Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church
Mattancherry and Fort Cochin are two cities in Kochi, Kerala where various civilizations of the world have created significant impact which led to cultural and religious synthesis. The Portuguese followed by the Dutch and later on the British ruled the cities and used them as their first trade hub till independence of the country. Cochin became a thriving commercial center, and a major religious center where various religious groups tried to establish their administrative supremacy. This beautiful city surrounded by the Cochin backwaters was a common platform for various religious groups and cultural influences. The backwaters and the beautiful beaches have made phenomenal contributions in making Kerala ‘The God’s own country’. In this regard, the Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church of Mattancherry, which still languishes in the historic memories of the legendary Koonan Kurishu Sathayam (Coonan Cross Oath) has played a significant role of its own, never to be ignored.
St George Orthodox Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church (Mattancherry Church).
Koonan Kurishu Church at Mattancherry, Kochi is a revered pilgrim center where Coonan Cross Oath took place and holy relics of St.George was installed. The Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church of Mattancherry, one of the oldest churches in India has played a significant role in the historic event that shaped the leadership of the Malankara Church, as it is today. This Church was built on the land where the historical Koonan Kurishu Sathyam (Coonan Cross Oath) took place in AD 1653. Koonan Kurishu Sathyam took place at Mattancherry Church is the first attempt to resist colonialism and western invasion in India. Koonan Kurishu Church is also known as “Mattancherry Muri” or “Erimeghapally” and is presently under the direct control of the Malankara Metropolitan.
The Koonan Kurishu Church has paramount position among Oriental Orthodox churches as it is home to the holy remains of St.George. koonan kurishu church at Kochi is the only St George Church consecrated with installation of Holy relics of St George in its altar. Portuguese army had destroyed the St Thomas Church and its Leaned Cross (Koonan Kurishu) immediately after the Coonan Cross Oath of AD 1653. The destroyed St Thomas Church was reconsecrated in 1751 by Mar Baselious Shakkrallah Maphriana, and renovated later in 1974 under the initiative of Cochin Diocese. The land has become sacred with the foot prints of the Persian Prelates, first Catholicos Mar Thoma 1 and other forefathers of the Malankara Orthodox faith. In 2016 church is renovated using Nubian architecture with eco friendly construction process using compressed soil bricks with no steel and very less cement, reducing the CO2 emission. Koonan Kurishu is reinstalled at Mattancherry Koonan Kurishu Old Syrian Church along with the renovation. Importance is given to natural lighting and air circulation. Considering the historic importance of the Koonan Kurish Palli, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church declared it as a historic monument as well as a pilgrim center.
Mass timings at Koonan Kurishu Old Syrain Church
The Holy Qurbana is conducted at Koonan Kurishu Church on all FRIDAY’S (6:00am- Namaskaram, 6:45am- Holy Qurbana & Madhystha Prayer 8:15am- Kaimuthu, Nercha Vilambu) and SUNDAY’S (6:00am to 8:30am).
The special offering of Neyyappam by devotees for favours received and prayers heard is a specialty of this Holy Pilgrim Center.