Development of the Archives
The renovation work of the Archives got started from the last week of November 2015 and got completed by the December 2016. One of the important steps in this process was the development of the infrastructure so as to suit the needs of the preservation process. It involved partition of the hall into Archives proper, Reference Section and Work Area (with fumigation chamber). The flooring and the ceiling were completely redone. The wooden shelves were replaced with around twenty steel shelves. In order to control the humidity inside the Archives, it was necessary to set up Air conditioning. The complete re-wiring was taken up with all new electrical fittings and fire alarm system. The Digitization Process necessitated the setting of new scanners for the same purpose. The Reference Area with computer systems will be available to the Researchers so as to make use of the digital versions of all the scanned copies of the manuscripts.
ST. KURIAKOSE ELIAS CHAVARA ARCHIVES AND RESEARCH CENTRE
A Feather in the Cap of Mannanam
Kottayam, the Akshara Nagari (land of letters) is a land of heritage as well. Now the place has one more feather in its cap. The saintly soil of Mannanam in Kottayam which has contributed to the rich social, political, religious and cultural legacy of Kerala in general and the history of Catholic Church in particular is on the cusp of opening St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara Archives and Research Centre.
The Research Centre was officially inaugurated by the Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, Shri. Justice (Retd.) P. Sathasivam on 9 February 2017, in the presence of an august gathering of well-wishers. The Research Centre which is named after Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara is a fitting tribute to commemorate the multifarious social and cultural contributions of the saintly soul. The centre is a reality today thanks to the unstinting support of St. Joseph’s Monastery, Mannanam coupled with the technical and financial support of Christ University, Bengaluru. The centre is housed on the premises of the monastery that Saint Chavara built. It has a rich and varied collection of historical documents and artefacts as early as 1555. St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara Archives and Research Centre is a knowledge corridor that provides a generational link.
It is in the fitness of things that the formal inauguration of the centre coincided with the 212th birth anniversary of Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara. Besides Shri. Justice (Retd.) P. Sathasivam, the Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, the inaugural venue was blessed with the presence of a galaxy of distinguished personalities including, Shri. Jose K. Mani MP, Shri Suresh Kurup MLA, Rev. Fr. Paul Achandy, Prior General, CMI Congregation and Dr. Babu Sebastian, Hon. V C, Mahathma Gandhi University. The Hon’ble Governor in his inaugural address felicitated the venture which is a landmark achievement in embarking on wider and deeper research into the heritage and history of the land. He extolled the glorious contributions of the Christian missionaries to the enrichment of education and social services in Kerala. The Hon. Governor went on to highlight the great achievements of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara in the field of inclusive education at a time when education was the privilege of the aristocrats. He recalled the historical magnitude of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara’s policy of opening a school attached to every church. He conclude his message by suggesting that the archives should strive to promote collaborative research opportunities in tie with up higher centres of manuscriptology. Rev. Fr. Sebastian Chamathara, Prior, St. Joseph’s Monastery, welcomed the esteemed gathering. Rev. Dr. Jose Chennattussery, Professor, Christ University proposed vote of thanks.