Kadamattom Church

Posted: January 29, 2009 in Travel
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Great legendary figure Rev. Fr. Paulose Kathanar alias Kadamattathu Kathanar lived in this church and people are not sure about the period.

Kadamattom church

Kadamattom church

Viji told us that Kadamattathu Kathanar finds a very prominent place in the local mythical stories Asianet broadcasts the serial ‘Kadamattathu Kathanar’.

A worker cleaning the outer wall of Kadamattom church

A worker cleaning the outer wall of Kadamattom church

Rajeshattan told that the rush of pilgrims to this place has been there from time immemorial. And the church was lively with the celebration of Holy Sacraments according to the Antiochean Syrian Orthodox rite. But unfortunately, the church is gripped in the faction feud of Malankara Church and is closed now.

Before going to the wedding, we thought of parking the car in the Poyedam Church.

Poyedam church

Poyedam church

It is  a new building compared to the Kadamattom.  Near this church is the famous ‘well’ known as ‘Pathala Kinar’ (the well through which Kathanar went to the underworld).

well near Poyedam church

well near Poyedam church

The Poyedam church can be seen from the back of the Kadamattom church and is only walkable distance from there.
Rajeshattan informed us that devotees of Kathanar, mostly non-Christians, throw money, butchered hen and bottles of liquor into the well as a mark of respect and gratitude to Kathanar. A witchcraft known as ‘kadamattom seva’ is also popular among non-Christian devotees here.

Devotees throw bottles, money, buthchered hen into the well

Devotees throw bottles, money, buthchered hen into the well

Jacobites have a chapel near the Poyedam church, where Eldho’s wedding was organised.

Jacobit chapel wher Eldho's wedding happened

Jacobit chapel wher Eldho's wedding happened

Kadamattom church is not accessible to worship. Devotees are forced to be satisfied by praying at the doorsteps in front of the closed main door.

Huge lamp in Kadamattom church

Huge lamp in Kadamattom church

Devotees light candles in front of the door and pray.

closed main door of kadamattom church

closed main door of kadamattom church

But we were fortunate enough to enter the church from a side door which was kept open for some renovation. In fact, workers were cleaning the walls of the outer building when we visited the place.

nadakashala in kadamattom church

nadakashala in kadamattom church

There are many traces of Hindu temple architecture having influenced the church and the main door of the church holds mirror for it. There is a huge lamp inside similar to Hindu temples.

Inside the church

Inside the church

The ‘nadakashala’ is the place where devotees pray.

old chandelier hangs from the mural adorned ceiling in kadamattom church

old chandelier hangs from the mural adorned ceiling in kadamattom church

Old chandeliers, pictures of saints, including Kathanar in eyes of a painter as an old man dressed white and having a long white beard which is a characteristic of Syrian Orthodox tradition belief drew our attention.

Kathanar in the eyes of an artist

Kathanar in the eyes of an artist

Rajeshattan informed us that there were around 2,000 families under this Parish spread around Kadamattom. It is believed that Mar Abo, (also known as Mar Sabour), a Persian prelate established the church with the help and permission of local ruler of Kadamattom.

Mar Abo was a theologian, conjurer and herbalist. He stayed in a hut along with a poor old widow and her son Paulose and the place which houses Poyedam church now. Paulose assisted Mar Abo for several years and Mar Abo ordained Paulose as priest and he later became famous as Kadamatttathu Kathanar.

Rajeshattan telling about Kathanar's miracles

Rajeshattan telling about Kathanar's miracles

Kadamattathu Kathanar was a famous magician and a conjurer, blessed with divine powers. Folklore describe his feats against evil forces, witchery and incantation with his prayers and divine powers. He always helped the poor and the needy, irrespective of caste and creed.

Rajesh and Viji in front of Kadamattom church

Rajesh and Viji in front of Kadamattom church

The stories about Kathanar were indeed interesting.

One day, young Paulos was grazing cattle of the priest when he had to enter the forest in search of a strayed cow.  Mala Arayas, a cannibal tribe in the jungle capture him. The chief of the tribe likes the intelligence of the and teaches him the magic which the tribe had been practising for long. Paulos stayed with the tribe for 12 years and escapes. After walking few miles, he finds a hut on the roadside and requests her to give him some food.

She informs him that she too is hungry and there was no rice at home to cook. He asks her to find at least some rice gains in the house and get them to him. On his advice, the old woman boils water by putting few grains found at home and gets pot full of rice.

