On 25 June, 1975 – nearly forty years years ago, Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi unilaterally had a state of emergency declared across the country. Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352(1) of the Constitution for “internal disturbance”, the Emergency was in effect from 25 June 1975 until its withdrawal on 21 March 1977 (21 months). `
So what did the Emergency imply? Essentially, at the stroke of the President’s pen India ceased being a democracy and was converted into a virtual autocracy. Civil liberties were suspended, media was censored, state and parliamentary elections were postponed, and anyone who wrote or spoke against the Government was put behind bars. In the 21 months of the Emergency, 100,000 people were arrested and detained without trial. ~ www.thelogicalindian.com
Under the Emergency rule, it was not easy to raise voices of critical opposition, in making even a mild-toned protest, one did so at considerable risk. Many kept silent because of the fear which spread among the people. Despite these pressures, some of the Christian groups made courageous attempts to express critical voices. It is significant to recognise that those who made the critical protests were not the representatives of the large institutional churches; rather, they were members of relatively small groups or of a minority group within the institutional church.
Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma was the only Church leader who wrote a letter to her disapproving it. The Metropolitan’s letter stated that he deemed the Emergency rule as a setback to democracy and demanded its speedy withdrawal as well as the release of the politicians arrested in this regard.
His earlier statement was drafted in Malayalam in the fall of 1975. Even though it was not an entirely critical protest, but raised in a modest way a critical question, it was refused publication in Kerala. Metropolitan has written a brief yet pointed letter to Prime Minister Gandhi stating clearly his concern for the political situation.
“A vast number of people, and that growing numbers, feel the price we have to pay is costly. With people like Morarji and others in jail, and a press which has lost its freedom to write news and views, we feel a kind of depression. On behalf of thousands, I request withdrawal of Emergency by gradual stages. Immediate and altogether withdrawal is likely to have very bad repercussions. If the political detenus are released and’ freedom for press is given, it will be a great relief.
“I have one more request: not to have elections and constitutional changes during the time of Emergency. Hoping to be excused for this letter written from a sincere and painful heart.” ~www.daga.org.hk
He wrote that he was writing as a Church leader and a citizen. Mrs Indira Gandhi gave orders to arrest Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma. Mr. C. Achuthamenon was the Chief Minister at that time and with his interference the arrest was avoided. It was the Mar Thoma Church’s fight for independence and national integrity that echoed through Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma, a fearless commitment to the concerns of the people that is hard to find among religious leaders now. On September 9, shortly after he wrote this letter, he fell ill and died on September 27, 1976.
The first edition of the Indian Express after the imposition of emergency consisted of a blank page instead of editorial. The Financial Express had Rabindranath Tagore’s poem, “Where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high”.
Where The Mind Is Without Fear
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
Date of Birth: 02 April 1938
Ordained as Deacon: 08 May 1964
Ordained as Kassesa: 04 July 1964
Appointed as Vicar General: 30 November 1998
Retired from Active Service: 02 April 2003
The death of Very. Rev. A.C. Kurian is unlike the death of any other priest. We feel it differently and deeply. We sense that in losing him, we have lost not only the man but also his unique way of manifesting God. He was a model priest. His memory will live on forever in the hearts of his entire dear and near ones. His parishioners remember him for his gentle presence that extended beyond the altar and into their homes, where “he was a part of our families”. Many will also miss his personal emails, letters and calls remembering people on their birthdays, anniversaries and in times of grief.
Throughout his ministry, achen took special interest for the welfare of the poor, sick and needy. He was the superintendent of many of the destitute homes. After his retirement, he took active part in the Palliative Care Centre unit in Pushpagiri Hospital, Tiruvalla. At the time of his death, he was the Director of the Unit. His services were a source of comfort for the terminally sick patients in the palliative care unit.
Achen used to send birthday/marriage anniversary greetings to more than 15,000 people with the final words being:
“I am not Miles away but a Mail away.”
The Very. Rev. A.C. Kurian was a strong supporter of Nalloor Publications and Nalloor Library (www.nalloorlibray.com). He used to correspond with us and shared valuable information for updating our Library records. Through his death we have lost a true friend.
We express our deepest condolences to his family.
