Devasahayam Pillai

Devasahayam Pillai


  • Devasahayam Pillai, a Hindu who converted to Christianity in the 18th century, would be the first Indian to receive the title of a saint.
  • Pope Francis will consecrate Devasahyam Pillai along with six other saints during a canonical synod at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on May 15, (2022).
  • Devasahyam Pillai was born on 23 April 1712 in Nattalam village in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Before converting to Christianity, he was known as Nilakand Pillai and grew up in a family of temple priests.
  • Devasahyam Pillai was served in the court of Travancore Maharaja Marthanda Varma and he was met here a Dutch naval commander, who taught him about Catholicism.
  • He became a Catholic in the year 1745 and took the name ‘Lazarus’ after converting to Christianity but later came to be known as Devasahyam (God’s help).
  • After that he had to face the wrath of Travancore State against conversion.
  • On January 14, 1752, exactly seven years after becoming a Catholic, Devasahyam was shot and killed in the Aralvaimozhi forest.
  • Since then he is considered a martyr by the wider Catholic community in South India.
  • His grave is in St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in Kottar Diocese of Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Church is of the view that his preaching of equality of all people irrespective of caste differences ultimately led to his martyrdom.
  • He was first approved to be conferred the title of saint in February 2020 to “endure growing hardships” after deciding to convert to Christianity.

Classification of religion


World’s primary religions in two categories:

  • Christianity, Judaism and Islam is Abrahamic religions
  • Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and others Indian religions


  • Christianity is the largest religion with over two billion adherents.
  • Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is about 2,000 years old.
  • The largest group of Christianity is the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Protestant Church, and its holy book is the Bible.
  • Over the centuries, the number of followers of Christianity has increased as it spread around the world, often through missionaries and colonists.

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