Our Parton Saint
Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, and with the help of Saint Irene, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death.
History of Kanjoor Church
Kanjoor is one of the most popular pilgrim centres in Kerala. People of all faiths and religions come to this pilgrim centre to pray ! ie. to Kanjoor Punnyavan.The Kanjoor Church is situated on the banks of the River Periyar. This beautiful village is endowed with green pastures and lush paddy fields and it has been attracting tourists from time immemorial. Every nook and cranny of the church breathes history and heritage.St Mary's Forane Church, Kanjoor is one of the most outstanding and ancient Catholic churches in Kerala. Built in the year AD 1001, this church is portrayed as the symbol of strong Christian faith and spiritual renaissance of Kanjoor. it belongs to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam - Angamaly and is about 3 kms south of Kalady in the Aluva - Kalady route.
This church has a fascinating Kerala Temple style, wonderful fresco painted walls and tall towers. The magnificent structure of the church is a gorgeous blend of Indian architecture, Persian design, and Portuguese artistry. The fabulous collection of ancient sculptures and paintings which adorn the sanctum of the church, are made from a combination of fruit pulp, rare plant leaves and gold dust. The unique paintings on the main altar exhibit the Blessed Virgin Mother, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity and the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. The side wall contains the paintings on the offer,ing of the Lord Abraham, Noah, Melchisedech, the Ten Commandments to Moses.
The church has a rare antique and valuable collection of manuscripts, books and paintings which are eye,catching. The granite cross made out of a single stone, the majestic and grandiose main door, the baptismal font made out of a single stone sculptured in the shape of a lotus, the epitaph in ancient round script (vattezhuthu), the ancient and invaluable documents written on the palm leaves (thaliyola) and many other antique properties chart the greatness of the church and highlight the cultural heritage and the noble Christian traditions that belong to Kanjoor over the years.The presence of Saint Sebastian, with his divine powers, makes Kanjoor a famous and important pilgrim centre. He is known as the Saint of Kanjoor (Kanjoor Punnyavan).
There are a lot of incidents which illustrate the powerful and divine nature of the saint. One such incident happened when the ruler of the local kingdom Sakthan Thampuran visited the Puthiyedam Kovilakam during the annual feast of the saint was celebrated. Irritated by the uninterrupted firing of the saluting mortar (kathina vedi), he ordered that the mortars to be thrown into the river. At the time of the procession, all the mortars immersed in the water started firing. Startled by what happened, the Thampuran realized his mistake and came down to the church and paid obeisance to the saint. He donated the Elephant Lamp (Aana Vilakku) which is made of Pancha Loha (an alloy of five metals).There was another incident when the Thampuran ordered that the Padippuro (gate house) of the church to be demolished. The very moment that the demolition of the gate house started, the elephant at the Kovilakam started destroying its padippura. On in¬quiring about this astonishing occurrence, he was informed that the Kanjoor Punnyavan had been offended by his action. As a sign of his repentance the Thampuran presented the perpetual lamp (Keda Vilakku) to the church. It is believed that to meet the expense of oil for the lamps, theThampuran permitted the church to possess the paddy fields of one hundred para, and made the land on which it was constructed tax free.
In 18th century Tippu Sultan during his invasion reached Kanjoor to destroy the church. The Sultan ridiculed their faith in the saint and shouted at the statue of the saint, "If this clay statue has divine powers, let it speak to me". The people prostrated before the saint crying out to protect them. Suddenly a voice came from the sacred statue, "Won't you allow me to rest?" Seeing this miracle Tippu retreated with¬out damaging the church. It is depicted on the walls in front of the church to commemorate this event.
The pilgrims flock to this sacred place throughout the year and particularly during the festival season in January. Every year from 10 to 27 of January, thou¬sands of people belonging to all religions reach Kanjoor to celebrate the feast of the St.Sebastian. The days of solemn celebration are 18th, 19th and 20th of January. The Eighth - Day of the feast is celebrated on 26th and 27th of January. The biggest 3 festival processions in South India are held on 19th and 20th of January. People suffering from incurable and chronic diseases, epidemics and shattering problems of life visit the church for deliverance and relief. Major offerings made by those who seek the intercession of the Kanjoor Punnyavan are Ambum villum ezhunnullikkal, kazhunnu, oil offering, adima, vedi vazhipadu, floral decoration, offering gold and silver.Cordial and Warm welcome to Kanjoor to experience the Christian heritage and the divine presence of St. Sebastian...