Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

Members Login
    Remember Me  


Status: Offline
Posts: 7329



          According to the accounts given by A. Chidabaranaar, during the fight in the North Pandian Kingdom between the Muslims kings and the kings of Vijayanagar (from 1352 to 1700), the South Pandian kingdom was reined by fourteen Pandian kings. When St. Francis Xavier came (1552), the South Pandian kingdom was reined by Chadaya Varman Baraackirama Kulasekara Pandian. And when the Jesuits gave up the parishes to the Bishop of Cochin (1603), the South Pandian Kingdom was reined by Chadaya Varman Athiveera Rama Pandian (1564 to 1604). The Kings of the South Pandian Kingdom were ruling either from Kayathar or from Thirunelveli. 1
          Eventually during the reign of Varathunga Rama Pandian (1604 to 1613), Maana Veera Naadu was left without any spiritual help, and the St. Thomas Christians of Kanakkankudiyiruppu began to migrate and settle in different villages where some spiritual help was available. The elect of the Catholics were thus led by the Jesuit Lay Brother “Mathavadian Punyavaalan” (Slave of Our Lady) and Arulaayee Punyavathee to better places, and was taken care of in their Christian Faith and Morals. Thus the Kanakkappillai family from Kanakkankudiyirupu moved first to Ooralvaimozhy and then to Azhagappapuram (Kanyakumari Dt.); The Catechist family moved first to Tharuvaikulam and then to Kamanaayakkanpatti; and the King’s family from Jesupuram (later Isalapuram) also moved to Azhagappapuram.2
          The rest of the St. Thomas Christians in Kanakkankudiyiruppu, due to the absence of virtuous leaders slowly became slaves to the power of darkness and to selfishness. In spite of the warnings and inspirations of Our Lady of Assumption through dreams and visions, the people did not heed to the voice of Our Lady. Sin abounded in the society, Injustice and disorder became prevalent and the poor and God fearing were oppressed.3


          Maanaveera Naadu was always ruled by a petit king who was Christian. In the year 1639 Maanaveera Naadu was ruled by the petit king called Agathukuthavi Pandian. He must have come from the generations of Agathu Marian of Thoppuvilai, who had the vision of Our Lady and had built the church at Kanakkankudiyiruppu. Alex Muthaiah elaborately discusses the details of this king with plenty of testimonies and stone inscriptions. One such stone inscription is said to be found in the southern limit of the reserve forest of Muthukrishnapuram, Kuthiraimozhi Village, Thiruchendur Taluk, and Thirunelveli District. This inscription gives the names of the ten petit kings of the Maanaveera Vala Naadu; and in particular, the name of the king who was ruling the southern limit (of Maanaveera Naadu) as “Agathukuthavi Naadan”.4
          The king had renewed the Church of St. Agatha at Rammadupuram with small baked bricks and mortar of lime stones, because St. Agatha was the patron saint of his kingdom and he had been named after the saint.
          Many of the citizens of this region had added the saint’s name with their’s like:  Agathu Marian, Agathu Michael, Agathu Savarimuthu, Agathu Soosai Marian and so on. If anyone holds this name in South India, it is the sure sign that he or she is from the ancient generation of this kingdom of Maanaveera Naadu.5
          The statue of St. Agatha kept in the church at Rammadupuram is very ancient, for it has the features of the statues of the saint sculpted before the volcano eruption of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy.
          Empedocles, a major Pre-Socratic philosopher and Greek statesman of the 5th century BC, was said to have met his death in the volcano’s crater. Etna supposedly erupted in sympathy with the martyrdom of Saint Agatha in 251 AD, prompting Christians thereafter to invoke her name against fire and lightning. Source: “Mount Etna”

