First Metropolitan of Kochi diocese (1877-'86)


 The Sacred Tomb of Mor Dionysius Shemvun at the

Kadungamangalam Sts. Peter & Paul Church

Mor Dionysius Shemvun who led the Kochi diocese for 9 years from 1877 was its first Metropolitan.  He was born in the Karvattuveettil family of Kandanadu in 1822 (?).  His baptismal name was Shemvun and was a parishioner of the  Morth Mariam church at Kandanad.

On 27th August 1835,  Metropolitan  Mor Dionysius IV (Cheppaud) ordained him Kooroyo at the Kandand church. After his religious studies he was ordained as Kassisso (Full Priest) and on 5th May 1847 the Reesh Episcopo to Malankara Mor Koorilose Yuyakim Bava elevated him to the order of Corepiscopo.  The young Corepiscopo was greatly respected by all because of his strict ascetic life. When the dissident activities of Palakunnath methran was in its height in the mid-19th century, Shemvun Corepiscopo gave effective leadership to the faithful in north, reaffirming them in the apostolic faith of the Holy Church.

When the 'Jacobite Syrian Christian Association' was formed in 1876 as per the decision of the Mulanthuruthy Synod, Shemvun Corepsicopo was elected to its 24-member managing Committee.  Patriarch Mor Ignatius Pathros IV who presided this historic Synod also decided to ordain the Corepsicopo as Metropolitan.  Accordingly on Tuesday 5th September 1876, Shemvun Corepsicopo was ordained Ramban (Monk-Preist). Kochuparambil Paulose Kathanar (later Malankara Metropolitan Paulose Mor Koorilose) and Chalapurath Yakub Corepsicopo were also ordained as monk-priets together with him.  Moran Mor Ignatius Pathros IV then appointed Shemvun Ramban as the Patriarchal Vicar for Vettikal Dayro which was under the direct jurisdiction of the holy Patriarchate.

On Thursday 17th May 1877, His Holiness the Patriarch ordained Karvattuveetil Shemvun Ramban as Metropolitan by name 'Mor Dionysius' at the Kunnamkulam Chiralayam St Lazarus church. Murimattam Mor Ivanios Paulose was also ordained Metropolitan then. Prior to their ordinations both submitted Salmoosa (declaration of obedience to the supreme pontiff and the Church) before the Patriarch and the same was registered at the Kunnathunadu district registrar Office on 26th March 1877.  The four Metropolitans who were ordained by the Patriarach in November 1876 and the Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Abdulla of Jerusalem (later Patriarch of Antioch) had assisted His Holiness during this Episcopal ordination.  Two days after their Metropolitan consecration, on 19th May the holy Patriarch issued the Sthathikon (statement of empowerment in writing given to the new Metropolitans), appointing Shemvun Mor Dionysius as Metropolitan for Kochi diocese and Murimattom Paulose Mor Ivanios as Metropolitan for Kandanadu diocese respectively.   The 21 parishes which were in the Kochi diocese at that time were the churches at Kochikotta, Mattanchery, Nadamel, Karingachira, Mulanthuruthy, Mathuruthu, Vadayaparabel, Arthat, Kunnamkulangara, Kunnamkulangara puthen, Kunnakulangara south, Chiralayathu, Pazaghi, Kunnathu puthen, porkulath, Chalasserry, Chalassery puthen, Chelakara, Thozhur, Srai, Srai puthen.

His tenure in office as Metropolitan lasted only for 9 years.  On  October 2, 1886 Metropolitan Mor Dionysius Shemvun passed away and his body was laid to rest at the Kadugamangalam St. Peter & St.Paul's church.

It was Mor Dionysius Metropolitan who took the initiative to reconstruct the Kadugamangalam church in the year 1878.  On 22nd December 1878 the renovated church was consecrated by Mor Dionysius Shemvun and was renamed after St. Peter & St. Paul.  The sacred tomb of the Metropolitan is located in the Kesthrumo in front of the left Madboho of the church.



    1.  The Journal of the Kottayam diocese: Biography of the Metropolitan Mor Dionysius Shemvun, October 2003.

    2.  Photos: September 2004


Inscription in front of the Sacred Tomb of Mor Dionysius Shemvun




Kadungamangalam Sts. Peter & Paul Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church (before the recent reconstruction)

&  Inscription at the entrance to the church on its founding