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An ongoing Living Tradition for 256 years
  1. The immediate veneration by people and the building of the Chapels

  2. The Christian people regarded Devasahayam Pillai as a saint and his death was for them a martyr’s witness to his faith in Christ and his gospel. It is this consciousness of people that made the Church accord to his mortal remains a solemn Christian burial and a place for his tomb in the heart of the most famous church of the area. Soon after his death the places connected to the life and death of the Servant of God became important places of pilgrimage by all people. In his memory, churches were constructed at Kattadimalai 88(Our Lady of Sorrows) and Puliyoorkurichy (St. Michael) and Kuzhimaikadu. Of these, Kattadimalai and Puliyoorkurichy have turned out to be important shrines in the district and people from all over Tamil Nadu and from south Kerala frequent them in great numbers.

  3. The passions of the Servant of God used as catechesis for people in dramas and folklore

  4. Nilakandan Pillai turned Devasahayam was a simple palace official who, in the minds of Travancore official, was a breaker of caste laws and a deserter of royal religion and one who showed great disrespect to the Maharaja by disobeying his advice to abandon Christian faith. But in the minds of people, he was indeed a hero, a subaltern hero whose history entered in to the consciousness of people, especially the subaltern folk. From the years following his courageous death there are witnesses of poetry, folklore and drama, which as living traditions, have narrated from generation to generation the story of Devasahayam Pillai.

  5. Conversion of villages connected to the tortures of Devasahayam

  6. Devasahayam Pillai was taken from village to village on buffalo in a shameful manner, beaten in front of the people and inflicted various kind of tortures just to instill fear in the minds of the people and warn them against conversion to Christianity. Many of those villages, for example, Madathattuvilai, Appattuvilai, Peruvilai, Puliyoorkurichy, Kakkurichy, Pullani, Palliyadi, etc. witnessed mass conversions following the death of Devasahayam Pillai. If the mission work of St. Francis Xavier was the main cause of conversions of the people along the coast, the phenomenon of Devasahayam Pillai is the main ingredient in the process of conversion of the people living in the interior villages. True to the message of the life of the Servant of God, those who are so positively affected by the life and martyrdom of Devasahayam are not belonging to any one particular caste. There was almost a 100% conversion of washermen (dhobis - vannars) of the district, though some have gone back to Hindu religion. The generations of chettiyar people Kil-Asaripallam have been devoted to the Servant of God, as a result of their ancestors’ relationship with Devasahayam Pillai when he was in Peruvilai.



FOOT NOTE