The church was built by Portuguese missionaries in 1524. It is said that the missionaries discovered a painting of the Lady of Ransom, and later in a dream, they were asked to establish a church in Vallarpadam, which they dutifully did. Many miracles have been attributed to the Lady of Ransom and most are of people being saved from accidents at sea. As per tradition the church was earlier known as the church of the Holy Spirit. The original building was destroyed by floods in the 17th century and rebuilt later. The present building is said to have built in 1676.
As per local folklore, a lady and her child from a Hindu family who were shipwrecked, survived for three days, sheltered under a rock. The lady prayed that she would commit her life to serving the Lady of Ransom, and she was saved. Even today, all processions in connection with festivities of the church begin from the ancestral house of the Hindu lady, which is called Paliath. The images of the lady and child are also seen in the picture of the Lady of Ransom inside the Vallarpadom church.
The local fishermen always bring their new boats to be blessed by the Lady of Ransom before they are taken out to sea for the first time. When prayers are answered, the blessed devotees dedicate their lives to the Lady of Ransom, and sweep the church compound to convey their spirit of dedication. The altar of the church is filled with offerings of devotees who had been blessed by the Lady of Ransom.
Pope Leo the XIII had bestowed 'special status' to the church in 1888. The Vallarpadam church was declared as a pilgrim center in 1951. The church was given the status of a Basilica in December 2003. The number of pilgrims who visit the church is increasing every year. The major festival of the church falls on the 24th of September and thousands of devotees throng the small island to take part in the feast. The new Goshree bridges which connect Vallapadam with both Vypin and Ernakulam have made it very easy for the believers to come to the church. The church today is not only a major pilgrim center but also an important tourist attraction.
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