St Pauls Ashram and Balabhavan
The providence of God can be seen in all aspects of the world. The spirit of God, hovering over the face of the waters at the time of creation influences all the individuals, the society and also the history of the world unordered to fulfill the vision of God. Gods plan is very visible in the life of HG Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios Metropolitan, Sabha Ratnam of Malankara Orthodox Syrian church. Right from the childhood there was a spiritual light in the life of the Metropolitan. While dedicating his life to God standing in the midst of a prayer meeting. Georgekutty the 12 year old boy had a dedicated prayer life. There were so many factors in his life which helped him to follow the Jesus Christ sincerely and whole heartedly throughout his life. Especially the presence of a mother having a dedicated prayer life, and who was also generous-minded enough to help others. Even when she was feeling hungry, she gave food to the poor starving people without knowing others. In addition to this, the unforgettable lessons taught by the unpleasant experiences in life, the influence of the word of God right from the childhood, the readiness to obey the word of God, the ups and downs in the society, and the higher studies in the American university are the other factors molded his life. The spiritual insight and the ideological basis in his life helped him to start lot of mission movements in the Malankara Orthodox Church.
The painful experience of Rev. Fr. M. V. George (HG Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios Metropolitan) who happened to witness the cries of an orphan child, led to the establishing of St. Paul’s Ashram and Balabhavan. He thought that it was the responsibility of church and society to shelter the orphans and bring them in to the main stream of social life by providing proper education. When he took the initiative to establish a Balabhavan, he was provided with all the basic necessities to realize his dream, by the grace of God. In 1957 Mr. M.C Cherian Manamel and his brothers donated 25 acres of land at Engapuzha 24 kms away from Kozhikode nearby the Kozhikode Wayanad road, to the Catholicate of the East. That time the land was unfit for human habitation, because of the presence of wild animals. Now there are 50 acres of land here with various crops like rubber trees, coconut trees etc. The land, once with wild animals, is now blessed with various institutions and has won world renown as the centre of mission movements.
In 1958 Rev. Fr. P. M. Thomas the then secretary of St. Paul’s mission centre at Mavelikara was sent to Engapuzha by the Rev. Fr. M.V. George to guide the mission works. Before coming to Malabar on 26th July 1958 he visited Baselios Geevarghese Didimos II at catholicate palace for the blessings and he was not only blessed but given one hundred rupees also for the mission works. And on 1st August 1958 Rev. Fr. P. M. Thomas took charge of the mission works at Engapuzha with those hundred rupees.
At the outset Fr. Thomas resided in a small shed built nearby the St. George Church, and with the help of Parish and labourers large areas of the land were cleared of the forest and planted rubber trees. On 16th Nov. 1958 the foundation stone of Balabhavan was laid by H. G. Pathrose Mar Osthathios the first metropolitan of Malabar Diocese. And later on 29th June the T-shaped building with nine rooms and a hall was consecrated by the then principal of theological seminary H. G. Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan, Later Baselios Marthoma Mathews. The wood for the building was donated by the Manamel family from their estate. On 2nd November 1959 the regular functioning of Balabhavan was started by Rev. Fr. M. V. George by accepting three children. One among them Mr. Chinnaswami (C. T. Simon) is still residing near by the Balabhavan, with his family in a house built for him by St. Paul’s Ashram. Chinna Swami the Tamil child came to Balabhavan with his legs badly burnt and even now his parents are unknown to him.