Friday, May 9, 2008

Christianity in Aranattukara

The tradition of Christianity is very strong in Aranattukara. During the reign of RamaVarma Thamburan for the development of Cochin state government trade was started.

Aranattukara at that time was an important business and trading centre. Keeping in mind Thamburan ordered the construction of granary and godown here. As a result of this the progress of Aranattukara became rapid. More and more Christain families migrated to Aranattukara.

At that time there was no Church for the Aranattukara. People needed to travel all the way to Pazuvel for performing their religious duties.

Noting this the benevolent Thamburan give land to the community to built Church which is the present( Kondhamattam) Church. This Church was established in 1796 under the Kodungaloor Roopatha Governor rule. Due to some better circumstance the Parish was divided to two in 1896 and another Church was established in name of St. Sebastianos.

Two Church is same locality were people with same religious belief became a question over the unity of the community.

People and the priesthood soon realized the need to solve this problem. With the development of education many of the orthodox beliefs and thoughts gave way to liberal ones. The contribution of Priests of Church and two Parishes in this area is immense.

In 1964 due to the constant effort of the Priests of two Parishes Rev. Fr. Jacob Chovallur and Rev. Fr. Jacob Chalakkal and because of the wish of the Thrissur Roopatha Methran Mar.

George Allapatt and because of the joint effort of the people both Parishes merged and formed new one under the name of Holi Thomasleeha, as per 789 testment.(It might be an irony that father's of both parish had some name).

It was said earlier people used to visit Church in Pazuvel when there was no Church in Aranattukara.

That time only few could travel in boat and go all the way to Pazuvel. Rest of the people will wait praying in the Lake shore till these will return. Once they are back those waiting will take (Kaistuthi) or blessings from them and will go home.

By 11 A D the Brahmin emerged as the merger population in Kerala. Their role in the administration also increased. Majority of the wealthy population at that time were Brahmins and Nairs in Thrissivaperur.

Realising the importance of trade in these places Christians started trading centers there. Though the Portuguese has marked Kerala Chirstian community as strong soldiers they were mainly into trade and business. They got inspiration for trade from the Cyrian Catholics of Syria, Iraq and Persia.

That time trading and business mainly depended on the availability of water transport facility. The place occupied by Aranattukara when compared to other trading centers like Cochin, Kodungalloor and Pallooor is unique. The growth of Aranattukara who facilitated by the prior establishment of Mattam chruch (AD 140)and Ambhazhakad Church in AD 300. The role played by Thomas Can and Group who landed in Kodungaloor (8 AD ) in the development of trade in Kerala is unique.

B C Ward had recorded in his travalogue that "Aranattukara is a very important Syrian Catholic village. It is beautifully placed on the river side. There is a big church of Roman Syrian Catholic Church here. It is placed inside the for of Thrissur. It was bulit in 1796.

There is a myth about the holy status of St. Sebastianos in Aranattukara. He is known as Kozhikotukaran Sebastianos. It is believed that once traders from Aranattukara was travelling through Calicut.
At that time they saw this statue in front of a Church which was destroyed by nature.These traders too this holy statue and brought to Aranattukara and placed it with all due respect in this holy Church.

When both the parishes united there emerge a need of a bigger Church. When compared to present Church bulit at that time were very small, Priests started the fund-collecting initiative to bulit a new church. But it was not so easy for them. Still because of the collective effort on August 30, 1964 Hr Methran od Alapatt laid the foundation stone. But the work was started onlt on May 1966.

Though the Aranattukara Parish was big the financial condition of people were not so sound to contibute for the construction. Hence the construction was halted temperorarily and restarted in 1970. By that time Rv Fr. John Ambookan was the (Vikari) of the Church. He was very hardworking energetic person. Because of his efforts the work went smooth. Interior of the Church alone is 12000 sq feet (Only four pillars were used to hold such big area) such spacious Church is rare in India. Total cost of construction was below lakhs.

Dure to strong belief in Christianity and Unity among the people Aranattukara progressed day by day.

Different organisations were formed to help the poor and needy. Both Church and Parishners worked hand in hand for the development of this little place of Aranattukara

Aranattukara is top in devotion also. Family prayer in all evening is every single family is a unique thing here. Being a symbol of Unity the Church has crossed 25 years. Still a lot more are to be done for the well being of the Community.

Blessings of Holy Mary, Holy Joseph were always with Aranattukara. Hope Almighty will continue to shower his blessings to the Community