          Statues of St. Agatha sculpted after the eruption to invoke her name against fire and lightning, were holding candles or a house on fire. But it is to be noted that this statue holds the original martyr’s palm and the Bible.
          In 1648 the son of Agathukuthavi Pandian called Thuravi Pandian must have become the king of Maanaveera Naadu. Fr. John Bosco speaks of him as agreeable to everybody in the kingdom; and in a way passing orders prompted by the upper handed in the society. In reality the king was a devoted Christian, selfless and unattached. Hence he got the name “Thuravi Pandian”. And so he was caught in between the maxims of religious life and the glories of an earthly king. 6
          Thuravi Pandian was really attached to the Church of Our Lady in Kanakkankudiyiruppu, and was trying his level best to take care of its maintenance. In modern times this church has become a great shrine of Our Lady in Tuticorin Diocese. It has been recognized as one of the Catholic Shrines of South India. This Shrine of Manal Matha (Our Lady in the Sand) had been “Prompted by St Thomas, Appreciated by Marco Polo, Renovated by Giovanni de' Marignolli, Visited by St Francis Xavier, Buried under the sand for 150 years, Not documented; but well venerated is the Shrine of Manal Matha (Our Lady in the Sand) of Kanakkankudiyiruppu (near Puthantharuvai and Chettivillai at the Thisayanvillai - Periyathazhai Road)) is still a mystery for many”. Source: “Catholic churches in south India
          During the reign of King Thuravi Pandian there lived in Kanakkankudiyiruppu a poor young widow by name Jesu Mariayee. It is a traditional story narrated and handed down by the generations of St. Thomas Christians at Kanakkankudiyiruppu that Jesu Mariayee was the only child of a holy and poor family in Kanakkankudiyiruppu. She had lost her father in her childhood. And her mother, by her good confidence in the Mother of God and by hard work, took care of the child as the pupil of her eye and in love of Jesus and Mary. Jesu Mariayee was spending her time in the church, teaching the children to love and please Our Lady, practicing tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin and cleaning and decorating the church. She was very careful to keep her soul clean as well as the altar of Our Lady. Thus she was growing in age and sanctity in the loving service of Jesus and Mary. In time Jesu Mariayee was engaged to a pious young man called Soosai Muthu.
          The author has taken some liberty to continue the story with his imagination, not deviating from the original story.
          The King had a wicked land lord as his minister, who was planning to capture the kingdom by over throwing Thuravi Pandian through subversive plots. This land lord had a son by name Veera Pandian. The “Manal Matha Shrine – a historical Tour” states this land lord as also an employee in the Portuguese Fort at Punnaikayal. Source:
          This Veera Pandian, weak in morals and impious in his conduct, had developed an unbridled craving for the hands of Jesu Mariayee in spite of her being already engaged to Soosai Muthu. Veera Pandian was planning to execute his desire through the tricks of his father, influencing the king and by manipulating the royal authority. But his schemes could not stand before the influence of Jesu Mariayee with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The marriage between Soosai Muthu and Jesu Mariayee took place as arranged by her mother.
          Being possessed by an unrestrained fury at his disappointment, Veera Pandian murdered Soosai Muthu by subterfuge, and by creating a fictitious story, made the public believe that Soosai Muthu died by an accident. At the shock of this grief, the mother of Jesu Mariayee died of heart attack.
          Being forsaken by every earthly asylum as an orphaned widow, Jesu Mariayee took Our Lady as her sole refuge. She thought that before the dolorous passion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her own sufferings are nothing. On the contrary, Jesu Mariayee entrusted herself totally to Mary, and prayed to Her that She might henceforth uphold the radiance of her chastity until the coming of Jesus the eternal bridegroom, and to meet Him together with the faithful virgins and thus to praise His Blessed Mother. She prayed also that Our Lady may well grant her enough strength to bear whatever misfortune might transpire in future.
          Now the venomous wits of the minister’s brain began to work. He knew that Jesu Mariayee will not be trapped in the mesh of Veera Pandian. But the minister worked out a perfidy by making use of her to hurl down King Thuravi Pandian and seize the kingdom to him. Thuravi Pandian had never been failed in justice. But the minister’s plan was to demonstrate the king to the citizens as one who has openly conducted himself unjust.
The vision of Our Lady
          In the mean while Jesu Mariayee was offering her devout prayers to Our Lady to guide her according to the designs Jesus and Mary would wish to have accomplished in her. One day Our Lady of Assumption appeared to Jesu Mariayee and said: “Be confident my daughter! The Lord is with you. He who nourishes even a the one cell beings will sustain you. Now Our Lord Jesus Christ wants to make use of you in order to make me known and loved in this place. He wants to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in this Sanctuary. You must sacrifice yourself for this intention. Your name will be remembered here till the end of the world.
          After this apparition, Jesu Mariayee became comforted and consoled, and cheerfully engaged herself in cleaning and maintaining the church of Our Lady. The variety of birds which had their nests and hatched their bird lings on the trees around the church became her favorite friends. She would cherish to talk to them intimately. The birds in turn were playing with her in an amazing manner. One day she said to the birds: “O my friends, how eagerly do I every day remove your dung and clean up the Sanctuary of Our Blessed Mother! Could you not compassionately help me carry out this work? Immediately when one of the Pelicans raised its tone of voice, all the birds of that sanctuary with their call of blissful cry took to the air like a huge cloud and fluttered around the church. After a spectacular display of delightful parade in the sky, all the birds descended with an accent of greetings and took their pose around Jesu Mariayee. All those who witnessed this marvel felt awe inspired! But some others became aggravated in their spirit with an intolerable resentment.
          The next morning when Jesu Mariayee came out as usual to sweep up the birds’ droppings in front of her hut, to her dismay she saw plenty of fishes as a replacement for the dung! Joyfully collecting the fishes, she praised the Heavenly Mother in gratitude for this divine providence granted through her favorite friends. She took some for herself, the rest she distributed to the poor and some fishes she soled and put the money in the dumb box of the church. Of course she thought and with her all others that it was a miracle of one day. But it had become a habitual inclination for the birds to drop the fishes every morning in that particular spot.
          Fire of jealousy began to blaze in the attitude of the people. In the radiance of this fire the minister and his son maneuvered their treason. They tactfully prepared witnesses for their accusations representing the citizens and the government as well. They spread the defamations against Jesu Mariayee so much among the people that the whole village came forward to hold up the false accusations, without being afraid of the sins of envy, selfishness, detraction and injustice.  On an appropriate day Veera Pandian brought before the king the accusations against Jesu Mariayee and petitioned for judicial process.
           The affidavit petition contained the following: “It is a disgrace to the kingdom of Maanaveera Naadu to see Jesu Mariayee openly living with a prostitute. Prostrating before the king I request to make inquiries and pass judgment, and thus to guard the honor and reputation (Maanam) of the kingdom of Maanaveera Naadu”.
          Prostitution according to the custom of that time should be punished with “Nadai Vilakku”, which means drilling a hole on top of the head, fitting a wick in the hole, pouring oil on it, lighting the wick and leave her burn to death.
          There was only one way for Jesu Mariayee to escape this punishment. It was accepting to become the wife of Veera Pandian. As a last chance, Veera Pandian himself goes to her and asks for her consent. And the consent is resolutely refused. She said: “I am prepared to sacrifice myself together with Our Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed himself for the sins of men.” With these words of fortitude Jesu Mariayee ascended the pulpit of the culprit.
          That was Good Friday 1649. King Thuravi Pandian on the Judgment seat knew the truth! He was certain that Jesu Mariayee was innocent! But she has no witness except God. If he had judged on her favour, he would have to incur the hatred of the citizen. If he judged against her, he would become a subject of derision as an unjust king!  Thuravi Pandian was in great distress knowing not what to do. Thus the Plan of the wicked minister has been successfully carried out to over throw the kingdom.
          Finally the inquiry commenced. The King asked Jesu Mariayee: “Is it true that you are living with an illegal husband, who visits you every night, and that he daily brings you the fishes?
           “It is not true, O my King, all know that the birds are dropping the fishes!” was her honest reply.
          “No, No, not the birds”, shouted the crowd, “every night we hear her speaking with a man for a long time! It is that man who brings her the fishes.”
          When the king asked, “Is it true?” Jesu Mariayee answered: “Yes it is true that I am conversing daily with my sweet heart!”
          Immediately the whole crowd stood up and shouted saying: “Ah! She has admitted the truth! Pass the capital punishment! Punish her with ‘Nadai Vilakku’ and kill her! Kill her! Kill her!”
           “Tell the name of that your sweet heart”, commanded the king. Jesu Mariayee replied in a clear voice: “His name is Jesus Christ Our Lord!”
          But they shouted more vehemently and bore false witnesses against her saying: “No, No! She is hiding the name of her illegal husband. We saw her committing adultery with some one!”
          And since there was no one to bear witness in favour of Jesu Mariayee, King Thuravi Pandian was constrained to write the judgment as follows and read it in front of the crowd: “I here by Judge that the capital punishment of ‘Nadai Vilakku’ be executed on Jesu Mariayee, because she has defamed the honor and reputation (Maanam) of the kingdom of Maanaveera Naadu”.

