Part  I    -  History of the Church in the first three quarters of the 19th century

To have a clear idea about the events that led to the ordination of the six Metropolitans for the Malankara Syrian Church in 1876, a brief history of the Church in the early 19th century is explained in the first part.


Part  II    -  Ordination as METROPOLITAN  by name 'GREGORIOS'



Part  I

History of the Church in the first three quarters of the 19th century

The 19th century was a period when the Syrian Church in Malankara faced a totally different type of persecution compared to the Portuguese atrocities of the 16th and the 17th centuries. The European missionaries who came in large numbers to Malankara from the very beginning of the 19th century initially acted as well wishers of the Syrian Church. But in the next few years these missionaries tried to bring everything under their control which resulted in friction between the Syrian Christians and the 'reformists' (European missionaries). These missionaries (particularly the Church Missionary Society - C.M.S) believed that it is the continued association of Malankara Syrian Christians with the mother Church at Antioch which make them difficult to penetrate much.  So they tried to prevent the Syrian fathers from visiting Malankara.

Mor Dioscorus who came to Malankara in 1807 as the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch had to return shortly following a directive from Colonel Macaulay, the British Resident in Travancore.  In 1825 another Patriarchal representative by name Mor Athanasius Abdul 'Mesiha was sent to Malankara on the request of Mor Dionysius-III (Punnathra), but he along with a Ramban accompanying him were arrested by the Dewan of Travancore under advise from British Resident and later sacked from India.  All the priests who came in support of the delegates were also imprisoned and was released only after ten months and on payment of heavy fines.  All such heinous acts against Syrian Christians were under the influence of Church Missionary Society (C.M.S).  With the British support, these missionaries were even able to manipulate the court orders.  The Syrian Christians became very frustrated and disillusioned due to the continuous harassment of the judiciary under the British rule. 

After the demise of Mor Dionysius-III in 1825, Pallipatt Philipose Malpan of Cheppaud became Metropolitan for the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church by name Mor Dionysius-IV.  Initially, like his predecessors, he too tried his best to have a good relationship with the British missionaries.  But the attitude of these missionaries towards the Syrian Christians forced the Malankara Church to have a rethinking.  In 1836 the Church representatives from all over Malankara assembled at Mavelikara Puthiakavu St.Mary's church under the leadership of Cheppaud Mor Dionysius and reaffirmed their faith in the Holy See of Antioch.  The declaration of faith documented at this important Synod is known in the history as MAVELIKARA PADIYOLA.  This resulted in the end of the cordial relationship the Malankara Church had with the British missionaries till then.  Meanwhile, through a Panchayath judgment, Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) got most of the properties of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.  (Click Here to access the full text of the 'Mavelikara Padiyola')      

In 1846 Syrian Metropolitan Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim was send to Malankara by the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Ya'qub II to enquire about the alleged anti-church activities of Palakunnath Metran and to take necessary actions if found necessary.  On enquiry the Palakunnath Mor Athanasius Metran was found guilty and was excommunicated from the Holy Church through a decree of the Patriarch.  But the deposed metropolitan, influenced the Travancore Courts through his friend, the British Resident.  In 1848, the two officers of  the panchayat appointed by the Travancore Government made a declaration in favour of the Palakunnath Metran.  In 1849 another Metropolitan Mor Athanasius Stephanos was send by the Patriarch to hold discussions with the British government.  But the British Resident disallowed even the stay of delegates in either the Travancore or Cochin States. Mor Athanasius Stephanos left for England and briefed the directors of 'East India Company' about the difficulties faced by the Malankara Church under British rule. Finally the Metropolitan received a favourable decision which resulted in the cancellation of the previous orders issued by the Resident Governor of British India.  This was the only moral victory for the Church at that time.  In 1855, Mor Dionysius-IV (Cheppaud Thirumeni) died and the Patriarchal delegate Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim was left alone to lead the Malankara Syrian Church. The local British authorities meanwhile raised new objections against the delegate which made it difficult to perform his administrative responsibilities.

The Patriarch then requested the Malankara Church to select a bishop candidate from among themselves as he wanted to call back the delegates who were facing many difficulties. The increasing number of court cases, the difficulty in communicating in local language, climate changes, all of which made the life of delegates in Malankara very hazardous.  This may have compelled the Patriarch to think that it is better to choose a Metropolitan, from the native community itself. (Ref:- page 26 of Biography of Mor Dionysius V published in 1901 by Malayala Manorama Co.).  But the Malankara Church wished to had the presence of a Patriarchal delegate in Malankara and they unanimously submitted this request before their spiritual supreme.  Finally the Patriarch  decided to retain Metropolitan Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim here in Malankara; he stayed here giving spiritual guidance to the local Church (Biography of Mor Dionysius V).  

