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The Catholicos with the Patriarch at the St. George Cathedral, Damascus (1987)


Condolence Message of His Holiness the Patriarch

By the Grace of God
Ignatius Zakka  I  Iywas
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
Supreme head of the Universal Syrian
Orthodox Church

Sept 2, 1996


Apostolic benediction to our beloved Metropolitans of our Episcopal Synod, our Spiritual Children, the clergy and the faithful of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India.

We are shocked and deeply grieved to hear the sudden demise of the our beloved brother in Christ, His Beatitude Basalius Poulose II, Catholicose of the East.  His demise is a great loss to this Church, especially at this critical time.  He was an undoubted and strong soldier of the true faith and traditions of the Church to the very end.  He suffered a lot to protect and preserve it.  He wanted to establish peace, peace with dignity and justice in our Church there.  His deep devotion, unbounded religious zeal and fervour, limitless love, his simplicity and prayerful life and sincere services to the church are well known to everybody.  He was a great shepherd and a spiritual leader, who carried the cross and followed his master our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our Lord is faithful and will reward him for his sincere and dedicated services for the Church.

He was very close to our heart.  He actively participated in our Patriarchal election and installation in 1980.  In our Apostolic visit to India in 1982 he was always with us to make our visit successful.  He always informed us about the activities of our Church there.  We got a letter from him even two days before his demise.  We have always respected his wise and valuable suggestions in many matters connected to our Church there.  He was a great scholar in Church History and Syriac language.  His demise is a great loss to us and as well as to our Church there.  Our beloved in Christ, we share your deep grief and sorrow.  We are deputing His Eminence Mor Gregorious Yohannan Ibrahim Archbishop of Aleppo to participate in the 3rd day of the funeral of His Beatitude Basalius Poulose II.  

On September 1, Sunday the day of his demise we conducted Holy Qurbono at the Patriarchal Cathedral for our beloved brother H.B.Basalius Poulose II, Catholicose of the East.  We declare forty days of lamentations in honour of that great soul and request you to conduct Holy Qurbono and special prayers in all our churches in India.  May God console all of us and rest his soul with our holy fathers in his heavenly bliss.  Our Lord Said, I am the resurrection and the life.  Very truly I tell you anyone who bears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come under judgement, but has passed from death to life.

Though he has departed from our visibility, he is still with us so we do not loose our hope. May God console you all and the members of this bereaved family.  We extend our apostolic blessings to you all.

May the Grace of God be with you all.   




II.   All  Malankara  Condolence  Meet



Two days after the funeral of the beloved Catholicose, on 4th September 1996 an all-Malankara condolence meet was held at the St.Mary's church, Manarcad.  Eminent participants from all walks of life attended the function.  Mor Philoxenos of Malabar diocese and the former Secretary of the Malankara Episcopal Synod, welcomed the gathering and the distinguished guests.  Metropolitan Mor Gregorios (late Perumpally Thirumeni) of Kottayam highlighted the sufferings that H.B. had to undergo to uphold the Malankara-Antioch relationship.  Speaker after speaker praised the great qualities of the deceased Bava, such as love, truthfulness, endurance and the sense of equality with which he treated each and everyone.  Even enemies were treated as good friends by the late Bava, remembered the speakers who knew him from close quarters.

H.G. Ibrahim Mor Gregorios Yohannan of the Archdiocese of Aleppo praised Bava as a great Christians leader and high-priest.  The Archbishop remembered the meeting with His Beatitude one month back during his visit to Kerala.  Reading out the condolence message of His Holiness the Patriarch, Mor Gregorios remembered the great acceptance H.B. had all over the world, wherever he was known.  In the message of His Holiness the Patriarch, H.B. was praised as a great leader who led the Church at a crucial period.  The great interest that the demised Catholicos showed on all Church matters was specially remembered in the condolence message.

Mar Kuriakose Kunnassery praised Bava as an epitome of Christian virtues.  The sincerity of Bava was am inspiring quality, the bishop said. Mar Athanasius Geevarghese of the MarThoma Church remembered H.B. as a lamp of holiness and henceforth that will enlighten heaven itself.

Mr. K M Mathew, Chief editor of Malayala Manorama spoke on the stunning impact that the demise of H.B. made on the Kerala society.  H.B. gave great leadership to the Church during difficult times, opined Mathew.

Mr. Oommen Chandy M L A, remembered his meeting with Bava as the Home Minister of Kerala prior to the visit of His Holiness the Patriarch in 1982.  Mr. Chandy said that he met H.B. with all anxiety as what would be the fall-out if something goes wrong in the arrangements of the on-coming visit of His Holiness.  Allaying all fears, Mr.Chandy remembered, how he was encouraged by H.B. and with what great confidence, he would go back from the Aramana of His Beatitude.

Mr. P J Joseph, the Education Minister of Kerala spoke from the long association with His Beatitude.  Mr. T M Jacob M L A, reminded how his life-long closeness with Bava was a spiritually enriching experience.  Mr. Babu Paul extolled the position taken by Bava after 1958 during the turbulent times in the Malankara Church.  H.B. has been able to hear the final outcome of the Supreme Court judgment of June 1995.  That the court verdict upheld the supremacy of the Patriarch and the assertion that the Malankara Church is part of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church is a clear vindication of Bava, opined Babu Paul.

Mor Thimotheos Thomas, Metropolitan of the outside Kerala diocese narrated the great intellectual acumen of Bava and compared His Beatitude to a towering tree which did not hamper the growth of others.  This towering tree gave shade when it was needed and permitted sunlight to penetrate when that was needed.  The intellectual growth and academic excellence that many acquired under the leadership of Bava Thirumeni was specially mentioned.

H.G. Mor Dionysius Thomas, Bishop Sam Mathew of Central Kerala Diocese of the CSI Church, P C Chacko M.P, P P Thankachen M.L.A, Church Secretary T U Kurivilla and V.Rev.Abraham Corepiscopa Karimpanathra also spoke on the occasion.  Bava Thirumeni's simplicity and love for all, was the key stress of all the speeches.   {Source: The Vision, Oct 1996}





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