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March 27, 2010

Heritage church of Mulanthruthy opens door to tourists

     Kochi (Kerala): The centuries-old church of Mulanthruthy Mar Thoman Cathedral located near Kochi has become a destination of heritage tours conducted by the Centre for Heritage Studies and the Tourism Department of Kerala. The church, known as the second Jerusalem, is located Mulanthruthy City, but till date, is not very well-known to tourists or pilgrims. To understand its importance in Christian era history, especially in the context of Syrian Christian traditions in India, this move to include it in the heritage tour, has been termed as relevant. This church is believed to have been built between AD 1100 and 1125 and contains ancient carvings, paintings and relics. The church altar is a reminiscent of the Altar of the first Christian Church of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. That is why it is called the second Jerusalem. The title was used by the Late H H Moran Mor Ignatius Pathrose, Patriarch Supreme and Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church. "In the year 1876, his holiness Patriarch Bava announced this church as the second Jerusalem and later in the year 2004, the historic proclamation by his holiness Ignatiaius Zaka Patriarch Bava of Anthioch, who visited here pronounced it as India's 'sahion'," said Fr. Baby Chamakala, Cor Episcopa and chief priest of Mar Thoman Jacobite Syrian Cathederal. "This church has now been uplifted to cathedral (status) meaning the bishop's residing place and also the mother of all churches among Syrians. After the major renovation done in 1576, nothing has been done. We have done some landscaping to make it more attractive," he added. A noteworthy feature of this church is a relic of St Thomas, which was brought from Mosul. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Mar Gregorius Yuhanon resided at this church from 1751 till he attained eternal rest on July 10, 1773. His grave is located on the northern side of the church. It is the home parish of Saint Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala, who is a famous Christian leader.
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