Feast of Vethappan Solomon (March 15)   Leave a comment

1951

Above:  The Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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VETHAPPAN SOLOMON (DIED JUNE 3 OR NOVEMBER 22, 1909)

Apostle to the Nicobar Islands

Also known as Vedappan Solomon

The name of Vethappan Solomon came to my attention via The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995), which lists him as the saint for March 15.  I have found little information about him.  Most of it, however, has been consistent, except for the date of his death.

Vethappan Solomon, a Tamil, converted to Christianity prior to 1895.  He, a government employee, operated a school for boys in the Andaman Islands.  On March 15, 1895, he landed at Mus, on the island of Car Nicobar, in the Nicobar Islands.  He was officially the new meteorological observer.  He was also a catechist for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.  Our saint soon opened a school, which began with twelve students.  Among those pupils as Ha Chev Ka (June 6, 1888-June 3, 1978), baptized in 1901 as John Richardson.  Eventually Solomon resigned from his government job so he could focus on the school.  He and his first wife, who died of apoplexy in 1901, as well as his second wife, Betsy, whom he married in 1905, also offered medical care, encouraged dairy farming and the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, and taught sewing and carpentry.  Solomon was not the first Christian missionary in the Nicobar Islands, but he was the Apostle to them.  When he died, in 1909, there were 128 baptized Christians on Car Nicobar.  Among his tactics was teaching students to memorize and repeat key passages of scripture.

Betsy, Solomon’s widow, served as the head mistress of the school at Mus. until she died, in 1921.  Richardson also remained active in the school and the broader mission in the archipelago.  On January 15, 1950, he became the Anglican Bishop of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  He was a great Christian leader and a culturally significant figure in the region.  His influence was partially due to the efforts of Vethappan Solomon and his wives.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT SAINT GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Vethappan Solomon,

who made the good news known in the Nicobar Islands.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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