ⓘ St. Marys Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Kothamangalam
St. Marys Church or Marth Maryam Cathedral is a valiyapally situated in Kothamangalam town of India. It is located in Ernakulam district of Kerala state, India.
It is one of the most ancient Christian churches in India. It is believed that the church was founded on or before 4th century by a few Syrian Christian families who migrated from Paravur and Angamali. The new church established in AD 1338 by four Syrian Christian merchants who bought the entire land of Kothamangalam from a local chief for commodity trading with the nearby state of Tamil Nadu.
Kothamangalam was a major commercial city during the Portuguese period. The Marth Maryam church at Kothamangalam, commonly known as Valiyapally is the oldest of all the churches in the region. Present Kothamangalam region was historically known as Malakhachira മാലാഖച്ചിറ. The name came from a legend associated with Thomas the Apostle. According to tradition, the Apostle, during his mission in India, stayed in this region where he had a vision of archangel Gabriel who instructed him to found seven and a half churches in Malankara. One of the churches founded by St Thomas is called Gokkamangalam=> Kokkamangalam=> Kotamanagalam=> Kothamangalam. It should be mentioned that no other ancient churches in Kerala bring forward any claim for the ancient Gokkamangalam church established by St. Thomas. According to tradition, Mar Yuhannon who represented the Malankara Church at the Holy Synod of Ephesus in AD 431 stayed at Kothamangalam church and had visited Angamaly Church.
The altars in the Martha Maryam church are dedicated to the Mother of God, Saint George, Saint John the Baptist, and Apostles Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Thomas
3. Holy Soonoro
A small portion of the Holy Girdle of Saint Mary, rediscovered at the Syriac Orthodox Church at Homs in 1953 by Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum, was established in this church In 1980 by the diocesan Metropolitan Thomas Mor Dionysius The present Catholicos of Malankara
4. Historical Events
- All the five Patriarchs of Antioch who had visited Malankara in the last two centuries came to this church as well. Last of these Patriarchal visits was that of Ignatius Zakka I Iwas in 1982. It was during this historical visit the Holy Patriarch had ordained an assistant metropolitan for the diocese by name Mor Severios Abraham, at the Kothamangalam Cheriapally.
- As per the biography of Saint Gregorios of Malankara written by Mookencheril Paily Varkey in 1903, Palakunnath Mathews Mar Athanasius ordained the saintly Gregorios Thirumeni as Korooyo in this church in 1858.
- From 1974 to 1997, the building adjacent to the Valiyapally was the bishops residence of the diocesan Metropolitan.
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