Tag Archives: Bible

July, 1889- Seminary Case: Division of the Mar Thoma Church and Jacobite Church (with Video)

Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIV)

Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIV) Photo from The Indian Christians of St. Thomas by William Joseph Richards (1908)

12 July, 1889: Seminary Case Judgment. In 1879 a case was filed in the district court of Alleppey by Bishop Joseph Mar Dionysius against the then Metropolitan of the Church Most Rev. Thomas Mar Athanasius.

Mar Dionysius prayed to the court to declare him as the rightful Metropolitan of the Malankara Church and also requested the court to evict Mar Athanasius and his followers from the Old Seminary building in Kottayam. The final verdict of this case came on 12 July 1889 from the Royal Court of Travancore. Two Judges decreed that Joseph Mar Dionysius was the rightful Metropolitan of the Malankara Church as he expressed allegiance to the Patriarch of Antioch. One Christian judge gave the verdict in favour of Thomas Mar Athanasius because of his conviction that the Malankara Church has been an independent Church from the beginning. The Majority view prevailed and Thomas Mar Athanasius had to leave the Old Seminary and the properties of the Church, because he upheld the autonomy of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. This led to the formal division of the church into two sections: the Mar Thoma Church and Jacobite Church.

The followers of Mar Athanasius got the Kottarakkara church without a duel, they got the Maramon and Kozhencherry churches through court decision, and was given the right to conduct services on alternate Sundays in five other churches. They put up small sheds in other places to hold worship services.

To learn more about Mar Thoma Syrian Church History – watch this Special Documentary with rare footage on the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church – (English/Malayalam) produced in 1986. It offers a peek into the history, rich culture and heritage of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

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21 May, 1921: V. Nagel, author of “Samayamaam radhaththil” passes away. (Rare Photos)

Volbrecht Nagel

21 May, 1921: V. Nagel, author of “Samayamaam radhaththil” passes away. Born in Germany on 3 November, 1867, he came to India in 1893, as a missionary. Along with his wife Harriet, he worked in Kunnamkulam, North Paravur, Trichur and Kumbanadu.

He has written more than 100 hymns in Malayalam that is still sung by all denominations and churches in Kerala.

Hymns written by him in the Kristheeya Keerththanangal (Hymn Book of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church) are – Nos. 57, 144(135), 153(143), 155(145), 203(392), 214(199), 223(208), 238(216), 239(217), 242(220), 244(222), 287, 294(280), 298(284), 300, 301, 325(319), 374(257), 380(260), 382(262), 390(269), 402(294) ,405(353) and 411(354).

The song has been translated into 17 languages though it was originally written in Malayalam and even incorporated in a film.The song depicts the journey of ones life…but it is mistakenly interpreted as many as just a funeral song…but actually its just a song about ones journey from birth …to home ie heaven.

Read below about the great hym writer Volbrecht Nagel from an account by his son Karl Heinrich Nagel.

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The Story of Volbrecht Nagel

By his son, Karl Heinrich Nagel

This account of Volbrecht Nagel was found in an exercise book belonging to Karl Heinrich Nagel and was probably written in the early 1980s when Karl was in his 70s, was ill and his memory was failing. It has been written up by Karl’s daughter, Pauline Munns. February 2007

Volbrecht Nagel

Volbrecht Nagel was born to Heinrich Peter Nagel and Elisabeth May Nagel on the 3rd November 1867 in the village of Stammheim, Hessen, Germany. He was baptised on November 17th in the Lutheran church and Volbrecht Nagel II was his godfather. He appears to have lost his parents at a young age and to have been taken over by a Mr and Mrs Bindewald, who educated him. He was brought up according to the Lutheran Church. He appears to have been ordained as a Pastor at the early age of 20 and to have been sent as a Lutheran missionary to Cannanore, Malaba (now Kerala State). He served the Lutheran Church until about 1892 when he left them owing to doctrinal differences. He had no money at the time and began to walk barefoot, trusting the Lord to lead him to the place where he could start a work for Him.

Volbrecht Nagel

Harriet Sabina Mitchell Nagel

Eventually he came to a place called Kunnamkulum, in Cochin State, where he met a small group of Christians, who called themselves Brethren, and worshipped God in a simple manner without a pastor. He believed that this was where the Lord would have him work for the time being. It was while he was here, building up the church, that he met and married Harriet Mitchell, on 1st April 1896, who gave him his first two sons, Samuel Frederick (1.1.1898) and Theodore Ernst (10.3.1899).

