The home church of the Thuruthel Family is St. Michael's Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church of Vettithara.
The members of the Thuruthel-Chalappuram Family are part of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. The church is an important part of our family, a fact illustrated by the large number of Syrian Orthodox priests in our family. Very Rev. Fr. GeeVarghese Mathu Thuruthel was the vicar of St. Michael's Church Vettithara from 1932 to 1998.
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Throughout the Chalappuram Family's history, there have been 40 plus Syriac Orthodox priests. Among them was the most respected Very Rev. Fr. Yakob Ramban, who served as the secretary of Parumala Kochu Thirumeni. He was laid to rest at the Vettickal Dayara on 1913. During the 1970s, there were five living priests in the Chalappuram Family. Their names were: Rev. Fr. GeeVarghese Chalappuram [Mulakkulam], Rev. Fr. GeeVarghese Chalappuram [Mulamthuruthy], Very Rev. Fr. GeeVarghese Mathu Thuruthel [Vettithara], Rev. Fr. Abraham Mathai Chalappuram [Varikkoli], and Rev. Fr. George C. Chalappuram [Mulakkulam]. There are two living priests in the family now: Rev. Fr. George C. Chalappuram [Mulakkulam] and Rev. Fr. Mathews Chalappuram [Mulakkulam].
St. Michael's Church, Vettithara is situated about 1 KM from Ezhakkaranad Market Junction, in Ezhakkaranad Kudumbanattu Kadavu Rd. The 1st Holy Qurbana of the Church was conducted on 29th Wrichikom, 1091 (circa 1915) by Mor Ougan Ramban, Thuruthy-Chettalathumkara. This Church had about 180 registered members in 1990. Very Rev. Fr. GeeVarghese Mathu Thuruthel was the vicar of St. Michael's Church Vettithara from 1932 to 1998.
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Syrian Christians of Vetithara and Ezhakkaranad were the members of distant churches at Mammalassery, Mulanthuruthy, Kolencherry, and Nechoor. The St. Michael's Church of Vettithara was the result of an idea to have a nearby church at Vettithara to avoid the tiresome journeys to those places and other difficulties. Rev. Fr. Mathu Mathai Kuzikandathil, who was the vicar of the St. Michael's Church of Mammalassery at that time, and others placed an application to the government for permission to build a church at South Kayyanikkal Purayidam (plot), Vettithara. The application was rejected during the government inquiry by complaints from the Ayyappankunnu and Pazayathrikkovil Temple authorities. Once again, another application to obtain permission to build the church was placed, but this time at the North Kayyanikkal Purayidam instead of South Kayyanikkal Purayidam. Government authorities examined the location and with the permission of the land owner, Mathu Matha Madathikkuzhy, a notice was sent to the Temple authorities. Because there were no objections from them, the Muvattupuzha Thahasildar gave permission on 24th Dhanu, 1074, to build the church at North Kayyanikkal Purayidam.
Accordingly, the first meeting of the church building project was held after 16 years, on 12th Medom, 1090 (A.D. 1915) at North Kayyanikkal Purayidam, Vettithara. (The 16 year gap may have been due to the deaths of the brothers of Rev. Fr. Mathu Mathai Kuzikandathil.) The building meeting was presided by Mr. Busbarono Makkudissa Mathu [Nedumpambakkuda] and there, the decision was made to start building the Church. This purayidam was originally owned by Mathu Matha Madathikkuzhy. Later, Varkey Mathu Thuruthikkattel bought this land from its teritiary owner (he was the owner at the time of the first meeting). On 10th Kumbham 1124, his son Mathu Michael Thuruthikkattel donated this land (1 acre and 17.5 cents) to the then Diocesan Bishop Mor Paulose Athenacious, for the church.
|brick work, etc.||Mathu Mani Vadath and Varkey Mathu Kuzikandathil|
|collecting required shell for lime||Kurian Mathai Kuzikandathil|
|required sand||Mathu Ulahannan Parappuzha and Mathu Mathai Kurumganttil|
|required wood||Ulahannan Kuruvilla Kuzikandathil and Thomman Ulahannan Murimackil|
|wood work||Kurian Mathai Kuzikandathil and Paily Paily Irippakkottil|
|shell smouldering for lime||Paily Thudanthil and Ulahannan Cherya Pullamkottu|
|land preperation, foundation work, etc.||Kurian Anjanamkunnath and Ittuppu Kuruvilla Thelakkattu|
|fund collection||Kuruvilla Mathu Kuzikandathil, Ulannan Mathu Kuzikandathil, Varkey Chettukkuzhi, Mathu Varkey Thuruthel, and Mani Vadath|
|treasurer||Varkey Mathu Kuzikandathil|
|accountant||Mathi Ulahannan Parappuzha|
|board of trustees||Ulahannan Kuruvilla Kuzhikandathil and Varkey Mathu Thuruthikkattel|
An application to start the church congregation was placed before the Diocesan Metropolitan, Paulose Mor Kurilose, and he accordingly gave the permission on 14th Dhanu (A.D. 1915).
