Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

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        After composing and presenting the Deiva Nool (Doctrines of St. Thomas), the Saint began his preaching tour in the towns and villages of the South East Coast. This time he went up to Tuticorin (Thoothukudi), and thence to Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari). In those days, Korkai was the biggest sea Port in the East Coast of the Pandian Kingdom. Korkai and Kayal (now Palayakayal) were the Ports situated where the River Thaamira Porunai (now called “Thamirabarani”) reached the sea. Since this part of the South Pandian Kingdom was more fertile than other parts of Maanaveera Naadu, this part of the kingdom to which Korkai was the Capital city, was called Maanaveera Vazhanaadu. Thus in the South East Coast, the important towns and villages were: Korkai, Kayal, Kombuthurai and Thiruchendur in the Maanaveera Vazhanaadu; Manapadu, Periathlai, Kooduthalai and Ovari in the Maanaveera Naadu; and Muttappathi (now Chinna Muttam) and Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari) in the Chera Naadu. Let us now see how St. Thomas preached Christianity in these places and established the Monuments of his First Mission.
       Alex C. Muthiah states: “Just as those converted by St. Thomas in the South West Coast, so those converted by him in the Maanaveera Naadu (which is in the South East Coast) have an equal right to be called St. Thomas’ Christians.”1 This shows that St. Thomas has evangelized not only in the South West Coast, but also in the South East Coast. In this tour of evangelization, St. Thomas visited first Korkai which was famous for Pearl and Sangu fishing, and also famous for manufacturing bracelets and garlands out of Sangu and precious ornaments of pearls. Groups of Westerners including Jews had their settlements in and around Korkai.2 These settlements must have attracted the Apostle, and therefore he also stayed there and preached the gospel. There were two islands, one near the Port of Kayal and another near the Port of Korkai, both inhabited by fishermen of Pearl and Sangu. St. Thomas converted the whole population of these two islands.  And as the marks of this evangelization of the Apostle, we can see even now the church of “Jesu Kovil” near the present Palayakayal and the “Thomaiyar kovil” north side of the present Punnaikayal. Actually these two churches which attract crowds of pilgrims throughout the year even now are the Sacred Monuments of St. Thomas’ Evangelization erected in the Srivaikuntam Taluk during his First Mission. 
        Secondly, The Apostle took Manappadu as his centre, and from there he was going to Kombuthurai and Thiruchendur in the north and to Periathalai, Kooduthalai and Ovari in the south. During this tour of evangelization in Thiruchendur Taluk, St. Thomas had founded some cave like hermitages for his followers, namely the priests, deacons, lay brothers and catechists to make solitary or group meditations and retreats. For, these kinds of Spiritual Exercises were necessary for them and for him too to fight against the temptations of the world, of the devil and of the flesh. Some of these followers like Xantipus (King Gondophernes) and Paul (King Gaatthiappar) in their old age chose to remain in these cave cells as Sanyasis or religious monks.
        Therefore St. Thomas founded for him and for his priests several cave cells in the sea shore villages of Thiruchendur and Manappadu, either as places for prayer and meditation or for their own tombs. It is to be noted that cremation was a scandal to the Jews who had their tombs cut on rocks (Ref. Lk. 23: 53 & Jn. 11: 38). So, for fear of being cremated, in accordance with the local custom, St. Thomas (a Jew) and his followers were making ready-made tombs built or cut on rocks. The Manappadu cave was mostly used by the Apostle as a place of prayer and as his dwelling place. And because he wanted to reside there, he had dug a well with a miraculous spring of water inside the cave itself. Even now we can find this well and taste its sweet spring water.
         H. Sarkar M.A., Superintending Archeologist of the Archeological Survey of India in his Research Article on “A Pandia Rock-Cut Cave at Manappadu on Pearl Fishery Coast” says that this cave was “…intended to be used as a residential cave unlike those excavated in the granite rock. has a circular well (diam. 3ft. 3in. internally) at the north-eastern corner of the hall or mandapa, a characteristic very much unusual in the rock-cut tradition of the Pallavas and the Pandias.”3
        St. Thomas must have lived in this Cave for some years and from there he must have written letters to the various Churches to be read as his epistles. Herman D’Souza says: “It is interesting to note that St. Thomas, as did some of the other Apostles, wrote from India letters which were read in the various Churches where they were received.” He proves this statement by referring to the Syriac work entitled “The Doctrine of the Apostles” and quotes its passages: “After the death of the Apostles, there were Guides and Rulers in the Churches; and whatever the Apostles communicated to them, and (whatever) they had received from them, they taught to the multitudes…also what James had written from Jerusalem and Simon from the City of Rome …and Judas Thomas from India, that the epistle of an Apostle might be received and read in the Churches in every place.”4 Among his doctrines and letters St. Thomas must have certainly quoted his Deiva Nool also, if not passages translated to form part of his letters.
