St. Koorilos Paulose, the beloved disciple of
the pious and
saintly Yuyakkim Mor Koorilos
and a close associate of
Mor Gregorios Geevarghese
of Parumala, was born as the third son of Mulanthuruthy Kochuparambil Kurien on 4th December (20th Vrichikam) 1850. His father belonged to Thozhuppadan family
of Kandanad and
mother was the daughter of Mulanthuruthy Thoppil Scaria Kassisso.
Paulos was ordained deacon at the age of nine by the Reesh-Episcopo to Malankara Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim. It is said that the saintly Bava during the ordination of Paulose had a vision that this deacon will once lead the people of Malankara. The young deacon, after completing his primary education, went for his religious studies under the Malpan Pallathattu Geevarghese Kassisso (uncle of Parumala Thirumeni) and Malpan Koonappillil Geevarghese Kassisso.
Deacon Paulose was ordained Kassisso (Priest) at the age of sixteen. On 25 dhanu 1042 (M.E.) he offered his first Holy Qurbono at the Kandanad Marth Mariam church which was his father's parish. Even though Fr. Paulose was very young in age; he was well advanced in spiritual knowledge and faith. This prompted the Mulanthuruthy church to invite the young priest to their church and thus Fr. Paulose became the vicar of that church.
Fr. Paulose who got spiritual inspiration from Kassisso Geevarghese Chathuruthy (Saint Gregorios of Parumala), became an ascetic and idealist. On 5th September 1876, the visiting Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Pathros IV elevated Fr. Paulose as a Ramban, along with Shemvun Corepiscopo (Mor Shemvun Dionysius) and Chalapurath Yakub Corepsicopo. The young Ramban started the monastic life at Vettikkal Dayro (Monastery), where the two saintly Kattumangattu Metropolitans once lived and which was one of the 'Kurishu Pally' (chapel) of the Mulanthuruthy Mar homan church. It was only a month before, on 22nd August 1876, the Mulunthuruthy MarThoman church surrendered this Kurisupally and its premises to the Malankara Church as per the request of Chathuruthy St. Gregorios Bava (Parumala) and the visiting supreme head of the Church the Patriarch of Antioch through a circular, allowed it to function as a Monastery. In 1877 the foundation stone of the Vettickal Dayro - the first monastery of the Malankara Church - was laid.
Ramban Paulose who was very keen in the development of the monastery, visited many churches and collected money from the public for the purpose. With this amount he constructed the two storied building in the dayro complex and also started a school there. He later took the initiative to start several other schools in the villages such as Pothrukka, Vadavukode, Oorakkad etc. which helped for the educational uplift of its members there. The then Malankara Metropolitan Mor Dionysius V (Pulikottil II) was very pleased with Ramban Paulose and made him manager of the Syrian (Old) Seminary at Kottayam. When Chathuruthil Mor Gregorios (Parumala Thirumeni) went to visit the Holy land, Rabban Paulose also accompanied the saintly father.
In 1901, Ramban Paulose was send to Thiruvanathapuram to construct a church for the Syrian Christians settled there. His untiring efforts and able leadership helped to complete the church construction within a year. The church which was the first religious centre of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christians of Thiruvanathapuram was dedicated in the name of St. George. (This church later came under the possession of Malankara Orthodox Church and now it functions as their Cathedral). After its successful completion, the Ramban returned to Old Seminary and took charge as its Manager once again.
Acknowledging the dedicated services of Ramban Paulose, the Malankara Synod held on the 30th day of demise of St. Gregorios (in December 1902), decided to elevate him as Metropolitan. Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan was the other Metropolitan candidate chosen by the Synod.
On 31st May 1908, the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East H.H. Ignatius Abded 'Aloho (Abdulla II) consecrated Ramban Paulos as Metropolitan by name "MOR KOORILOS" at the Dayro of Markose (St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Monastery) in Jerusalem. Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan was also ordained Metropolitan together with Mor Koorilos by the Patriarch then. On their return the newly ordained Metropolitans, Mor Koorilos and Mor Dionysius, along with Mor Osthatheos Sleeba (who was ordained Metropolitan a few months before) were given a grand welcome in Malankara.
After becoming a Metropolitan, Mor Koorilos started gospel work, assisted by Fr. Michael of Kayamkulam and brought many to Christianity. (Fr. Michael later became a Metropolitan by name Michael Mor Dionysius and lead the Malankara Church in its troubled period). Mor Koorilos, commonly known as `Kochuparambil Thirumeni', started many monasteries and orphanages all over Malankara and bought 300 acres of land near Pothanikkad for the Church.
