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History Of Catholicate Re-establishment In Malankara

patriarch-abdul-messiha
Patriarch Abdul Messiah in Malankara 1912-13

News of the activities of Patriarch Mar Abdullah in Malankara had reached the deposed Patriarch Mar Abdul Messiah in Syria. Fr.P.T. Geevarghese, a close associate of Mar Dionysius, had communicated with the Patriarch in all the developments and also had requested the Patriarch to come to Malankara. The cable mentioned earlier was in response to this communication. The Patriarch had accepted the request and agreed to come. In pursuance, the Patriarch was sent a sum required for the travel expenses to Malankara. It was in these circumstances, that the Patriarch undertook a journey to Malankara.

It may be recalled that Mar Abdul Messiah had succeeded Mar Peter III in 1895 but was deposed in 1906 consequent on the withdrawal of the royal Firman by the ruling Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey. Nevertheless, he was recognized by the Church as Patriarch and was never deprived of the spiritual prerogatives.

On Edavom 23, 1087 (June 5, 1912) Patriarch Moran Mar Abdul Messiah II arrived at Bombay, accompanied by three Rambanss Fr. P. T. Geevargbese and N.I. Pothen received them. All of them proceeded to Malankara. The Patriarch halted at Kunnamkulam, Fort Cochin, Manthuruthel, South Paravur, Kanjiramattom and later at Parumala in July where he camped for deliberations.

Claim for Catholicate Acceded

The Patriarch was fully aware of the need and claim of the freedom-loving Malankara Church claim for a Catholicos. It dated back to the time of Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius. The earliest reference may be found in a letter dated January 2,1891 (Dhanu 19,1067) from Patriarch Mar Peter III to Malpan Konat Mathan Kathanar. It says, ‘You have required us to send an able Catholicos or Maphrian who is a Malpan also. We shall consider the request. God willing, we shall send a suitable person.’12. The request was repeated in 1906. Mar Dionysius, Vattasseril Geevarghese Ramban and Malpan Konat Mathan Kathanar had specifically bid Deacon Sleeba (Mar Osthathios) and Deacon Mathai (late Catholicos Ougen) to raise the issue with Patriarch Mar Abdul Messiah, when they were proceeding to Syria. The Patriarch had heard and assented to their proposal. Later in his detailed and lengthy letter dated Dhanu 30, 1083 (14 January 1908), Konat Mathan Malpan had invited Mar Abdul Messiah to revive and re-establish the Catholicate of Tigris in Malankara and install “one amongst us” as Catholicos. Relevant excerpts from the letter13 is reproduced below … ” Again I beseech that your Holiness should come down to listen and set right all our matters … ln case His Holiness is either unwilling or unable due to old age to come to listen, one amongst listen whom we shall name later, should be raised as Maphrian for us. Without a Maphrian, how shall we consecrate Metropolitans and Episcopa? People of Malayalam are scared to go to distant places. If none is willing to come forward to become Metropolitan, our Church will be widowed. As Your Holiness is aware, the Maphrian of the East at Tigris who was subject to Patriarch of Antioch was ruling Malankara in the East. Although, there is no Maphrian at Tigris now, we commemorate “our father Baselios” in the first Diptychus. If there is no Maphrian, why should we commemorate his name? If we commemorate his name, it is necessary that Maphrian should be there really. How come, the shifting of the Maphrianate from Tigris to India is wrong if the Patriarchate could be shifted from Antioch to Mardin? We, therefore, request that the Maph rianate of Tigris should be shifted to and reestablished in Malankara and one amongst us should be consecrated as Maphrian who should be titled as “Mar Baselios Maphrian of the East.”14

Mar Abdul Messiah, however, could not do anything in the matter at that time since he had been de-recognized by the ruling Sultan and was deprived of administrative authority. After having come to know of the tragic predicaments of the Church at the hands of Mar Abdullah, Mar Abdul Messiah was convinced of the appropriateness and inevitability of an independent Catholicate and a Catholicos for Malankara Church. So, even before he landed in Malankara, the Patriarch had decided to take steps in that direction.

Catholicate Re-established 1912

Soon after the Patriarch reached Parumala, Mar Dionysius convened the Managing Committee on Chingam 14, 1088 (August 29, 1912). The Committee decided to request formally the Patriarch to raise Murimattathil Paulose Mar Ivanios, Metropolitan of Kandanad diocese, as Catholicos. The Patriarch conceded.