        These cave cells, later in the seventh or ninth centuries, were occupied by some Saivite Sanysis, and then some of the caves were destroyed by sand and sea, and some others are now inside the Murugan Temple at Thiruchendur. The Rock-Cut cave of Manappadu with the drinking water well in it was once again converted into a Catholic church at the time of St. Francis Xavier. H. Sarkar M.A. again says: “It is not unlikely that these caves were used by the Saiva saints (sanyasis). ….An inscribed stone tablet outside, records in English and Tamil that, ‘This cave (once the dwelling of a Saivite Sanyasi) has been sanctified by the prayers and penances of St. Francis Xavier.” It is followed by the Tamil translation of the English text. The last line gives the date 1542-52, evidently the period of St. Xavier’s stay in that area.”5
        H. Sarkar M.A. describes as follows: “The Cave facing eastward is a modest excavation with its opening towards the sea. Excavated to a depth of 32 ft., it is, in the main a pillared hall, measuring 16ft. 4 in x 17 ft. 6 in., having a constricted vestibule (5ft. 6in. x 8ft. 6in.), fronted by a porch (12ft. in breadth) all placed axially…..on the whole the cave appears to be a simple excavation without any shrine cell or embellishments, and in all probability, intended to be used as a residential cave unlike those excavated in the granite rock (Cave Temples).” And he continues, “In the absence of any foundation inscription it is difficult to date the rock-cut cave at Manappadu. Further, its transformation into a Roman Catholic Church has also made the dating on stylistic groups difficult. The excavation in the hardened sandstone and its use as a monk-cell are factors that may connect the Manappadu cave, chronologically and architecturally, with the Thiruchendur ones....although no details in respect of types and materials of structure of any period are available.” Then he concludes, “It is evident from the foregoing that the sandstone caves at Thiruchendur along with the rock excavation at Manappadu constitute a distinct group that might have come into existence, around a sacred spot, as cave resorts of the Sanyasis by about the first half of the ninth century, if not earlier. Of these caves, the one at Manappadu appears to be the most impressive, notwithstanding the fact that it hardly bears any similarity with the granite cave temples of the Pandia Country.” 6
        In the above said official survey, it is clear that these cave cells are not temple caves, and that they possibly belong to a distinct group of caves founded by St. Thomas as cave resorts of Sanyasis, belonging to the first half, not of the seventh or ninth century, but of a much earlier period, i.e. the first century, which was evidently the period of St. Thomas’ stay in that area. 
 Nilappaarai Kurusumalai is a place of importance. There is a cave in which a perennial stream of drinking water was flowing. St. Thomas found this place suitable for rest, contemplation and also a platform to preach to the people gathered around him. He made use of this cave for his contemplation on his knees, so much that the in prints of his knees can be seen there. George the Nestorian visited this place and planted a stone cross in front of the cave. People possessed of devils were healed and crowds of people made pilgrimage to this cave shrine throughout the year. Recently this shrine was developed in to a meditation center and an official shrine of regular devotion of St. Thomas.
Fr. Selva George, who gave shape to this Kurusu Malai in our times as a pilgrim center, testifies the above facts by the following document which is kept in the archives of the author. 
                                                                                     Date: 28 July 2011
          The word of God: “A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid” (Mt. 5:14) has been fulfilled in this Nilappaarai Kurusu Malai. I would like to narrate here an extra ordinary experience granted to me when I was the Parish Priest (from 1996 to 2001) at Azhagappapuram in Kanyakumari District.
          Nilappaarai a small village of natural beauty, the substation of Azhagappapuram Parish was also called Thirumoola Nagar. In this village there was a church of St. George and a shrine of St. Thomas the Apostle. Every Friday crowds of people come and stay here and obtain many graces. Even from Kerala people come and stay several days and go healed from incurable diseases. To this we testify as eye witnesses.
