Tag Archives: Mar Thoma History

1905: Women Speakers lead the way at Maramon Convention

Women listening to the sermon at Maramon Convention. (Image courtesy http://www.manoramaonline.com/)

Women listening to the sermon at Maramon Convention. (Image courtesy www.manoramaonline.com)


Right from its initial years, many women speakers have made a great impact on the Maramon Convention. Mrs. F.S. Nicholson and Miss. S.C. McKibbin conducted special meetings and Bible classes for women during the convention in 1905. They are remembered for their devoted service to the women of Travancore particularly in the education field. They established the prestigious Nicholson Syrian Girls Higher Secondary School and Training Home in 1910 at Kattode, Tiruvalla, Kerala.

Ms. Gwen Kellaway,

Ms. Gwen Kellaway, Vanitha Mandiram

Other eminent speakers included Miss Amy Carmichael, founder of the Dohnavur Mission, Tamil Nadu, Miss Kellaway of Vanitha Mandiram, and Miss Grower to name a few missionaries who encouraged women towards the Lord’s work through Bible classes during the early days of the Convention.

Amy Carmichael with children

Amy Carmichael with the children of Dohnavur Mission, Tamil Nadu


Ban of Tobacco and Paan at the Maramon Convention

Tobacco Ban

The use of tobacco and paan was a way of life in Kerala during the first half of the 20th Century. It was an essential item at social events such as marriages and other family gatherings. Tobacco and paan was easily available through shops all over Kerala. It was a common sight to have people attend the Maramon Convention meetings with beedi and murukkan in their pockets.

Through his messages, Dr. Stanley Jones urged people to refrain from the use of tobacco products. During one meeting, he asked the convention participants to bury their tobacco (which they were carrying) in the sand on the pandal floor. In another meeting, he collected all the tobacco products from the people and burnt it near the pandal in front of everyone.

It is only after much persuasion that the people stop using it and today it is not permitted at the Maramon Convention pandal.

Read more about Dr. E. Stanley Jones at the Maramon Convention with rare photos 


Explaining the Maramon Convention to Children (Free pdf)

Children at the 120th Maramon Convention Pandal. Photo Courtesy: Photo Courtesy http://marthoma.in/maramon-convention

Children at the 120th Maramon Convention Pandal. Photo Courtesy: Photo Courtesy http://marthoma.in/maramon-convention

121st Maramon Convention for Kids

A pdf resource sheet for Parents / Sunday School Teachers to explain to their children facts and events chosen from the history of the Maramon Convention.



The Coonan Cross – A forgotten Church!

Coonen Cross 01

Stone plaque inside Coonan Cross Church – Photo by Nalloor Library on 3rd Jan 2016 on the anniversary. 

Coonan-Kurishu copy

An illustration of the Oath taking at the Coonan Cross. Picture courtesy  chroniclesofmalabar 

3 January, 1653: Oath of Coonan Cross. Under the influence of the Portuguese Empire a synod was convened at Udayamperoor near Ernakulam in 1599 and the Malankara Church was made part of the Roman Catholic Church. People who wished for freedom from the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church tried to get a bishop from Babylon.

On the request of the Syrian Christians, a bishop named Ahathulla was sent to Malankara in 1652. However, he was captured and killed by the Portuguese in Goa. The Syrian Christians were infuriated and on 3rd January 1653, gathered in large numbers at a church in Mattancherry (Cochin).

Coonen Cross 03

Coonan Cross Church – Photo by Nalloor Library on 3rd Jan 2016 on the anniversary day

They tied ropes to the granite cross in front of the church and by touching the ropes, took an oath severing their connection with the Roman Catholic Church. This incident is known as the Oath of Coonan Cross. (Coonan in Malayalam means bent – The Cross bent to one side during the oath taking ceremony).

According to tradition , out of a population of 200,000 St. Thomas Christians, only 400 remained loyal to the Roman Arch bishop Garcia. The event in 1653 broke the fifty four year old yoke of Roman supremacy imposed at the Udayamperur Synod of 1599.

However, today the church is a Catholic Church and it seems that a Church of historical value has no importance to any of the Non-Catholic Syrian Christian Indian Churches. It is also ironical that this story is taught in Sunday Schools in all these Churches with no historical meaning or significance. The Cross present today appears to be a wooden cross. It does not look like a stone cross that should be a couple of centuries old now as mentioned in all history books.

Coonen Cross 02

Inside Coonan Cross Church – Photo by Nalloor Library on 3rd Jan 2016 on the anniversary day. 

Coonen Cross.jpg

1 December, 1973: Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa passes away

Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa

Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa

1 December, 1973: Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa passes away (b.7 Jun 1900). Dr. Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa was a member of the Kurudamannil family of Ayroor.