The Patriarch also announced his plan of action in a circular issued on Chingam 17, 1088 (September I, 1912) which envisaged consecration of a Catholicos (Maphrian) and four or five Metropolitans. Accordingly, the Patriarch, in the first instance, consecrated Kurichi Kallacheril Pun noose Ramban as Metropolitan with the title Mar Gregorios at Parumala on September 10, 1912 with the assistance of Mar Dionysius and Mar Ivanios. Seven days thereafter, on Kanni 2, 1088 (September 17, 1912), Patriarch Mar Abdul Messiah, in all solemnity revived and re-established the centuries old majesty of an autonomous Catholicate of the East, which once adorned the enchanting shores of Tigris of Persia, in Malankara at St. Mary’s Church, Niranam, which was made sacred by the foot steps of the Apostle St. Thomas nineteen centuries ago and installed Murimattathil Paulose Mar Ivanios with the title of Moran Mar Geevarghese Baselios, Catholicos of the East, that is of India of the throne of St. Thomas, the Apostle, with the installed and assistance of Malankara Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Dionysius and Metropolitans Mar Gregorios and Mar Ivanios. The large enthusiastic crowd of devotees greeted their first ever Catholicos with shouts of joy, “Oxios,Oxios, Oxios. Moran Mar Baselios Catholicos is worthy”.

The re-establishment of the Catholicate was an epoch making event in the nineteen centuries old history of Malankara Church. It was the fulfillment of a desire, cherished for long. It meant the realization of and the end of an unabated struggle for independence and autonomy which the Malankara Church enjoyed in the early centuries. Obviously, the stature of the Catholicate provided a much needed self-assurance and hope for the future.

Immediately after the investiture ceremony on September 17,1912 and prior to his departure, on February 8, 1913 the Patriarch issued two Bulls relating to the status and powers associated with the Catholicate. * In the second Bull dated 8.2.19 J 3, the Patriarch stated: (to quote) , according to your request, by the grace of God we have consecrated the Maphrian, that is Catholicos, in the name of Baselios Paulose and three new prelates, Geevarghese Gregorios, Yoyakim Ivanios and Geevarghese Philoxinos.

Since we understood that if we do not consecrate the Catholicos, our Church of Malabar will not continue in purity and holiness for many reasons. Now then we know that by the power of the Lord, she will be sustained for ever in purity and holiness and that more than before she shall be established in the communion of the bond of love towards the Throne of Antioch and this is the joy of my heart. I have hope that your shepherds that is the Catholicos and the Metropolitans shall fulfill your every need. The Catholicos along with the Metropolitans shall consecrate for you chief priests and hallow for you the Holy Mooron in accordance with the canons of the Holy Fathers. And when a Catholicos shall die, there is permission and authority to your prelates to consecrate in his place one as Catholicos and there is no power to any body to restrain you from it. Everything shall be done in order according to custom in consultation with the members of the Committee of which the President is the Metropolitan Dionysius of Malabar”, 15

The establishment of the Catholicate was the beginning of an evolution in the Church’s hierarchy and coming to uphold an independent stature under a Catholicos with dignity and honor. The Church is greatly indebted to Patriarch Mar Abdul Messiah for this significant contribution. With a view to strengthen the Church heirarcby, the Patriarch consecrated two more Metropolitans on February 10, 1913 (Makaram 29, 1088) viz. Kandanad Karot Yoyachim Ramban and Vaakatha na 111 Kaa ruchi ra Geevarghese Ramban with the titles Mar Ivanios and Mar Philoxinos. Mar Dionysius and Mar Gregorios had associated with the Patriarch in this consecration.

Departure 1913

The revered Holy Father was indeed happy over his flock s happiness and having fulfilled his mission returned on March.3, 1913 to Jerusalem. There, the faithful escorted him to Mardin, the headquarters of Patriarchate, and installed hi m once again as the rightful Patriarch. Two years later, on August 30, 1915, the Patriarch departed from this world to his heavenly abode.

12.    Paulose, Rev. Fr. K.B.: Abdul Messihayum Catholica Sthapanavum. p. 12

13.    Paret Z.M.: Vattasseril Mar Dionysius (1969) pp. 109-110

14.    Pau!ose, Fr. K.P. : ibid p. 10

15.     Appendix VJI B.

*     Appendices VII A and Vll B.

This article is reproduced from the Book “The Orthodox Church of India” by David Daniel (p221-225)

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Gulf News

70 Children initiated into the world of letters in Sharjah Church

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SHARJAH: Seventy children were initiated into the world of letters in God’s presence at a function organized by the youth of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah as part of the “Aadyakshram Kurickal” (Vidyarambham) on the eve after Holy Qurbana this week.