          From the church of Thirumoola Nagar while walking for one kilo meter through a narrow path towards the foot of the mountain, there appears a cave in the Nilappaarai Kurusu Malai.
          When I went to visit that place for the first time, I felt as if going through a wild forest. The whole area was covered with thick bushes of thorns and thistles. To reach Kurusu Malai one should pass through three big elephant hauls created by heavy flow of water from the mountain.
          Wonderful was that cave of Kurusu Malai. By the side of it was a clean water spring which was pointing out as it were the mountain at Lourdes. Inside the cave can be seen the knee prints caused by St. Thomas’ stay for a long time in prayer and meditation. When I was contemplating on an inspiration in me to give a shape to this living mountain, a widow from the neighbouring village approached me with her children and asked me permission to erect a tiled shed near that cave for the pilgrims to come and stay. Even after my hesitation regarding the inconvenience of the path way, the lady went away saying: “St. Thomas who appeared to me will help”. Within a month’s time she finished building that Shed. What a wonder! What a joy!
          Usually I go to this Cave only in the evening hours. But one Sunday at 2-30 pm, surprisingly enough I was urged by an inspiration to go to Kurusu Malai. Immediately I started and reached there. What was going on there infuriated me. Three young men who were grazing their cattle there had broken the shed built by the widow, and had applied human waste on the water pump which was supplying fresh and sweet drinking water; and had damaged the pipes too.
          When I reported this to the village people they brought the three persons, and we took them and the cattle to the village. Immediately those who were related to the event asked pardon and in recompense paid Rs. 10,000.
          In the homes of the culprits animals began to die one after another. And they themselves testified that after offering some chicks and so on to St. Thomas as an act of reparation, the misfortune ended. From that time onwards the cattle stopped coming there and the place became as holy as to accommodate only the pilgrims.
          One day a young man due to family problem, with an intention of committing suicide, took 20 pain killer tablets in a small bottle and poison, came to Kurusu Malai at 9 pm, swallowed 15 tablets, drank the poison and stretched himself down at the cave. At 3 am a man dressed in white saved him, left him at home and disappeared. The people at home took him to be treated in the hospital and saved his life. He is still bearing testimony of this fact.
           Consequently a lady called Theresammal as a thanksgiving for her election as Panchayat President obtained the three phase electric connection without any expense. And Mr. Thalavoy Sundaram M.P. the very next year of making road arrangement to the cave became a minister.

          People came in crowds to remove the thorns and thistles and without any expense planted thousands of useful trees.
          Two overhead water tanks, meditation hall, house for the priest, flag staff, a grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, 14 shrines of the way of the cross and a cave of Our Lord’s grave, an eight feet high statue of St. Thomas on the top of the mountain, all these were constructed within two and a half years. This shows that God has stationed St. Thomas as a living Apostle in Nilappaarai Kurusu Malai. This is our profound faith.
          From that day to this day I am witnessing, and the people are witnessing there what St. Paul has said with divine inspiration: In accordance with the increase of faith of the people, God’s grace will abound. (Cfr. Rom. 5: 2, 20)
                                                           Fr. T Selva George
        Professor Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodappuzha speaks in the documentary film “Ezharappallikal” that there was a tradition even before St. Thomas came to Kerala (in 52 A.D.), which claims that the Sanyasi St. Thomas went earlier to the other places in the south countries and had preached Chistianity at Travancore in Kanyakumari district.7
          Interestingly enough, George Moraes quotes T. K. Joseph who in his article “Kerala Studies” speaks of one such cave cell built by St. Thomas for him and for his priests also at Thiruvithankodu. It is said that “In about 1924 an old parishioner of the Jacobite Syrian Church at Thiruvancodu in south Travancore (the half-church among the 7 ½ Churches of St. Thomas) said that there was a tradition that the unusually broad tomb in the southern yard of the church was built by St. Thomas for himself and a priest of his.”This tomb can be seen even now inside the Catholic Church (Peria Nayagi Matha Kovil) in the southern yard of the St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church at Thiruvithaankodu.
