A historical museum in memory of St Thomas, the disciple of Jesus Christ, was inaugurated on Friday at Malyankara, near Paravoor, by Excise Minister K Babu. During the occasion, the minister said that historical learning should be promptly handed over to the new generation, which is an absolute necessity for the growth of the young minds. “Kerala has a history of receiving all religions open mindedly; it was through Muziris-today’s Kodungallur- that people of different religions from far and wide came to this land.”
He added that members of these religions, irrespective of all differences, should harmoniously live together, which has been our tradition for long.”
Rt Rev Dr Joseph Karikkassery, Bishop of Kottappuram, who presided over the function, said, as a request to the minister, that no more foreign liquor bars or shops should be allowed to function in the vicinity as many of whom he knew have been given to drinking and destroyed their family life.
The minister immediately responded by assuring that it would not happen during the period of his government.
Paravoor MLA V D Satheesan, on the occasion, said that this was only a beginning to a series of events that would come up in the future, highlighting the importance of the region. In one acre land that the Kottappuram Diocese has offered, the government has planned to build a history museum of world class standards.
The new historical museum is a storehouse for a number of invaluable materials evincing antique interest. More than objet d’art, they are a collection of things that revive the memories of the past eras. From 2000-year-old coins to 15th century Chinese coins to historical relics, they all find a place at this museum. A portion of them include materials used by the Church in olden days, namely urns used for storing salt, musical instruments, centuries-old stone crosses, stone statues, candle stands and canon balls.
According to the history, St Thomas who came to India to spread the message of Jesus Christ first set foot at Malayankara in AD 52. Malyankara was once the gateway to Muziris port and the city, where large scale trade took place between India and other countries such as Syria, Asia Minor, Egypt and many other Middle Eastern countries since pre-historic periods.
The city was well-known for exports of a number of spices, the prime item being pepper, known as ‘yavana priya’. While Malyankara was a gateway to foreign trade, it was a fountain place for religions as well. It was also where the ‘first Christian church’ was built. Muziris and the port is no more to be seen. The city and the port is said to have ben destroyed in a massive flood that surged in Periyar in 1341 AD. Consequently, the port, once known to have been the centre of all trading activities in India, was shifted to other areas on the Malabar Coast.
The port at Kochi is assumed to have all the importance of the yesteryear Muziris, now known as Kodungallur. The museum was blessed by Rev Msgr Dr Dominic Pinheiro, vicar general of Kottappuram diocese. Adv Raphel Antony, Kottappuram Diocese Jubilee Celebration convenor, Karthyayani Sarvan, president of Vadakkekkara Panchayat, Fr Rocky Robin, PRO Kottappuram Diocese and K D Prasannan, president, Sree Narayana Sabha, spoke on the occasion congratulating the endeavour.