Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara was the pioneer of the Renaissance movement in Kerala in the first half of the nineteenth century. He set the background for Kerala to see the advent of great social reformers and visionaries like Sree Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamikal. He gave a new direction to Malayalam literature in general and poetry in particular. St Chavara was instrumental for several path-breaking social and cultural reforms in Kerala.
Born in 1805 at Kainakari, Alapuzha in Kerala, St Chavara established the first indigenous congregation in India, namely CMI. He set up a monastery at Mannanam for grooming priests. In 1846 he established the first indigenous press and publishing house in Kerala. In 1846 he became the Prior General of CMI Congregation. This was the time that Malayalam literature saw his prolific literary contributions in the shape of Anasthasya's Martydom, Compunction of Heart, Chronicles and several other literary works. In 1871 he left for the abode of God.
Saint Chavara was a torch that shone its way in the wilderness and darkness of eighteenth century Kerala society. He changed the educational map of Kerala forever by starting the first free Sanskrit school which was open to all, irrespective of caste or creed. Under his guidance each church in Kerala had a school attached to it. He was a prime force in the starting of schools attached to monasteries and parish churches. CMI congregation has a large network of around 600 educational institutions ranging from play schools to medical colleges and engineering colleges spread all over the world. Of these, Christ University Bangalore deserves special mention. Referring to the secret of Saint Chavara's success, Pope John Paul II on the occasion of his beatification ceremony at Kottayam in Kerala on February 08, 1986 observed that his success in all that he did was undoubtedly due to the intense charity and prayer which permeated his daily life. Former President of India, R Venkataraman, on the occasion of the release of the commemorative stamp on December 20, 1987 described Fr Chavara as the epitome of Indian Culture at its best.
Even after almost 150 years after leaving us, Saint Chavara continues to inspire all those who yearn to make the world a better place to live in. Christ Group of Educational Institutions under CMI is committed to the holistic educational and social progress of J&K. Already, its educational footprint in the State has received accolades. In the coming years, we are committed to accelerating the reach of our services for the welfare of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.