Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/B/OMS/C I2 O9A-G
TitleCottayam College property
Extent7 files
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryIn 1808 money was invested by Mar Thoma "for charitable purposes". In 1876 the Travancore government donated Rs 8,000 to the Syrian church to help "the study of the Holy Scriptures". A college was founded to instruct catanars and priests in Syriac and Malayalim and to translate Scriptures into Malayalim. In 1818 the Travancore government granted an endowment of Rs 20,000 for the support of Cottayam College. Colonel Munro directed Rev. B. Bailey to invest the money in land and to form a committee of management. The aim was the "political, moral and religious renovation of the Syrian people through the instruction of English missionaries". Money was raised to be used for 1. Circulation of useful works especially Scripture. 2. Instruction of youth. 3. Instruction of clergy. 4. Erection and enlargement of churches.

The CMS missionaries hoped for reformation of the Syrian Church but time passed, no converts were made and no renewal was achieved. Relationships between the missionaries and the church became increasingly strained. In 1835 with the arrival of Rev. John Tucker as mission secretary and the visit of Bishop Wilson, matters came to a head Tucker pointed out that the Syrian Church owed its allegiance to Antioch rather than Rome and the missionaries were therefore free to build their own church (and use the Anglican liturgy). Bishop Wilson urged the adoption of reforms by the Metran but these were refused in the Mavelikara Agreement of January 1836. Co-operation between CMS and the Jacobite Syrian Church ended and Cottayam College was given to the Syrians. Legal action followed and the case was taken to the courts.

The arbitration award of 4 April 1840 delared:
1. The Cadamattom estate belonged to the Metran.
2. The land on which the College stood, together with the College and the chapel were to be held in trust by the Metran on behalf of the Syrian community.
3. Munro Island (or Callady [Kallada]) which had been originally granted to Rev. Joseph Fenn [working at Mavelikara] was to be held jointly by the Cottayam missionaries and the British Resident.

The award suggested that Munro Island should be returned to the Circar and a financial compensation should be paid to the missionaries, in trust for the Syrian community.

Following the award's suggestion, litigation over the College endowments went on for many years and was only finally settled in 1930 when Munro Island was transferred to the government.


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