Kodungalloor Church

The Marthoma Pontifical shrine (Kodungaloor Mar Thoma Church) is considered as first church
built by St. Thomas. The church is situated on the banks of the River Periyar is located about 6 km
from Kodungallur, in the village of Azhikode in Kerala.

 Kodungallur (anglicised name: Cranganore), is a municipality in the South Western border of Thrissur district of Kerala, India. Kodungallur is 29 kilometres (18 mi) northwest of Kochi and 38 kilometres (24 mi) southwest of Thrissur, 



St. Thomas Church, Kodungalloor

The church is built on the model of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome and the church is situated on the banks of river Periyar. It is under the Roman Catholic Church.Portuguese fortified Cranganore and made it the seat of the first Roman Catholic Arch-bishopric in India sometime after the 1500s..The underground remains of the primordial church still remains.

On the occasion of the 19th centenary celebration of the coming of St. Thomas to India, Late Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, the then Prefect of Oriental Congregation solemnly brought the bone of the right arm of the apostle from Ortona in Italy and enthroned it in the present Shrine on December 6th, 1953.  


The Marthoma Pontifical Shrine carrying the holy relic of St.Thomas was entrusted by the Holy See to the C.M.I. fathers of  Devmatha Province, Thrissur. The relic is enclosed in a glass case and exposed daily from 9am -6pm for veneration of the faithful with befitting briefing.  The main feast of the church is celebrated on November 21 in Commemoration of the apostles 'Entrance to India' and it lasts for a week.


"When Thomas came to the great Brahmin centre of Palayur, a leading Brahmin Gramam (village) among the 64, he came across some Brahmins doing the Pithru Yajna or Pooja to the manes or ghosts of deceased ancestors. They were throwing water into the air (Tharpan) while reciting manthras. The Apostle learned from them the meaning of this ritual and remarked: "If your performance is acceptable to the gods they could keep the water suspended in the air without allowing it to fall again and again".

"The Brahmins said that this was unthinkable as it was opposed to the laws of nature. Then Thomas asserted that the One true God he worshipped could do it, and he proceeded to perform a miracle on condition that the Brahmins accept his faith if he is successful. The Apostle, invoking the Holy Spirit, made the sign of the Cross and threw a handful of water up into the sky. After reaching a particular height the water stood still in the air, the particles glittering like diamonds. Looking down the Brahmins could see the cavity made by the removal of the water still there in the pond. Most of the witnesses were baptised on the spot.

This is a legend , shared by Hindus and Christians alike, of the locality, and to this day , no orthodox Brahmin takes a bath or a meal in the village. ( Quoted in the Trichur District Gazetteer ( History ), Chapt. II / p.100 , from the book ' Syrian Christians of Malabar, by K.E.Job. ).

The Pond is today known as Thaliyakulam and is used as a baptismal pond
This pond and statues at the Palayur church represent St. Thomas baptizing the Brahmins

As per the local tradition, the place Chavakkadu, (Saapakkad--place of curse), near Palayur(Thrissur), has got that name, as the place was cursed by Nambudiris, because some of their families were converted to Christianity by St. Thomas. The rest of the Nambudiri Brahmins, as tradition says, fled from the village saying," From the next day on-wards , our ablutions shall be at Vembanad".

Kerala Video: St Thomas Church, Azhikode, Kodungallur, https://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g297631-i18709274-Kerala.html