          Like the demons the whole crowd was yelling and jumped upon the innocent victim and cried: “Kill her! Kill her! Burn the adulteress with fire!” If they had been told; “any one of them who has not sinned, let him set fire on her”, no one would have stayed there.
          But those sinners in company with the devils dragged the sinless widow Jesu Mariayee out on the street, shaved her head, garlanded her with slippers and flowers of blue madar (Erukku) and rallied her all through the streets of Kanakkankudiyiruppu. 
At the end when the procession reached in front of the church, the final punishment of "Nadai Vilakku" was performed. A hole was drilled on top of the head, a wick wick was fitted in the hole, oil was poured on it, fire was lighted on the wick and she was left to be burned unto death. That was the Good Friday of A.D. 1649.

         Instantly the heavens opened with a roaring of thunder! Trumpet sounded from above! The clear words of an angel was heard and echoed throughout the world: “Behold my beloved daughter Jesu Mariayee, suffering persecution for justice’s sake! She is blessed! For hers is the kingdom of heaven!”
          Trembling with the pain of fire Jesu Mariayee addressed to Our Lady these last words: “Behold my Mother, I come! Forgive them ……” and expired.
          “No! No forgiveness!” King Thuravi Pandian cried from the pulpit, “no forgiveness for me! Let the curse of God come upon me and my kingdom! Punishment! Punishment for my unjust killing of the innocent Jesu Mariayee! I and my kingdom which were the cause of this great crime shall perish! And be buried under the earth! Let the heavens open and shower the rain of sand! Let the Maanaveera Naadu be wiped out from the face of the earth! And be devastated into a sand hill! Let all the inhabitants die and perish!” Thus the king of Maanaveera Naadu called upon himself and his people the curse of God’s wrath and chastisement.
          The curse of the king made the people shudder! Without more ado God willed the curse to be fulfilled. The greatest of the storms ever before fiercely arose from the Western Ghats, and a heavy load of red sand roofed the Kingdom of Maanaveera Naadu. It was so heavy and quick that except a very few, all the inhabitants were caught under the sands and perished!
          As by one sin of Lucifer eternal hell was created, as the first sin of Adam and Eve made the whole world a sea of tears, as the sin of human race destroyed the world by flood, and as the ugly sin of the flesh blazed Sodom and Gomorrah, so by the wickedness of the king and people of Maanaveera Naadu, that kingdom was cursed and became one big sand hill. The rivers dried, fields and groves disappeared, the attractive pelicans flew away, and the habitations of men moved away. The beautiful church of Our Lady of assumption was buried and the palace of the king was plundered and destroyed. 
          The only historical proof available for all that is said above is the miraculous finding of the church of Manal Matha Kovil 150 years after in 1799.
          Now let us go to Manal Matha kovil and see how this church still buried under the earth was miraculously found out for the fulfillment of the great plan of Our Lady.
          What is the mystery of this gigantic curtain of the red sand hill which hides a wonderful world filled with the fertility of the land, the ancient ark of the Tamil literatures, and the Christian Philosophical foot prints of St. Thomas the Apostle in the Southern Pandian kingdom of Maanaveera Naadu?
          Today, if we travel by helicopter, starting from the sea shore of Koothenguli in Radhapuram Taluk, and go through Aathankarai Pallivaasal, Anaikkarai, Mannaarpuram, Satankulam, Nazareth, Kurumbur, and Arumuganeri and reach the sea shore at Kombuthrai, we can see all the villages within this limit are built on a big sand hill. One can view this sand hill also at a spot north of Periathaalai where the height of the sand hill reaches 148 feet from the sea level.
          No one can deny that a kingdom, whose history was not recognized until 1799, had been ruled up to 1649 and was buried under the sand hill. Archeological excavations will bring to light many realities hidden if this mysterious red sand hill.
          Let us here explain the history, how Our Lady of Assumption who reigned from the time of St. Thomas up to 1649 that wonderful world, which was then covered with sand for 150 years, is now shining after the miraculous revelation and excavation of the church in the year 1799, as the bright queen of this red sand hill under the title “Athisaya Manal Mary Matha”.
          God has chosen this mysterious red sand hill of the southern Pandian kingdom as a heavenly device to inspire once again the mankind His great plan in these latter times. His eternal plan is nothing but establishing the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother as the “Eternal Virgin” to give the redeemer to mankind that souls may be saved and attain eternal happiness. Hence through the Blessed Lady of this sand hill the curse of Maanaveera Naadu should be removed so that the people might see the glory of the kingdom of Jesus and the triumph of the Eternal Virgin over Satan. As a condition for this Our Lady comes out with her plan of mercy (prayer), her plan of might (Penance) and her plan of grace (reparation for sins), and invites us to join her  to establish in this place the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “God then wishes to reveal and make known Mary, the masterpiece of his hands in these latter times” says St. Louis De Montfort, “…….for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might and in grace, in these latter times.”7 This great plan of heaven is the mystery hidden in this gigantic curtain of the red sand hill.



