St. Antony's Church Kuninji (പാദുവാഗിരി പള്ളി)


Kuninji is a small village, seven kilometers north to Ramapuram which is well known in Kerala history on account of well known persons like Ramapurathu warrier , Lalithambika Antharjanam and great personalities in church history such as Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar  and Blessed Kunjachan. Kuninji is in Idukki District and its border touches Kottayam and Ernakulam districts. Kuninji is in purapuzha panchayat and its border touches Ramapuram, Veliyannoor, Palakuzha and Karimkunnam panchayats. This tiny village is surrounded by tall green hills on all sides and the panoramic scenery is very beautiful and attractive to tourists. The long view from the top stations of greenery hills to Cochin, the queen of Arabian sea is an exclusive awe inspiring experience to the nature lovers.

Even from the distant past centuries people migrated settled in Kuninji. Due to epidemics and other natural calamities people devastated from this region and it became forest.  In 19th and 20th centuries people from Ramapuram, Kuravilangad, Athirampuzha and Palai again migrated and settled here.

Majority of the settlers are from catholic christian community.They  depended upon Ramapuram and Neeranthanam churches for their spiritual needs. They had the strong ambition for a church here to fulfill their sacramental life. They sent a memorandum to the vicar apostolic, Bishop mar Thoma Kurialasseril of Changanachery. The memorandum of the people was carried to Changanachery on foot by their elders like Vattackattu Mathai Ouseph, Esthappan Kuruvila Kulakkat, Mathai Varkey Vattakkatt, Ulahannan Kochumankunnel. Kochuparambil Augusthy offered to give land for the proposed church at the centre of Kuninji. He gave one acre of land free of cost and six acres of land for a price for the church.

The bishop of changanachery accepted memorandum favourably and orders were given to Fr John  Arancheril, then vicar of neeranthanam church for further action.

As per order No.990 of the vicar Apostolic of Changanachery dated 20 July 1918 permission was given for the establishment of a church at kuninji as a filial church of Neeranthanam church. Accordingly the presbitary was constructed and application was submitted to the government for the permission of the construction of the church at Kuninji. Ouseph Mathai Vattackatt and Esthappan Kuruvila Kulakatt were elected as the first trustees of the proposed parish. With the permission of the bishop ,  the foundation stone of the new church was laid by Fr. John Arancheril on 27th January 1919 and the statue of St. Antony was blessed and in installed on the same day.

Order was given to Fr. Vicar to celebrate Holy mass on sundays and feast days on 30/01/1919. Holy Mass was celebrated on sundays in the temporary shed till the construction of the new church. Order was given also to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism on 21/02/1919.

During the pastoral visit of Mar Thomas Kurialassery to Neeranthanam church Kuninji parish was raised to the status of independend parish on 16/01/1920 and Fr. John Arancheril was appointed the first vicar of the Kuninji parish.Permission was granted for the celebration of the feast of St. Sebastian on every 27th of January, the day on which the foundation stone of the church was laid. Permission was granted also for the celebration of the feast of St. Antony, patron of the parish on the second sunday of June every year, which falls near to the feast day of St. Antony, 13th June.

Syro Malabar hierarchy ws errected on 21st December1923. Accordingly Kuninji parish came under Ramapuram forane church. When borders of Ernakulam and Changanassery arch dioceses were rearanged Kuninji parish became the part of Ernakulam diocese. Kothamangalam diocese was erected on 29/07/1956 Kuninji came under Marika forane of Kothamangalam diocese.

Present Church

The present church was constructed as the Golden Jubilee Memorial , when Rev.Fr. George Mulanjananiyil was vicar during 1963-1970. It was the result of very hard labour of the people and the vicar and it was consecrated by Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhy on 31/01/1971

Developmental Activities

The church has been playing a leadership role in bringing about timely development in Kuninji. Ramapuram – Marika road was made in 1927. In 1961 Kuninji – Karimkunnam  road was made in 1963. It was because land was offered by the church the Government Homoeo Dispensary was established in kuninji in 1974. In 1976 the church offered land to purapuzha panchayat to start a market in kuninji. Electricity was brought to kuninji through the efforts of the church. The library and the post-office   were established here by housing there in the church campus.

St. George’s Chapel

St.George’s Chapel was constructed in 1944 as silver jubilee memorial of the church. The chapel was reconstructed in 1994 as the platinum jubilee memorial of the church when Rev. Fr. Sebastian Kadambanatt was the vicar.

St.Sebastian’s Chapel

In 1983 St.Sebastian’s Chapel was constructed at Kodikuthy under the leadership of Joseph Perumpananiyil in consideration of the spiritual needs of the new settlers in Kodikuthy area. The festival of St.Sebastian is celebrated here at which people of all religion participate. The chapel was constructed at the site donated by Mr. K. T .Mathew Kattakayam.

Official Visits of Bishops

The pastoral official visits made by various bishops to Kuninji are part of the history of the church. In 1940 Mar Augustine Kandathil , Archbishop of Ernakulam – Angamaly Archdiocese visited the church. In 1955 Mar Joseph Parekkattil , the auxiliary bishop of Ernakulam visited the church . Mar Mathew Pothanamkuzhy of Kothamangalam officially visited the church in 1963 and 1971. Mar George Punnakottil officially visited the church in 1987. Mar George Madathikandathil officially visited the church in 2015.

