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.

Church History

Kothamangalam was known for its prosperity from the days of ‘Karthas’ who had administered it. ‘Pookkottumala’ was allotted to the Christian merchant families by the ‘Kartha’ for the establishment of a church.

Marthamariyam Valiyapally named after St.Mary was built there in 1340 A.D. by the Syrian Christians and it has been since then a perpetual source of succour for christian devotees in this part of the land.The spiritual and temporal matters of the church were controlled by a few powerful Syrian Christian families for more than a century.
Personal differences among some of the influential members of the managing committee over the ‘Pasaram’ due to the church led to the separation of eighteen families who eventually built the historical Mar Thoma Cheriyapally. In 1455 A.D. Kaimal, the local administrator, allotted land for them at ‘Kollikattumala’ for the construction of a church. They first erected a Cross and worshipped there. This Cross was uprooted and thrown into the river by miscreants. Another Cross was erected in the presence of the Karthas and sweets were offered to those present. A church was built there on Kanni 13. Its thatched roof caught fire and subsequently the roof was tiled.

People come to this Church all throughout the year. Devotees are well taken care of by the Church Managing committee. Free food and accommodation are provided to the devotees. The pleasure and pain are shared by every home here and Bava of Cheriyapally. This makes the place a hallowed ground of holiness for devotees and pilgrims.

Church & Kothamangalam

Kothamangalam, a small beautiful town in Ernakulam District is now one of the most important pilgrim centers of Kerala, with a dozen churches, half a dozen ancient temples and a few sacred mosques. The place is spiritually glorified by the ancient Thrikariyoor Temple, mosques, St. George Cathedral, St. Mary’s Church (Marthamariyam Valiyapally) and Mar Thoma Cheria Pally.

People come to this Church all throughout the year. Devotees are well taken care of by the Church Managing committee. Free food and accommodation are provided to the devotees.

Institutions managed by Cheriapally

  • Mar Baselios Medical Mission Hospital, Kothamangalam.
  • Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam.
  • Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam.
  • Mar Athanasius College High School, Kothamangalam.
  • Mar Basil Higher Secondary School, Kothamangalam.
  • Mar Baselios Dental College, Kothamangalam.