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Life and legacy of

Late Lamented Catholicos Mor Baselios  Paulose II
Syriac Orthodox Church

 Malankara Church

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Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II
(1914-'96)

 

Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II was born on 12th June 1914 as the second son of Qashisho  Joseph Puthussery, vicar of St. Mary's church at Cherai and Elizabeth of Eralil family in North Paravur.  He was baptised by name Paulose (P J Paulose). 

 

Qashisho Joseph, an eminent Syriac scholar, was the malfono (tutor) of the Syrian Seminary (Old Seminary) and the M.D. Seminary in Kottayam.  He was a greatly acclaimed preacher and had served as secretary to Metropolitans Joseph Mor Dionysius (Pulikottil), Patriarchal delegate Sleeba Mor Osthatheos, Geevarghese Mor Dionysius (Vattasseril) and Paulose Mor Athanasius. He was also the editor of 'Malankara Edavaka Deepthi' and 'Suriyani Suviseshakan', the two foremost church periodicals of the time.  His ardent desire to dedicate one of his children to priesthood was accomplished through his second son Paulose, who since childhood days itself was of a very gentile and spiritual nature. Above all, the religious atmosphere that persisted at home had an immense effect in the moulding of young Paulose.

 

Paulose completed his secondary education from the Rama Varma High School at Cherai.  After completing college education at Kottayam CMS College and Alwaye Union Christian College, he joined the Manjinikkara Mor Ignatius dayro.  His Syriac education began much earlier in his childhood days itself under the tutelage of his father and Qashisho Vellakunnathu Mathai.  At Manjinikkara Dayro, Paulose continued his Syriac studies under Ramban Abdul 'Ahad (later Patriarch Yakub III). 

 

In 1933 Paulose was ordained a DEACON by Mor Yulius Elias, the Apostolic delegate of the Patriarch to Malankara, at Kottayam Valiyapally (St Mary’s Knanaya Church at Thazhathangady).  In 1938, he was ordained a Qashisho (Full Priest), again at the blessed hands of Mor Yulius at Manjinikkara Mor Ignatius dayro. Since then he served as the Vicar of churches in Ceylon (Srilanka), Madras, Bramhavar (Karnataka), Trivandrum, Parathode and Ponkunnam.   Later he became the secretary to Mor Yulius Elias, the Patriarchal delegate to Malankara and was entrusted with the responsibility of Manjinikkara dayro as its vicar.

 

Kassisso  Paulose

 

Consecration as the Metropolitan for Kandanad diocese

 

On 25th April 1952, the delegates of Kandanad diocese choose Qashisho  P J Paulose to succeed Mor Athanasius Paulose (Valiya Thirumeni - Malankara Metropolitan), who by then had relinquished his additional duties as the bishop of Kandanad diocese because of his old age and illness.  On  October 19, 1952, Patriarch Mor Moran Ignatius Aphrem-I Barsoum ordained Qashisho  Paulose a METROPOLITAN by name 'MOR PHILOXENOS' at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Homs, Syria.  On 12th January 1953, Mor Philoxenos assumed responsibilities as Metropolitan of Kandanad, the second largest diocese of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian church with the blessings of Valiya Thirumeni.  A few days later on 26th January 1953, Valiya Thirumeni (Malankara Metropolitan, the St. Athanasius Paulose) passed away and was entombed at the St. Mary's Church at Thrikkunnathu, Alwaye.  Following the demise of Mor Dionysius Michael Metropolitan in January 1956, Mor Philoxenos was entrusted with the additional responsibilities of Kottayam and Kollam dioceses.   

 

Mor Philoxenos (middle) on his arrival

 in Malankara after his consecration as Metropolitan

Mor Philoxenos Paulose with his parents,

Kassisso Joseph  &  Elizabeth

 

Unification and the subsequent separation

 

In December 1958, the two factions of Malankara Syrian Church that were remaining divided for almost five decades, reunited. Following this, Mor Philoxenos was reappointed in Kandanad diocese, as assistant to Mor Thimotheos Augen (later elevated to the office of Catholicate by Patriarch Ya`qub III).

