Little Mount (Chinnamalai) is a small hillock that lies on the bank of river Adayar in the Saidapet taluk of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is traditionally acknowledged to be one of the places where St Thomas, an apostle of Jesus, lived and preached when he came to India. In 1551 AD, Portuguese built a Church over the site where St Thomas is believed to have lived in. Later, in the year 1970, a part of this old Church was demolished and a larger circular Church was built to accommodate more devotees. Little Mount now is a bustling area with a mix of residential and commercial activities. IX Metropolitan Magistrates (Saidapet) court, Saidapet MTC bus depot, and All India Radio are located in Little Mount. Other Governmental offices such as Raj Bhavan (Governor’s house), Highways Department, Panangal Maligai are located at the borders of Little Mount. Current development in and around Little Mount include New Life Assembly of God (NLAG) Church, Checkers Hotel, Lemon Tree Hotel, Temple Steps Office Space. MRTS line from Alandur to Chamiers road will have a station at Little Mount.
St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church mission is to fulfill the spiritual and social needs of the Syro Malabar Catholic Community by offering Mass, Catechism, Administration of Sacraments, Retreats and Solemn Celebration of the Church Feast. We aim to achieve the spiritual and societal growth of the community in the deep-rooted Christian values. St. Thomas, the Apostle, brought the Word of God to the ancient land of India shortly after Jesus Christ’s death and ressurection. It is believed that he landed in the South-Western coastal town of Musiris, which is presently called Kodungalloor, Kerala, in the year 52 A.D. After two decades of evangelisation he was martyred at Chinamalai, Mylapore, near Chennai, in 72 A.D.
The Syro Malabar Church is an Oriental (Eastern Rite) Catholic church, in full communion with the Church of Rome. The term Syro Malabar is a reference to the East syrian (Chaldean) tradition the church has followed and to the Malabar Coast where St Thomas the Apostle landed. Firm devotion, indomitable faith, deep-rooted spirituality, and rich tradition make the Syro Malabar church markedly special and vividly alive, making it an integral part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
St. Thomas is believed to have stayed in a tiny cave in Little Mount. He led a spartan prayerful life in solitude, often praying on the top of the hill and preaching to the local crowds that gathered to hear the Good news. The cave is well preserved even today and can be accessed from the old Church (chinna kovil) and is used for prayer and meditation by the devotees from all creeds. On the other side of the case is an opening through which St. Thomas is said to have fled to escape this assailants. At the front of this opening, you can find hand and foot imprints of St. Thomas etched on the rock. A little farther away from the cave is an eternal spring from which is believed to be a work of St. Thomas. When St. Thomas was thirsty, he split the rocks and drank the refreshing water that gushed forth from the spring.
Mountains are the places of God experience and divine interventions. Jesus went to the mountains to spent his private time with his Father. St.Thomas the Apostle, during his sojourn in India chose mountains for his prayers and Holy Eucharist. Little Mount (Chinnamala) in Chennai has got a prominent place among these. It is here in Little Mount, the seed of Syro Malabar church’s mission in Chennai was sown and grown. Rev. Fr Jose Palatty began the Syro Malabar Mission in Little Mount on the 14th December 1983, when Rev. Fr.P.J.Kurian was the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Health Church, Little Mount. Later the mission center was shifted to Ayanavaram. In 1994, at the time of Rev. Fr Thomas Menachery’s chaplaincy we got the permission from the then parish priest Rev. Fr.Paul Moozvariyett to offer Sunday Holy Mass. Later on from 2006 January onwards we started celebrating Sunday Mass. The Present Parish Priest Rev.Fr.M Arulraj and the community have been extending their helping and supporting hands to us. Rev Fr Jose Ambooken, Rev. Fr.Thomas Kannampilly, and Rev.Fr.Anto Karippai were the Priests in charge of Little Mount in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Little mount is one of major tourist attraction of chennai city. It is a small rocky prominence of great historical significance. St Thomas one of the 12 apostles is supposed to have led a Spartan life on this mount in 68 ADs. There are two churches here. New one was built and dedicated to our Lady of Health in the year 1971. The Portuguese built Sacrament Chapel earlier in 1551. Old church is a cave in which St.Thomas was hiding and doing penance. There is an opening to the east of the cave through which St.Thomas escaped to St.Thomas Mount. The palm print and hand print near the tunnel’s entrance are trusted to be those of St.Thomas himself. The masonry cross cut at the top of the hill is believed to be the cross before which St.Thomas prayed. St.Thomas Fountain is the spring falls in this small hill. It is supposed to be the miraculous creation of the apostle himself.
MASS TIMINGS LITTLE MOUNT CHURCH IN CHENNAI :
Sunday Mass – Timings/Language : 8.00 am & 5.00 pm – Tamil 6.30 am – English