Status: Offline
Posts: 7329

          In and around 1650 A.D., villages appeared above the great red sand hills. According to Alex Muthaiah, Christians built a church in Thopuvilai with thatched roof for Maria Matha. Thopuvilai and Puliyankaadu were the first villages with Christian inhabitants and visited by the missionaries from Europe. Jesupuram, Rammadupuram and many villages re- appeared. Thopuvilai became for some time the center of the missions in that region.8
          About 1670 A. D., one Gnanamuthu, his wife Santhayee, his sister Arulayee and some other Christians moved from Thopuvilai across the Hanuman River on the west, and settled there. This region is now known as Vadakkankulam.9
          In 1680 A.D., one day when Santhayee was collecting cotton with some of her kindred in the cotton field, she saw St. John De Britto with white costume crossing the field on horseback from west to the east. The saint must have travelled in search of Christians in Thopuvilai, but was stopped by Santhayee and was astonished to hear that these people are Christians from Thopuvilai. He visited their huts, blessed them and went on his way.10
          In the year 1685 about the month of July or August, Gnanamuthu and some people from Vadakkankulam went to Madurai to meet St. John De Britto and to invite him to baptize not less than 200 people who were prepared to become Christians. Immediately the saint bringing to a halt his journey to Thanjavoor rushed with some more Catechists to Vadakkankulam. And since there was not a church so far, he gathered the people in a Palmira grove, stayed there several days, and after appropriate instructions, baptized them all in the Catholic Church.11
          The above details are testified by the following historical note that at that period of time St. John Britto, also known as Arulanandar, traveled on foot, on horseback and bullock cart all over Tamil Nadu: “In 1673 St. John de Britto, a young energetic man from a royal family in Portugal, set foot on the shores of Goa in India. God filled his soul with a great dream project that of working for Christ by evangelizing the people in Tamil Nadu in South India. Desiring to spend his life with the simple and poor people, John Britto, also known as Arulanandar Swami in the Tamil language, traveled on foot, on horseback and bullock cart all over Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. Next to St. Thomas the Apostle, Britto is the only martyr-Saint in India to date.”12 Source:
          In 1691 about the month of January or February St. Arulanandar, the Martyr of Marava Naadu is said to have visited Peria Thaazhai (Tuticorin Diocesan directory Page, 158).13
          In 1701 the mission at Nemam (near Thiruvananthapuram) was started by an Italian priest Xaverio Borghese, and in 1713 another priest Fr. Antony Tavares was assigned. According to Rt. Rev. M. Arattukulam, Nemam then counted five churches, three in Travancore (Nemam, Thiruvithankodu and Marugoor), and two in Madura Province (vadakkankulam and Isalapuram). Thus the Christian villages of the South Pandian kingdom were attached to the Nemam Mission.14
          In 1713 Isalapuram (Jesupuram) became the mission center (parish) under Nemam Mission. In the history of Anaikkarai Parish, it is said that Isalapuram had been recorded in the year 1713 as one of the mission centers belonging to Nemam Mission.15
                “Jesupuram”, had been the principal city of Maanaveera Naadu, where the king and his administrative persons were residing from the first century onwards. It was situated half a kilo meter south of Anaikkarai. Until recent times (about 15 years) remnants of buildings were seen there as signs of highly cultured settlements of a big population. When this city was captured by the Pattanies (the ancestors of Misrikan Panisahib), the name of Jesupuram was changed in to Isalapuram, and thus remained until the city was left to ruin without inhabitants.16 Now (in September 2o11) when the author undertook a personal survey around the spot, he could see no sign of any habitation except small pieces of potsherds spread everywhere; and the area being an unoccupied reserved land.
          The Last ruler of Maanaveera Naadu, a Christian known as Anbudaiyaan has been buried in the ancient cemetery of the kings’ families. The ruins of this cemetery is seen west of Rammadupuram and on the eastern bank of the river. The author has seen the grave of Anbudaiyaan together with Alex Muthaiah (in the year 2004) and assured that the year of Anbudaiyaan’s death was 1790.17
          After 1790 when Misrikan Panisahib occupied Isalapuram, the king’s family and relatives, and some of the citizens had to flee from the “inaam land” of Isalapuram. At the death and burial of Anbudaiyaan, his wife took her two sons Thommaiyappan, and Eustace, and went to Azhagappapuram (Kanyakumari Dist.) where already in 1613 their fore fathers had gone and settled.18
          After the occupation of Isalapuram by the rulers of Islam (1790), Anaikkarai became the mission center.19
          After St. John De Britto, there were several Christian villages such as Sokkankuditiruppu, Chettivilai, Thopuvilai, Rammadupuram, and Changanankulam belonging to the mission centers of Isalapuram and Anaikkarai. According to the accounts given in the Directory of Tuticorin Diocese and by Alex Muthaiah, these villages of Maanaveera Naadu were visited by the following missionary priests until the miraculous discovery of the Manal Matha Kovil in 1799: 20
           -   1685 – 1695 Rev. Fr. Ignatius S.J.
           -   1699 - 1745 Rev. Fr. Xaverio Borghese S. J.
                                   (The founder of Nemam Mission)
                                    and Fr. Desouza S.J.                               
           -   1704 – 1751 Rev. Fr. Antony Tavares S. J.;
                                    Rev. Fr. John Baptist Buttari S. J.
                                    (Paranjothi Nathar).
           -   1773 - 1838 Priests from Pondicherri were visiting these villages.
                                   (During the suppression of the Society of Jesus)
          After the destruction of the church at Kanakkankudiyiruppu and the human residences around, 150 years passed (1649 to 1799). People forgot everything about the church, and no record of any kind was maintained by any one. But God willed to reveal this miraculous church in order to prove to the world that there are many undocumented historical facts hidden under this gigantic sand hill of Maanaveera Naadu.
          Vadakkankulam and Anaikkarai were the mission stations looked after by the above mentioned priests until the year 1773 when the Society of Jesus was suppressed.

