Late Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church founded St. Augustine Study Centre near Bethel Aramana, Manganam to promote study of Religion and Society among clergy and laity. This Study Centre was inaugurated on 10th February 1978 by Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Bishop of Episcopal Church, New York .
Bishop Mar Athanasius was called to eternity on 27th November, 1984.
To honour his memory and great contributions towards Church and Society, Mar Thoma Church developed the Study Centre as an Orientation Centre known as Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius Orientation Centre.
TMAM Orientation Centre is recognized as a Research Centre in religious sociology and ecumenism by Mahatma Gandhi University since 1997.
Thomas Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan (1914 – 1984) of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church was a scholar and a life long learner. He was known for his deep devotion and great ability to build the Church.
In 1953, he became bishop, and in 1978, he was designated as Suffragan Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church. He attended the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Amsterdam in 1948 and was a member of the Faith and Order Commission. He attended the sessions of the second Vatican Council on special invitation.
Bishop had his education at C.M.S College, Kottayam and Govt. Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram. He had his Theological training at the Bishop’s College Calcutta and Oxford University, England. He taught in the Mar Thoma Theological Seminary and the Mar Thoma Seminary High School, Kottayam.
He was first in charge of the Southern Diocese in Kerala, located at Adoor. He functioned as Missionary Bishop from 1959 to 1963. After that, till his death, he was in charge of the Northern Diocese with head quarters first at Kottayam. On different occasions, he was the President of various organizations of the Church, such as the Evangelistic Association, Sunday School Samajam, Sevika Sangham and Yuvajana Sakhyam.
Bishop belonged to Panampunnayil family and was a member of Jerusalem Mar Thoma Church.