madbaha (Sanctum Sanctorum)
Saint Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam the root of the Madbaha is comparatively more conical. The Madbaha is separated with a veil from the rest of the church.The church wall close to the principal altar is fully covered with wooden structures,the Rathal,which has niches to place statues.Ther are six niches in two rows of three each. The Rathal from the principal altar upwards has statues of the apostles St.Peter and St.Paul with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the middle in the upper niches and two angels on either side at the extreme end.The statues of St.Joseph on the left ,St.Sebastian on the right and a full length one of Pushparosa matha (St.Mary carrying a rose in her hand)
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Basilica of St. Mary is during the festival season. Christmas, Easter, and Good Friday are the prime highlights that attract the devotees and visitors. During these occasions, Basilica of St. Mary is festooned exquisitely. Being a participant in the mass prayers, especially on the occasion of Christmas is an experience that a person shouldn’t miss.
Feast Day – 3rd Sunday of October
The annual feast of Saint Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam falls on the 3rd Sunday of October every year.
Apart from general Christian Holy celebrations like Christmas, Good Friday and Easter (Holy week) there are two main yearly feasts. Feast of Mother Mary / Marian apparition-The Feast of the Apparition lasts for 11 days of pious celebrations and concludes on the Sunday following October 15. Commemoration of the Death of St. Joseph-This is a ‘Shradham- Chatham’ conducted in commemoration of the death of St. Joseph is held on 19 March every year. It attracts thousands of devotees to Kalloorkadu Church from far of places.
Moonnu Noyambu Perunnaal of Champakulam-Champakulam Church is one of the ancient churches in which “Moonnu Noyambu Perunnaal- (Three day fast- Rogation of Ninevites) celebrated regularly which has been discontinued in the recent past. There are clear documentation about the Moonnu noyambu perunaal of champakulam in the records about the financial help and support from the Kings of Chempakasserry for the feast.
Church Visiting Time
Champakulam Kalloorkadu Marth Maryam (St. Mary’s) Basilica remains open during timings 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Champakulam P.O, Alappuzha District,
Kerala – 688 505, India
Tel : 0477 – 273 6252
St. Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam, Kalloorkad, Alleppey, Kerala, India is located in Champakulam 16 km from the heart of the city Alappuzha. This Basilica is well connected with Bus Station, Railway Station and Airport facilities rest of the country.
Cochin International Airport, Kerala, Which is (98.2 Kms) from St. Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam, Kalloorkad.
The nearest railway station is Alleppey Railway Station which is (15.3 Kms) from St. Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam, Kalloorkad.
The nearest is Champakulam Bus Station which is less than 1 Km from St. Mary’s Basilica, Champakulam, Kalloorkad.