St. Michael’s Church, Manickpur

Manickpur a small village on the Western coast of India near the busy metropolis of Mumbai (Bombay) has a special patronage from one of the Archangels of Heaven, St. Michael. The church built in the Fifteenth Century has a special place in the hearts of many parishioners of the village of Manickpur. The earlier frame of this church was made up of wood and thatched leaves as roof, now it houses a crowd of almost 1000 with its new extension.

The church also has an extensive courtyard that is used for the services on Special Occasions where a large crowd of about 2500 is expected.

This church has played a special role in the lives of many purkars.

Now for some historical data

The Jesuits lived in the Vasai Fort and had the parishes of Papdy, Sandor and Manickpur in their control. Upto 1605, people from Manickpur used to go to Sandor to celebrate the Eucharistic. But since it was far, the priests established a chapel in Manickpur in 1606. This chapel was made out of wood and had toddy leaves thatched as roof. Till 1608 priests from Sandor used to come and celebrate mass and preach. Alexeo Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, then bifurcated the parishes of Manickpur and Sandor.

The land used to build the chapel at Manickpur was donated by a Portuguese lady Dona Ines Francisca to the Jesuits in 1572. The Jesuits sold off the land. It finally was bought by another Portuguese lady Dona Philipa De Fonseca. She finally donated this land back to the Jesuits in her will when she died on 20-06-1625. Rev. Fr. Adrian D’silva started the building of the church, it was then followed by Rev. Fr. Manuel Perez and finally completed by Rev. Fr. Manuel D’costa.

An interesting fact about the structure of the church was that it is located forming a triangle with churches at Papdy and Sandor as the other points. Also the distance between the churches is less than 2 miles.

In the year 1739, Manickpur was raided by the Marathas who came in through the east led by Chimaji Appa. They destroyes all the Churches that fell in their way towards the Vasai Fort, and Manickpur was one of them. However it was later rebuilt in the year 1851 by Rev. Fr. E. R. Hull (Reference to this can be found in B.M.H Vol.1.P.5)

That year the Jesuits fled the village and the Diocesan priests took charge of the parish. They were in charge of the parish for almost 200 years and finally it was handed over to the Jesuits in 1949.