 

In spite of the much publicized unity, peace in the church remained superficial as those who were controlling the affairs of the united Malankara Church were interested only in manipulating the opportunity to bring everything to their advantage. This situation continued for some more years and the Jacobite faithful were generally upset over the exploitation. Mor Philoxenos Thirumeni's leadership to the desperate sheep during this turmoil between 1958 and ‘64 is most memorable.  In his capacity as the assistant metropolitan of Kandanad diocese, Mor Philoxenos along with the late lamented Metropolitan Elias Mor Julius, led a crusade for upholding the age-old faith and practices of the Syrian Church.  During the Patriarchal Day celebrations in Kottayam held on 22nd February 1961, popularly known as the Kottayam convention, tens of thousands of faithful declared their wholehearted support to Mor Philoxenos in his plight to uphold the Malankara-Antiochean relationship.  His tireless efforts in that period culminated in the visit of Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III to India and elevation of Mor Augen Thimotheos as the Catholicose of the East, in 1964. Thus 'Mar Baselios Augen I', the Metropolitan of Kandanad diocese, became the first canonically ordained Catholicose (Maphriyono) of East of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India.

 

The period from 1964 to '70 was mostly calm in the history of Malankara Syrian Church.  But the unity was unfortunately not destined to last longer.  Having gained their objective, the erstwhile Methran faction who were controlling the Church affairs, shed their camouflage in 1972 and proclaimed their total independence from the Universal Church; throwing overboard all their pretensions and previous pleadings before the judicial authorities, during the past 60 years. The claims of 'St. Thomas throne' along with the anti-Antiochean utterances started to come up once again.  On 26th September 1972 in an interview to UNI, the then primate of Malankara church declared that the sect led by him is an autocephalous entity, a statement which eventually resulted in a vertical split once again.

 

The very next year, the official church administration in India, influenced the authorities to cancel the religious visa of Mor Aphrem Aboodi Metropolitan, the delegate of the Holy See who was then residing in the Manjinikkara Dayro.  Once again, the faithful had only one figure to look at; that of Paulose Mor Philoxenos Thirumeni, for their guidance and leadership. His self-sacrificing services to uphold the apostolic faith of the Syrian Church in spite of bitter experiences from the Malankara leadership, was really a great game changer for the innumerable number of faithful who were deprived of a sincere leadership for a long time.  Meanwhile the community leaders in Malankara made several representations before their spiritual supreme to take necessary measures to safeguard the apostolic traditions of the Church.  Consequently Mor Baselios Augen I was removed from the office of the Catholicate.  In August 1975 His Holiness ordained new Metropolitans who were elected by the diocesan parish councils.  Later the Holy Episcopal Synod of the rejuvenated Jacobite Syrian Church met at Cochin under the leadership of senior Metropolitan Abraham Mor Clemis, who was also the Malankara Metropolitan from 1956 to '58,  and unanimously choose Paulose Mor Philoxenos for the highest office of the 'Catholicose of the East'.

 

Enthronement as the Catholicose of the East

 

Fulfilling the wishes of the countless faithful in India, on 7th September 1975, the Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III elevated Paulose Mor Philoxenos as the CATHOLICOSE OF THE EAST under the title 'MOR BASELIOS PAULOSE II', at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus (PAULOSE the first, who adorned the seat of the 'Maphrianate of the East' earlier, was the one who lived in the 8th century).   Consequently His Beatitude Mor Baselios Paulose –II became the HEAD OF THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE CHURCH IN INDIA. On the auspicious occasion of the consecration, their Graces Mor Dionysius George, Mor Athanasius Paulose of Beirut, Mor Sevarious, Mor Thimotheos Aphrem Aboodi and the elite of Syria and a huge congregation were present.  Following the enthronement, the Universal Synod was held at Patriarchal Cathedral under His Holiness Ignatius Ya`qub III and appointed Metropolitans for the dioceses in Malankara in consultation with the new Catholicose and with due regards to the requests of the clergy and laity.

Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Ya`qub III

His Beatitude Mor Baselios Paulose II, on his return to Malankara was accorded grand reception in Kuwait and in Bombay. The unprecedented reception at Muvattupuzha testified to the world, how loyal and obedient are the members of the Malankara Church to a Catholicose, validly consecrated by the Patriarch. The 'SUSTHATHIKON' was publicly read and ’Oxios’ befitting the Catholicose was sung. Many still recall the events and also the memorable speech by Bava on the occasion.  Since then the Holy Father worked tirelessly to rejuvenate the Church which had been deprived of many of its churches and institutions.  At the historic association meeting convened at Thuruthissery church of Angamali diocese on 26th December 1975, Mor Baselios Paulose II Bava was officially elected as the MALANKARA METROPOLITAN of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.

