Oriyur is one of the most revered pilgrim centers for Christians the world over as it is home to the martyrdom of St. John De Britto, a Portugese Jesuit better known as ‘Arul Anandar’. It was in this place that the saint was beheaded in 1693 and the sand dune is said to have turned red, believed to be stained by the blood of the saint. Here, one can see a magnificent shrine with its Portugese façade that contains a captivating statue of Arul Anandar offering his neck in humble submission to the executioner.
Why this place has such significance is the healing power of the ‘red sand’ and the faith of the devotees. People are said to be cured of incurable diseases after applying the sand on their bodies. Couples are said to be blessed with children on visiting the shrine and praying to the saint. During festivities, pilgrims from Tamil Nadu and Kerala – Hindus, and Muslims jostle with Christians and throng the shrine in thousands in their eagerness to honor a holy man who shed his life blood in Tamil Nadu. Though primarily of religious content, the festivals are also a social gathering – an opportunity for these simple people to bring gaiety and variety in life. The strong faith and enviable ability to combine pleasure and piety on a pilgrimage gives a Chaucerian atmosphere to the Oriyur feast.
Devotees from other dioceses and districts visit the shrine on specific dates. In February they come from Dindigul, while in June, they hail from Karunguli and Nagapattinam. During September more than 25,000 pilgrims visit this shrine and offer prayers and offerings. In October another 25,000 pilgrims arrive from the neighboring Sivagangai district and in December pilgrims from Madurai and Melur visit the shrine. Throughout the year, thousands of pilgrims from Sakthikulangara –the only parish in Kerala dedicated to the St. John De Britto come to seek blessings. This is also a favorite place for foreign tourists. Thus, the tourist potential is tremendous and perennial that can be exploited to the maximum extent possible.
St. John de Britto Church
By Air : The nearest airport to Ramanathapuram is Madurai, 110 Kms away.
By Rail : The town is well connected by a network of rails touching major cities like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy and Thanjavur.
By Road : Bus services are available from Ramanathapuram to several destinations in the state and neighboring states.
St. John de Britto Church
Pin : 632 309
Ph : 04561-255261
Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually - Chronicles 16:11