CHARUMMOODU: Murals on the walls of Churches remind us an age old Christian tradition. In Churches of ancient Christian centers we witness them in abundance. Mosaics were also used extensively to depict Christian motives to enhance spiritual experience while at prayer within Churches of ancient Christendom, like for instance, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, Istanbul, Turkey or the four major Cathedrals in Rome, namely, the Saint Peters Basilica, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Lateran Basilica, to name a few.
In Kerala also murals on the walls of Churches were not unknown. St. Mary’s Cheriya Palli, Kottayam is a very good example therefore. However, this art form did not gain wind a lot in Kerala. Members of the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Punnamoodu, Charumoodu, Alappuzha District, but thought otherwise. They were keen to revamp this tradition and endeavored to use murals to beautify the walls of their new Church that is getting consecrated on 4th and 5th of January, 2011. These murals cuddle beauty of traditional painting techniques and they are artistically outstanding too.
Suresh Kunnumkal, a local lad, is the artist, who made these murals a reality. He learned to write murals from the School for Mural Writing, Guruvayoor, near one of the most famous temples in Kerala.
The murals on the walls of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Charummoodu, exhibit the color range and techniques of traditional mural drawing.
To the conventional Christian mural drawing style to chose motives from the birth, passion, death or resurrection of Jesus Christ, Suresh preferred the motive ‘the Last Judgment’. Lord Jesus Christ is painted with green color to depict that the Incarnate God has the fullness of spiritual stature. ‘Last Judgment’ depicts heaven and hell for Suresh. Angels, St. Mary and Apostles figure in the heaven. Scorpion, serpents, Evil and as the representation of Satan a dragon are drawn to portray the hell.
To ‘concentrate upon the invisible’ is a very difficult task for common faithful and murals are thought to help and enhance their quest and curiosity to experience the heavenly realm. It is in this context that we need to seriously appreciate the initiative from St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Punnamoodu.