Vatican declares ‘Blessed Devasahayam’ - a ‘Saint’

  • 17 May 2022

On 15th May 2022, ‘Blessed Devasahayam’, became the first Indian layman to be declared a saint by Pope Francis during a canonisation ceremony held at the Vatican.

  • Devasahayam was born on April 23, 1712 as Neelakanta Pillai into a Hindu Nair family, at Nattalam in Kanyakumari district, which was part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom.
  • He was an official in the court of Travancore’s Maharaja Marthanda Varma when he was instructed into the Catholic faith by a Dutch naval commander in 1745.
  • He took the name “Lazarus”, or “Devasahayam” in Malayalam, which translates to “God is my help”.
  • While clearing Devasahayam for sainthood in 2020, the Vatican dropped ‘Pillai’ from his name and referred to him as “Blessed Devasahayam”.