Places to Visit » Blessed Devasahayam Pillai

Blessed Devasahayam Pillai (1712–1752), born Neelakanta Pillai in southern India, is a beatified layman of the Roman Catholic Church. Born into a Hindu family in the 18th century, he converted to Christianity and is considered a martyr of the Christian faith. Pillai was an official in the court of the king of Travancore, Maharaja Marthanda Varma, when he came under the influence of Dutch naval commander, Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, who instructed him in the Catholic faith. He is believed to have been killed by the then Travancore state for upholding his Christian faith.

                                                                  

On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding the martyrdom of Devasahayam Pillai and he was referred to as "Venerable".

On 2 December 2012, a ceremony of beatification and declaration of martyrdom was held in Nagercoil, in the Roman Catholic diocese of Kottar in Southern India, presided over by Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, acting as papal delegate. Devasahayam Pillai is the first layman to be elevated to the rank of "Blessed" in India (the step preceding raising a person to Sainthood under the Canon Law of the Catholic Church).