CSI, Tuticorin-Nazareth Diocese.
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About Us

About Us

In the year 1839 St. Patrick’s church was situated in a small thatched shed in Vadakkur. Some ten families attended the Church services. The important person among them was a customs clerk. He served in the church for nearly 25 years. This fact is mentioned in the stone plaque fixed on the western side of the vestry inside the church building.

From 1861 onwards men and women mostly residing in Vadakkur, came into the faith on Jesus Christ. It was from then onwards that the Christian congregation witnessed an appreciable growth in numbers. In the meantime kearns worked hard for the improvement of Thoothukudi. There were more Christians in Vadakkur. So, Kearns, a missionary in Puthiamputhur felt that the congregation needed a church near their habitations in vadakkur. He got a land from the Government; and laid the foundation in July 1868 to build a Church.

In 1869 a Pastor, namely Gnanaprakasam was appointed as the pastor of Thoothukudi. He was ordained by Bishop Frederick Gell on 31.1.1869 at Palayamkottai. Gnanaprakasam was the first pastor of Thoothukudi. He was the second son of Daniel, native of Idaiyangudi. Daniel was one of the early Christians of that place. He did yeoman service in his new pastorate, and helped kearns a great deal in collecting money for the building of the church. As the first pastortate chairman he was put on the list of missionaries and treated as such though Thoothukudi congregation paid his salary. When Thoothukudi was made a pastorate on the 2nd of February 1869, a new era of progress dawned. In September 1871. D. Gnanaprakasam was transferred to kumbakonam.

In Gnanaprakasam’s place A.Swamidason, a candidate for ordination was appointed. Swamidason was ordained in December 1871, and he took charge soon after. He gave full attention to the building work. The church building was completed in 1872. The missionary, J.E. Kearns wrote a year later on 13.12.1872 the following. “I am now completing a neat and substantial church in Thoothukudi, and hope to have it opened in the first week of February, for divine service. The building is quite an ornament to the town and is regarded by native Christians with pardonable pride. It is thoroughly well-built. But to me, the church will be known as ‘St-Patrick’s Church’. Swamidason served here till 1879. During his eight years, he helped the building of not only the church, but also the parsonage and a small school room near them. During his devoted ministry, the congregation grew in number and in Christian life.

Frederick Gell of Madras came to palayamkottai again in January 1873. After few days the Bishop went to Thoothukudi on Friday the 17th January. The 19th January 1873, the second Sunday in Epiphany he dedicated the Church for divine worship with the name of St.Patrick’s Church, Thoothukudi. This is the name of a saint form Ireland Patrick who lived in Ireland during the 4th century was a very pious person. In 1855 Kearns named the church at Nagalapuram as ‘St.Patrick’s Church’. Generally many C.S.I churches are named of the saints.

In 1877 during the month of April Bishop Caldwell arrived Thoothukudi harbour from Calcutta. A grand welcome was given to him under the leadership of Swamidason. Then the Bishop held a thanks giving service at the English Church. After that a large number of Christians were fed by an Asanam feast. In the evening the Bishop held another Thanks giving service at St.Patrick’s Church and gave the message Caldwell mentioned in the SPG Report as follows: “Next to Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi was a fast improving town. So I decided to transfer some institutions from sawyerpuram to Thoothukudi”.

S.DEVASAGAYAM (1874 – 1881), D.SAMUEL (1881 – 1889) and D.PAKYAM (1889 – 1896) were served as priest in St.Patrick’s Church.

A.J.Godden, a young missionary of 29 years was working in sawyerpuram. He was an able administrator. During his first official visit to Thoothukudi in 1893, he preached to the congregation in St.Patrick’s Church. Due to the lack of space in the church, most of the congregation had to stand outside. He therefore decided to demolish the church and rebuild another at a cost of Rs. 20,000/-. The extension work of the church was begun in 1894. D.Pakyam stained himself much to have the work completed. His labours were crowned with success. They extended and renovated the church which was opened for divine worship in 1895.

In 1907 this church building was constructed in another direction. This has been mentioned in the S.P.G. Report by Dignam. The opening of the new church has had a good effect upon the attendance at services and on Sunday mornings and at the chief festivals, the church is well filled with a congregation of 800 or 900 people. As the building constructed in 1907 was not enough for the congregation, it was decided to expand the church building. Rev. A.Diraviam Jesudason was the pastor of the church from 1960 -1966. At that time Koilpillai the chief Engineer and Administrator of Thoothukudi Harbour gave his full support for the construction. So the expansion work was started in 1965 and was completed quickly. The building was re-dedicated by the Bishop Rt. Rev.A.G.Jebaraj, Tirunelveli. In 1992 Rev.Pitchamuthu took pains to construct concrete terrace in the portico removing the tiles. There is a small brass stand used for Bible Reading. The Pulpit is placed at the right side of the building. There are pews for choir boys, special seats for presbyters and also special chair for the Bishop. There is also a tank used for adult baptism. From the year 1991, the church has been kept open from 5 am to 9 pm for the convenience of people those who want to pray, on the compound wall an arrangement has been made to keep the Bible open with necessary light. Since the letters are big enough, the passers by can read the passage of the day. In fact one could see many people halting before the Holy Scripture and reading it.