PIRAVOM VALIYA PALLY which is one of the most ancient and prominent church in Kerala stands on a lovely hilltop on the eastern bank of the Muvattupuzha river at Piravom, 35 Kms east of Kochi. Adorned with all the majestic beauty of nature, this Church is believed to be as old as the Christianity. Its lamp, the light of hope, is kept burning perpetually throughout day and night, a peculiar feature! Though the Church is named after St. Mary, it is popularly known as the 'Church of the Kings' (“Rajakkalude Pally”). People from various parts of the country irrespective of caste, creed and religion reach this pilgrim centre for consolation and comfort with offerings to their ‘Kings’ who never refuse the prayers and tears of the devotees. This pilgrim centre stands as a fort of refuge, showering blessings, ecstasy, complacence and solace to millions of people far and near.                   



The church has been invariably known as Piravom Valiyapally, Morth Mariyam Pally, Rajakkalude Pally, St.Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Chathedral etc.. As legends say, it is the first Christian church in the world, and it is the only church in the name of the Holy Kings (MAGI) which stands on the solid rock of Christian faith. It is one among the rare churches in Malankara where there has been daily Holy Mass from very olden times. There is the "Vishudha Moonninmel Qurbono" (The Holy Mass offered jointly by three priests) almost daily and there are two Holy Masses one after the other on Sundays. Pilgrims from far and near come to pray for consolation and comfort. Many parishioners come daily in the afternoon to pray and they light candles in the church and at the tombs of their forefathers in the graveyard, which is another significance of this church among the Churches in Malankara. This church remains loyal to the Patriarch of Antioch, seated on the Holy Apostolic throne of St. Peter.

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.

It is believed that, in the beginning, this church 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.

 An ancient painting in the church

(St. Mary with infant Jesus being worshipped by MAGI)

The Church in the pages of history

During the days of Archbishop Menezis from Portugal, the texts referring to the Malankara Church history including the Piravom church, (Refer notes on ‘Udayamperoor Synod’), had been destroyed. The Churches that Menesis intruded after the Synod (A.D.1599) includes Piravom Church (Suriyani Sabha. Page. 131). Later the people of this church participated in the "Koonan Kurisu Sathyam" (Coonen Cross Oath) in 1653. Among those who gathered at Mattancherry (Cochin) to declare allegiance to the true faith, the members of this church had active roles.

Some  Historical  facts

After the ‘Koonan Kurisu’ (Coonen Cross Oath) incident, one Metropolitan from Antioch resided at the Piravom church. Meanwhile some people of the Kottoor Church, with prior permission of the Metropolitan, came by boat to take him to their Church. Rev.Fr. Chandy (who gave the leadership to 'koonan kurisu sathyam') also came without prior permission to take him to Kaduthuruthy Church. But the Bishop firstly went to Kottoor Church as agreed earlier. He may have been advised of avoiding a to and fro journey also. Provoked by this Fr. Chandy went to Menezis and joined the Roman Catholic order. But the Piravom church remained firm on true faith (Sabha Charithram, page. 147).

Piravom church was the seventh among the 103 churches that took part in the Mulanthuruthy Synod held by H.H. Pathros III Patriarch of the Antioch in 1876. (Vicar of Piravom Valiyapally Rev. Fr. Abraham Karammel, Rev: Dn. Thomas Puthenpurackal Rev. Dn. Daveed Thaliachira and Mr. Ittiavirah Ulahannan Karammel participated and signed in the Synod.) Mr. Thommi Puthenpurackel of the Piravom church was selected to the sub-committee of the Syrian Christian Association which was then constituted (Suriyani sabha, page. 223). H. H. Pathros III the Patriarch had resided in the Piravom Church during 1876.

The holy relics ('Thiruseshippu') of the St. Eldho Mor Baselios, entombed at Kothamangalam in 1685, had been installed at the Piravom church through the dedicated work of Rev. Fr. Vellirickal.

H.G. Paulose Mor Koorilose who was anointed at Sehiyon Malika on the 31st of May 1908 by H. H. Abdulla Patriarch, stayed for a long time at the church seminary. The Higher Secondary School, (Mor Koorilose Memorial) is named in memory of His Grace. (M.K.M.H.S.S., Piravom)

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The Lamp


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Virgin Mary

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Ancient festivals' Calendar

seen on the Church wall


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Altar (H. Madbaha)



Whether true or not, there are so many legends connected with the Piravom Church.

*The legend regarding the foundation of the church

While returning after offering presents to the Infant Jesus at Bethlehem, the Three Kings met a "Panickar" with a boat, in the river. The Kings’ request to help them cross the river, was turned down by the Panickar. But he could not row any further. Thus knowing that they were divine people, Panickar decided to help them. But the boat was so small that only one could travel at a time. But the three could travel on it without being sunk. Wonder struck Panickar, showed them the small hill on the eastern bank of the river to rest and pray. When the kings began to leave, Panickar made them promise that they would not leave the place until his return. But Panickar committed suicide, and never returned, which made the Three Kings stay there forever.

