The existence of Christianity in Kerala can probably be dated back to 6th Century AD according to some scholars, even before the arrival of Saint Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ in 52 AD, who people believe established Christianity in the State. Even though it is not clear when exactly Christianity began in Kerala, the ancient churches built in 510 AD etc., are a testimony of the fact that the religion has been followed here for years.
One of these churches is the St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, commonly known as Kottayam Cheriyapally. Many stories and legends regarding the establishment and evolution of Christianity in Central Travancore surrounds this church. The church was built by Portuguese architect Antony and his team along with the craftsmen of the Thekkumkore Kingdom (old Kottayam) in 1579. It has a Baroque style of architecture that is a mix of European and indigenous styles. However, the Portuguese had no influence on the mode of worship in the church. It is typically dedicated to Syrian Christians.
While visiting Cheriyapally, one may feel that the architecture greatly resembles that of some temples in Kerala. However, the fact is that during those days, the mode of building every place of worship was the same, irrespective of it being a temple or a church.