Metropolitans ordained by Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II

 

As the Catholicose of the East, His Beatitude Mor Baselios Paulose-II ordained six bishops and also many a number of priests for the Malankara church.  The first consecration of a Metropolitan was of Fr. Samuel of Charuvilayil family of Vakayar, by name 'Mor Philoxenos Samuel' for the Malabar diocese at Thuruthissery Church on 26th Dec 1975. 

 

On 19th April 1979, Bava ordained three more Metropolitans; Yakub Mor Thimotheos, Thomas Mor Theophilos and Philipose Mor Ivanios, at the St. Simon's church, Velloor (Kottayam). The other Prelates ordained by His Beatitude were Yuhanon Mor Philoxenos on 12th Sep 1985, Thomas Mor Athanasius on 3rd July 1990 and lastly Thomas Mor Thimotheos on 3rd Jan 1991. 

 

Photo taken soon after the Episcopal consecration of three Metropolitans by H.B.Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose II

at the St. Simon's Church, Velloor (Kottayam) on 19th April 1979

 

Visit to the Patriarchal Cathedral in 1978

 

In June 1978, His Beatitude the Catholicose once again visited and paid respects to the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III, staying at the Damascus Cathedral, for two weeks.  It was during this visit, the title of 'Malankara Malpan' was awarded to Very Rev. Kurien Kaniamparambil Corepiscopa by the Patriarch. This was the first of its kind awarded to a priest of Malankara by a Patriarch after the demise of Konatt Mathen Malpan in 1927.  On his return, His Beatitude also visited the parishes of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai and was given warm reception at all those places.  Earlier in 1960 and in 1965, the Catholicose had visited the Holy Land. 

 

Visit to USA and Canada

 

In response to the fraternal invitation from H.E. Mor Athanasius Yeshu' Samuel Archbishop of USA and Canada, the Catholicose visited the States in 1979.  His Beatitude was well received by the clergy and the laity.  Grand reception was accorded to the Catholicos in the St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in New Jersey by the Scholar Rev. Fr. John Meno and other elite of the States.  The Catholicose was honoured by H.E. the Archbishop in the Archdiocesan convention held at Rhodes Island.  H.E The Governor, members of Congress and Senate, City Mayor and others received His Beatitude and His Excellency.  The extensive tour of the Catholicose in almost all the states helped to enhance the prestige of the Malankara Church.

 

Heavenly abode of Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III and election of Patriarch

 

On 26th June 1980, Patriarch Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III who elevated Mor Baselios Paulose II as the Catholicose of the East, left for his heavenly abode. H.H was one of the most brilliant, intelligent, far sighted, able and peace-loving Patriarchs reigned on the Throne of St. Peter at Antioch.  He had been an authority on par with the Scholar Patriarch Michael Rabo, and the versatile genius Mor Gregorios Bar Hebraeus.  His unbounded scholarship in the History, Doctrines and canons of the Church, was unequalled, and his researches in every branch of ecclesiastical literature were really wonderful.  He might be regarded as the first Patriarch who imprinted the stamp, the name and fame of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Europe and the States, and throughout the entire Christendom.  His Holiness loved the Malankara church and did sacrifice himself for its peace and glory under the age-old historical and filial submission to the Holy See of Antioch.  Unfortunately, those who could not understand the greatness of the Holy Father, split the Malankara Church.

 

On 11th July 1980, the Universal Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church assembled at the Patriarchate in Damascus under the president-ship of His Beatitude Mor Baselios Paulose II, the Catholicose of the East, to elect a Patriarch, as successor to St. Peter on the Apostolic Throne of Antioch. It was an historical occasion after centuries, a maphriono (Catholicose), and the first of its kind, a Catholicose of the East from Malankara, presiding over the Universal Synod to elect the Primate of the Holy Church.  Besides the Metropolitans from the Middle East, Europe and U.S.A; Mor Clemis Abraham who had been at the Patriarchate, Mor Theophilios Thomas and Mor Ivanios Philipose who had accompanied H.B. the Catholicose, also attended the Episcopal Synod.

 

After the Holy Qurbono, the Metropolitans submitted their votes one by one in chalice placed on the Main Altar, and praised the Lord; H.B. the Catholicose proclaimed that Archbishop Mor Sevarious Zakka Iywas was chosen unanimously as the successor of St. Peter on the Throne of Antioch.