Adoration Convent

A unit of the adoration convent was established in Kuninji in 1961. The reverend sisters render a great service for the spiritual formation of children in teaching and various spiritual services in the parish.

Ward Prayers  and Prayer Groups

Ward prayer groups have been regularly functioning in the parish from 1991 when Rev.Fr Joseph parayil was the vicar. At first there were 5 wards and 21 prayer groups of families. At present there are 12 wards and 13 prayer groups. Each ward has a leader and five assistant leaders to organise monthly prayer meetings and to carry out various services under the direction of the parish priest.

Sunday School

Religious education of children is an important function of the church. Religious instruction is important to the children from LKG, UKG, std 1 to std 12 every sunday after the holy mass as per the schedules provided by the diocese.

St.Antony’s High School

School education of children has been of great importance at all times. In 1948 the present St.Antony’s School was established with Government permission. At first the teachers were paid salary from the church funds. Later the school was admitted to government grants. But the grants were meagre. Now the is running as aided school.

Religious organizations

The church expects every christian to participate in the mission of the church in one way or another as is possible according to each one’s life situation. Mission League, Yuva Deepthi, Mathru Deepthi, Vincent De Paul Society, Sunday School, Family Apostolate play a great role in the development of the sacramental life of the parishners,  Friends of St.Antonys high school, started in 2015 is great help in the academic and other developments of the school. Deepika Friends Club is a social development movement as a part of communal conscience.

The Parish is going to celebrate the centenary of the church in 2019. As a preparation the church has developed the church surroundings, the cemetery has been developed with tombs, a cemetery chapel, parking area etc. The centenary memorial will be the parish catechetical centre which is now under construction.



20th Jul 1918

Order for starting a church at Kuninji


27th Jan 1919

Blessing of St. Antonys Statue.

Laying of the foundation stone for the new church.

Celebration of the parish feast for the first time.


21st Feb 1919

Order for celebrating Baptism at Kuninji


21st Oct 1919

Order for blessing marriage at Kuninji


16th Jan 1920

Kuninji is raised to the status of independent parish.

Fr. John Arancheril is appointed the first vicar.


18th Jan 1920

Order for the celebration of St. Sebastian’s feast on 27 th of January, on the day foundation stone laid for the church.

Order for celebration of the feast of St.Antonys feast on the second Sunday of June.


21st Dec 1923

Syro Malabar hierarchy is erected.

Kuninji parish came under Bharananganam forane of Changanassery Diocese and there after became the part of Ramapuram Forane.


27th Sep 1934

Kuninji parish became the part of Arakuzha Forane of Ernakulam arch diocese.


27th Jan 1944

St. George Chapel at Kuninji was blessed as a silver jubilee memorial of the parish.


16th Aug 1948

Started St. Antonys L P School


2nd Jul 1955

Started U P School


29th Jul 1956

Kothamangalam diocese came into effect and Kuninji parish came under Marika Forane.


2nd Jul 1961

Started the Adoration convent.


1st Oct 1967

Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhi laid the foundation stone for the new church in the presence of Fr. Vicar Fr. George Mulanjanany.


31st Jan 1971

Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhi consecrated the new church as a monument of the golden Jubilee memorial of the parish.


26th Feb 1983

St. Sebastian Chapel at Kodikuthi was built by Fr. Joseph Perumbany and consecreted feast of St. Sebastian is celebrated every year.


1st Jun 1983

St. Antonys School is raised as High School


10th Aug 1991

Fr. Joseph Parayil divided the parish into five wards and 21 prayer groups


26th Apr 1994

St. George Chapel was rebuilt by Fr. Sebastian Kadambanattu as a memmorial of the platinum jubilee of the parish and consecrated by Mar Joseph Pallickaparambil.


13th Jul 2014

Started LKG and UKG classes for catechism.


20th Jul 2014

Conducted parish assembly for five year planning of the parish for the first time.


15th Aug 2014

First issue of the parish bulletin “Padua Giri Nadham” published


21st Sep 2014

Computerization of Athmasthithi completed.

Stared AKCC unit.


1st Jun 2015

Started English medium LKG and UKG classes in St. Antonys High School Kuninji.


12th Jun 2015

Mar George Madathikandathil blessed the new extended three sides of the church.

He blessed the miraculous well “Anugraha Neerurava of st. Antony”.

He has blessed the statue of St. Antony and erected the statue for veneration in the portico of the church.


29th Aug 2015

Celebration of the “Year of Religious”. All the religious from the parish gathered on this occasion and a memento was given to them all.


1st Mar 2016

Fountation stone for the Centenary memorial Catechetical Centre was blessed and laid by Fr. George pottackal, vicar in the presence of the priests from the parish.


3rd Apr 2016

Vincent De Paul Women’s Unit started working.


3rd Jul 2016

Website of the parish was inaugurated by Fr. George Pottackal, vicar.

The name of the Church Kuninji is changed to “Paduagiri Palli”.


5th Jul 2016

First Tuesday programme started in relation with the centenary celebration of the church.


10th Jun 2017

Centinary memorial catechetical centre blessed and inaugurated by Mar George Madathikandathil Bishop of Kothamangalam.