அருள்திரு. D. A. கிறிஸ்துதாஸ் ஐயரின்
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திருநெல்வேலியின் வரலாற்று அறிஞர்

A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF REV. D.A.CHRISTADOSS

Rev. Devanesan Azariah Christadoss was born on 25th March 1912 to Rev. S.V. Devadasen and Thaiammal. To understand him better one should first revisit his family legacy. Rev. D.A. Christadoss’ great grandparents were Narayana and Parvati, natives of Kovaikulam who became Christians in 1840. After baptism, Narayana became Gnanayutham and Parvathi became Packiam. Gnanayutham (Narayana) had two sons, the younger was Rev. D.A. Christadoss’ grandfather, Vedamanickam. Vedamanickam had seminary training and married Ellen, a convert in 1857. Vedamanickam served as a catechist in Adaikalapuram from 1866 to 1876, and was ordained in 1876. After his ordination, he served as assistant pastor in Palayamkottai and later transferred to Parpillankulam in 1877. Unfortunately he died there of cholera in 1885, contracting the disease from an old woman parishioner, whom he had ministered the whole night, while others shied away in fear. Sadly, though he saved the old woman’s life, he lost his own from the deadly disease. In those days, Cholera was a dreaded plague and people including several young British soldiers lost their lives. Many villages were deserted in panic. Rev. Vedamanickam was 50 years old when he died. After Rev. Vedamanickam’s death, Bishop Sargent took his widow, Ellen, to Palayamkottai and appointed her as a Bible Woman. Rev. Vedamanickam and Ellen had nine children, the eighth was Rev. D.A. Christadoss’ father, Samuel Devadason. Samuel Devadason went to Madras to be educated for ordained ministry and finished his Theological Course with high credit. He married Thaiammal, the youngest daughter of one of the most leading families in Palayamkottai. Rev. D.A. Christadoss grew up in Palayamkottai where he also worked as a court clerk. He met Emily Kamalam, the daughter of Rev. David Yesudian and Mary Thangammal, during a church meeting, where evangelist Sahayam was preaching. They married in 1936. Emily Kamalam was a medical doctor. They moved to Muthaloor, the first Christian village in Thirunelvelli District, where he worked as a headmaster and there she ministered to the Christian community with a missionary zeal. In 1942, encouraged by the bishop, he joined Thirumaraiyoor Theological seminary, where he completed his theological studies and later his masters. He was asked to continue in Thirumaraiyoor Theological seminary as a professor. However, in 1955, he shifted to Palayamkottai, where he became the Principal in Bishop Sargent Training School. Then in 1959, he moved to Serampore University, where he served as a Professor in Church History and later as the Bursar and Vice Principal of the University. While in Serampore, he also served for several years as the General Secretary of Church History Association of India. Then, unexpectedly a tragedy struck in the family. In 1964, his beloved wife Emily Kamalam died from hepatic amoebiasis, a liver infection, at the early age of 50 years and was buried there in Danish mission cemetery, near the Baptist Mission cemetery, where William Carey and William Ward, and Joshua Marshman the founders of Serampore College lay buried. Interestingly, William Ward died of cholera at Serampore on 7 March 1823.

Rev. D. A. Christadoss moved back to Thirunelvelli diocese in 1972, and worked as a honourary pastor in Perumalpuram church, Palayamkottai. Later, he moved over to Bethel Agricultural Fellowship, Danishpet, Salem District, where his daughter, Dhamayanthi Jeyasingh was located and there he continued ministering, both as a teacher in Bethel Bible Institute and chaplain of the Fellowship, after which, he finally retired. He was 78 years old, when he died in the parsonage of St George's Church, Madurai, where his youngest son Sathiaraj Christadoss was ministering. Rev. D. A. Christadoss has written several books on church history and missions, particularly on Thirunelveli diocese. Research and writing was his only passion. He kept writing till his last breath. To his credit, he has mentored several theological students and helped them complete their theses. Many of his students have become bishops and theological professors. His entire library and writings, along with a cache of research books of Paul H. Jeyasingh, his son-in-law, have been donated to the Bishop Neil’s Research Library, Palayamkottai, maintained by the Thirunelvelli diocese. To our dismay, this much touted research library has been in disarray and neglect, because of lack of funds. However, in recent times, there seems to be some efforts by the management towards preservation and conservation of the books and rare manuscripts. In this context, we admire the initiatives taken by Manna Selvakumar and Sujith of “Tinnevelly Chrisitan Historical Society”, Bungalow Surandai. They need all our support and encouragement.


Written and signed by Rev. D.A. Christadoss’ children: Mrs. Chandra Thomas (Malaysia) Mr. Mathias Christadoss (Retd. Professor, Tanjavur) Mrs. Leela Pandian (Retd. Headmistress, Chennai) Mrs. Damayanthi Jeyasingh, Bangalore

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