Constructed way back in 1579 with the assistance of Thekkumkoor Maharajah, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church is one of the best attractions in Kottayam. A wonderful blend of Kerala and Portuguese styles of architecture, this church is decorated with attractive murals that are done in Western and Oriental style on varied biblical as well as non-biblical themes.
History behind the construction of the church
Initially, Valiapally was worshipped by the 2 groups of Christians, the Vadakkum bhagar those who belonged to the northern side and the Knanaya Christians. A dispute broke out between both the groups. Consequently, Fr. Ouseph Kathanar, the leader of the Vadakkum bhagar group, asked the then Thekkumkoor Raja for monetary assistance in order to construct another church. After the grant was given, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church was constructed in the 1579.
The church is an amalgam of Kerala and the Portuguese architectural styles. However, granite pillars, huge brick walls and the wonderful murals also showcase the Hindu effect.
The feast of the St. Mary’s Orthodox Church is called as the Feast of St. Mary and is organized on the 15th of January, every year. It is also known as ‘Vithukalude Perunnal’ meaning ‘the festival of seeds’. The festival is organized for seeking the blessings of Virgin Mary upon the agriculture seeds. The Feast of the Assumption of St Mary, also known as Vaangippu Perunnal, is another feast organized here. It is one of the oldest churches in Kerala.