The miraculous statue of St. Antony of Paduagiri church has a glorious history. The statue of st. Antony holding a Cross in hand is unique and is seen no where in the world. St. Antony of Padua is one of the most honoured of all saints. An amazing fact about the saint is that he was canonized in less than one year after his death. He was a great preacher and a fine orator of the middle ages. He was appointed to preach the gospel all over Italy by the Second Christ St. Francis of Assissi. People gathered around him to hear his gospel messages in huge numbers. When there were none to hear him he went out and preached to fishes at the sea shore.
The statue of Paduagiri is the Preaching St. Antony. The statue holding the cross of salvation in his right hand and the Infant Jesus in his left hand proclaims the Love of God to every men and women who comes to him which makes repentance in the minds of the devotees and fill their life with His blessings in abundance from the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4/19.
The statue has a an unprecedented history. This statue was blessed on 27-01-1919 on the day in which the first patrons feast of the parish was celebrated. The highly devoted parishners embraced St. Antony close to their hearts to tide over the fretful years of poverty and struggle for survival. When the statue of their heavenly patron St. Antony was raised to the alter of their church the devoted parishners looked unto it as a symbol of hope and prosperity. Years passed. The fame of St. Antony spread far and wide. It was a usual practice to give statues of saints as token of their gratitude for favours received.
One day it happened that these statues along with other valuable items were stolen from the archives of the church. They were brought to Kochi for being shipped abroad. There happened the miraculous intervention of St. Antony. They could not ship the stolen things. Much more wonderous and awesome thing occurred. When the stolen articles were brought back to Kuninji a cross was seen in the right hand of St. Antony which was previously not there. With much reverence it was kept safely in the archives of the church. Later it was placed infront of the Hykala of the church. Then it starts to work wonders to the devotees. On 12-06-2015 Mar George Madathikandathil bishop of the Diocese of Kothamangalam blessed the statue and placed in the portico of the expanded church. Now it is a spring of heavenly blessing to the faithful. A miraculous never ending spring behind the statue of Preaching St. Antony is symbolic of saints never ending heavenly blessings to the devotees. The incidents of holy interventions of St.Antony continue unabated.