Details of the Very. Rev. A. C. Kurian:
Very. Rev. A.C. Kurian (S/o O.A. Chacko and Mariamma, Arapurayil, Kottarakkara, Mother Parish. Pattamala MTC, Kottarakkara). Present Residence: Arappurayil; Bethel Junction, Kuttapuzha, Tiruvalla-689103
Kochamma: Mrs. Susamma D/o of K.T.Thomas and Chinnamma, Kallodikuzhiyil, Vadasserikkara)
Children and Grandchildren:
- Nirmala – Sanu (husband); Children: Vivek
- Jacob (Vinod)- Susan (wife); Children: Nikhil and Nithara
- Anila – Manoj (husband); Children: Reuben and Benjamin
Shornur, Vadakacherry, Thannipadam, Peechi, Koodal, Athirumkal, Andamans, Kottarakkara, Neeleswaram, Inchakad, Puthur, Anaprampal, Kuwait, Eraviperur, Theverkad, Kizhakenmuthur, Annavattom, Mukkajiram,
Kozhencherry, Tiruvalla St.Thomas, Perurkada, Nellikunnam, Vilangara Salem, Vilangara St.Thomas, Chennamkary St.Pauls, Chennamkary Bethany, Madavupara, Karyavattom, Kazakutam, Kurupuzha Jerusalem, Ponnumangalam, Perurkada Ebenezer.
*Special: Sabha Secretary -2 Terms, Senior Vicar General, Supdt. of Trichur Ravi Varma Mandiram & Kottarakkara Jubilee Mandiram, MTEA Correspondence Secretary, Trivandrum JMM Study Centre Associate Director, Development Fund Collection Convener, Sabha Council Member, Episcopal Nomination Board Member, Tiruvalla Mar Thoma College -Titus College- Governing Board Member, CCI Member, Vaideeka Selection Committee Member.
First Service: 27/5/2018 7pm – At residence. To be presided by Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa
Second Service: 28/5/2018 8.am – At Residence. To be presided by Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethos Episcopa
Third Service: 28/5/2018 11 Am – At Residence. To be presided by Very Rev. George Zachariah
Fourth Service: 28/5/2018 2:30pm – At Varicad Sehion Mar Thoma Church. To be presided by His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan
The Poet Oliver Goldsmith’s (10 November 1728- 4 April 1774) lines hold true for him:
“Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain by turns dismayed,
The reverend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.”
(The Village Preacher)
Pages from History:- 25 December, 1905: Formation of the National Missionary Society of India (NMSI).
On Christmas Day 1905, a meeting of the church leaders held in the historic library of William Carey at Serampore decided to form a National Missionary Society.
The following principles were adopted on that day
1. The work of evangelization shall be done by Indians
2. That its expenses should be met by Indian money.
3. They must choose mission fields in areas where Western Missions were not working
4. The society should not form a church or denomination but entrust the converts they gather to the care of the churches in that area.
5th November 2017 : World Sunday School Day – The first Sunday of the Month of November is celebrated throughout the world as Sunday School Day. The Mar Thoma/ CSI/ CNI churches are celebrating Sunday, 5th November, 2017 as World Sunday School Day.
Robert Raikes (1735- 1811), an English Publisher, started the first Sunday School in the city of Gloucester in England in 1780. During the early days, reading, arithmetic and Bible was taught at the Sunday Schools.
In 1809, Church representatives of the Malankara Churches held a meeting at Kandanadu Church, near Ernakualam to arrange facilities to teach children in the Church about religion, prayers and sacraments. The India Sunday School Union was founded in 1876.The Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam was established on 25 February 1905, at the Maramon Convention.
On 22nd October 2017 (20th Sunday after Pentecost), Family Sunday is celebrated by the CSI church, CNI church and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. The focus of the service is on the “Family a Place of Faith formation”.
Download this free pdf Ebook published in Malayalam in 1951 that is still relevant to today’s Christian life. This book can be used as a resource for your Family Sunday service. The link can be shared and used by church members, parishes and church organizations. It can be accessed on any smartphone, tablet or computer for free.
The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church had a part to play in the historic visit of Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi to Israel. PM Modi presented PM Netanyahu replicas of 2 sets of relics from Kerala that are regarded as key artifacts in the long Jewish history in India. One of them was was made possible with the cooperation of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church which was publicly acknowledged by the Prime Minister on Twitter.
