INTRODUCTION





BORN : 
23 April 1712
Palliyadi, Nattalam,
Kanyakumari District,
Kingdom of Travancore.

 DIED : 
14 January 1752 (39 Yrs)
Aralvaimozhy
Kingdom of Travancore.

HONOURED IN : 
Catholic Church Latin Rite

BEATIFIED : 
2 December 2012, 

St. Xavier's Church, 
Kottar, Tamil Nadu 

by Angelo Amato 
(On behalf of Benedict XVI)


FEAST DAY : 14 January


MAJOR SHRINE : Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier


ATTRIBUTES : Tied up in chains, Praying on knees before execution
_______________________________________________________


The Hagiography 

DEVASAHAYAM PILLAI [LAZARUS]
  Layperson of the Diocese of Kottar; 
    

COMPETENT FORUM : Kottar
        CCS PROTOCOL NUMBER : 2580
        TYPE OF CAUSE : martyrdom
       
       NIHIL OBSTAT : 22 December 2003
     OPENING OF DIOCESAN INQUIRY : 03 July 2006
CLOSING OF DIOCESAN INQUIRY : 07 September 2008
        DEGREE IN VALIDITY OF DIOCESAN INQUIRY : 18 March 2010
       SUBMISSION OF POSITIO TO CCS : 2011
        SESSION OF HISTORICAL CONSULTANTS : 15 November 2011
       PARTICULAR MEETING OF THEOLOGICAL CONSULTORS : 07 February 2012
       SESSION OF CARDINAL & BISHOP MEMBERS OF THE CCS : 08 May 2012
        PROMULGATION OF DECREE ON MARTYRDOM : 28 June 2012
    BEATIFICATION : 02 December 2012
       
       POSTULATOR : Dr. Waldery Hilgeman
        PETITIONAR : Diocese of Kottar, P. B. 17, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, 629 001 INDIA


Also known as
  • Neelakandan
  • Neelam
  • Nilakandan
  • Nilam
Blessed Devasahayam Pillai (Tamilமுத்திப்பேறு பெற்ற தேவசகாயம் பிள்ளை(1712–1752), born Neelakanta Pillai in southern India, is a beatified layman of the Latin Catholic church. Born into a Hindu family in the 18th century, he converted to Christianity and is considered a martyr of the Christian faith. Pillai was an official in the court of the king of Travancore, Maharaja Marthanda Varma, when he came under the influence of Dutch naval commander, Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, who instructed him in the Catholic faith. He is believed to have been killed by the then Travancore state for upholding his Christian faith.

In 2004, at the request of the diocese of Kottar, Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council (TNBC) and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) recommended Devasahayam Pillai for the process of beatification to the Vatican. Some Hindu groups objected to this initiative on the grounds that there was no evidence of religious persecution in Travancore during that period, and that Pillai was executed for sedition. However, documents dating back to the period of Devasahayam Pillai show that conversion of court officials to Christianity was not tolerated.

On June 28, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding the martyrdom of Devasahayam Pillai and he was referred to as "Venerable".

On 2 December 2012, a ceremony of beatification and declaration of martyrdom was held in Nagercoil, in the Roman Catholic diocese of Kottar in Southern India, presided over by Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, acting as papal delegate. Devasahayam Pillai is the first layman to be elevated to the rank of "Blessed" in India (the step preceding raising a person to Sainthood under the Canon Law of the Catholic Church).