According to the Tuticorin Diocesan Directory (Page, 167), Vadakkankulam in 1773 came under the supervision of the Arch bishop Salvadore Thoraise of Cranganore (Cochin). Missionaries from Pondicherry came and settled in Vadakkankulam to assist the Cochin mission. At that time Sokkankudiyiruppu situated north of Puthan Tharuvai was one of the substations of vadakkankulam. The southern side of the Lake (Tharuvai), where once Kanakkankudiyiruppu was situated, now looked like a desert full of thorny bushes and meadows of sand hills. By the side of the lake on the south there was a grove of Palmira, Banyan and Fig trees. Shepherds used to take rest under the shades of these trees.
          The author has taken liberty here to add up his own imagination to give graphic description to the historic event. The names and dates are his own suppositions.
          It was September 8, the birth day of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1799. A shepherd boy, Savariappan by name, hailing from Sokkankudiyiruppu left the sheep for grazing, and was lying down under the Banyan tree. Suddenly a bright light was shone among the branches of the tree. Hurriedly the boy gathered the sheep and sped towards the lake. Something struck heavily on his toes and he fell. After rubbing the toes for a while, he rushed again towards the lake.
          Once again the bright light appeared! A gentle breeze of heavenly music of innumerable angels was approaching! It was exactly twelve noon. A stupendous lightning appeared! Savariappan had closed his eyes. Hearing a sweet voice “my son”, he opened his eyes. Oh! What a wonder! Surrounded by angels Our Lady of Assumption stood before him above the ground. The Mother of God kindly gazing on the shivering boy said: “My son, do not be afraid! Go and search digging the spot where you fell!” saying this she disappeared!
          Savariappan hurried back to the spot and saw a stick protruding a little above the sand. With eagerness he dug the sand with his fingers. It was a beautiful cross! Firmly fixed on a solid structure! With all speed he ran to Sokkankudiyiruppu and narrated to the people all that happened. People of Sokkankudiyiruppu came to the spot in a great crowd. They dug the ground still deeper and found out that it was a cross on the font façade of a church!
          This marvel of the red sand hill was immediately reported to the Parish Priest (name not known) residing at Vadakkankulam. He was one of those missionaries from Pondicherry who had come and settled in Vadakkankulam to assist the Cochin mission, during the suppression of the Society of Jesus (1773 to 18380). The priest came immediately to the spot. With trembling hands he embraced the cross and venerated the sign of redemption with tears of joy! It was he who inaugurated the great project of excavating the sand hill of Kanakkankudiyiruppu.
          No permission or aid was sought from the government. The faith and devotion of the People of Sokkankudiyiruppu alone was his investment. He was struck with awe at the fervor and eagerness of the people. It is true even today that the faith and devotion of the people of Sokkankudiyiruppu astounds the Missionary Priests.
          Taking the people into confidence, the Parish Priest came and settled in a shed erected on the sand hill and launched on the excavation with suitable equipments and plenty of people to work without salary.
          If this project was not of the Blessed Virgin Mary, millions of rupees would have been required to launch on this venture. But expecting no kind of remuneration, but influenced only by genuine devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary all the children and adults, learned and unlearned, Christians and non Christians of all castes and creed engaged themselves day and night, praying and singing the praises of Our Lady, to remove the sand hill. Hearing of this holy venture, people from the surrounding regions even Hindus and Muslims came forward to work with the people and encourage the Parish Priest. Some rich people came forward to feed the workers with plenty of rice, nuts, grams and pulses of various kinds produced in their farms.
          Within three or four weeks the whole church was brought to sight. It was 1799, October 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the day assigned by the Parish Priest. All people had gathered in front of the church. They came in procession around the church praying the Rosary and singing hymns and the litany of Our Lady. As they approached the front door of the church, with a roar of slogan, the whole crowd bean to sing the greeting song “Ave Maria, Ave Maria!” The Parish Priest opened the door, saying “Gate of Heaven, Pray for us!”
          This is a traditional belief (not the imagination of the author).  The priest followed by the people with tears of prayerful ecstasy entered the church. Ah! At the awesome sight of the miraculous phenomenon inside, all prostrating on the ground, blubbered with tears: Ah! Amma! Amma Mathave! Mathave For two candles were burning by the side of the statue of Our Lady of Assumption. All these hundred and fifty years these candles might have had generated miraculous light to the sanctuary of Our Lady.
          Not only that, but the church was also filled with a sweet-smelling perfume. All were wondering: “Ah! What a fragrance!" There is nothing to wonder, because it is nothing unbelievable. When Our Lady had been taken from the sepulcher body and soul, were not the candles burning for three days? Were not flowers blossoming and giving sweet fragrance?
          On the main altar the beautiful statue of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary enthroned in 1542 by St. Francis Xavier appeared as if inviting the people with a smile: “Come, my children”. Holding a scepter on her right hand and the child Jesus on the left, she was adorned with a crown of twelve stars and there were angels under her feet as if carrying her in a chariot made of angels and clouds. Oh! The crowd was bewildered with an ecstasy of delight!
          On the right side of Our Lady was the statue of St. Francis of Assisi the founder of the Franciscan order, enthroned by Arch Bishop John Marignolli in the tear 1339. And on the left was the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola the founder of the Society of Jesus, enthroned by St. Francis Xavier in the year 1542.
          It is good to note hear that until the time of St. Francis Xavier the statue of Our Lady on the main alter had been the original one, enthroned by St. Thomas the Apostle during the period of his sojourn in south India A.D. 33 to 72. He must have made this statue during his second visit to India after the assumption of our Lady. This ancient wooden statue was seen on the side alter when the church was opened after its excavation in the year 1779. Since the people of Sokkankudiyiruppu were not very much bothered about the importance of this original one, the leaders of the close by village called Chettivilai, with the permission of the then Parish Priest and the people of Sokkankudiyiruppu, took the original Statue of Our Lady (the date unknown) to Chettivilai and enthroned it in the church of Chettivilai, and it is venerated by the people there with all veneration due to its Apostolic origin.
          To testify this fact the Parish priest of Chettivilai Fr. Selva George has given to the author a written testimony of his parishioners dated (Dec.2, 2011) saying: “In the excavation work of Manalmatha church, the contribution of Chettivilai was equally great. And therefore after the excavation was over when the Pariah Priest of Sokkankudiyiruppu wanted to take this statue to Sokkankudiyruppu, they requested it for Chettivilai church and obtained it”. Thus the original statue of Our Lady has been preserved as a precious property of Chettivilai to this day.
          From the day of excavation onwards continuously people gathered there to pray and work, removing the land-sliding around the church. And until the priests of the Society of Jesus were once again sent in the year 1838, the missionaries of Pondicherry came regularly to maintain the Manalmatha miraculous church.

