Arthunkal St. Andrew's Basilica', Kerala built by the Portuguese

St. Andrew's Basilica of Arthunkal,Kerala 

During the colonial rule under the Portuguese in the 16th century, many missionaries landed in this part of land now called Kerala. Their mission was to spread Christianity in this state. Arthunkal St. Andrew's Basilica', Arthunkal, Alappuzha district was originally built by the Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century to meet the spiritual needs of the Christian community settled there. The church was reconstructed in 1584 under the guidance and efforts of  the then vicar Fr. Jacoma Fenicio. The natives respected and revered him because, they believed, that he had some kind of mystical powers to cure mental and physical ailments.  Devotees  called him "Arthunkal Veluthachan" ("fair skinned father"). Arthunkal  is one of the oldest Christian churches in Kerala and  is about 22 kilometers north of Alappuzha town. 

St. Andrew's Basilica of Arthunkal,Kerala

 Above image:  It was once a Buddhist temple and the name Arthungal derived from Arhant+kall (temple).  Portuguese rebuilt this in 17th century B.C.  Dedicated to St.Sebastian, the church comes under the Latin order. It is believed christian lived here were not baptized as there was no church or priest. These people belonged to the  Marthoma sect. With permission from the Moothedathu landlords in 1579 AD, they built a humble church - a thatched hut with only a cross inside......................

After Fr. Fenicio death in 1632, eight years later, for unknown reasons, the church was rebuilt; this time  the place of worship was facing the west on the shores of the Arabian Sea. It was in the year  1647, a strange statue arrived in the Arthunkal church from abroad. It was that of St. Sebastian, struck with arrows all over his bleeding body (he was put to death on the order of the Roman emperor for embracing the Christian faith) sculptured in Milan, Italy.

Arthunkal St Andrews Basilica, being the first Parish of the Diocese of Alleppey was elevated to the status of Basilica on (7th one in Kerala and 3rd basillica of the Roman Catholic church in the state) 9 July 2010.