The Congregation, the Order of the Imitation of Christ (OIC), which is also known as Bethany Ashram, was founded by the late Archbishop Mar Ivanios on 15th August 1919. The Congregation aims at following Jesus Christ in his life of prayer and action, realized in Oriental monastic tradition and Indian sanyasa which are aimed at the evagelization of India through the spiritual renewal of the Malanakara Catholic Church.
Soon after its foundation, Bethany Ashram became the pilgrim centre of the Malankara Church giving solace to the spiritually starved people. In 1930 most of its members joined their founder on his way to Catholic Church and Bethany Ashram remained the cradle of the historic Reunion Movement. This event ushered in a new era in the life and growth of Bethany Ashram. The members were initially confined to the activities directly related to Reunion Movement. But later, along with that, began to undertake a wide range of apostolic activities. In 1966 the Congregation was raised to Pontifical Status.
After the reunion to the Catholic Church, the Generalate of the Order of the Imitation of Christ was at Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram. In 1971 it was shifted to Vadavathoor, Kottayam.
The General Chapter of the Order of the Imitation of Christ held in the year 1998, decided to establish provincial system in the Congregation and so it formed two provinces, namely Bethany Navajeevan Province with it headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram and Bethany Navajyothy Province with it headquarters in Desom, Aluva.