St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Cheriyapally
|Cheriapally is located near Valiapally and is on the way to Kumarakom from Kottayam.
History behind its construction
At first, two groups of Christians, the Knanaya Christians and the Vadakkum bhagar (people from the northern side), used to worship at the Valiapally. Following a dispute between the two, the leader of the Vadakkum bhagar, Fr. Ouseph Kathanar, approached the Thekkumkoor Raja for grant of some land for building another church. The Raja granted his wish. Construction of the new church was completed in 1579.
The church is known for its peculiar architecture, a combination of the traditional temple architecture of Kerala and the Portuguese style. The large brick walls, granite pillars and the murals reflect the Hindu influence. The mural paintings depict both biblical and non-biblical themes.
The feast of the church - Feast of St. Mary - falls on January 15 and is known as Vithukalude Perunnal which means ‘the festival of seeds’. It is observed to invoke the blessings of Virgin Mary upon the agricultural seeds. Another feast observed in this church is the Feast of the Assumption of St Mary (Vaangippu Perunnal).