Tag Archives: Kottayam

1905: When the Maramon Convention Sermons were printed overnight!


At present, Maramon Convention messages (full text) are printed and sold on the next day morning from counters for the convention attendees. This enables people to take home the sermons of the previous day and read them again and share the sermons with people who were not able to attend the convention. These printed sermons are also shared in cottage prayer fellowships, parish prayer groups  and for personal prayer and meditation.

However, few people know that this practice started in 1905. There were no microphones and speakers. The convention messages were repeated in relay by three persons – at times four or more – standing in different places of the pandal to make it audible to the thousands of people who attended. This relay process took a long time and was tedious for the audiences. The printing of messages in 1905 became a real blessing for all and continues to be so today. Today, God has blessed the Church members with technology which enables them to watch the Convention live through web streaming and receive updates on emails and websites.

Rev. Thomas Walker - Church Missionary Society

Rev. Thomas Walker – Church Missionary Society

Given below is the report about this, from the Thomas Walker’s biography.

“1905 Wednesday, February 22. I awoke feeling very weary, for the heat was extraordinarily oppressive, and seemed to take all the life out of one. The Syrian brethren made one very good
arrangement this year. Each day’s addresses wore printed by night at their printing press at Tiruwella, eight miles away, and were on sale the next day in a booth near the pandal. Thus
the printed pages supplemented the speaker’s voice, and carried the message far and wide.”

~ Rev. Thomas Walker was one of the main speakers at the Maramon Convention from 1898 to 1912. He was a Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary from Tirunelveli. He emphasized the importance on studying the Word of God (Bible) and to promote the missionary work of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. 


Tribute to a Marthomite Freedom Fighter!!!

Freedom Fighter Mr. O. C. Chacko (Photo by Malayala Manorama)

Freedom Fighter Mr. O. C. Chacko (Photo courtesy Malayala Manorama)

Mr. O. C. Chacko of the Indian National Army (INA) of Subash Chandhra Bose and member of the Kuriannoor Mar Thoma Church, Pathanamthitta, Kerala passed away on 14/04/14.

He was 95 years old and resided at Odikandathil-Vadakkemannil, Kuriannoor.

His funeral will be held on Saturday, 19th April 2014 at 12 noon at Neelethu Mar Thoma Church, Kuriannoor.

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” 


We carry below an English translation of an article Published in Malayala Manorama newspaper on
14th August 2013, a day before Independence Day.


Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose reviewing the troops of Indian National Army - 1940's

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose reviewing the troops of Indian National Army – 1940’s

Even after Six Decades, The spirit of Independence has not dwindled

Kuriannoor 14/08/2013

Even after half a century of independence, Mr. O.C .Chacko observes, it has not lost its sheen. Before the day when the tricolor of India rose up bringing down the British flag on August 15, 1947, the eyes that dreamt such a morning still sparkle. The ears that heard the trumpet call of freedom fighters and their war cry are still kept open to hear it again. Only that the feet that had walked in steady gait braving the enslaving British yoke have become slightly unsteady. But he still jumps up from his wheel chair with the same enthusiasm on hearing the names of Netaji and INA – that is O.C.Chacko of Odikandathil Vadakkemannil, Kuriannoor.

He is one of the few surviving soldiers of INA. Every Independence Day is the birth of a new era for Mr. O.C.Chacko. Coincidentally, his birthday falls on a day following the Independence Day. He enters his 94th birthday on 1st September, 2013. In the ecstasy of witnessing one more Independence Day for   Mr. Chacko, even in this freedom celebrations the young generation is eagerly awaiting to hear and record his memories. Son of Mr. Chacko of Odikandathil Vadakkemannil, born in September 1920, Mr. Chacko boarded a ship to Singapore in 1941 in search of a job. After a few years he became a soldier of the Indian National Army organized by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He continued to serve as a soldier in the INA till 1945.

He had his first job in Singapore in the war department of the British Govt. Thereafter he worked in several organizations in various capacities. Even then, an independent India was his dream. Later he has recorded all the important events in his life. There is in his records the history of organizing the Indian Independence League under the auspices of civilian leaders and Military captain Mohan Singh soon after the surrender of the British Army.

Coming from Germany in 1943 in a submarine, Netaji took charge of the independence struggle in Singapore. Soon after, he constituted Azad Hind Govt there. He opened camps for training people to be sent to the Burmese war front. He sent a few volunteers including the local people to the Burma border. It was at this time Mr. O.C.Chacko was recruited to the INA. He cherishes the memory of the occasion when he met Netaji and spoke to him. Out of the 60000 Indians there, majority had joined the INA. Mr. Chacko remembers about Netaji’s presence in Singapore when Britain surrendered to Japan on August 15, 1945. Chacko believes that he (Netaji) was killed in a plane crash on his way to Japan via Taiwan.

His fighting days were before his marriage when he was a bachelor. After marriage he led a peaceful life there with his wife and children. Retiring from his job in 1970 he came back to settle down in Kerala. He is still keeping as treasures the INA uniforms and the badge bearing Netaji’s picture and other symbols. He had other connections related to the INA. In Kozhencherry and Thottapuzhassery there were a few retired INA soldiers. All of them except Mr. Chacko are no more.

Mr. Chacko is a hero to the new generation of the locality as an enthusiastic old veteran who had participated and witnessed the freedom struggle. He is a regular invitee to the independence Day/Republic Day celebrations held by schools and local organizations. He participates in such functions wholeheartedly and shares the memories of old times. ‘Even when I decline such invitations’, he says, ‘the youngsters would not let go’. They want to hear the history of the struggle. Behind the gentle demeanour, the man of 94 still exudes an aura of heroism.


