September 02, 2021
Dear member of the Association of the Catholic Historians, I am happy to announce the third webinar of the Association of Catholic Historians which will be held on the subject 'Empowerment of the Adivasis in Chotanagpur : Struggle Continues' by an eminent scholar Fr. Dr. Leonard Fernando SJ on 02 September 2021, Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. You are requested to note down the date and participate actively in the webinar. Dr. Sunny Maniakkunnel General Secretary Short introduction of the Theme Empowerment of the Adivasis in Chotanagpur: Struggle Continues Leonard Fernando, SJ Empowerment of the Adivasis in Chotanagpur began when Fr Constant Lievens, SJ, the Apostle of Chotanagpur, came to Chotanagpur in 1885. When he came the Adivasis were poor, illiterate and had lost most of their lands to the outsiders. Fr Lievens studied the situation of the Adivasis and understood that they had been deprived of their traditional rights to land by deceit in the courts of law. He put them in contact with trustworthy pleaders in the court. Following his guidance and encouragement, Adivasis began to win their cases and get back their lands. Moreover, the Adivasis experienced Fr Lievens and those who worked with him as men of God. He presented Jesus as one who could liberate, transform and empower them. Thousands of people came forward to become members of the Catholic Church. When Fr Lievens arrived in Chotanagpur there were only 56 Catholics in the area. Within seven years of his arrival there were at least 80,000 baptized Catholics and more than 20,000 catechumens. His activity was opposed by moneylenders and government officials. On August 26, 1892, he left for Belgium, afflicted by tuberculosis, and died at Louvain on November 7, 1893. The effort for his beatification began in 1993 in the Diocese of Bruges, Belgium. The mortal remains of the Servant of God Father Constant Lievens were brought to Chotanagpur on 31st October 1993. Before enshrining the same in the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral, Ranchi on 7th November, solemn processions were held at various locations where he had rendered service. The shrine continues to draw numerous devotees, who seek intercession of the great messenger of the Gospel. On 13th July 2014, the dossier regarding Blessedness of Father Lievens was submitted to the Holy See for scrutiny. The other Jesuit Fathers in the Chotanagpur mission with the help of catechists and other local agents consolidated this group conversion movement and empowerment of the Adivasis. One important person among them is Fr John Baptist Hoffmann (1857-1928) who started the Catholic Cooperative Credit Society (CCCS), popularly known as ‘The Catholic Bank’. This innovative organisation gave the people financial security. The Cooperative was run by the Adivasis themselves. It functioned as a parallel organization to the parish and used the parish infrastructure to ensure smooth administration. It was a great success. Hoffmann made a thorough study of ancestral land rights of Adivasis and drafted the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act in 1908. This Act regulated the transfer of the lands of the Adivasis in the area, thus preventing their lands from passing on to the hands of non-Adivasis. He also wrote Munda Grammar book which was printed in 1903. He is best known for his Munda dictionary, entitled Encyclopaedia Mundarica in 15 volumes that contain 5000 pages, on the culture and civilization of the Munda tribe. An important factor in the growth of this Christian movement was that the laity soon organized themselves for social and political action culminating in the Adivasi Mahasabha of 1938. Today Chotanagpur mission has developed and grown into a flourishing Chotanagpur Church. Fr Stan Swamy, SJ (1937-2021) Fr Stan Swamy had been living and working among the Adivasis in Jharkhand and Odisha for the past 40 years and more. His lifetime mission has been to conscientize the Adivasis about their basic rights to Jal, Jangal and Jameen. According to the Annual report of the Ministry of Rural Development 2004-2005, it is said that Jharkhand is the state where most of the tribal land alienation has happened. Over 26 lakh people have lost their land, all in the name of development and housing projects since Independence. Fr Stan had been a frontline activist for