 

The Catholicos of the East His Beatitude Baselios Paulose II, officially announcing the name of the newly elected Patriarch Zakka Iywas

in the Episcopal Synod of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch & all the East - 1980

 

Consecration of the Patriarch of Antioch

 

On September 14, 1980, His Beatitude made history by consecrating Mor Severious Zakka, Archbishop of Baghdad, as the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East; THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME EVER A CATHOLICOS FROM MALANKARA OFFICIATED THE ENTHRONEMENT CEREMONY OF THE PATRIARCH TO THE HOLY APOSTOLIC THRONE OF ANTIOCH.  Besides His Beatitude, the Malankara Church was represented by their Graces the Metropolitans Mor Clemis Abraham, Mor Gregorios Geevarghese, Mor Dionysius Thomas, Mor Ivanios Philipose and Mor Theophilos Thomas.  About a 100 odd faithful representing the Malankara Church were also witnesses to the historic event.  

 

Message delivered by His Beatitude at the Enthronement Ceremony of the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East on September 14, 1980 

 

Most beloved and distinguished guest,

 

We are indeed fortunate to have come from far and near to participate in this historic function, when by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a new Patriarch is being enthroned on the most ancient and Apostolic See of St. Peter at Antioch, who is to function as the Supreme Spiritual Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. God's Holy name be praised.

 

As the Catholicos of the East, I come from the southernmost part of India, which enjoys the glorious mission of the Apostleship of St. Thomas.  On behalf of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India, may I convey most hearty felicitations to all the distinguished guests and the eminent elites of this country, who have come to grace this function.

 

I shall be failing in my duty, if I do not say a word on our late lamented Patriarch H.H. IGNATIUS YAKUB III of blessed memory.  He was a wonderful person of initiative and action, in whom we find a harmonious blending of both idealism and realism, where the deep Theology of Mor Sevarious, the sweet musing of Mar Aphraim, the great Philosophy of Bar Hebrus, the marvellous genius of Michael, the great-all these combined in him.  Nature had blessed him in such an abundant manner that one can definitely say "Here is the Man", both heroic and dynamic.  We bow our heads in awe and admiration to his memory.  Throughout his life, he was involved in a noble attempt of "Bridge Building" - that real Ecumenism be realized in man's relationship with one another, that the barrier between man and man may be cleared.  May his soul rest in peace.

 

The Church which had been be mourning at the untimely loss of its Supreme Pontiff, today shoots its head up in exultation of limitless enthusiasm and joy at the happy tidings of the appearance of a glorious SUN at the Eastern Horizon, in the person of H.H. Ignatius Zakka I.  Now as the mantle of Elijah is fittingly fallen upon this Elisha, we believe and hope, that he is capable enough to play the vessel of the Church and of humanity to a haven of prosperity and security.  We pray God to bless him profusely that he may as the Prophet Says  "ARISE and SHRINE".

A group of believers consisting of bishops, priests and laity, both men and women of different walks of life have come with me from India to attend this blessed function.  This is a novel experience and in their name I convey to you all, the best wishes of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India.

 

Now in the name of all the believers of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India, I offer to our most beloved Supreme Spiritual Father H.H. Moran Mor IGNATIUS ZAKKA I, our Supreme loyalty and unstinted love.  We earnestly believe that in his Shepherd ship, the Church shall be enriched by a lively spirit of ecumenism, where human values are recognized and respected, where the relation between man and man be established on the divine principle of "BROTHER HOOD" that men can live together and work in better understanding and fellowship, making Ecumenism more meaningful and practical in human affairs. 

 

With prayers, for the long life of our PATRIARCH, and for the well-being of all of you, and the States and interests you represent may I conclude. 

 

 

 

His Beatitude Mor Baselios Paulose II, Catholicos of the East leading the enthronement ceremony of

 the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, H.H. Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iywas

on Sep 14, 1980 at the St.George Cathedral, Damascus, Syria

 

Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose II proceeding to the Patriarchal Cathedral, accompanied by Metropolitans,

and clergy for the enthronement ceremony of H.H. the Patriarch Zakka-I Iwas

 

The Universal Synod of 1981

 

In November 1981, an important Synod was held at the Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus, to consider the drafts formulated for Church administration.  Very Rev. Dr. Kurien Corepiscopa Kaniamparambil was the convener of 'draft committee'. The Holy Synod that started on 17th November was presided by His Holiness and attended by Mor Baselios Paulose II, Catholicose of the East and 17 Metropolitans.  The special session ended on 24th November, taking vital decisions for the glory of God's name and for the peaceful progress of the Holy Church.   

