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First Indian layperson beatified

TAMIL NADU (Agencies): Devasahayam Pillai became the first lay person from India to be made a blessed by the Church at a ceremony presided over by Anglo Cardinal Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in Tamil Nadu, India, on December 2, reports.

Born in 1712, he was an official in the court of King Mathanada Varma and received baptism under the influence of a Dutch ship’s captain, Eustacheus Benedictus de Lenoy, who was a prisoner of the king.

The king interpreted his baptism as a personal insult and repeatedly persuaded him to give up his new-found faith. But he refused and even under three-days of intense torture remained steadfast.

He was finally taken to a remote place and shot dead by the king’s security guards on 14 January 1752.

The Holy See has judged that he died in the service of his faith and his beatification cause was confirmed in 2010.

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