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PADATHU MAPPILA AND MANARCAD CHURCH

Padathu Mappila's vision brought about a marked change in his life. He took it upon himself to carry through the task to its successful completion. Once he took a decision, he would not go back on it. Fortitude, forbearance, perseverance, humility, self-abnegation and, above all, abiding faith in God were what made him uniquely suited to the task before him.


    To build a church in those days was a near impossible task. Many hurdles were to be overcome to accomplish it. Padathumappila was well aware of the difficulties ahead. Manarcadu was a Hindu dominated place. They would not be happy to have a church in their area. The land where the church was to be constructed belonged to the Devaswam. Edathil Tampuran, the Hindu chieftain there, would oppose the plan tooth and nail. The King, who depended on Edathil family's private army in times of war, would not like to go against them. The odds were definitely against the church. But Padathu Mappila was the last man to admit defeat.


    Padathu Mappila was a shrewd man. He knew that Thekkumkur kings were traditionally very secular. Moreover, the king, he knew, had a soft spot for him. Also, the king had the full backing of the Christian population there. At last, he decided to meet the king with his request. The king was in a dilemma. Though he was sympathetic to Padathu Mappila's request, he would not commit himself to it outright. At the same time, he did not like to disappoint Padathu Mappila. After a lot of deliberation, the king finally decided in favour of Padathu Mappila. Eventually sixty-one 'pathalpadu' (a unit of area used for land measurement in those days) land had staked out for the church around the spot where Padathu Mappila had his vision.

Padathu Mappila knew that getting land alone was not enough. Edathil Tampuran's opposition was still there. He had to overcome it. Here Padathu Mappila's tactic and humility enabled him to tone down the Tampuran's open opposition. But the Thampuran continued to nurse a grudge against him for bypassing him in getting approval for the church from the king.


    At long last, the construction of the church had taken up in right earnest. Padathu Mappila did not leave the site even for a day. For everything his presence was essential. Finally a small church with a thatched roof came up there. (Tiled roofs had permitted only for the kings' palaces) Padathu Mappila's happiness was short-lived; Edathil Tampuran incited his men to destroy the church. It had pulled down thrice and thrice it had rebuilt. Having spent almost his entire wealth on the church, Padathu Mappila, found it hard for him to continue with the work any longer. He had to seek outside help for the completion of the church. Finally Kallakkatampil Family came to his help. They had already started work on a church at Parachirakkunnil near Tiruvanchoor. Thus it was with Kallakatampil family's financial assistance that Manarcad Church was finally completed.


    The foundations of the church built with Kallakadampil family's assistance were much stronger than the earlier ones. The church, it is believed, was finally built between 1585 and 1590 AD. Having had to depend on others to complete the work , Padathu Mappila voluntarily decided to relinquish the ownership of the church. He was, however, compensated for it financially by the parish. Also, in recognition of his many sacrifices for the church, he was granted seven special rights by the church. The successive generations of his family also continued to enjoy these rights till 1958, when, for the first time the church came to have its own constitution. The only right the family is entitled to now, is to stand close to the offertory box at the church on festival days as its symbolic custodian.


    Relinquishing the ownership of the church, did not deter Padathu Mappila from assuming full responsibility for managing the day-to-day affairs of the church. The first thing for him to do after the completion of the church was to make all necessary arrangements for its consecration. A priest from his own family in Kothamangalam was brought in for the purpose. His name was Yakoob. This priest's remembrance is still observed on the Saturday that comes after the 'moonnu nombu'.

SEVEN RIGHTS OF PADATHUMAPPILA IN MANARKADU CHURCH

“Seven Ringts for Padathumappila and Equal Rights for Others" this was the saying continued till the present generation.

Following are the Rights mutually conferred on Padathumappila for relinquishing the Ownership of the Church.
  • Ex Officio Trustee of Church
  • Keeping the Main Chavi (Memboottu) of the assets of the Church.
  • Keeping the Offertory Bowl (Thalika) on the stand for Offertory and Count and handover the money to the committee. He has to stand near Offertory Bowl and Sexton take permission from him. Today only this right exists.
  • During Festivals and Feasts Padathumappila had the Right to sit along with Priests.
  • During Procession (Rasa) he would walk in front of priests by holding lighted candle.
  • In St Marys Feast for Good Harvest, one portion of Rice used to be sent to Padathu Family.
  • Offering Rice Porridge (Kanji) to the faith full who visiting the Church on Hosana Sunday.
The above mentioned were the Rights given to Padathumappila. But now standing near to the Offertory Box is the only right the family is entitled to.

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