Tamil Nadu

Oriyur church fest passes off peacefully


Police and church authorities heaved a sigh of relief as the 10-day annual ‘Arokkiya Annai’ (Lady of Good Health) festival at St John De Britto Shrine, famously knows as St Arulanandar Church, at Oriyur passed off peacefully.

Last year, the festival ended abruptly on the third day after the then Vice-President of Parish Council S. Charles allegedly committed self-immolation after he was denied the right to carry the flag. After the people of 13 villages, constituting the Parish Council, raised a banner of revolt against the church authorities and refrained from attending the mass, uncertainty loomed large over the conduct of the festival this year.

However, the issues were resolved at the eleventh hour, and the festival began on August 29 amid tight police security and drew to a close on September 7 without any untoward incident. “The festival passed off peacefully with the fullest cooperation of the villagers,” Fr. Jayaraj Elankeswaran told The Hindu.

After the people of 13 villages refrained from visiting the church, a peace meeting was organised on August 24, but it failed to break the impasse. Though a few villagers offered their support to the festival and the police assured to provide security, the authorities were firm that they would conduct the festival only if all the villagers offered their support.

With just a day left, the villagers and church authorities met again and resolved the issues in the presence of Deputy Superintendent of Police E. Mcclarine Eskhol and agreed to organise the festival.

After Fr. Elankeswaran asked the villagers to decide among themselves the issues relating to carrying of the flag on the opening day and performing of ‘mandagapadi’, people of all the 13 villages, including Pullur, the native village of Charles, took turns in taking the honours and everything went on smoothly, the villagers said.

The festival drew to a close with pulling of ‘sapparam’ around the church followed by a mass and lowering of the flag, they added.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 8:21:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Oriyur-church-fest-passes-off-peacefully/article14631065.ece

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