In 1865, the newly elected metropolitan for malankara, Kassisso Joseph Pulikottil of Kunnamkulam left for Mardin for his Metropolitan consecration. After a long journey Kassisso Joseph reached the Patriarchal head quarters at the Kurkumo dayro of Mardin  in Turkey. There he was elevated as a Ramban and later a Metropolitan by name Mor Dionysius on  26th Medam (Sunday), 1865. On his return the new Metropolitan together with Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim worked hard for the reestablishment of the Apostolic faith here, particularly in southern Travancore, where the missionary activities was in its heights. In 1872, a special meeting of the representatives of Malankara Church was held at Parumala under the leadership of Reesh Episcopa Mor Kooorilos Yuyakkim and Mor Dionysius Joseph, which send urgent requests to the Patriarch of Antioch inviting His Holiness to India to help resolving the problems faced by the Malankara Syrian Church because of the European missionaries and more particularly the Palakunnath Metran who was siding with these missionaries. It was Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban who proposed the idea to hold such a meeting and invite His Holiness to Malankara. The Patriarch on his part tried to contact British authorities through their counterparts in Turkey, but nothing fruitful happened. Two years later on September 2, 1874, the Suryoyo Metropolitan St. Koorilos Yuyakkim who came to Malankara 26 years before, on request of the church here, passed away and was entombed at the Mulunthuruthy Church.  Now Joseph Mor Dionysius, who remained the only Metropolitan in Malankara,  found it very difficult to stand against the influential 'reformists' group led by Palakunnath Metran. The Malankara Syrian Christians seems to be then was facing a loosing battle. Hence the Malankara Church again send requests to the Patriarch for urgent help.

The seriousness of the situation and the consideration for his faithful prompted the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Pathros-IV (III) to travel all the way to Malankara ignoring his old age (74) and health.  For a man of his age, this long journey that continued for many months was extremely difficult.   H.H. the Patriarch started from Mardin in 1874.  He first went to London and pleaded before the India Secretary residing there.  Impressed by His Holiness, the British authorities at London under advise from the Queen, asked the Madras government to avoid any unnecessary interference in the internal affairs of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.  Until then the Metropolitans ordained for the Malankara Church had to first get the concurrence of the British-India authorities for their functioning.  The European missionaries who came here with the support of the British East India Company neatly exploited this situation. Consequent to the discussions with the Patriarch, the British government agreed to revoke this very clause.  After successfully completing his mission at London, the Patriarch continued his journey to India.


H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Pathros IV (right)  along with Mor Gregorios Abded' Aloho (later Patriarch Ignatius Abdulla II)

who accompanied the Patriarch to India &  the Archbishop of Canterbury  in 1875 in England

(Source: http://suryoyenews.com/)


The Patriarch in India & Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban

His Holiness reached Malankara in June 1875.  Consequent to the efforts of the patriarch, the local governmental authorities reversed its earlier decisions which were against the interests of the Church. The Patriarchal bull to excommunicate the rebellious Metropolitan Palakunnath Mathews Mor Athanasius was endorsed by the government.  All the cases regarding the Church properties were left to independent Judicial authorities.  Thus the first part of the patriarchal mission ended successfully and the Malankara Syrian Church was able to recoup its lost confidence.   

The Patriarch, then wanted to reorganize the administration of the Malankara Church. Important decisions were taken after several rounds of talks with the local Church members. On 27th June 1876, His Holiness convened a Synod at the Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoman Church which lasted for 3 days; the Metropolitans participated were Mor Gregorios Abdulla of Jerusalem (later Patriarch Mor Ignatius Abded'Aloho, 1906-15) and Pulikkotil Mor Dionysius Joseph of Malankara. The chief organizer of this historic Synod was none other than Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban.  The Chathuruthy Ramban who was the most trusted aide of the Patriarch acted as His Holiness' private secretary & interpreter.