 

Holy Apostolic Visit of the Patriarch of Antioch in 1982

 

In February 1982, His Beatitude the Catholicose of the East had the unique privilege to welcome the Supreme Spiritual head of the Syrian Orthodox Christians, the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, to Malankara.  His Holiness was the sixth Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, who had visited this land.  Mor Baselios Paulose Bava accompanied the Holy Father during the entire two month period of the apostolic visit.  It was an ever memorable visit in the history of Malankara Church.  In February, a massive Patriarchal day rally followed by a public meeting in which a huge gathering assembled, was held at Cochin.  His Beatitude the Catholicose made the welcome speech at this meeting.   The Catholicose also had the rare privilege to assist the Patriarch during the consecration of the 'HOLY MUROON' (Chrism) at the famous St.Mary's Church in Manarcaud on 27th Februarary 1982.  This was the third time the 'Holy Muroon' consecrated by a Patriarch, in Malankara. (The only other occasion when the Holy Muroon was consecrated in Malankara was in December 1967, by Catholicos Mor Baselios Augen I, with the permission of the Patriarch).

 

Visit to Vatican & the signing of Agreement

 

In June 1984, Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II visited Vatican along with His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iywas for the signing of agreement between the Syrian Church and the Roman Church.  On 23rd June 1984, the historic Joint Communiqué between the two most ancient Churches of Apostolic traditions, was signed, represented by H.H. the Pope & H.H. the Patriarch. According to this declaration the Christological controversy which had led to the alienation of the two Churches has been laid to rest for good.  (Later in November 1993, the Joint Theological Commission of the Roman Catholic and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Churches drafted an agreement on inter-church marriages, known today as the "Kerala Agreement".  This was approved by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I and released on January 25, 1994.)

 

A Gift to the Pope from His Beatitude the Catholicos

 

His Holiness the Patriarch & His Beatitude attending a Holy Mass by the Pope John Paul II

[Source: - "The Quest for unity" by D. Babu Paul]

From Rome, the delegation proceeded to Vienna, the capital of Austria, where His Holiness was accorded State and Ecclesiastical receptions.  The President of Austria & Lord Mayor of Vienna accorded warm welcome to the Church dignitaries.  Here, H.H The Patriarch was awarded the title of 'Protector of Pro Oriente'.  They later left for Brussels (Capital of Belgium) where the Syrian Orthodox Diaspora welcomed the delegation which included representatives from India.  From Belgium the delegation moved to Ensehede (Holland), the Headquarters of the Arch-diocese of central Europe.  Here St. Aphrem's Monastery, located on the Dutch side of the German border and spread over a vast expanse of nearly fifty acres of Land, was consecrated on 7th July 1984. This most solemn function was attended by the Syrian Orthodox people from Europe, numbering about 15,000.  His Beatitude the Catholicose of the East, Metropolitans from United States, Sweden, Turkey and the Middle East and Cardinals, Archbishops and bishops from other denominations, too were present.  After completing the visits successfully, His Beatitude returned to Kerala in July 1984.  The Malankara Church accorded a warm reception to their Primate. 

 

Left:-The Patriarch accompanied by the Catholicos, the diocesan bishop Mor Yulius Yeshu Çiçek and

other Metropolitans arrives  for the  consecration of  St. Aphrem Monastery in Holland. 

Right:- Mor Aphrem Monastery , Holland

  Source: The Quest for Unity  & The Hidden Pearl

 

Opening of a new Theological Seminary

 

In the beginning of 19th century the church in Malankara with help of Anglican missionaries, had started a theological institution by name Syrian Seminary in Kottayam, but eventually lost it following schisms in the church.   Later on the theological education for the clergy were provided in the monasteries like Malecuriz Dayro, Majinikkara Dayro; however the amenities here were limited compared to the modern day seminaries. Since Mor Baselios Paulose Bava became the primate of Malankara church he took several initiatives to start a theological seminary. Finally in late 1980's, his desire was fulfilled with the founding of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Seminary at Udayagiri near Mulunthuruthy. 

