Kulangattil Family

"Kottoor Kulangattil" is a family name used by some Christian families in the state of Kerala in India. The family have a history that starts with the conversion of a brother and a sister from a Hindu Brahmin family into the Christian faith. This is believed to have occurred in or around 4th or 5th Centuries of Gregorian Era.
Inspired by the teachings of the disciples of Christ, stated with the acts of Apostle Thomas in India, many a number of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Jews, who were living in Kerala converted to the Christianity. This family was also the result of the same movement, that might have got more momentum during the 4th and 5th centuries.
Christian Conversion
The family by name "Pazhoor Mana" was a traditional Hindu Brahmin family, situated near the present town of Piravom. The family had many lands and estates throughout the kingdom. Though, most of the family members preferred to stay with their old customs, two within the family started to think differently. They were inspired by the acts of Christ and were baptised.
The brother and sister, converted were not allowed to mingle with their parental community in those days. They were thus forced to leave the ancestral house at Piravom. Tradition says, that their father though was objecting to their conversion, with deep love to his children gave lands as their share in the family.
Vikramadathan of 'Pazhoor mana' converted to Christianity by taking the name 'Geevarghese' after then famous Saint George of Lod. Its not known now what name his sister adopted at baptism. But it is clear that its Vikramadathan's deep love towards the said Palestine saint, which mold his Christian conversion and later the construction of Kottoor Pally near his residence in Kottoor Purayidam.
Kottoor Family and Kottoor Pally
One such land Vikramadathan got as share in their ancestral house was the land known as "Kottoor". This land is presently near to the Kolenchery town. They constructed a house in this land and started residing there. From that time this family members, were called by the name of the land as Kottoor. They constructed a church for their religious needs towards the east of their house. This church came to be known as "Kottoor Pally". Later, it is said that the female among the two was married to another family somewhere near Koothattukulam.
The Kottoor Pally is said to be a chapel of Pallippuram Church near Cherthala in the initial periods. From there, it was transferred as a chapel of Piravom Church at its establishment. In the 9th Century AD (864-65 AD), when the famous Kadamattom Church was established nearby, it became its chapel. At last, when the Kolenchery Church was constructed in the 15th Century AD (1474-75 AD), Kottoor Pally became its part as a chapel.
Historical sources concludes that Kottoor Pally is the second oldest of all Christian Churches in Ernakulam District in Kerala. This Church is believed to be built after the Kottakavu Church in Muziris near North Paravur. The date of establishment of the Kottoor Pally is commonly believed to be in the later half of the 4th century or immediately thereafter in the 5th century AD. Kottoor Pally is named after Saint George and the annual feast here is celebrated on May 6 in Gregorian Calendar.
During the days of Marthoma Church-Orthodox split tensions in the 19th century, Kottoor palli stood as a strong hold of the Jacobite Orthodox Christians in the Kolenchery area. At that time, the parish church at Kolenchery was in the occupation of Marthoma fraction.
Though reconstructed, this church still exists in the old place and is popularly known as "Kottoor Pally". Kottoor Pally though called a church, is not a full church. It functions as a chapel of the St. Peter's and St. Paul's Jacobite Orthodox Church.
Significance of the family in history
* Kottoor family was the first Christian family in Kolenchery region. Tradition says after them came Kallanikkal family and then the Kolenchery family to this region. Before the establishment of Kolenchery Church in 1474-75 AD, Kolenchery was known as Elamkulam Desom.
* Kottoor family had Kattanars in Kadamattom Church. There are references that there existed priests from Kottoor family at Kadamattom after the death of famous Kadamattathu kattanar to continue a custom called "Kadamattathu Sambradayam".
Family split as Catholics and Orthodox
The 17th century is of great importance in the Christian history of India. It is during this period, the church in India split into two halves, one supporting the Pope of Rome and another the Patriarch of Antioch.
All the family members who kept the family name as Kottoor, with the exception of its three offshoots, migrated to Kandanad during the late 16th or in the first half of the 17th century. Among the competition between the Churches, the Kottoor family members at Kandanad sided the Roman Pope, and thus became part of Uniate Assyrian (Syro-Malabar) Catholic Church, since 1663 AD. They took lead role in the construction of the Infant Jesus Catholic Church at Kandanad in 1704 AD. Later these family members settled at Udayamperoor.
Presently kottoor family in Udayamperoor have 5 sub groups as metnioned above - Chenthuruthil,Kanyattil,Puthenvelil,Thekkeveettil,Puthenpurakkal.