Representatives from 103 Churches signed the agreement at the end of the 3 day session.  It was at this Synod the title of Malankara Metropolitan was created. Pulikottil Joseph Mor Dionysius became the first Malankara Metropolitan and was since then known as 'Mor Dionysius-V'.  It was as per the decision of this Synod, the Church register was introduced for the first time.  Under advise of the Patriarch, a general body by name "Syrian Christian Association" was formed for the effective administration of the Church here.  A core committee (Managing committee), compromising of 24 members from various parishes were also appointed by His Holiness at this Synod.  (CLICK HERE for the list of 24 member committee). Pulikottil Mor Dionysius Thirumeni (Mor Dionysius V Joseph) was the president of the committee. On the last day of the historic Synod (on 30th June y 1876) the participants adopted a resolution popularly known as the "Mulunthuruthy Padiyola"It was Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban who drafted this historic resolution which reaffirmed the age-old relationship between the Malankara Church and the mother church at Antioch.  The resolution emphatically declares that Malankara Church is a division of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church and the Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Antioch & All the East is the supreme head of the Malankara Syrian Church. A formal decision was also taken at the Synod  to form seven new dioceses namely Angamali, Kandanad, Kochi, Kottayam, Kollam, Niranam, and Thumpamon and to appoint Metropolitans for each of these dioceses, under the Malankara Metropolitan  


The Church Fathers who convened the historic association of Syrian Christians (Mulanthuruthy Synod) 

at the Mulunthuruthy Mar Thoman Church in AD 1876


Patriarch of Antioch & All the East


  • Presided the Holy Synod of Malankara Church in 1876

  • Ordained six metropolitans for the Malankara Church including ST. GREGORIOS CHATHURUTHY (Parumala Thirumeni)

  • Consecrated the Holy MOORON on 27 August 1876 at the Mar Thoman Church, Mulunthuruthy



Malankara Metropolitan

[Pulikottil Joseph Mor Dionysius II]

  • Born in the Pulikottil family of Kunnamkulam on 12 Nov, 1833

  • Ordained as Metropolitan by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Yakub II in 1865 at Mardin

  •  Laid the foundation for the Parumala Seminary in 1872

  • Patriarch appoints Mor Dionysius as the  Malankara Metropolitan (Chief of the Local church) in 1876

  • One of the Chief Organizers of the Holy Synod held at Mulunthuruthy in 1876

  • Assisted H.H. the Patriarch during Consecration of the Holy MOORON

  • Established many schools and institutions. One of the pioneers in the revival of Syriac Christian faith in Malankara          


Metropolitan of Jerusalem 

[later Patriarch Mor Ignatius Abded'Aloho (Abdulla II)]

  • Participated in the historic Holy Synod  at Mulunthuruthy in 1876 when he was the Metropolitan of Jerusalem

  • Assisted the Patriarch during the Consecration of Holy MOORON & the Ordination of 6 Metropolitans for the Malankara Church

  • Enthroned as the Patriarch of Antioch & All the East on 15th September 1906

  • Ordained  Metropolitans, Kochuparambil Paulose Mor Kurilose & Wattasseril Mor Dionysius for Malankara in 1908 at "SEHION MALIKA", Jerusalem

  • Ordained St. Paulose Mor Athanasius & Mor Severious as  Metropolitans during his Apostolic visit to Malankara in 1910

  • Consecrated the Holy MOORON in 1911 at the Mulunthuruthy Mar Thoman Church




Part  II


   Consecration as Metropolitan by name 'MOR GREGORIOS'

The Patriarch on reaching Malankara in 1875, initially spend most of his time at the Mar Thoman church, Mulunthuruthy.  Ramban Geevarghese (Chathuruthy) was then serving as one of the priests of that church.  Mor Dionysius V (Pulikottil Mor Dionysius Joseph), who was aware of Ramban's proficiency in Syriac and his pious nature, appointed him as the translator to the Patriarch.  Greatly impressed by our Chathuruthy Ramban, His Holiness appointed him, his private secretary.  From then onwards till the Patriarch's departure in 1877, he continued in this privileged position.  It was during this period, the Patriarch elevated 'Vettikkal Kurisu Palli' as a 'dayro' (Monastery) on the request of Chathuruthy Ramban and it happens to be the first monastery of the Jacobite Syrian Church.

Ramban Geevarghese also had the unique opportunity to assist His Holiness the Patriarch Peter IV (III) during the holy consecration of "MOORON" (Holy Chrism) when it was held for the first time in Malankara on 27th August AD.1876 (M.E. 15th Chingam 1052) at the Mulunthuruthy Mar Thoman Church. He assisted the Patriarch together with Pulikotil Mor Dionysius Joseph of Malankara and Mor Gregorios Abdulla (Jerusalem bishop).  (As per the Church canon only the Patriarch, being the supreme pontiff, can consecrate the 'Holy MOORON' - Ref: Page 128, Biography of Pulikottil Mor Divanasios V, published by Malayala Manorama in 1901).   The Ramban as secretary to the Patriarch, was in the forefront helping His Holiness to organise the historical Mulunthuruthy Synod (1876) and for the drafting of its various religious and administrative documents.   The 'Mulunthuruthy Padiyola' in which the history of the Malankara Syrian Church and its Apostolic faith is recorded, was drafted by Chathuruthy Ramban and was later approved by the entire Malankara Church. (Click here for the English translation of the Padiyola). 