It was during this time a major rift started in Malankara following the autocratic style of functioning of Vattasseril Mor Dionysius the Malankara Metropolitan and his inobservance of church laws, which finally resulted in his excommunication. Following the expulsion, the Episcopal Synod and the Syrian Christian Association was convened at Aluva in August 1911 under the leadership of the visiting supreme head of the Church H.H. Ignatius Abded'Aloho to elect a new leader. This historic Association choose the saintly Kochuparambil Mor Koorilos Thirumeni as the Malankara Metropolitan on 30th August 1911. This was in a way an acknowledgment for the glorious works of Mor Koorilos.
Mor Koorilos, who always aimed and worked for the development of Malankara Church and for its spiritual children, had never retained anything for his own. The relentless work and politically charged atmosphere that prevailed in the Church at that time, made Mor Koorilos weak and sick. The on-going disputes destroyed the peaceful atmosphere in the Old Seminary where he was staying. This prompted Mor Koorilos to move to the nearby Panampady Church. However, the health of Mor Koorilos deteriorated further and on 1st dhanu 1093 (December 14th, 1917) the saintly father was called to the eternal rest and was entombed at Panampady St. Mary's Church near Kottayam.
Mor Koorilos Paulos, the Saint
True to the Christian spirit, Mor Koorilos spend a prayerful life, with kindness, simplicity and straightforwardness, his motto. Like a missionary he proclaimed the gospel message to all parts of Malankara. Many people who heard him, accepted the message and came forward to be baptized. Elderly people in Kandanad still recall an incident where a group of downtrodden accepted Christianity, experiencing the sincere love and affection of His Grace. He treated the Malankara Church as one and discouraged the force who stood against it. He concentrated in establishing many churches, orphanages, monasteries to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Hard work and long journeys caused the deterioration of his health. His Grace suffered many difficulties towards the end of his life. As he was sinking, the congregation assembled inside the church, was offering prayers. He left for his heavenly abode as the community was offering prayers. He was entombed on the left side of the church in the presence of Metropolitan St. Athanasious Paulose (Valiya Thirumeni of Aluva). Since then the memorial day of Saint Koorilos is celebrated on 15th December at the Panampady Church. The faithful come in large numbers to the tomb seeking blessing through the intercessions of the Saint. On first Sunday of every month special prayers are held at the tomb of the holy father.
Sainthood being conferred on Mor Koorilos by the Church
October 24th, 2008, was a glorious day for the Malankara Church and in particular the Kottayam diocese and the Panampady Church. It was on that day His Holiness Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas, the visiting Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Antioch & all the East and the Supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, proclaimed the decision of conferring sainthood to our beloved father, Mor Koorilos Paulose Kochuparambil. The concerned Patriarchal bull announcing the canonization of Mor Koorilos Thirumeni was read by the Malankara Synod secretary in the presence of His Holiness Patriarch, His Beatitude Catholicos Baselios Thomas-I, Metropolitans, clergy and a great number of faithful in a function held at the Panampady Church immediately after the celebration of Holy Qurbono. The bull gave permission to recite the 'Kuklyon' for the Saints (Zadeeko) at his tomb and also permitted to include the name of Mor Koorilos Paulose in the ‘Fifth Thubden’, after the name of Mor Osthatheos Sleeba, in all the Holy Eucharist offered at the St. Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church, Panampady.
(Concerned Patriarchal Bull: http://www.syriacchristianity.info/Pdf/MorKoorilosPaulose.pdf)
St. Paulose Mor Koorilos was a divine person who served the Malankara Church as its high shepherd for a decade from the year 1908 to 1917. The Syriac word ‘Paulose’ means small or humble. Believers of the church consider Mor Koorilos as the highly elevated father who always intercede for his people. Truthfulness, simplicity, a life of prayer and thirst for wisdom were the notable features of the life of St. Koorilos Thirumeni. The blessed memory of the Holy father will live long in the hearts of Malankara Church members and his ascetic and prayerful life will inspire and guide the Church for ever.
Biography of Paulos Mor Koorilose Thirumeni in Malayalam by Rev Fr. Joseph Kulathramannil, translated by Thomas Abraham.
Sacred Tomb of Paulose Mor Kurillos (Kochuparambil Thirumeni)
at the Panampady Church
Panampady St. Mary's church (founded in AD. 1897)
Official website of the Panampady Church where the mortal remains of
St. Koorilose Paulose Thirumeni is entombed