• This is "Magnificent Manapad!"

Tourism and Tradition

Manapad is rich in its culture and tradition handed down by their forefathers. The solemnity and splendor of the ceremonies practiced in Manapad are testimony to the cultural heritage the village has preserved till date.

Manapad was mostly inhabited by the Paravars who had embraced Christianity in 1532. However, for want of missionaries, the neophytes remained nominal Christians until the arrival and ministration of St. Francis Xavier in October 1542. Xavier chose a grotto which he preferred to use for a home.

Xavier used the Captain's Cross which, with its raised platform and an overhead covering, worked as a built-in chapel, enabling him to offer daily services. St. Francis ministered the area until November 1543 when he returned to Goa. The next year, he was again at Manapad in March, June, August and September 1544 and went to Travancore in November.

Xavier was held in high regard by the people of Manapad for his austerity, moral strictness, compassion, and wise counsel. During his stay there, with the help of the pandits of Manapad, he translated the rudiments of the common prayers and trained the first catechists. These prayers are still being recited by the people in the area. While at Manapad, the saint had two youngsters, Augustine Paiva and Anthony Miranda, trained as acolytes. People in and around Manapad started venerating Xavier as a saint long before he was canonized by the Church.

Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the Holy Cross was built in 1581, encasing the Captain's Cross. Contributions towards building of the church were spontaneously given by the inhabitants and Rev. Fr.John de Salanova, the parish priest of the only church in the village (then dedicated to the "Queen of Heaven"), was able to complete construction long before the scheduled time.

Relic of the True Cross

With the erection of the church, Rev.John de Salanova decided it should possess a relic of the True Cross. In 1583 he appealed to Rome through the General of the Jesuits Rev. Fr. Aquaviva for a fragment of the True Cross. Pope Gregory XIII obliged and the relic appears to have arrived at Cochin in the first week of August 1583. Rev. Mathew de Medina of the Order of Christ, the prelate of Cochin, received the relic, after exposing it for three days for the veneration of the faithful, he inaugurated the grand tour of the relic all along the coastal belt with halts in places of Catholic predominance. The procession reached Manapad a few days before the festival of the Exaltation of the True Cross. Many Catholics followed in procession with the relic. In later years, Manapad came to be a traditional place of pilgrimage to those of the Malabar Coast.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The festival of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated annually by the Catholic Church on 14 September, as one of thanksgiving for the recovery of the True Cross from the Persians by the great Emperor Heraclius. Fragments of the True Cross were in due course brought from Jerusalem to many churches dedicated to the Holy Cross in the East and West. These churches sought to imitate the solemn ceremonies in use at Jerusalem, in order to do homage to the Holy Cross. Possibly one of the earliest dedications to the Cross in India was the Church of the Holy Cross in Manapad. Throughout the year many pilgrims visit the church and thousands congregate during the festive season from 4 to 14 September, each year.

INDIA’s No:1
Surfing Spot

View ManapadSurf Result

Notable Religious Art

There has been much speculation about the crucifix that adorns the high altar of Holy Cross Church. The most popular belief is that the crucifix had come together with the well-known "Our Lady of Snows" statue in the Our Lady of Snows Basilica in Tuticorin. This assumption is untenable, because there was no church or priest in Manapad until sometime in the 1570s. However, both the crucifix and the "Our Lady of Snows" statue originate from Manila, with the crucifix sent at a later date.

The two aforementioned items, as well as a statue of Child Jesus, were carried to Manila by Captain Ferdinand Magellan, a Spanish explorer who arrived in Cebu, Philippines, in March 1521. The first converts by Magellan were a chief named Humabon and his queen. The latter, baptized as Juana, was given the statue of Child Jesus, which came to be known as Santo Niño de Cebu, standing to this day above the high altar of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. This statue for many millions of Catholic Filipinos is a national heritage. Magellan's statue of Our Lady is a replica of the statue in the church of St. Mary of the Snows in Rome. It was gifted to Tuticorin by the Prioress of the convent in Manila in 1555. Subsequently, Fr. John de Salanova sought Magellan's crucifix for his newly constructed church of the Holy Cross in Manapad. The Prioress was cooperative due to the rare papal conferment of the relic of the True Cross to Manapad. The exact date of the receipt of the crucifix is unknown.