          In the year 1838 the priests of the Society of Jesus were once again sent to their mission centers. In 1843 Fr. Casthanier S.J. and in 1851 Fr, Verdier S.J., sent to Vadakkankulam as Parish Priests were taking care of the Manalmatha church.
          In 1861 Fr. Danish Cushen S.J. appointed as Parish Priest of Sathankulam was maintaining the Manalmatha church until 1880.
Fr. John Mangella S.J.
           In 1880 Anaikkarai was made a separate Parish and Fr. John Mangella (Arulappa Nathar) took charge as Parish Priest of both Anaikkarai and Sokkankudiyiruppu. Fr. Mangella had a special affection towards Manalmatha church. He had an unquenchable desire to protect the church from being once again exposed to land sliding or sand storm.     
So far it was a hard task for the people every day to remove sliding sands out from the main door of the church. Seeing this Fr. Mangella with an expensive project in cooperation of the people’s labour, built a portico in front of the main door and saved the entrance of the church from land sliding. Thus it was Fr. John Mangella who started for the first time to develop Manalmatha church as a shrine of pilgrimage.
          From that time onwards devotees of Manalmatha began to come in great number to honour our Lady and to obtain her favors in times of crisis both in body and in soul. It had become a holy practice chiefly among those afflicted with fatal illness, infected with diseases like cholera and hopelessly abandoned by the doctors to seek the intercession of Athisaya Manalmatha. Those who received her favors came with offerings and money as an act of thanksgiving to Our Lady of the sands. Thus the practice of families and individuals coming and staying there for a week or ten days as an act of penance began, and many miracles were commenced to be recorded.
          Lepers, paralytics and men and women possessed by evil spirits whom Fr. Mangella touched and prayed over, were cured through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From that time onwards people from around a radius of 80 kilo meters began to come at least once a year in pilgrimage to Manalmatha church.
           The above details are recorded in the book “50 years in Madura Mission” by Fr Danish Cushen S.J. in the year 1886: “In the formation of this shrine of pilgrimage, the contribution of Fr. Mangella is immensely great. He loved and cherished this church worth more than his own life”.
          Then in 1890Fr. Baumal S. J. and in 1900 Fr. Couthurier S.J. had been the care takers of Manalmatha church. In 1902 Sokkankudiyiruppu was again attached to the Parish of Sathankulam. And Manalmatha church was entrusted to the care of Fr. Soosai Manickam, a diocesan priest, who must have been one of the native priests belonging to the diocese of Tiruchirapalli.
          Between A.D. 1912 and 1923 when Fr. Sabatier S.J. was the Parish priest at Sathankulam, Fr. Y. Ignatius, as the assistant Parish Priest with an amazing devotion to Manalmatha was inclined to complete the excavation project and spread the prominence of the shrine of Manalmatha.  Therefore people began to call him “Manalmatha Bakthan”.
          In the year 1923 the Diocese of Tuticorin became a separate Diocese. In the same year Sokkankudiyiruppu also became a separate Parish. Fr. Dominic (Swami Nathar) became the first Parish Priest. Manalmatha church was maintained by him till 1928, by Fr. Bankaar till 1935, and by Fr. Dominic (Swami Nathar) till 1937.
Fr. Y. Ignatius Manalmatha Bakthan
          Fr. Y. Ignatius, who from his childhood onwards had obtained the love and grace of Our Lady, regularly visited the Manalmatha shrine offering prayers and sacrifices, and received the gift of vocation to the priesthood. In the year 1937 he came as the Parish Priest to Sokkankudiyiruppu. It is no exaggeration to state that this coming of Fr. Y. Ignatius was the dawn of the golden age for the shrine of Manalmatha church.
          If missionary work was to him like an eye, devotion to Our Lady was the apple of the eye. He loved the people of Sokkankudiyiruppu as his beloved children. But above all that he cherished and loved the Manalmatha shrine as his own heart. He prayed to Our Lady and asked her guidance to develop the dignity and decorum of her shrine.
          Manalmatha in her turn, rendered her presence and inspiration to him as the “Apostle of Our Lady” to protect and develop this church, built on the same place where St. Thomas as the “Apostle of Jesus Christ” had built the church to Our Lady.
In this perpetual project of protecting the church, Our Lady worked many miracles to give confidence to Fr. Ignatius in his arduous labours. For example:




