The history of St. Mary's Orthodox Valiyapally, dates back to the year 1921 when the royal proclamation for the church was given by His Highness Padmanabha Dasa Sreemoolam Thirunal Rama Varma, Maharaja of Thiruvithamcore. During those days Konni was a remote village with no infrastructure as seen today. People were farmers and for spiritual needs they relied on St. Peters Orthodox Church, Kizhavalloor and later St.George Orthodox Church, Konni. There was a small rift among the members of St.George Orthodox Church, Konni on the issue of church modification / reconstruction which resulted in bifurcation. A group of people moved out and with the help of the Vicar of the Church, Rev. Abraham Kathanar, the church was established in the year 1921. The land was donated by Edatharaman Purayidathil alias Kamukumpallil Mr. Kunjummen to an extent of 1 acre and the Church is indebted to this generosity throughout lifetime. The property was registered under Survey No. 437/1 for the Church and its Cemetery. Simultaneously the approach road connecting the church from the main road was also granted. The then Malankara Metropolitan His Highness Vattasseril Geevarughese Mar Divanyasious granted the order for the formation of the church. Representing the church, Mr. Yohannan Geevarghese of Othalakuzhiyil East House and Mr. Varkey Geevarghese of Kizhakkethil Indikkattil on March 12, 1921 went before the Peshawar of Kollam and submitted the request for the Church and Cemetery. On March 25, 1921, the Chief Secretary N. Ramachandran Nair representing the Travancore Dynasty granted the order for the Church and its Cemetery.
The people of this area were very joyous on receiving the order and very soon they cleared the land and constructed a small chapel, half of which was mud wall and the remaining wall with wood. The ceiling was covered with coconut palms interwined between bamboo poles. The kudassa was conducted on Jan 09, 1922 under the kalpana from the Edavaka Metropolitan and assisted by Rev.Abraham Katthanar, Peedikayil, Rev. Geevarghese Katthanar, Vadakkedath, Rev. Easo Katthanar, Vaduthala, Rev. Geevarghese Katthanar, Pulimugathu. The first service was conducted and thus St.Mary’s Orthodox Church was formed.
In those days the service was conducted twice a month and later it was conducted regularly and the first Vicar of the Church goes to Rev. Abraham Katthanar, Peedikayil who was assisted by Rev. Geevarghese Katthanar, Pulimugathu. Rev. Easo Katthanar, Vaduthala and Rev. Thomas Katthanar, Mulamoottil also served in this church during those days.
The church got destroyed in a fire after two years which was reconstructed very soon by its members. Due to old age Rev. Abraham Katthanar, Peedikayil, retired in the year 1927. People from the nearby areas of Kallely, Aruvapulam and other areas came in and very soon the membership crossed the 100 mark.
The Malankara Metropolitan H.G. Rev. Vattasseril Thirumeni during his visit to the church mooted the idea of church reconstruction and gave some ideas and advice. Those times the service was conducted by Rev. Scaria Katthanar, Ezhiyath, and due to his migration to the Catholic Sabha, Rev Thomas Katthanar, Naduvilethu, was appointed as Assistant Vicar. Due to the increase in membership and to the desires of the members the service was decided to be conducted every Sunday and therefore Rev. Mathai Katthanar, Chakkalamannil was appointed as Assistant Vicar.
The membership kept on increasing and the desire to reconstruct the church to accommodate the whole people kept on tinkering in the minds. The then Metropolitan H.G. Kundara Mar Gregorious (Pilkalath Baselious Geevarghese II Catholicose) visited the church and called for a General Body meeting and gave them the directions for reconstruction of the church. Soon thereafter H.G. Geevarghese Mar Philexinose, Puthencavu was appointed as the Metropolitan of Thumpamon Dioscese. His visit to the church gave further push to the renovation of the church but due to various reasons the construction could not start. The outgoing Vicar Rev.Geevarghese Katthanar, Vadakkedathu, was replaced by the appointment of Rev. Geevarghese Katthanar, Pulimugathu as Vicar, and Rev. Alexander Katthanar, Vayalirekathu, as Assistant Vicar. In the year 1942, the church was again damaged by fire and the church badly needed repairs. It was decided that a new church be built around the existing burnt down church. The supervision of the reconstruction work was entrusted to the Trustee, Mr. P. C. Jacob, Parambil Puthen Bungalow, and Secretary, Mr. E.K.Koshy, Edayadiyil. It was decided to conduct the service at a temporary shelter during the reconstruction period. During this period the Assistant Vicar, Rev. Alexander Katthanar, Vayalirekathu, was replaced by Rev. Daniel Katthanar, Vaduthala (later on became the Metropolitan H.G Daniel Mar Philexinose). The relentless effort of all the members helped in completing the church and a the consecration ceremony (kudassa) in a small manner was done on March 04, 1947 by H.G. Geevarghese Mar Philexinose, Puthencavu, Metropolitan of Thumpamon Dioscese. After the church construction the parsonage was constructed in the newly purchased 27 cent plot from Mr. Mathai Varghese, Kulathumkal. During this period a youth member, Mr. N J. Samuel, was granted the Deaconship on the recommendation of the church in the year 1944.
