Mapranam Holy Cross Shrine Church is situated just 20 k.ms. away from Azhikode that has roots to the emergence of Christianity in India. The Church, which is the part of the Irinjalakuda diocese, is historically renowned and noted pilgrim centre ideally located in the enchanting rural ambience of Kerala. It is one of the oldest Churches, found in 928A.D. It was recently renovated (1989) and attracts worshippers beyond the religious barriers. It is perhaps for the first time in the history of the world that a religious sanctum has combined and practiced the cultural, spiritual and ethical values of the different religions - especially Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.
The Church is already accepted and acknowledged by the masses across the region and serves as a mother institution of nearly 100 churches that belong to the Dioceses of Trichur Metropolitan and Irinjalakuda. Established almost eleven centuries back, people believe that the Church is a monument that unfolds the rich annals of the past. Historically, the place was known as Mahabrahmanapuram – a place inhibited by Brahmins with several Hindu temples in and around. Recently, we heard about a story of the name of ‘Mapranam”. A defeated king ran away through Mapranam. The people in Mapranam stopped him said to him ‘Ma-Prayanam’ (Sanskrit for ‘stop retreat’). The people gave asylum to the king. Years later ‘Ma-Prayanam’ became to ‘Mapranam’. The locality was demarcated diagonally with places like Kuzhikkattukon, Madayikon, Thaliyakon and Peechampallykon. Incidentlaly “kon” means corner.
The popular sayings about the origin of the Church are noteworthy. According to some, a Cross was unearthed from the Kuhikkattukon locality and placed there. Unbelievably, a heavy downpour occurred the same night in the locality and once the rain subsided the Cross was found floating in a nearby the present Church Mapranam. It was immediately placed near the same well – the present sanctity. Another popular belief is that local rulers of the region were always involved in territorial disputes and civil wars. It is said that some of the rulers engaged “Nasranis” (Christians) to face the challenges they experienced and as a token of their service, built the Church and handed over to them. Yet another belief is associated with Trade. It is said that a port, named Konthipulam on the Eastern part of the locality was open for trade and commerce. The ruling King allowed “Christians” to conduct trade in the region and as a token of service allotted the ground to build the sanctum. Yet another saying is that the King, during hunting, found a Cross and allotted the ground to build the sanctum. Another belief is associated with Tippu Sulthan - a renowned warrior and ruler. It is believed that Tippu persuaded an outcaste Namboothiri to loot the riches of the locality. Tippu looted the riches, but was scared of the Holiness of the Cross, exempted the Church and the “Nasranis” from his blitz.
Years later, evidence of having ancient Churches in the region was found out. Apart from this, during renovation of the Church in 1989 more evidences were found of its historic past. It is amazing to notice that the Church is being built using teak wood, whereas the Cross placed in the Sanctum is made of Jack Wood. This has clear indication of its close affinity to the Hindu beliefs and customs of those periods. i.e. the then populace was not at all liberated from the deeply rooted cultural and religious values. There are historic evidences that from 335 A.D., Annual Festivals were celebrated in the name of Holy Cross in the Holy Cross Church. It is also found that the Cross placed in the Church was built under Persian influence (Cross without Christ) – a clear indication of the dominance of the Kaldaya sect. Under these circumstances, a presumption of having Nasranis building the Church in the 4th or 5th Century cannot be ruled out.
In the chronicles prepared by the Portuguese before 300 years, the Church is being demarcated with importance along with a route Map that indicates the place as “Mahapookkonam”, instead of the closely associated name “Mapranam”. Revenue records suggest as “Aloor Church” in the “Moudayikon” village. Records are being maintained in Church related to an ordinance passed by the Kochi Maharaja of exempting the Church from all kinds of taxes.
It is worthwhile to note that there are only a few churches in Kerala that are established in the name of ‘Holy Cross’. Mapranam Holy Cross Church is the only church of such significance in the dioceses of Irinjalakuda, Thrissur and Palakkad. Therefore, Holy Cross Church Mapranam holds a unique history in the Syro-Malabar Archi Episcopal Church. Varapuzha Malabar Centre Archi Episcopal Apostholic Vicar Rev. Fr. Mar. Selesus Aasghanda Teresa, conferred its recognition and order to Holy Cross Church, Mapranam to place the relic in Holy Cross Church on the 21 Sept-1887. With great pleasure, we inform you that the Mapranam Holy Cross Church has acquired a part of the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ on the shroud of St. Veronica and Holy Blood from the heart of Jesus Christ that pierced through the lance from The Vatican by the order of Pope LEO XIII on 13 July 1888. The three Holy Relics related to the death of Jesus Christ have been installed in the Church with the authentic certificate of the Pope from Vatican. Holy Cross Church Mapranam is the only Church in India having three holy relics. These holy relics are the most valuable assets of Indian Church and Christianity. The worshippers are allowed to experience the mercy and blessings of relic of Holy Cross, every year on the 14 Sept., 21 Sept. and on Good Friday. It is creditable to note that only few churches, across the globe, are recognized and acknowledged for this unique positioning in that kind.
Holy Cross Church stands out as a unique monument that ensures religious harmony and oneness among the cross sections of the society. The façade of the church has a specialty in that kind and gives integrity, religious harmony and oneness among the people. Moreover, it gives a great message to secularism. Now, the major problem in the world is the lack of religious harmony.
  • Limca Book of Records
  • Guinness World of Records
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