Blessed Devasahayam Pillai

detail of a photograph of a statue of Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, artist unknown, date unknown; Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral, Kottar, Nagercoil, India; photographed by Kumbalam on 5 July 2013; swiped off Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Neelakandan
  • Neelam
  • Nilakandan
  • Nilam



Raised a high-caste Hindu. Knew Sanskrit, Tamil and Malayalam, and studied martial arts and archery. Married layman. Convert, baptized on 14 May 1745 in the diocese of Kottar, India, and taking the name Devasahayam, the Tamil equivalent of the meaning of the name Lazarus. He drew the ire and fell into confrontation with authorities because he mixed with lower castes. Arrested on 23 February 1749 for his faith, he was tortured and abused, and then for three years was hauled from village to village as an example of what would happen to Christian converts. He spent the time in prayer and teaching any who would listen, and priests would sneak him Communion in his cell. Martyr.





Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Devasahayam Pillai“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 November 2019. Web. 22 January 2020. <>