Abraham Malpan Palakunnathu

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About Abraham Malpan Palakunnathu


7 September, 1845: Death of Abraham Malpan Born in 1796 in Palakunnathu

family at Maramon. Became a Deacon in 1811 and Priest in 1815. He was a

Malpan (Teacher) in Kottayam Theological seminary. He gave able leadership for

the reformation in the Syrian Church. He is known as the Luther of the Malankara

Church. Our Bishops Thomas Mar Athanasius (1837 –1893) and Titus I Mar

Thoma (1843-1910) were his sons. He conducted the first Malayalam Holy

Communion service in 1837 in the Maramon Mar Thoma Church. It was a

historical event, till that time in all the churches communion services were

conducted in Syrian Language. He was called to his eternal home on

7th September 1845 and was buried in the Maramon Mar Thoma Church

1 May, 1855: Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan, Puthuppally, passes away.

Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan was born in 1788. He became a teacher of the

Kottayam Theological Seminary in 1813. Along with Abraham Malpan, he gave

able leadership for the reformation of the church. The first Malayalam Holy

Communion service was conducted by him in the Kollad church on 1 September

1836. Abraham Malpan followed his example and conducted services in

Malayalam in the Maramon Parish.



Nalloor Publications

Life story of Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan

Leader of the Reformation

“The Malpan was a strong Churchman, loyal to the best traditions of his Church.

He wanted only to effect such reforms in the Church as were consistent with the

apostolic and truly evangelical traditions of the Church. This he tried to do by

translating and revising the liturgy and by doing away with the unscriptural

practices which had crept into the Church and by restoring the Church to what he

considered to be its prime position before the Synod of Diamper. He therefore strove

hard for the abolition of auricular confession (confessing the sin to a priest), prayers

for the dead, invocation of saints, and unhealthy veneration (giving deep reverence

or respect) of sacraments. He reintroduced the practice of giving Holy Communion

to the people in both kinds. Further he emphasized the reading and study of the

Bible, family-worship and evangelistic work. He also insisted on a high moral

standard of conduct for laity and clergy alike. All this created a ferment in the

Church and its effects are still discernible in the Syrian Church as a whole”. (Mar

Thoma Sabha Directory)

Before his birth, his father died and we don’t know much

about his father. He lost his mother while he was only two years old

Malpan had only one brother, named Mathunny. Both the boys were brought up by their father’s elder brother Palakunnathu Thomas Malpan.

Reward for getting married

Col. John Munro was of the opinion that priests are to be of married persons. Due to

Col. Munro’s influence, Metropolitan Punnathra Mar Dionysius gave permission to

all unmarried priests to marry. To encourage the priests Col. Munro had promised

cash awards, of Rs.400/-to the first and Rs.150/- for others. Abraham Malpan was one

among the first two who got this award from Col. Munro.


One foreign Bishop from Tigris, His Holiness Yeldo Mar Baselios came to

Kothamangalam in 1685 (1684) and he became sick and died on the 13th day of his

arrival (on 20 Kanny 860 M.E). To remember him people started a festival in his

name, and called it Muthappan Festival. People from Maramon, Mavelikkara and

Puthen Cavu used to visit Kothamangalam to participate in this festival, and pay

homage to this saint. People believed that Muthappan was the cause of all their

prosperity in agriculture. So soil was brought from Kothamanglam to Maramon and a

replica wooden tomb was made and people started worshipping this saint. Muthappan

festival was good source of income for the Maramon Parish. A wooden doll in human

shape (Almost three feet in height) was made to represent the Muthappan and kept in

Maramon Church. Every year during the Muthappan Festival (usually in September)

this wooden image of the saint used to be taken around in procession and people used

to offer prayers and offerings to it.

Malayalam Year 1012 Kanni – October, 1836: Abraham Malpan starts

Reformation in Maramon: Members of the Maramon Parish used to celebrate the

festival of “Muthappan” every year. Muthappan was a wooden doll in the shape

of a human, made in memory of a foreign Bishop who came to Kerala in AD

1685. Offerings and prayers were conducted in front of this idol. The people of

Maramon believed that the cause of all their prosperity and blessings was

because of this semi-god, Muthappan. Large crowds used to attend this yearly

festival, which was a good source of income for the Maramon Parish. In 1836,

the day before ‘Muthappan Festival’, Abraham Malpan threw “the god

Muthappan” into the well situated in the Church compound and put an end to this

festival forever, starting the reformation process.

John Wycliffe (1328-1384) was one of the leaders of the Western Reformation.

Malpan’s biographer Rev. M. C. George Kassisa calls him as Wycliff of the East. The

Most Rev. Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan in his book “Christianity in India and a

Brief History of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church” calls Malpan as the Luther of the

Syrian Church. (Martin Luther (1483-1546) was another leader of the Western


1811 - Abraham Malpan became deacon - Ordained by Mar Thoma VIII

Abraham Malpan was ordained as a priest in 1815 by Mar Thoma VIII. There were

some doubts about the validity of the consecration of Mar Thoma VIII. Malpan too

had some doubts about his own ordination. So when a Jacobite Metran from Syria

came, he himself got re-ordained by him. Mar Dionysius lodged a complaint against

Malpan and the Government sent Abraham Malpan to prison for flouting (showing

contempt or mocking) the authority of the Indian Metran.

In 1836, Abraham Malpan and 11 other priests submitted a memorandum to the

British Resident Col. Fraser, requesting him to do the necessary changes in the

Malankara Church. But the Resident couldn’t do any changes

31 August, 1937 (Chinghom 15, 1012 M.E): Abraham Malpan celebrated the

First Holy Communion in Malayalam (it was in Syriac language till then), in the

Maramon Mar Thoma Parish. Malpan had translated the liturgy into Malayalam,

as the Syriac language was unknown to most of the congregation and sometimes

even to the celebrants.

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Abraham Malpan Palakunnathu's Timeline

May 30, 1795
October 7, 1836
February 8, 1843

Birth of Titus I Mar Thoma. Titus I Mar Thoma (son of
Abraham Malpan) was widely recognized as a saintly Bishop. During his time as
Metropolitan of the Church, the well known educational institutions, Mar Thoma
Seminary Kottayam and S.C. Seminary Tiruvalla came into being. The Sunday
School Samajam was established during his time. He was called to his eternal
home on 29th October 1909.

September 9, 1845
Age 50

Abraham Malpan was a diabetic patient. Those days there were no proper treatment
for diabetes. At the age of 50 he became very sick. Many of his friends including the
CMS missionary Rev. Joseph Peet visited him. Rev. Joseph Peet was a very good
friend and supporter of Malpan. Malpan was fully conscious till the last breath. He
was called to his eternal home at 3.00 pm on Sunday, 7 September 1845 (24
Chingham 1021 M.E) at the age of 50. He was buried on the next day in the Maramon
Mar Thoma Church.

September 10, 1845
Age 50
Maramon, Kerala, India