Introduction:

Laka St. Thom Marthoma Church, Edayaranmula is one of the oldest historical and prominent   parishes of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church, which is believed to be established by St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ in 52 C.E. St. Thom Church is presently part of Chengannur-Mavelikkara Diocese. It is  the largest parish in the diocese. Edayaranmula, a place which has gained her own significance in the history of the church and the society at large for various reasons also takes the pride of having Laka St. Thom Marthoma Church within her  geographical  territory. The Church stands as a living monument of effective Christian witness and commitment. It carries the legacy of 125 years.  Laka St. Thom Marthoma Church had its humble beginning in the year 1888 C.E., when a group of St. Thomas Christians  influenced by reformation ideas in the Malankara Church, parted from their mother parish, St. Mary’s Orthodox Valiya Palli, Puthencavu. Henceforth the Church led by Holy Spirit has been an exemplary witnessing community carrying out God’s mission in its locale as well as  outside its boundaries. The Church has its own historical importance in the history of Marthoma Church. Kochalumpalakkal  Koshy Kathanar was the first vicar of the parish. Anicattu Rev. A.G. Thomas, who was also a member of this parish served as the vicar of the church for 45 years.

Illustrious sons of the Parish:

One cannot ignore the fact that Laka St. Thom Church has given birth to many illustrious personalities like Moothampackal Sadhu Kochu Kunju Upadheshi, Kunnumpurathu Mahakavi K.V.Simon,  Karimpumannil Padhmabhooshan Dr. K.M George, Kunnumpurathu Mahakavi Edayaranmula K.M Varghese, Kunnumpurathu Prof. K.M Daniel, and Maha Vir Chakra Paradayil Capt. Thomas Philipose who were recognized by the world for their matchless contributions in their respective fields of service.

Priests from our Parish:

Late Rev. A.G. Thomas,  Late Rev. C. Chacko, Late Rev. J. Joseph, Late Rev. M.V. Benjamin,  Rev. K.V. Samuel,  Rev. K.K. Abraham,  Rev. George John,  Rev. Mathew Zachariah,    Rev. Gigy V. Mathew.

Missionaries from the Parish:

Moothampackal Sadhu Kochu Upadheshi is known as the Sanky and Moody of South India.    He was the first  General Secretary of the Marthoma Voluntary Evangelistic Association (M.T.V.E.A) for 25 years  and was one of the most remarkable personalities who were behind the spiritual revival in the Marthoma Church and Southern part of India.  Marthoma Evangelistic Association was a brain child of the twelve who had assembled at Kadavil Malika,  Kallissery,  for prayer.  The fact that Kochumannil Scaria Mathai, one among those twelve was a member of this parish makes clear the active involvement of our fore-fathers in the missionary endeavors of their time. The pioneering missionary of Bhopal Mission Mr. N.J. Mathai Nirannakalayil was a member of this parish. George John Andathethu and Cherian Kurien Kallunakal of this parish were the first to reach Nepal with the light of the Gospel in 1954. Rev. J. Joseph, Padijattedathu was deputed to Malabar as a Missionary Priest in the early days of migration to that region. He played a key role in founding a number of parishes in Malabar. Paredayil P.K. Daniel and  Kalarikodu Thazhathethil Pathros Yohannan were teachers-cum-missionaries. Puzhikalayil Kutti Upadesi (Kumpanad), M.C Samuel (Nellikala), Malethukalayil M.S. Mathai and Pulikunnil M.M. Samuel had served as ‘Edavaka Upadeshies’. Kurangattu Panavelil K.M. Simon was a missionary of Marthoma Evangelistic Association. Presently Koipurathukalayil  Thomas Thomas, Moolayil Saji Samuel, Kalayil Libin Villa  Libin Mathew, Mekkone George Mathew serve as Missionaries in different part of India. Muttathuserril  Rency Thomas George is a theological student in The United Theological Seminary, Bangalore.

Number of Families:

The farsighted vision, untiring effort and the concern for the fellow human beings of our fore-fathers have made this church a spiritually vibrant and socially relevant one. From a handful of 52 families the parish has grown to its present strength of 630 (Appx.3000 members). It is a historical fact that the Parish was divided in to 5 1/4 ‘muries’. A large cash-cum-treasure box having 5 locks is kept in the archives. At present the Parish is divided in to 24 Prayer Groups.

Institutions,  Projects and Activities  of the Parish:

The various activities undertaken by the church justify its commitment to God and the world at large. The church has been instrumental in pioneering a number  of  projects and charity works like  St. Thomas Tribal Hostel , Narasapuram,  Andra Pradesh,  House for the Houseless,  Marriage Aid, Education loans,  Scholarships,  Medical Aid,  Lay Training Programme,  Pension Scheme for widows, Mission Support,  Grant to Evangelists from our Parish. The Parish has been taking a firm stand against many social evils.

