Mother of God Cathedral
|Mother of God Cathedral, situated close to Beach Road, is locally known as Valiyapally. The church is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic congregation in Malabar.
The church has a history that dates back to 1513, when the Portuguese entered into a treaty with the Zamorins.
The Portuguese built a factory in Kozhikode with the permission of the Zamorin and also a church, dedicated to Virgin Mary of Immaculate Conception. The church was then known as Matrei Dei. The setting up of this church opened a new era for the Catholic congregation of Calicut Diocese.
In1599, the Archbishop of Goa, Dom Alexis de Menezes, visited Kozhikode and had a meeting with the Zamorin, following which the former decided to send more Jesuits to Kozhikode and to renovate the chapel with the Zamorin’s help.
In 1724, the Zamorin entered into another treaty with the Portuguese, by which he promised all support to complete the renovation of the church. The church was rebuilt with stone and mortar and a vestry, porches and a belfry were added to it. In 1923, the church became the Cathedral of the Diocese of Calicut.
Things of interest at the church
The Gothic Cathedral is said to have been designed by Italian architects who were brought all the way to Kozhikode for this sole purpose. The curved arches on the doors and windows, colonnade on the spires and so on stand as testimonies to the superior aesthetic sense of the Italian architects and the skills of the Indian workers who could convert the architects’ visions into concrete form. The neo- Roman architectural style of the elegant structure is prominent in the façade that is flanked by lofty, square towers on either side.
The 200-year-old portrait of St. Mary on a wall of the church draws many tourists. The adjoining cemetery is well maintained. Among the tomb stones, you can find that of Pedro de Covilhany, the first Catholic Missionary to come to Kozhikode.