|Milestones in the History of Our Church at Vellore|
A Brief History of St. Luke’s Orthodox Church
By the abundant grace of God Almighty St. Luke’s Orthodox Church, Vellore is privileged to celebrate the 71 years of the beginning of our worship in Vellore . Here is a brief history of how it all began.
A long time ago there was a small village in South India, set on the banks of a river, Palar, and surrounded by the edge of the eastern ghats. People living in and near the village referred it to as Vel-oor, the place of Velam trees. In the twentieth century this small village, Vellore, became world famous because of Christian Medical College, popularly known as C.M.C, Vellore. Another landmark which recently added to Vellore is VIT University.
The beginning of a New era:
Young Ida Sophia Scudder was the daughter of American missionary parents who lived in Vellore in late 1800’s. As she grew up she realized the need for medical help to the poor women and children and decided to study medicine in America. In 1900, she came back to Vellore as Dr. Ida S Scudder and started a clinic with one bed. Dr. Scudder’s vision and determined efforts helped this clinic to grow as the most renowned hospital of India, which at present serves over 2000 inpatients and 7000 out patients daily with devoted doctors, nurses and other staff members. Almost all the churches in India, including ours, have membership in the C.M.C. Council.
Orthodox worship at Vellore:
Dr. Ida Scudder’s fondest dream, a medical school for women came true in 1918 and it became a medical college for women in 1942; men were admitted from 1947. The rapid growth from a clinic to a medical college led to the coming of a number of students from Kerala. Many of them were Orthodox Christians who upheld their Orthodox identity. They met together for prayers regularly as a congregation. On the request of the students, Madras Church sent priest to Vellore to celebrate the first Holy Qurbana in 1944. After the formation of the Indian Orthodox Mission by the Late Metropolitan H.G Alexios Mar Theodosius, Rev. Fr. Kuriakose O.I.C., of Bethany Ashram came to Vellore from Coonoor and celebrated Holy Qurbana once in a month in All Saints Church (SPG). He continued this service till 1954.
On Jan. 18th, 1954, His Holiness Baselius Geevarghese II (Kurichy Bava) came for a surgery in C.M.C. His Holiness’ stay in Vellore was the point of the Orthodox Church here. His Holiness realized the need for a resident priest and appointed Rev. Fr. C.E. George in 1954 itself. He conducted service in the All Saints Church and C.M.C. Hospital Chapel. As a pioneer priest Fr. George had to undergo difficulties with regard to living facilities and finance, nevertheless as ideal priest he served the parish with pleasure and extended spiritual comfort and love to the patients in C.M.C. Hospital. He was here till 1962. A part of the Church plot was bought on 25th April 1959. Late Dr.P.Koshy & Late Mr.G.Idiculla have rendered invaluable service in initiating the purchase of the plot and construction of the Church.
Rev, Fr. C.M, Philipose served the parish in 1962-63. He was succeeded by Rev. Fr.K.K. Mathews (1964-67). (later H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas) who rejuvenated the parish with his extraordinary spiritual leadership and service conducted with humility.
Rev Fr. M.A. Varghese Panicker (1967-70) (later Very Rev. Cyril Ramban). The next Vicar, contributed greatly to the construction of the present church in 1969. His Grace Thomas Mar Dionysious (the Council member of C.M.C) laid the foundation stone of the church and also consecrated the church on 6th May 1970. Late Rev. Fr. V.K. Chacko was appointed the next Vicar (1970-74). The finishing touches of the church was done during his tenure. Late Rev. Fr. C.V. John succeeded him. It was during his time that the parsonage was constructed and consecrated. Rev. Fr. P.C. Philip, Rev. Fr. Thomas Thalackkel, Rev. Fr. V.C. Jose, Rev.Fr. Mani K. Varghese, Rev. Fr. Philip Abraham , Rev. Fr. Biju P. Thomas, Rev.Fr. Thomas Issac, Rev.Fr.Iype Alex, Rev.Fr.Sanjay Pappachan, Rev.Fr.Aji Varghese, Rev.Fr. Abraham Thomas, Rev.Fr. Abey M Chacko, were the Vicars later. Rev. Fr.Joby George is the present Vicar of the Parish.
Ranipet, Chittoor and Ambur are neighboring places within a radius of about 40 km. from Vellore. Members from these places came to the church with great enthusiasm. Prayer meetings are held once a month in, Vellore, Chittoor and Ranipet. The parish has 69 family members and many nursing, medical , paramedical and engineering students.
The parish is proud of our member of the parish Rev. Fr. P.A. Johnson, Chittoor, who is the presently serving in Brahmavar Diocese.
The spiritual organizations of the church include prayer meeting, Sunday School and M.G.O.C.S.M. The students meet on all Saturday evening in C.M.C. and alternate Sunday for M.G.O.C.S.M. in church.
‘Snehabhavan’ a residential guidance center for patients who come to C.M.C. was first of its kind in Vellore. It is a part of the Madras Diocese’s charitable project. It was built by our first metropolitan His Grace Zachariah Mar Dionysious as a part of His Grace’s Shashtiabdipoorti celebrations.
The parish is now celebrating its 71 years of the beginning of our worship in Vellore and Silver Jubilee of Snehabhavan , under the leadership of Our beloved Diocesan Metropolitan H G Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros on Aug.9, 2015. We request your prayers for the success of all activities of our parish. May the Lord give the parish great strength and use it for the furtherance of His Kingdom.
|Office Bearers 2014-15|
|Trustee : Joncy Abraham
Secretary : Dr C E Eapen
|Church Building fund support|
The Vellore corporation has decided to widen & double lane the road connecting our parish & they are about to acquire about three meters[10ft] of the land from either side of the road, thus causing a loss of area &infrastructure for our parish. The proposed plan shall affect us badly which shall partially damage the existing parsonage & completely demolish the Cross Tower and compound wall. Hence we are forced to relocate the parsonage at a convenient place within the church premises at the earliest.
The church committee has decided to construct a two-storied building which includes a multipurpose mini hall, an office, parsonage, Bishop’s room[many Bishops frequent Vellore for treatment],at an estimated cost of forty lakhs. We are a small parish comprising of fifty families & student community [both CMC HOSPITAL&VIT UNIVERSITY] with a hand to mouth existence, so its difficult to garner this amount locally. Hence we call upon social philanthropists, church members & well wishers within & outside India to donate generously & bail us out from this crunch.