Click on the link below for a slide show of some of the oldest churches in and around Kunnamkulam, Thrissur. What is unbelievable by us southists is that all of them are under the Malankara Orthodox Syrian wing. Yes, so far off north of Kottayam! Make sure you turn on the titles and descriptions in the link below
A gist of some of the history in this area is as follows:
- Legend says that the Cheralayam St.Lazarus church was the first church to be built by the Essenes (Christian) Jews when they migrated here with St. Thomas in the 1st century.
Many of these churches are centered on Thekke-angadi (South market), which is a place very much like West Fort of Trivandrum, is a ghetto of tightly packed houses. Here the Jewish Christian families stay and trade…I am not sure if they still claim to be of Jewish descent.
- Tipu Sultan did a ' 300' at the Arthattu church I read. Hung bodies and heads of these 'Issani' (Essene) zealots on a tree within the church compound. After which he then burnt the church to the ground. BTW, Arthat church still contests as the real first church by saint Thomas (!) The people there say the Palayur thing is a lie.
- At Pazhanji church, it is said that these Christians held their ground bravely against Tipu's Padayottom.
- A few kilometers off Kunnamkulam in a place called Thozhiyur there is an 'Independent' Syrian church, where a disposed orthodox bishop set up his own church on a land donated by a Muslim for favors received in the miraculous healing of this Muslim's son from rabies.
One bloody interesting place.