Lent starts on Sunday 10th February 2016 and ends with Easter Sunday on 27th March 2016. We are expected to set apart a time for serious reflection, self-examination and renewed commitment with fasting and prayer during the Lent season. Our Church observes 50 days as the Lent period including the 40 days in which our Lord fasted and 10 days commemorating His passion and crucifixion.
Fourteen meals for One rupee. During the early years of the Convention, restaurants and hotels were not in existence. Kappi Kadas (coffee/tea shops) and Chottu Kadas (rice shops) were the only available eateries at the Manalpuram (river bed) venue of the convention.
One of the famous chottu kada’s was managed by Kunjan Varkey Chetten from Edathua. He would serve 14 full meals for just one rupee and 228 full glasses of black coffee (Chakkara Kappi) also for Rs.1 in the early 1920’s.
Having lunch at Maramon Convention. (Photo courtesy Facebook Group)
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.
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.
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.
20-26 June, 1599: Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor) was held under the president ship of Aleixo de Menezes, (25 January 1559 – 3 May 1617) the then Archbishop of Goa. One of the decrees of the synod about marriage reads as follows “No man shall be married hereafter, until he has attained the age of fourteen years at least, nor any woman before she is fully twelve.”
9 June, 1834: William Carey often called “the father of modern Protestant missions” dies, having spent 41 years in India without a furlough. His mission could count only about 700 converts, but he had laid a foundation of Bible translations, education, and social reform.
He also inspired the missionary movement of the nineteenth century, especially with his cry, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God “. As per his will he was buried in the Serampore Cemetery with the following inscription on the tomb stone “William Carey, Born 17 Aug 1761, Died 9 June, 1834; A wretched, poor and helpless worm, on thy kind arms I fall”.
6 June, 1844: Formation of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London, England, on June 6, 1844, in response to unhealthy social conditions arising in big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution (roughly 1750-1850). Growth of the railroads and centralization of commerce and industry brought many rural young men in need of jobs to cities like London.
They worked 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week. Far from home and family, these young men often lived at the workplace. They slept crowded into rooms over the company’s shop, a location thought to be safer than London’s tenements and streets. Outside the shop, things were bad -open sewers, pickpockets, thugs, beggars, drunks, lovers for hire and abandoned children running wild by the thousands.
In India, YMCA was introduced in the last quarter of the 19th century. National Council of YMCA’s in India was established in 1891.
31 May, 1931: Anglican Church ordains first priest from Pulaya Community. Due to the work of CMS missionaries many people from the backward classes were converted to Christianity. But Syrian Christians were not willing to worship with them or accommodate them in their churches or society.
Special churches were made to for them and they were treated as untouchables by the high Class Syrian Christians. On 31st May, 1931, Mr. P. J. Isaac a member of the Pulaya community was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Moore in an effort to eradicate this social evil.