According to the history and traditions of the Indian Church, Apostle St. Thomas (Mor Thoma Sleeho) who reached 'Maliankara' (Malankara) in AD 52 had established a Church at 'North Paravur' (then known as Kottailkavu). This is said to be the first Christian congregation in India. This historic site is located just a few miles south of the ancient port of Kodungallor (Cragnannor). The early Christian converts are believed to be, the Jewish settlers who migrated to the India for trade purposes and also some upper caste Hindus. North Paravur in the early centuries was the most prominent Christian centre in India and it still holds a unique position in the Malankara Church. A large Christian population, mostly Syrian Orthodox and Roman Catholics, lives here.  Angamali, which was the headquarters of the Christian community for many centuries, is located near to this town of North Paravur.


St.Thomas Syrian Church (Cheriapally) at Pararvur

The St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church at North Paravur where the mortal remains of the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem - St.Gregorios Abdul' Galeel - is entombed, was founded in AD 1566 by the parishioners of the old MorThoman church located nearby, under the leadership of Big Bazar Tharakans the local merchants. When they approached the Ruler of Paravur (Paravur Thampuran, an Hindu King) for sanction, he happily donated a plot of land situated  in the midst of the seven bazaars of Paravur Town, tax free. The Church built here was consecrated in the name of St. Thomas, the Apostle. This event has been inscribed in old Tamil script, in a plaque in granite stone and embedded in the wall near the front door of  the church. Paravur Thampuran, also donated a very big five tier oil lamp (Alu Vilakku) which is even now used in the Church. He had also provided some land tax free, for meeting the expenses to light this lamp perpetually.

St.Thomas Church, Paravur The Holy Madboho of the church

This church built in the 16th century was comparatively bigger in size in the Indian context. Some of the missionaries from Kottayam in a letter dated 13th March 1822, to the Resident, Cononel D. Newall, had recorded thus: "The Paravur Church can accommodate 1500 persons comfortably at a time". The main altar of this Church is made of ornamental wooden carvings and inlayed with golden leaves, is an architectural wonder. The ancient wall paintings inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Church depicting sixteen Biblical episodes, are over 400 years old. The 16th Century architectural style of the Church is retained as such even to this day. The Baptism stone (117 cm. in diameter) in this church, which is one of the biggest in Malankara (Kerala) is carved out of a single granite stone. On the sides of the Baptism stone there is an inscription in old Tamil script thus: "This Baptism stone was donated by a parishioner in 1625 (A.D)".

The famous historians, Whitehouse Padiri, Dr. Buchanan and others have recorded that they had visited this Church. Whitehouse Padiri, during his visit in 1857 A.D. had recorded that the four storied square type Bell Tower of this Church is the only one of its kind in Syrian Churches of Kerala. This Bell Tower could be seen even to day in its original shape. There is a very old brass bell in this Tower. On this bell, the following inscription in Latin can be seen: "NON EST, INTE. TOTA PALCLARA. ES. MARIA ET MACAIA".

The famous Kannankulangara Sree Krishna Hindu Temple is situated just opposite to this church. The Jewish synagogue is also a few yards away from this Church. It is a fine example of the religious harmony that exists in this great country. This Church named after St.Thomas the apostle is also known as Kizhakke Pally or Cheriapally. The church has become a major pilgrim centre of the Malankara Syrian Christians because of the tomb of St. Gregorios.

Granite Plaque 

Ancient wall painting

 The Ancient Baptism stone

Alu Vilakku


The festivals celebrated in the church

1.  Dhukrono of St.Gregorios Abdul' Jaleel Bava

The main festival celebrated in the church is the Dhukrono of ST. GREGORIOS ABDUL' JALEEL, on 27th of April. It was this holy father who paved way for the revival of the Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) faith in Malankara after a long period of Nestorian and Roman heresies of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Malankara Syriac Christian community at that time was struggling for its very survival, primarily due to the opposition from the Roman Catholics who had the support of the Portuguese military and also due to the absence of proper episcopacy since the late 15th century. It was at this crucial juncture the Patriarchal delegate Mor Gregorios came as their saviour and ordained two Metropolitans and reestablished  the ancient liturgy and rites of the Holy Church in Malankara. His difficult mission in Malankara is compared to that of St. Ya`qub Burd`ono who protected the Syrian Orthodox Church against the attempts of its enemies in the post-Calcedonian period of the 5th and 6th centuries and hence he is often referred to as the Ya`qub Burd`ono of Malankara by the Church historians. The holy father who spent his last days at the Paravur church, was called to eternal rest on April 27, 1681 (M.E. 857; Medom 14th, Friday) and was entombed on the northern side of the hykala of the church.

