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Chevoor – the Village
Chevoor, or Chovvur as it is called in the Indian postal department, is a village 8 kms south of Trichur, the cultural capital of Kerala. It is a little hillock surrounded by paddy fields. The name Chevoor could have been derived from the fact that this village was developed, with levelled roads and living areas (Chovvulla Ur in Malayalam means straightened place).
 
Church in Chevoor
There was no important road in villages till the 19th century as the transportation and travelling were mainly done through canals. The church was built near a small ferry-port, as was the custom those days, so that people could go to important towns in central Kerala by water way. The Pazhuvil church, established in AD 883, was the oldest church in this area. There were only 12 Christian families in Chevoor at this time, being members of the Pazhuvil parish. People used boats to go to Pazhuvil and join the Mass there. Around 1815, the Christians of Chevoor, who were of moderate economic means, managed to buy 30 cents of land from the landlord of the Karippery Mana and built a ‘kurissu palli’ (Small Chapel) here. This initiative was with the permission of the Pazhuvil church, as records show that Fr Varu Kundukulangara came here from Pazhuvil, to baptize children. It was a small church thatched with the coconut leaves. The church was founded in the name of St Mary. The children from Chevoor and the neighbouring Cherpu, Vallachira, Pallissery and Palackal villages were brought here for baptism. It is said that there was some opposition to the new church but the noble man at the Royal Court of Kochi, Mr. Chiramal Mathew Tharakan of Aranattukara came to the rescue of the Christians of Chevoor.

As the history of the Syro Malabar church in Kerala shows, the last Chaldean bishop Mar Abraham died in 1577. The ancient seat of the Church was Kodungalloor. It was later moved to Angamaly and later to Kochi. Chevoor church belonged to the archdiocese of Kodungalloor under the Portuguese Padroado jurisdiction. In the whole of Kerala, the Syro Malabar church, from the end of 17th century onwards, had been placed under two jurisdictions: the Portuguese Padroado system and the Propaganda rule directly under Rome. With the establishment of apostolic vicariates (Trichur and Kottayam) in 1887 for the St Thomas Christians, Chevoor became a parish in the Trichur Vicariate.

The Holy Mass was said for the first time on Aug. 30th 1820 in the church at Chevoor. Tradition has it that the first parish priest in Chevoor was Fr Abraham Thachil Malpan. In those days, there was Mass only on Sundays. The people from the surrounding villages – Cherpu, Vallachira, Pallissery and Palackal - also came here for Mass.
 
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The old Church (1870 – 1995)
 
The number of Christian began to increase. Around 1850-1870, a new church was constructed. The forefathers of this parish, who used to worship at Pazhuvil church, were presented with a statue of St.Francis Xavier by their mother church. They brought the statue to Chevoor and named the church after St.Francis Xavier (1506-1552), who is known as the second apostle of India. It is also a venerable tradition in Chevoor that St.Francis Xavier came on foot to Chevoor on his return from the ancient church in Parappukara.
 
There were indigenous movements for self rule in the Syro Malabar church in the second half of the 19th century. Thus there were schisms caused by the coming of the Persian bishops Mar Roccos in 1861 and Mar Mellus in 1874. These events affected the parish also. There were two groups: Padroado (which supported the Chaldean bishops) and Propaganda (that supported the Vicariate of Verapoly). However, this division did not last long and unity was soon restored.
 
The Present History
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The new Church that was blessed on 19 JAN 1997
 
A century later, the old church had been extended twice with new wings, in 1964 and 1974. The last decades of 20th century saw a vast increase in the number of catholic population, especially due to the development of the furniture industry that thrived in Chevoor. Fr.Francis Karippery, the parish priest, initiated the construction of the new church in 1996. It was blessed by Mar Joseph Kundukulam, the archbishop of Trichur on Jan 19th 1997. Fr.Joseph Arassery is the present Vicar.

 
The foundation feast of the parish is the feast of Our Lady of Assumption celebrated on Aug. 15th which is also the Independence Day. From 2004 onwards, the feasts of the patron St Francis Xavier and St Sebastian are jointly celebrated on the third Sunday of November. The neighbouring parishes of Cherpu, Vallachira, and Pallissery were formerly part of this parish. Also a great number of families in the present Palackal and Pootharackal parishes formerly belonged to Chevoor. At present there are 664 catholic families in this parish. There are 07 priests, 02 professed brothers, 06 seminarians and 51 religious sisters from this parish. (02 priests and 10 sisters of this parish have left this world to receive their eternal reward). The Congregation of the Holy Family started its convent in Chevoor in 1980. There are 18 Family Units (Kudumba Koottayma) in this parish. There are 11 pious associations which are active here. These are: Altar Boys’ Association, Church Choir, Jesus Youth, Prayer Group, St.Vincent De Paul Society, Catholic Union, KCYM, CLC, Franciscan Association, Mathrusangham and Madhya Virudha Samithi. The parish publishes a monthly bulletin titled ‘Sneha Spandanam’.
 
St.Francis Xavier’s Chapel at Chevoor centre.
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The old chapel, that was built in 1940,
before its renovation in 2006
 
The St.Francis Xavier’s chapel at Chevoor Centre was blessed on 02nd DEC 1940 by Bishop Mar Francis Vazhappilly. This octagonal chapel was the result of generous contributions from the local people. The King of Cochin on his way to attend a religious function was given a solemn reception at Chevoor centre. He donated the whole teak wood needed for the construction of the chapel. The chapel is closely associated with the financial success of Chevoor, visible in the furniture industry. Cardinal Eugine Tisserant, the Prefect of Congregation for the Oriental Churches came to this chapel in 1953 as he was taking the relics of St.Thomas the Apostle, to Azhikkode. The Cardinal, in the presence of Bishop Mar George Alappatt, blessed the faithful gathered at the chapel. The chapel was totally renovated in 2006.
 
Schools in Chevoor
The Primary school (now called CALPS – Church Aided Lower Primary School), under the aegis of the parish, was started in 1890. It was directly managed by the Palliyogam (parish Committee) which elected a manager to administer the school. Maintenance was done mainly with the contribution of the parishners. From 1930 onwards parish priests became the managers. The School has won the best school award in the Cherpu Sub district, besides many other prizes in science, sports and arts competitions.

The Primary school was upgraded in 1942 as an Upper Primary school and in 1976 as a High School (St Xavier’s High School). Although started in 1976 as a branch High School, in 1979 it became a fully independent High School. It was the good will of some parishioners who formed St Xavier’s Educational and Charitable Society under the leadership of the then vicar Fr.Jose Pazhayattil, that was instrumental in the founding of the High School. The School has got 100 % result in SSLC examinations in the last four consecutive years and has been awarded the best school in the Archdiocesan Corporate Educational agency.
 
Chevoor – the Furniture Hub
Chevoor has had a long legacy of being a key hub of the furniture trade in South India. The furniture business of Chevoor is more than 100 years old. Almost all houses here own a manufacturing unit and a showroom. They buy timber on auction, bring it to their manufacturing unit adjoining their houses, and display the finished furniture in the showroom in front of their houses. Hundreds of furniture units employing thousands of skilled craftsmen can be seen only in Chevoor.
 
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