After hearing this story, I felt how Hindu tradition has greatly influenced the Christianity. In Mahabharata, during the exile of the Pandavas, Durvasa visits them with his disciples. During this period, the Pandavas obtained their food by means of the Akshaya Patra, which would become exhausted for the day once Draupadi finished her meal. When Durvasa arrived there was no food left to serve him, and the Pandavas were very anxious as to what would be their fate if they failed to feed such a venerable sage. While Durvasa and his disciples were away at the banks of the river bathing, Draupadi prayed to Lord Krishna for help. Sri Krishna partook the lone grain of rice that remained in the Akshaya Patra and announced that he was satisfied by the meal. This satiated the hunger of Durvasa and all his disciples too, as the satisfaction of Lord Krishna meant the satiation of the hunger of the whole universe. The sage and his disciples then left, blessing the Pandavas.

The concept of Akshaya Patra might have influenced people while praisng Kathanar through folk songs.

Viji, and and Vij

Viji, and and Vij

People from all over Kerala sought his help often for various matters. He had lots of disciples also.

Kadamattom church

Kadamattom church

Another interesting story about Kathanar is associated with yakshi. The capital of Travancore in those days was Padmanabhapuram, now in Tamil Nadu. There was a deep forest between Thiruvanathapuram and Padmanbhapuram. But  people were forced to use the forest track to reac. One Yakshi settled in the forest,  in the guise of a beautiful woman wait by the wayside and request travellers for white lime for her pan. After getting lime, she used to chat and entice them to go with her deep into the forest. Once inside she would kill them, drink their blood and eat them. Only hair and teeth would be left. So people were scared to go that way and she started catching people from neighbouring villages. The village elders sought the help of Kathanaar. He went to the forest and offered to her on an iron nail. Although Yakshi initially hesitates, finally accepts. The priest reciting some magical words inserts the nail into her head and walks back to Kadamattam. Yakshi follows him like a lamb and after after walking for four to five days, they reach  the house of an old woman at Kayamkulam. The priest offers the old woman to keep as a domestic help. After the lunch, the old woman combs the hair of Yakshi and removes  the iron nail from her head. Yakshi immediately gets back her powers and becomes invisible.

After learning about the incident, Kathanar reaches  Parayannarkavu  (kavu is a small temple) in search of Yakshi.  After taking promise from Yakshi that she would not harm people, he allows her to stay there.  Later, she became famous as Panayanarkavu Yakshi or Parumala Yakshi.

There are many folk tales, quite interesting, about Kathanar and his miracles. People strongly belive that he went to the other world by jumping into a well in the church complex.

road leading to the Kadamattom church

road leading to the Kadamattom church

After taking few pictures we rushed for Eldho’s reception arranged in a school, just near the hotel where we stayed.

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Comments
  1. John Mathew says:

    Thanks for putting this up.

    Very nice pictures of the Church, but do you have more?

    e.g.,

    1. The picture of Mar Abo that should be in the Church.
    2. The picture of the Persian Cross.
    3. Any interesting inscriptions in the Church. I’ve read reports of an”strange”-looking inscription in the Church, but have not seen this. Do you by any chance have one?
    4. More pictures of the tomb.

    Thanks

    • arjunpuri says:

      Thanks, but sorry to inform u that with great difficulty we managed to sneak in and it’s only later, even I came to know about that old inscription. I do have more pics of the church, but not of the ones u have asked for.

  2. Tharaka Bandi says:

    You look awesome in the Blue saree

  3. jogy t mathew says:

    very good pictures and nice narration! the famous persian cross is impregnated on the right side wall of the madbaha,that you can see only if the veil is moved . since laity is not allowed to enter the madbaha, the picture can be taken only with the help of altar boys.

  4. rajeev kumar tk says:

    Hi,
    I appreciate your page. I am a film Maker. I am planning to do a film based on the life of Kathanar.
    I was just surfing.
    Thanks for the informations.
    Regards

  5. saji from london says:

    very nicce pictures and thanks for puuting this up .can you send church telephone number please.my name saji e.mail sajiuk2005@yahoo.co.uk

  6. James says:

    Jesus Christ son of God, in his name every bontage will be broken. No devil,demons,wichcraft, magic will never stand, also dont need any kathanar to .
    Try the Name of Jesus Christ all be saved

  7. mathew jacob says:

    my self have a family root established from Kadamattom,as told by my parents,also some members were getting offerings specially kept for our family after the so called kadamattom feast.so i would like to hear more connections of the church with those families arose from there.whom i can contact…any guidance….Also the family name I heard from my forefathers was Thazhathillam….any help

  8. arun jyothi says:

    great article.., helps a lot t learn
    thanks n regards

  9. mathew says:

    thank u for putting this up it’s really interesting and i have been there once.
    i wanted to know alot about the history of this church.
    it feels like there is some mystery in there or it could be just me.

