The St. John's church at Ayyampilly was founded in the beginning of the 20th century by the parishioners of Cherai St. Mary's ValiyaPally. The first Holy Qurbono was celebrated here by St. Gregorios Geevarghese (Parumala Thirumeni) on 15th February 1902. Initially the services were held in a temporary shed built in the place where the church now exists.
On 28th January 1911, the foundation stone to build a new church was laid by His Holiness Ignatius Abded Aloho II (Abdulla II), the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. The construction of the new church building was completed in a short period and the celebration of Holy Qurbono started there. It was around that period a serious infighting began in the Malankara Church with one side supporting the Patriarch and the Malankara Metropolitan, while the other side supporting the section led by Wattasseril Mor Dionysius Metran and their Catholicos. Gradually the troubles spread to Ayyampilly church as well with the parishioners supporting either sides. These disputes led to the closure of the church in early 1940's and was reopened only about two decades later when peace was reestablished in Malankara in 1958. During this period of church's closure, both the Jacobite Syrian Christians as well as the opposite side built their own chapels, in the names of St. Ignatius Noorono and St. Kuriakose Sahdo, on either sides of the main church.
In 1962 the Metropolitan of Kochi diocese, His Grace Mor Severios Paulose Mulayirickal called a meeting of the parishioners in which it was decided to demolish the two chapels on either sides and extend the old church by constructing a 4th and 5th altar in the names of St. Ignatius Noorono and St. Kuriakose Sahdo. Accordingly on January 28, 1962, His Grace Paulose Mor Severios laid the stone for the renovation of old church and on April 29, the same year, the preliminary consecration of the church was held by Catholicos Mor Baselios Geevarghese II. Thus the Qurbono started once again in this church after about two decades. However it took another two more years to complete the renovation works. On June 12, 1964, His Holiness Ignatius Yakub III, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East who was on an Apostolic mission to India to elevate Mor Augen as the Catholicos of the East, consecrated the Ayyampilly St. John's church and celebrated the Holy Qurbono.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the peaceful atmosphere that existed for a about a decade in the Malankara Church ended in mid 1970's. This created a feeling of distrust among the parishioners of this church once again. However this time the problems did not escalate into the closure of this church. Since then the priests of both the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church and the opposite Malankara Orthodox Church started to offer Holy Qurbono on alternate Sundays. The maintenance and other developmental activities of the church is being equally shared by the parishioners of both the sides. Though the number of parishioners in this church is comparatively lesser most of them are well off and well placed.
The feast of St. John the Baptist, celebrated on January 7th is the main festival of the church. Memories of Holy Virgin Mary, Apostles St. Peter & St. Paul, Mor Ignatius Noorono, Mor Geevarghese Sahdo, Mor Kuriakose Sahdo and Mor Gregorios of Parumala are also celebrated in this church.
Some of the prominent priests who had served in this
church includes Kuttikattil Paulose Kathanar (former Malankara Metropolitan and
the head Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church -
Athanasius Paulose who is popularly
known as Valiya Thirumeni) and Puthusseril Paulose Kathanar (former Catholicos
of the East,
Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose
of blessed memory).
1. Kochi diocesan directory published in 1972
2. Photos taken on July 3, 2006