Arthat St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kunnamkulam
The present Arthat St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church is believed to be the pioneer Christian Community founded by St.Thomas in the first century A.D. The prominence given to this church by the early historians, circumstantial evidences, and the later historical records bear witness to this tradition.
Arthat Cathedral Church, dedicated to St. Mary, The Mother of God, has a long and glorious tradition and history. It is the permanent monument of the St. Thomas mission in Kerala. The Christian Community associated with the Church is believed to be the most ancient Christian community in South India, even a little bit earlier than the Niranam Christian Congregation.
Arthat - Kunnamkulam is the home of the people who bear in their hearts the natural piety of spiritualism, the fragrance of tradition and the steadfastness of true faith. The uniqueness of this region is that the Christian Church was established in this part of Malankara at the same time or little bit earlier, when Christian faith was established in Rome, Antioch and Alexandria. The ancient name of Arthat was Chattukulangarai.
The Church is now under the Kunnamkulam Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It is the most prominent church and Thalappalli of all the churches in the diocese.
Some facts about Arthat and Palayur
1. The Church at Arthat is dedicated to St. Mary, The Mother of God, while that of present Palayur, to St. Kuriakose, a Saint who lived around fourth century A.D, and was introduced to Malankara only in the fifth century. It is impossible to buildup a church in first century by St. Thomas, in memory of a fourth century saint in anticipation. But it is more reasonable to believe, the Church at Arthat which was dedicated to St. Mary, as a permanent monument of St. Thomas mission.
2. The present Palayur village is on the sea level, and during the formative years of Christian era, was believed to be, under the sea. The nearness to the sea, the sandy soil, and the presence of oceanic fossils also bear witness to this fact. But Arthat is the first high land from the sea level in the Paloor region, which was known as Jewish Hill or ‘Juda Kunnu’.
3. The sentiment towards Arthat still exists in the minds of believers irrespective of denomination; and there are seven churches of different denominations at the small village of Arthat itself. There is no such sentiment towards the present Palayur.
Arthat Kunnamkulam (St. Mary's)