Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa was consecrated in 1937 with Mar Timotheos (later Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan). He was noted for his deep personal dedication to Jesus Christ and his zeal for the spread of the Gospel, continuity in the Evangelical tradition of the Mar Thoma Church. He was full of energy and sacrificial spirit. At the age of 21 he left home to go to the North Travancore which was an underdeveloped area. It had been selected as a mission field of the Evangelistic Association. Soon he started a school at Keezhillam as a means to reach out and help the people living in that area, with a group of fellow workers, having only their faith in God as their resource. They worked hard and opened the way for education for hundreds of children in poor families. In those days education wasn’t free and many of the people couldn’t afford schooling. By giving concessions in fees to such students, they were encouraged to study and the money for their education was taken from the meager salary of the teachers who were gracious enough to accept it as a way of serving the Lord. Gradually education began to spread in those areas and people began to see the truth of the Gospel in the lives of their teachers. Many from that area like Very Rev. A A Pylee, who was one of the Vicars General of the Church stands testimony to this fact. The school at Keezhillam developed to be a High School with a well- managed boarding home.
Thereafter Rev. C T Mathew (Mar Athanasius) moved to Perumbavoor seeing the need of that area. He was supported by a small group of friends including Mr.A. Cherian who later became a judge. A High School was incepted where teachers worked on fellowship basis, on the pattern of the Union Christian College, Alwaye. A group of dedicated teachers under the leadership of Rev. C T Mathew, the headmaster, became the nucleus of an Ashram. The school was known as the Ashram High School. The teachers shared everything in common and lived a life of fellowship as the first century Christians, devoting all their time to the welfare of the students. The boarding home and the school became highly reputed across the state. It was from there that Rev. C T Mathew was called to be a Bishop of the Mar Thoma Church. His deep devotion and sacrificial life and the spirit of fellowship were the special characteristics of his service as Bishop.

The spirit of adventure and trust in God made him a master builder of the Church. Wherever he saw the need, he ventured into action even when no resources were in sight. Undeveloped areas in Malabar became his concern as the Diocesan Bishop. He went to un-accessed areas and helped small congregation of people who had migrated from Central Travancore, seeking opportunity to make a living. They were helped to settle down and developed as on small communities in a spirit of co-operation. Nilambur and Chungathara and other places up to Gudalloor were all reached by him and the small congregations were encouraged and supported in various ways. Later when he was in charge of the diocese in Central Travancore, he concentrated his efforts in developing the congregations among the new settlers in Chittar, Seethathode, Angamoozhy and other palaces which were very difficult to reach in those days. He opened dispensaries and clinics and schools while also caring for their spiritual needs. The Olivet Aramana at Chengannur, the Retreat Centre at Maramon and the Kalalayam at Ayroor came into being as a result of his enterprising spirit. It was owing to his far-sight that the Charal Mount which has since become a favorite camp sight was bought and made available for the church.

When the Evangelistic work of the Church expanded he was the first Missionary Bishop of the Church, travelling all over India, visiting the scattered congregations and encouraging the Ashrams. He was present in many international Evangelistic conferences in Tokyo and other places. He was the first Bishop of the Mar Thoma Church to visit our congregations in Malaysia and Singapore. Even though suffering from diabetes for many years, nothing could stop him from all out endeavor in the cause of the spread of the Gospel. He followed closely on the line of Abraham Mar Thoma and surpassed him in developmental activities of the Church. After a short period, he succumbed to his illness and was called to his heavenly reward in 1973 at the age of 73.

Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church

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