*"The beautiful hill top site, to which of his two deities ?"

Rajakkal failed to come to a decision, when he decided to erect two separate buildings for them. He came to test through a lot. One YAMAM away, on the upperside of the river, he put the cross of the church and the idol of the Devi and left them to float down. The cross came down and rested on the present Kadavu of the church and the idol on the Ambala kadavu. And the three kings built the church and the Ambalam (Temple) on the respective sites as seen now.

* Another legend is of "Tortoise, Bell and  Fish "

Once the church bell was stolen and was sunk in the whirlpool on the western side of the Church. It is believed that a sacred fish along with the bell comes up above the water at the time of the celebration of the Holy Mass of the annual festival. People believe that there is a tunnel cave from the river to the centre bottom, of the Church, where the fish and tortoise live safely.

* Another legend is that some robbers had withdrawn leaving their booty, when the Three Kings raised their sword at them on all the doors of the church.

* Yet another legend is about Kayamkulam Kochunni. He came to robe the Church, and when his boat reached the whirlpool it kept rounding there till daybreak so that his attempt ended up fruitlessly.

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The Church a view from west side-1

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The Church a view from west side-2


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The Church a view from west side-3

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The Grave yard

The Change of Name

There is no other church anywhere in the world in the name of the Holy Kings in the Syrian tradition. A Holy Father form Antioch who once camped at the church decreed that, churches could not be allowed in the name of the Holy Kings’ because the kings were non-Christians according to his conscience. Thus the name of the Church was changed to St. Mary’s. However it is still the ‘Rajakkalude Pally" (Holy Kings’ Church) in the hearts of the devotees.

The place of the Church

The Church stands with a very beautiful greenery at Piravom on the bank of the Muvattupuzha River. The river deviated its route leaving a small mount aside, on which the church stands like an enthroned King.

Communal Harmony

The Piravom Church and the "Pisharukovil Temple" (Hindu Temple) are situated on the same hill, side by side. There is only a wall separation between them and they co-operate each other for the festivals irrespective of caste and creed.



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 one is in the church-wall having ancient Malayalam script (vattezhuthu) written after additional construction works. Many historical objects which help the research fellows are here, such as the cross lock system, 4 ft thick church wall, 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.

The Erthazhu

This special wooden lock in the ‘Madboho’ (Altar) is a beautifully carved design of architecture. It is still a wonder; its non-fading colour made from indigenous items. These colours have sunk deep in wood. It is believed that this had been installed in the 15th century, by the Portuguese architects. The Legend says that once a rich Portuguese merchant decided to give an elaborately decorated "Erthazhu" to an Indian church. Thus they reached Kerala and travelled through a river not knowing the exact church; but finally reached Piravom.

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The lock is fixed on four pillars with imprinted vine stems. The God’s creation of the universe is carved at the top. Some believe that the images seen at the topsides are of Elija and Hanok. Some say that it is God, the Son and Holy Ghost. The paintings below that show the life story of Jesus Christ and the most important events from the Holy Bible. The picture of the Last Supper is at the bottom and the names of all Apostles are written in Tamil. Malayalam might not have evolved as a language at that time with its letters as of modern days.

The  prominence  of  Piravom  Valiyapally

Many famous churches, as Kottoor, Kolenchery, Kadamattom, Vadakara, Elanji, Mutholapuram, Mammalassery, Chembu and Kaduthuruthy emerged after severing their ties with the Piravom Valiyapally. Piravom Roman Catholic Church severed from Piravom Valiyapally in 1821, many years after the Koonan Kurisu Sathyam. The present two CHURCHES enjoyed the same services and followed the same texts till that date.



'Denha Perunnal'

'Denha' (Annual celebration of the Holy Baptism of Jesus Christ) on January 6th is the main celebration in the church. Piravom is in a festive mood for one week from the 1st of January every year. The best attraction of the festival is the procession. Three Priests adorned in royal ecclesiastical robes and wielding golden crosses move under the MEKKATTY along with the procession blessing the devotees. "Kuda, (decorated umbrellas), pon-velli-kurishukal," (Gold and Silver Crosses) and  embellishments accompany the procession of   5Kms. from ‘Peppathi Chapel’ to Piravom Church. A big congregation takes part in the procession, singing hymns. Several sorts of musical instruments are played all along the procession road which stands bathed in illumination. Many are the troops who play band, 'chenda melam' and 'nadaswaram'. The church and its campus will be in full splendour with decoration. People take part in the celebrations regardless of religion. In short, the celebration on 6th January can be regarded as the national festival of Piravom.


