The sprawling St. Thomas Shrine at Palayur remains the only church that has been built exactly at the spot where the Apostle set up a cross in India.
St. Thomas statue and boat jetty
A 45-foot-high towering statue of St. Thomas, along with a concrete boat sculpture that recalls the arrival of the Apostle.
Granite cross marking the spot where St. Thomas erected a cross
A giant granite cross stands at the entrance to the Palayur shrine, which was rebuilt in 1607 by the Italian Jesuit architect Fenichio with the approval of the Hindu ruler.
The altar at the Shrine of St. Thomas in Palayur
With the popularity of the shrine as a storehouse of the Kerala church’s St. Thomas legacy steadily on the rise, busloads of pilgrims from other dioceses and churches visit the shrine.
The baptismal pond
Up to two dozen infants from across the archdiocese are brought in for the special baptism at the same spot on the Sunday after the 10th of each month.
All the 160 bishops of India attending the assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference India (CBCI) visited shrine in January 2004. Among those who posed for photos at the baptismal pond was late Archbishop John P. Foley, Vatican delegate to the CBCI assembly.
Archbishop John P. Foley at baptism pond
Pilgrims from the United States at the Palayur shrine in January 2020
Archpriest V. Karippery at the shrine's archives and museum
The historic 2004 visit of all the bishops of India to the Shrine was also marked by the inauguration of an archaeological museum by Cardinal Ignas Mousa I Dawood, Chair of the Vatican Congregation for Oriental Churches.
The sprawling entrance to the shrine
The shrine draws hundreds of pilgrims on Friday nights during Lent, when several parishes across the archdiocese undertake a night-long Stations of the Cross procession to the shrine, concluding with a special Mass at 4 a.m. for the pilgrims.