|St Xavier's Cathedral,Kottar, Nagarcoil, Tamil Nadu. en.wikipedia.org|
|St Xavier's Cathedral,Kottar,Nagarcoil, Tamil Nadu,S.India.catholiconline.in|
|Diocese of Kottar,Tamil Nadu, S.India www.ucanindia.in|
An oil lamp has been perpetually burning since the construction of this church. One Fr. Andreas Pucchario S.J. constructed the first church at Kottar in 1603 with mud and wood at the place where St. Xavier performed prayers and masses.In 1605, Fr. Pucchario dedicated the church to St. Francis Xavier. The church records point out the shrine of Mary was renovated and enlarged in 1865. This old church became a cathedral in 1930. Many miracles have taken place there as per records and devout Christians from other parts of India, in particular, Kerala and Karnataka and countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, etc., visit this Church and participate in the annual festival in December every year. Original church, which still exists, was built by St. Francis Xavier himself between the years AD 1542 and AD 1550. The Church was endowed with precious ornaments and utensils donated by the Portuguese rulers. Better and more spacious Church was the contribution of subsequent Bishops of Cochin (Kochi), now in Kerala.
It is one of the oldest churches in the whole of erstwhile Southern Travancore, and perhaps, the oldest Cathedral church of Roman Catholic Diocese of Kottar in the present-day`s Kanyakumari district (of Tamil Nadu) since there are three more dioceses got established here later on; lots of Hindus visit this Church to pray with devotion to Mary to redress their grievances. They pour oil to the oil lamps in the Church as part of the prayer in the hope the God will light up their life that is ridden with problems up to their neck.
01. In this area and in the adjoining state Kerala, Christianity was introduced by the disciple of Jesus Christ, St.Thomas in 52 AD and he built some of the oldest Churches in the world in this region.
|Francis Xavier in South India, en. wikipedia.org.|
Above image: Conversion of the Paravars (Hindus) by Francis Xavier in South India, in a 19th-century colored lithograph.
02. Decoity (anglicized version of the Hindustani word) is a colloquial Anglo-Indian word commonly used for "banditry" in Hindi, Kannada and Urdu. It refers to criminal activity involving armed robbery by groups of armed bandits. The East India Company not only established the Thuggee and Decoity Department in 1830, but also introduced the Thuggee and Dacoity Suppression Acts, 1836–1848. The company officials were instrumental in eradicating the menace of thugs who killed more than a million innocent people - mostly travelers in North India. Areas with ravines or forests, such as Chambal and Chilapata Forests, mostly in Madhya Pradesh, were once known for decoits. Though the decoity problem existed here, they were not dangerous as the thugs of N. India.
03.The same Saint Francis Xavier, became intolerant toward Christian converts of Goa and was responsible for the introduction of ''Goa Inquisition,'' a dark chapter in the history of Indian Christians. In a 1545 letter to John III of Portugal, requested an Inquisition to be installed in Goa. From 1560 to 1774, Inquisition was strictly in force.
04.This church was dedicated to St. Xavier even as early as 1605 prior to his attaining sainthood in 1622; hence it is the first one dedicated to St. Xavier in the whole world.
05. In 1640, the church made of mud and wood, was reconstructed into a new church with stones and in 1643 the sacred relics of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier were safeguarded there.
Agur C.M., `Church History of Travancore`, Madras,1903. Reprint: Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, 1990, ISBN 81-206-0594-2. Page:209-211.