 

 On 1st January 1986, Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II laid the foundation stone for the Seminary on the plot of land bought by His Beatitude at Vettickal, adjacent to the famous St.Thomas Church Mulunthuruthy. It was a lifelong wish and vision of Bava Thirumeni that was accomplished. Certainly the seminary is a jewel in the crown of achievements of this great accomplisher. The land measuring about 5 1/2 acres was purchased by him with the money he raised from the Malankara diocese of the Church in America and also through wholehearted support of Mor Julius Yeshu Cicek, the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Central Europe.  H.G. Thomas Mor Thimotheos, the then head of the Theological Seminary recall that every time Bava visited the seminary, he used to shed tears of joy, to see that his dreams had come true. The first block of the seminary was inaugurated on 1st January 1990 by Bava Thirumeni and Very Rev. Adai Jacob Corepiscopa was appointed the principal. 

Bava laying the foundation stone for the M.S.O.T Theological Seminary at Udayagiri

 

Inclusions of the name of our Holy Fathers in 'TUBDEN'

 

On 22nd August 1987, the Holy Episcopal Synod of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church convened under the auspicious of Catholicose of the East Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II, requested the Spiritual Supreme the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, to allow the  revered names of Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias III,  Maphriyono Mor Baselios Yeldo and Mor Gregorios Chathruthil of Malankara, to be recited in the fifth 'TUBDEN' (Diptych) along with the Holy Fathers of the Church.  Until then, all the Church fathers (23) whose names were remembered in the fifth TUBDEN in Malankara, were of the pre-7th century.  

 

On 20th December 1987, through the historical Apostolic Bull No. E 265/87, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iywas proclaimed the inclusion of the names, of “The Apostle Mor Thoma, the preacher of the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in India” in the FOURTH DIPTYCH and that of Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias III,  Maphriyono Mor Baselios Yeldo and Mor Gregorios of Malankara in the FIFTH DIPTYCH. The Patriarchal declaration regarding this was first read at the Mulunthuruthy MarThoman Church in the presence of our Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose II.  (In 1994 the Sacred Relics of St.Thomas was established in the MarThoman Church at Mulanthuruthy by the Patriarchal delegate).

 

Sunday School Association & Youth Association

 

The Sunday School Association of the Malankara Church (M.J.S.S.A) established by late lamented Malankara Metropolitan Paulose Mor Athanasius (Valiya Thirumeni) is a movement that grew under the leadership of Mor Baselios Paulose Catholicose. Metropolitans Thomas Mor Dionysius (Catholicose Baselios Thomas I), Samuel Mor Philoxenos and Kuriakose Mor Kurillos functioned as the President of M.J.S.S.A during different periods under Bava Thirumeni. The foundation stone for the central office of M.J.S.S.A at Puthencuriz was laid by Bava Thirumeni on 30th April 1977.  It is in the two storied building constructed here, the central office of Sunday School Association, book depot, printing press etc is located.  The periodical Atmadeepam, is a publication of the Sunday school association. In order to cherish the revered memory of the beloved Bava Thirumeni, the Charitable Fund started by the Association, has been named recently as "Mor Baselios Paulose II Charitable Fund".  (A large painting of His Beatitude has been unveiled in the Association conference hall in connection with the observation of his first 'dukrono' in Sep 1997).

 

'The Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Youth Association' is another organization that was initiated under the patronage of late Catholicos.  Besides these, he had worked a lot for the development of many of the educational institutions; Mar Athanasius College of Arts & Science and M.A College of Engineering at Kothamangalam, the St.Peter's College at Kolencherry, the Arts College at Piravom, Ignatius Zakka I Iywas training college at Malecuriz, are some among them. The construction work of Medical Mission Hospital at Kolencherry, was inaugurated by Bava Thirumeni when he was the Metropolitan of Kandanad diocese.  In 1979, Mor Baselios Medical Mission Hospital at Kothamangalam, initiated under the patronage of Mor Dionysius Thomas (Catholicose Mor Baselios Thomas I), was declared open by Bava Thirumeni.