Status: Offline
Posts: 7329

          The first miracle took place in the year 1938. There had been no drinking water available in that sandy hill for the pilgrims who came in great number to visit the shrine. In order to quench the thirst of Our Lady’s children, Fr. Ignatius with a filial right and affection prayed to the Mother of God. Manalmatha worked a miracle by sending an angel to help discover the same location of the miraculous spring, which St Thomas the Apostle found on this spot to baptize and cure his primitive Christians at the time of Gandapparasa. That spring was flowing during the time of St. Thomas (A.D. 36), at the level of about 50 feet lower than the level of the present sand hill.
          Now let us hear the story how Fr. Ignatius was shown the location of the original spring by an angel, and how he managed to dig a well in that sand hill, as he himself narrated in person to Mr. Maria Pankiras from Sokkankudiyiruppu, when he was an altar boy to Fr. Ignatius  in 1946. The following record written by Mr. K. Pankiras (in 1999) has been kept in the archives of the author. He writes:
“I believe it was 1946, when Fr. Ignatius had been the Parish Priest of Sokkankudiyiruppu. Even at that time, as it is today, every Saturday Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered at Manalmatha church. But it would start in the early morning at 05 - 30. And therefore many of the school boys would go and stay at Manalmatha church Friday night itself. Fr. Ignatius would be there seated on a chair on the sand hill by the southern side of the church shaping his beard with his fingers. I used to sit by his side with filial affection and hear him narrating his past experiences.     
“One day on such an occasion Fr. Ignatius began saying: “Do you know how drinking water was obtained on this hill?” I became eager to hear the story, and he continued: “Seeing the people suffering from lack of drinking water, I resolved to dig a drinking water well by all means. So in front of the church at about 20 yards away, we excavated the earth. At the depth of about 25 feet, we found the roof of a house. Knowing that it was the roof level of the city of Kanakkankudiyiruppu, the workers felt that to get water they have to reach the ground level of that city, and thence they did not know how deeper they would have to dig out. We became discouraged and gave up the venture.
“I was filled with grief and engaged in deep deliberation. One fine morning a young lad approached me from the west direction, and asked me: “I suppose you are in quest for the proper location of a drinking water well, right? Come with me, I know the location where water is available. With an unknown impulsion I followed the lad without asking any question. He went and stood in a place, sketched a circle with his foot and showed me the spot. When I moved closer he disappeared! With an ecstasy of delight, I called the people and said:
“Our Lady has sent one of her angels to show me the place where drinking water is available. Let us dig here deep until we reach the spring”. With renewed impetus the people broke up the earth to the depth of 50 feet, and water gushed forth.” Father Ignatius ended his story by saying that this water had been called ‘miraculous spring’ to this day.”
“I said: yes Father, I too remember that a few days after the finding of the miraculous water, my father carried me on his shoulders to the bottom of the well through the sandy steps down, and gave me to drink from the spring, saying: ‘miraculous water! Drink’! I said it was very tasty. It is to be noted that I wrote this story at the time of our Parish Priest Fr. Cruz Antony (1964) and it had been published in the daily news paper “Dinamalar.”
                                          Prof. K. Maria Pankiras M. A., M. Ed.
          The second miracle was a gigantic scheme of ten years from 1939to 1949. This scheme also Our Lady had inspired to Fr. Ignatius and had it completed.
          This massive plan was to farther remove the sand hill around the underground church and to put up a deep and strong foundation, so as to construct an outer church from the bottom. And to construct a concrete roof over it when the level of the outer church reaches the top level of the underground church! And also it was necessary to construct tunnel ways from the ground level to reach the underground church. Only in this way the Manalmatha church had to be protected permanently from being covered once again by the sands.
          If only Fr. Ignatius had been anxious how to raise money for this immense task, it would not have been achieved at all. Father had confidence only on Our Blessed Mother.
           The work was started under the supervision of the architect Anthony Muthu from Vadakkankulam. Without any kind of aid from the Diocese or from any foreign agency, the wall of fortification was growing up. And that was possible, besides the devout prayers of Fr. Ignatius and the children of Our Lady with him, only by the continued labours, compulsory taxations, ceaseless encouragements and support of the local people as the only promising investment for this project.
          The most difficult task was to build up a temporary preventive partition by means of Palmyra trees, bamboos, wooden planks and other materials to the height of about 30 feet, to hold back the landslides, chiefly on the southern side of the church.
          One day a newly married couple from Kerala while coming out of the church after their prayers and devotions, a beautiful lady appeared at the front door of the church, asked them to stay behind the doors and disappeared! The very next moment the preventive partition broke, and a heavy load of the sand hill fell in front of the church. If they had come out at that time, they would have surely died on the spot.
          The report of this event was narrated to the author in front of Fr. Martin Manuel Parish Priest of Sokkankudiyiruppu on April 30, 2003, by an eye witness Mr. Rajaiah, who had been working there as a mason at that time.
          Thus the construction work was progressing without any loss of life or misfortune, mainly due to the continuous prayers and watchfulness of Fr. Ignatius. Staying there day and night in a hut thatched with Palmyra leaves, Fr. Ignatius patiently suffered the sun and rain, the insufficiency of proper nourishment, and undertook the administration and direction of the work all under his personal supervision. And since this project was designed by the Blessed Virgin Mary, the offering of the pilgrims were abundantly augmenting and the building rose up 10 feet above the level of the sand hill. Then the concrete roof and an upper church at the west end and a resting place for the pilgrims, all were built within the date fixed the Father.
