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Edayil Vadhyar

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Edayil Itticheriya Cherian known as Edayil Vadhyar (ഇടയിൽ വാദ്യാർ) in Malayalam was an Indian scholar, educator, philanthropist, social reformer and a polyglot who lived in the late 19th Century in Kerala, India.

Recognizing the need for education in Kerala despite the challenges at the time, Edayil Vadhyar founded schools in the towns near his hometown, making a significant contribution to the educational development of the region.

He established 15 educational institutions in and around towns in Omallur which is located Pathanamthitta District in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Omallur is a small town in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, India. It is located about 3.5 km south of Pathanamthitta town. Omallur is famous for its annual farming fair, Vayal Vanibham, which is held in the month of Meenam (October). People from both within and outside the town participate in the fair.


Born as Edayil Itticheriya Cherian on September 27, 1874, in the town of Omallur, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. He was the 7th child to Itticheriya of Omallur and Chakkalayil Mariyamma of Nannukaavu.

Edayil Vadhyar attended a school that was established by the Anglican missionaries near his hometown. He was an outstanding student in his academic years. With his dedication to learning the languages that were most important at the time, he learned several languages, including English, Tamil, Sanskrit, and Suriyani. He was a passionate advocate for cultural and social causes, and he was involved in many organizations and initiatives. He actively participated in numerous cultural and social events throughout his life. He understood the necessities of good education and wanted education to be accessible to everyone.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, education in Kerala was in its most basic state, and the few schools that existed were very remote and difficult for children in smaller villages and towns to reach. Without modern transportation, walking kilometers to faraway towns was the norm in this period of time.

The state of Kerala in India in modern times is known for its high educational attainment. However, in the early and late 19th century there were many challenges. Edayil Vadhyar is one of the few who played a key role in establishing the foundation for the modern education system in Kerala.

The founding and establishing of schools by him in and around Omallur is undoubtedly the greatest achievement during a difficult time in the early 20th century when the world came face-to-face with two world wars which brought political and economical instability to the region.

Driven by a commitment to the betterment of the youth of the time, he founded the YMCA of Omallur and established and organized a committee for the area's youth. He was selected to the Sree Moolam Popular assembly by the Maharajah of Travancore, Sri Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma.

Edayil Vadhyar had 9 children, including V.C. Samuel, a master theologian and an Indian Orthodox Church priest.

V.C. Samuel was an Indian Orthodox Christian priest, scholar, and ecumenical leader. He was born in 1912 in the Travancore region of India. He received his PhD in theology from Yale University in 1957.

Samuel was a prolific writer and published many books and articles on Christian theology, history, and ecumenism. He was particularly interested in the history of the Council of Chalcedon and the Christological debates that followed. He argued that the Oriental Orthodox churches, which have been accused of being monophysite, should not be seen as heretical, but rather as having a different understanding of the person of Christ

His third and fourth-generation family cherish the memory of their beloved ancestor, who passed away on January 14, 1952.

History of the Schools established[edit][edit]

The small town of Cheekinal is located in Pathanamthitta district. Of the first fifteen schools established, the first school was started in Cheekinal town. This first school, which started in the year 1902, had only two classes. With the support of the people of the smaller towns, schools were started in around Omalloor in the Pathanamthitta district. Edayil Vadhyar took on the role of manager and principal of the schools established in the area.

Kerala's Long Tradition of Education [edit][edit]

Kerala is one of the most literate states in India, and its educational transformation began in the early 1800s with the efforts of Church Mission Society missionaries. These missionaries were the pioneers of mass education in Kerala.

Local dynastic rulers, such as the Travancore Royal Family, the Nair Service Society, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, and Muslim Educational Society, also made significant contributions to the progress of education in Kerala.

Traditional schools in Kerala were known as kalaris. Some kalaris taught martial arts, while others taught general education. Christian missionaries and British rule brought the modern school education system to Kerala.