Another set by name Arakadavil also is an offshoot of Kottoor Family. This branch family was concentrated at Manakunnam, near Thalayolaparambu. These families are now seen at Mulanthuruthy, and Vettikal in Erkanulam District. But unlike Udayamperoor Kottor they preferred to stay with Oriental Orthodox Church.
Kottoor family members in Kolenchery region also didnot wanted to share the Syro-Malabar identity. There the people supported Antiochene Patriarch. All those remained in their ancestral land thus continued to be part of Oriental Orthodox Church.
==One Kottoor family @ Kulangattil purayidam==

It is not evident from any references, when this offshoot of Kottoor family actually evolved. The period of evolution of this sub group can be dated to late 15th or early 16th centuries of Gregorian era.
The offshoot of Kottoor family which settled at Kulangattil purayidam came to be known as Kulangattil family. They made the records as "Kottoor Kulangattil" from that time. Even now, we could see a Kulangattil purayidam and a Kulangattil Myaal (where paddy was cultivated) near Kottoor Church. But it is not evident now, where exactly in this purayidam the first house of Kulangattil sub set was situated.
By going by the meaning of the words "Kulangattil" also we can have an understanding of the land. Kulam means pond and kattil means forest in the local Malayalam language. So we could make out why the said land was called as kulangattil, when the offshoot of Kottoor started staying there.
The Kottoor-Kulangattil family grew in the Kolenchery region. This family became the sole Kottoor family in the ancestral region by the middle of 17th century when other Kottoor family members migrated to Kandanad and various other places.
Not long after, a male member by name Varkey of Kulangattil family have shifted his residence to a place called Kadakkanad, East of Kadamattom Church and North of Muvattupuzha river. Kadakkand is now easily accessible by roads from Peruvammuzhi junction between Kolenchery and Muvattupuzha in NH-49.
This Varkey had a brother. He lived at Kulangattil Purayidam itself. There are 25 families decendented from the male lineage of this set. This sub set of Kottoor-Kulangattil family is presently known by different names as Puthiyamadathil (Datte), Kuttinal, Thanichuvattil, Manakkakudy (Datte) and Kulangattil itself. They are basically concentrated to the south of NH-49 between Puthencruz and Kolenchery at Puthuppanam. This sub set of Kottoor-Kulangattil family can be sub classified as follows:
==Varkey @ Mundakkattil purayidam==
The said Varkey settled at Mundakkatte purayidam in Kadakkanad. He build a house there. The lands in that area in those days mainly belonged to a Nair family named Jalakoth family. Mundakkattil purayidam also belonged to this Jalokath family. History says that these Nairs wanted Christian families to settle at Kadakkanad, next to them, because a custom among them prohibited them from mingling directly with low caste. Christians since didnot have those customs, could interact with all castes. Nair family wanted Varkey and his sons to act as intermediaries between them and working class.
Varkey had 5 male children. It is unknown about his female children. Thou, all male children got married, one didnot had any issues. Elder among the children settled at Nadukandathil Purayidam at Mazhuvannoor and youngest among them settled at Vandanathil Purayidam. One settled at Kizhangattil purayidam at Kadamattom and another at Mundakkatte purayidam itself.
Hence from the branch of Kottoor family settled at Kadakkanad, there evolved 4 sub families. They are
* Kulangattil Family @ Mazhuvannoor
* Mundakkatil Family @ Kadakkanad
* Kizhangattil Family @ Kadamattom
* Vandanathil Family @ Kadakkanad
==Elder son of Varkey @ Nedukandathil Purayidam==
As stated before, elder son of Varkey who came from Kolenchery, settled at Nedukandathil Purayidam at Mazhuvannoor. They kept their family name as Kottoor-Kulangattil like their former generations.
The family settled at Nedukandathil grew and became strong. By 2010, there exists 145 families from the male lineage of the elder son Varkey who settled at kadakkanad. This sub set of Kottoor family, popularly known as Kulangattil family is basically concentrated in and around Nedukandathil Purayidam at Mazhuvannoor. This purayidam is located less than a kilometer East of the Eastern Cross of Mazhuvannoor St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.
Kottoor-Kulangattil family is the biggest in number of families among all Kottoor family sub sets. The Kottoor-Kulangattil family members are mainly located in and around Kolenchery (Mazhuvannoor-Kadakkanad) region. Many have migrated to Malabar regions (Wayanad, Palakkad, Kannur, Malapuram Districts) of North Kerala. Some families are settled in the districts of Thrissur and some at Kodanad (Ernakulam District) as well.
