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St. Sebastian's Church Aruthunkal

The Arthunkal church, officially 'Arthunkal St. Andrew's Forane Church', was initially built by the Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century. It has a captivating history. The church was rebuilt in 1584, under the then vicar Fr. Jacoma Fenicio, whom the devotees claim, possessed mystical powers to heal the body and mind. Devotees fondly referred to him as Arthunkal Veluthachan, which in English translates to fair skinned father. Fr. Fenicio died in 1632. Eight years after his death, the church was rebuilt again, this time facing the west towards the long white-sand beach on the shores of the Arabian Sea. In 1647, the idol of St. Sebastian, struck with arrows all over his blood loss body (he was executed at the order of the Roman emperor for embracing Christian faith) sculptured in Milan, was brought and sited in the Arthunkal church. Arthunkal St Andrews Forane Church, the first Parish of the Diocese of Alleppey has been elevated to the status of Basilica on 9 July 2010.

The St. Sebastian's Church in Arthunkal is an important Christian pilgrim centre. Located in Alappuzha the church is noted for the ten-day annual festival, popularly known as Arthunkal Perunnal. Celebrated in January every year, devotees from different parts of the State swarm the church on the feast days.
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