          This cave of St. Thomas later (A.D.1550 to 1590) became the source of excavating the historical tunnel way between Thiruvithankodu and Padmanabhapuram palace. No one can deny the existence of this “three kilo meter long” cave tunnel which connects Thiruvithankodu “Peria Naayagi Matha Kovil” and Padmanabhapuram Palace. The inhabitants of the place are well aware of this fact. On 13th June 2004 when the author of this treatise had an interview with Mr. Paul a local historian, Mr. Paul admitted that when he was a child he used to enter into the cave and play together with other local children. And he said that when a man ventured to walk through the tunnel, he disappeared and never came back! And when a dog was sent, the same result occurred. Therefore the entrance of the tunnel was temporarily closed with stones and cement. And the cave still remains as you see in the Picture.
Raja's residence having the cave inside
converted into the church of Peria Nayagi Matha
          Actually the kings of Travancore had divided the province of Venadu into several Taluks (Kodu) and each Taluk was entrusted to a petit king. This fact is confirmed by A.M. Stanislaus when he says: “It is said that with Rama Varma (A. D. 1545 to 1556) certain Puthala Kerala Varma and Unni Kerala Varma were ruling at the same time in different places.”For these petit Rajas they had built residences in each Taluk with secret cells for arms and ammunitions. One such residence was built at Thiruvithankodu also with St. Thomas’ cave cell in it. This residence has been converted into the present “Peria Nayagi Kovil.”
          Historical data reveal that this Tunnel way had been constructed during the period of Rama Varma (A.D. 1545 to 1556) and Unni Kerala Varma (1556 to 1595). The inscriptions at the Padmanabhpuram Palace say that it was constructed from A.D. 1550 to 1590. And the Website page on the Historical Monuments of Travancore testifies that “the Padmanabhapuram Palace is a 16th century marvel”10 It is a wide spread understanding that during the reign of the above mentioned petit Rajas, while wars broke out due to the attack by the fleet of the Vijaya Nagar Kingdom in 1558, and due to the internal strife caused by Apputhambi and Ramanthambi together with Ettuveettu Pillaimar during the reign of Marthanda Varma (A.D.1729 TO 1758), it is this tunnel way that helped them to escape as being a war time strategy for their victory.


St. Thomas International Pilgrim Centre, Thiruvithamcode, Kanyakumari Tamil Nadu. []

The Historic Thiruvithamcode Church was built by St. Thomas , the Apostle of India in 63AD? (36 A.D) in the name of the Holy Mother St. Mary. This is believed to be one of the oldest church structures in the world.......... (See Chapter 8) 




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Matha Malai
          In between Thiruvithaankodu and Karungal six kilo meters west of Thiruvithaankodu at Kappiyara there is a hill called Matha Malai. St. Thomas during his stay in and around Thiruvithaankodu, chiefly when the construction of the Ezharaippalli was under way, The Apostle used to spend the night and the morning hours in a small hut on top of this hill. There on the top of a rock he would spend the morning hours meditating and reciting his divine office. On that spot two stones served him as a throne. Sitting on the one and resting the right foot on the other, he folded his left leg over the knee of the right leg. Thus seated he used to read, write and meditate for a long time even under the sun. Cool breeze from the sea of the west coast made this spot very pleasant to sit and meditate.
          As St. Thomas was accustomed to sit on this rock, the foot print of his right leg has been imprinted on the rock. Rev. Thirumeni Varghese a priest of the Syro -Malabar Rite has traced out the details of this spot and a cave in which Our Lady appeared several times to St. Thomas. These details, he says, are found in the archives of the Latin Seminary in Thiruvanathapuram Arch Diocese where he studied. People around the locality have a great veneration to this sacred place. On every Good Friday the devotees climb on the hill praying the way of the cross and kissing the foot print of St. Thomas the Apostle to this day.  

