A commemorative postage stamp on the Holy Cross Shrine Church (Mar Sleeva Syro-Malabar Church), Mapranam, Thrissur :
Issued by India
Issued on Sep 14, 2009
Issued for : The Department of Posts is happy to issue a commemorative postage stamp on the Holy Cross Church, Mapranam.
Stamp, FDC & Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Multicolour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million
Printing Process : Wet–offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
- The Holy Cross Church, Mapranam is situated in the rural ambience of Thrissur district, in Kerala. The Church, which is part of the Irinjalakuda diocese, was established in 928 AD and is among the oldest Churches in the country. It is a historically renowned pilgrim centre, attracting worshippers from all religions. It also serves as a mother institution to several churches in the vicinity including the Irinjalakuda Cathedral.
- The Holy Cross Church, Mapranam, is among the very few churches in Kerala established in the name of the Holy Cross. Given its unique place in the history of the Syro–Malabar Archi Episcopal Sabha, on the 21st September 1887 it was conferred the recognition of placing the relic of the Holy Cross in the church. The Holy Cross Church has also acquired a part of the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ on the shroud of St. Veronica from the Vatican by the order of Pope Leo XIII. Worshippers are allowed to experience the blessings of the relic of the Holy Cross every year, on the 14th of September, the 21st of September and on Good Friday – an experience afforded by very few churches across the globe.
- The main attraction of the Mapranam church is the wooden cross made in the Persian style. It is made of wood, which was not smoothened by a plane, and is bedecked by the five metals (Panchlohas).
- Another unique aspect of this church is its special tradition of candle lighting. This tradition is a legacy from the day the church was founded. It is the custom of the church to have approximately 500 worshippers light candles weighing between 1 to 300 kgs on 13th September, the eve of the main fest of the church. Lighting of such big candles is a special tradition of this church. However, in the course of each year approximately one lakh worshippers light candles as thanksgiving for the blessings they have received from the Holy Cross.
- On 31st August 2007, celebrating this tradition, a large candle weighing 1079 kg and having a height of 22 feet and a diameter of 18 inches was installed in the Holy Cross Church. This unique candle was manufactured by the Marsleeva Association for Rural Guidance (MARG), a Registered Society, which is an undertaking of the Holy Cross church.
- Some ancient articles of religious significance and archaeological interest have been preserved in the church. Precious records as old as 250 to 400 years, written on palm leaves are preserved in the church. The massive and marvellously carved beam called seelanthi and the pulpit in the form of a dragon holding a sea flower in its mouth are also fine artistic pieces along with several other antique items of great value such as a bronze bell more than 300 years old made in Italy, a flower cross, holy clothes and big crosses made of pure silver.
- The new Church was consecrated on 6th February 1989. Its façade is an architectural beauty, an amalgamation of Christian, Hindu and Muslim religious influences reflecting an integration of the cultures.
- Text : Based on material provided by the proponent.