After obtaining the B.A., L.T Degrees he became the Headmaster of Keezhillam School. He took the initiative for the establishment of the Ashram High School at Perumbavoor.

He became a priest in 1929 and Bishop in 1937. He gave able leadership to various organizations of our Church. He was called home on 1 Dec, 1973.


20 November, 1904: Death of Stephanos Kathanar

Stephanos Kathanar

Stephanos Kathanar

20 November, 1904: Death of Stephanos Kathanar – Author of “Shayana Namaskaram”.

Stephanos Kathanar (born on 14 June 1852) was a member of Kallarakkal Peedikayil family of Thazhahkkara, Mavelikkara. He became a deacon at the age of 8. He was an expert teacher of the Syrian Language.

In 1897 he established Thazhakkara Mar Thoma Church and started a library for the parish. Achen is the author of The Shayana Namaskaram– (prayer song usually sung with the evening family prayer or public worship) “njangalkullha karthave…” which is still used by many Kerala Christians.

Achen’s grandson Dr. Samuel Mathai was the Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala University. He was called to his eternal home on 20 Nov 1904.

15 November, 1731: Birth of William Cowper (1731-1800) author of “Immanuel than chankathil…”

William_Cowper by Lemuel Francis Abbott (wikipedia)

William_Cowper by Lemuel Francis Abbott (wikipedia)

15 November, 1731: Birth of William Cowper (1731-1800) author of the Hymn ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’ (‘Immanuel than chankathil…’ no.147 (138) in the Mar Thoma Church Hymn book Kristheeya Keerththanangal). The words of this hymn are immortal and will be sung as long as there are sinners upon this earth.

Cowper’s well known hymns:

  • Jesus! where’er thy people meet
  • The Spirit breathes upon the word
  • There is a fountain, filled with blood
  • Hark! my soul! it is the Lord
  • To Jesus, the Crown of my hope
  • Far from the world, O Lord! I flee
  • My Lord! how full of sweet content (1782 translation)
  • What various hindrances we meet
  • Oh! for a closer walk with God
  • When darkness long has veiled my mind
  • Tis my happiness below
  • O Lord! in sorrow I resign (1782 translation)
  • O Lord! my best desire fulfill
  • There is a safe and secret place
  • God of my life! to thee I call

14 November, 1967: Death of A.V. Mathai Kathanar, Alunilkunnathil

This day in history

14 November, 1967: Death of A.V. Mathai Kathanar, Alunilkunnathil (b.1878) Following the footsteps of his father Kulathakkal Alunilkunnathil Geevarhsese Kathanar, he became a priest. He served Mar Thoma parishes in Kuriannoor, Kumbanad, Pullad and Maramon. He was one of the defendants along with the Metropolitan, of the Maramon Mar Thoma Church civil case which started after the reformation movement.

13 November, 1845: Birth of Chandapilla Kathanar, Thazhathu, Kottayam

This day in history

13 November, 1845: Birth of Chandapilla Kathanar, Thazhathu, Kottayam (24 Jul 1931). He became a deacon at the age of 9 (1854) and a priest on 1 August 1861. For 24 years he was the vicar of the Cheriya pally in Kottayam. He was the founder of the Jerusalem Mar Thoma Church in Kottayam. Achen’s courageous stand made it possible for the consecration ceremony of Bishop Titus I Mar Thoma to be held in the Cheriya pally in Kottayam.

9 November, 1964: Mrs. Kandamma Varghese (of Mar Thoma Sevika Sanghom) passes away.

Mrs. Kandamma Varghese

Mrs. Kandamma Varghese

9 November, 1964: Mrs. Kandamma Varghese (of Mar Thoma Sevika Sanghom) passes away.

“The Mar Thoma Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom owes much to the self sacrificing work of Mrs. Kandamma Varghese who worked untiringly as the Organizing Secretary for over 20 years, traveling far and wide, organizing branches in the parishes, doing evangelistic work among Christians and non Christians, and building up the work in parishes.” ~ The Mar Thoma Church, Heritage and Mission – Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan.

Mrs. Kandamma was a modest person in wearing jewellery. She used to request people who had more than one gold chain to donate the second one for gospel work. Due to Kandamma’s loving approach to the wife of Diwan Bhadur Dr. V. Varghese sold her ornaments and donated the money for the construction of the Salem Orphanage in Tiruvalla.

Kandamma spent her final days in Perumbavoor with her son Mr. C. V. Koshy who was the headmaster of the Ashram High school there. When she died on 9 Nov, 1964, at the age of 88, she left behind a glowing legacy of her work in Kerala.

Read more in our free pdf E-book which is also an excellent resource for Sunday Schools and church organizations.


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