Devasahayam Pillai, who embraced Christianity in the 18th century, will be given sainthood by Pope Francis on Sunday at the Vatican and will become the first Indian layman to be declared a saint.
The Thiruvananthapuram Latin archdiocese will hold special prayers to mark the canonisation of Devasahayam. Pope Francis will lead the canonisation ceremony at the St. Peter's Basilica at 2:30 pm (IST).
The Canonisation Ceremony
According to the representatives of the Latin archdiocese, the ceremony will be held at the Vatican at 10:30 am on Sunday. The thanksgiving mass and special prayers will be held at St Joseph's church in Palayam by Archbishop Thomas J Netto at 5 pm on Sunday.
In a report by the Times of India, a portrait of Devasahayam, also known as the Blessed Lazarus, will be unveiled in the Cathedral.
A national-level celebration of his canonisation will be held at St Francis Xavier Church in Kottar on June 5, where his mortal remains are buried in front of the main church altar. The churches under the Neyyatinkara archdiocese also held special prayers on Saturday.
Who Was Lazarus Devasahayam Pillai?
Devasahayam Pillai was born in Nattalam, a small hamlet in the present-day district of Kanyakumari, on April 23, 1712. His father was Vasudevan Namputhiri, a Brahmin, and his mother was Devaki Amma, who belonged to the Nair caste.
Pillai was an official member of the court of the king of Travancore. He was introduced to Christianity by Captain De Lannoy, a Dutch naval officer, during the latter's stint as commander of the Travancore army under King Marthanda Varma. He was shot dead in the Aralvaimozhy forest on January 14, 1752, for upholding his faith.
Devasahayam was declared blessed on December 2, 2012, at Kottar, and he was announced eligible for sainthood in 2020. Special prayers have been arranged at churches linked to Devasahayam Pillai's life in the Kottar diocese of Kanyakumari to commemorate the occasion. His mortal remains were laid to rest near the altar inside St Xavier's Church, Kottar, Nagercoil, which is now the diocesan Cathedral.