        By now the name and fame of the Apostle began to spread like wild fire all over the neighbouring countries. A group of people came from Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari) to invite the Saint to their country. Cape Comerin at that time was called Muttapathy and was situated at the present Chinna Muttam or Kumari Muttam. The present Cape Comerin at that time was an uninhabited hill, from which the sea was then half a league (about one kilo meter) distant.11 Muttapathy was well inhabited by a fishermen population. St. Thomas came to Muttapathy, began to preach the gospel and baptized all of them in front of the Cross he erected there, which can be seen even today. Then the Apostle built a church there. Doctor V. Lawrence writes: “Kanyakumari was not only the confluence of seas but also the meeting ground…..of early Christianity that was associated with St. Thomas,” and he admits that in Kottar also there were Christians who have remained as such from the time of St. Thomas. And he also speaks about the church of St. Thomas (Thoma Palli) at Kumari Muttam near Cape Comerin, quoting Diego Gonsalves who wrote the first ‘History’ of Malabar.12                   
        Thus it was fulfilled in Muttapathy (Cape Comerin) in the first mission of St. Thomas what Herman D’Souza quotes as said in “The Doctrine of the Apostles”: “India and all its own countries and those bordering on it (Ceylon), even to the farthest sea (Indian Ocean), received the Apostles’ Hand of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was Guide and Ruler in the church which he built there and ministered there.”13
        This church built by the Apostle was continually rebuilt and maintained by the subsequent missionaries. Duarte Barbosa who came to India around 1500 A.D. and remained there for sixteen years, wrote by the year 1517: “Near this Cape Comerin is an old church of Christians which was founded by Armenians, who still have it and celebrate Christian masses within it and have Cross on the altars.”  There are two stone inscriptions , of which one contains the edict (A.D. 1494) of the local ruler authorizing that from the income collected from the fishermen, lights have to be kept burning in this church; and the other inscription was of the local king Muttampiranar, after whose name this place got the name “Muttam” or “Muttapathi.” 14
         There is a tradition backed by the historians that on the top most part of the hill of Cape Comerin St. Thomas had erected a stone Pillar with a Cross on the top in full view of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). George Moraes writes: “There stood upon the rocks near the sea-shore, a stone pillar, which according to popular belief, had been erected by St. Thomas himself.”15 The historians are confused in the demarcation of the place of this Pillar of St. Thomas. Because there were three pillars, erected in different places, by different persons and in different periods. The first was erected in Cape Comerin by the Apostle St. Thomas about the year 35 A.D. The second one by John Marignoli at Covalam near Cape Comerin in the year 1348 A.D and the third one by the Portughese missionaries at Quilon in the year 1502 A.D. The confusion was also due to the naming of the places where these pillars were erected. For example the names like Covalam, Caulam, Caulan or Quilon. In the first century Cape Comerin and Covalam were one place with two hills and without any inhabitants.
       Speaking of this pillar of St. Thomas, Fr. A. Monserrate in his letter to the General of the Society of Jesus, dated January 12, 1579 observes: “The Tradition is, and it is the common saying, that St. Thomas erected at Caulan (Covalam or Cape Comerin) a pillar (marco) on some stones, from which the sea was then about half a league distant, while saying (prophesying) that, when the sea should reach that pillar, white Christians would come, who would reduce them (instruct them) to following the law (religion) which he was preaching.”16
        John Gilmary Shea writes: “Before he died in Meliapour, St. Thomas erected a very large cross and predicted to the people that when the sea would advance to the very foot of that cross, God would send them, from a far-distant land, white men who would preach to them the same doctrine he had taught them. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Portuguese arrived in the region, and found that the ocean had advanced so far as to be truly at the foot of the cross.” 17
        Herman D’souza,  getting the mistaken idea from authors like that of the above quoted materials, tries to locate this pillar at the city of Mylapore, but by giving the king’s name of the locality as Gandhappar Raja, he assures without his knowledge that the Pillar was erected within the territories of the Southern Pandian Kingdoms. He writes as follows: “There is a tradition that the sinking of Mylapore was prophesied by St. Thomas. He had been allowed by the local king, probably Kandappa Rajah, to build a church in the locality. ……On a certain occasion, the Apostle is believed to have said that when the sea should come near his Beth (abode), a western nation would come preaching the same doctrines as he himself taught.”18 The locality of Gandhappar Raja definitely not being Mylapore but the province between Thiruchendur and Kanyakumari, it becomes certain that the Pillar of St. Thomas was erected not in Mylapore but in Kanyakumari.
        Fr. Hosten says: “The same thing was said for St. Thomas at Mylapore though we have no allusion to the existence of such a pillar close to the church of the saint’s tomb.”19 Fr. A. Monserrate thinks that this pillar was erected not in Mylapore but somewhere else, and that before the time of the arrival of the Portuguese. He says: “But I rather think that that Pillar is from before the time of the arrival of the Portuguese.”20
        In the above accounts, the location of the Pillar of St. Thomas is indicated as “upon the rocks near the sea-shore,” and “on some stones, from which the sea was then about half a league distant.” The present Rocks-Memorial at Cape Comerin might have been the sacred foundations of the hill, on which St. Thomas had erected his “Pillar-Memorial” of Christianity in the first century.
