The 117th Maramon Convention, widely regarded as Asia’s largest week-long annual Christian spiritual retreat, will be held on its traditional venue of the riverbed of Pampa at Maramon near Kozhencherry from February 12 to 19, said Fr Abraham P. Oommen, general secretary of Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA), missionary wing of the Mar Thoma Church that organises the annual event.
Fr Oommen, accompanied by P.P. Achenkunju, MTEA treasurer; Sam T. Mathew, Thomas T. George, secretaries; K.K. Royson and Vincen Thomas Elanthoor, conveners, was addressing a press conference here on Friday.
According to them, ’Arise, let us be going’ will be the MTEA theme for his year’s religious convention.
He said it was the ecumenical spirit and the reformation ardour of the 19th century was led to the birth of Maramon Convention way back in 1895. This spiritual retreat is a week of prayer, meditation, singing sharing and hearing Bibilical discourses by promiment speakers.
Fr Oommen said the Marthomites across the globe used to take it as an occasion of spiritual renewal.
Dr Joseph Mar Thoma, Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church, will inaugurate the annual event at a function to be presided by the MTEA president, Thomas Mar Themotheos Episcopa, at 2.30 pm on February 12.
Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostum, senior Metropolitan, will lead the opening worship. Other bishops of Mar Thoma Church will also address different sessions during he week-long spiritual retreat.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana from South Africa, Rev Kang-San-Tan from Malaysia and Rev Martin Alphons from United States of America, all evangelists, will be the main speakers at this year’s Maramon Convention, Fr Oommen said.
He said the social commitment inspired by the convention had led to formation of institutes like Mar Thoma Sunday School SAmajom (1905), Mar Thoma Sevika Sanghom (1919), orphanages and destitute homes. Projects like ‘Home for the homeless’ and ‘Land for the landless’ were also emerged out of the convention, he added.
There will be three sessions at 10 am, 2 pm and 6.30 pm from February 13 to 18. Bible classes will be held separately for men and women at the convention venue from 7.30 am to 8.30 am from February 13 to 18. The Ecumenical meet as part of the annual meet will be held at 10 am on February 16 and the meet against social evils will be held, later, at 2 pm.
According to MTEA general secretary, the family meet will be held at 4 pm from February 13 to 15.
The Mar Thoma Metropolitan will deliver the valedictory message on February 19 afternoon.
A 101-member choir of the Department of Sacred Music and Communication (DSMC) attached to Mar Thoma Church will present music sessions on all the eight days.
Fr Oommen said various government departments, including Kerala Water Authority, Kerala State Electricity board, Water Resources Department, Public Works Department, Police, Fire and Rescue Force, Health department and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, were also engaged in making arrangements to facilitate the smooth management of the annual meet.
KSRTC special service
KSRTC would operate special services to Maramon from its different depots in the district during the convention period.
Construction of a large pandal (thatched shed) as well as footpaths leading to the convention venue is fast progressing on the riverbed.
He further called upon the faithfuls to make it a point to maintain the serenity and tranquility of the occasion, keeping in mind that “the pandal and the venue are sacred to God.’’