Devasahayam Pillai will become the first Indian layman to be conferred sainthood. He is a Hindu who was converted to Christianity in the 18th century. Pillai will be canonised by Pope Francis. He will be joined together with six other Blesseds during a Canonization Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The church Officials said that the ceremony will take place on May 15, 2022.

The announcement was made by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican on Tuesday.

Pillai, with the completion of the process, will become the first layperson from India to become a saint, the church said. He took the name “Lazarus” after embracing Christianity in 1745.

“Lazarus” or “Devasahayam” in the local language, meaning “God is my help”.

“While preaching, he particularly insisted on the equality of all people, despite caste differences. This aroused the hatred of the higher classes, and he was arrested in 1749. After enduring increasing hardships, he received the crown of martyrdom when he was shot on 14 January 1752”, a note prepared by the Vatican said.

Sites linked with his life and martyrdom are in Kottar Diocese, in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

Devasahayam was declared Blessed on December 2, 2012, in Kottar, 300 years after his birth.

He was born into a Hindu Nair family at Nattalam in Kanyakumari district, which was part of erstwhile Travancore kingdom, on 23 April, 1712.