Kerala’s Alappuzha church backs BJP for ‘saving’ historic shrine from demolition


A 1000-year-old Christian church in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, which was to be demolished for the widening of a nationwide freeway, is now set to be declared a protected monument.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church credit BJP chief Dr R Balashankar for “saving” the St George Orthodox Church at Cheppad along with his “timely intervention” within the matter, and has urged individuals to vote for the BJP chief, who’s prone to contest from Chengannur meeting seat within the upcoming elections.

Currently, CPI (M) legislator Saji Cheriyan represents Chengannur constituency.

On Thursday, Orthodox Church spokesman Fr Johns Abraham Konat mentioned the Church head Baselios Marthoma Paulose II needed the devoted to avoid partisan political pursuits and vote for Balashankar, co-convener, BJP nationwide coaching programme.

“If Balashankar is not voted to victory, it would be ungratefulness. The Prime Minister had intervened in the issue of the Cheppad church, which had been subsequently handed over to the Archaeology Department, and thus the decision to demolish the church had been scrapped.”

Fr Konat added: “It was Balashankar who gave a brave management on this effort to guard the historic church. He is the BJP candidate in Chengannur, the place the Orthodox Church is an influential power. When the LDF and UDF fronts evaded the problem with out rendering any assist for safeguarding the church, it was Balashankar who, like a Church member, intervened.’’

The St George Orthodox Church, Cheppad, is believed to be inbuilt AD 1050. The church has 47 mural work, of 13th-century origin, which have been preserved over the centuries. Besides, 19th century Malankara Metropolitan Philipose Mar Dionysius is buried right here.

According to the widening alignment determined by NHAI, the church was to be demolished and orders on this regard had been issued.

Sources mentioned the Church has raised the problem earlier than political events, together with the BJP, during the last a number of years. It was solely final month that the problem got here to the discover of Balashankar, who took steps to convey the matter to the discover of Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.

Subsequently, officers of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) inspected the church, and acknowledged that the church is likely one of the rarest in Kerala, having conventional architectural patterns with uncommon and exquisite mural work on the partitions of the altar

“Considering the historic, artwork and architectural significance of the church, this workplace intends to guard the church as a centrally protected monument of nationwide significance. It is, due to this fact, knowledgeable that the current alignment of the NH might please be modified to guard this historical church and its priceless mural work,’’ the ASI added.