The general concept on the design of churches is based on the three crucial periods in the life of Jesus Christ – i.e. (i) the Baptism, (ii) the Public Life, and (iii) the Crucifixion. Liturgically these are expressed in (i) the Baptismal Font (ii) the Pulpit and the Altar, and (iii) the Tabernacle. This concept was clearly adopted in the design of early Christian churches. Later, churches became a general space in which various elements were met together. The church architecture of Kerala go evolved from the Christian immigrants from Syria and the missionaries of European settlers. But, during the early period some of the temples worshipped by the Hindu converts might have been used as churches. The historical references to the incident of Vasco-da-Gama entering a temple at Kozhikode by mistaking it as a church, and the old relics of Hindu temples kept at Palur church, are some of the examples to cite. Earlier church buildings had only a rectangular hall. Later the sanctuary (madubaha) and nave (haikala or palliyakom) were included. Gradually, church buildings were done following the Kerala style of architecture. The Kadamattom Church in Kolencherry of Ernakulam district is one of the oldest churches in Kerala, built in Kerala style.

Syrians who had migrated to Kerala had brought some of the West Asian conventions in church architecture. Consequently churches have begun to be built in a distinct architectural style. Another visible change in church style took place from the period of the Portuguese in India who adopted Roman and Gothic styles. The first church that built in that new style was the St. Francis Church, Cochin, which is considered as a model for the later construction of churches. However, modern architectural trend shows new plans and structural shapes in designing a church complex. Even then the Orthodox and Jacobite churches mostly adhere to their traditional designs only.