 

Bava Thirumeni called to eternal rest on 1st Sep 1996

 

After serving the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian community for more than four decades as its primate, Mor Baselios Paulose-II Bava passed away on a Sunday the 1st of September, 1996 at 10.45 am. He was 83 then.   Bava was residing at Piramadom dayro for the last several months.  The funeral ceremonies held on the next day was attended by tens of thousands of people—a testimony to the affection that he commanded in the Church and society. The remains of Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II were interred in a tomb in Malecuriz dayro near Puthencuriz in Ernakulam District, Kerala in accordance to his last wishes.

 

Demise & after – compiled from various news dailies  

 

On Sunday morning from 4.30 am onwards Bava Thirumeni was not feeling well, but the pressure of the inmates to hospitalize was resisted by H.B himself.  On the same day Bava was expected to participate in the inauguration of the newly constructed hall of the Piramadom church.  Mr. T M Jacob, the minister of state, was also scheduled to participate in the function.  Instead of going directly to the church T M Jacob went to see His Beatitude, there he found Bava much disturbed due to chest pain.  Immediately Bava was taken to the hospital. The end has happened on the way from Piramadom Dayro to the hospital at Kolencherry.  On arrival at the hospital the doctors examined Bava and declared that the Catholicos has already passed away.

 

The body of Bava Thirumeni was kept for public homage at the St. Peter's Chapel, Kolencherry for few hours.  At 3.30 pm the body was taken in a procession to Piramadom dayro and from there to the Catholicate Aramana at Muvattupuzha where Bava Thirumeni lived for many years; the evening prayers and preliminary portions of the funeral services were conducted.  During the whole night, the body was kept in the Aramana Chapel for the faithful to pay their last homage.  Catholicos Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, the primate of the Malankara Orthodox Church along with some of his fellow bishops visited the Aramana late night to pay homage to the departed Catholicos. On next day morning Holy Qurbono was celebrated at the Chapel followed by the remaining part of the funeral services.

 

Laid to Rest at the Malecuriz dayro

 

The body was taken in procession at 10.15 a.m. from the Catholicate  Palace  at  Muvattupuzha  to  the  St. George Chapel  in Malecuriz near Puthencuriz for funeral. 

 

The dayro was chosen according to the wishes of Bava Thirumeni.  When the body was taken from the Aramana, the surroundings were filled with thousands of peoples. On the way, a large number of public paid their respect to the departed soul at  Kadathi, Mekkadambu, Kadamattom, Kolencherry and Choondy. The whole stretch of Muvattupuzha-Puthencuriz road were thronged by people to bid farewell to their beloved Catholicos. The entire area around the dayro was crowded with believers when the body was brought there.  The public were allowed to pay their last respects to the spiritual head. 

 

The mortal remains of H.B. was laid to rest at Malecuriz dayro in the presence of all the Metropolitans of the Church, Archbishops and bishops from sister Churches, priests and a massive crowd of laity.  During the condolence meeting, Metropolitans Mor Clemis Abraham, Mor Dionysius Thomas, H.E. Mor Joseph Powathil the President of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India, Metropolitan Mor Aphrem of the Chaldean Church of the East and Bishop George Punnakottil of the Kothamangalam Catholic diocese spoke.  H.G. Geevarghese Mar Timotheos, bishop of Thiruvalla Malankara Catholic diocese joined the other Catholic Bishops to say, 'Opees', the funeral prayers.

 

The Holy services on top of the picturesque mount was in Syriac and in Malayalam. There were touching moments when the departed Bava thirumeni's sister Mary Varghese and the daughter of another sister gave good bye kisses. Devotees watched the service through closed circuit television. 

 

Mor Clemis Abraham Valiya Metropolitha of Knanaya syrians led the prayers.  H.G. Thomas Mor Osthatheos, the retired bishop of Kochi diocese, H.G. Geevarghese Mor Gregorios of Kottayam diocese, H.G. Thomas Mor Dionysius and H.G. Abraham Mor Sevarious of Angamali, H.G. Yuhanon Mor Philoxenous of Malabar, H.G. Thomas Mor Thimotheos of Outside Kerala diocese, H.G. Joseph Mor Gregorious of Kochi, H.G Benyamin Joseph Mor Osthatheos of Simhasana Churches and H.G. Geevarghese Mor Polycorpus of the Evangelistic Association of the East participated in the funeral ceremony.

