St. John the Baptist's Church Kadatchapuram

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving. And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name" (Psalm 100:4)

                                         

                              History of

 

              St. John the Baptist’s Church

 

                                                                                  

 

      It was a treasure to have Rev. John Devasagayam worked as a priest in our church. He was the first south Indian and second Indian who had received theological degree in the English congregation. He had a strong desire to preach Gospel to the unbelievers and ungodly people. During his visit to the southern areas, Shunmugapuram village attracted him and so he selected this village for his work. His life oriented gospel attracted the people and so many of the villagers accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and so the congregation began to grow with the people of good characters. This imitates the Philippi congregation said Rev. Rhenius. According to Rev. Schafter, Kadatchapuram congregation pleased him and so the name Shunmugapuram was changed to Kadatchapuram.

 

         Bharathiyar’s dream about the education “Kalvi Saalaikal Amaippom” came true when Girls’ school was started in 1837 by Miss Blackman. And it was financially supported by Miss Sarah Tucker. This beautiful village attracted Miss Kibern, the consequence is the establishment of first Teacher Training Institute for girls in 1843. Disastrously, this Training Institute was shifted to Palayamkottai for many reasons and now it was upgraded to a college status. This was a great loss to our village. On seeing the Sunday Class for the old people, Rev. Tucker said with excitement that Kadatchapuram was a matured and grown up congregation.

 

            The church now we are seeing was built up in stepwise process. The old church was reconstructed in 1832. The foundation was laid by Rev. Blackman in 1840 and was brought up by his friends and his association members. This was dedicated in June 1841 by Rev. Devasagayam. At that time the length of the church was 81 feet and breadth was 36 feet. It was constructed with the lime stone. The space was large enough for more than 800 people to sit freely and worship at a time. The roof was made with tiles and looked very beautiful. In 1851 the church was extended in such a way that the length was 90’ 9”, breadth was 36’ 3” and enough for 1000 people to worship at a time.

         

           As per the Bible verse for where two or three are gathered together in my name I am there in the midst of them, the first women’s fellowship was seeded in Kadatchapuram in 1850 and later it was broadcasted among other areas. Mrs. Muthammal, wife of Rev. Devasagayam became the mother of women’s fellowship. God showered blessings upon the Kadatchapuram Council.

 

The primary school, started by the English Mission was upgraded as a middle school. Rev. Fredrick constructed a hostel for the poor students. Moreover by his hard work, he created a garden and planted trees which invested heavy income in later periods.

 

During the period of Rev. John Devasagayam, a proposal had been put forward to erect a church tower. Unfortunately the proposal had been modified and carried out in Meignanapuram. And so the people of Kadatchapuram felt very sad. They have developed a strong desire to construct a tower. For this purpose they have planned to collect Rs. 400 as a toll per family in the period of Rev. Christopher Monsingh. The dream came true in 1987, Tirunelveli Bishop Rt. Rev. Jason C. Dharmaraj laid foundation for the tower. In the meanwhile roof was also repaired.

 

The church with an artistic work now we are seeing is the effort of Rev. G. Vethanayagam. Not only by his effort, the unwearied and liberality of the people of the village had also been greatly acknowledged. At the time o construction, all the people of the village even the children done masonry work at night. This reduced the labour charges upto Rs. 5,00,000. It was not by our will. But it was purely by His grace. The construction was completed promply unlike the tower of Babel.

 

The front portion of the church was attached and enlarged. The centre gate of the church and the windows in the upper stories were made up of teak wood with an artistry adds beauty. After extension, the length and breadth of the mandapam was 36’3” and 90’9” respectively. The length of the altar was 17’12”. The height of the roof was 35’ and was supported by 20 pillars with a beautiful architecture.

 

The basement of the tower was 23 feet in length, 23 feet in breadth and 23 feet in height. One feet of the basement was filled up with the river sand. Above that, layout concrete was laid for 2 feet height. The rest was filled up with cement and stones. From this, the height and breadth was about 5’ and 6’ respectively was reduced up to 1 foot. The 23 feet height tower was built up with cement and bricks. The total height of the first four stories was 116 feet and was built up with bricks. The length and breadth was 20’ and 60’ respectively which includes wall. The height of the tower was 77’3” from the fifth storey. The top of the tower had a crown stone with a cross which totally measures 560 kg in weight and 6’ height.

 

The 20,000 rupees valuable lightning conductor and the 11,000 rupees valuable crown stone were presented by two highly charitable persons of our congregation. The generator, donated by a noble-hearted gentleman, was about 40,000 rupees worth.

 

Another special feature of the tower was to move from one storey to another, concrete steps were built. From 1st  to 6th floor the steps were 25,42,45,44,38,31 in order respectively. For 6th and 7th floors, wooden ladder had been made.

 

In 2002 the altar was renewed with tiles and the window was enlarged with beautiful and art work glass. In 2006, with the great effort of the village people, flooring was done with beautiful marble. Now our church is the wonderful worship place for us.  

                       தமிழில் வாசிக்க இங்கே கிளிக் செய்யவும்

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