When he saw that the believers were well established and capable of carrying on by themselves, he moved with his wife and two sons, to a place called PARUR, also in Cochin State, and began a work for the Lord there. Here his third son, Gotlob Volbrecht was born on 8.8.1900 and his first daughter Olive Margaret on 31.12.1901. About this time my mother decided that she should take a nurse’s training so that she may be more qualified to work as a missionary’s wife, so she went to Madras and qualified in a short midwifery course, and returned to the family at Parur.

Considering that the believers were well established in the faith, my father moved, with his family, to British Cochin. Here his fourth son, Karl Heinrich was born on 17.11 1905. Two [other]children were also born, Wilfried Adolf and Elsa Hope but they died as infants and were buried in Hosur Road cemetery, Bangalore.

The Volbrecht Nagel Family
With Harriet’s sister, Josephine Mitchell

Seeing that the work was well established at British Cochin, my father decided to move, with his family to Trichur in Cochin State. The time had now come for the education of his children, and as there were no English schools in Trichur, he made arrangements for the four older children to go to Bangalore for their education. I was sent to school in Bangalore in January 1914. During these years my father developed the work at Trichur. Besides the assembly work, he opened a girls’ orphanage, which still flourishes.

As my brother Samuel and Theodore’s futures had now to be considered, my father took them to London, presumably about March 1914, to apprentice them there as engineers. That was the last his three younger children saw of him. On his way to London he called at Stammheim with my brothers for a few days. After seeing that they were settled in London, he went to the Bible School at Berlin, intending to visit his relatives once more before returning to India. Unfortunately for him, World War 1 broke out, and, being a German, he was not allowed to return to India. The problem now arose of joining the German army, which was compulsory, a thing he said he would never do, being a Christian. He prayed about the matter and asked the Lord to open the way for him to cross over into Switzerland, which was neutral. He made the attempt one night, and the Lord undertook by making the frontier guards very sleepy, so that they carelessly examined his passport and allowed him through.

Volbrecht Nagel

When the war ceased in November 1918 my father sought permission to return to India but was refused. He therefore went back to the Bible School. (The Bible School had moved [from Berlin] to Wiedenest. He obtained a position on the staff until about February 1921 when he had a stroke of apoplexy. They cabled to my mother in India and she left immediately. Ironically the English government gave him permission to return to India just then but it was too late. My mother nursed him until he passed away on May 21st, 1921. He was buried in the cemetery adjoining the Bible School. My brothers Samuel and Theodore went from England to attend his funeral. Mr and Mrs Bindewald,who brought him up also attended because, they said, he was the means of their salvation.

A Mr. Kocher, a missionary from India, also attended as he was in charge of a girls’ orphanage at Irinjalakuda, very close to Trichur, during my father’s time there. After the funeral my mother visited his relatives at Stammheim and stayed with them for a short while before returning to India.

Ted, Harriet, and Sam @ Volbrecht’s funeral

Reproduced with kind permission from https://revisitingthepast.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/the-story-of-volbrecht-nagel/

1895: Remembering the first Maramon Convention

An undated early photo of the Maramon Convention. (www.marthoma.in)

An undated early photo of the Maramon Convention. (www.marthoma.in)

The first Maramon Convention was held from 9th March (Friday) to 18th March (Sunday) in 1895 at the Parapuzha Manalpuram of the River Pamba (the location was situated between the famous Aranmula Temple and the Maramon Church) about one kilometer away from the present venue. It was a ten day event.

The pandal (tent) could accommodate about 7000 people. Mr. David and Mr. Wordsworth, both missionaries from Ceylon (today known as Sri Lanka) were the main speakers of the convention. Mar Thoma Metropolitan Titus I gave the leadership for the convention meetings. Deacon Kakkasseri Varghese of Kunnamkulam (7 July 1867 – 4 June 1897) translated the messages from English to Malayalam for the audiences to understand.

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1921 -1970: World renowned missionary Dr. E. Stanley Jones at Maramon Convention (See Rare Photos)

E.Stanley Jones with Alexander Mar Thoma  Metropolitan at Sat Tal Ashram, India.