 

The most touching ceremony was 'Sel Besilomo' in which the departed soul bids farewell to the 'Madbaho' (sanctuary) at which he celebrated Holy Qurbono, the church in which he prayed and exhorts the Metropolitans and Priests and laity to live in peace.  The crowd responded chanting "Parishuddha Pithavae Samadhanathode Povuka ...("Holy Father, go in peace").  During the ceremony, the body in sitting position in his chair was lifted 12 times by priests. It was first turned to face the East, then West, North and finally the South, three times each.  At the close of the ceremony, the body was taken in procession to the grave specially prepared at the eastern courtyard of the Dayro church.  H.B. kept seated on the Throne with holy vestments on, holy staff in left hand, holy cross in right and three chains on the chest marking the status of the Catholicos, was lowered into the grave.  The 6 x 6 feet wide and 8 feet deep grave was then filled with incense bought from various churches as a mark of respect to the Catholicos.  The very next day, Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Yuhanon (Archbishop of Aleppo) arrived from Syria, representing the Patriarch of Antioch, and offered special prayers at the sacred Tomb of the late Catholicos.

 

His Beatitude had left a will that his mortal remains should rest at Malecuriz, a solitary hillock off Puthencuriz.  That was why it was decided that the body of the Catholicos, be buried on the premises of Malecuriz Dayro Church.  It was here that the Catholicos first served after he was elevated as a Metropolitan by the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem-I in 1952.  His sojourn there lasted for six years by which time he had formed a special attachment to the prayerful atmosphere at Malecuriz. The ancient church atop the hillock was reconstructed later under the guidance of Mor Dioscorus Kuriakose and consecrated by Patriarch Aphrem -II.

 

Mor Baselios Paulose –II Bava

Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II Bava is widely revered for his simplicity and Spartan ascetic life. He shepherded himself as a spiritual father to all without ever displaying the pomp that accompanied his office. Even in his private conversations he would dwell on his accountability on the Day of Judgment.  As metropolitan and later as Catholicose, Mor Baselios Paulose Bava desired for a lasting peace in Malankara upholding its age-old links with the Mother Church at Antioch. Despite the continued feud in the community, he was admired and revered by members of both factions in the Church, as also multitudes of others in all walks of life. 

 

He was a true Indian in culture, a true Antiochean in tradition and a true Christian in faith.  He had a very good knowledge in Sanskrit which helped him to know and retain the ethos of Indian culture.  He was a good scholar in Theology and an appealing orator in English and Malayalam.  His proficiency in Syriac was such that while reading the Evangelion, he would follow the Syriac text and translate into Malayalam impromptu.  His extempore speeches were well known which had even astonished the Syrians. The scholarly sermon of His Beatitude in Syriac at the Vadavathur Apostolic Seminary, are recalled by many even today.  Sebastian P Brock, the professor at the Oriental Institute of the Oxford University has cited about this speech in his book.

  Piramadom Dayro

 

Like most in the older generation, farming remained a great passion for Bava all along his life. He preferred to have a life closer to the nature. Though his Catholicate palace was at the heart of Muvattupuzha town, Bava frequently visited Piramadom dayro, located in an interior part, where he loved to spend most part of his life as Metropolitan and Catholicose.  This monastery had a vast farm.  He thoroughly enjoyed walking through the farm, nursing the plants.  The problems the farmers were facing lately has been of great concern for him and he used to discuss those with parishioners frequently.   After a deputy was ordained for the Kandanad diocese, he got enough time to stay away from the hazards of administration and as age advanced he permanently shifted to this peaceful place.  

 

Bava Thirumeni is acknowledged as a man of great simplicity.  He showed politeness and courtesy to all without differentiating the laity from clergy, the poor from the rich and the young from the old.  Even though he was the chief priest and the primate of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India, he never used to administer, but used to serve the Church.  He was a noble high priest, who loved the children, the community and serve the Church, shedding all selfish motives and without lust for power.  The hospitality of this great Catholicose is known to all who had visited him at least once.  He took great pleasure in serving food to his visitors by his own hands.  One can never forget the innocent and beatific smile on his face.  His heart had no room for enmity.  His Beatitude was a tower of light for the Malankara Church.  With love as an article of faith, and as a good shepherd, he led a holy life.  By upholding the true faith and practices, he exhibited unwavering stand which every member of the Church should make a model.  His respectful and exemplary life, no doubt will be a source of inspiration for the present and for future generations as well. 

 

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@ MSCR - Malankara Syriac Christian Resources

http://SyriacChristianity.info 

http://Catholicate,in