Mar Emmanuel Nidhiri (1842–1904)) was a significant figure in the history of the Syrian Malabar Nasrani church in Kerala. He led the community against the European hegemony over the Saint Thomas Christians. He was the undisputed leader acceptable to the factions in Kerala church.He was the second Vicar General of Syro Malabar Catholic Church.
He founded Nazranee Deepika, which was the forerunner of today’s Deepika newspaper, and was instrumental in the founding of another newspaper, the Malayala Manorama. He had a role in organising the Malayali Memorial — one of the first steps in the social transformation of Kerala — and a key figure in the opening up of his community to English education.
In 1969, as a tribute to his contribution to Malayalam literature, the Kerala Literary Academy unveiled his portrait in the Academy Hall at Trichur.
- Education : Kathanar was one of the key figure in the opening up English education in Kerala. He played an instrumental role in opening English education to the Syrian Catholic community. He advised Catholic parishes to sell their crucifixes made of gold and silver and to invest the amount in starting schools.[page needed]
- Media : Kathanar was the founder-editor of the first Malayalam daily, Deepika. He was instrumental in the founding of another newspaper, the Malayala Manorama.
- Social Reforms : He was the moving spirit behind the Malayali Memorial of 1891. Thos was one of the first steps in the social transformation of Kerala. Following the formation of the Travancore Legislative Council in 1888, the Malayali Memorial, a memorandum bearing the signatures of over 10,000 people, including a sprinkling of Ezhavas, Christians, and Muslims was submitted to the Maharaja, Moolam Thirunal. This was as a result of the emergence of a Tamil Brahmin monopoly of policy positions in government and the subsequent decline of the caste groups from within Kerala.
- Poet and Writer : He wrote number of poems and authored three Malayalam books.[page needed]
- Ecumenicalism : The ecumenical association, Nazrani Jathiaikya Sangham organized by Nidhiry Mani Kathanar and Mar Dionysius, the Jacobite Syrian Christian ChurchMetropolitan was one of the important happenings in Syrian Christians history. They acquired property at Kottayam for building a college in ca 1875. They planned for opening jointly colleges, schools, orphanages, library, bank etc. The project got aborted by the diplomatic approach of Carmelite apostolic delegate Aiuti who was afraid of unity among the Syrian Christians. It was the leadership of Nidhiry that fostered a unity among Syrian Catholics with in and with Jacobites.
- Apologist of faith : He led the community in its fight against the European hegemony over the Nasrani Christians. It was with the fight of Syrian Catholics under the leadership of Kathanar that freed them from Padroado jurisdiction paving the way for indigenous Bishops.
- Historian :He has also authored number of church history books and was in the forefront in upholding the Chaldean patrimony of the Syro Malabar Church.