St. Mary’s Forane Church at Kudamaloor under the Archdiocese of Changanacherry in the central Kerala, is one of the earliest churches in the state. It is also the home parish of Saint Alphonsa the first saint of India.
Kudamaloor is an extensive village area which is stretched about 7 kilometers north from Kottayam in the southern banks of River Meenachil. Almost 800 years ago, Kudamaloor had been famous as the capital of the kingdom of Chempakasserry. The remnants of the fortresses and trenches were found to be seen until about 75 years back. The Kudamaloor church was believed to be founded and built by the king of Chempakasserry. The exact date of its foundation is not known. Historical facts about Kudamaloor church are available from the beginning of the 16th century.
The traditional belief about the beginning of the Kudamaloor church is that the King of Chempakasserry when faced with irresistible hardships due to diabolic interventions, at the suggestion of one astrologer built a small church and brought FOUR Christian families to Kudamaloor for worship in the church. The Muttathupadathu family was one among the four families brought to Kudamaloor by Chempakasserry Raja. The old church at Kudamaloor, which still exists, is believed to be built in the year 1505 A.D.
To compensate for the insufficiency of the space for accommodating huge number of people belonging to the parish, a new church – spacious and beautiful was built in 1971. Now those who visit Kudamaloor can see the new church with its modern architectural elegance and the old church which stands as a historical monument with architectural beauty and style of antiquity.
St. Alphonsa was baptized at the local parish church on 27th August of the same year. The baptismal font where the saint was baptized is still kept as a sacred treasure in the old church, which is a site for the pilgrims to visit. Annakutty received the First Holy Communion on 27th November, 1917 in this church.
Saint Alphonsa was born on 19th August 1910 at Kudamaloor, a rural village near Kottayam in Kerala state. Sister Alphonsa, was the fourth child of Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. Nicknamed as Annakutty, Alphonsa's mother died when she was very young and she was raised by her maternal aunt, Annamma Muricken of the erstwhile Muricken family at Muttuchira and her great-uncle Rev. Fr. Joseph Muttathupadathu. As a child, little Alphonsa was inspired by St Theresa of Lisieux and she wanted to dedicate her life to Christ. At 13 of years of age, she burned her foot in an ash pit to escape from a marriage proposal. Against such determined resistance, her aunt who brought her up with strict discipline, allowed her to join a convent. She then joined Franciscan Clarist convent at Bharananganam in 1927 taking the name Alphonsa, and received her postulant's veil on 2nd August 1928. Sr. Alphonsa spent 20 years of her life there. She also taught one year at a School in Vakakkad. All through her life, Alphonsa suffered from health problems, and after years of illness and great suffering she died on 28th July 1946. She was buried at Bharananganam in Palai diocese.