Devasahayam, who transformed to Christianity within the 18th century within the then kingdom of Travancore, was declared a saint by Pope Francis on the Vatican right now.
Devasahayam, also called Lazarus, is the primary Indian layman to get sainthood for what the Vatican calls “enduring increasing hardships”.
Born Neelakandan Pillai in Hindu higher caste household in present-day Kanyakumari, he labored at Travancore palace. In 1745, he transformed to Christianity and took the names of Devasahayam and Lazarus. He went on to battle in opposition to caste discrimination and was persecuted after which killed.
In 2012, the Vatican acknowledged his martyrdom after a rigorous course of.
Devasahayam was chosen for the sainthood after a girl in her seventh month of being pregnant testified to a “miracle” after praying to him in 2013.
The girl mentioned that her foetus had been declared “medically dead” and that there was no motion. However, she mentioned, she skilled motion “after praying to the martyr”.
The Vatican accepted this and acknowledged Devasahayam for sainthood.
“This sainthood is an invitation for us to live and lead a life free of discrimination,” mentioned Father John Kulandai, who attended the canonisation on the Vatican as a key member of the group in Kanyakumari that labored on this matter.
The authentic invitation from the Vatican had talked about Devasahayam’s former caste “Pillai”. However, following protests that including the caste identify defeats the aim of what Devasahayam stood for, the Vatican eliminated it.
“Saint Devasahayam stood for equality and fought against casteism and communalism. His sainthood comes at a time India is facing a surge in communalism,” mentioned retired IAS officer Devasahayam, who had written to the Vatican, searching for removing of Devasahayam’s caste identify.
“This canonisation is a great opportunity for the Church to stand against the prevailing communal poison. The church should have made this a people’s movement, but they failed and made it a clergy-centric event,” he added.