A large number of pilgrims irrespective of caste and creed, visits the Holy tomb seeking intercession of the saintly father every year. The Dhukrono (annual feast) of the holy father is celebrated normally for 3 days starting from 25th April. Considering the large inflow of pilgrims during the annual feasts, the State Government of Kerala has permanently declared the place as a festival area in the week corresponding Dhukrono celebrations. On 9th April 2000, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I through a historic bull officially conferred Sainthood to Mor Gregorios Abdul' Jaleel and through Apostolic Bull dated 7th February 2006, His Holiness allowed the Malankara Church to recite the name of the holy father, immediately after the name of St. Gregorios of Malankara (Parumala Thirumeni) in the 5th 'Thubden'

Of late, 26th and 27th of each month are observed as the saint's memorial days. There are such large number of believers offering to conduct these monthly memorials that the list of supplicants has already extended to the year 2016.

2.  Dhukrono of St. Thomas, the Apostle

St. Thomas day, on 3rd July is also being celebrated in this Church every year with great enthusiasm and offerings. "Valiappam Nercha" offered during this perunnal (festival) by the newly married couples of this church in order to receive blessings for child bearing, is very famous and is in vogue from time immemorial. ("Valiappam" (Big bread) is a Kerala Christian delicacy made out of rice flour and molasses fried in coconut oil).

The other important festivals of this church includes the memorial feast of Mor Geevarghese Sahdo on 7th May and of Mor Gregorios Geevarghese Bava (Parumala) on 2nd November, each year. On 24th April 2004, the Catholicos H.B. Baselios Thomas I installed the relics of St. Gregorios of Parumala (the Holy Vestments used by the holy father) in the church.


Metropolitan consecrations in the Paravur St.Thomas church

It was in this church in AD 1876, the Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Peter IV, consecrated four bishops as per the decision of the historic 'Mulanthuruthy Synod'. Chathuruthy Mor Gregorios Geevarghese, popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni was one among those newly ordained Metropolitans. (The name 'Mor Gregorios' given to Chathuruthy Ramban by the Patriarch during the Episcopal consecration, was the honorable titular of the Metropolitan of Jerusalem diocese under the Holy See of Antioch).

The parish has produced many outstanding personalities of which the name of Mor Athanasius Paulose (Kadavil Thirumeni) attracts special attention. His Grace was consecrated Metropolitan for the Angamali and Kottayam dioceses (1876-1907) in this church on December 3, 1876. Later he assisted the Patriarch during the consecration ceremony of Chathuruthy Mor Gregorios Thirumeni and Ambattu Mor Kurillos Thirumeni, which was held a week later in the same church. Both Kadavil Thirumeni and Chathuruthy Thirumeni along with Pulikottil Joseph Mor Dionysius were instrumental in the progress of the Malankara Church. This parish in its long history had the unique privilege to host all the four Patriarchs of Antioch who visited Malankara. The famous Syrian Christian churches at Cherai and Ayyamppally were founded by the  parishioners of this Paravur Church.


Church administration 

Although it was the Big Bazar Tharakan families who constructed this beautiful church in the 16th century, they had at the time of its consecration itself, declared that all parishioners have equal rights and that the Parish Pothuyogam (General Body) should elect the Trustees for the administration of this Church. This procedure was followed till the present constitution of the church was enacted in 1940. The administration of this Church is now in the hands of a 31 member Managing Committee, duly elected by the eligible male members of the church as per the provisions of the constitution. A seven member executive committee, which includes a Secretary, duly elected by the members of the Managing Committee, is in charge of the day to day administration of the church.



St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian church

North Paravur Post

Ernakulam district.

Kerala- 683 513





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(Source:- Photo taken in September, 2007)



This is not an official site of the North Parvur St. Thomas Church