Pope confers sainthood on Devasahayam Pillai

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Pope Francis conferred the title of Saint on Devasahayam Pillai at the Vatican on Sunday.

Vatican City:

Pope Francis conferred the title of Saint on Devasahayam Pillai at the Vatican on Sunday. Pillai converted to Christianity in the 18th century. Devasahyam is the first Indian common man who has been declared a saint by the Pope. The recommendation to start the process of declaring Devasahayam as a holy soul was made in the year 2004 at the request of Kottar Dharmakshetra, Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India. Pope Francis (85) on Sunday declared Devasahayam Pillai a saint at a prayer meeting organized to confer the canonization at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Pillai’s miraculous philanthropic work was recognized by Pope Francis in the year 2014. This cleared the way for him (Pillai) to be declared a saint in the year 2022. For the first time in the last two years, the ceremony to confer the title of saint was held in the Vatican. Pope Francis has been complaining of pain in his right knee for the past few months. He came to preside over the function sitting on a wheel chair. Apart from Devasahyam, nine other people have also been given this title, including four women. The Pope said at the ceremony, “Our task is to teach religion and serve our brothers and sisters. Our task is to dedicate ourselves without expecting any reward.

When Devasahyam’s name was announced at the ceremony, a group of Indians present there with the tricolor expressed happiness. With the completion of the process, Pillai became the first Indian common man to be posthumously declared a saint. He named himself ‘Lazarus’ after converting to Christianity in the year 1745.

Devasahyam was born on 23 April 1712 in a Hindu Nair family. His original name was Neelkanth Pillai. He was a resident of Nattalam in Kanyakumari which was part of the then Travancore state. He was an officer in the court of Maharaja Marthanda Varma of Travancore. He was initiated into Catholic Christianity by the commander of the Dutch Navy.

The note prepared to describe him by the Vatican said, “While preaching, he particularly emphasized the equality of all people beyond caste differences. Because of this hatred arose in the upper class towards him. He was arrested in the year 1749 and faced difficulties. On 14 January 1752, Devasahayam was shot and finally got the crown of martyrdom.

“Lazarus” or “Devasahayam” in Malayalam means “God is my helper.” Devasahyam was declared ‘Blessed’ according to Christianity on December 2, 2012 in Kottar, 300 years after his birth.

(This news has not been edited by NDTV team. It has been published directly from Syndicate feed.)

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Credit: ndtv.in /

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