New Delhi | PTI: Devasahayam Pillai, a Hindu converted to Christianity in the 18th century, will become the first Indian layman - a non-ordained member of the Church - to be conferred sainthood. The announcement was made by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican on Tuesday.

Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, together with six other Blesseds, during a Canonization Mass in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on May 15, 2022, Church officials said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

With the completion of the process, Pillai, who took the name "Lazarus" after embracing Christianity in 1745, will become the first layperson from India to become a saint, the church said. "Lazarus" or "Devasahayam" in the local language, meaning "God is my help".

"While preaching, he particularly insisted on the equality of all people, despite caste differences. This aroused the hatred of the higher classes, and he was arrested in 1749. After enduring increasing hardships, he received the crown of martyrdom when he was shot on 14 January 1752", a note prepared by the Vatican said.

Sites linked with his life and death are in Kottar Diocese, in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Devasahayam was declared Blessed on December 2, 2012, in Kottar, 300 years after his birth. He was born into a Hindu Nair family at Nattalam in Kanyakumari district, which was part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom, on 23 April 1712.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan