Who was Devasahayam Pillai? Most people are looking for information about Devasahayam Pillai as he became the first Indian layman to be declared Saint by Pope Francis.
Devasahayam Pillai, who embraced Christianity during the 18th century, was declared a saint by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Sunday.
Thus, Pillai became the first Indian layman to be canonised. In 2004, he was recommended for the process of Beatification by the Vatican following requests by the Kottar diocese, Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council, and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.
Who was Devasahayam Pillai?
Devasahayam aka Neelakanta Pillai was born on April 23, 1712 to a Hindu Nair family at Nattalam in Kanyakumari district. Nattalam was a part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom.
Pillai worked as an official in the court of Travancore’s Maharaja Marthanda Varma. He was then instructed into the Catholic faith by a Dutch naval commander.
While preaching, Pillai used to insist on the equality of all people which raised the hatred of the higher classes. This led to his arrest in 1749. After facing several hardships, Pillai received the crown of martyrdom. Yes, he was shot on January 14, 1752.
After 300 years of his birth, Devasahayam Pillai was declared Blessed on December 2, 2012, in Kottar.