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 Function:- "12 infants will sit with the priest who sanctifies the offering and they will be feasted with delicious food". "Neyyappam", plantain fruit, "pidi", chicken curry, fish curry, rice etc will be served on plantain leaf(5 course dinner). Compared with all other churches in the whole world, the Piravom Valiyapally is the place where the highest number of 'Paithal Nerchas' are offered. This makes the church world famous. There will be more than 20,000 "Nerchas" (offerings) on the Easter Day alone. People reach for the same even on the later Sundays too!, from all over Kerala and even from neighboring states.

The festival  of  St. George

The 'Thirunal' (festival) of St.George (Geevarghese Sahda) is being celebrated in every festivity on 7th May, every year. It is also celebrated in the 6 Chapels of the church, and also at one ‘Kurishadi’ (from May 1 to 6).

St.Mary’s Thirunal ("Sunoyo perunnal")

St. Mary’s Thirunnal on August 15th is celebrated in the church and also in other two Chapels. The ‘Twelve Apostles’ Thirunal on June 30th is held at the Seminary Chapel.

"Kallitta  Thirunal"   (Foundation stone laid-Celebration)

"Kallitta Thirunal" or Foundation Thirunal is celebrated at the Piravom Church with traditional rituals. It is on 8th October (Kanni 23). It is believed that the Holy Kings on their return from Bethlehem began construction of the church building on this day.

The scepter of the Holy Kings is revered in celebrations only on this day. The descendants of the servants (dependants) of the Holy Kings (Piravathu Rajakkal) are honoured with presents on this day. ‘Chalassery Panickar’ is honoured with "Anchekalum Koppum"    (5¼ idengazhi rice, coconut, pumkin, yam, and banana, one bundle of ‘pappad’, betel leaf and arecanuts)  All these are arranged in a beautiful new basket and placed on a table. The function of presenting the "Anchekalum koppum" to the Chalassery Panickar is held from the very inception of the church. This seems to be the honour bestowed on him as he was the then commander-in-chief of the Holy Kings. The senior most of the nobles of the Chalassery Tharavadu reach the church on this day every year without fail and receive the present after paying homage to the Rajakkal, and the celebrations come to a close.



Fasts  &  Vows

The Five major holy religious observings (Nombu-Fast) are held in the church most respectfully. The most important one is the "Valiya Noimbu" (Great Lent). People rush in here to sit "Bhajana" during this time. The rush on the "Good Friday" is really amazing. People from very far of places reach the church during the passion week. Three times prayer is held during the fast period. Famous evangelists preach during this period along with the evening prayers.

On the Good Friday, a huge mass joins the prayers. The fact that 75 ‘paras’ of rice were used for ‘Kanji Nercha’ on Good Friday last year itself is enough to understand the large multitude of pilgrims. "Moonnu Noimbu", Soonoyo Noimbu", Eldho Noimbu", "Sleeha Noimbu" etc, also are observed here. During the "Ettu Noimbu" days, there is gospel preaching and adoration daily.

Results  and  experiences   of  Prayers

The Church is the refuge of the helpless and the destitudes. Prayer will never go unanswered to those who weep at the Holy Steps of the Three Kings. People from very far and near come to get relief from their distress through the intercession of the Holy Kings. It is the place of relief from pain and disease. Many diseases, where modern medicine failed, are reported to be cured by "Bhajana and Prayer" at the Church. Many people are coming here for relief and peace at work places and home. It is believed that applying a handful of oil on head from the lamp of the church and a bath in the river on the frontage and an earnest prayer at the church in dripping wet clothes is surely rewarding. Offerings given to the Church by them are clear evidence for this. The cross at Choondi is an offering of a youngster who was cured of rabies by seeking refuge (prayer) at this Church.

Offerings  (Nerchakal & Vazhipadukal)

Many people give offerings and tributes seeking intercession of St. Mary, and the Holy Kings. The "Paithel Nercha" is the major item among them. People offer not only money but also several items for the favours received.

The Piravom Church has always been in the forefront for protecting the weak and the poor. The steps that the church is taking for the eradication of poverty in and around Piravom, receives good appreciation from the public.



Chapels(9) &  Crosses(12)

The Piravom Valiyapally is the Head Church of, 9 chapels and 12 "Kurishin thottikal" (Crosses). There are annual celebrations and Holy mass on scheduled Sundays in these chapels. The oldest chapel is that in the seminary complex.

