St. Andrew's Forance Church at Arthunkal, one of the sacred churches in Kerala, attracts lakhs of devotees both Christians and non-Christians every year from all parts of the State. The feast of St. Sebastian is celebrated on a grand scale for eleven days in a year. Owing to the unmanageable crowding of pilgrims and the resultant confusion on January 20 the final day of the feast, the church authorities have instituted another minor feast on the 8th day after the principal feast. This is known as Ettamperunnal. Of late this feast also has attained as much importance as the principal feast.
Bharanamganam, a small village town in Meenachal Taluk of Kottayam District, has been famous for long as one of the hallowed places in Kerala. It is about 14 miles from the Ettumanoor railway station. Bharabangaban has always been a refuge of the afflicted and the miserable as well as of the faithful. It is here that the famous St. Mary's Forance Church, one of the oldest churches in Kerala dedicated to the Holy Mother, stands, attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over the country. The important annual festivals of this church are the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, celebrated on the 9th of November, and the Feast of St. Sebastian on the 20th of January.
Every year 'Forty hour devotion' marks the commencement of the festival. The festival begins on the 23rd of April with solemn High Mass and Litany. On the 25th flag is hoisted solemnly and ceremoniously.
The St. George's church at Edathua stands on the bank of the river Pampa, sixteen miles southeast Alappuzha. This church is famous for the feast of St. George celebrated every year in the month of Medam (April-May). It takes place from 27th April till 7th of May. Though the festival lasts for 11 days, only last couple of days carry all the aspects of a major festival. Hence calendars reckon the 6th of May as the feast day.
Mainly two feasts are celebrated in this church, one on the 24th and 25th of Makaram (January-February) and the other on 23rd of Medam (April-May). The former is the most important.
St. Mary's Church at Kallooppara stands in close proximity to the Kallooppara Bhagavathy temple. Inside the church, on its eastern and western wings, there are two granite slabs with some inscriptions in the Pali language. The Palli perunal and the foundation day of the Church are the two celebrations held on January 15 and July 5 respectively.
About seven kilometeres to the south of Chalakudy, there is an ancient and
beautiful village called Koratty. There is an old catholic church there built in
honor of St. Mary which is locally known as "Koratty Muthy's Church".
The most important festival in this church is the 'Koratty Muthy's festival celebrated during the second week of October every year.
St. Thomas shrine at Malayattur a village about six miles to the north of Kaladi Ernakulam District is believed to be one of the ancient catholic shrines in the northern part of the state. The chief festival at the shrine is second Sunday, since the first moon, after the Vernal Equinox (March 21). The Feast, therefore, falls generally in the month of April or at times in the last week of March. The Octave is celebrated on the following Sunday. The pilgrims have to climb a hill nearly 2000 feet high and on top of it is the church.
The church and Dayara at Manjinikkara derives its importance from the holy tomb there. The sacred body of the late lgnatius Elise III, the holy patriarch of Antioch and all the East was interned there. Members of the Jacobite Syrian Church believe that the Holy Father was a Saint. The Church has now become one of the foremost places of pilgrimage.
Maramon and Kozhencherry , on the banks of the river Pampa, 16 kilometers east of Tiruvalla, have for centuries been recognised as centres of Christian culture and influence. Maramon is also famous as the birth place of Palakkunnathu Abraham Maplah, leader of the reformation in the Syrian Church of Malabar in the 19th century. This village which developed into a town has the added distinction of being the venue of a religious gathering known as Maramon convention, said to be the largest Christian gathering in Asia.
It is during the month of February on the vast sand-bed of the river Pampa below the Kozhenchery bridge that the Maramon Convention is held every year.
The Maramon Convention displays co-operation and union between different sections of Church in Kerala. It fosters ecumenical outlook. It is also a source of spiritual inspiration and enlightenment for thousands.
Of all the places hallowed in the annals of Christianity in India, Niranam holds pride of place. In social, cultural, literary and political matters, this small village has kept up its own distinctive, pristine traditions. The fame of Niranam must have reached Syria and weighed most with St. Thomas. He is believed to have visited Niranam in 53AD, erected a crucifix founded and built a church on the site. The main religious festival is in honor of the Holy Mother on August 15. Special mass is held on that day. The birthday of St. Mary is celebrated on a grand scale on 8th September. The feast of St. Thomas is celebrated on 3rd July.
Rakkuli Thirunal is the terminology of Common parlance to denote the feast of Epiphany celebrated every year on the 6th January in the St. Thomas Cathedral Church at Pala. It has been the occasion of a vast fair where articles of every necessity are exhibited for sale.
The feast of St. Dominic church at Aluva falls on the third Sunday after the Easter. The statue of the Saint is taken out in procession on that day. The feast of "Our Lady of the Holy Rosary" also consists of a spectacular procession on the Sunday after 8th of December.
The annual feast at the shrine of St. Joseph is celebrated on the last Sunday of January.
The parish of Thumboly is renowned for its beautifully constructed church, called after St. Thomas and also dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast of our lady which lasts for 11 days ending on December 8th.
The most important feast celebrated in this church situated on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram is of Christ, the King. This feast is observed for eleven days ending with the last Sunday of October. On the tenth day, after the vespers in the church, there is a procession which goes round the parish lasting for about 1 ½ hours. On the final day there will be a solemn high mass, sermon, Eucharistic Procession and benediction. The attendance for this feast is well over 50,000.
Source: Government of Kerala, Dept. of Tourism
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