Tamil Information Centre
User Name:   
  Remember Me  
Sign up  |  Forget password
    Contact us
A shepherd of the oppressed, the poor and the people on the run Bishop Rt.Rev.D.J.Ambalavanar
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Monday)

By, Bishop Justin B. Gnanapragasam, Bishop of Jaffna

D.J. Ambalavanar, the second Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (American Ceylon Mission), whose twentieth death anniversary falls on October 10, rose to great heights of spirituality and intellectual stature to become a humble servant of God and a man for others.

Bishop Ambalavanar came across to me as a simple, friendly bishop who was a friend of the oppressed, the poor and the people on the run. He rejected seats of honour and prestige to give strength to the poor, by his very presence in their midst. When there were regular ethnic conflicts and military operations causing much pain and distress to the people, he raised his voice loud and clear on behalf of the oppressed and showed no fear of any consequences. He was able to take up the plight of the Tamil people to international forums. He became the voice of the voiceless and gave hope to a people who were suffering untold hardships due to the ethnic conflict.

Bishop Ambalavanar was a great Biblical scholar and in recognition of his scholarship he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Serampore in India. As a sound intellectual he was well informed of the latest developments in Christian theology. He was happy to know that I was the only priest who visited the Ashram library in Maruthanamadam where there were a lot of theology and ecumenical books. As I had returned from Britain after my studies, he used to ask me to select the books from the catalogues of the latest theological books.

Bishop Ambalavanar sought to bear witness to the Bible through his commitments to the people in establishing missions in remote areas, to train people for social development and also to care for the orphans, the poor and the underprivileged. There was so much to learn from his caring ways.

Bishop Ambalavanar was sensitive to the needs of the whole population in turmoil, uprooted from their traditional lands and homes, and who needed to be looked after both physically and spiritually. Members of his church (CSI) had fled for their lives to the South of Elephant Pass and he needed to look after them.

Bishop Ambalavanar came across as a bishop who dared to dream of his mission entrusted to him and expanded the mission merely for the sake of serving his wounded people. In such actions he became a healer in the footsteps of his Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

In expanding the frontiers of the Church of South India he had to find the labourers for the vineyard. He changed the qualifications required for the new recruits and accepted anyone from any social background, so long as that person was convinced of his/her call, and was willing to undergo training for this purpose. This was, indeed, a bold step he took which many found difficult to accept. He was a shepherd who went seeking for the lost sheep and was keen to serve them as a true, humble servant of God.

Because of his vision to expand the mission and the need to train them and give them a sound theological knowledge, he started the Theological Seminary at Maruthanamadam. This was to avoid the problems of obtaining visas for studies in India and also to overcome the stringent requirements for admission to theological studies.

A dreamer
I would say that the early years of Bishop Ambalavanar were a period of dreaming and preparing and clearing the ground for the implementation of those dreams. The second half of his ministry was on materialising those almost impossible dreams, and he, with the grace of God, did achieve them.

It was his strong faith in God and the belief that he had been entrusted with a mission that he had to carry out at any cost. To achieve these dreams, he took calculated practical measures to make them possible. He had a strategy for every dream he pursued and his repeated reminders were: ‘Failure to plan is to plan failure’.

The success of his dreams was his determination to follow a dream and once he was convinced of a particular course of action he would carry it through to its end. His style of achieving his dreams reminded me of what Father Timothy Long, a famous Rector of St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna, who would keep saying to us at school assemblies: ‘The dogs may bark, but the caravan goes on’. In Bishop Ambalavanar’s case, his caravan full of dreams did move on all because of his deep faith, insight and determination.

I would conclude with some lines from the song that was popular in the early 60s. It refects the life and dreams of Bishop Ambalavanar.

‘To dream the impossible dream, To fight the unfightable foe, To bear with unbearable sorrow, To run where the brave dare not go, To right the unrightable wrong, To strive when your arms are too weary, To reach the unreachable star, To strive for the right without question or pause, To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause’..

Bishop Ambalavanar will always remain in our memory as a dreamer who believed there was hope for a better tomorrow. He was God’s greatest gift to us during the period of great trial for the people of Jaffna. May he enjoy the company of the angels in heaven!


Source: Sunday Time of  8 Octob

Share on Facebook

 Latest 25 News/ பிந்திய 25 செய்திகள்:
Tamil Information Centre (TIC) expresses grief over brutal, cowardly attacks on churches and other places in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Monday)
அனுபவம் மிக்க சிரேஸ்ட தொகுப்பாளர் N.T Jegan அவர்களோடு info4tamils இணைய வழி தொலைக்காட்சியினூடக கண்காட்சி பற்றிய கலந்துரையாடல்
பிரசுரிக்கபட்ட திகதி: 09/10/2017 (வியாழக்கிழமை)
இலங்கைத் தமிழர்கள்: காலவரையறையற்றதொரு பாரம்பரியம் என்ற கண்காட்சிதொடர்பான தமிழ் தகவல் நடுவத்தின் (TIC) உத்தியோகபூர்வ அறிக்கை
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Thursday)
கண்ணீர் அஞ்சலி
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Thursday)
Report reveals bone samples belong to 1499-1719 AD era
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Monday)
Northern Province’s Economic Development Framework
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Monday)
OMP welcomes inclusion of its interim relief proposals in budget
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Monday)
Raghavan to take public concerns to UNHrc
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
Jaffna to get Olympic-standard aquatic complex
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
Treat women and girls with respect - EDITORIAL
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
Vandalizing archaeological sites - Cabinet approves upping fines, jail terms
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
Right time to abolish executive presidency - JVP
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
International Court Of Justice & The ‘Ceylon Tamils’
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
British Tamil Students Build War-Torn Mullaitivu's First Media Centre
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Friday)
Joint Press Release: Sri Lanka sends war crimes denier to Geneva as part of official delegation.
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Thursday)
Karannagoda drags Gota into mass murder case
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Monday)
Tamils’ Hopes Fading: Every Village Is Sinhalese? Rāghavan Sacked?
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Sunday)
106 Tamil Diaspora Groups Jointly Urge UNHRC Not to Give any more Additional Time to Sri Lanka - Urge to Refer to ICC
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Sunday)
Ten Years After A War Without Witnesses: Global Tamil Forum Calls To Ensure Sri Lanka Firmly Remains On The UNHRC Agenda
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Sunday)
Human Rights Council 40: UK Statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Saturday)
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, while speaking at the Kilinochchi District development review meeting, blamed the Northern Provincial Council authorities, saying that they have almost become inactive towards the problems faced by the people in North.
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Friday)
Ranil blasts Northern Provincial Council
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Friday)
Approval for TRC mechanism Navi Pillay blasts Govt
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Thursday)
A New ‘Washington Consensus’ ‘Indo–Pacific’ and India’s Emerging Role
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Thursday)
US resumes Millennium Challenge aid to Sri Lanka
Published Date: 09/10/2017 (Thursday)
Support our work to bring rights to life in any way big or small

Donate using PayPal

Select dates to view
past and future events
<<<Jul - 2019>>>
 Stand up for Rights and Justice
Grant 18 year old Saudi Woman Rahaf asylum in the UK
Take Action
Call to Ban Monsanto’s pesticide
Trump’s child hostages
Set Noura Free -- sign now!
Latest Publication
Proto Sumero Dravidian: The Common Origin of Sumerian and Dravidian Languages Conference Report:

Proto Sumero Dravidian: The Common Origin of Sumerian and Dravidian Languages


About us
Site Help
Getting in touch
Facebook Youtube twitter
Sitemap  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions
Copyright © 2019 ticonline.org, All rights reserved.