When the family became big, the offshoots with in the family also evolved. The offshoots of Kottoor Kulangattil Family are:
*Kizhakekara-Padinjakara (Kanimukol)
**Kizhakekara (Varkey Maani)
**Padinjakara (Varkey Varkey)
***Nedumkottil-Mathai-Geevarghese Kathanar
****Nedumkottil-Mathai-Geevarghese Kathanar-Mathai
****Nedumkottil-Mathai-Geevarghese Kathanar-Paily
****Nedumkottil-Mathai-Geevarghese Kathanar-Tharavad
****Nedumkottil-Mathai-Geevarghese Kathanar-Varghese
**Nedumkottil-Youseph Kathanar
Priests and Church
The Kulangattil family was blessed with three priests from the Nedumkottil branch during the last two centuries namely -
*Kulangattil Youseph Kattanar
*Kulangattil Mathai Geevarghese Kattanar (1857-1909 AD)
*Kulangattil Geevarghese Youseph Kattanar (1891-1942 AD)
Kulangattil Youseph Kattanar represented as a signatory of Mulanthuruthy Synod from Mazhuvannoor Church in 1876 AD, thou he never served as a vicar there.
. He led a monastic celibacy life and was not married. He during the period of tensions with Marthoma Church acted as a priest in Kolenchery Church. He is buried in Mazhuvannoor Church.
Kulangattil Mathai Geevarghese Kattanar was the 3rd Vicar of the Mazhuvannoor church after its establishment in 1861 AD. Kulangattil Ouseph Kattanar was his father's younger brother. He is buried in Mazhuvannoor Church.
Kulangattil Geevarghese Youseph Kattanar was the 3rd son of Kulangattil Mathai Geevarghese Kattanar. He became a priest after the death of his father. Youspeh Kattanar served Nadamel Church at Thripunithura for some decades and at Mazhuvannoor Church in his later days. He is one of the four persons engaged in the translation of "Aandu Taksa" from Syriac to Malayalam. He is buried in Mazhuvannoor Church.
Two priests of Kottoor-Kulangattil family serves the church at present. They are-
*Kulangattil John K. Isaac Kattanar
*Kulangattil Mathew Varghese Kattanar
Fr. John K. Isaac (Kulangattil Valyachen) belongs to Valyaveedu branch of Kottoor-Kulangattil family. He is a parish member of St. Thomas Syrian Church, Mazhuvannoor and diocean member of Angamaly Diocese of Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church. Presently he is the Assistant Vicar of Rakkad Church.
Fr. Mathew Varghese (Kulangattil Kochachen) belongs to Nedumkottil branch of Kottoor-Kulangattil family. Fr. Mathew is the great grandson of late Kulangattil Mathai Geevarghese Kattanar (1857-1909). He is a parish member of St. George Orthodox church, Vaduvanchal in Wayanad District, and diocean member of Sulthan Bathery Diocese of Indian Orthodox Church. Presently he is acting as vicar of St.Peter's and St.Paul's Orthodox church, Koliyadi in Wayanad District. He is married to the niece of Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II. He is the author of "Prakasthinte Nruthavedi" and is the former editor of "Deepthi" published from Orthodox Pazhaya Seminary, Kottayam.
Most of the family members in the Kolenchery region are parishes of St. Thomas Jacobite Orthodox Church, Mazhuvannoor and St. Peter's and St. Paul's Jacobite Orthodox Church, Kolenchery.
Thou, almost all members follow the Oriental Orthodox beliefs, very few of the members have recently converted to Protestant Low Church faith.
Offshoots of Kottoor Family
The above said Kottoor family was the first Christian family in and around the Kolenchery region. Later, with the passage of time, five main families and within that many sub-sets came into existence-
*Kottoor-Kulangattil Family,
*Kottoor-Vandanathil Family,
**Puthusseril Datte (as adoption to Puthusseril Family)
*Kottoor family (This set still keeps the old family name)
*Kottoor-Kizhangattil Family,
*Kottoor-Mundakkatte Family
*Kottoor-Arakadavil Family
within the Kottoor family came into existence.
The 'Kottoor-Kulangattil Kudumbayogam' published its 1st edition family history on 1 May 2010. It is the first published history of all Kottoor Families.
Family Association - Contact
Kottoor-Kulangattil family association was established in 2000 AD. And started its function from 2001 AD. Every year on May 1, all descendants of Kottoor-Kulangattil family come together to meet at any particular place.
The family association seeks the support of outsiders also for writing its family history, which includes the history of Kottoor church and the region. Those who can contribute some thing in addition please contact the officials @ 9947132420
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