They comprise two different sets of copper plates that are believed to have been inscribed in 9-10th century C.E. The first set of copper plates is a cherished relic for the Cochini Jews in India. It is regarded as a charter describing the grant of hereditary royal privileges and prerogatives by the Hindu King, Cheraman Perumal (often identified as Bhaskara Ravi Varma) to the Jewish leader Joseph Rabban. According to traditional Jewish accounts, Joseph Rabban was later crowned as the Prince of Shingli, a place in or equated with Cranganore.
Cranganore is where Jews enjoyed religious and cultural autonomy for centuries, before they moved to Cochin and other places in Malabar. Local Jews once placed in each coffin a handful of earth from Shingli/Cranganore that was remembered as a holy place & a “second Jerusalem”. The replica of these plates was made possible with the cooperation of the Paradesi Synagogue in Mattancherry, Kochi.
The second set of copper plates is believed to be the earliest documentation of the history of Jewish trade with India. These plates describe the grant of land and tax privileges by the local Hindu ruler to a church and oversight of trade in Kollam to West Asian and Indian trading associations. West Asian association included Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, as also a group of Jews who signed in Judeo-Persian and possibly also in Arabic and Pahlavi (Middle Persian). The plates bear their signatures that appear to have been cut into the plates by a local workman unfamiliar with the script. The replica of these plates was made possible with the cooperation of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Thiruvalla, Kerala.
In addition, Prime Minister @narendramodi also presented PM @netanyahu a Torah scroll donated by the Paradesi Jewish community in Kerala. Handwritten over a hundred years ago, the scroll had been dedicated to the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi that had been built in 1568. The Torah is enclosed on wooden staves in a wooden case adorned with silver sheets.
And a metal crown covered in gold sheets in floral ornament style, bearing motifs typical of lamps and decorations of South India.
Listen to a rare 33 year old recording to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Hoskote Mission Field.
The recording was done in June 1984 during Mrs Mariamma Joseph’s (co-founder of the mission) address to the Dubai Mar Thoma Parish. She spoke about the beginning of Hoskote Mission and the challenges faced by the pioneering missionaries.
The Hoskote Mission Medical Center was established in 1947 in Hoskote, Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka by two missionaries Mr. M. T. Joseph and Mr. A.C. Zachariah along with their wives Mariamma Joseph and Saramma Zachariah.
Read more about this incredible story (Free PDF)
To read a more detailed biography of Mr. & Mrs. M.T.Joseph (Free PDF)
To read a more detailed biography of Rev. A. C. Zachariah (Free PDF)
Maramon Convention 2017 – My Life – Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan
This audio is a recording of the speech given by the Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan ( b.27 April 1918.) during the Maramon Convention 2017.
Note: (Sadhu Sundar Singh was an Indian Christian missionary (.b.3 Sep 1899 in Ludhiana, Punjab) He was the main speaker of Maramon Convention in 1918.)
“Sthuthippin sthuthippin Yesudevane” – Unchanged final hymn from the first Maramon Convention in 1895 (See Videos)
The Hymn “Sthuthippin sthuthippin Yesudevane, Halleluiyah paadi sthuthippeen sthuthippen yesudevane” written by Rev. Yusthus Joseph (Vidhuwan Kutty Achen) (1835-1887) is sung by the complete congregation at the close of the final meeting of each year’s convention. This may be a world record for the same hymn being sung every year at the same time since the year 1895.
Rev. Yusthus Joseph (Vidhuwan Kutty Achen) (1835-1887) has written 26 out of the total 427 hymns in the Kristeeya Keerthanangal (hymn book used by the Mar Thoma Syrian Church).
According to the Late Metropolitan Most. Rev. Dr. Juhanon Mar Thoma, Vidhuwan Kutty Achen had a vital role in the Revival movement of the Mar Thoma Church “The spiritual revival started by an unknown preacher Mathai Upadesi and carried on by Rev. Yusthus Joseph (Vidhuwan Kutty), a famous scholar and musician and a Brahmin convert, had its influence throughout Central Travancore. – “Christianity in India and a brief history of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church” by Most. Rev. Juhanon Mar Thoma.
The original composition by in Carnatic music style is still performed by classical singers.