Finally when the Church decided to consecrate six new Metropolitans for the proposed dioceses, the Patriarch's primary choice was the young and religious Ramban Geevarghese. The Patriarch was so impressed by his simplicity, humility and spiritual fervor. The Ramban on the other hand wanted to remain a monk staying in some monasteries and hence he requested the Patriarch to relieve him from being ordained Metropolitan.  However under continuous persuasion, the Ramban changed his mind.  Thus the Malankara Church got a saintly metropolitan whose name has grown far and near, and has became its brightest jewel (Another Metropolitan nominee of the Patriarch, Fr. Geevarghese of Mookencheril had also pleaded before H.H. to exempt him from the list and this was accepted considering his old age.)             

On 3rd December 1876 Kadavil Paulose Ramban and Konatt Yulius Ramban were ordained as Metropolitans by names 'Mor Athanasius Paulose' (Kadavil) and 'Mor Julius Geevarghese' (Konattu) respectively, by the Patriarch of Antioch at the St. Thomas church in North Paravur. After Seven days on Sunday the 10th of December 1876 (M.E.1052, Vrischikam 27), the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius  Pathros III (IV) ordained two more Metropolitans at the North Paravur St. Thomas church and one among them was our Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban who was ordained by name MOR GREGORIOS* and the other was Ambattu Geevarghese Ramban who was ordained by name 'MOR KOORILOS GEEVARGHESE'.  The metropolitans their Eminences Mor Athanasius Paulose Kadavil and Mor Julius Geevarghese Konattu who were elevated as high-priests seven days earlier, assisted the Patriarch in this ordination of Chathuruthy Mor Gregorios Thirumeni.   (Mor Julius Geevarghese Konattu who assisted the Patriarch during this ordination was the guru of Chathuruthy Mor Gregorios Thirumeni and is mentioned as 'Konattu Malpan' in the life history of Mor Gregorios)

Prior to his elevation as Metropolitan Chathuruthy Geevarghese Ramban (Mor Gregorios Geevarghese) executed and submitted a deed called SALMUSA to H.H. Peter IV, the Patriarch of Antioch. The eleven clauses of the registered deed is given below

1.  "SALMUSA" of Parumala Mor Gregorious Bava {Malayalam} 

2.  English Translation of the "SALMUSA"    


Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthy was only 29 at the time of his consecration and was the youngest of all the newly ordained bishops, hence he was affectionately called 'Kochu Thirumeni'.   From the time he was ordained a high-priest for Niranam diocese, he was staying at Parumala, till his last and it has became his second home. Thus he came to be called 'Parumala Thirumeni' as well.

The name GREGORIOS, assigned to our Kochu Thirumeni at the time of his Metropolitan consecration, was the honorable titular of the Jerusalem Metropolitan under the See of Antioch.  It is said the Patriarch wished to install Kochu Thirumeni as the bishop of Jerusalem, but the idea was dropped under pressure from his close relatives. 

* In the Syrian Church, the naming of a new Metropolitan is the sole discretion of  the supreme head of the Church, the Patriarch and he will declare it only in the  final stages of consecration ceremony.  It will not be disclosed to either the Metropolitan-designates or the co-celebrants of the ceremony before that.

* It was this title of Jerusalem Archbishop, 'Mor Gregorios', that was earlier recited in the 1st Tubden (diptych) after the names of the prevailing Patriarch 'Mor Ignatius' and Maphryono 'Mor Baselios' in the Syrian Orthodox Church.  Jerusalem being the most important City in the Christendom, the Metropolitan residing there had a special privilege.  St. Gregorios Abdul' Jaleel who re-established the Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) faith in Malankara after a long period of Portuguese influence was a Metropolitan of the Jerusalem diocese.  


Metropolitans ordained by the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Peter IV in 1876 and 1877

Other than Mor Gregorios, the metropolitans ordained at the North Paravur St. Thomas Church, were Kadavil Paulose Mor Athanasius (on 3rd Dec) for the  'Kollam diocese',   Konattu Geevarghese Mor Julius (3rd Dec) for 'Thumpamon diocese'  and Ambattu Geevarghese Mor Kurillos (10th Dec) for 'Angamali diocese'.  Two other Metropolitans,  Murimattom Paulose Mor Ivanios for 'Kandanad diocese' and Karoottuveettil Semavun Mor Dionysius for 'Kochi diocese'  were also ordained by the Patriarch on 17th May 1877 at the  Chiralayam St. Lazarus Church in Kunnamkulam and during this ordination Chathuruthy Mor Gregorios Thirumeni assisted His Holiness the Patriarch.

