Niranam church, founded by apostle St.Thomas, Kerala,

North side, Niranam church.
Niranam church.

Niranam church,  popularly known as Niranam Valiya Pally or simply Niranam Pally is one of the oldest churches in Kerala under the Niranam Orthodox Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.  First founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, in AD 54, the church had been  rebuilt  several times since then. The stones in the church show the last reconstruction work in 1259.  The present building, the fourth, was built in 1912 and renovated in 2000.

This historical  Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church saw important events such as the establishment of a Catholicate in India. The first Catholicose and second Catholicose of the church were ordained here in 1912 and 1925 respectively.

The main altar, central building is dedicated to St. Mary and is used for regular services. The  northern altar is consecrated to Saint George, while the  southern one  is dedicated to  Mar Behnam. There are small altars dedicated
to  Saint Thomas and 
Inside the church.Niranam church.en.
Saint Stephen.

An important and unique feature of this famous church is the presence of  a tall granite cross at the right side of the entrance, a relic of the past, probably from 1259, the time at which the third renovation of the church building took place. The base of the cross has carvings, resembling those in Hindu Temples.

Niranam Church celebrates with great fanfare and joy  the feasts of Saint Mary (15 August) in whose name the church is dedicated, the feast of Saint Thomas (21 December), the founder of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Apostle of India and the feasts of Mar Thoma II and Mar Thoma V(10 May), whose mortal remains are buried in the church.

Stone Cross -  AD 1259 at Niranam Valiapally,
Tit Bits:

01. Niranam is a village in Central part of Travancore region in Kerala, Southern  India. It was once an ancient port in  that region  at  the confluence of the Manimala and Achankovil Rivers. It is almost 8 km from Tiruvalla in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala.

02. Saint Thomas, the Apostle, it is believed, landed here and founded the Christian church and the early members were Jewish traders who had been converted to Christians. They were mainly merchents and had been living there for some time. 

03. The Christian community in Niranam is therefore  the oldest in India and among the oldest in the world.

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India was established in A. D. 52, when Apostle St. Thomas toured Kerala preaching Gospel.

04. Though Thomas Christians (Syrian Christians) have moved to various denominations, the parental group - Indian Orthodox Church has maintained its old identity and legacy and is being led by  the Catholicos of the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas, Moran Mar Baselius Marthoma Mathews II.

 05. The Church follows Syrian liturgies and the traditions are  purely based on Indian culture. There are 2.5 million members  in about 1400 parishes, under 25 dioceses.

06. The Indian Orthodox Church (also known as Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Orthodox Syrian Church of the East), is a prominent member of the Oriental Orthodox Churches family. It dates back to the time of St. Thomas, the Apostle.

07. 'Malankara' is  yet another name for Kerala. This old denomination differs from  the Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths.

The church, which St Thomas first established in India remained as a strong community within Kerala for 19 centuries and is going stronger.