Come unto me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28) The comforting and consoling words of Jesus and the animating presence of Jesus has made Madre-de-Deus Church the refuge of hundreds and thousands of pilgrims. The Madre De Deus Church is a famous centre of pilgrimage, under the Latin catholic Arch Diocese of Trivandrum.  People from all parts of Kerala and outside, irrespective of caste and creed come to the church seeking the blessings of Christ the King. The church is dedicated to the Mother of God – Madre De Deus – which is combination of two foreign words; derived from Portuguese and Latin  ‘Madre’ means Mother and De Deus means ‘of God’.


The parish of Vettukad, more popularly known as “Madre-de-Deus Church” bears a history of more than five centuries. It is traditionally believed that  the Second Apostle of India, Saint Francis Xavier, the Portuguese Missionary, visited Vettukad somewhere between 1543 and 1547 to evangelize the faithful of this region.  The saintly missionary, proclaimed the “Good News  of Jesus Christ’’  and converted the traditional fishermen to Christianity.

Superior General of the Society of Jesus in Rome appointed Rev. Fr. Francis Peres S. J. to study the faith of Christianity in the Malabar area. His report, published in the year 1644 reveals that Madre-de-Deus Vettukad Parish had a Christian population of 175. It was also reported in the letter that he was amused to see a small chapel (Japalayam) and a granite cross there.

The covenant of Patruvado covered the coastal zone parishes of Kerala and Tamil Nadu till 1955 whereby the eccliastical sovereignty over the region was given to the Arch diocese of Goa controlled by Portuguese sovereign powers.

It was Rev. Fr. Monthera, Goan by origin and parish priest from 1890 to 1919,  who had shifted the chapel from the Convent area to the Present location.

Rev. Fr. Gudinjo started the major extension of the Church in the year 1934. It was completed in the year 1937 and blessed by of Rev. Fr. Michael John then the Parish Priest.

Origin and history of Christ the King in the Catholic Church

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in  1925 through his encyclical  Quas primas, in response to growing nationalism and secularism . The title of the feast was “D. N. Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), and the date was “the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints“.

Pope Paul VI in  1969  through his motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis,  gave the celebration a new title: “D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent, the earliest date for which is 27 November. Through this choice of date “the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer”.  He assigned to it the highest rank, that of “Solemnity”.

Pope Pius XI  wanted this feast to impact the laity while addressing Catholic bishops,

“The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”


 Genesis of the Christ the King Statue at Vettukad

The Holy Statue of Christ the King was a thanks giving dedication  by Mr. Carmen Miranda and Mrs. Elizabeth on the occasion of priestly ordination of their son, Rev. Fr. C. M. Hillary, who incidentally was as the first priest from the Parish.

The Holy Statue of Christ the King was sculpted by Chamabakulam carpenters , the renowned  religious artist of Kerala, from a famous picture of the Blessed Christ the King from Rome.

The miraculous statue was blessed in the present rostrum by Rt. Rev. Jos Viyero Alvernas, Bishop of Kochin in 1942.  From the beginning the Holy Shrine of Christ the King  there were miracles to prove His living presence  at Vettukad.