29 July 1955: Daniel Case – St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India separates from the Mar Thoma Syrian Church (Rare Photos)
29 July, 1955: Mr. Daniel files suit against Mar Thoma Metropolitan. On 29 July 1955 Mr. Nina Daniel, of Kurumthottikkal, Melukara Pathanamthitta District and three others filed a civil suit in District Court of Kottayam against the then Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church Most Rev. Juhanon Mar Thoma and six others. Mr. K.N. Daniel, was a lay leaders in the Mar Thoma Church, an eminent liturgiologist, theologian, an author of many books, a prominent lawyer. According to Mr. Daniel, the Metropolitan favoured and accepted the faith of the Jacobite Church and as such he had no right to enter any Mar Thoma Churches and that he should not be allowed to continue as the Supreme Head of the Church. This case is known as the Daniel case. This litigation lasted for almost 10 years and the final judgment from the Supreme Court of India came on 7 Jan 1965. In all the three courts (The District court, Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court) verdicts were against Mr. Daniel. This case was an unfortunate event in the history of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church and resulted in the formation of the St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India on 26 January 1961. Twenty priests who had been ordained in the Mar Thoma Church joined and pledged allegiance to the new Church.
- First defendant Most Rev. Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan was examined through the judicial commission in the Mar Thoma Seminary in Kottayam. His examination took 35 hours over seven days.
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.
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).
“Sthuthippin sthuthippin Yesudevane” – Unchanged final hymn from the first Maramon Convention in 1895
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.
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.
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.
Date 8th February 1900 Time 3.30 am on 8 February morning
An earthquake tremor shook the village of Puthen Cavu near Chengannur and surrounding areas in the early hours of 8th February 1900. Not many details is known about the incident, however, it is well documented by Rev. Thomas Walker in his book and passed on as oral legend by many elders. Thomas Walker was a principal speaker at the Maramon Convention from 1899 to 1912.
In the early days of the Maramon Convention, due to the limited means of travel, guest speakers used to arrive days or weeks in advance. In this time they would attend fellowship meetings and deliver messages to nearby congregations.
Rev. Thomas Walker wrote in his diary on 7th and 8th Feb, 1900, about an incident where he had preached and asked people to repent, that night the earth shook and people thought it was he who was responsible for the tremors. Many went on their knees and repented:
February 7. Last night we had a very solemn meeting, and I gave an opportunity to any seeking souls. Thank God, there were some; but oh, how many are indifferent, crowding to hear, but not willing to give up sin. The moment I had finished praying, some of the converted men struck up prayer of their own accord, red-hot if you like: they pleaded for the unconverted.
Then came my trials. I asked those who had held up their Hands to stay behind, and a number did so. But the other people would stand all round. They are not accustomed to quiet after-meetings, and simply refused to go away, even when asked five or six times. The Achans have no command over the people. At last I had fairly to drive them out before I could deal with those poor souls.
In the C.M.S. churches here they have full control of their congregations; but in the Syrian churches, none. And they have made up their mind that they can have none. You cannot get a single Syrian congregation to go off quietly after a service, for the sake of either Christ or souls. It makes it very difficult to get at anyone who is impressed. We were at least twenty minutes getting the people (or most of them) away last night. It seems to me that it is a case of either taking after-meetings in the mass (which is most unsatisfactory), or not taking them at all. Well, one has just to go forward trust the Lord. He knows the circumstances, and can help. And, praise Him, He knows every heart which is hungering for Him.
February 8. We had a solemn service last night, and sent them home with earnest warnings; but except for a quiet time on our knees, did not attempt an after-meeting. Well, in the very early hours of this morning I was suddenly roused from sleep to find the whole ground quivering with an earthquake. You have probably had the same shock. It seemed to last several minutes at least. I felt perfectly quiet under it, and then subsided towards slumber again. Not so the people. There were shouts and cries and prayers all over the place. There seemed to be a tremendous commotion. After a time they came thumping and knocking at my doors and windows, so I had to light a lamp and get up.
My room soon filled with men, some converted and some unconverted. They quite connect the earthquake with the solemn warnings I have been giving here. I told them last night in the pandal that I could do no more, and must just leave them to God. I asked them to go home and say truthfully in His presence, I am saved, or I am not saved. Then followed this earthquake shock, and they immediately connected the two together. It seems in a real sense God’s confirmation of His word by signs following. Call it a coincidence if you please, with Divine before the coincidence. & quot; “Well, I spoke to them, and two young men professed to repent on the spot, while I warned again several others. I then turned into bed and went to sleep again.
One of the Christians said, This morning’s meeting must be for the unconverted. It is against our practice, as the morning meetings are intended to help Christians; but I felt it was God’s will that I should go and preach on earthquakes. So I got some notes together, and a large crowd assembled. The Rev. T. K. Joseph turned up to help me. We had a very solemn time, and I told them that God was giving them another chance and a special warning.
Afterwards I called on any who wanted to turn to Him to stand up, and several men did so, and several women. I then got them to the front of the table where I stood, and we had an after-meeting before the whole pandal, in public. I felt that, after the earthquake, anxious souls ought not to shirk publicity. We were at it till nearly twelve o clock,…”
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.
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.
Though the first convention began in 1895, the sermons were delivered to the tens of thousands of church members who attended in a very unique manner. Until 1936, messages of the main speaker were repeated in relay by designated people standing in between the participants of the convention. It was a time consuming process for the message from the front to pass through thousands of participants to reach the back of the audience. In 1936, a loud speaker and mike (microphone) set was brought to Maramon from USA by the famous missionary Rev. Dr. E. Stanley Jones. It was donated by one of the Christian Churches in USA. He was a well wisher of the Mar Thoma Church and encouraged the missionary zeal of the Church.
Read more and see more rare photos at 1921 -1970: World renowned missionary Dr. E. Stanley Jones at Maramon Convention ( See Rare Photos) Hear a sermon by Dr. E. Stanley Jones – Click Here (The sermon is 26 min. — or download the mp3 (11.8 MB).) The sermon title is, “The Gift of the Holy Spirit: The Birthright of All Christians.” The sermon was preached at a U.S. Ashram in August 1960. (This sermon is included in the 2008 book, Living Upon the Way: Selected Sermons of E. Stanley Jones on Self-Surrender and Conversion.) This audio clip is from www.methodistthinker.com
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.
27 November, 1984: Thomas Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church passes away (b.26 May 1914). Bishop Thomas was born on 26 May, 1914, to the Panampunna family,Kottayam, Kerala. He was a scholar and continued his studies to the end of his days. He was known for his deep devotion and great ability to build up the Church. In 1953, he became bishop, and in 1978, he was designated as Suffragan Metropolitan.
He attended the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Amsterdam in 1948, and also the Assembly at New Delhi in 1961. He was a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches since 1961. Thus he made significant contributions to the cause of ecumenism.
He has attended many other international conferences in the Churches and was a delegate to the Melbourne Conference where he had made a distinct contribution as a leader of Bible Study.
He also attended the sessions of the second Vatican Council on special invitation.
His sudden death on 27 November, 1984, was severe shock to the whole Church and to the ecumenical world.