  10. Thomas Vaidyan says:

    My Name is Thomas Vaidyan,Thevalakara, Kollam, Nw i am in Bahrain .very good pictures and nice narration! the famous persian cross is impregnated on the right side wall of the madbaha, His Holiness Mar Abo

    His Holiness Mar Abo hailed from a place now in Iraq called Nineveh. He travelled through a number of places and reached Kollam. He was soon held in high esteem by the people from all walks of life due to his moral and spiritual conduct. The Kulasekhara King, who ruled over Kollam, gave him special powers and privileges. The Tharissa church at Kollam, which was established by St Thomas apostle was wrecked by tempest and people did not have a place of worship. Bishop Mar Abo who had reached Kollam in the 8th century AD, rebuilt the Tharissa church using the special privileges accorded to him by the ruler (Ref: Travancore State Manual, Page 244). He spread the gospel of God through his spiritual discourses, established churches at Kadamattom, Akaparambu, Kayamkulam, Niranam, Nilakkal, Thevalakara and strengthened the tenets of christianity in the region.

    During one of his journeys to deliver spiritual message he felt tired and entered the wayside house and requested for food. The widow of Paaliyur Pakalomattom and her only son who stayed there did not have enough food to offer a guest. Gauging the pitiable situation, the Bishop said, “It is better to dine at the house of a poor person serving with purity of heart than a rich man’s extravagant meal.” Suddenly the widow saw that the 3 bowls which she had kept began to fill with food. She was surprised and realized that the man whom she was serving was not an ordinary man, but a Holy man. Witnessing the miracle, the widow’s only son became His disciple. This disciple was later renowned by the name of Kadamattam Kathanar.

    On another occasion, Mar Abo cured the insane daughter of “Kartha”, a well known person at Kadamattam. As an act of his gratitude, “Kartha” donated a piece of land to build a Church, which is known today as Kadamattam Orthodox Church.

    A number of people who were cured by the divine powers of this holy man accepted Christianity. Enraged by his miracles, some people began to conspire against him. Realizing the situation through spiritual vision, he called his disciple, Kadamatur Kathanar and gave his finger ring. He told him that whenever the ring falls off from his hand, the Bishop would have left this world. Kadamattam Kathanar unwillingly bid farewell to his Guru.

    Thereafter, he set off on his journey towards south till he reached Thevalakara. There he was attracted by the church consecrated in the name of St Mary, the kind-hearted, innocent and loving people of the village. So he thought of spending the rest of his life at a place ‘chavadi’ in front of the church. Even now, one can see the renovated ‘chavadi’ where he performed many of his miracles to help the sick and destitute irrespective of their caste, creed or religion.

    Thus, numerous miracles were performed by the Holy man through his Godly acts resulting in wide spread love, affection and respect by the people of this region, which is prevalent even till date.

    After completing his worldly mission, he left for his heavenly abode.At the time of his death, the ring worn by Kadamattam Kathanar came off from his finger and fell on the ground. Remembering his Guru’s words, the favourite disciple started off to see his mortal remains. After an agonising search, he reached Thevalakara to find that his believers had sorrowfully already laid him to rest at the north-western corner of ‘Madbaha’. Since the Kathanar could not see Mar Abo’s body before burial, he was tearfully praying at his cemetry, when Mar Abo’s hands appeared from the tomb to console his disciple. It was amazing to see the separated right hand of Mar Abo in his disciple’s hands. The priest and other believers took the hand and consecrated it at the southern wall of Kadamattam church. Due to the strong bond of Guru and his disciple, people from Kadamattam still regularly visit the tomb of Mar Abo.

    Regards

    Thomas Vaidyan (Ajee)
    Graphic Designer
    Kingdom of Bahrain
    Mob: 00973 39773032

  11. reny says:

    i need some name of preist who remove evils.and prediction

  12. nothing is immpossible with kadamattathu kattanar.he is a servant of god.

  13. Manu says:

    I dont know how many know these facts:

    Kadamattom CHurch was build in 864-65 AD ie 9th century AD
    and its the time whe the Kattanar lived.

    There was a tradition called “kadamattathu Sambradayam”, which was continued for many centuries by prominent families of the area that time.

  14. PRINCE R says:

    good work…i am happy that i came to know more about our kathannar…..hope u il provide us more information..

  15. Ashwin says:

    I look forward to write a novel based on these events and modern happenings of such incidents, especially those inflicted by the bad doers on innocent victims.

  16. RENJITH NARAYANAN says:

    HI,
    My name is RENJITH NARAYANAN. I have done a detailed research about the FolkLore of Kerala, and to my knowledge “Kadamattathachan/ Kadamattom Seva/ Kadamattom Sambradayam” has a very important role in the culture of kerala…Incase, if some of you wants to know more about this(only as an information)pls mail me : kn.renjith@gmail.com

    Regards,
    R.

  17. jaison says:

    can i have contact number of kadamattam church?

  18. ambili says:

    Any body aware of a cartoon published in 80’s about kadamattathu kathanar.

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