Monday, 3 August 2015

The famous Milagres Cathedral (1678 BC) of Kallianpur, Karnataka

Milagres Church, Kallianpur, Karnataka, S.India. milagrescathedralkallianpur.comen.wikipedia.org
The Milagres Cathedral (Portuguese: Igreja Nossa Senhora do Milagres, English: Church of Our Lady of Miracles), Roman Catholic Cathedral situated at Kallianpur in Udupi district, Karnataka was founded in 1680, as a result of a treaty between Rani Chennamma of Bednur and the Portuguese. It was rebuilt in present form in 1881.
Milagres Cathedral interior.en.wikipedia.org
Our Lady of miracles Kallianpur./en.wikipedia.org
The church dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles was built was  on a land gifted to the local Christians by Rani Chennammaji and Somashekara Nayaka I (1671 to 1697).  These Hindu rulers allowed the  Portuguese to  build churches and factories in Mirjan, Chandavar, Honnawar, Bhatkal and Kallianpur. They also granted Inam (free) land.

Milagres Church, Kallianpur, Karnataka, S.India. milagrescathedralkallianpur.com
The Christians  living here  were  from Goa, looking for job, peace of mind and security. They went through hardship and sufferings in succession in the region of Goa because of famines in 1553, 1570 and 1582. The Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, who was not on good terms with the 
Portuguese,  was trying to expel them at any cost. The Portuguese with formidable army was a threat to the Sultanate of Bijapur.  Besides, Goa faced skirmishes with the powerful Maratha rulers  across the border then and there. To cap it all,  the cruel and oppressive inquisition in Goa was in force  under the guidance of Fr. Francis Xavier and this tragic religious oppression put  the Christian - converts of Indian origin in serious crisis because these people still  adhered  to Hindu practices despite being Christians. The priests, who used the native language Konkani, were very much affected by the inquisition, for they were forced to learn Portuguese language  to conduct church services. Lack of religious freedom in the Portuguese colony forced the Christian community  to move  down south to Canara,  where the Hindu rulers were not threats to their faith and practices.  The other major reason was their poor economic conditions and frequent armed raids  from Maratha rulers. There were some Maratha attacks in Goa in 1683.


It was for this community that the Portuguese  built the  Church in 1678 in Kallianpur under the title of Nossa Senhora de Milagres, Kallianpur. Our Lady of Miracles is the Woman of the the revelations of St. John, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a Women clothed with the sun and the moon under Her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.  Christian community  prospered well, enjoying security and respect in that region for a century in Kallianpur as in the rest of Canara. There was a Chapel in Barkur served from Kallianpur until it was constituted into a Parish in 1863.

The political scenario had changed soon after the arrival of the British company  in S. India. The ruler Tipu was always at loggerheads with unreliable and untrustworthy English. Further, he was under the wrong impression that the Christians living there were helping the British Christians. when the English lost war on January 30, 1784, the Tipu Sultan's army  took control over that region.  On the  night of Ash Wednesday - 24th February, 1784, Tipu's army   brutally hounded, herded and marched the Christians  captive to Srirangapatana  where a large number of them were converted to Islam right under sword. Only a few people managed to  escape by  hiding. Many churches  in Canara (Karnataka) were pulled down and the priests were sent back to Goa. The soldiers entered the Church of Our Lady of Miracles and tried to move the Statue of our Lady on the High Alter for desecration. As the statue was well installed, Tipu's army tried very hard to dislodge it. While they were in the midst of this sacrilege act on the holy premises, all of a sudden from no where, the soldiers were  attracted by a big swarm of bees.

The Church in Kallianpur was rebuilt in 1806 by the contributions of the people, by Fr. Joachim Jose Britto of Cortalim, Goa. For unknown reasons the Miraculous Statue of our Lady  was shifted to some places nearby and at last brought back to this place.  A yearly boat procession of our Lady on an artistically decorated throne ( Cherell) with much solemnity, grandeur and pomp was celebrated  and the tradition continues even today.  The statue used for those processions is the one now used for Cherell in the church for processions on the feast days. The statue was donated by the local Fishermen who found it on the Maple beach.  It is strongly believed to be the statue placed by Vasco da Gama on the Thonse Par Islands when he landed there and which were named by him as St. Mary’s Island.

Ref:
 http://www.milagrescathedralkallianpur.com/churchhistory.php

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milagres_Church_%28Kallianpur%29