  • Institutions:

    Abraham Marthoma Memmorial Higher Secondary School (AMMHSS) had its humble beginning as ‘Laka English Middle School, Edyaranmula’ in 1919. The Parish started an   English Medium Primary School (Marthoma English Medium Primary School, Edayarnmula) as a centenary project. It supports three Lower Primary Schools which were handed over to the Marthoma Corporate Management.  The Govt. L.P. School, Malakara, was founded by the Parish, but later on surrendered to the Govt. of Travancore, Education Dept.  We had been using that school building for running Sunday School  classes with the permission of the Education department till 2003. The HSS campus is an ideal place for conducting camps as well as retreats. This school was the venue for the Marthoma Boys’ camp in 1962.

  • Outreach Programmes:

    The church which defines itself as a missionary parish, in the year 2008 sent a pilot team for a feasibility study of a Mission project at Narasapuram in Andhra Pradhesh and started  “Mission-Education Programme” in the same year. The project currently runs a hostel which has a strength of twenty children studying in various classes. This project  is  run successfully  by an evangelist and other staff members and indeed  by the prayerful support of the parish members .  Right from its inception the church has been extending helping hands to the poor and the needy in that region. We have built  32  houses so far and given them over to the needy ones irrespective of religion, and have instituted a number of endowments to help those who are in need. We  support various mission projects of the Marthoma Church. The various organizations of the parish are vibrant with their Christian Mission-oriented and socially relevant programmes.

  • Sunday Schools:

    The church at present have five Sunday schools at five different places. The history of the Sunday School in Edayaranmula is as old as the history of Sunday School Samajam of Marthoma Church. In fact the Sunday School at Edayaranmula was founded in 1873. The Sunday Schools do justice to the vision of the pioneers by nurturing the little ones in Christian faith and values.

  • Yuvajana Sakhyam:

    Marthoma Yuvajana Sakhyam sakha’s beginning in Edayaranmula can be traced back to 1933, the same year in which Marthoma Yuvajana Sakhyam was established at the Sabha level. Yuvajana Sakhyam provides platform for the youth of the Church to come together and be involved in literary, social and indeed spiritual activities. Yuvajana Sakhyam conducts various programmes which aim at the over-all development of our youths. The Sakhyam has always made it a point to be sensitive to the needs of the people around.

  • Church Choir:

    The Church Choir plays a vital role in making the Sunday worships and other special ceremonies lively and meaningful. At present the church choir has a strength of 63 members. It is also noteworthy that the choir is invited for a number of musical programmes by various parishes and institutions. Television channels like Power Vision record the songs of our Choir for telecasting. We have a Junior Choir too.

  • Sevika Sangam:

    The Church is also blessed with a very dynamic Sevika Sangam which ensures the participation of the women folk in the establishment of God’s kingdom. Regular prayer meetings, Bible studies and a number of social engagements make Laka St.Thom Marthoma Sevika Sangam a distinctive one. On Wednesdays prayer meetings are held at 10 different places of the Parish. They come together to the Church on Fridays for fellowship. Late Aleyamma George, Vairisseril, Late Sosamma T.T., Thekkedathu and Late P.M. Mariamma, Pullanikkattil were working with Marthoma Savika Sangam as ‘Sevinies’.

  • Edavaka Mission:

    Edavaka Mission also holds a history of 95 years in its account. The organization caters to the spiritual needs of the church members and contributes immensely to the spiritual revival and growth of the Church. On Tuesdays members come to the Church for worship and bible studies. During the course of the week prayer meetings are held at six different places of the Parish. During the lent period, devotional meetings are arranged at different house premises of members of the Church.

  • Senior Citizens’ Fellowship:

    Senior Citizens’ Fellowship formed in 2006 was successful in starting a Pakal Veedu ( A place for the elders to come together) at our old parsonage. The elders of the church take part in the activities of Pakal Veedu with immense joy. The members of this fellowship conduct regular house visits and give fellowships to those who are sick, infirm bedridden and aged. Senior Citizens meet twice a month at the old parsonage when classes, devotional talks, medical check-up, etc. are arranged. This organization has been paying widow pension to 16 parish members and medical aid to 10 needy members. It is proposed to grant interest free loans of small amounts to the needy ones.

