Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Arthunkal church St. Andrew’s Basilica festival

St. Andrews Basilica at artungal cherthala in alappuzha district  is one of the famous pilgrim centres in the state of kerala. Though the church is named after St. Andrew the Apostle, the feast of St. Sebastian is well known.

The statue of St. Sebastian will be carried in the procession as part of the feast of St. Sebastian on January 20th 2016. The festival will end on .January 27th 2016.

History of the church:

The church was constructed in wood in the 16th century. It was renovated in stone in 1602. Arthunkal rose to fame when the statue of St. Sebastian was brought from Italy.
 St. Sebastian had been the captain of the bodyguards of Roman emperor Diocletian. He became a martyr after he was brutally killed on account of his faith in Christ.

 It is said that people afflicted with epidemics got relief after they offered prayers to St. Sebastian. The feast of St. Sebastian began to attract thousands of people to the church. Gradually, the church became a pilgrim centre for the faithful, irrespective of caste or creed.

Traditions:  One of the interesting traditions followed in the church is that Hindu devotees of Lord Ayyappa who visit Sabarimala pay homage to St. Sebastian on their return from the hill temple.

The church was renovated again in 1870. Later, a new church was built in granite. It took 60 years to complete the new church, which was opened in 1967. Basilica status was granted to the church at a pontifical mass in 2010. The church has high potential to be developed as a pilgrim-cum-tourist destination. Many of the pilgrims visit the beach nearby.

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