Location: Nagapattinam, near Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Founded In: Late 16th century
The Velankanni Church is situated in the Velankanni village, which
falls in the Nagapattinam district. It lies at a distance of
approximately 350 km to the south of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil
Nadu. The church is also known as 'Our Lady of Good Health' and was
built in the late 16th century. Later, modifications were made to it by
the Portuguese. Velankanni Church of India is a colossal structure,
which has been built as per the Gothic style of architecture.
The building is totally painted in white color, except for the roof
that is made of tiles of striking red color. The serene and peaceful
environs of the Vailankanni Church further add to its splendor. There
are interesting legends associated with the construction of the church.
The local tradition talks of the apparitions of Virgin Mary at
Vailankanni, atleast three times. The second time the Lady appeared, she
cured a crippled boy. Just the night before this cure, She had appeared
in the dream of a man and asked him to build a chapel for Her.
She asked the cured boy to call that man and after both of them reached
the spot of the apparition, She appeared again. Thereafter, the boy and
the boy built a thatched chapel for Her and named it the 'Mother of Good
Health'. The third time Virgin Mary appeared, she saved some Portuguese
merchant sailors from a violent storm. They went to the Thatched Chapel
to say their thanks and on their return trip, built a small permanent
chapel. On their subsequent visits, they further extended the chapel.
The main statue that they had placed at the altar of the church showed
The Lady holding the Baby Jesus, while standing on the globe. Velankanni
Church was given the status of a Parish in the year 1771. Father Antonio
de Rozario served as the First Parish Priest. In 1962, His Holiness Pope
John XXIII raised it to the status of basilica. Every year, on 29th
August, the feast of our lady is held at the Vailankanni Church of Tamil
Nadu. Holy masses are conducted there in at least eight languages,
namely Tamil, English, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Konkani, Hindi and