Famous and massive St. George Orthodox, Church, Chandanapally, Kerala

St. George Orthodox Church,Chandanapally Malankara Orthodox Church

St. George Orthodox Church, situated in the Chandanapally village,  about 13 away km from the town of Adoor in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, is  one of the biggest churches in South India. Built in 1810, the church takes its name from St. George, who is the patron saint of England. A patron saint in Roman Catholicism  is regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person who slew the dragon snake.

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According to the history of this church, the village and the adjacent places were infested with lot of snakes of various shapes and hues. Many were poisonous crawling all over the places. The life at night was very difficult for the people to move around without stepping on them. Further, in those days they were dependent on oil lamps and big torches. Gripped by the fear of dangerous life lurking in the dark, scarring the children and women folks, ultimately the bbewildered villagers turned to the saint to save them and the village from the menacing problem of  not only snakes but also other evil spirits. At last the village became free of  dangerous snakes.

In 1875, the church was  renovated and consecrated by his holiness Mar Abdullah, the Later Patriarch of Antioch. When it was  decided to build the church, they needed  huge logs of teak and sandal wood that could be transported to  the site of work only through  river waters because there were no proper roads to the forests. As a miracle, following a heavy torrential rain for a few days, the Achankovil river,  connecting Chandanapally and Kodumon, was running full and  huge logs of wood were brought to the church site safely. By the bye Chandanapally literally means a place  of sandalwood trees; hence lots of sandalwood went into construction work.
St.George Orthodox Church,Chandanappally,by Cyril. www500px.com
In 2000 the church went through major construction work. The captivating features  of this wonderful church are Ind-Saracenic art of sculpture used in its construction, a blend of Christian, Muslim and Hindu sculptured art, Gothic-style towers,  technically built  pillars  and a solid  roof in Persian style, A visitor to this famous church will be captivated by the beautiful architecture and the serene  ambiance that propel him to go into a meditative mode.

Some what similar to  St Peter's Basilica in Rome in appearance, the major feature of this church is  Kalkurishu or cross cut which has  carvings of saints and angels. Christians and non Christians, especially Hindus come here in large number and repose full faith in St. George and their trust, prayer and faith will never go unanswered. Such is the healing power of  St. George, to whom caste,creed religion,color, etc are just anathema. Whoever lights the candle in front of the Cross cut (Kalkurish) having full faith in St. George and Holy angles will have peace of mind and their problem taken care of.

The annual feast is  is held from May1–8 which is unusual in Kerala. An important ritual called ''Chembuduppu'' that takes place on the auspicious day of May 8 attracts thousands of devotees to this church.


Chembuduppu (meaning picking of copper vessel) is a special ritual which is part of Kerala’s cultural

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history.  While the church construction was under way centuries ago,  local Hindus brought rice from different places to feed hundreds of voluntary labourers.  They cooked this rice on the bank of the river and ceremoniously served it to the volunteers. It is in memory of this event that the "Chempeduppu" is celebrated every year. Rice being a staple food here, it is cooked in a copper pot, which is taken to Kuthirappura by all the pilgrims from different places and the different religions who had  come here  for the celebrations. The visitors are offered this food and later it was  taken to their respective homes by the pilgrims.

St. Geevarghese Sahda is the local name for St. George. consecration of St Sahada’s mortal remains in Chandanapally, where the spiritual presence of St Geevarghese is present, was done by H.H Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II Catholica Bava on May 8, 2004. Previously it was in Malankara at the Kunadara seminary till 1916.

 Hindus, on a pilgrimage to the  near by Sabarimalai Ayyappan temple every year visit this church and pray here. They do stay here for a night.


"St George- Geevarghese Sahada traditions and rituals among Nasranis". April 28, 2008. "the St George Orthodox Church at Chandanapally in Pathanamthitta district. Gothic and Kerala features merge in this marvel, which looks a lot like the St Peter's Basilica in Rome". Thehindubusinessline.
"Chandanapally church festival". Chennai, India: The Hindu Newspaper. April 17, 2008.


Credit:Photograph St.George Orthodox Church,Chandanappally,Pathanamthitta,Kerala,India by Cyril