A.D.835 CHURCH OF ST MARY AT ATHIRUMPUZHA KERALA

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History of Alenchery family is closely associated with the ancient “PURAYATE EDAM” family of Mahodayapuram (Kodungallore) in Kerala, India. According to historians, it is believed that St. Thomas, the Apostle landed at Kodungallore in A. D. 52 and preached Christianity in Kerala.

Purayate Edam was one among the first few families that embraced Christianity from St.Thomas during that period. Later, due to social and economic reasons, the family migrated to Truprayar and thereafter to Kuravilangadu in Kottayam. Around A. D. 799 they further traveled down to Athirampuzha and settled there since then.

According to legendary stories and songs, Purayate Edam family was one among the 8 families that took initiative in constructing the famous Athirampuzha St. Mary's Church, which was consecrated on 15th August A. D. 835. Other families involved were Thadam, Thekkedam, Vadakkedam, Mathan Kunnu, Mannarukunnu, Kalangola, and Thalasery. Athirampuzha church was originally built as a branch of ancient Kuravilangadu Church. Since then the church has been renovated 5 or 6 times during the centuries that followed.

In A. D. 1732 Purayate Edam 'Ettiyeppu' along with his family moved into a place called Mandapam near the Athirampuzha Mangalacherry Ellam. Ettiyeppu, the grand son of Purayate Edam Kuriyala Panikar who received the Panikkar title from Chembakasherry King, had four (4) sons named Ouseph, Varkey, Mathai and Kuriakose. When the children grew up, eldest son Ouseph shifted to "Alenchery" near Athirampuzha church and second son Varkey to Tharappel. Mathai continued to live at Mandapam. The youngest son Kuriakose (Kuriala) of 'Ettiyeppu' joined the Varappuzha Minor Seminary and completed his studies from Propagantha College, Rome. He was ordained in A. D. 1772 by Pope Mar Clement IV. He returned to Kerala and served various churches at Pulinkunnu, Kanjirapally, Kuravilangadu, Mutuchirra, Athirampuzha, etc. and became popular as Purayateetu