Vallarpadam Church Cochin
Vallarpadam Church History
Our Lady of Vallarpadam, Vallarpadom which belongs to the Archdiocese of Verapoly is a famous Pilgrim Center for every humanity irrespective of caste creed and religion. More than five lakhs of people visit the Shrine annually. This holy shrine is situated in the Vallarpadam island near Eranakulam , Kerala. This Shrine is adorned with the magnificent and miraculous picture of holy mary & infant Jesus, popularly known as Vallarpadathamma.
In 1524, Portuguese merchants headed by Vasco da Gama enthroned this miraculous picture of Our lady of Ransom at the shrine. The church was dedicated to the Holy Spirit, which was the first of its kind in Asia. The beautiful church was however destroyed by a heavy flood in 1676 and the picture of Our Lady was floating in the river. Many tried to recover the picture, but vain.
At this time Paliyath Raman Valiyachan ( Komi Achan ), the Prime Minister of the Maharaja of Cochin was on his way to Chendamangalam in a boat. He found the holy picture of Our Lady Of Ransom afloat in the waters. He tried it and it was easily recovered by him. His faith in Our Lady Of Ransom was so deep that he donated his land in island to build a new church for VALLARPADATHAMMA. The magnificent shrine as you see it now was built on this land. The sanctuary lamp he donated has been burning all the while right from 1676. In fact the oil for the lamp was provided by the palace till 1947. Circumstantial constraints wear out certain traditions. The Paliyath family, however, visited the shrine and rekindled the sanctuary lamp on September 23, 1994. This event was highlighted in the book “Vallarpadam Church and the Paliyam family”. The 300 year old sanctuary lamp burns even today.
In 1752 with the grate miracle of saving meenakshiyamma and her child from the great depths, Vallapadom became a famous pilgrim center. In 1888 taking into consideration to spiritual importance His Holiness Pope Leo XIII declared the main Altar to the status of ALTARE PRIVILEGIATUM in perpetuum concessuma.
In 1951 The Govt. of India declared the Church as a major pilgrim centre of country. In the Year 2002 The Government of Kerala declared the church as important tourist center in kerala.
In 2004 Sept. 12 as the first step towards making shrine a minor Basilica with the endorsement of C B C I standing committee the shrine was declared as a NATIONAL SHRINE.
Declared as a National shrine and Basilica in 2004
On May 1752, there was a great miracle that made Vallarpadam a famous Pilgrim centre. There was a young lady named Meenakshiyamma, a member of a noble Nair family in Vallarpadam popular as Palliyilveedu, she accompanied with her son , was going to the Island called Mattancherry in non-mechanized boat. There arose a storm and the boat capsized leaving Meenakshiyamma and her son deep in to the river bed.
While the mother and the son were in deep danger this lady vowed to the Our Lady Of Vallarpadam that if they were saved by her grace, then they would be her ADIMAS ( Slaves or Servants ) till their death. The mother and child wouldn’t be traced for three days. On the third day as per the instructions from Our Lady of Vallarpadam in the dreams to the then parish priest Rev. Fr. Miguel Correa , fisherman cast their net in the river. By the Grace of Our Lady of Vallarpadam Meenakshiyamma and the child were thus miraculously rescued. From that day onwards people especially those who travel by boats and ships, come to Vallarpadam and pray for their safe journey. Later Meenakshiyamma and her son got baptized and became Christians and were named Mary and Jesudas respectively. They were living in the church yard itself adoring the Lord, Thanks Our Lady and proclaiming the “good news” to all those who came there. Her family is still living quite nearer to the church.
“Adima” at the shrine is a ritual performed by the priest who lays his hands on the head of the devotee , makes the prayer and sprinkles holy water. There by the devotee becomes the official servant of Our Lady of Vallarpadam. The belief is that once the ritual is performed Our Lady protects the person from all dangers and grants favors in abundance.
The origin of this ritual dates back to 1752. In the month of May 1752, Meenakshiamma of Pulliyilveedu and her child were drowned off the shores of Vallarpadam. She vowed her allegiance and servitude to Our Lady, if she and her son were saved.
Our Lady intervened and appeared to Rev. Fr. Miguel Correa in a dream and gave instructions for rescuing her proteges. At first he ignored the dreams. On the third day he narrated the dreams to the parishioners assembled in the church. Several experienced fishermen searched in vain till evening. At dusk, the last fisherman to leave hauled Meenakshiamma and her son to his boat. Once on shore safe and sound, they kept their promise by becoming Our Lady’s servants and spending the rest of their lives in and around the shrine of Our Lady of Vallarpadam. The convergence of the multitudes started after the miraculous rescue of Meenakshiamma and her child from the waters adjacent to the shrine. Since then everyone, fisher folk and sailors in particular come to this haven of protection and perform this ritual of “Adima”.
Prophet Jonah spent three days in the bowels of the fish. Christ was entombed in the sepulchre three days. Meenakshiamma and the child were submerged in the waters near Vallarpadam for three days. Our Lady of Ransom enshrined at the pilgrim centre at Vallarpadam guided the then parish priest, Fr. Miguel Correa to rescue Meenakshiamma and the child from the waters. Meenakshiamma and the child were subsequently baptized and Christened Mary and Jesudas. In gratitude for the miraculous rescue, both of them spent the rest of their lives at the holy shrine. They vowed themselves to be the devoted servants of Our Lady of Ransom, affectionately called Our Lady of Vallarpadam.
People from all walks of life, different castes and creed, throng to the shrine, seeking the protection of Our Lady of Vallarpadam. The benign Mother pours blessings to the childless, sick and poor and throws Her protective mantle on children in particular.
After the miraculous incident of the rescue of Meenakshiyamma and child , all those who travel through the rivers and back waters of Kerala, come to the church and gets the blessings of Our Lady of Vallarpadam. Fishermen , especially those who live in the coastal areas come at least once in a year for the blessings.
People from different castes and creed comes to Vallarpadam with their families to get the blessings from Our Lady of Vallarpadam. This includes people from the state and out of the state.
Lots of childless couples got blessed with children by the grace of Vallarpadathamma. A multitude of photos and proofs for the above is kept at the church. Hence numerous childless couples from different parts of India comes to Vallarpadam.
Every year we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Vallarpadam from the september 16 to 24. People from different religions and castes throng to Vallarpadam for the annual Feast . They also bring their children to keep them as Adima to Vallarpadathamma. These children grow up both mentally and physically well with the grace of Vallarpadathamma.
Usually pilgrims come and pray to Vallarpadom for their various needs such as cure of sickness, for birth of a child etc. People from different parts comes to the Vallarpadam church with their families to attend the holy mass and Novena to Vallarpadathamma regularly.
After it being declared a national shrine, the number of pilgrims is steadily increasing. The newly constructed Goshree bridges have made the access to the shrine a lot more easier. Thus the prayers and a great dream of the elderly people are being fulfilled. It has been the dream of a lot of people to make a pilgrimage to Vallarpadam and make themselves the Adima of Our Lady.
Best Season : September to May
Mass / Novena Timings : Saturday – 6.30 am, 10.30 am, 4.00 pm, 4.30 pm, 6.00 pm ( English )
Please send your offerings to :
The Shrine of Our Lady of Ransom,
Cochin – 682 031,
Phone : 0484 2363952
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Details for Our Lady of Ransom Vallarpadom
Our Lady of Ransom Vallarpadom belonging to Arch Diocese of Varapoly
Archbishop of Verapoly
Latin Archbishop’s House
P.B.No. 2581, Kochi-682 031,
Application Form Submission 16 Dec 2020 to 16 Jan 2021.