St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church

St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church

St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church
4.5
Historic SitesChurches & Cathedrals
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
About
The St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church at Mattancherry town of Kochi (Cochin ) better known as the Koonan Kurishu Pally entered the annals of history following the oath taken by St Thomas Christians of Kerala in AD 1653, protesting against the the attempt to impose the hegemony of the Roman Church by the Portuguese . The Indian Church (Malankara Church ) was established by Apostle St Thomas ( Mar Thoma ) in AD 52. This indigenous Church of Malabar/Malankara followed the faith and traditions handed over by the Apostle St. Thomas. Saint Thomas Christians were administratively under the single native dynastic leadership of an Archdeacon a native ecclesiastical head with spiritual and temporal powers. Portughese arrived India in AD 1498 , were surprised to find the presence of St Thomas Christians in India, but Portuguese were unhappy that native Indian Christians were not under Rome . With the help of Portuguese army and Portuguese missionaries they started luring and threatening native Christians to bring them under Rome.They succeeded in their efforts in 1599 with the `Synod of Diamper'. The representatives of various parishes who attended the assembly were forced by Portuguese Authorities to accept the Papal authority. The Koonan Kurishu Oath of AD 1653 refers to the action of thousands of native Christians assembling before this church and taking an oath to preserve the traditions and rituals followed by them since AD 52 and resist the attempts to impose the Roman rituals among the native Christians. But the gathering was so large that hundreds were unable to touch the cross directly. They drew a rope from the cross, and touching it, publicly denounced the Roman Church.The cross bent under pressure and hence the name ‘Koonan Kurisu’. The event is described as ‘Koonan Kurishu Sathyam’ or the oath before the bent cross. Soon after the Coonan Cross Oath of 3 January 1653 the St. Thomas Christians were divided into Oriental Orthodox faction and Catholic faction . The Catholic faction joined the Portuguese, and the Orthodox faction stayed with their native Mar Thoma traditions in defiance of the Portuguese. The Koonan Kurish Sathyam of AD 1653 took place at this Church is the first attempt to resist colonialism and western invasion in India . Apart from the historical legacy the method adopted for the renovation of the church building assumes importance. The renovated church is built using clay to keep faith with the ancient architecture heritage. The use of cement and steel have been completely avoided and visitors from India and abroad are coming to the church to see the architecture of the building. The church located at Mattancherry , Cochin is constructed entirely of compressed earth blocks (CSEB). The distinct style with catenary vaults, arches and a dome evokes the past in a way, never seen before. The technique of construction was developed in Egypt, today known as the Nubian Technique. There are 13 vaults and a dome to complete the structure. Today, it stands as the second largest catenary structure in South India. The sacred alter is lit with sunlight that filters through the oculus and the space between the sinusoidal walls. The concept of domes, vaults and arches used in the renovated building has been drawn from early symbols of eastern Christianity. In AD 1751 Church was dedicated to St George with the installation of holy relics of St George in its altar , is another unique speciality of Mattancherry Leaning Cross Old Syrian Church.
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4.5
18 reviews
Excellent
13
Very good
5
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0
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Robert O
Rotterdam, The Netherlands3,920 contributions
Jan 2023 • Solo
If you are not familiar with South Indian history to understand what you actually observe here is rather complicated.

Few Westerners know that Christian tradition in India started in the 1st century AD when Thomas one of the twelve apostles of Jezus sailed to the Malabar coast and started to spread the gospel.

The Portugese arrived much later in 1498 (roughly 1400 years later). Their interpretation of Christian religion was different and followed Roman tradition recognizing the authority of the Pope of Rome (nowadays Pope Francis).

Part of Thomas' followers started to resist the Portugese imposition of Roman Catholic interpretation and institutions. They remained true to Thomas and followed his oriental (Syrian) or Eastern Orthodox interpretation. In 1653 it is assumed they gathered in protest at the site where now this church is.

