About the church
The St. Thomas Church at Kothamangalam, popularly known as Mar Thoma Cheriapally, where the Saint Baselios Yeldho is buried is one of the most prominent parishes in India.
According to the popular belief, the first church at Kothamangalam, Martha Mariam Valiyapally, was established in the 4th century AD by a few Syriac Christian families who migrated from Paravur and Angamali. Among the later Christian inhabitants of the place included a few Syrian Knanaites who eventually intermingled with the local Christian community.
By the 14th century Kothamangalam, a Syrian Christian Center, became a major hub for trade with the neighboring state of Tamilnadu. The Martha Mariam Valiyapally was the only Syriac Christian Church there at that time. By the middle of the 15th century some disputes surfaced in the Valiyapally which led to the separation of 18 families from there. It was these families who eventually built the historical Mar Thoma Cheriapally nearby. Initially a Cross was established there in 1455 at the land allotted by the local administrator. Later a small church was erected at the place which was rebuilt in 1504.
The church which has a membership of more than 1600 families is under the Angamali diocese, the largest diocese in the Malankara Syrian Church. It is governed in temporal matters by its own constitution but its spiritual matters are guided by the Metropolitan of Angamali Diocese who owes allegiance to Apostolic See of Antioch through the Catholicos of Malankara under the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. The parish runs a High School and a major hospital, both named after the Saint Baselios Yeldho Bava and is also the main support behind the Mar Athanasius College Association which runs the engineering college at Kothamangalam besides one of the largest Arts and Science colleges in the State and a famous residential High School, all named after the late Malankara Metropolitan St. Athanasius Paulose of blessed memory, who passed away in 1953.