          In the meanwhile Fr. Ignatius became unwell due to lack of rest and medical care. But in spite of his bodily weakness, reinforced with a strange vitality of spirit, he continued to make every effort to achieve a very important mission charged by the Blessed Virgin Mary in that place as shown below.
          It was at that time (in 1950) the Fatima Pilgrim Virgin statue was brought to the Diocese of Tuticorin. Knowing the importance of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, Fr. Ignatius wanted to introduce the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in this miraculous shrine of Manalmatha church. And therefore he made arrangements to bring a statue of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal, and enshrined it at the upper church of Manalmatha shrine.
          It was the intention of Fr. Ignatius that Our Lady’s “Peace Plan from Heaven” should be fulfilled at this shrine of Manalmatha church, and that every First Saturday the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary should be celebrated there.
          For this purpose he enthroned the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the upper chapel, and had it blessed and dedicated the upper chapel to Our Lady of Fatima by the auxiliary Bishop Thomas Fernandoon the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in the year 1951.
          It is noteworthy to recall here the words of bishop Roach about Fr. Ignatius in 1951: “Manalmatha Church is an ancient shrine. It is Fr. Ignatius that enriched the sand covered church with singular splendor, and made known the glory of Our Lady of Assumption far and wide” These words are recorded in the Souvenir published as the commemoration of the 200th year of unearthing the church.
          Again not knowing the importance of this statue and the above said intention of Fr. Ignatius, the people of Sokkankudiyiruppu discarded this Fatima statue and finally put it on the market away in 1999. Now it is under the custody of the author as an object of First Saturday devotion elsewhere.
          When all that was destined for him to be accomplished, Fr. Ignatius fell ill, and went to the Rosarian Monastery to take rest for two months. Again he came back to celebrate the feast of Manalmatha church by hoisting the flag on Friday October 3, 1952. On the seventh day of the feast (Thursday, Oct. 10, 1952) at 07-00 am Fr. Ignatius fainted.
Having received the last sacraments through Fr. Amaladas Victoria who was there to assist him, he fell asleep on the lap of his beloved Manalmatha. Fr. Stephandas was there to witness the last hours of Fr. Y. Ignatius.
          The Parish Priests who came after Fr. Ignatius
1952 – 1954 Fr. Xavier Mel
1954 – 1961 Fr. Cruz Maria Nathar
1961 – 1964 Fr. Augustine Fernando
1964 – 1972 Fr. Cruz Antony
-        Electricity connection on Oct. 10, 1967.
-        A large inn for the pilgrims in 1967
-        Electric motor and pump set for the drinking water well
-        Road construction from Periathazhai, from Thopuvilai,
and from Puthan Tharuvai.
-        House for the priests.
-        Marble floor for the church.
1972 – 1978 Fr. Mariadas S.
-        Construction of the upper church.
-        A large stair case in front of the upper church.
1978 – 1983 Fr. Hermes Moduthagam
-        The limits of the church properties were appropriately defined.
1983 – 1988 Fr. Xavier C.
-        Convent building for Sisters.
-        Road construction to Valivilai.
1988 – 1992 Fr. Xavier Alwin
                     Fr. Oswald Fernando
                     Fr. Thilagaraj
1992 – 1997 Fr. John Bosco
-        The first edition of Manalmatha history
-        The new flag staff
1997 – 1999 Fr. Antony Robert
-        Construction of the pilgrims Hall
1999- 2004 Fr. Martin Manuel
-        The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the
Athisaya Manalmatha church.
-        Construction of the front façade of the upper church
-        The paintings of the history of Manalmatha church
-        New altar and statue of the upper church
-        Staircase to venerate the cross of the lower church
-        Renovation of the lower church altar
-        The entrance arch to Manalmatha church.
-        MGM house (higher class) for the pilgrims
-        Open air stadium
-        Dining hall (Asana madam)
-        Light and sound arrangements with a generator
-        Calvary grotto
-        Publication of the “History of Manalmatha Shrine”.
          The present structure of the upper church of the Manalmatha shrine is the external monument of the historical mission of evangelization started at this spot by St. Thomas the Apostle and continually carried on up to the present time.

1. A. Chidambaranaar, “The History of Tamil Sangams”, Pages 173, 174

2. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Pages, 96, 97

3. Fr. John Bosco “Manam Tharum Manal Matha” page, 5

4. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Pages, 88, 89      

5. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Pages, 93, 94

6. Fr. John Bosco ibid. Pages, 7, 8

7. St. Louis Marie Grignon De Montfort, “True Devotion to Mary” No. 50

8. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 151, 152

9. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 169

10. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 169

11. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 169, 170

12. “John De Britto and his Times”

13. “Handbook of Tuticorin Diocese” page, 158

14. Rt. Rev. Arattukulam, “Latin Catholics of Kerala” Page, 370 to 372

      Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 152

15. “Directory of Tuticorin Diocese” page, 211

16. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 158

17. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 154, 155

18. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 96, 97

19. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 157

20. Cfr. “Directory of Tuticorin Diocese” pages166, 167

      Cfr.  Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page, 171

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard