This catholic church, in Alappuzha is famous for Arthunkal Perunnal or the feast of St. Sebastian. Arthunkal is in Cherthala Taluk of Alappuzha District. It lies 22 km towards north of Alappuzha town. Portuguese Jesuit priests came here in the second half of the sixteenth century to preach among the native St Thomas Christians. They were allowed to build a church here by the native ruler in 1581. The first building was very humble. In 1640 the Church was rebuilt and following this, a statue of St. Sebastian, a martyr to Christian cause who was killed by the Roman emperor in the third century CE. was brought from Milan and installed. The construction of the main edifice began in 1910. Though the Church is in the name of St. Andrew, it is known especially for the feast of St. Sebastian.
The feast starts on January 10 and extends up to January 27. The main feast is celebrated on January 20. On this day the statue believed to be having miraculous powers is taken out in procession. The ritual offerings during the feast are varied. The most austere form of offering is to move along the ground by lying down and rolling for a distance of more than a kilometre from the nearby beach to the church with a model of bow and arrow in hand. Thousands of believers from within Kerala and also from the neighbouring states flock here during the feast.
August to March
Access: The nearest railway station is Cherthala about 6 km from the church. Alappuzha the nearest major station is about 22 km from here.
How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Alappuzha, about 22 kms away
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport, about 64 km north.