Holy Trinity Church, Idaiyangudi, Thirunelveli
The Holy Trinity Church in Idaiyangudi is one of the oldest CSI churches in Thirunelveli District. This CSI church is located on State Highway 89 opposite to Koil Street. Idaiyankudi is a Panchayat town in Thirunelveli in the Indian state of Tamilnadu. It lies between Uvari and Thisayanvilai. This village was the recipient of the Uthamar Gandhi award. Bishop Robert Caldwell, the father of Dravidian languages, spent most of his lifetime here as a missionary, and the village is predominantly Christian.
The region is mostly semi-arid and the weather is humid though the evenings are cooler as the Bay of Bengal is just two kilometers away. The land surrounding the village is predominantly owned by the church. This village was formed in the 18th century by SPG missionary Robert Caldwell. Holy Trinity Church at Idaiyankudi is located at 8°18'49.9"N 77°52'57.2"E or 8.313848, 77.882568.
This church is about 150 years old and has been associated with Robert Caldwell an eminent Missionary from England. This church was blessed and inaugurated on July 6, 1880 by Robert Caldwell. The Missionary Journey of Robert Caldwell in India began in January 8, 1838 when he arrived in Chennai, then Madras as a Missionary from the London Missionary Society. He then understood the importance to Learn Tamil to preach to the masses and learnt it and was a major reason behind the beginning of several churches in Tamilnadu. The Holy Trinity Church is also one of the churches in whose beginning Robert Caldwell played an important part.
In 18th century Rev. C.F. Swartz sent some trained Church workers from Tanjore to the coastal lands in the South. One among them was David Sundaranantham @ Inaddai Muthu, native of Vijayanamapuram. Subsequently Rev. Ringle Thoube came to this region by walk to spread Evangelism. As a result Idaiyangudi congregation was formed. In 1841, Rev. Robert Caldwell came here and found only seven families. Staying at Idaiyangudi for more than 42 years, he kindled the spiritual light of Jesus and established more than 50 congregations.
He built the beautiful church named Holy Trinity Church and dedicated it to the Holy Redeemer in 1880. He established Elementary Schools and also Immanuel Hospital. In June 2000, the Dravidian Linguistic Association conducted an All India Conference and the local congregation instituted ” Bishop Caldwell Research Centre” for religious, linguistic and historical studies (B.C.R.C). The Bishop Caldwell Bungalow has been declared by the Thirunelveli Diocese as a Monumental Building for Dr. Caldwell Research Studies and Library. He and his wife, Eliza, are buried beneath the chancel floor.
The Idaiyangudi Holy Trinity church is a gothic structure and the chief landmark in the village centre. The church is the centre of the village with neatly planned streets around it. Services are conducted in Tamil in this church whose steeple faces west and houses the church bell. Caldwell Memorial School in Idaiyangudi is run by this church. The church is also planning to start a nursing college.
There are eleven congregations in this pastorate namely:
· Holy Trinity Church, Idaiyangudi
· St. John’s Church, Arulnagar
· St. Thomas Church, Tharuvai East
· St. John’s Church, Tharuvai South
· St. Mary’s Church, Tharuvai West
· St. Stephen’s Church, Vellivillai
· St. John’s Church, Achampadu
· Holy Trinity Church, Illakarivillai
· St. John’s Church, Kuttam
· St. Paul’s Church, Tanjapuram
· Good Shepherd Church, Kadakulam
Idaiyangudi is located at about 35 Kms from Nanguneri, 4 Kms from Thisayanvilai, 66 Kms from Thirunelveli, 225 Kms from Madurai and 76 Kms from Thoothukudi. The nearest railway station is located at Nanguneri and the nearest airport is located at Thoothukudi and Madurai.