About the Church
St. Mary’s Cathedral Manarcad – the Global Marian Pilgrim Centre – is the only church in Malankara, where the site of the church was given in a divine relevation. The holy shrine- St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Manarcad – celebrates the feast of the Nativity of Virgin Mary on September 8. September 1 to 8 is the historic Eight Day Lent at Manarcad for which all roads lead to this holy shrine and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims throng here seeking favors and blessing from the Holy mother.
St. Mary’s Church, Manarcad, one of the most prominent parishes of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church, has always upheld faith and the allegiance to the Holy Apostolic Throne of Antioch and All the East. Spread over 12 Kara, the parish consists of 3000 families and it is grace with the eminent and devoted service of nine priests; the Vicar and nine assistant vicars.
In glorification of the Holy mother – Virgin Mary-the best ever known model of holiness and humility among the humans, the store house of blessings and the fountain head of love, and in praise of the temple of her son, St. Mary’s church Manarcad was established, Wrote his Grace Dr. Geevarghese mar Gregorious, the former Metropolitan of Kottayam Diocese who left for the heavenly abode 22 Feb. 1999.
“There is no place in the world where this holy temple of God and its blessed guardian, the Mother of Manarcad are not known. Year after year this holy shrine grows in glory. The multitudes who come and supplicate here with faith and devotion never fail to get its reward. By the prayers of the Holy Virgin they receive the blessings of God and return spiritually contented… The faithful who come to the Holy temple of God under no compulsion nor under persuasion, guided by the light of their on experience, never fail to the acknowledge their sense of gratitude to the Holy Mother. The Mother of Manarcad who heeds to and blesses all who call upon give remedy to the ailing and peace to the minds that are tore. Where science and technology fail the grace of the Holy Mother comes in”
The Holy Mother – The “Mother of Manarcad” who conceived the God in her womb, suckled him, lulled him, bathed and fed him, enjoyed the privilege of carrying him in her arms and always stood with him in prayer is to us all our peace and shelter. It was none else but the Gost who announced her to the entire world as the Mother of God.
Of these eight festivals it is the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother that is being celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Manarcad on September 8’ the whole parish and the pilgrims who throng there observe the unique spiritual practice of the Eight Day Lent in order to spiritually prepare themselves for this blessed day.
People come from different parts of the world to participate in this festival. Hundreds of thousands of devotees come to this holy place to get redeemed of their sicknesses and mental crises and to get exorcised of the forces of the evil. There are innumerable instances devotees bereft of all hopes of curing themselves of deadly diseases getting miraculous cure from this temple of the Holy Mother.
The Tradition of the Eight-Day Lent of St.Mary’s Church, Manarcad is as old as the church itself, it started when such a practice was not in existence in the other parishes of the Malankara Syrian Christian Church. Even in these early days people come from faraway places to take part in this lent. Rev. Joseph Pit, the Anglican Missionary who visited the church in 1836, to his surprise found a very large crowd of pilgrims in the church of Manarcad and its premises. More than 2000 devotees lived there observing the Eight-Day Lent. The following words of Rev. Pic authenticate this fact:
“ I heard that some Christians observed a special lent for a week in the name of St. Marys in Manarcad. They observed it in the church by avoiding certain items of food, taking daily bath and by attempting to make themselves holy….. More than 2000 pilgrims had assembled in the church and its premises. This church with believed to be a holy place”(Ref: Athbhuthasaudham P.22)
The vast parish stretches over 12 Karas: Manarcad, Kuzhippurayidam, Maalam, Velloor, Vellokutta, Manganam, Vadavathoor, Thiruvanchoor, Amayannoor, Parambukara, Vijayapuram and Areeparambu. The General Body of the church- Edavakapothuyogam- exercise, supreme authority over the affairs of the parish and its educational and other service institutions. The Parish has its own constitution set and approved in 1957 based on which every year members of the Maneging Committee are elected from different karas (one member each to represent 50 member families); the committee also includes all the 9 priest of the parish and one member elected from among the Sunday School teachers. The three Trustees and the Secretary of the parish are elected from this committee. For the administration of each of educational and other service institutions of the parish is a Governing Board with apriest of the parish as the Maneger. The tenure of each of these Governing Boards is one year. Ever since its establishment the church has been paying patronage and maintaining allegiance and commitment to the Apostolic Throne of Peter and the Apostolic See of the Holy Partriarch of Antioch and the Bishops of this Apostolic Lineage.