Conclusion:

The Church and its members have been blessed by the devoted services of 39 Achens so far. It was a proud moment for the church when Rev. C.I George, while serving as its vicar was elevated to the status of Episcopa of Marthoma Church, and is now known as Rt. Rev. Geevarghese Mar Athanasius Episcopa. The present Vicars Rev. George Mathew Karickom and Rev. Santhosh Varghese lead the parish  with their novel ideas, exposure, vision, hard work, charismatic leadership and above all their implicit trust in God’s grace. Even after retirement the support rendered by Rev. K.V.Samuel and Rev. K.K. Abraham, sons of this parish is very valuable.  As the Church stands at the threshold of its 125th year celebrations, it envisages new projects and programmes for the holistic growth of the parish.

 Major Milestones:

  • 1885 – Founded M.T.L.P School Kozhipalam, Formation of a Prayer Fellowship.
  • 1886 – Purchased land for the church
  • 1888 – Construction of the first church building
  • 1900 – Started Malakkara L.P School
  • 1910 – Started M.T.L.P School, Kalarikodu
  • 1912 – Consecration of renovated Madbaha
  • 1919 – Church renovation started, Laka English Middle School also started
  • 1920 – The Christian Co-Operative Society, Edayaranmula (No.420) established (Now known as Aranmula Co-Operative Bank Branch)
  • 1924 – Started M.T.L.P School, Erumakkadu
  • 1936 – Centenary celebrations of Reformation in Malankara church.
  • 1943 – Consecration of renovated Church
  • 1948 – Laka English Middle School was upgraded as A.M.M. High School, Edayaranmula
  • 1956 – First parsonage was completed
  • 1964 – Electrification of the Church
  • 1986 – Dedication of the Parish Hall
  • 1988 – Reconstruction of the church building and Centenary celebration. An English Medium Primary School was founded as Centenary project
  • 1990 – Consecration of the newly built church
  • 1991 – A.M.M. High School was upgraded as A.M.M.Higher Secondary School, Edayaranmula
  • 2001 – New Parsonage was built
  • 2010 – Commencement of Pakal Veedu
  • 2011 – A new parsonage was bought for the Assistant Vicar
  • 2012 – Holy Communion Service is celebrated monthly once at Erumakkadu E.A.L.P.S
  • 2012 – Holy Communion Service in English is celebrated monthly once

 List of Vicars served our Church since 1988

  • Rev. KOSHY KASSEESSA 1888-1893
  • Rev. JOSEPH KASSEESSA 1893-1895
  • Rev. A.G.THOMAS 1895-1948
  • Rev. K C MATHEW 1945-1948 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. T.K.CHACKO 1948-1952
  • Rev. P.A.JACOB 1952-1956
  • Rev. K.I.THOMAS 1956-1961
  • Rev. C.CHACKO 1961-1963
  • Rev. M.K.THOMAS 1963-1964
  • Rev. K.L.YESUDASAN 1963-1964 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. K.S.VARGHESE 1964-1969
  • Rev. N.V.KORULLA 1969-1970
  • Rev. K.N.GEORGE 1970-1975
  • Rev. V.A.GEORGE 1975-1976
  • Rev. A.C.MATHEW 1976-1978
  • Rev. VERI.REV.P.M.GEORGE 1978-1979
  • Rev. T.A.SAMUEL 1979-1984
  • Rev. A.G.MATHEW 1984-1985
  • Rev. M.S.VARGHESE 1984
  • Rev. VERI.REV.N.M.CHERIAN 1984-1987
  • Rev. C.I.GEORGE 1987-1989 (GEEVARGHESE MAR ATHANASIUS EPISCOPA 9-12-1989)
  • Rev. M.M.THOMAS 1987-1989 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. M.MTHOMAS 1989-1990
  • Rev. VERI.REV.P.V.THOMAS 1990-1991
  • Rev. C.G.SAMUEL 1990-1991(Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. P.V.GEORGE 1991-1996
  • Rev. SAJI JOSEPH 1991-1994 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. V.T.YESUDASAN 1994-1995 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. M.C.JOHN 1996- 1998
  • Rev. VARGHESE THOMAS 1998-2003
  • Rev. MATHEWS MATHUNNY 1999-2001 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. PRASAD V.KUZHIYATH 2001-2002 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. M.P.SAMUEL 2002-2004 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. DR.P.J.PHILIP 2003-2004
  • Rev. K.K.THOMAS 2004-2007
  • Rev. BINU J.VARGHESE 2004-2007 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. ABEY K.JOSHUA 2007-2010
  • Rev. THOMAS KOSHY 2007-2009 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. JINU JOHN 2009-2011 (Asst.Vicar)
  • Rev. GEORGE MATHEW 2010-2013
  • Rev. SANTHOSH VARGHESE 2011- (Asst.Vicar)

Credits: Website Script Committee