                          9  Chapels

                             12 Crosses

(Piravom Side)


Town Central


Piravom Seminary








(Kakkad Side)



Kakkad North




Kakkad Middle




Kakkad Thottabhagam




(Pazhoor - Peppathy Side)

Pazhoor Padathu


Pazhoor Y.M.C.A

















The seminary estate was purchased by the Piravom church before one century, for the purpose of an institution (seminary) for the training of the clergy. H.G. Paulose Mor Koorilose, H.G. Paulose Mor Philixinos (former Catholicos Baselios Paulose II Bava), Augen Mor Timotheos (former Catholicos Baselios Augen I, Thomas Moar Osthathios and Philipose Mor Ivanious, used the seminary bungalow as the Bishop’s palace.

Seminary Chapel Complex

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J. S. V. B. S. rally

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Sunday Schools

There are seven Sunday schools working under the Piravom Church and its Chapels. There are Classes from 1 to 12. It helps to produce a good posterity for both the church and the society. The J.S.V.B.S held at the church during every April, coordinating all Sunday Schools, is the biggest V.B.S Centre in Malankara. Teachers’ seminars and Christmas Carols are also held every year.

The  Youth  Association

The Youth Association is an active religious organization working in the Piravom church. It co-ordinates and leads the youth for charity works. It does great service to the society through the medical treatment aid project, the relief aid project and the social welfare aid project. The Association takes initiative in conducting eye testing camps, blood testing camps and to form the blood bank. The Association organizes meetings on every Saturday for evangelization in the church, and on alternate Saturdays in chapels. The association distributes uniforms and study aids to the poor students. The top mark holders and their schools in S.S.L.C / J.S.S.L.C on the parish level, Sunday school level and Panchayath level are honoured by giving them awards. The youth association does praiseworthy service during the Denaha, and Easter celebrations to maintain discipline among the multitudes. The Association publishes "Youth Voice" - a magazine - to propagate the news of the Church (Sabha), Parish and also the gospel. Their main source of income is from the stall operated by them.

Morth Mariyam Vanitha Samajam (Ladies Group)

The Morth Mariyam Vanitha Samajam is an active organisation in the Church. Its members assemble on every Sunday in the church. They take initiative in preaching, charity works and voluntary service. Its active presence is clear in the meditation meetings on every Saturday. St. Mary’s daycare centre and play school function under this Samajam at Piravom.

Prayer meetings

The church has a very active role in evangelization; besides meditation meetings are held on every Saturday afternoon, at the church, and also at the chapels of the Church as noted above. There are also prayer meetings at the houses of the parishioners on every Sunday. Moreover prayer and Retreat meetings are held during the days of "Holy Week" and "Ettu Nombu".

The spiritual enlightment programmes are also active in the church.

St. Mary's Church Choir

The church choir is formed to beautify the prayers and to make them melodious. With modern musical instruments the choir joins the congregation and makes the prayers more attractive and thus makes the Holy Qurbono pious and more devotional. It sings devotional and spiritual songs in gospel meetings, during wedding ceremonies and on other special occasions.

Social Service Schemes

The Church is in the forefront of social activities. Many Govt. Offices function in the church building, like as SBT Branch, Sub-registrar Office, Veterinary Hospital, Irrigation Office, Agricultural Office etc. The school auditorium is used for social and cultural programmes. The newly constructed parish hall is a grand asset to the entire community. There is the active presence of the church in almost all social and development programs held at Piravom.

The Ambulance service of the church is available round the clock for the benefit of the people.



M. K. M. H. S. S.

The M.K.M Higher Secondary School, founded a century back belongs to the church and is very famous in Kerala. This school was selected as the best school in Ernakulam Revenue District and in Muvattupuzha Educational District. In the "Kayyezhuthu Masika" competition, "Spandanam" the magazine of this school won the first prize in state level. This school continues to be a 100% winner in the S.S.LC. examination with the multitudinous number of students.  There are about 1900 students and 80 teachers. Mrs. P.T Annamma the principal has got the State Award for the best teacher. The newly granted Plus Two Course is highly beneficial to the students in and around Piravom. It definitely maintains a high standard of teaching.

St. Mary’s Play Schools

The Piravom church gives importance to both primary and higher level of studies. St. Mary’s Play School and Daycare centre proves this. The School nurses the L.K.G and the U.K.G students here.

Moreover, extra effort is on for a college of higher learning. Likewise a multi-specialty hospital is also considered as a dream project of our Church.

Some of the renowned fathers of the Church who have stayed here during the past decades

Properties of the church

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The Parish Hall building

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New Plus Two  block of the school

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Reception given to H. G. Thomas Mor Dionysius (Catholicos Baselios Thomas I), H.G. Markose Mor Koorilose

and H.G. Mathews Mor Ivanios (Feb 2001)  

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Pilgrims from West Europe who came along

with Mor Julius Yeshu`Çiçek  (1999)




        Website maintained by Piravom Church in 2002

This is not an official site of the Piravom Church