Maramon convention and It’s Orgin
Maramon convention today has assumed global significance as the world’s largest annual Christian gathering launched in 1895,. It has all along remained a perennial source of spiritual vigour and inspiration in Kerla, Indian and abroad.
The origin and growth of this annual get together for one week at a stretch can be traced to the great revival movement which gathered momentum alongwith the reformation in the ancient syrian Church of Malabar under the pioneering leadership of Abraham Malpan about 165 years ago. This brought about the resurgence of the ancient apostolic Church in Kerala founded in AD52 by St. Thomas, who later became a martyr in Mylapur Madras for the sake of the gospel.
This convention is meticulously organized every year under the auspicious of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, the missionary wing of the Mar Thoma Church. Millions attended this convention every year with- devotion and commitment. Elaborate arrangements are made for the conduct of this convention. A huge pandel thatched with cadjan leaves is erected for this purpose on the mile long sand bed of the river Pampa which can easily accommodate over one hundred thousand people under its shade. Even then several thousands remain outside the pandal in the hot sun in February to hear the word of God. World renowned speakers addresses the gathering besides our Reverend Bishops and illustrious lay leaders, from India. The extensive sand bed provides easy access and facility for holding this convention. Temporary bridges are put up to provide access to the Pandal from both banks of the river. . The Convention has the unique distinction of being the largest of the Christian annual gatherings in the world. People belonging to different Christian denominations and religious persuasions gather under the pandel with great eagerness and expectation. Distinguished world renowned speakers who addressed this convention in the past Include Rev.T.Walker, Dr.G.S.Eddy, Sadhu Sundersingh, Dr. Kagawa, Bishop Steephen Neel, Rt.Rev. Paul More, Dr. Stanley Jones, Bob Pipers, John R.Reed, Dr.Paul Rees, Rev.Dr.George Carey, the Canterbury Arch Bishop, Rev.Dr.Sam Kamalesen, and a host of others. Bible study classes, main talks by Guest Speakers, and Bishops for all categories of people are orderly conducted. Most interesting aspect of this convention is the discipline shown by the participants all through the convention, which has almost become an inviolable tradition. Police contingent is not required in the convention premises to maintain law and order. Maramon thus assumes significance as a pilgrim centre, for religious discourses for one week. Discourses at the convention are mainly aimed at self-purification dedication, commitment and cultural uplift. Greater emphasis is now laid on communal harmony, unity and peace. The need for inter-religious dialogue is also promoted with a view to forge greater understanding and co-operation between different religious groups in this secular context in India.
The MTEA attaches greater importance to a crusade against social evils, alcoholism and drug-addition. In fact an afternoon session in the convention is exclusively devoted for programmes against such evils to motivate the people to stand solidly against such evils and to take up programmes designed to route out such evils. Besides there are special sessions to focus attention on the ecumenical concerns, dalit activities, women’s issues and children’s programme. The Church is constantly challenged through this convention to fulfill its missionary responsibilities and to spread its service activities from Tibetan Boarder extreme northern end of Upper Pradesh and Ittanagar in Arunachal Pradesh in the North to Cape Comarine in the South. Several service institutions of the Church owe their origin to this annual get together at Maramon. Destitute homes, Ashrams, mission centers hospitals, leprosy clinics, schools, colleges have been started in and outside Kerala, thereby creating a congenial atmosphere fort the moral, social and spiritual upliftment of the masses and for the social and economic emancipation of the poorer sessions of the community. Schemes for homes for the homeless, land for the landless, marriage aid schemes etc. have been started through the inspiration and challenges at the convention, long before such schemes were initiated by the Government. In this way the Church by and large, was inspired to become alive and responsive to the contemporary issues and challenges through the messages of the Maramon Convention. It was in this way that the Mar Thoma Church was made known the world over through the Maramon Convention.
“The Church is most true to its own nature when it seeks nothing for itself, renounces, power, humbly bears witness to the truth but makes no claim to be possessor of truth and is continually dyeing in order that it may live" – J.H.Oldham.
The English liturgical chants are provided by Mar Thoma Church for use during English Service.
Reference Article: The Liturgy of St James By Rev Manoj Mathews (Courtesy: www.marthoma.in)