Pages from History: Birth of Freedom Fighter (Advocate) Rev. C.V.George B.A., B.L

16 April, 1913: Birth of Rev. C. V. George B.A. B.L, Chandanakuzhiyil, Ettichuvadu, Ranny. Rev. George was an Advocate (Lawyer). Before his ordination, he was in jail for almost a year for his participation in the Freedom movement of India. He became a priest in 1947.

From 1947-1950 he was the General Secretary of the Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam. He was the only Mar Thoma Priest who is recognized and awarded as a freedom fighter by the Government.

He was also the founder president of the Ranny Medical Mission. He passed away on 31 Oct.2001 and was buried at the Nazareth Mar Thoma church cemetery in Ranny.

Rev. C.V.George

Rev. C.V.George

Pages from History: Strange But True! Lightning kills Mar Thoma II (Head of the Malankara Church) (1686)

14 April 1686: Pakalomattom Parampil Thomas Kathanar was consecrated as Mar Thoma I on 22 nd May 1653 at the Alangattu Church. He ably guided the Malankara Church till his death on 25 th April 1670. He was buried in the Marthomman Church Angamaly.

His brother/ nephew was consecrated as the Mar Thoma II in 1670. Mar Thoma II was killed by lightning on 14 April 1686 while he was taking rest in the Pally Meda (guest Room) of the St. Mary’s church in Niranam. He was buried in the same church cemetery.

This may be the only incident in the history of the Christian Church where a head of a church died due to a lightning strike.

Night Lightning by Sebastien D'ARCO

Night Lightning by Sebastien D’ARCO


Niranam St.Mary's Orthodox Church

Niranam St.Mary’s Orthodox Church

Pages from History: Birth of The Rev. C.V.John – Defender of Faith (1909)

10 April, 1909: Birth of Rev. C. V. John, Chirapurathu, Thottakkad (d.2 Sep 1979). After his theological training from Theological College in Serampore he became a priest in 1938.

He started as a teacher at the M.T. Seminary High School, Kottayam and then became a teacher at Mar Thoma Theological Seminary. He was the Vicar of the Jerusalem MTC, Kottayam, St. Peter’s MTC, Manganam, and the secretary of the North Division of the Church. For two years, from 1956, he served as a student chaplain in USA. In 1963, he became the Principal of the M. T. Seminary.

Through his hard work the seminary was upgraded to B.D. Level in 1974. Achen was the second defendant in the Daniel Case
(Dr. Juhanon Mar Thoma was the first defendant) and was examined by the court for many days. His statements during the trial regarding the faith and practices of the Church are commendable. Achen was a gifted orator and writer.

Rev. C. V. John

Rev. C. V. John

Pages from History: Formation of the Church Missionary Society (1799)

12 April, 1799: Formation of the Church Missionary  Society. Founded in 1799, CMS has attracted more than nine thousand men and women to serve as mission partners during its 200-year history.

The Society was founded in Aldersgate Street in the City of London on 12 April 1799. The founders of CMS were committed to three great enterprises: abolition of the slave trade, social reform at home and world evangelisation.

“The contribution made by the society in creating and maintaining educational institutions in Kerala, the most literate state in India, is significant. Many colleges and schools in Kerala and Tamil Nadu still have CMS in their names. The CMS College in Kottayam may be one of the pioneers in popularising secondary education in southern India.”

“Benjamin Bailey was appointed to the Kottayam CMS mission in the Indian state of Kerala. Benjamin Bailey translated the complete Bible to Malayalam language. Also Authored the first printed Malayalam-English dictionary and the first Malayalam-English Dictionary. He is considered as the father of Malayalam Printing.”

Today there are about 150 mission partners in 26 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. A budget of £7.02 million a year is needed to maintain and expand this work.




Pages from History: 8 March 1835, Freedom for slaves. (Munro Island- Travancore)

Slavery was a social evil which prevailed all over the world including what is now the state of Kerala in India. According to the 1836 census there were 164,864 slaves in Travancore vis-à-vis a total civilian population of 12,80,668.

Slaves were treated like animals and the cost of one slave was that of an ox, cost of an ox was 5 (big para) measures of Paddy or Rs. 10/- only. Slaves were chained and sold like animals in markets.

Kottayam, Changanasserry, Thirunakkara, Alleppey, Kayamkulam, Kollam, Attingal, Chirayinkizh, Kaniyapuram, Pettah and Kovalam were the notorious slave trade markets of the time. Churches in Cochin were used as godowns for the slaves except for Sundays. Slaves were exported out of the kingdom. There was no one to speak on behalf of these unfortunate people.

With the arrival and the teachings of the CMS (Church Missionary Society) missionaries, people became aware of this social evil. In 1819, Munro Island was given to the missionaries, by the then Travancore Government along with the slaves residing there on the Island. Munro Island is located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River, in Kollam district, Kerala, India.

In 1833, England passed the Slavery Abolition Law. CMS missionaries, Benjamin Bailey and Joseph Peet made a historic declaration on 8th March 1835, giving freedom to the slaves in Munro Island.

The declaration read as follows:

“We the undersigned, acting as trustees of Munro Island, do hereby declare that… who has hitherto been a slave of the soil, is from this time liberated by us and made a free man and that his wife and offspring are wholly and forever free and are regarded by us only as hired servants and that no one has any right to bring them into servitude again. At the same time we declare that we do not consider ourselves as released from any claim which he or his wife or offspring may have upon us according to custom, privilege or law in consequence of their having been slaves.”

8 March 5.                                                    Sd/-  Benj Bailey           Sd/- Josh Peet,

In 1847, Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma became the King of Travancore. The same year CMS missionaries submitted a memorandum to the King requesting him to stop the slavery in Travancore. In 1853, by royal declaration slavery was abolished in Travancore forever. In 1864, the Kingdom of Cochin also made a similar declaration abolishing slavery.