the tribal cause and had been very much part and parcel of many dharnas, rallies, meetings, seminars etc, defending the tribal rights and dignity. Fr Stan had been forcibly voicing his opposition to an amendment in the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, which he said would lead to the decimation of the Adivasis in Jharkhand. Moreover, numerous cases of unjust arrests and inhuman treatment of Adivasi youth by the state, led Fr Stan to start a movement to save them. In 2014-15, he formed the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee, following the indiscriminate arrest of hundreds of Adivasi and Dalit youths. The committee’s main purpose was to intervene on behalf of hundreds of Undertrials seeking immediate bail and a speedy trial. Fr Stan was arrested on 9th October 2020, on charges of having links with the outlawed Maoist organizations, and was also accused along with 15 other rights’ activists of planning and inciting the violence in the Bhima Koregaon case of 1st January 2018. NIA did not seek his custody even for a day and he was sent to the Taloja Jail as soon as he was arrested. Fr. Swamy was shifted from the jail to Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, Mumbai on May 29 after being directed by the High Court. He tested positive for COVID-19 on May 30 and suffered lower back pain and bilateral hearing loss among other ailments. He suffered from a cardiac arrest on July 4 at 4.30 a.m. He was put on a ventilator, and he never regained consciousness. On Monday July 5th Fr Stan died. On July 6th Tuesday evening, solemn funeral mass of Fr Stan was held in St Peter’s church Bandra, Mumbai which was streamed online. About 20,000 people took part in it. His cremated remains were taken to Jharkhand, Jamshedpur, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In this “Pilgrimage for Justice” people from different Christian communities and other religious traditions, social activists and people from different political parties took part keeping the memory of the prophet and martyr of our days alive and making a solemn resolution to continue the struggle begun by Fr Constant Lievens and continued by persons like Fr Stan Swamy for the empowerment of the Adivasis. About Speaker Fr. Dr. Leonard Fernando SJ is the Rector of St Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli, India since 2017. For 10 years (2001-2007; 2013-2017) he was the Principal of Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi. He has been a Professor of Church History and Systematic Theology at Vidyajyoti, Delhi and other Colleges in India and in Europe. He did his Master’s at Gregorian University, Rome and doctorate studies at Leopold-Franzens University, Innsbruck, Austria, which he passed with distinction. He was the editor of Indian Church History Review (1999-2008), editor of Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection (2010-2016) and since 2012 General Editor of History of Christianity in India, a series published by the Church History Association of India of which he is the President since 2017. He is the author or editor of 12 books and has published over 110 articles in national and international journals. He was Member of the Historical Commission of the Diocesan Inquiry for the Beatification Process of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Mother Gertrude Gross, SMMI and Dr. Mary Glowrey JMJ and now Member of the Historical Commission of the Diocesan Inquiry for the Beatification Process of Mother Thatipathri Gnanamma (foundress of Srs of Anne, Madras). Fr Leonard Fernando SJ Professor of Church History and Systematic Theology at Vidyajyoti College of Theology 4-A, Raj Niwas Marg Delhi, 110054. Academic Qualifications · B.A. · B.Ph. · Licentiate in Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome · Ph.D (in Theology, Leopold-Franzens University, Innsbruck. Subjects Taught at Vidyajyoti · General Church History · Patristic Theology · Social Teaching of the Fathers of the Church · History of Christianity in India · Ecclesiology Teaching Experience at Other Faculties · Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune · Gujarat Regional Seminary, Baroda · 5 Regional Theology Centres of Vidyajyoti College at Chennai, Patna, Ranchi, Santiniketan and Varanasi · Morning Star College, Barackpore, West Bengal · Leopold-Franzens University, Innsbruck, Austria Other