Though clay (compressed mud) is the main building material the church structure makes a rather modern impression.
Written 13 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elizabeth S
Bengaluru, India25 contributions
Sept 2023 • Friends
An amazing architecture. The spiritual calmness is felt as soon as you enter the church. Fr Benjamin was so kind and patient to spend time telling us the history and clarifying our queries. A must visit destination when around Kochi. This place is not just a place for Christian history but Indian history as well.
Written 3 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HappySheep
Wellington, New Zealand1,610 contributions
Jan 2020 • Friends
Amazing style of architecture and interesting story. Can respectfully visit. They have vespers in dusk. Take off shoes and no photos.
Written 11 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stellan D
Bromma, Sweden585 contributions
Nov 2019
This is a spectacular building which is much smaller once you get into the church hall itself. It is Syrian orthodox faith.
Written 2 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ode Beaulé
Quebec City, Canada175 contributions
Oct 2019 • Friends
We had the chance to be welcome by Father Benjamin who explain us the history of the church. Plus the architecture and the spirituality of this amazing place. We really appreciate this visit!
Written 29 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joji J
Kochi (Cochin), India3,104 contributions
Jan 2019 • Family
I used to visit the church in 80's almost every week to offer prayers and after several years gap I went there with my family. The church is renovated and the architecture of the church is really innovative, the church is constructed with clay with arch shaped entrance. Though the church and the compound is not very vast, a large number of devotees manage to come to the church and offer prayers. This 17th century church in the name of St. George is a prominent historic monument and pilgrim center which is a major attraction of Mattancherry.
Written 7 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheen W
Bridport, UK340 contributions
Nov 2018
Really glad I stopped to look at this church. The building construction is interesting as is its style of architecture. It was much smaller inside than I was expecting but a gem. Found a leaflet with information about the church’s history. I come from a part of Uk where mud has been used for centuries to build houses so good to see this here. Don’t pass this by.
Written 25 November 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marcus
Hannover, Germany314 contributions
Feb 2018 • Solo
Unfortunately I do not know much about the history of Syrian Christians in Kerala but this Church was truly eyeopening! It caused me to research more about this place and it's community thereby extending the holiday even after my return. The architecture is very unusual and unprepared - but great. If you come to see the "old" places in Cochin, visit this one as well because it bridges the past and present.
Written 11 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ram Govind
1 contribution
Apr 2018 • Solo
A place with huge historical significance, surroundings maintained very well. A good place for meditation, prayer and to know about Syriac orthodoxy in India.
The history of Syrian Christians in Kerala and their struggle to keep their faith is ignored by the mainstream media and government. There are a number of Syrian Orthodox churches in Kerala which dates back to the first century AD, these churches should be included in the tourism circuit and its history should be taught to student community who studies about the evolution of present-day Kerala.
Written 19 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alison R
Oxford, UK965 contributions
Feb 2018 • Couples
What a surprise to see this place by the road as we were passing in a tuktuk. Stopped and asked the driver to wait, and went to explore. Not long rebuilt, and overseen by Father Benjamin who is a lovely gentle man, who was happy to show us the bibles in Malayalam language and Hebrew too, which we read, so we shared some prayers and some verses, and listened to his lovely voice singing. His gentle enthusiasm was infectious and I would say his flock are lucky to have him. If he is there then your visit will be much enhanced! We had some super 'interfaith' interactions. What a happy visit!
Written 22 February 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks lot for your great review , The Koonan Kurish Sathyam of AD 1653 took place at this Church is the first attempt to resist colonialism and western invasion in India . Apart from the historical legacy the method adopted for the renovation of the church building assumes importance. The renovated church is built using clay to keep faith with the ancient architecture heritage. The use of cement and steel have been completely avoided and visitors from India and abroad are coming to the church to see the architecture of the building. The church located at Mattancherry , Cochin is constructed entirely of compressed earth blocks (CSEB). The distinct style with catenary vaults, arches and a dome evokes the past in a way, never seen before. The technique of construction was developed in Egypt, today known as the Nubian Technique. There are 13 vaults and a dome to complete the structure. Today, it stands as the second largest catenary structure in South India. The sacred alter is lit with sunlight that filters through the oculus and the space between the sinusoidal walls. The concept of domes, vaults and arches used in the renovated building has been drawn from early symbols of eastern Christianity. In AD 1751 Church was dedicated to St George with the installation of holy relics of St George in its altar , is another unique speciality of Mattancherry Leaning Cross Old Syrian Church.
Written 27 March 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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