About Matheckal Family

About Matheckal Family

Matheckal Family is a predominant Catholic community that has flourished since the last 200 years or so in and around Arakuzha 6 kms from Muvattupuzha town in the Ernakulam District of Kerala, India. Arakuzha is situated enroute Pandappilly Vazhithala Koothattukulam and / or Pandappilly Arikuzha Thodupuzha.

It has over 1000 members since its inception. The members of Matheckal Family are celebrating the 225th Birth Anniversary of its Founder Mathunni Mutthappan or Karanavar as referred to and who was born in 1788 AD.

With the migration of Mathunni and four of his brothers Kuruvilla, Paulose, Varkey, and Mathan to Arakuzha from Nadukara began the establishment of Matheckal, Maniayatt, Pandarikunnel, Vallikkatt and Puramadam families in that order. These five brothers were from the Cherukulam family.

st thomas baptise

According to various historical evidences and researched studies and as published in the Matheckal Kudumbam- A Family History published in 1992, it was established that the Matheckel Family originated from Cherukulam; Cherukulam from Kumbatt, Kumbatt from Ambatt (Ambadan), Ambatt from Sankoorickal and Sankoorical from Sanakarapuri. Sankarapuri is recorded to be one of the four families which took to Chrisitianity when St. Thomas baptized.

Thus the metamorphosis of the Sankarapuri Family to Mathekal Family is a happening that took place over 20 centuries after a series of cyclical mini metamorphosis into different nomenclature in the central part of Kerala.

There are many familes in Kerala today who have family history. One common dominant theme that runs invariably among these are the claims to a superior or elite origin – or to put it bluntly – a rich cultural lineage to brahaminical ancestry to one of these four families viz.Sankarapuri, Kalikavu, Kalli and Adityamattam (also known as Pakalomattam) . These were the four families who were converted at Palayoor

(Three families namely Kalam, Kandimundam and Chengallam did not covert). Reference to these four families can be found in our Kalyanapattu, Thoma Parvam and Margamkali:

“Pukalpetta Sankuriyum, Kalikavum
Thatha Kalli, adityamattam (pakalomattam) thudangi
Paristhatharayabhijathyam niranjor
Pavithralayalathinu thoonitta mattil’

In sharp contrast to such above claims, the Matheckal family’s credential lies in its deep rooted commitment to follow Christ ever since the inception of Christianity in India and bear a witness to the Christian DNA that runs through it over the centuries –The original name may have changed… the Spiritual DNA does not. Today one can find Matheckans everywhere outside the small hamlet of Arakuzha – across Kerala, in several places in the Republic of India and in all continents across the globe. Members of the Matheckal family had decided through its ancestors to take up the path of Christ centuries ago. Their descendants have carried on this mission with full will, knowledge and consent till today.

Like their Master, Jesus, the hall mark of a true Matheckan lies in striving to being humble, approachable, to strive for the underdog and being courageous. True, the Master has shown it – it took courage for God to lay aside power and glory and to take a place among the human beings.

True, the Master has shown it – it took courage for God to lay aside power and glory and to take a place among the human beings.

True the Master showed how – “Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb” marveled poet John Donne. He “made himself nothing – he humbled himself,” said the apostle Paul more prosaically. God emerged in Palestine as a baby who couldn’t speak of eat solid food or control his bladder, who depended on a teenage mother for shelter, food and love.

In Jesus, God found a way of relating to human beings that did not involve fear. God made a surprise appearance as a baby in a manger. God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word flesh (Excerpts the Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey) - approachable.

The story of the Matheckans is a telling example that demonstrates these four traits time and again. The first priest from the Matheckal Family – Fr. Varkey Mathai Matheckal CMI showed true courage to dedicate his life for the cause of the Church against the Roccos’ and Melus Schisms and is regarded as one of the Seven Dolores of the Kerala Church. Many of his successors left the comforts and riches of their home and took up to monastic and priestly ministry. There are nearly 150 priests and religious nuns (16%) till date who have dedicated their lives to spiritual pursuit. Several are the instances where the Matheckans stood for truth, justice, fariness; they were in the forefront for any just cause and were committed to such causes.

The first four branches of the Matheckal Family are Kottur, Kannathukuzhy, Koniyekallungal and Matheckal. They represent Knowledge, Kindness, Kinetic Energy and Meekness.

Today there are more than 25 sub-branches and collectively demonstrate magnanimity in daily living. Majestic and dignified in living, meek and merciful by and large, Matheckans are moderate in their life style and modest in behavior.

One can find the Matheckans everywhere in the society – in every field. There are Matheckans who are rich and those who are not. Yet they retain and cherish the four traits of their Master. They can be described as catalysts who contribute to the betterment of their surroundings. You will not find them belonging to and ingratiated to the powerful, rich or famous; you will find them in the quest for a better and happier living with the four traits they are dedicated to in their homes, society, work place.

The young Matheckans today – boys and girls – are contemporary with the times – educated, knowledgeable, with cherished values – the new Matheckan generation like iPod, music, adventure, travel; clad in jeans, they dance and romance with happy living- very much like what Holy Father Pope Francis would like the youth to be - live in the world to make much needed social change and not be afraid of living in the world by their presence with a spirituality appropriate to our new time, who put God in the first place, ahead of succeeding in any career, who look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity, and all good things... They are here to interpret the spiritual DNA with their lives and script new stories of excellence in living very much like their illustrious ancestors.