The introduction of salary and transfer process was introduced in the Thumpamon Dioscese in the year 1945. With the increase in membership, the necessity of a full time priest living in the parsonage was put forward and considering the request Rev. C. V. John, Cherikareth was appointed as the Vicar to conduct three times in a month and the fourth time to be conducted by Rev. Samuel Katthanar, Nediyavilayil. The members wanted to do the consecration ceremony in a grand manner, hence the Catholicose of the East, H.H. Baselious Geevarghese II and Remban. P.E. Daniel (later on became the Metropolitan H.H. Daniel Mar Philexinose) together consecrated the church in the year 1953.
Rev. C. V. John was replaced by Rev.Abraham Katthanar, Chundamannil in the year 1954 and served for only 3 months. The replacement was done by Rev.C.A. John Katthanar, Kumbazha Chothiyakadavil. During this period the small kurishadi in the front was replaced with a magnificient kurishadi with the help of all the members. In the year 1964 the Vicar was replaced with Rev. George Kurian Katthanar, Kakkudiyil. During this period there was a boundary dispute on the Western side and the boundary wall was constructed on that side. Rev. John Katthanar, Padiyara was appointed as the Vicar and Rev. Geevarghese Katthanar, Peedikayil was appointed as Assistant Vicar. During this period the church was extended on both sides by open verandah to accommodate the members and to conduct Sunday School. In the year 1969, Rev.P.K.Varghese, Kaniamchallil was appointed as the Vicar.
The members were active not only in the church activities but were also socially active which can be seen in Peroorkalam Government Lower Primary School. The school was started under the church management but the rift in the management lead to the handing over of the school to the Governement and due to this rift many members went and joined in the Catholic church.
The golden Jubilee was celebrated in a grand style in the year 1971 on December 26, 27, 28. The meeting was inaugurated by the then Finance Minister Mr. K.T.George in the presence of Bhadrasanam Metropolitan. Two houses were constructed and given during the Golden Jubilee year.
The absence of parish hall was a big hindrance to the development of the church, hence, in the General Body meeting held on 24-04-1981, it was decided to construct a Parish Hall in the available area and the foundation stone was laid by H.H. Daniel Mar Philexinose on 05-05-1981. During this period Re. P K Varughese got transferred and was replaced by Rev. K C. Jacob, Kadammanitta. The Parish Hall construction did not progress at the required pace and it was nearly stopped. Rev. Elais Koshy was appointed from 01-04-1983 and during his tenure witnessed historic changes which changed the face of the church. The Parish Hall construction was taken up on war footing and along with that the parsonage construction also started and the consecration of both the buildings was done by H.G Joseph Mar Pachamious. At this time due to old age the Assistant Vicar, Rev.N. J. Samuel retired and was given a warm farewell.
In the property purchased at Kollampadi, the old parsonage was demolished and the materials were used to construct the Sunday School building which started on 01/11/1988. The construction was completed within a span of one year. In the meantime there arose a desire to convert the building into a chapel which was approved by the General Body and on 01/11/1989 the consecration was done by H.G. Thomas Mar Thimotheos, Metropolitan. 57 families from this church moved out to the new church which was formed on 01/07/1991 under the orders (kalpana) from Bhadrasanam. The entire credit goes to Rev. Elias Koshy, Vicar. Meanwhile the erstwhile Assistant Vicar of our church, Rev.Geevarghese, Peedikayil expired on 06-08-1990 and Rev. N. J. Samuel expired on 08-11-1990. The church deeply mourns the loss of the two souls.
