St.Ignatius (R.C.) Church, Akkaraikodivery

St.Ignatius (R.C.) Church, Akkaraikodivery

Church Location

Rev. Fr. Mathew Jude Paul - The Parish Priest, St.Ignatius (R.C.) Church, Akkaraikodivery, Via Kasipalayam, Erode –638 454.


It was the part of the Kodivery center, from the beginning of Christianity, called the Sathyamangalam mission, started by Fr. Benedict da Costa in 1643, till 1940, when the diocese of Coimbatore was divided. By 1650, Kodivery was one of the earliest centers and it is clearly mentioned that these two villages( Peria Kodivery and Akkari Kodivery), divided by the river Bhavani were one village and both had chapels. Both are inhabited by the same caste of Kaikolars. There was a chapel at Palazhyoor, the original settlement till 1933, when a great flood, washed away a part of it. The Maniyakaran’s family, uses the unused chapel, as a cowshed. Fearing such floods, most of the people, settled down further away on higher grounds. Some remained in the original site which has the name Palazhyoor. Till 1940 both Kodiveries formed one parish, and hence in all earlier history, referred as Kodivery only.

To go back to the ancient history, Kodivery was one of the centers of the Jesuits mission of Sathy, in 1650, as one of the 12 main centers, in 1662 as one of the 23 centers and again 1666 when Sathy was divided into two, Sathy center was looked after by Fr. Arcolini S.J (who succeeded Fr. da Costa) by then the chief residence had shifted to Kanuvakarai, with Kodivery etc, as sub- centers. Again in 1686, it was a part of Kanuvakarai when this mission was attached to the newly erected Mysore mission of the Jesuits. In 1710, it was a part of Kanuvakarai which was one of the five centers of Resident priests. The new converts during those years had to go through lots of persecution, especially in the form of Social Ostricization (exclusion from the village community as out -caste). Latter by the Wars between the Naicks of Mysore and of Madura and then of the Naicks of Tanjure (Shaji), on many occassions churches were demolished and the Christians had to flee to the neighboring mountains of Thalavadi and Gundri. The first converts where of the weavers, which included both Sedars (Canarese speaking Devanga Chettiars ) and Kaikolars ( Tamil Speaking ) and there used to be big clashes between them, before their conversion, even to the point of being mortal enemies. But after the conversion by 16.53 the Christians of both communities, forgot all their old enemity and lived in harmony and Christian fellowship.

In 1744, it was attached to Tharupalli (near Sathy) which became one of the 6 Residences. This Tharupalli must be the ancient head village of this area, called Thadapalli near Akkarai Kodiveri, with a big church, priest’s Residence and a small school (the first of its kind). But during the Tippu’swars, it had totally disappeared, without leaving any trace of its existence! It is very interesting to find the mention of Thanaiakan Kottai in 1724, (it is now submerged inside the Bhavanisagar dam) where there were Christians. They had built a fine church, under the care of Fr Rainerio Conscinuti S.J. who was then in charge of Kanuvakarai. They were harassed by the Captain of the fort, for not helping in the construction of a Hindu temple, but they remained firm and finally the Captain himself was removed from the post. These Christians would have been Catholic Maravas from Ramnad. After the Society ofJesus was suppressed in 1773, all the churches were destroyed by Tippu Sultan, and the Christians were scattered. By 1798, the missionaries of the Paris Missionary Society had taken charge and gradually gathered the scattered flock. In 1803, Fr. Dubois with three Indian priests was at Kodivery and he built church at Peria Kodivery and a presbytery. In 1842 Msgr. Bonnand visited Kodivery and confirmed the Christians. Probably the old church at Palazhyoor must have been built around this time b Fr. Dubois and by the Indian priest Fr. Germanus between 1803- 1820. Fr. Bigot Beauclair (Devapthinather) visited all the Christian centers during 1837 - 1840, so also visited Kodivery. In 1846 when Coimbatore Pro-vicariate was formed, Kodivery was one of the ten vicariates. The Kovil Maniakaran system was introduced on 16.9.1847 by Msgr. de Bresillac and hence the Kovil Maniyakaran families of both Kodiveries must have been from 1847 and it is interesting to note that a letter written by Fr. Pajean in 1850, he writes “At Kodivery some Maniyakarars are causing much trouble to the people, who would not submit to their tyrannical fancies”. In the Statistics of Coimbatore Vicariate for the year 1859, for the first time, Akkarai Kodivery is explicitly mentioned as a separate Christian village, belonging to Kodivery district (one of the nine districts), with the following details: Akkarai Kodivery: 180 Christians, a church and a house for priests.