        The hill, on the top of which the Pillar was erected, must have had, as its foundation, a solid mountain comprised of the three Sacred Rocks at the tri-sea spot of Cape Comerin: (1). The ‘Thiru Muzhukku Paarai” the rock of Divine Baptism or the present Sacred Snana Mandabam (Bathing spot) at the tip of Kumari Munai. (2). The “Thiru Thoon Paarai” the rock of the Sacred Pillar or the present Memorial of the Divine Poet. (3). The “Thiru Anai Paarai” the rock of the Sacred Shield or the present Memorial of the Sacred Philosopher (Saint Francis Xavier). These three rocks   and stones around them were then under the hill when the sea was about half a league distant.                                                          
        The names “Thiru Muzhukku Paarai,” “Thiru Thoon Paarai” and “Thiru Anai Paarai” were traditionally in use among the St. Thomas’ Christians in Cape Comerin. When the prophecy of St. Thomas was fulfilled at the beginning of the thirteenth century, the sea reached the vicinity of the pillar, and the rock first appeared was the Thiru Anai Parai, (the present Vivekananda Rock) which for a long time was shielding the pillar of St. Thomas from falling, and therefore was called the rock of the Sacred Shield. But finally, before the end of the thirteenth century, when the sea eroded the whole area as foretold by St. Thomas, the hill together with the Sacred Pillar disappeared into the sea.
        In the fourteenth century White Christians came, in fact, and built a church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Cape Comerin at the spot where the church of the Roman Catholics now stands. The Franciscan Bishop John Marignoly visited this church twice and preached the gospel in 1339 before his visit to China, and in 1347 after he returned from China. Now Bishop Marignoli also erected a pillar in Cape Comerin. At his time the top most spot was a hill situated south east of Covalam near Cape Comerin. He intended this pillar to last till the end of the world. But it was also destroyed by the sea in the later part of the nineteenth century.
         George Moraes writes: “This Franciscan (Bishop Marignolli) was endowed with a lovely imagination. Ceylon was not very far. It was the ‘Paradise’ where the Muslims pointed to the lake formed by the tears of Adam and Eve mourning for their son Abel. Before leaving for India, Marignolli had a pillar set up at Cape Comerin, the extremity of the Indian peninsula in full view of Ceylon. “More glorious than Alexander the great,” says he, when he set up his colomn (in India), “for I erected a stone as my landmark and memorial in the corner of the world over against the Paradise. In sooth, it was a marble pillar with a stone cross upon it, intended to last till the world’s end. And it had the pope’s arms and my own engraved upon it with inscriptions both in Indian and Latin characters. I consecrated and blessed it in the presence of an infinite multitude of people, and I was carried on the shoulders of the chiefs in a litter or palanquin like Solomon’s.”21
        Details of the pillar of Bishop Marignoli are recorded by Fr. Hosten as different from that of the Quilon Pillar. “If this pillar had been a Padrao set up by the Portuguese, it would have been discovered in various places; for instance the arms of Portugal, or date. Now, the Quilon pillar has never been described as having anything distinctive. It is said that it disappeared only in the nineteenth century. Surely, the pillar was not the one erected by Friar John of Marignolli about 1347; his pillar was somewhere at or near Cape Comerin.”22
        Mudaliyar C.Rasanayagam also in his “Ancient Jaffna,” makes reference from “Cathay and the Way Thither,” written by Col. H. Yule, in 1348 or 1349 AD, that John de Marignolli, the papal delegate to the Court of the Great Khan, on his return from China, landed at Columbam. He remained with the Christians there for one year and four months, after erecting a stone memorial,“ in the corner of the world over against Paradise,”  (supposed to be at Cape Comarin) he went to see the famous Queen of Saba, by whom he “was honorably treated” and then “proceeded to Seyllan  (Ceylon). Source:  BahamasWriter.comClick Here
        Later this monument of Bishop Marignoli was attributed to St. Thomas by the local inhabitants. Baldaeus, a Dutch writer who reports this, has said that he saw this Pillar in 1662. As he says: “Upon the rocks near the sea shore of Caulam (Covalam), stands a stone pillar, erected there, as the inhabitants report, by St. Thomas. I saw the pillar in 1662. …….But It disappeared towards the close of the nineteenth century. And as Howard in his ‘Christians of St. Thomas and their liturgies’ says: “Mr. D’Albedhil told me that he has seen this pillar and that it was washed away only a few years ago” Quoted from Travancore Manual. 23
        In the sixteenth century the Portuguese and St. Francis Xavier came and built a beautiful church of Our Lady of Joy which we can still find behind the sacristy of the church of Our Lady of Ransom with its golden cross on top of the tower  now in Cape Comerin.
