top of page
  • Writer's pictureDe Kochi

Mar Thoma Cheriapally – Kothamangalam

Mar Thoma Cheriapally – History 

Mar Thoma Cheriapally, the St. Thomas Church at Kothamangalam, popularly known as MarThoma Cheriapally, where the Saint Baselios Yeldho (Maphryono Mor Baselios Yeldho) is buried is one of the most prominent parishes in India.

According to the popular belief, the first church at Kothamangalam, Martha Mariam Valiyapally (St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kothamangalam), was established in the 4th century AD by a few Syriac Christian families who migrated from Paravur and Angamali.


St. Mary’s Cathedral (Martha Mariam Valiyapally) Kothamangalam – An old Photo

By the middle of the 15th century some disputes surfaced in the Valiyapally which led to the separation of 18 families from there. It was these families who eventually built the historical Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church) nearby. Initially a Cross was established there in 1455 at the land allotted by the local administrator. Later a small church was erected at the place which was rebuilt in 1504.

Tomb-of-Baselios-Yeldo-(Kabar)-at-St.-Thomas-church-Kothamangalam, Mar Thoma Cheriapally

Tomb of Baselios Yeldo (Kabar) at St. Thomas church, Kothamangalam

Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church) which has a membership of more than 1600 families is under the Angamali diocese, the largest diocese in the Malankara Syrian Church. It is governed in temporal matters by its own constitution but its spiritual matters are guided by the Metropolitan of Angamali Diocese who owes allegiance to Apostolic See of Antioch through the Catholicos of Malankara under the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

Vintage-Lamps-on-the-Ceiling-of-St.-Thomas-Church-Kothamangalam, Mar Thoma Cheriapally

Vintage Lamps on the Ceiling of St. Thomas Church, Kothamangalam

About St. Yeldho

Maphryono Mor Baselios Yeldho was born in a village called kooded (now known as Karakosh) near Mosul in Iraq where Morthsmooni and her 7 children suffered martyrdom. At a very young age he joined the Mor Bahnan Monastery and become a monk. In 1678 he was consecrated Maphryono (Catholicos) by the Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Abdul Masih I. In 1685 at the age of 92, the holy father started the difficult mission to India at the request of Mor Thoma II of Malankara who informed the Patriarchate about the unpleasant situation of the Church here.


Lamp in front of Tomb (Kabar) of Baselios Yeldo

St. Yeldho and Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church)

The saintly Maphryono was accompanied by his brother, two monks and an Episcope, but only three of them is believed to have reached Malankara. The saint expired on Saturday afternoon on ‘Kanni 19’ (Malayalam Calendar), 1685 and was entombed on the very next day in the sanctuary of Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church), Kothamangalam. Though the holy father had lived in this land for only a few days, his name has spread far and wide leaving a lasting mark in the history of Malankara Syrian Church.

An-Old-Palanquin-inside-the-St-Thomas-Church, Mar Thoma Cheriapally

An Old Palanquin inside the St Thomas Church

Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church) – Festival

The people of Kothamangalam celebrate the Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church) festival on October 2 and 3  every year with piety and festivity. The Festival is popularly known as ‘Kanni 20 Perunnal’ In remembrance to the instance of guiding Mor Yeldho Bava to this church by a Nair (Hindu) Youth, his successors are still given the privilege to hold the traditional lamp of the church and lead the ‘Rassa’ (Church procession) to the church on the festival day of the saint. Bava is the Patron Saint of Kothamangalam and Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church) is the source of eternal light of this place.

Members-from-Chakkalakkal-Hindu-family-Holding-the-Traditional-Lamp-of-the-Church-on-Kanni-20, Mar Thoma Cheriapally

Members from Hindu family (Chakkalakkal) Holding the Traditional Lamp of the Church on Kanni 20

The Kanni 20 Perunnal of Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas Church) is an auspicious time to pay homage to Bava It is a popular feast and hence the best time to be here is early October when the Festival is held to commemorate Bava. This brings devotees from near and far for a great religious and cultural meet.

St.-Thomas-Church-(Mar-Thoma-Cheriya-Palli)-decorated-with-illumination-lights---Kanni-20-festval-Night, Mar Thoma Cheriapally

St. Thomas Church decorated with illuminated lights – Kanni 20 festval Night

Mar Thoma Cheriapally (St. Thomas church) Kothamangalam – Holy Mass Timings

Monday – Friday : 07.15 AM Saturday : 08.00 AM Sunday    : 06.00 AM 07.15 AM 09.00 AM

Mar Thoma Cheriapally – Location Map

0 views0 comments
bottom of page