Thiruvananathapuram: Three pieces of antique figurines have been found in an underground vault of an 18th century Catholic church at the coastal hamlet Anjuthengu near here, which was a fortified port of the British East India Company during the colonial era.
One of them was a figurine of Virgin Mary in ivory while the other two were woodworks of St Philomena, the church authorities said.
The discovery has attracted the attention of historians and conservationists while the parishioners of the St Peter's Ferona Church welcomed it as good augury for the community.
The idols were found in the vault during the restoration work of the church's alter.
The figurine of St Mary was believed to have been used by the church during the processions and festivals years back, Church Vicar Father Anish Fernandes said.
The workers chanced upon the objects when they opened the doors near the altar which led to the opening of the vaults the other day.
Anjuthengu, about 36 kilometre from here, was initially a Dutch controlled port through which spice trade was conducted.
Later, the British East Company came to have control of the area through a treaty with a local principality.
The church was built before the area became a British possession.