E.Stanley Jones (right) with Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan (middle) with an unidentified friend at Sat Tal Ashram, India. (Photos from E. Stanley Jones FB page)

Dr. Eli Stanley Jones was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 3rd Jan 1884. He was a faculty at Asbury College, Kentucky, USA when he was called to missionary service in India in 1907 under the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

He was one of the main speakers of the Maramon Convention from 1921-1970. His messages combined evangelistic challenges with social concerns.

“For more than half a century Dr E Stanley Jones proclaimed the Gospel of Christ and applied it to people’s personal, social, national, and international problems. He moved among statesmen and among leaders without portfolios as counselor, friend and worker for peace and goodwill.

Dr Jones became a friend of Mahatma Gandhi and wrote an appreciative biography of Gandhi.In 1950 Dr Jones provided funds for India’s first Christian psychiatric center, and clinic currently known as Nur Manzil Psychiatric Center and Medical Unit at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
~ http://www.facebook.com/SattalAshram”

In 1946, with the help of friends in USA, he donated the first loud speaker setup to the Maramon Convention. He is also the founder of the Sat Tal Christian Ashram movement, Nainital, Uttarakhand,. He died January 25, 1973 in his beloved India.

In the 1920s, India began to develop greater appreciation for its own history and culture and greater pride in its own unique contributions to world civilization. Stanley Jones was one of the very first to realize the possibilities that this change in India’s intellectual and spiritual culture created for Christianity and especially for Western Christian missionaries. But he could not fully understand the astounding scope and depth of the possibilities without experiencing the history and culture of his adopted country for himself. So, what better way to immerse himself in the ethos of India than to visit Indian ashrams?

This is exactly what he did. In 1923 he spent two months at Santiniketan, the ashram of the world-famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Three years later in 1926 he visited Gandhi’s ashram at Sabarmati.

It is no exaggeration to say that Jones’ visits to these ashrams changed the course of his life. In fact, in 1930, he established his own ashram as a spiritual retreat for Christians modeled on his experience with Ashrams in India. But this was only the first of hundreds of Christian ashrams that would eventually be established throughout the world. These ashrams are truly the work of the Holy Spirit as they continue to inspire, refresh, and renew thousands of Christians in many nations today.
~ From “Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Mission: The Life and Work fo E. Stanley Jones” by Stephen A. Graham

Rev. E. Stanley Jones giving one of his sermons at Sat Tal Ashram, India.

Rev. E. Stanley Jones giving one of his sermons at Sat Tal Ashram, India. (Photo from E. Stanley Jones FB Page)

Bishop T. S. Joseph speaking at the Maramon Convention while Bishop Alexander Mar Theophilus (Metropolitan Alexander Mar Thoma), E. Stanley Jones and Mr. Ramenpillar listen.

Bishop T. S. Joseph speaking at the Maramon Convention while Bishop Alexander Mar Theophilus (Metropolitan Alexander Mar Thoma), E. Stanley Jones and Mr. Ramenpillar listen. (Photo from E. Stanley Jones FB page)

Rev. Stanley Jones with Mar Thoma Church members in  Kerala, India.

Rev. Stanley Jones with Mar Thoma Church members in Kerala, India. (Photo from E. Stanley Jones FB page)

Dr. Stanley Jones with Dr. Rajendra Prasad, first President of India 1950

Dr. Stanley Jones with Dr. Rajendra Prasad, first President of India 1950 (Photo from E. Stanley Jones FB page)

E. Stanley Jones (right) at the Maramon Convention with Bishop  Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan (middle) and an unidentified friend.

E. Stanley Jones (right) at the Maramon Convention with Bishop Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan (middle) and an unidentified friend. (Photo from E. Stanley Jones FB page)

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World Sunday School Day: 1st November 2015 (Free Ebook – Robert Raikes and how we got Sunday School)

George Romney's portrait of Robert Raikes, the newspaperman who popularised schooling on Sundays Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London

George Romney’s portrait of Robert Raikes, the newspaperman who popularised schooling on Sundays Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London

1st November 2015 : 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, 1st November, 2015 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. 


We encourage our readers to read and share this Free 4 page PDF Ebook Resource for your Sunday Schools and children’s services:  Robert Raikes and How We Got Sunday School


Inscription on the tomb of Robert Raikes.

Inscription on the tomb of Robert Raikes.

