Sadhu Sunder Singh the renowned Indian Christian missionary was a member of an ancient, aristocratic, and wealthy Sikh family from the village of Rampur in the State of Patiala (present day Punjab). He was a very religious and God fearing person. Jesus appeared to him in a vision in the early hours of 18th December 1904. Like Paul in the New Testament, he heard a voice “Why do you persecute me? Remember that I gave my life for you upon the Cross”. On Sunday, the 3rd of September, 1905, on his sixteenth birthday, he was baptized in St. Thomas Church at Shimla according to the rite of the Anglican Church.
A month after his baptism, Sundar Singh donned the yellow linen robe that celibate Indian Sadhus wore and set out to preach the gospel, carrying nothing but a New Testament. From now on he would have no permanent home and no income.”I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord,” he said, “but like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all people of the love of God.’ He also authored eight books.
Sadhu Sunder Singh 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 the then Travancore Kingdom.
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.
He is believed to have died in the foothills of the Himalayas in 1929 on his way to Tibet. His body was never found.
Journey to the Sky – Sadhu Sundar Singh (1977)
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.
10 July, 1919: P.V. Thommy Upadeshi passes away. Thommy Upadeshi was born in a very poor family of the Kunnamkulam Mar Thoma Parish in 1881. After his basic education he became a teacher. But after few years of teaching he became a full time evangelist in the Mar Thoma Church.
Rev. C.M. Joseph, Vicar of the Kunnamkulam Parish encouraged him in his Gospel work. Titus II Metropolitan appointed him as evangelist in Trichur and Perumbavoor
He was a blessed Hymn writer. In 1905 he published a Hymn Book “Vishudha Geethangal” comprising of 136 hymns. His language is simple and even the illiterate persons can enjoy his hymns. The following hymns in the book Kristheeya Keerththanangal are written by him: 3 (3), 11(10), 12(11), 30(28), 56(56), 61(61), 67(67), 70(70), 71(71), 73(73), 96(96), 130(111), 35(126), 145(136), 243(221), 247(225), 286(286), 295(281), 345 (345), 351(351), 366(242), 368(251).
In 1919 there was an outbreak of Cholera in Kunnamkulam and many persons died. Thommy Upadesi volunteered to serve the cholera patients and was finally infected with cholera. He passed away on Wednesday 10 July 1919 at the age of 38.
6 July, 1944: Titus Mar Thoma II passes away. He was born in 1866, consecrated as the bishop on 9 December 1898 and Metropolitan on 5 Nov.1909. He was called to eternal rest on 6th July 1944 and buried the following day at the Bishops’ cemetery in the SCS Compound, Tiruvalla. During his long tenure as the Metropolitan, he consecrated three bishops.
A large number of our church buildings were constructed during his time. Many organizations like Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Mar Thoma Students Conference, Teachers-Students Fellowship, Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (1888), Maramon Convention (1895), Mar Thoma Sunday School Samjam (1905), Mar Thoma Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom (1919), Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelists’ Association (1924), Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam (1933), were started during his time.
in addition he also promoted education with the opening of: S.C. Seminary School, Tiruvalla (1902), Kozhencherry School (1904), Maramon School (1918, Kottayam Theological College (1923) Tiruvalla S.C. Training School (1925).
Titus II Metropolitan was also known to have taken the initiative to translate many of the prayer books into Malayalam.
18 June 1986: Death of Mrs. Mariamma (Pennamma) Joseph (b.31 March 1917), Co-founder of the Hoskote Mission, Bangalore District, Karnataka, India. Mariamma was the daughter of Mammen Mammen and Mariamma of Manalukalayil, Kumbanad. She did her Teacher’s Training Course (TTC) from Peringara School near Tiruvalla, after which she taught in many schools including Arrangatu School, Pullad, Perumbara (Kuriannoor) School near Charal Mount; Kanjeettukara and Nedumprayar (Maramon).
She was trained by the CMS Missionary, Miss Kellaway (Australia) of Vanitha Mandiram, Tiruvalla. Pennamma was greatly influenced through her life and testimony of this missionary. She had an earnest desire to go for mission work in Karnataka but her parents did not allow it (according to the then prevalent customs/ norms, Syrian Christian parents were not willing to send their unmarried daughters to unknown ‘foreign’ lands) until her marriage.
However, her marriage with Mr. M.T. Joseph, (Manon House, Maramon) was a definite fulfillment of God’s call at the Maramon Convention (1947). who had a similar call and vision to Karnataka. In obedience to this heavenly call, she resigned her Government teacher’s job, that had a permanent income, to an uncertain and unknown future. This journey led to the humble beginnings of the Hoskote Mission. She was called home on 18 June 1986 and buried in the Mission Cemetery in Ghonakhanahally, 7 km away from the Hoskote mission field.
Mariamma has finished her race and now she is with the Lord. The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. We need more and more persons like Mariamma to work for the Lord. Millions of villagers are there who have never heard about our Saviour even once in their lives. Who will go???
To read a more detailed biography of Mr. & Mrs. M.T.Joseph Please click.
15 May, 1857: Birth of Rev. Thomas Koshy (Aatmopakari Achen), author of Hymn “Ennullil ennum vasichchiduvan”. Born as a member of the Mukkadavu family of Kallada, he became a priest in 1896. He was a gifted artist, hymn writer and publisher. He was a speaker of the Maramon Convention for many years.
Hymn Nos. 10(9), 37(35), 190(179), 216(201), 20(205), 221(206), 246(224), 297(283), 316(311), 344, and 352 in the Hymn Book Kristheeya Kerthanagal are written by him.
Read more in our Short Biographies: Rev. Thomas Koshy (Aatmopakari Achen) (Free PDF)
18 April, 1929: Sadhu Sunder Singh (b.3 Sep 1889) disappears on his way to Tibet. The mystery of the disappearance of Sadhu Sunder Singh after leaving Sabathu-near Tibet on 18th April 1929 has never been solved. The route he was to have taken was one he had often traveled before. Reports of his disappearance appeared in newspapers all over the world.
No one knows what happened to him and how he died. By whatever means God took His servant home, He evidently did not intend it to be known. Sunder manifested into his life the verse written in Mark 8:35 which says, “For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for me and for the Gospel will save it.”
Read more in our Free PDF Ebook:
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.
A Must Watch 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.
A Malaysian presentation in conjunction with the 150th Anniversary of the REFORMATION in the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. (Please watch and share).
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.