St. Thomas Church at North Paravur

(It was here St. Gregorios was ordained Metropolitan by the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Peter IV on 10th Dec, 1876)

(Click Here to access the church page)


Metropolitans ordained  by His Holiness the Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV in Malankara in the years 1876 & 1877:-

    Ordained date Venue of Ordination Dioceses given Date of Demise Entombed at :-
1   Kadavil  Paulose Mor Athanasius  3rd  December 1876 St. Thomas church, Vadakken Paravur Kollam  2  Nov 1907 Aluva Thrikkunnathu St. Mary's church
2   Konattu Geevarghese Mor Julius 3rd  December 1876 St. Thomas church, Vadakken Paravur Thumpamon 21  Mar 1884 Pampakuda St. John's church
3   Ambattu Geevarghese Mor Koorilose 10th December 1876 St. Thomas church, Vadakken Paravur Angamaly 9  Mar 1891 Angamali St. Mary's Cheriapally
4   Chathuruthy Geevarghese Mor Gregorios 10th December 1876 St. Thomas church, Vadakken Paravur Niranam 2  Nov 1902 Parumala St.Peter's church
5   Karottuveettil Semavun Mor Dionysius 17th May 1877 St. Lazarus church, Chiralayam (Kunnamkulam) Kochi 2  Oct 1886 Kadugamangalam St.Peter's & St.Paul's church
6   Murimattom Paulose Mor Ivanios  17th May 1877 St. Lazarus church, Chiralayam (Kunnamkulam) Kandanadu 2 May 1913 Pampakuda St.Thomas Cheripally




At the time of his ordination as Metropolitan, a declaration (Udambadi - 'SALMUSA'containing 11 statements was voluntarily submitted by St. Gregorios before his Supreme Spiritual head H.H. Ignatius Peter III (IV), the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East and was later registered at the Govt. Sub-Registrar office.

Excerpts from translated version of the 6th Para says:-  "Like all Syrian Christians in Antioch, Malankara, India and the far East, I accept that it is meet and right that I should always be obedient and loyal to the Apostolic creeds, and be subject to the ecclesiastical authority of the exalted Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Peter the IIIrd, firmly seated on the ancient Apostolic throne of Antioch and All the East..............   I  will never add or subtract, nor deviate to the left or to the right from Your Holiness's commandments, canonical injunctions, or established rules and procedures.............".   For full Malayalam text of the Salmusa, Click HERE .


Patriarch returns

On 16th May 1877, the Patriarch left for Jerusalem from Bombay after successfully completing his historical Apostolic visit.   It is a well known fact that it was the Patriarch's sincere efforts that helped the Malankara Church to overcome one of its most turbulent times.  Before coming to India, he had to travel to as far as England to persuade the British authorities.  Later His Holiness stayed at Malankara for almost two years and helped to reorganize the administration of Malankara Church in a democratic way.  These facts are emphatically recorded in many of the books and articles of the time, including the biography of Pulikottil Mor Dionysius written by M P Varkey and published by K I Varghese Mapillai, the then Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama Co. Ltd. in 1901.  

In the entire period of the Patriarch's visit to Malankara, Kochu Thirumeni was His Holiness' constant companion.  When the Holy Synod of the Malankara Church was convened at Mulunthuruthy in 1876, Mor Gregorios functioned as the right hand person of the Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV and all the documents presented there was originally drafted by Parumala Thirumeni on behalf of his supreme spiritual head, the Patriarch.  As mentioned earlier, Kochu Thirumeni agreed to be a Metropolitan only because of the Patriarch's ardent desire.  Their relationship was unique and incomparable. (The Patriarch Mor Ignatius Peter IV died 17 years later at the age of 94, on 10th Oct 1894 (M.E. 1070 'Kanni' 25) and was  entombed at the famous Kurkkuma dayro in Turkey.)

After the departure of the Patriarch all the newly ordained Metropolitans observed fasting and prayers for 40 days at the behest of our Kochu Thirumeni, staying at the Vettickal dayro before assuming charges of their respective dioceses.  It reminds us of the period when the Christ's disciples waiting in prayer for the arrival of Holy Ghost at "Sehion Malika" prior to their departure for preaching the Holy Gospel in different parts of the Universe.   At the end of the fasting period, all the Metropolitans together consecrated the new madbho of the Vettikkal Dayro.






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