St. Marys Church (Piravom Valiya Palli) is one of the prominent Jacobite churches in Kerala. The church is situated on the eastern banks of Muvattupuzha river running through piravom. The river takes 60 degree angle in front on the river which gives scenic view from the church. Though the Church is named after St. Mary, it is popularly known as the 'Church of the Kings' (“Rajakkalude Pally”), the three Kings visited Jesus during his birth. It is also known as Morth Mariyam Palli.

History

The legends about the church is that it is one of the first Christian Church in the world, and it is the only church in the name of the Holy Kings (MAGI). This doesn't any historical proof. But the word "Piravam" in Malayalam originates from "Piravi" which means birth.

We could see references to the church in the 16th Century during the Portugal invasion to India. The church has been destroyed and one of church intruded by the Portuguese metropolitan Menesis during the Udayamperoor Synod. Later the people of this church participated in the "Koonan Kurish Satyam’ (Coonen Cross Oath) in AD 1653 and continued as a Jacobite church

Some of the interesting things at church which create reserchers interest are

  • Antiquity throbs at this church.
  • The blend of ancient artistic splendour and sculptural skill can be seen in the famous ‘Erthazhu’ (Altar).
  • A very ancient thick slab of granite (1’ x 1.5’ x 7’) with a script engraved in the most ancient Tamil-Malayalam letters, can be seen in the church yard.
  • Another granite slab is in the church-wall having ancient Malayalam script (vattezhuthu) written after additional construction works.
  • The cross lock system.
  • The 4 ft thick church wall.
  • The lock links.
  • Inter connected lock joints.
  • Interlocked ceiling.
  • The table showing festival dates in square shaped script on the south wall.
  • The huge cross stone and cross base on the western yard.
  • Most ancient worship material prayer scroll and hand-written books etc.
Old History

About 2000 years ago, after the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judaea, in the days of king Herod the "Wisemen" from the east (The Magi) reached Bethlehem through Jerusalem. The "star" they saw in the east was moving to direct them till they reached the birthplace of Infant Jesus… They saw the young child on the lap of mother Mary, knelt down and worshipped him. They opened their treasures and presented gifts to him: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh (St. Mathew 2:1-11) And they returned with exceeding joy and satisfaction to their home land in the east. The Wisemen (Holy kings) were scholars, rulers and devotees. The legends name them as Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar. Old Melchior, middle aged Gaspar and young Belthazar visited Infant Jesus. When they reached back their homeland, they built an edifice in the Indian style and here they began to worship the Holy infant. As such Piravom Valiyapally is the first church in the world, where worshipping Jesus Christ started. During the 5th Century, this building may have been rebuilt as a Christian church as we now see.

Evidences are many which goes to prove this traditional faith. The commercial connection of Kerala with the western countries and the astrological competence of Kerala are only some. The westerners were visiting Kerala for the business of spices. The major part of the gift presented by the Holy Kings was spices. The Holy Book says that the wise men came from the East. Aryabhata, Vararuchi and Sankaranarayana are examples for the fact that Kerala has been famous for astronomy since olden times. Widely famous astrological centre, the ‘Pazhoor Padippura’ very near to this church is also an evidence to reach to this conclusion. "The place-name Piravom itself is related to 'piravi' (Birth)". Many people are of such opinions. It is seen in the History of St.Thomas (Page. 15; Suriyani Sabha, Kaniyanparambil Kurian Corepiscopa) that the ‘Megusans’ (MAGI), who made offerings to Infant Jesus had been sanctified as Christians in India by St.Thomas, when he was in missionary works in Kerala.

in the beginning stages of church the building was in the architectural style of Hindu Temples. But later during the flourishing of the Persian culture, the church building was renovated adopting the Persian architecture. The picture of fish, an ancient Christian emblem has a venerable place in the church. The Church was built as a strong fort; having been built in the periods of "Padayottam" (civil wars and banditry) its walls are more than four feet in thickness.

Important Festivals

Denaha (Annual celebration of the holy Baptism of Christ) on January 6 is the main celebration in the church. The best attraction of the festival is the procession.

The ‘Paithel Nercha’ (the feast for 12 male children) on the Easter Day at the Piravom church is very famous. The ‘Paithel Nercha" is one of the major offerings dedicated to the church. The main part of the offering is 12 infants will sit with the priest who sanctifies the offering and they will be feasted with delicious food.

The Festival of St. George on May 7 and St. Mary on August 15 are other main festivals.