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About the Founder

Servant of God
Archbishop Mar Ivanios OIC
( Founder of Bethany Ashram )

The late Archbishop Mar Ivanios OIC was born on 21 September 1882 at Mavelikara in Kerala. He was a multifaceted personality whose life touched all realms of the society. His intense spiritual fervour and enlightenment led him and his followers to a monastic life inspired by the Oriental and Indian religious life. After the initial preparation he moved to Mundanmala, near Perunadu, Ranni in Kerala and founded The Order of the Imitation of Christ or Bethany Ashram on 15 August 1919.

Within no time Bethany Ashram with its beloved founder was instrumental in creating a wave of spiritual renaissance in the Catholic Church. Apart from the spiritual leadership Mar Ivanios played a colossal role in the social transformation of his motherland.

His pioneering works among the outcastes, downtrodden and women and in the field of healthcare and education manifest the pioneering role he played as a social reformer. Noteworthy among his social reforms were the number of schools he established. A striking factor of these schools was that the majority of these institutions were established in remote areas.

The results were dramatic. A large number of people from these areas became professors, civil servants who in turn contributed their share in social transformation. Looking back at Mar Ivanios’s life and the things he achieved, it looks quite unbelievable. He achieved more than what two or three generations could achieve in one stroke. He was certainly a true missionary with a vision…a man to meditate, a priest to imitate and a prophet to follow.