The Catholic Bishop's Conference of India (CBCI) has raised the historic Church of Our Lady of Ransom at Vallarpadam Island in Kochi to the status of a National Pilgrim Centre. The President of the Catholic Bishops? Conference of India, Archbishop Cardinal Telesphore P. Topo, recently handed over the related documents to the Archbishop of Varappuzha, Dr. Daniel Acharuparampil.
Addressing a press meet, Dr. Daniel Acharuparampil said that the elevation of the status of the historic Marian pilgrim destination on the Vallarpadam Island to a national pilgrim centre is the precursor towards Rome declaring it a minor basilica of the Catholic Church. The CBCI has already sent the details regarding this to the Vatican.
The Church of Our Lady of Ransom, which belongs to the Archdiocese of Verapoly, was established by the Portuguese missionaries in 1524. The Old Church, then known as the Church of Holy Spirit, is supposed to have been destroyed in a flood in the late 17th century and a new church was built on the same spot in 1676. It was declared a special church by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 and in 1951 the Union Government declared it a major pilgrim centre.