Corning to more recent times, after the division of the diocese in 1940, since the church at Palazhyoor, in honour of St. Ignatius of Loyola, (a relic of the preceding Jesuit mission work), the first Parish Priest of Akkarai Kodivery (though residing at Kalam) Fr. A. Maria Ambrose (1942- 1950) built the present large church in the new settlement, at a cost of Rs. 45,000 and it was blessed on 15.5.1947. Fr. T. C. Adaikalam (1950- 1955) built new chapels at Udaya Goundan Palayam and Elathur during his tenure. Fr. P. lrudaya Samy was the first Parish Priest, exclusively for Akkarai Kodivery in 1958. A new church at Udaya Goundan Palayam was constructed by Fr. Dhanaraj and blessed on 14.11 .1992 by Bishop Ambrose. There was a small school at Palayoor since 1910. In 1956 Fr. T. C. Adaikkalam, built a new school building at a cost of Rs 8,000, near the present church. In 1963 Fr. Joseph Pragasam brought the Presentation Convent and they were given the responsibility of running the school, but under the management of the parish priest. A new convent was built in 1967 and in the same year a Home for the poor children (girls) run by the convent, but under the management of the parish priest was constructed by Fr.Joseph Pragasam. In 1988, the school was upgraded into a Middle School and Fr. Jacob built a new block in 1990. The new presbytery was blessed on 23 .1 2.1990. As a memorial of the Silver Jubilee of the Home for the girls, a new two storied building was constructed by Fr. Dhanaraj and blessed by Bishop Ambrose on II .12.1993. In 1993, the Brothers of St. Michael started a house at a farm bought by them, in the vicinity of Akkarai Kodivery. A new church was built at Elathur and blessed on ll.ll.2001.In 1995, the Sisters of Assisi started a convent with a hospital and their new convent building was blessed on 7.11.2002. A wayside Grotto in honour of Our Lady of Vellankanni was built on Sathy main road in 2002 by Fr. Dhanaraj. A plot of agricultural land was purchased by him both to provide water supply to th orphanage as well as for the support of the institution. Finally Fr.Joseph Sagayam with the support of the parishioners and of the diocese, practically re-built the parish church and Bishop Thomas Aquinas consecrated it on 13.12.2004. In remembrance of this, he brought out a Souvenir, containing the History of Coimbatore and of Akkarai Kodivery by Fr. Ephraem.

Sub - Stations :

1. Udaya Goundan Pallayam

Fr.Chervier and Fr.Audiou, between 1934-1940, from Kollapalur converted many Adidravidars at Udaya Goundan Palayam, with the active support of local village Hindu maniakarar. Fr. M. Savarimuthu (Later Bishop) was the parish priest of Kodivery (combined) then, developed good relationship with the maniyakaran, helping him to get the license for a rice mill and in gratitude, that Gounder was always helpful to the Missionaries. Whenever they visited the new converts, they were given free lodging at his house. A catechist, Mr. Theresappan with his family was stationed there to instruct the new converts.

Fr. L. Antony Samy obtained porambokku land from the government and constructed four rows of tiled-roof houses for the new converts. A small chapel was built with a sacristy, to enable the priest to spend the night, during his visits. Of course not even water can be taken from the Christians, but only from the Kaikola Christian catechist who would provide food because of the caste difference. The converts were agricultural daily wage earners, with the obligation to beat their drums and dance to the beating their drums for all special occasions, like marriage, the feas celebrations of the village deities and funerals! Till today, even the educated Catholics, have to submit to the iniquitous laws o untouchability; hence the missionaries trained them to lear handloom - weaving through the catechist but were not successful. Their boys were sent to Karumathampatty Orphanage but only four of them persevered, got trained as teachers and employed at Panchayat schools of the neighborhood. But most of the students preferred to serve their landlords, than to get educated and thus improve their social standing.

2. Elathur :

The only community of Vannars (dhobis) in our diocese is to be found here. Fr. Petite, who was the parish priest of Kodivery towards 1912, converted them. A chapel in honour of St. John the Baptist was built by him then and it was rebuilt again in the year 1963. The new modern church was built and blessed on 11.11.2001 by Fr. Dhanaraj.

3. Makkanan Kombai :

The place is actually ‘Mckenon Kombai’, named after some English Collector. These fisherman are old Christians, originally from Vellalapalayam of Salem area and settled down here for over 100 years. There is no chapel.

4. Karumandur :

A few families from Udaya Goundampalayam had settled there. In 1955 a plot, with a godown was bought and the building was converted into a chapel. Twice it was struck by thunderbolts and damaged. Hence it vas pulled down and a new church in honour of the Child Jesus was built by Fr. Maria Antony and blessed in2002 by Bishop Ambrose and the weekly Novena in honour of Child Jesus was started. Bhavani Sagar, as substation, was detached from this parish and made a separate parish some time after 1986.

Main Staion

Distance from Cathedral Church : 78 K.Ms.

Total number of Catholic familes both in the Main and sub stations : 149

Total number of Catholic familes in the main station : 75

Number of Catholics in the Main station : 300

Mass Timings

Weekdays 6.00 a.m & 6.00 p.m

Sundays 8.00 a.m

Religous Houses

I. Presentation Convent 04285 - 264533

2. St.Michael’s Brother’s Home 04285 - 264214

3. Congregation of the Sisters of Assisi 04285 - 264113

Diocesan Institutions

1. St. Ignatius Home for Children 04285 - 264533 (Boys & Girls)

Religious Institution

1. R.C. Middle School

2. Assisi Hospital

Lay Association

1. Legion of Mary

2. Kolping Association

Patronal Feast: St. Ignatius (July 31 st)

Sub - Stations

1. U.G. Palayam

Distance : 6 K.Ms

Families : 30

Catholics : 125

Mass Timings : Sundays 6.30 a.m

Lay Association

1. Kolping Association

2. Elathur

Distance : 17 K.Ms

Families : 17

Catholics : 75

Mass Timings : Saturday 6.30 p.m

3. Kurumanthur

Distance : 12 K.Ms

Families : 13

Catholics : 60

Mass Timings Saturday 8.00 p.m Every Thursdays 6.30 p.m Mass and Novena to Infant Jesus

Lay Association

1. Kolplng Assodadon

4. Makkanan Kambai

Distance : 5 K.Ms

Families : 14

Catholics : 60

Mass Timings : Wednesday 7.00 p.m

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