Monday, 24 August 2015

Largest church St.George's ( 593 AD), Edappally - Kerala


St. George Forane church , Edapally, Kerala. metrovaartha.com
St. George's Church, Edappally, Kerala. www.youtube.com

 Among the Indian states, the southwestern state of Kerala has lots of churches of great antiquity and all of them were Catholic churches. Kerala is home to seven and half churches established by St. Thomas in 52 AD. The St. George church, Edappally established by the descendants of those who were converted to Christianity,in the bygone era is a popular one.

St. George Syro-Malabar Forane Church, which is 1400 years old (was built in 594 AD), is located in Edappally, about 10 km from the city of Kochi Kerala, South India. In the past centuries ago, it  was a  small village and  was part of  the princely kingdom of Elangalloor. The 14th Centenary Celebrations of the founding of the Church was held with great fanfare, religious fervor and solemnity by the parish on 18 January 1994. A public meeting was also  held under the auspices of the Church which was graced by revered, noble soul - Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The new  Church is considered as the largest and most impressive  Church in India with a built up area of over 85100 square feet. It has the honor of being the biggest of all the Churches of the Syro-Malabar Sabha (Syrian Catholic Church) in the world  and it can accommodate 5,000 people at a time in the main chapel. 

St. George's Church, Edappally,Kerala. photo.webindia123.com
The main church entrance has 33 steps, symbolizing the 33 years of Christ's life. The newly built church is a  blend of  architectural traditions and features of Portugal and Kerala, with columns and statues in the interiors. This unique combination   enhances the appearance of this church that is steeped in history. The 22-ft  highly embellished altar   has about 10,000 cubic feet of teak wood. Using the Sistine Chapel as a model for inspiration, the statues and other decor of the church have been adorned with gold and silver foil which was imported from Italy.

The oldest church was first built by the the descendants of the people converted into Christianity by St. Thomas, the Apostle who came to India in 52 AD. During his time the Christian community was small in number and when it  grew larger, there arose a necessity to enlarge the  old church  for additional accommodation. In A.D. 1080 a new church  came up with renovated altar, adoring the picture of Virgin Mary which was surrounded by sculptures, angels and vines. Today all we can see is the altar, which stands in the second church. The second church with its intricately carved and painted wooden altars and artifacts has been converted into a museum.

 Oldest building.St.George's Church,Edappally, Kerala. planbox.wordpress.com

The present Church was built over a period of 15 years and was consecrated in April 2015, The work began  on 1 January 2001 with blessings from Pope John Paul II. The early Church was built about 300 years after the martyrdom of Mar Geevarghese who was a Syrio Palaestenian ( about 275 AD and 285 AD). Being a soldier   he was an ardent follower of Christ  and  during the religious persecution under Emperor Diocletian  at Nicomedia he vehemently stood against the enemies. But, unfortunately he was put to death and upon his demise he  became St. George and thousands of churches  came  up across Europe and parts of the East in  his honor. He was officially recognized as the Patron Saint of England.

Edappally-St George's Forane Church,-www.panoramio.com

The Edappally Church also came to be known as the St. George's Church and St. George is venerated here.  He is also known as Gee Varghese Sahada / punyavalan).The statue here is symbolic of courage and faith and devotees  who come over to this church from various places  consider him a great symbol of  strength 

The newly-built St. George Church at Edapally, Kochi, shevlin's world

and succor. He is believed to have protected the people from wild animals particularly poisonous serpents. Among all the Patron Saints of the Christian devotees of Kerala and elsewhere, St. George is one of the most important saints. 

Ref;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._George_Syro-Malabar_Catholic_Forane_Church,_Edappally
St. George's Church consecrated.. 


                          (Modified October 29, 2016)