The diocese of Kottappuaram, in its silver jubilee year, has received a gift from Rome with Pope Benedict XVI raising the Our Lady of Snow Church at Pallippuram to the status of a basilica. Basilicas are churches with some particular spiritual or historical significance.
The raising of the Pallippuram church will officially be announced at the conclusion of the silver jubilee celebrations of the diocese on October 7.
The new basilica is the first for the diocese and eighth in Kerala, said a statement issued by the Kottappuram diocese.
The history of the Our Lady of Snow Church goes back five centuries when the Portuguese built a fort at Pallippuram and immediately followed it up with a church dedicated to Our Lady.
Local lore claims that the name Pallippuram evolved out of the church which came to be located here, palli being the Malayalam term for a church.
The original church was built in 1503. It was renovated in 1931 and rebuilt in 2006.
The church came under the diocese of Kochi in 1557 and became a parish in 1577. Kottapuram diocese was formed by bifurcating Varappuzha diocese.