The first padayathra to Parumala church was started from this church on 01-11/1991 and since then every year the same is continued till date with great devotion and passion. Time played its role and the church building showed signs of damage on all corners. After many committees and General Body meetings it was finally decided to construct a new one by demolishing the existing one. The church construction committee was formed and Mr.E.D.Daniel, Kamukumpallil was elected as the Convenor and Mr. V. J. Daniel, Valiyakalayil was elected as the joint convenor. The foundation stone for the new church was laid on 01-12-1991 by H.G. Philipose Mar Eusebious, Metropolitan of Thumpamon Dioscese. The last service in the old church was conducted on 17-08-1992 by Rev. Elias Koshy and the church demolition started thereafter. With the cooperation of all the members and the yout the church construction went on smoothly and the first concrete pillar was completed on 26-01-1993. The view of the church from the road had some hindrances from the neighbouring trees and the narrow boundaries, hence 20 cents of land was purchasxed from the family members of Mr.George, Kulathumkal by Mr. P. J. Thomas, Vakayar Estate and the same was handed over to the church. The said action of Mr. P.J. Thomas is highly appreciable.
Along with the church construction, the proposal for a kurishadi at Eliyarackal was also decided to be constructed. In this connection, Mr. E. V. George, Shobha Cottage was approached for the needed property at a price, but the generosity of Mr. E. V. George left us spellbound as he donated one cent of land free of cost. The foundation stone was laid on 23-01-1994 for the construction of the Kurishadi in the name of St. Gregorious of Parumala. The construction activity was supervised by Rev. Elias Koshy, Rev. Sleeba. K. Abraham, and Mr. E. D. Daniel, Kamukumpallil.
With the Grace of God Almighty, cooperation and support from all the members and workers, the church construction moved at a fast pace and was completed within the deadline. On completion, the church standing on a hillock had a terrific view and a grand style and was a proud achievement for the members of this church. The hard work and dedication of Rev.Elias Koshy, Rev. Sleeba. K. Abraham, Mr. E.D. Daniel, Convenor, Mr. V. J. Daniel, Trustee, Mr.V. J. David, Secretary, Mr. P.G. Koshy, Mr. M.J.George as Technical Assistants, members of Managing Committee,, Prayer Groups, Martha Mariam Samajam, people who have supported financially and all those who have supported in one way or the other are all remembered by the church throughout.
The consecration of the new church was held in a grand manner from 19-01-1997 to 28-01-1997. On the morning of 19-01-1997, the fire was lighted from the Parumala Church and was brought to this church in a specially arranged vehicle as a procession with the church members in their own vehicles. Conventions and meetings were held on all the days thereafter. On 24th night a grand welcome was given to H.H. Catholicose of the East and other metropolitans and the first part of the consecration was conducted. The second and final part was conducted on the 25th morning. After the consecration ceremony was over a public meeting was held in the church which was inaugurated by the then Minister, Mr. P J Joseph. A Souvenier was released on that occasion by H.G. Mar Chrisostam Safragar Metropolitan. On 26-01-1997 the first service in the new church was conducted by Rev. Elias Koshy. The platinum Jubilee celebrations and the consecration ceremony of the church thus ended with the convention by the Gospel Team “Snehasandesham”
Rev. Elias Koshy was the Vicar of this church for 14 long years and was replaced by Rev. T.M Samuel, Thayyil. During this period the Friday service in the name of St.Gregorious of Parumala started in this church. Rev.Varghese Mathew, Thayyil Padinjattethu, took over as Vicar of this church who also carried on the mantle with utmost devotion. Rev. Raju Daniel, Planthottathil took over the mantle and he was instrumental in introducing the Parish Save Charitable Fund for the charity activities. Rev.Shyju Kurian,Kollantteazhiyath, took over as the Vicar and went on to extend the Parish Hall, Renovation of Office and tiling of the church frontage. All these further changed the face of the church. Rev. Thomas Johnson, was appointed from 01-08-2009 and during this period the “Navathy” was celebrated with great pomp and show and the holy relics of St.Gregorious of Parumala was brought from Parumala and placed in the front of the church in a beautifully constructed dome. A Directory was also released on the occasion of the “Navathy”.
The present Vicar, Rev.Saji Thomas Tharayil took over the crown from 2012 and since then the church has witnessed developments which shall forever remain in the minds of the people for years to come. The distribution of monthly Pension to the needy as a starter, the merger of various endowment funds into one Fund named “St.Mary’s Charitable Fund”, the “Dhyanam” on Wednesdays, the formation of church Choir and the resultant release of an audio album for Parumala Padayathra are the notable achievements. He is still working and has got plans for further developments which we will see in the coming future.
The creation of this website is also his initiative and we hope this will cater to the needs of all the members especially the overseas members to remain updated on the developmental activities and events held in the church. The general public can also contact and place prayer request and give suggestions through this website.
With the launching of this website on 25-01-2014, we hope the church will grow further to be a shining lamp in the society.