Offices 1995 - 1998 Vice-Principal, Vidyajyoti College · 1998 Acting Principal, Vidyajyoti College · 2001-2007 Principal, Vidyajyoti College · 2010- 2013 Director of Postgraduate Studies, Vidyajyoti College · 2013-2017 Principal, Vidyajyoti College · Was Member of the Historical Commission of the Diocesan Inquiry for the Beatification Process of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Mother Gertrude Gross, SMMI · Now Member of the Historical Commission of the Diocesan Inquiry for the Beatification Process of Mother Thatipathri Gnanamma (foundress of Srs of Anne, Madras). · President, The Church History Association of India, North India Branch, 2012-2017. · Editor, Indian Church History Review (Ecumenical Journal) 1999 – 2008 · Editor, Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection 2010-2016 · General Editor which publishes the volumes: History of Christianity in India since 2012. · President, The Church History Association of India, since 2017. Joining Link Webinar on 'Empowerment of the Adivasis in Chotanagpur : Struggle Continues' Thursday, September 2 · 6:00 – 7:00pm Google Meet joining info Video call link: https://meet.google.com/goa-mbfj-yyz
May 03, 2019
The first international seminar was held in the Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore from 3 to 5 May 2019, organized jointly by Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Holy See, Christ Deemed to be University and Dharmaram Vidhya Kshetram, Bangalore. The general theme of the seminar was “Social Changes in India and the Catholic Church: A Historico-Anthropological Approach (17th to 20th Centuries).” The local organizers of the seminar were Dr. Jose CC, Pro Vice Chancellor of Christ Deemed to be University and Dr. Francis Thonippara. The inaugural session started at 9.30 a.m on 3 May 2019 Friday with a prayer dance by the students of the Christ Deemed to be university. Dr. Jose CC, Pro Vice Chancellor of Christ Deemed to be University and member of Association of Catholic Historians welcomed the audience. Dr. George Edayadiyil, Chancellor of Christ Deemed to be University and the Rector of Dharmaram College gave inaugural addresses and lighted the lamp by him and other dignitaries. Felicitation addresses were given by Dr. Abraham Vettiyankal, Vice Chancellor Christ Deemed to be university and Dr. KurianKachappilly, President of DharmaranVidhyaKshetram. A keynote Address was delivered by Msgr. Bernard Ardura, President of the Pontifical Committee for the Historical Sciences, Holy See, Vatican, on “Social Changes in India and the Catholic Church: A Historico-Anthropological Approach” . Prof. K.S Mathew, the President of Association of Catholic Historians of India who presided over the meeting addressed the gathering. Dr. Sunny Maniakkunnel, the General Secretary of Association of Catholic Historians of India, thanked each and every one. The inaugural session ended around 11.30. The Scholars from France, Italy and various parts of India presented their papers related to the main theme. The papers presented at the seminar are being edited for publication. The seminar had a solemn conclusion with the presence of many dignitaries which started at 12 noon 15 May 2019. In the meeting, Dr. Jeanette Pinto welcomed the gathering. The Chief Guest of the meeting, His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, addressed the audience.”. He expressed his wish that the Association of Catholic Historians studies more about the great contribution of the Church in nation building. The president of the meeting, His Grace Most Rev. Peter Machado, the Archbishop of Bangalore, gave the presidential address in which he stressed the importance of the historical researches in Church history.
May 01, 2015
National Seminar 2015 at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK)Bangaaluru
September 02, 2021
This is to inform you about our next webinar which will be held on 2 September 2021 at 6 pm. Dr. Leonard Fernando will present the webinar on the theme Webinar on 'Empowerment of the Adivasis in Chotanagpur : Struggle Continues' Thursday, September 2, 6:00 – 7:00pm Google Meet joining info Video call link: https://meet.google.com/goa-mbfj-yyz Please find the Brochure - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j8ZO34yaygSKbre35OIVgCsf5Cyy7baE/view?usp=sharing Please save the date and participate actively in the seminar.
