Y ou will be welcomed at cochin international airport by our company representative and drive to mannanam.
Mannanam is an idyllic village set in a maze of complex lush waterways marked by its gentle pace of life. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the scenic environs.
Besides being associated with the Blessed Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara, Mannanam is the seat of the first seminary of the Malabar Church (1833), the first Catholic Sanskrit School in Kerala (1846), the first private printing press, CMS Press started by Rev. Benjamin Bailey (1846), and the first daily newspaper in Malayalam, the Deepika (1887)
A VISIT TO ST.JOSEPH MONASTERY CHURCH MANNANAM
Tomb of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara
St. Joseph’s Monastery Church at Mannanam, 15 kms from Kottayam is a prominent Christian pilgrim center. The church was built by the Father St. Kuriakose Elias of Chavara, who is among the most saintly figures in the annals of Syrian Catholic Church history. The mortal remains of this saintly priest is preserved here. Thousands of devotees gather here to pay homage to the saint every Saturday. The altar of the church is painted with gold filigree work. Every year on 3rd January , the feast of Fr. St. Chavara is celebrated with great devotion and solemnity.
Kuriakose Elias Chavara was the co-founder and first Prior General of the first congregation for men in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, and of a similar one for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. His canonization is set for 23 November 2014. Kuriakose Kathanar was also a social reformer and played a large role in educating the people of the lower ranks of Indian society. He started as school at Mannanam in 1846. He first introduced the system called “A school along with every church” which was successful in making free education available for everyone. Thus schools in Kerala are calledpallikudam. He believed that intellectual development and the education of women was the first step towards overall social welfare. Hence, he founded the first religious congregation for women in 1866. Kuriakose Kathanar founded the first printing press of the Indian Catholic Church at Mannanam. From this printing press came the first Malayalam DailyNasrani Deepika. The Chavara Art Museum at Mannnam preserves a brilliant repertory of church history.
Bharananganam had been a sleepy backwater of a village till it shot into fame in the 1950’s in the wake of the cult of St. Alphonsa. Perched between the high ranges in the east and the flat coastal strips to the west, it has undulating terrain like every place in Kerala’s midland. It is situated on the bank of the Meenachil River. The soil on either side of the river is remarkably fertile. St Alphonsa shrine church where St alphonsa’s mortal remains lie buried is only 200 meters from the parish church in Bharananganam town. In the year 1004, a church was founded and built at Bharananganam, which still exists as Parelpally. A huge and beautiful church was built here in the early decades of the 20th Century.
Now Bharananganam where her mortal remains were interred has become the Lisieux of India as predicted in her funeral speech by Rev. Fr. Romulus CMI. It is now a celebrated place of pilgrimage where many flock to seek solace both physical and spiritual. Bharananganam has become a spiritual haven in the Church, a beacon of hope for the heart broken and a sanctuary for the children of God.
The main structure of the church, which began to be known as St.Alphonsa Shrine Church following the canonization of Sr. Alphonsa on 12th October 2008 had been built in the year 1945 as a cemetery chapel of St. Mary’s Church Bharananganam. Sr.Alphonsa is the first nun ever to have been buried there. Her tomb now stands at the very place where her mortal remains were buried on 29 July 1946. During the period 1963-64, a side wing with family tombs was added. With the completion of new tombs in the parish graveyard in 1985, burial in the cemetery chapel was discontinued and the mortal remains of the dead interred therein except those of St.Alphonsa were exhumed and inhumed in the newly built vaults/chambers.
The office of the postulator and the lodging for pilgrims were housed in the Alphonsa Bhavan situated close to the Forane Church.It was built in 1971 after demolishing the two-storied presbytery, the first ever of its kind in Kerala of the 17th century vintage. The living quarters for priests, accommodations for pilgrims, the Alphonsa Museum, an audio-visual gallery and a stall selling devotional objects are here.
The Papal Podium