Religious Places

St. Andrew’s Basilica Church, Arthunkal in Kerala

Written by Sudhir Kumar

Arthunkal St Andrew’s Basilica (St. Andrew’s Forane Church at Arthunkal) is one of the sacred churches in Kerala, attracts lakhs of devotees both Christians and non-Christians every year from all parts of the State. Visit for more details

About Arthunkal Church in Kerala :

Arthunkal Church, located in Alappuzha (Alleppey), is one of the oldest churches built in Kerala. There are different theories regarding the name of the church. One of the most believable arguments states that there used to be a temple somewhere at the grounds where the church stands now. A ceremonial procession used to take place every year, which used to start from a particular point, which was marked by a stone. Hence, Arthunkal Church derives its name from two words – Arattu meaning procession and ‘Kallu’ meaning stone. Later on, ‘Arattukallu’ became the present day ‘Arthunkal’ Church. Today, Arthunkal Church is one of the prime pilgrimage sites of Kerala, which attracts thousands of devotees from all over the world.

History of Arthunkal Church in Kerala :

Arthunkal Church’s official name is St. Andrew’s Forane Church. The building of church, which was set up by the natives, was pulled down by the Portuguese. They built the entire structure using wood and stone and then dedicated the structure to Santha Anthrose. The construction of the church was completed on 30th November 1581. Small renovations were done in the year 1584, when the church was expanded a little to accommodate more devotees. This happened during Fr. Jacoma Fenicio’s presence. He was believed to have magical powers to heal people.

The idol of St. Sebastian, which is placed in the altar, was brought from Milan (Italy) in 1647 AD. Later in the year, the Carmelite order took over the charge from the fathers of the church who used to be Jesuit. One of the major events which were witnessed by Arthunkal Church was the ordination of Chavara Kuriakose Elias. The function was conducted by Rt.Rev. Dr Stabalini, who was the Bishop of Verapoly. The event took place on November 29, 1829. Fr. Vincent Das Navis took over the charge of the church in the year 1910. This was a significant occasion, because he was the first Indian priest to take the charge of the church.

Attractions of Arthunkal Church in Kerala :

The major attraction of Arthunkal Church is the festival, which takes place every year in January. The festival is renowned as the ‘Feast of St. Sebastian’. A number of devotees irrespective of caste or religion partake in this 11-day extravaganza. Although all the eleven days are marked by celebrations, the important days of the festival are the eighth and the eleventh (last) day. This is a big celebration at Alleppey. This is because most of the neighboring population is Christians. The people of Allappuzha participate in the festival wholeheartedly.

Holy Mass Timing :

Daily Mass at 0530 am, 0700 am and 0530 pm. Baptism on 2nd and 4th Sundays at 1030 am. St Sebastian’s Novena, Holy Mass & Adoration on Thursdays at 1100 am and 0430 pm. Daily Adoration in the Old church from 0800 am to 0530 pm.

How to Reach Arthunkal Church in Kerala :

By Road : Road transport is best suited to reach Alleppey, as this is a remote village and it becomes a little difficult to reach this place through any other means of transport. The network of road is well developed.

By Air : Nedumbassery is the nearest Airport which is located in the city of Kochi. From here you can board a flight to any major city of India.

By Rail : Cherthala Railway station is the closest railhead. It connects Alleppey to a number of major cities of Kerala and nearby states.

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Sudhir Kumar

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