In earlier times, schools in Kerala were known as ezhuthu pallikoodams. These schools were run by Buddhist monasteries and had one or two teachers. Students from nearby areas would attend these schools to learn languages, literature, mathematics, and grammar. After completing their studies at an ezhuthu pallikoodam, students could continue their studies in specific subjects such as Ayurveda, astrology, and accounting.

Census records from 1800 show that there were many ezhuthu pallikoodams in Travancore, Cochin, and Kannur. Even lists of ashans (teachers) were published along with the census.

First Post Office in Omallur[edit][edit]

The town of Omallur did not have a post office. In meetings with the postal superintendent at the time, who saw the growth and expansion of Omallur, approved the request to establish the first postal office in Omallur. V.C. Itticheriya, Edayil Vadhyar's oldest son, who had previously passed the postal service exam, was appointed as the postmaster of the newly established post office in Omallur.

India Post is a government-operated postal system in India. It is the trade name of the Department of Post under the Ministry of Communications. It is generally known as the Post Office and is the most widely distributed postal system in the world.

Relationship with the Church[edit][edit]

The Christian Churches in Kerala in the 1930s were going through turbulent times. The factions of the Jacobite and Orthodox churches were about to go their separate ways. The Manjinikkara Church (now part of the Syrian Orthodox Church (Jacobyte)) was awaiting the arrival of the Patriarch of the church, Ignatius Elias III. To facilitate His Holiness's arrival, Edayil Vadhyar took an important role, and his dedication and commitment were truly invaluable.

At present, Manjinikkara is a major pilgrimage center for Christians in Kerala. Suriyani language teaching centers have also been formed here. Edayil Vadhyar was one of the visionary leaders who paved the way for Manjinikkara to become a pilgrimage center for the faithful and for the Suriyani teaching center to be established there at the time.

Cross Tower structures are ubiquitous throughout the state of Kerala, which are funded and established by a representing Church or individuals. Edayil Vadhayar bought land and established a Cross Tower in the town of Omallur and donated it to Manjinikkara Church in his time. This structure is now under the church's authority.

Omallur valiyapally was the home parish of Edayil Vadhyar, the church located in the town of Omallur. Dionysius of Vattasseril - or Vattasseril Thirumeni was considered as a great luminary of the Orthodox Church. Edayil Vadhyar was a trusted disciple of the spiritual father of the Church, Vattasseril Thirumeni.

Often referred to as Saint Thomas Christians, they are a group of Christians in India who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century AD. They are also known as Nasranis.

Relationship with Sri Moolam Thirunal[edit][edit]

Sri Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma was the Maharajah of the princely state of Tranvancore at the time. The town of Pathanamtitta at the time did not have a sufficient number of courts to resolve disputes among its citizens. Sri Moolam Thirunal appointed Edayil Vadhyar as the Magistrate of Pathanamtitta, where he was responsible for resolving disputes among the citizenry.

Edayil Vadhyar was one of the very few people who can visit the reigning King (Maharajah) without any appointments. The Maharaja granted him this privilege.

The Sri Moolam Popular assembly was a legislative council established by the Maharajah in which Edayal Vadhyar was selected to be a member with the title of M.L.C. (Member of Legislative Council).

Travancore was a kingdom in the southern part of India that existed from the 18th century to 1949. It was founded by the Travancore Royal Family and its main language was Malayalam. The Travancore Royal Family was one of the most powerful and influential dynasties in India. The Travancore kings were known for their patronage of the arts and sciences. They also built many temples and palaces, including the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, which is one of the richest temples in the world.


The 70th year in remembrance of Edayil Vadhyar was held in 2022. Many notable members of the community, including local politicians and bishops of Churches, attended the recent event..

In the image Chief celebrant H.G. Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenaios Metropolitan of the Indian Orthodox Church with others including Dr. Alexander P Jacob, IPS, and Dr. Sagar Cherian at the event. This event was held at the home parish of Edayil Vadyar at the Omallur Valiya pally.


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