The priest of the parish held the hands of small children and helped them write their first alphabets as “Daivathinu Sthuthi” (Glory to God) in a plate of rice grains. The priest also ‘wrote’ the word “Daivathinu Sthuthi” on every child’s tongue with a gold ring dipped in honey.

Parents with children turned up in large numbers for the vidyarambham functions cutting across religious lines, joined the unique culture of India in celebrating the ceremony for children in their community here.

Elaborate arrangements were made for “Aadyakshram Kurickal” at the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah and hundreds of eager toddlers and parents flocked inside the Church for their turn. Besides the ritual of writing letters on rice grains the function at the church included special prayers as well. The rituals were led by Fr George Abraham, the vicar of the parish.

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MMS Global Meet New Delhi: Reception to Lok Sabha Speaker

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Photo Gallery

MMS Global Meet 2009 – New Delhi

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Church News News

The 3 Day MMS Global Meet began today in New Delhi

The chief guest Smt. Meira Kumar Hon'ble Speaker, Lok Sabha inaugurating the MMS Global meet by lighting the lamb
The chief guest Smt. Meira Kumar Hon'ble Speaker, Lok Sabha inaugurating the MMS Global meet by lighting the lamb

NEW DELHI: Today Indirapuram literally turned to be the center of the globe for the women of the Malankara Orthodox Church. The chief guest Smt. Meira Kumar Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha inaugurated the long awaiting MMS Global meet by lighting the lamb today at St. Thomas School, Indirapuram, U.P., one of the best educational institutions of the Church. Metropolitan Paulos Mar Milithios the Catholicos elect, presided over the function. Rev. Sr. Jessy Kurien Member, NCMEI, New Delhi was the Guest of Honor of the function. Metropolitan of Delhi Job Mar Philexinos, Dr. Zachariah Mar Theophilos, President of Marth Mariam Vanitha Samajam and Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan, Diocese of Calcutta and Asst. Metropolitan, Diocese of Delhi spoke on the occasion.

The theme of the three day conference is “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” Col. 3:2

On Sunday September 27 after the Holy Qurbana classes on different topics will be led by Jiji Thomson, lAS, Fr. Dr. O. Thomas, Dr. Jaya Lal and Rev. Dr. Valson Thampu.

On Monday September 28 Fr. John Sankarathil, Metropolitan Dr. Zachariah Mar Theophilos, Fr. Dr. O. Thomas and Metropolitan Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius will lead the classes.

On Tuesday September 29, 2009 Delhi Darshan program will take place. Thereafter a Musical Concert followed by a Cultural Show will be the culmination of the three day event.

The Akhila Malankara Marth Mariam Samajam Conference is held once in two years bringing together active women leaders from different parts of the world. It is a great opportunity to come together and share experiences of good work happening in the Church, share time in prayer.

This global meet is hosted by St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Ghaziabad, a parish under the diocese of Delhi.

The leaders of the conference are Paulos Mar Milithios, the Catholicose elect, Dr. Zachariah Mar Theophilos, President of Marth Mariam Vanitha Samajam, Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan, Diocese of Calcutta & Asst. Metropolitan, Diocese of Delhi, Fr. Dr. O. Thomas, Professor of Counseling, Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam,  Jiji Thomson lAS, Ministry of Agriculture,GOVI. of India, Rev. Dr. ValsonThampu, Principal, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Dr. Jaya Lal, Consultant, World Health Organization, Fr. John Sankarathil, Vice President, Marth Mariam VanithaSamajam and Mrs. Accamma Paul, General Secretary, Marth Mariam Vanitha samajam.

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Gulf News

OCYM Gulf Conference: Online Registration Facility Launched

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MUSCAT: The 4th Gulf Orthodox Youth Conference of the Orthodox Christian Youth Movement will be held at Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church, Muscat on 1-2 December 2009.

The theme of the conference will be “The Boundaries and Beyond”.

Around 500 delegates from 10 OCYM Units of Six Gulf countries are expected to attend the conference.

On line registration for the conference had already been started. The registration will be closed by Oct 15, 2009. CLICK to register online.

Metropolitan Yoohanon Mar Polycarpos, the president of OCYM, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan, Fr. Spencer Koshy General Secretary OCYM, Fr. James Geevarghese, Vicar, Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church Muscat, Mr. Geevarghese Yohannan, General Convener, GOYC, and Byju Babu John, GCC Central Secretary and Conveners of different committee will be the leaders of the conference.

