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St. Mary Forane Church

St. Mary Forane Church, also known as Champakulam Kalloorkadu St. Mary's basilica is one of the oldest Christian churches in India. It is the mother church of almost all Catholic Syrian churches located in the Alleppey District. It is the first one under the church at Niranam which is believed to have been founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle himself.

St. Mary’s Forane Church is a pearly white building. It has played an important role in the history of Indian Christians, South Indian Christians to be more specific. The church architecture reeks of royal magnificence as it combines elements from the Portuguese and Syrian Christian cultures.

The humble church was the reason for reconciliation between Catholic and Jacobian Syrians three centuries ago. The church is not only an architectural marvel but also a fine specimen of Christian heritage in India.

A brief history about the St. Mary Forane Church

According to legends, the 9th century St. Mary's Church was built on land donated by the Brahmin family of Ettanasseri. It a token of thanksgiving for a male heir born to the family on praying to the Virgin Mary. The idol at the shrine, the statue of St. Sebastian is said to be brought by Portuguese sailor Leonard D'Cruz in 1687. The crucifix in this church is unique, as it shows St. Sebastian without any wound.

In 2016, the church was announced as a Basilica and became the first in the archdiocese of Changanasserry. So this is the 23rd basilica in India and the 9th basilica in Kerala. Also, it is the 4th Syro-Malabar basilica in India.

Key information about St. Mary Forane Church

  • Visiting the church is free of cost and you won’t be charged any entry fee.
  • St. Mary Forane Church is open 7-days a week.
  • St. Mary Forane Church is open for tourists between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm.
  • Prayer timings on Sundays: 6:00 am, 7:30 am, 9:30 am, and 4:00 pm
  • Prayer timings on Wednesday: 6:30 am and 4:00 pm
  • Other days: 6:00 am and 7:00 am

Major Festivals celebrated at St. Mary Forane Church

The annual feast celebrated in honor of St. Sebastian is a big event with fireworks and illuminations. Votive offerings of gold and silver arrows set this event apart from other festivals.

Places to visit near the St. Mary Forane Church

  • Alleppey Beach
  • Pathiramanal
  • Kayamkulam
  • Karumadikuttam
  • Mullakkal Temple
  • Marari Beach

Things to do around St. Mary Forane Church

  • Kayaking
  • Offering prayers
  • Visiting temples
  • Taking a stroll at the beach
  • Backwater cruising

Best Places to stay near St. Mary Forane Church

  • Zarano Residency
  • Paithal Hill Resort
  • White Gate
  • Triveny River Palace

How to reach st. Mary Forane Church

The church is one of the prime locations around Alleppey. You can take a cab, taxi, or an auto to reach here. The main town of Alleppey is only 17 km from the church.