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Manarcad Church

Referred to as St.Mary’s Cathedral or Marthamariam Cathedral located at Manarcad is famous all over the world. The high point of this church is an annual event when a eight days fst is observed by the devotees on the occasion of the birthday of Virgin Mary. This event is celebrated between 1st and 8th day of September every year.

With passing of time, the joy and enthusiasm of this celebration has not dimmed in any way as many people are of this belief that observing this fast will definitely shower Virgin Mary’s blessings on them. With time, in fact, this event has gained a lot of popularity. During this annual fasting event, devotees come from far away destinations to seek the blessings of Mother Mary. This church that is located just 9 kilometers east towards Kottayam beckons people from far and wide areas.

One of the ancient churches of this area, this cathedral is famous for many things. Today, this cathedral is being managed by a team of 9 Assistant Vicars and a Head Vicar. In this parish there are about 2500 families that are distributed over twelve contagious places. Many educational institutions run under the aegis of this cathedral. One of them is St Mary’s College. Many other religious as well as social institutions are also managed by this cathedral besides a well equipped hospital.

At the time of fasting many people suffering from diseases or ailments come here to seek blessings. Childless couples come here seeking children and many other come here to get their wishes fulfilled. Every year about 3 million worshippers come here from every corner of the world.


Considered to be one of the ancient churches in the Malankara area, the Manarkad Cathedral is famous for a variety of reasons. The church has many stome inscriptions. According to these church inscriptions, there was an ancient church built at this place about one thousand years back. The inscriptions that have been found by archaeologists were basically memorial stones that were built on the tombs between 910 AD and 920 AD. The writings on these stones are in Tamil and Malayalam language that was prevalent during the period before 600 years.

The church was later rebuilt as well as modified on account of some special events being organized here. There was not a single church around this area during 16th century period that was not rebuilt using style followed by Portuguese. As per historians, this church was also rebuilt in the Portuguese style. theKottayam small church model was used in this cathedral too.

Under the able leadership of Holy Bava, this church is standing tall since the time it came into existence. The Holy Bava was the Antioch Patriarch from St Peters Throne.


On Kottayam Kumarakom Road, this beautiful church is located. Once disembarked from the train at Kottayam Railway station, the visitors need to move towards Shastri Road and then turn to KK Road. On this road, at about 6.7 kms distance, this church is positioned. A taxi or a cab can be hired to reach here. KSRTC buses also ply their services to this destination.

Attractions Inside the Church

As per the legends that are famous in the area, the devotees of this cathedral wanted to install a gigantic stone cross in the cathedral. For this purpose, they went to an elephant owner seeking his help for carrying the cross. This owner used to stay some 6 kms away from this cathedral in Puthapally. At that time when the devotees went to him, he was taking a rest and also receiving some treatment, hence he declined the request made by the devotees. When the dejected devotees retuned back, they saw that a stone cross is already standing in the cathedral premises. It was then properly erected and they were surprised to see an elephant standing in front of the cross.

Till date, traditional lamps are lighted around this cross by the avid devotees. They also move around the cross on bent knees after taking a bath in a holy pond. It is believed that patients suffering from mental illnesses and chronically ill patients get a cured after coming here and lighting lamps.


During the eight day fasting period, on the sixth day, a Rosa procession is carried out by the avid devotees in a colourful manner. About thousand of devotees carry colourful umbrellas during the procession and also gold and silver crosses. A round around the Small Church Pilgrim’s Quarters is taken in this manner. In the year 1976, some facilities were also constructed around the northern part of the cathedral where pilgrims could take a rest. Two Parish Halls were also constructed in the year 1973 and 1990 respectively. An office complex was also constructed. Today a wide array of events is celebrated in this cathedral with great pomp and show.

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