Thazhekad Church History

Thazhekad is one among the three important places known for St. Sebastian’s patronage. There exist about 750 families.  Two filial churches,  4 chapels, 2 Religious Houses, 2 Schools add splendor to this parish. 

Historical Background

It is assumed that there was a strong Christian community in the early centuries of Christianity.  On the floor of the cross in front of the Church, it is inscribed that Church was founded in the year 800 A.D.  This community was primarily under the jurisdiction of Ambazhakad and later under the parish of Velayanad.  The name St. Mary’s was changed to St. Sebastian’s during this later period.  With the arrival of Portuguese Thazhekad Church became famous in devotion to St. Sebastian. Tippu’s Invasion: on 14th December, 1789, Sultan Tippu came to Trichur.  On 24th December the soldiers of Tippu founded the siege.  Tippu headed the infantry at 10.00pm on 28th December towards the fort which was 9 miles away. (Cfr. History of the Kingdom of Kochi, p.569).  Already Tippu and his battalion looted the riches of Thazhekad and its vicinities.  The statue of St. Sebastian in the Church was thrown away to the nearby forest area known as “Inchavallakadu”

The Newly built Church

It was a Herculean task to reconstruct a church which was destroyed in the battle of Tippu and history says that the faithful here cried out for the statue of St. Sebastian in the vernacular style “Muthappo, Kurisumuthappo” to which the statue responded positively.  That is why still the famous saying. “Kurishumuthappan who responds upon invoking” (Villichal villikelkkunna Kurishumuthappan).  The complete construction of the Church was realized in the year 1917.  The consecration was on 3rd May.  Presbytery and Church Bell Tower were constructed gradually.

The religious milieu:  True religious harmony reigned here always.  The Church of Muthappan is amidst 10 temples. There is a Hindhu Temple of Siva nearby the Church. The people those who come to this temple still pay tribute to St. Sebastian.  The Accountant of the Church is and was always from the Menon family. Chemmeenchal is one of oldest commercial port.  Still we see the reminiscences of this past glory.  The places where the goods were stored and arranged still remain intact. Thazhekad Palli Sasnas (Thazhekad Church privileges) is still preserved in this Church.  These are the privileges given to the Christian traders of this place by Rajasimha a Chera King (1028-1043) a contemporary of Rajendra, the Chola King.  The Sasanas are written in the form of “Vattezhuthu” (Kollavarsham 203-218) (For details see- History of the places of Kerala, Trichur District, p.118 - by V.V.K. Valath).  The destruction of the port of Thazhekad diminished its commercial importance. Consequently the only form of source of livelihood for the people became agriculture.  Thrice they cultivated paddy in a year.  So education became secondary. All were engaged in agricultural activities.  The central fort passes through this holy and historical place. This fort connects the sea and the Anamala which was constructed by the King of Travancore with the help of King of Kochi mainly intended to defend the Zamorin’s attack, (For details see History of the places of Kerala, Trichur District, p.71).  There are different versions regarding Thazhekad Palli Shasnas.

Chapels


There exist four chapels: St. Pius Xth, St. Jude; St. George; and St. Sebastian.

St. Antony’s Filial Church

Fr. Jose Kanamkudam initiated procedures to raise the Chapel of St. Antony’s near to the first Cemetery of Thazhekad, to the status of a filial Church.  Fr. Paul C.Ambooken completed the construction of the Churchon 28th April, 2006.  Mar James Pazhayattil consecrated this church.  Every Tuesdays and Sundays, Holy Eucharist and other sacramentals are celebrated.

St. Mary’s Filial Church, Kannikara

The chapel here was constructed in the name of St. Mary in the year 1953, in remembrance of the Jubilee of Mar George Alappatt.  Fr. Joy Nellissery renewed this chapel without diminishing its pristine beauty and Mar James Pazhayattil consecrated this filial Church on 19th April, 2008.

The Good Shepherd CHF Convent.
Mar George Alappatt blessed this Convent on `17th September, 1944.  Family Apostolate is the Charism of this congregation founded by Blessed Mariyam Thressia.
St. Paul’s CMC Convent, Kannikara
 
For the functioning of the St. Paul’s C.L.P.S. School of Carmelite sisters a temporary house was begun in the year on 16th May, 2006.  Later Mar James Pazhayattil blessed the new convent which was constructed in the land property, adjacent to the school on 17th April, 2008.
 
St. Sebastian’s U.P. school

There was a school near to the Church of Thazhekad from the ancient times.  However the official beginning of this school was in the year 1942, during the period of Fr. Thomas Irimpan.  The construction of the school started in the year 1943.  The Religious sisters were invited to teach at the school in the year 1944.  In 1945, the school obtained Government recognition.  Though in the primary years, it was under parish’ Management, later in 1952 it came under the management of Holy Family Sisters.  In 1984, the school was upgraded to a Upper Primary School.


St. Paul’s L.P. School

 
In 1926 (Malayalam Calendar -1102) Nambiar Master and Madhavan Master started a school.  Later the management went into the hands of different person/groups.  In 1997 Carmelite (CMC) Sisters took over the management of the School.  The school was renamed as St. Paul’s C.L.P.S.
 
The Most Recent Church: Fr. Paul Elamkunnapuzha, the former Vicar of the parish was the main brain behind this new Church, which stands as the splendid spiritual edifice proclaiming the glory of Thazhekad.  The art works, the façade, the flag mast, the Cross attract many tourists.  Thanks to all, the parishioners, religious, people of different religions who contributed for the growth of this parish.

His Beatitude, Mar George Cardinal Alenchery the head and father of Syro Malabar Church consecrated this new Church on 22nd April, 2014.