It is seen in the church records that the church building was started before the general body meeting on 5th Medam and the fund collection was started on 8th Medam, by accepting 2 British Rupees and 8 Chakram from Rev. Fr. Mathu Mathai Kuzikandathil. Since there was expected to be a delay to finish the entire church, an application was placed before the Diocesan Bishop to get permission to conduct the Holy Mass, after finishing the Madbaha and Hykkala (the items necessary to conduct the Holy Mass). He gave the permission to Rev. Fr. Mathu Mathai Kuzhikandathil to conduct the Holy Mass in the name of St. Michael. Instead of performing the Holy Mass by himself, the ill and tired priest brought Mor Ougan Ramban Thuruthy-Chettalethumkara from Thrikkunnnath Seminary, Aluva. Mor Ougan Ramban placed a cross in the name of St. Michael and performed the Holy Mass on 29th Wrichikam 1091 (December 12, 1915), thus starting the St. Michael's Church of Vettithara.
By the joint effort of everyone for the next ten years, the rest of the church was finished, except for the church facade and other minor structures. Unfortunately, due to the lack of unity among the members at that time and lack of proper instructions for church ruling, there was a need for a general body decision log. Because of the disunity, the rest of the church building had stopped. The diocesan bishop was notified of the situation and he ordered to conduct a general body meeting. The following are some of the important decisions from the minutes of the general body meeting held on 16th Edavam, 1100.
- This church should be conducted according to the belief and traditions of Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christian Church.
- The church building and properties are, and will be, under the ownership of the Patriach of Antioch and the Bishop of Kandanadu Diocese, who is ordained by the Patriach.
- Any member who is working against this founding purpose will not be eligible to hold any church official positions and will have no place in the general body meetings.
- Member priests and adult heads of families constitute the church general body.
The only Kurisupally (see below) of this church was built near the Kayannikal Thodu about 1/4th KM from the church by Varkey Mathu Thuruthikattel in his own land which he donated to the church on 15th Chingam, 1108. The patron saint of this Kurisupally is Mor Abded Mishiha.
On Edavom 1098, Rev. Fr. Markose Vadath was ordained as a Decon at this church. Later in 1104 he accepted priesthood from Mor Ougan Thimothios at this church. Rev. Fr. Vadath served as an assistant vicar of the church for two years. Later he and some members separated from this church and built the St. Mary's Church of Vettithara. Members from Poothrika, Thammanimattam, and Ikkaranad regions also separated from this church and established St. Mary's Church of Poothrika.
On 25th Meenam, 1107, Very Rev. Fr. GeeVarghese Mathu Thuruthel was ordained as a priest and conducted his first Holy Mass at the St. Michael's Church of Vettithara. He accepted the Vicar position from the then Vicar, Rev. Fr. Paily Pathrose Kurumbalakkattu. The church building was finished in 1108 - 1109 by finishing the church facade. Mor Ougan Thimotios, on 29th Wrichikom, 1121, established the main altar in the name of St. Mary and St. Michael, the north altar in the name of St. Thomas, and the south altar in the name of St. George.
On 11th February, 1951, Bishop of Kochi Diocese, Paulose Mor Severious, performed the Mooron Kudasha in the church, thus making the church an official congregation of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.
This is the first and the only church in Malankara founded in the name of St. Abded Mishiha. It was built by Varkey Mathu Thuruthikattel on his own land which he donated to the church on 15th Chingam, 1108 by the order of Bishiop Sleeba Mor Osthathios. This church is located at the junction of Ezhakkarnad Kudombanattu Kadavu Rd and Ezhakkaranad Kizhumurry Kadavu Rd, almost 1 K.M. from Ezhakkaranad Market Junction, in Mneed Panchayat, Ernakulam District, Kerala, India.
St. Abded Mishiha was a Jewish shepherd boy and his father was an extreme believer in Judaism. Even though St. Abed wasn't even allowed to hang out with his Christian shepherd friends by his father, he was still attracted by their free and pious life style and wanted to continue their friendship. Thus, he eventually became a Christian. As a symbol of Christians during that time, he pierced his ear and wore an ear ornament. He lived in hiding from his father. His mother, who knew everything, didn't tell anything to her husband and tried to persuade her son to return to Judaism from Christianity; however, Abded was a strong believer and her attempts yielded no results. One day, while attending a birthday party for his father, his father learned that Abded had become a Christian. Furious by what he learned, he tried to kill his own son. St. Abded ran away to where he tended his sheep, and there, his father murdered him. Soon afterwards, his Christian friends buried St. Abed's body at that place and established a church there. Many miracles occurred in the name of St. Abded at this church. Abded's father had become mad after killing his own son. One day, the relatives of the mad and mourning father locked him in the church. Realizing that he was at the burial site of his son, he fell on the tomb and asked for forgiveness for his mistakes. Immediately, he became cured of his illness and then he, along with his whole family, became Christians.
Several incidents of miracles, mainly related to pets and cattle, took place in the name of the saint at this church. Several infertile couples were blessed with children after praying, giving offerings, fasting and worshiping at the Church. People without jobs have received steady jobs and other countless numbers of other miracles like these have occurred at this church. On every August 15th, the church's anniversary and St. Abded's remembrance is celebrated as a festival. Many families from different parts of Kerala, together contribute for the expenses of the festival. People from different parishes, near and far, attend the festival. Everyone has their own experiences to tell.