On Sunday, May 15, the eyes of the Catholic world will be on Vatican’s St Peter’s Square as Holy Father Pope Francis raises 10 blessed souls to the altars. Among the new stars in the galaxy of saints is India’s first lay martyr, Lazarus Devasahayam Pillai, a Hindu nobleman who embraced the Catholic faith after discovering the love of Christ and ultimately made the supreme sacrifice, earning the crown of martyrdom. On this solemn occasion, Shalom World brings to its viewers a riveting visual tribute to this martyr. Watch the latest episode of ‘Glorious Lives’ featuring the amazing life of Blessed Lazarus Devasahayam on the day of his canonization at 9 PM ET/BST/IST/AEST. Its YouTube premiere will be available on May 14 from 11.30 PM ET/4.30 AM BST/1.30 PM AEST and 9 AM IST until May 15 3.30 AM ET/8.30 AM BST/5.30 PM AEST and 1 PM IST. After the television broadcast, this episode can be watched free of cost on Shalom World’s website.
The future martyr-saint was born into a Hindu noble family on April 23, 1712, in the southern part of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore, which is now part of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He served the ruler as a high ranking official and was his blue-eyed boy. But setbacks in life made Pillai believe that all was lost. A glimmer of hope came in the form of the Book of Job in the Bible through Captain Eustachius De Lannoy, a Dutch East India Company official and an ardent Catholic serving the Travancore king following a military defeat.
The Word of God and the camaraderie with the European officer led him gradually to the love of Jesus and the mercy of the Heavenly Father. Ultimately, he put everything at stake and got baptized in 1745 by Italian Jesuit Fr Giovanni Battista Buttari, only to incur the wrath of the royal house and upper-class Hindus. But unflinching faith in Jesus made his resolution not to apostatize as hard as steel in spite of setbacks. And the rest is history.
Shalom World’s ‘Glorious Lives’ is an award-winning series that introduces viewers to peerless Catholic personalities who have made immense contributions to Church and society alike. Some of the personalities we have featured from the annals of Church history include Cardinal William Allen of England, who heroically sustained the Catholic Church on the island during the persecution unleashed by Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century; eminent theologian and prominent convert from Anglicanism Cardinal John Henry Newman; Servant of God Frank Duff, the founder of ‘Legion of Mary’ who is known especially for bringing attention to the role of laity during the Second Vatican Council; and Cardinal Francis George who played a key role in the modern history of the Catholic Church in the United States. It was through ‘Glorious Lives’ that millions around the world came to know of the hitherto unknown Angelena Lyaka, Uganda’s own Maria Goretti who died while heroically defending her chastity.
The ‘Glorious Lives’ episode on Lazarus Devasahayam has been directed by the award-winning producer Robin Varghese. With two decades of experience in filmmaking, documentary production and television shows, Varghese won the prestigious Gabriel Award (North America and Canada) in 2021 for his documentary on a congregation of missionary nuns and their apostolate. He also found an honorable mention at the MirabileDictu International Catholic Film Festival in 2019 and 2020.