Sunday, 12 September 2010

Kodungalloor Cross

The so called Kodungalloor Cross described by Gouvea in AD 1606 was erected in the city. Gouvea talks about a Church which belongs to the fort at that time and comments that it was the church that the Christians had in olden times. He says, the Christians had a lot of affection for this church as well as a cross in the same city, the cross of Christians. He describes, the cross has been kept in the middle of a chapel which is open on one side with railings. Arch Bishop Menesis celebrated a solemn mass in this chapel on his visit to the city. Gouvea also witnesses that the gentiles also had a lot of affection for it. He describes that the gentile king, when he lost something precious, sent some oil to this cross and he found the lost thing. This shows that there was facility for burning oil in front of this cross. Was this an open air Rock Cross with facility to burn oil? .
Kottayam Valiyapalli was founded in AD 1550 as per the tradition of the church. It seems that Christians from Kodungalloor had to migrate to south in the early 16th century because of the power struggle between Portuguese and the Muslims. As I have mentioned in the comment on 13/10/2010, Southists took their cross from Kodungalloor and migrated to Kaduthuruthy and later to Kottayam valiyapalli and erected the cross in the altar. Fr Kollamparambil writes ‘ The Kottayam Crosses are said to have been brought from Cranganore via Kaduthuruthy.The crosses were taken from Cranganore probably in AD 1524, when in a war with the King of Cranganore, Samoothiri of Calicut assisted by Muslim soldiers conquered, sacked and destroyed Cranganore. All the three churches of Cranganore- Saint Mary’s, Saint Thomas’ and saint Kuriackose’s were burned down. The Christians fled with the valuable relics they could take with them’. Fr Kollamparabil in Christian Orient March 1994,quoting Mundadan, The arrival of Portuguese in India and the Thomas Christians under Mar Jacob, pp99-100.
Fr Kollamparambil says, the crosses were first brought to Kaduthuruthy and in 1550, they were moved to Kottayam due to another war between the King of Wadakkumkoor and the King of Cochin helped by the Portuguese where the King of Wadakkumkoor was killed by Portuguese commander Francesco Silveira de Menesis. The Wadakkumkoor army then formed chaver squads- suicide squads-attacked and killed the Saint Thomas Christians, the co religionists of the murderer.(Fr Kollamparambil in Christian orient March 1994 quoting C J Wicki, Documenta Indiaca, Vol III 796, G Schurhammer, Die Zeitgenossischen Quellenzur Geschichte Portugiesisch- Asiens, Rome, 1962, No 4530) .
Fr Kollamparambil refers to the traditional songs of the Southist community like Kottayam valiyapalli paattukal to support this argument.
It looks like the Cranganore Cross described by Gouvea is not one of the Kottayam valiyapalli crosses. It may be destroyed or hidden after the Coonan Cross oath. People who know Kodungalloor may be able to locate its site.

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