February, 1917: Sadhu Sunder Singh preaches at Maramon Convention

Sadhu Sundar Singh

Sadhu Sundar Singh

Sadhu Sunder Singh (3 September 1889-1929) the renowned Indian Christian missionary was one of the speakers of the Maramon Convention in 1918. He spoke in Hindi and the translation was done by Mr. M. O. Oommen, Chief Conservator of Travancore.

Sadhu Sunder Singh drew crowds greater than any previous conventions, so much so that before the end of the week the pandal (covered area) had to be enlarged. It is estimated at the final meeting about 32,000 people gathered to hear his message.

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First Sunday of December – Bible Sunday

A Myanmar child holding the Bible.

A Myanmar child holding the Bible.

The First Sunday of December is observed as Bible Society Day. It was the British and Foreign Bible Society, established in London in 1804, that first made a concerted effort of translating, printing and publishing Bibles in different languages.

In India, it’s auxiliaries were formed in Calcutta (1811), Bombay (1812), Madras (1820) and in Kerala (1956). Other auxiliaries were formed later. Even before the formation of the auxiliaries in India, the work of translation of the Bible to Indian languages had been taken up by William Carey and his associates in Calcutta. In obedience to the commandment of the Lord “Go ye unto the uttermost corners of the earth and preach my gospel”, the Bible Society aims at making available, copies of the Bible, New Testaments and portions of the Bible to

1.To Every Person in his/her own language.
2.At a price within his/her reach
3.In a style which is easily understood

It is in pursuance of this objective that it brings out special editions for students,members of the armed forces, in Braille type for the blind, etc. The United Bible Society distributes an average of 32 million full Bibles each year. In addition to that, they distribute enough New Testaments and Scripture portions to potentially reach 5% of the world’s population each year. In 2012 they distributed over 405 million Scripture items.

They also manage a growing social media ministry on Facebook and other social networks. The Digital BibleDSC00395 Facebook page reaches millions of young adults every year. 71% report it helps them apply the Bible’s teaching to their lives. https://www.facebook.com/UnitedBibleSocieties

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Pages from History: 30th Nov 1945 – Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi passes away.

Sadhu Kochu Kunju Upadesi

Sadhu Kochu Kunju Upadesi

30th November, 1945 (1121 Virchikam 15): Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi (b.Dec.1883) passes away. Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi (Mr. Moothampakkal Itty Varghese,Moothampakkal, Edayaranmula near Chengannur) was a unique personality in history of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.
For almost forty years he preached the Bible in simple language all over South India. He practised and lived the life of a Sadhu. He wrote more than 200 hymns, many of that are printed in worship books across denominations even today. Thousands turned to God by hearing his messages. He was the first General Secretary of the ‘Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelists’ Association, which was founded in 1924, and he continued in the post until 1945.

His continuous travels and gospel work made him sick many times. But on Friday, 30th November 1945 he became very sick and called to eternal rest on 15 Virchikam 1121 (8.45 am) and was buried in the Lakha St.Thomas Mar Thoma Church Cemetery on the following day. The funeral service itself was a great honour for him. Two Bishops, more than 100 priests and more than 40,000 people attended the funeral service.

Read more about his life in our free pdf Ebook: https://nalloorlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/sadhu-kuchujunu-upadeshi.pdf

Pages from History: 14th September 407, Archbishop John Chrysostom dies

14 September, 407: Early church father John Chrysostom, the greatest preacher of his age, dies in exile when, in poor health, he is forced to travel on foot in bad weather. He was the Archbishop of Constantinople.

John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom

Pages from History: 14 July, 1947, Punchamannil Mammen Upadeshi passes away

14 July, 1947: Punchamannil Mammen Upadeshi passes away. Mammen Upadeshi was born in the Vadasseri house of the Punchamannil family in Maramon on 25 Nov.1868, as the son of Mathai and Achiyamma.

Mammen’s elder siblings all died while they were still infants. So Mammen was baptized at home when he was very young by the Parish Priest Rev. Titus (Later Rt. Rev. Titus I Mar Thoma).

Mammen Upadeshi trusted the Lord like the Old Testament Prophet Elijah and lived like Elijah, spoke the messages of the Lord like Elijah, fought against evil forces like Elijah and even performed miracles like Elijah.

Punchamannil Mammen Upadeshi

Punchamannil Mammen Upadeshi