June 28, 2021
Webinar of the Association of Catholic Historians which will be held on the subject Christianity and Indian Culture by an eminent scholar S.M. Michael SVD on 28 June 2021, Monday from 6 to 7 p.m. You are requested to note down the date and participate actively in the webinar. Short introduction of the Theme Culture is human specific. As fish cannot live without water, human beings cannot live without culture. It is a comprehensive term. Culture signifies the way different human communities organize themselves to give meaning through the complex interaction of their economic, social, political, aesthetic and religious dimensions of life. After the encounter of the historical Risen Christ s, the timid, discouraged and disillusioned apostles began to share their New Life in Jesus to people of all cultures by crossing the seas, climbing the mountains and facing all persecutions. Thus began the Christian Movement and encounter between Christianity and cultures. This relationship between Christianity and Cultures is a dynamic process in human history involving cultural adaptation, accommodation, indigenization, contextualization, inculturation and inter-culturation. It includes challenge and celebration of cultures, dialogue, mutual fecundation, transformation, liberation and conversion. Today, this movement is challenged by ethnocentrism, narrow cultural nationalism, religious pluralism, relativism and Post-Modern liberalism. In order to find new paths in Christian Mission, a deeper understanding of culture in the lives of people is a must. Many years of scientific research and reflection, my talk will offer very significant insights into the understanding of the dynamic relationship between Christianity and Cultures in human history. About Speaker -Sebastian M. Michael (S.M. Michael SVD) Sebastian M. Michael (S.M. Michael SVD) is the Director of Institute of Indian Culture, A Post-Graduate Research Centre in Culture, Society and Religion. He is Professor Emeritus of Cultural Anthropology, University of Mumbai. Among his several books, the edited volume Dalits in Modern India: Vision and Values (1999) was a best seller of Sage publications. It has been translated into several languages. Other books by him are Anthropology as a Historical Science (1984; co-edited with Mahipal Bhuriya), Culture and Urbanization (1989), Globalization and Social Movements (2003; co-edited with P.G. Jogdand), Cultural Challenges to Christian Mission for the 21st Century (2008; co-edited with Kuriala Chittattukalam), The Cultural Context of Evangelization in India (Ishvani/Sat Prakashan, 1982); Cultural Anthropology and the Mission of the Church (2006), Dalit's Encounter with Christianity (2010), and Integral Anthropology (2012; co-edited with Bernd Pflug); Christianity and Cultures: Anthropological Insights to Christian Mission (2015); Humanistic Relevance of Anthropology (2017). He is a Consulter to the Pontifical Council for Culture and Inter-Religious Dialogue, Rome. He was also the Chairman of the Bombay Archdiocesan Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
February 17, 2021
Dear All As I had informed you earlier, an online meeting of the office bearers of the Association of the Catholic Historians of India was held at 11 A.M on 1 November 2020 to discuss the future activities of our Association. Due to Covid 19, we have been not able to hold a formal seminar of the Association. Therefore, the members unanimously decided to have different Webinars till the end of Covid 19. They are proposed to be held at two months’ interval. The first webinar will be conducted at 6 PM on Wednesday, 17 February 2021. It will have total time of one hour and a half. The paper will be presented by Dr. Sadananda Nayak on Role of Catholic Missionaries for Transformation of Dalits Life in Late Colonial Southern Odisha, followed by Dr. Jose Kalapura S. J on Church in Bihar, Mediating Community Development. Each scholar presents his paper for 30 minutes followed by question-answers for 15 minutes each. I request you to take note of it and participate in the webinar. I shall send the link to you later. 1.Role of Catholic Missionaries for Transformation of Dalits Life in Late Colonial Southern Odisha: Dr. Sadananda Nayak 2. Church in Bihar, Mediating Community Development : Dr. Jose Kalapura S. J Please make it a success
February 28, 2019
Considering the vital role and contribution of St Kuriakose Elias Chavara Archives and Research Centre, Mannanam in realizing the Association of Catholic Historians of India a registered trust and its functioning, the association, Prof. DrK.S.Mathew the founder chairman in person, is always generous to extend its moral and intellectual support to the activities of the Archives. When it was organized a one-month Syriac course by the Archives in the month of May in consecutive years 2018 and 2019 Prof. Dr K.S.Mathew was one of the eminent resource persons of the programme titled ‘Introduction to the Syriac Language and Heritage’. He was also the master brain in organizing a one-day workshop on ‘Ancient Scripts and the Reconstruction of the History of Kerala’ on 29 February 2020, and the main speaker at the valedictory function.
January 30, 2018
Association of Catholic Historians of India was officially inaugurated at the International seminar jointly organised by St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara Archives and Research Centre Mannanam, St. Joseph’s Monastery Mannanam and CHRIST (Deemed to be University ) Bangalore in collaboration with Association of Catholic Historians of India, from 30th January to 1 February 2018 on St Thomas Christians through the Ages: A Historiographical Approach. Very Rev.Dr Bernard Ardura OPraem, President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Holy See, Vatican was gracious to inaugurate the Trust and deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the Seminar. The seminar was graced by His Beatitude George Cardinal Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church and His Grace Mar Joseph Perumthottam, Archbishop of Changanāssēry among other dignitaries and scholars. Experts in the subject from France, Italy, Portugal and various parts of India presented their research papers and took active part in the discussions a few selected papers related to the Indian Apostolate of St Thomas have been published. The rest of the research papers are in the press for publication.