C.S.I. Mateer Memorial Church, started in 1838 in Trivandrum, is one of the oldest congregations in South India
It was dedicated in the heart of city in December 1906 and has celebrated its centenary. Current bishop is Rt.Rev.Dharmaraj Rasalam.
Before the construction of the M.M. Church L.M.S people of Trivandrum worshipped in a Church constructed by the Protestant evangelical trust in the 1830s. Rev. Samuel Sumanam father of Mr. S.I. Sumanam from Paraniyam was working in that Church as an Evangelist from 1878 onwards. The Trivandrum L.M.S. Church became a pastorate in 1895 and Mr. Mathew Kesari, father of Rev. John M. Kesari and grandfather of Rev. J. Eben Kesari was the first Indian to be ordained as the pastor of that Church. Rev. Mathew Kesari retired from service in 1904 when the new Church was still under construction. His son John M. Kesari was the first pastor of the newly constructed Mateer Memorial Church, his period of service being from April 1905 to March, 1913.
The first LMS missionary to South Travancore, William Tobias Ringeltaube arrived in Mylaudy in 1806. His successor Rev. Charles Mead was eager to begin a mission centre in Trivandrum and sought the help of Col. Frazer, the British Resident. The work was later taken up by Mead’s successor, Rev. John Cox who laboured steadily till the Maharaja permitted to start a mission centre at Kannammoola. On 5 August 1838, the first Protestant Church was built and opened for worship under the initiative of Rev. Charles Mead, Colonel Fraser and Rev. John Cox at Cantonment, Trivandrum. It was meant mainly for the Europeans residing in Trivandrum. Subsequently, Tamil worship and later Malayalam worship for the natives began in that Church. Rev. Samuel Mateer succeeded Rev. John Cox in 1859. Rev. Samuel Mateer was a committed missionary of London Missionary Society who did exemplary and dedicated service for 33 years from 1859 to 1891, in the Trivandrum Mission. Encouraged by Rev. Samuel Mateer, Captain Davidson’s Compound, measuring 16 acres (the present LMS Compound), was bought for Rs. 9000/-. The idea of constructing a Church was taken up by Rev. Mateer’s successors, Rev. I. H. Hacker, Rev. T. W. Bach, Mr. H. T. Wills and Rev. Arthur Parker. The foundation stone was laid by Stephen Massey, Director of London Missionary Society on 13 December 1897. The construction of the Church began in 1902, based on the design by Mr A. H. Bastow, and it was built in four years with funds donated by many generous people, including the Maharaja of Travancore. The Church was dedicated to the glory of God, on 1 December 1906 and it was named Mateer Memorial Church. Rev. John M. Kesari was its first pastor. With the formation of the Church of South India (CSI) in 1947, the Mateer Memorial Church became the head station of the South Kerala Diocese;.
The architecture is in the simple Hallenkirche (Hall Church) style. The Church building is in granite, with a square bell tower with a vestibule beneath and a roof supported by Gothic arches. The Celtic cross is made of cut stone, and commemorates Rev. Mateer’s Irish background.Young Family Fellowship (YFF) - with the objective of providing a platform for all the young families of the M M Church to come together and contribute their might for the church and His kingdom. A fellowship founded by Mr.Suresh Devarajan family,Er. CL Lal family and Er.Anil David & family in the year 2012
Sunday School- has morning and afternoon sessions in English, Malayalam and in Tamil. It conducts Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the first week of the summer vacation every year.
Church Choir - Leads the Church services in singing. A Junior choir and Children’s choir are functioning under the Choir.
Senior Citizens’ Fellowship (SCF) - Instituted for Church members aged 55 years and above for prayer and fellowship.
Women’s Fellowship- Meet on Sundays and Wednesdays and train women for participation and leadership in the Church and community.
Christian Endeavour Youth Fellowship (CEYF)- Aimed at bringing the youth together to spread the Gospel and to harness their talents to work harmoniously ‘For Christ and the Church’. Guitar class, keyboard class and Blood donors forum are also functioning under CEYF. Every year CEYF conducts youth convention, teenage camp, youth conference, Christmas carol service etc.
Boys’ Christian Literary Union (BCL) – Objective is to train boys below 14 years in spiritual growth and make them realise the responsibilities towards their families, Church and the nation.
Junior Christian Endeavour Fellowship (JCEF) – Girls below 14 years are trained in singing, storytelling, elocution, learning Bible verses, debates and so on.
Missionary Prayer Fellowship – Missionary Prayer Meeting.
Men's Fellowship – Prayer Meeting.
Rev. Samuel Mateer was the first missionary who endeavored to grow an indigenous Church. He prepared local people for Church ministry and tried to transfer administrative responsibilities to them. It was during his tenure that a number of local people were ordained as ministers.
As far as the diocese is concerned, Rev. Samuel Mateer can be designated as the pioneer of indigenization of the Church. When he arrived there were 25 congregations, 3000 Christians and an annual income of Rs. 800/-. But when he took leave after 33 years, the number of Congregations had increased to 56, Christians to 10,060 and annual income to Rs. 3000/-
In 1890, Mrs. Mateer had to return to England owing to ill health. Rev. Samuel Mateer went to England in 1891 on leave, and died there on 24 December 1893. It was in the same year that the Trivandrum Church was elevated to the position of a pastorate. The Church building constructed in the LMS Compound and dedicated to the loving memory of Rev. Samuel Mateer was opened for divine worship on 1 December 1906, along with the Centenary Celebrations of the London Missionary Society.
Elevating the Church as Cathedral Church was under consideration in 2010.
The Church Committee consist of 12 deacons and 3 pastors. They meet once in a month and take decisions for the day-to-day activities of the Church.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, visited the Church on 24 October 2010.