Niranam, St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church is also known as Niranam Pally or Niranam Valiyapally. This is an ancient Church that comes under the Niranam Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The Niranam Church was founded in AD 54 by Saint Thomas, who was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ.
The Niranam St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church is one of the oldest churches in the whole of India and after being founded in AD 54, it was reconstructed several times. The reconstruction of the church in the year 1259 has been depicted in one of the stones in the Church. It is believed that St. Thomas, who was the Apostle of Jesus Christ, landed at Maliankara near Cranganore by around AD 52. After that, he founded seven and a half Churches in the Southern part of India, especially Kerala. The Churches founded by St. Thomas include
- Thiruvithamkode Half Church
At Niranam, it is believed that St. Thomas converted two Hindu Brahmi families such as Pattamukkil and Thayyil along with two Nair Families named Madathilan and Manki into Christianity. At the same time, St. Thomas gave priestly powers to the members of Pattamukkil family and they used to stay there and did their priesthood duties and governance over the Niranam church and its properties.
The Niranam Church is one of the most ancient churches in Kerala and it is quite evident from its temple styled architecture. The St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church in Niranam is also one of the oldest churches in the world.
The current structure of the Niranam Church is considered to be the fourth, which was built in 1912 and was later renovated by around 2000. The Niranam Church has five altars, in which the central one is in the name of Saint Mary, and is used for regular services of the church. The two altars on the north and south of the main altar are consecrated in the names of Saint George and Mar Behnam respectively. The other two small altars are consecrated in the names of Saint Thomas and Saint Stephen respectively.
There is a huge granite cross that is found at the right side of the entrance and this cross is believed to be a relics from the year 1259. This was the period during which the third renovation of the church took place. If we closely examine the cross, we can see that it has several carvings similar to a Hindu Temple.
Important Feasts and Festivals of Niranam Church
There are a lot of days of importance as the Niranam St. Mary’s Church considers the feasts of Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Mar Thoma II and Mar Thoma V as the major ones. Here is the list of the major feasts and festivals of Niranam Church in Kerala.
- Feast of Assumption of Saint Mary – August 15th
- Eight Day Lent of Saint Mary Mother of Jesus – September 1-8th
- Feast of Martyrdom of Saint Thomas – December 21st
- Feast of Martyrdom of Mar Behnam – December 27th
- Feasts of Mar Thoma II and Mar Thoma V – May 10th
The Niranam Church is one of the major Christian pilgim centers in Kerala and is one of the most heritage site in this part of the world. The Niranam Church also has a major role in the tourism industry of Kerala are travelers from different parts of the world visit this ancient Church to know more about its history, heritage, architecture and more. The Niranam Church is near the banks of River Pamba and attracts a lot of travelers on a regular basis.
There are also various other travel destinations and places of interests near Niranam Church, and people visiting this religious site can also visit the other travel places if they get time.