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.
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.
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).
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.
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 – 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 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 (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 (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.
“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.