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History

Diocese of Quilon :

The Diocese of Quilon or Kollam is the first Catholic diocese in India in the state of Kerala, first erected on August 9, 1329 and re-erected on September 1, 1886. Since the latter half of the 12th century, Quilon became the main centre of missionary expeditions. Franciscan and Dominican Missionaries in the 13th and 14th centuries visited Quilon and their letters confirm the existence of a vibrant Christian community in Quilon. The ancient Diocese of Quilon had extensive jurisdiction over modern India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma and SriLanka.

Diocese of Kottar:

Diocese of Quilon was bifurcated from which the Diocese of Kottar was established on May 26, 1930 A.D. Due to linguistic reorganization of States, Kottar Diocese was formally detached from the Archdiocese of Verapoly (Kerala) and attached with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai (Tamil Nadu). Diocese of Kuzhithurai:

Pope Francis created the new Latin rite Diocese of Kuzhithurai, carved out of the Diocese of Kottar, in Kanniyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, India, making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Madurai and with great joy and pastoral concern, he announced it officially on 22nd December 2014 at 12.00 hrs Italian Time 16.30 hrs (IST) appointing Fr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel S.D.B as its first Bishop. He was consecrated by the Bishop of Kottar P. Remigius on 24th February 2015. This new Diocese comprises of Mulagumoodu, Mathiravilai, Karankadu, Vencode, Thirithuvapuram and Puthenkadai vicariates and has 264,222 catholics spread over 100 parishes, 123 mission stations and the Shrine, spread across 915 sq.km. served by 131 priests.

Mulagumoodu parish:

Mulagumoodu is known as the Oxford of Kanniyakumari District as a substantial number of educational institutions are in and around it. One of the Malayalam Schools of Trivancore Samasthan stands majestically by the name Annai Community Hall, just about 500 meters away from Mulagumoodu Junction towards Colachel road on the south. The name Mulagumoodu came as there were plenty of “Mulagu”( pepper) cultivated in the village once upon a time. “moodu” (Stem of the plant) and hence, the village was popularly known as Mulagumoodu.

Mulagumoodu was the centre of the ancient Kingdom of Travancore. It was situated very near to Padmanapapuram Palace which was the capital of Travancore. Mulagumoodu was one of the very important route by the king travelled through this place to go to another palace in Trivandrum (East Fort). Now this road is named as National Highway 47 (NH-47).

Mulagumoodu is the Holy land which is situated very close to Thiruvithancode "Arai Palli" (The Foot Prints of St. Thomas and Apostle of India who came and stayed here and constructed a church at Thiruvithancode in the year 63 A.D). Besides, St.Francis Xavier landed in 1542 at the Port of Goa and came to Kanniyakumari in 1544. The King of Travancore gave ample scope for his evangelizing mission. St. Xavier had his headquarters at Kottar, Kanniyakumari district which is just 20 km from Mulagumoodu.

Martyr Devasahayam Pillai (Beautified on 02.12.2012 by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI) crossed through Mulagumoodu during his marriage and later paraded during his passion. The first recognized painting of Martyr Devasahayam Pillai is displayed in the Church. Fr. Victor of Belgium who came from Rome to Mulagumoodu in the year 1860 was the first Parish Priest of Mulagumoodu.

Socio - Cultural Life

Mulagumoodu is an agricultural village. The farmers cultivate mainly pepper, rubber, paddy, tapioca, coconuts and cereals. Jack fruit is very famous in Mulagumoodu. There are more than 10 ponds getting water from a Pechiparai Dam for agriculture and drinking.

Clashes between different social groups were rampant in those days, as untouchability and even slavery were practiced by the so called upper castes. The untouchables were forbidden from wearing sandals, use umbrella, wear dress and jewels of their choice. They were not allowed to live in houses with tiled roofs. They were not expected to ride their own vehicles.

With the arrival of the missionaries and their concerted efforts and particularly Fr.Victor who redress these discriminations, social transformation has gradually set in and now people are living in peace. While most of their forefathers were engaged in agriculture, a few of them were Palmyra climbers also. Later Fr. Victor imparted industrial training to the parishioners for their economic upliftment in baking bread and tile making. Now most of the people are educated and employed in different types of work and earn their livelihood.

Mulagumoodu mission

In the Mission activities of Jesuits (1847) from Vadakankulam, there is a reference that there was a Catholic community and a church in Mulagumoodu. On 15th May 1853, Pope Pious 1X, separated Quilon Diocese from the Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly. During this period, the Carmelites made Mulagumoodu as their centre of activityin South Travancore.

According to the statistics of 1888, there were 20 churches and 45 chapels in the region of Mulagumoodu. In fact, Mulagumoodu, since its beginning has always been a dynamic center of Missionary Catholic Mulagumoodu is one of the old mission centres of the present Diocese of Kuzhithurai. Mulagumoodu has its historic church dedicated to Our Lady of Nativity.

The Mulagumoodu Mission grew rapidly under the able guidance of missionary priests and nuns. They took various initiatives for the faith formation of the parishioners by establishing various associations and activities. Mulagumoodu was historically a well-known place and it was identified as one of the world tourism centres.

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