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Devasahayam Pillai, first Indian layman, to be declared saint by Pope Francis

Blessed Devasahayam Pillai and six other Blesseds will be canonized by Pope Francis on May 15, 2022, during a Canonization Mass in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Church officials said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

Devasahayam Pillai first Indian layman to be declared saint by Pope Francis gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 11, 2021, 12:38 PM IST
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Devasahayam Pillai, an 18th-century Hindu convert to Christianity, will be the first Indian layman — a non-ordained member – to be declared a saint. Blessed Devasahayam Pillai and six other Blesseds will be canonized by Pope Francis on May 15, 2022, during a Canonization Mass in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Church officials said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. The declaration was announced on Tuesday by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

With the conclusion of the procedure, Pillai, who adopted the name "Lazarus" after accepting Christianity in 1745, would become the first secular person from India to be named a saint, according to the Church. In the local tongue, "Lazarus" or "Devasahayam" means "God is my rescue."

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According to the Vatican letter, he highlighted the equality of all humans, regardless of caste, during his lectures. The upper classes were outraged, and he was imprisoned in 1749. When he was shot on January 14, 1752, he received the crown of martyrdom after enduring increasing tribulations.

Elphinston Joseph, a postulator who filed a request for canonization in the Roman Catholic Church, delivered the message to Father Nazarene Soosai, Bishop of Kottar Diocese. He was born Neelakanta Pillai, a high-caste Hindu who spoke Sanskrit, Tamil, and Malayalam. He converted to Catholicism after hearing about it from a French prisoner of war. On May 14, 1745, he was christened and given the name Devasahayam Pillai.

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Sites associated with his life and death may be found in the Kottar Diocese in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari region. Devasahayam was blessed 300 years after his birth on December 2, 2012, at Kottar. On April 23, 1712, he was born into a Hindu Nair family in Nattalam, Kanyakumari district, part of the old Travancore empire.

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