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Devasahayam Pillai becomes 1st Indian layman to be declared saint by Pope

Pope recognised a miracle attributed to Devasahayam in 2014, clearing the path to his canonisation in 2022

Devasahayam Pillai becomes 1st Indian layman to be declared saint by Pope

Pope Francis leads a Holy Mass in St Peters Square as he canonises ten new saints at the Vatican. Reuters



PTI

Vatican City, May 15

Devasahayam Pillai, who embraced Christianity in the 18th century, on Sunday became the first Indian layman to be declared a saint by Pope Francis during an impressive canonisation ceremony here.

Devasahayam was recommended for the process of Beatification by the Vatican in 2004, at the request of the Kottar diocese, Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.

Pope Francis, 85, canonised Blessed Devasahayam during a Canonisation Mass in St Peter's Basilica here.

A miracle attributed to Devasahayam was recognised by Pope Francis in 2014, clearing the path to his canonisation in 2022. 

Nine others, including four women, were also canonised along with Devasahayam.

“Our calling is to serve the Gospel and our brothers and sisters, to offer our lives without expecting anything in return, or any worldly glory," the Pope said during the ceremony.

“Being disciples of Jesus and advancing on the path of holiness means first and foremost letting ourselves be transfigured by the power of God's love," he said.

A group of Indians holding the tricolour cheered from the gathering when Devasahayam's name was announced. 

With the completion of the process, Pillai, who took the name "Lazarus" after embracing Christianity in 1745, became the first lay person from India to become a saint.

"Lazarus" or "Devasahayam" in Malayalam, translates to "God is my help".

Devasahayam was declared Blessed on December 2, 2012 in Kottar, 300 years after his birth. 


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