Thirukalyana Matha Church, Thoothukudi

Thirukalyana Matha is one of the names attributed to Mother Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. On this name there is a church at Pothakalan Vilai in the district of Tuticorin, Tamilnadu. The management of the church is under the Diocese of Tuticorin.

Long before 1546 the people of France had a filial love to Mother Mary and were celebrating the event of betrothal of Mary to Joseph on the eve of 22nd and on 23rd January. They were requesting their Parish Priests and the Bishops to recognize and approve their devotion. After hundreds of years, the Pope Paul III considering the recommendations of the Priests and Bishop of France approved their devotion in 1546.


Pothakalanvilai is the place where Thirukalayana Matha (Betrothal of Holy Mary to St. Joseph) give expression to her love for people.

After St. Thomas who planted Christianity in the Malabar area that is the Tamil speaking area, many missionaries came and strengthened the faith of the people. Due to political situation and aversion to Christianity very many good things were crushed down. But the evil can never dominate the good for ever. The French Missionaries while visiting St. Thomas Christians kept on meeting the people living in and around Pothakalan Vilai area too.

The moralities of the people were low. The missionaries were not happy about it. Hence they suggested probably in 1515 that they could have Holy Mary as their patron. They advised the people to have the annual feast of Our Lady on the 23rd January remembering her betrothal to St. Joseph, her husband.

When the Pope Paul III approved the feast of Betrothal of Our Lady in1546 that was being celebrated by devout persons in France for many years, the French Missionaries took the opportunity to instruct the people to have a meaningful celebration of the feast from 1556 onwards.

In 1623 a small hall was constructed and dedicated it to St. Aloysius and St. Ignatius of Loyola believing that these saints will help them lead a good life. Yet they were celebrating the feast day of betrothal of our Lady to St. Joseph that falls on the 23rd January.

In 1835 because of various practical difficulties they built a church behind the hall and dedicated it to our Lady of Ransom. Yet they maintained 23rd of January as the feast day of their patron. In the later period, Pothakalan Vilai had been under Kamanayakkan Patti, Anaikarai, Periyathalai and Sokkankudiyiruppu before taking shape of a individual parish in the Diocese of Tuticorin in 1935. Fr. Bangar was its first parish priest.

When Fr. Mascarenhas took over Pothakalan Vilai as its 2nd parish priest in 1949, analyzing the local customs, celebrations and practices, he declared that “The patron of the church in Pothakalan Vilai is ‘Kalyana Matha” (Our lady of Betrothal). In 1980 Fr. Novamoney suggested the people to call Kalyanamatha, Thirukalyana Matha as the later seems to be a dignified one. The above events tell us how things have evolved and how the people have kept the original habit unaltered.

Thirukalyana Matha now keeps all those who come to her for her help, free from all dangers, pains and problems and provides everything they need. You can see people coming here with families to thank Thirukalyana Matha for various miracles particularly for the gift of marriage and offspring.

The Parish Priest,
Thirukalyana Matha Church,
Pothakalan Vilai – 628702,
Tuticorin – 628 702,
Thoothukudi District,
Tamilnadu, INDIA

Tel: +91 4639 261230

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