Aizawl, Nov 23: The Aizawl Theological College (ATC), the Alma Matter of over 2000 Mizo theologians, which has contributed greatly to the high literacy rate in Mizoram, today celebrated its centenary year.
The ATC was established in 1907 as a theological school, 13 years after the advent of Christianity in Mizoram by European missionaries (1894).
Speaking on the occasion, ATC principal Rev Dr H Vanlaluava said, ''The ATC was started in 1907 as a humble theological school to train native Christians for various ministries of the Church.
Reverend D E Jones, the first Welsh missionary in Mizoram, was instrumental in establishing the theological school.'' The school continued to survive during the difficult period of the First World War as theologically trained Mizos were instrumental in running the school right from its beginning.
However, with the advent of the Second World War, the theological school was closed and reopened in 1951, the principal added.
He also pointed out that early churches in Mizoram played a great role in promoting literacy among the masses.
State Higher and Technical Education Minister Dr Lalzama graced the celebrations, which also saw the presence of Master Dr K Rajaratnam from the Serampore College Council, one-time missionary to Mizoram Rev M Angharad Roberts (nicknamed Zopari by Mizo natives) and prominent figures of Mizoram churches.
In his inaugural address, Mr Lalzama acclaimed the early Mizo Christians for ''striving to keep the torch of the Gospel burning amidst persecution and humiliation.'' He attributed the status Mizoram now enjoyed to the dedication and sufferings of the early Mizo Christians.
He also thanked the European missionaries for enlightening the Mizos in Christianity and education.
The minister also expressed the hope that the college could play a very important role in imparting quality education and higher studies, which was his department's top agenda.
The centenary celebrations will last till tomorrow.