While the Supreme Court is considering cases on the entry of women into the famed Sabarimala temple, a group in the Syrian Mar Thoma Church has demanded its leadership to allow the entry of women to the famed Maramom convention’s night sessions.
This new demand comes on the eve of the weeklong 122nd edition of what is billed as Asia’s biggest Christian convention, beginning at Maramon, near here on February 12.
This convention over the years has become the flagship programme of the Thiruvalla headquartered Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, which claims to have a following of a million.
The convention, under the aegis of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association. is held at Maramon on the river bed of Pamba and while women attend the day’s sessions, they are not permitted in the night sessions due to security reasons.
Shiju Alex, a committee member of Association who is also part of the ‘Naveekerna Vedi’ that has been in existence for over a quarter century but does not have the approval of the Church, raised the issue in the Association meeting, but it was not taken up, as women have never been allowed to the night sessions.
Speaking to IANS, Alex said they have been raising this issue for a while now but it has not yielded the desired results and at their Vedi meeting on Sunday, decided a series of things to do.
“We will be meeting the Supreme Head of the Church with this demand and it will be done tomorrow or day after, depending the appointment that is given to us. We have already mailed him our demand. Even as we meet the Supreme Head, we will be approaching the Kerala State Women’s Commission and also the judiciary,” said Alex.
The Vedi is organising a public meeting at Maramon on Friday to highlight their demand.
The Mar Thoma Church defines itself as apostolic in origin, universal in nature, biblical in faith, evangelical in principle, ecumenical in outlook, oriental in worship, democratic in function, and episcopal in character, has been able to make inroads in the education sector and runs numerous educational institutions.
The origin and growth of this annual get together for a week can be traced to the great revival movement which gathered momentum along with the reformation in the ancient Syrian Church of Malabar under the leadership of Abraham Malpan.
One of the uniqueness of the convention is that this held under a temporary covered shed made out of coconut leaves, which will seat a lakh of people.