BETHANY ASHRAM refers to the religious congregation officially known as “Order of the Imitation of Christ” (OIC). Fr P.T.Geevarghese Panickaruveettil (the Servant of God, Archbishop Mar Ivanios) founded Bethany Ashram on 15 August, 1919, at Mundanmala, Perunad, Kerala, India. The founder and the first members entered into full communion with the Catholic Church on 20 September, 1930. On April 14, 1966, the Congregation was raised to the status of a Pontifical right. In the year 2000, the congregation was bifurcated into two provinces, namely Bethany Navajyothy Province and Bethany Navajeevan Province. The head quarters of the provinces are situated at Desom, in Aluva and at Nalanchira in Thiruvanandapuram respectively.
The Charism of the Order of the Imitation of Christ is , to follow Jesus Christ in his life of prayer and action, realized in oriental monastic tradition and Indian Sanyasa and aimed at the evangelization of India through the spiritual renewal of the Malankara Church. To imitate Jesus in his life of prayer is to experience a sense of constant union with God through meditation, with special emphasis on the word of God , active participation in the liturgical life of the Church and the observance of the spiritual exercises and other practices prescribed in the Holy Rule of the congregation. To imitate Jesus Christ in his life of action is to follow his footsteps by proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom of God on earth and leading people to the eternal Father. The active life of the congregation consists of apostolic activities , empowerment of human society and ecology.