          One of the available monuments of St. Thomas, erected during his mission in the southern Pandian Kingdom, is a famous stone cross with the inscription “I.N.R.I.” carved by his own hands in a         style peculiar to St. Thomas himself.
          The story of this cross as narrated by the inhabitants is that when St. Thomas founded a community of Christians at Pandarakulam near Vallioor, (See Ch. 6) the Saint as usual erected a stone cross there as an object of worship. And for a long time the Christians of St Thomas gathered in front of this Cross for their morning and evening prayers, and even for Holy Mass whenever some missionaries visited them. Then the people had built a “Kurusadi” holding the Cross on its top, with a small chapel attached for worship.
And when the present church was built, the Kurusadi was demolished, and the value of the Cross being unknown, it was discarded to a corner by the side of the church. But St. Thomas appeared to a pious man in dream and told that the Cross should be given a suitable place of veneration. It should be kept as a monument of his apostolic work in this place. Thus the Cross was recognized as a valuable treasure and a record for these people of having received the gospel of Christ in the very beginning of the Christian era. And therefore the Cross has been now kept, as you see in the picture, by the right side of the church, facing the main street of entrance in to the village.
Many miracles are attached to this Cross of St. Thomas. (These details were narrated to the author in a personal interview with one of the inhabitants Mrs. Marianthony Ammal 80 yrs. on May 23, 2004).  Recently the local people have once again constructed a beautiful shrine in the same spot where the cross had been planted, namely by the right side of the church, facing the main street of entrance in to the village.
Many miracles are attached to this Cross of St. Thomas. (These details were narrated to the author in a personal interview with one of the inhabitants Mrs. Marianthony Ammal 80 yrs. on May 23, 2004).  Recently the local people have once again constructed a beautiful shrine in the same spot where the cross had been planted, namely by the right side of the church, facing the main street of entrance in to the village.
          Ever since this shrine was built, the devotion of the Holy Cross is being celebrated on every First Friday of the month.

1.AlexC.Muthiahibid.Pages139,140.                                                                                                                        2. Ibid. Pages 50, 15, 16.                                                                                                                            3. H. Sarkar, Research Article in the “Souvenir of the fourth Centenary Celebration                                of the Holy Cross church at Manappadu. 1581 - 1981. Cfr. Paragraph 3,                                                 4. Herman D’Souza “In the Steps of St. Thomas” Pages 5, 6.                                                                     5. H. Sarkar Ibid Paragraph. 3, 14. 17; Foot Note 5.                                                                                    6. H. Sarkar Ibid. Paragraph 14,                                                                                                                  7. Professor George Menacherry Documentary Film, ICS Creation “Ezharappallikal”                                8. George Moraes Ibid. Page 42, Foot Note 50.                                                                                         9. A. M. Stanislaus “Thamizhar Arasu 3 (Cherar Arasu)” Pages 135,                                                            10.  “Padmanabhapuram palace is a 16th century marvel”
Source: - Similar pages
11. George Moraes Ibid. Page 210.
12. Dr. V. Lawrence Ibid. Pages 44, 46.
13 Herman D’Souza Ibid. Page 5
14. Dr. V. Lawrence Ibid. Page 46. 20.
15 George Moraes Ibid.  page, 210                                                                                              
16. ibid.
17. John Gilmary Shea “Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints” Dec. 21
18. Herman D’Souza ibid.  Page 42.
19. George Moraes Ibid. Page 210, Foot Note No. 15.                                             
20 Ibid. Page 211.                                                                                                                                      21. Ibid. Page 105; V. Lawrence Ibid. Page 49; A.E. Medlycott ‘St. Thomas’ Christians’                        Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Page 683                                                                                                  22. George Moraes Ibid. Page 211 Foot note No. 16.                                                                               23. ibid. Page 211, Foot Note No. 16.

-- Edited by admin on Wednesday 3rd of July 2019 06:35:44 PM

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