Geniuses are of two kinds- some by birth and the other by their deeds. Rev.Dr. Antony Nirappel belongs to the second. Despite having his birth in an ordinary peasant family in a remote village called Chengalam, he is now in the topmost rung as the foremost renowned priest, Educational Visionary and Social activist.
Rev. Dr. Antony Nirappel remains in people’s memory as a visionary and a legendary figure among the Christian missionaries. He was a unique educationalist who imparted education having international quality even to the hamlets of the state. As an exemplary evangelist, he valued the idea of religious harmony. He was such a scholar and Theologian that he studied the Gita, the Bible and the Koran at the same time and spread the very essence of these among the common folks through his deeds.
It is said that history makes great men but in the case of Rev Dr.Antony Nirappel it is he who created history. If a person makes a history, it must be useful to the society and to the later generations. In this aspect also Rev. Antony Nirappel is a model to everyone.He was the one who attained the sanctity and dedication of asceticism which is based on rigorous self discipline and the practice of extreme rites.
Rev Dr. Antony Nirappel was ordained to the priesthood on 11th March 1963 by His Excellency Arch Bishop Mar Mathew Kavukattu and served as the Assistant Vicar of the Metropolitan Church Changanachrry for the next two years. From 1965-71 he had been pursuing his studies at the world-renowned University of Luvaine and earned Ph.D. in Dogmatic Theology. During1971-77 he had been the Director of Sandesha Nilayam under the Arch Diocese of Changanachrry. He started his service as the Vicar of St. Ephrem’s Chirakadavu with the establishment of Kanjirappally Diocese in 1977. Later served as the vicar of Holy Family church Ponkunnam. During this period, he formed the Ecumenical Trust and became its founding secretary which brings together the entire Christian community in India. He had been the Vicar of St.Antony’s church , Anakkal since 1985 and established South India’s number one CBSE school St Antony’s public school Anakkal. This was followed by the establishment of St.Antony’s Educational and Charitable society and the St. Antony’s group of colleges. He then served in the U.S for seven years, returned in 2000 and served as vicar of St. Thomas Church Velivhiyani and subsequently established Mary Matha Public School. Following this he served as Vicar of Infant Jesus Church Elikulam and St. Joseph’s Church Koovapally. During this period many outstanding activities for the socio-cultural and educational development of each parish were made. In 2013 he established St Antony’s college Peruvanthanam affiliated to MG university.
Forefront Fighter of Ecumenical Movements
Rev. Dr. Antony Nirappel was such an expert organiser that he took efforts to integrate the various Christian communities of India and formed the Nilakkal Ecumenical Trust. Rev. Dr. Antony Nirappel deemed it as ardently that he himself laid the foundation stone for St. Thomas Church Nilakkal. He took active lead for the different activities for religious harmony. Ignited with the spirit of Indian Vedantic thought and secularism that he instituted the religious harmony award with his own savings. He was utmost cautious to select renowned personalities as Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Dr. U R Anandamoorthy, Dr. K N Panickar,Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, Hamsa Moulavi Farooki, Sri Perumbadavam Sreedharan, Poetess Sugatha Kumari, Hon. Dr. A P J. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Tessy Thomas, Mort. Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom, Sri. V.M Sudheeran, Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholica Bava, Bhramasri Vishudhananda Swamikal for the award.
In the field of Education
As a trail tracer for others in the educational sphere, Rev. Dr Antony Nirappel was aware that only through education that he could equip and enliven society. With this in view, he established many prestigious educational institutions such as:
Aiming at improving the quality of life and securing the economic well being of people Rev. Dr Antony Nirappel introduced the IT programmes like providing free computer education to the whole village, which was adopted for this purpose. Moreover:
As part of educational activities appropriate to the changing scenario.
As part of women empowerment conducted free training programme in ready made garments and embroidery in Peruvanthanam, Idukki district in association with SIS (Small Industries Service Institute, Govt. Of India)