St. Andrew's Basilica, Arthunkal is one of the famous pilgrim centres in South India. Though the Church is named after St. Andrew the Apostle, it is the feast of St. Sebastian that has brought fame to Arthunkal. The Christian presence in Arthunkal dates back to a very early period, to 7th Century or earlier. After the arrival of the Portuguese in Kerala Jesuit missionaries turned their attention to Arthunkal. They under¬took missionary work in Arthunkal from 1530 onwards. As there was a ban on Christian conversion till 1560 per mission to put up churches was hard to obtain. When Fr. Gasper Pious s was appointed the first Vicar of Arthunkal he managed to get permission to construct a Church.
In 1581 the King of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma, gave permission to build a Church in wood. It was the second Vicar, Fr. Giacomo Fenicio S.J. who managed to obtain permission from the King to renovate the wooden church in stone in 1602. He had spent 33 years in Arthunkal in two terms and is rightfully called the Apostle of Arthunkal. Read More...
Arthunkal was the capital of Muthedath Kingdom, one of the pricipalities of Kerala, during the 16th century. Historians opine differently as to how Arthunkal got that name. One among them is that it has evolved from 'Arthikulangara'
St Sebastian is one of those martyrs who shed blood and suffered martyrdom for the Church of Christ, at the time of Emperor Diocletian who was of obscure origin. Diocletian rose up through a brilliant military career to the complete command of the Empire.
This is one of the Forane parishes of Alappuzha Diocese. There are about 2000 families in the parish. The parish is divided into BCC (Basic Christian Community) units where parishioners gather weekly or monthly for prayers and Christian fellowship.
PIN: 688 530
Tel: +91 9400152374
+91 478 2573560, 2572374
+91 9446607613 (Rector)