“Detailed program will be published in a short time” informed Fr. Spencer Koshy General Secretary of OCYM.

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News Parish News

The Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Vizag St. Stephens Concluded

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VISAKHAPATNAM: The Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the St. Stephens Orthodox Church, Visakhapatnam located behind the Apollo Hospital was held on 24th September 2009. At this function the parish showed its commitment to the society by launching a ” Golden Jubilee Charitable fund” to support Andhra Mission (Eluru) financially every month to continue with its Mission activities there, to conduct a free regular medical clinic in association with YMCA Visakhapatnam on every Tuesday and to start an Old age Home at the 37 Cents of Church site at Gangavaram Port area in the near future.

The celebrations began with a Holy Triune Eucharist at 8 AM. Metropolitans Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenios (Kochi), Abraham Mar Ephiphanios (Bangalore) and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascorus (Chennai) were the chief celebrants for the Holy Eucharist.

The public meeting began at 10.30 AM. Abraham Mar Ephiphanios (Bangalore) presided over the function. Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenios (Kochi) and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascorus (Chennai) spoke on the occasion.

Capt. GM Peter narrated on the Jubilee theme and Manu Korulla introduced the Jubilee souvenir. The Church honored 3 Bishops present at the jubilee celebrations and seven founder members of the parish who are currently staying in the city.

As part of commemoration of Golden Jubilee Celebration a Souvenir was released at the function by the Guest of Honor Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros . The first copy of the souvenir was given to Chief Guest Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenios (Kochi) and an another copy to V.P. Cherian, the senior most member of the Parish.

The Parish Vicar Fr. Lijo Joseph Modyil, Welcomed the gathering. Sam Cherian Karuvely proposed the Vote of Thanks. Invitees from local Mar Thoma , Lutheran and Baptist Churches attended the function. The Jubilee function came to an end with a fellowship Lunch.

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News Obituary

Obituary: Thomas Alummoottil,Thengely

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THIRUVALLA: Thomas Alummoottil, (73) Thengely, Tiruvalla, Kerala passed away at 10.30 am, on Thursday, 24th Sep 09. He was father of I. Thomas, the Secretary of St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Abu Dhabi.

The funeral will take place at the cemetary of St. George Orthodox Church, Thegely on Saturday 26th Sept 09.

The funeral prayers at the home will take place at 2 pm and at the Church at 3 pm.

He is survived by wife Mariayamma, daughters Susy (New Delhi) Remani (Kerala) and Suja (Abu Dhabi) and Sons in law, Babu Chugathil, Tiruvalla (New Delhi) Babu, Nediya kalayil, Kidangannoor (Abu Dhabi) Soni Arikileth, Omallur (Abu Dhabi) and daughter in law Moni, Paryil Padimon (Abu Dhabi)

Metropolitans Dr. Mathews Mar Severios and Youhanon Mar Policarpose will lead the funeral services.

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Church News News

12th Anniversary of Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilose

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ALWAYE: The 12th Dukhrono of Late lamented Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilose, the former Metropolitan of Angamaly and Mumbai dioceses will be celebrated on September 27 -28th (Sunday and Monday), at Thrikkunnathu Seminary, Alwaye.

The memorial services will be led by Geevarghese Mar Coorilose, Metropolitan of Mumbai Diocese, Paulose Mar Pachomiose Metropolitan of Mavelikkara Diocese and Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos, Metropolitan of Angamaly Diocese along with other Metropolitans and Priests of the church.

Mar Theophilose was born to Korah and Mariam of Kochupurackal family in 1911 and totally devoted himself to the service of the Church at a very early age.

Metropolitan was a beaming beacon of the Malankara Orthodox Church in international Christian world. Metropolitan was then called the ‘Ambassador of the Malankara Church’.

A documentary on Dr Philipose Mar Theophilose entitled ‘Dhaivathinte Snehithan’ (Friend of God), reflecting HG’s contributions to the Church,Society and even to the WCC, will be telecasted on Asianet Newschannel on Sunday, 27th September 3.30 pm IST.

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Church News News

Towards a Principled leadership – Workshop for Sabha Managing Committee Members

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PARUMALA: A workshop was conducted in leadership for the Sabha Managing Committee members at Parumala Seminary auditorium on September 22. Gigi Thomson IAS conducted classes on the topic “Towards a Principled leadership” in the workshop.

The workshop was inaugurated by Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, the Supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church. A good number of Sabha Managing Committee Members including Metropolitans, Priests, Sabha Secretary Dr. George Joseph and Priest Trustee Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konatt attended the workshop.