The Order of the Imitation of Christ (OIC) also known as the Bethany Ashram was founded by the Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios OIC in the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church on 15 th August 1919 at Perunadu, near Ranni in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala. Bethany Ashram was the first monastic community in the Malankara Church. It had a unique vision and mission. It harmoniously blends in its life the monastic ideals of the ‘Christian East’ and ‘Indian Sanyasa’ in a particular lifestyle that is actualized in intense and prayer apostolic activities. The name ‘Bethany Ashram’ itself is a symbol of this. A simple and austere life atmosphere of intense prayer and solitude, saffron (Kavi) habit, and community life are some of the basic features of this lifestyle. Soon after its foundation Bethany Ashram became a centre of spiritual solace for the Malankara church. In 1930 most of its members along with the founder embraced the communion of the Catholic Church. Thus, Bethany Ashram became the cradle of the historic re- union movement and the Malankara Catholic Church.

The early members were actively involved in building up of the Malankara Catholic Church in the Catholic communion. They undertook a wide range of apostolic activities after the consolidation of the Malankara Catholic Church with an “All India Missionary Vision”. In 1966 the Congregation was raised to the Pontifical Status. On 24 th April 2000, two provinces were erected in the Congregation: Bethany Navajeevan Province and Bethany Navjyothi Province.


In 1970, an ashram was erected in St. Mary’s Bethany Estate, Chunakkara for the apostolic activities of the congregation. Rev. Fr. Norbert Peralumoottil OIC, initiated the beginning of an English Medium School in the vicinity of the ashram. Cherupushpa Bethany Senior Secondary School (CBSSS), established in 1979, is blessed with scenic beauty and it runs in the line of the best schools in the CBSE streams. The school is a close-knit intellectual community that combines the value of dignity, tolerance, and respect with a rigorous academic program. Academic Year 2018-2019 was marked as the Ruby Jubilee of the School.


The late Archbishop Servant of God Mar Ivanios OIC was born on 21 st September 1882 at Mavelikara in Kerala. He was a multifaceted personality whose life touched all realms of the society. His intense spiritual fervour and enlightenment led him and his followers to monastic life. After the initial preparation, he moved to Mundanmala, near Perunadu, Ranni in Kerala, and founded the Order of Imitation of Christ which is also known as Bethany Ashram on 15 th August 1919. Within no time, Bethany ashram with its beloved founder was instrumental in creating a wave of spiritual renaissance in the Catholic Church. Apart from the spiritual leadership, Mar Ivanios played a colossal role in the social transformation of his motherland. His phenomenal works among the outcastes, downtrodden, and women and in the field of healthcare and education manifest the pioneering role he played as a social reformer. Noteworthy among his social reforms were the number of schools he established. A striking factor of these schools was that the majority of these institutions were established in remote areas. The results were dramatic. A large number of people from these areas became professors, civil servants who in turn contributed their share to social transformation. He achieved more than what two or three generations could achieve in one stroke. He was certainly a true missionary with a vision- a man to mediate, a priest to imitate and a prophet to follow.