Orthodox Churches venerate the departed saints, commemorate their memorial day and seek their intercession. It is taught by the scripture – Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith (Heb. 13:6) – and practiced by the fathers. At Niranam Church, we celebrate the feasts of St Mary in whose name the church is dedicated, the feast of St Thomas who is the founder of the church and the apostle of India and the feasts of Mar Thoma II and Mar Thoma V whose mortal remains are buried in the church.
The feast of Assumption of St Mary (Vaangipu perunnaal) is celebrated on 15 th August. As per the tradition, when St Mary was died, her body was taken to the heaven by angels. This incident is remembered on this day. It’s a day to remind us how humility and piety can reward such a way that an ordinary girl could become the Mother of God and respected by generations.
Feast of Nativity of St Mary ( Ettu nompu ) is also celebrated on a large scale on 8 th September (though it’s not in the orthodox tradition to celebrate any birth days other than that of Jesus Christ on Christmas day). People of other denominations and religions also participate in this feast.
The Feast of Martyrdom of St Thomas is commemorated on 21 st December, which is an occasion to remember the great pain took by the Holy Apostle to reach to our country and preach the gospel. According to the tradition, he was speared to death at Mylapore near Madras on 21 st December 72. This day inspires us to be brave like the Apostle in accomplishing great tasks for the God.
The Feast of St. Behanan is celebrated on the 27th of December, remembering the martyrdom of St. Behanan, St. Sara (his sister) and the 40 martyrs. All these feasts are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. Grand processions (Raasa) are conducted on previous evenings from the village center to the church. On the feast days, the parish members take part in the Holy Communion (Qurbana) with preparation and share community meals.
Feasts of Mar Thoma II and Mar Thoma V are celebrated together on 10 th May even though the death anniversary of Mar Thoma II falls on 16 th April (as per the practice, if two memorial days are close by both may be celebrated together on the later date). Both these High Priests stayed in the Niranam Church and provided brilliant leadership to the church. Mar Thoma V suffered a lot of humiliation and threat from the adversaries of the church during his lifetime but nothing could prevent him from upholding the independence of the church.