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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 Kassisso Puthussery Joseph, the Vicar of St. Mary's church at Cherai and Elizabeth of Eralil family in North Paravur.  The baptismal name of Aboon was Paulose (P J Paulose).  His father Kassisso Joseph, an eminent Syriac scholar, was the 'Malpan' (tutor) of the Syrian (Old) Seminary and the M.D. Seminary at Kottayam.  He was a well known preacher and had served as secretary to Metropolitans H.G. Joseph Mor Dionysius (Pulikottil), H.G. Sleeba Mor Osthatheos, H.G. Geevarghese Mor Dionysius and H.G. Paulose Mor Athanasius. He was also the editor of 'Malankara Edavaka Deepthi' and 'Suriyani Suviseshakan', the two foremost church periodicals of the time.  The religious atmosphere in his home has influenced young Paulose a great. From a very young age itself, he had an attraction towards devotion of God.  Kassisso Joseph's ardent desire to dedicate one of his children for priesthood was accomplished through his second son Paulose.

P.J. 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, Paulose joined the Manjanikkara Mor Ignatius Dayro.  His education in Syriac was begun early in his childhood under the tutelage of his father and Kassisso Vellakunnathu Mathai.  At Manjanikkara Dayro, Paulose continued his Syriac studies under Ramban Abdul'Ahad (later Patriarch Yakub III). 

In 1933, Mor Yulius Elias, the Apostolic delegate of the Patriarch to Malankara, ordained Paulose a DEACON at Kottayam Valiyapally.  In 1938, he was ordained Kassisso (Full Priest), again at the blessed hands of Mor Yulius at Manjanikkara Dayro. Since then he served as the Vicar of churches in Ceylon, Madras, Bramhavar (Karnataka), Trivandrum, Parathode and Ponkunnam.   Later he became the secretary to Metropolitan Mor Yulius Elias and was entrusted with the charge of Manjanikkara Dayro.

Kassisso  Paulose

 

Consecration as the Metropolitan for Kandanad diocese

On 25th April 1952, the delegates of Kandanad diocese choose Kassisso P J Paulose to succeed Mor Athanasius Paulose (Valiya Thirumeni of Alwaye) the Malankara Metropolitan, who by then had relinquished his additional duties as the bishop of Kandanad diocese because of his old age and illness. On 19th October 1952 Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem I ordained Kassisso Paulose as METROPOLITAN with the 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 Syrian church, with the blessings of Valiya Thirumeni.  A few days later on 26th January 1953, Valiya Thirumeni (Malankara Metropolitan Mor Athanasius Paulose) died and was entombed at the St. Mary's Church at Thrikkunnathu, Alwaye.  After the demise of  Michael Mor Dionysius 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 second split

In December 1958, the Malankara Syrian Church that was remaining divided for about half a century reunited. Mor Philoxenos was then appointed as the assistant metropolitan of Kandanad with Mor Thimotheos Augen I (later consecrated Catholicose by Patriarch Ya`qub III) of the Methran faction as the senior metropolitan.

Inspite of the much publicized unity, peace in the Church remained superficial as those who were controlling the affairs of the united Malankara Church were more keen to use 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 turn moil in the Church between 1958 and 64 is most memorable.  In his capacity as the metropolitan of Kandanad diocese, Mor Philoxenos along with the late lamented Metropolitan Elias Mor Julius, led a crusade for upholding the faith of the Syrian Church.  During the Patriarchal Day celebrations in Kottayam held on 22nd February 1961, popularly known as the Kottayam convention, lakhs of faithful declared their unflinched support to the Metropolitan Mor Philoxenos in his fight 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 consecration 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 the East from India.

The period 1964 to '70 was almost calm in the life of Mor Philoxenos.  But the unity in the Malankara church was unfortunately not destined to last long.  Having gained their objective, the Methran group 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 Catholicose declared that the Syrian Church led by him in Malankara is independent and have no relation with the mother Church. Mathews Mar Athanasius (Vattakkuneel) who is believed to have led the key role for separation was also present at that time together with Mor Baselios Augen. 

The very next year, the local church administration influenced the Government of India to cancel the visa of Mor Aphrem Aboodi Metropolitan, the delegate of the Patriarch who was then residing in the Manjanikkara Dayro.  Once again, the faithful had only one figure to look at, that of Mor Philoxenos Thirumeni for guidance and leadership. The holy father's self-sacrificing services to uphold the Apostolic faith of the Syrian Church in spite of bitter experiences from the local Church leadership, was very commendable.  His guidance was a relief for the faithful who were deprived of a sincere leadership for a long time.  Meanwhile the Church in Malankara made several representations before their spiritual supreme to take necessary actions 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 the senior Metropolitan Abraham Mor Clemis of Knanaya diocese 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 of H.B. the Catholicose of the East

Fulfilling the wishes of the countless faithful in India, the Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III consecrated Paulose Mor Philoxenos as the CATHOLICOSE OF THE EAST under the title 'MOR BASELIOS PAULOSE II',   at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus on 7th September 1975.  ('Paulose I' was the 'Maphrian of the East' who lived in the 8th century).  His Beatitude since then assumed the responsibility as 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 Yakoob 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 church delegates meeting held at Thuruthissery Church in the Angamali diocese on 26th December 1975, Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II 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, as 'Mor Philoxenos Samuel' for the Malabar diocese at Thuruthissery Church on 26th Dec 1975. 

On 19th April 1979 H.B. the Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II 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 Metropolitans ordained by His Beatitude were Yuhanon Mor Philoxenos on 12th Sep 1985, Thomas Mor Athanasius on 3rd July 1990 and 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 unique title of 'Malankara Malpan' was awarded to Very Rev. Kurien Kaniamparambil Corepiscopa by the Patriarch. It 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 Moran Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III and the election of a new Patriarch

On 26th June 1980, Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III who consecrated 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 Catholicose of the East to elect Patriarch, the successor of St.Peter on the Apostolic Throne of Antioch - a historical occasion after centuries when a Maphrian (Catholicose) of the East, and the first of its kind, a Catholicose of the East from Malankara, the daughter of the Holy See, presiding over the Universal Synod to elect Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.  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, 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

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 IN THE LONG HISTORY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH THAT A CATHOLICOS FROM MALANKARA OFFICIATED IN THE ENTHRONEMENT OF A PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH. 

(Click here for the Speech made by His Beatitude at the Enthronement Ceremony of the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East on September 14, 1980).  

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, for the enthronement ceremony of the new Patriarch.  About a 100 odd faithful representing the Malankara Church were also witnesses to the historic event.    

 

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 historic Holy 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 other Metropolitans.  The special session ended on 24th November, taking important 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 Iywas, in Malankara.  His Holiness was the sixth Patriarch of Antioch who had visited this land.  His Beatitude accompanied the Patriarch during the entire two month period of the Apostolic visit.  It became a great event 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 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 historical 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 historical 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 Head quarters 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

 

Foundation of the Theological Seminary

It was a great desire of the Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose Bava to initiate a theological seminary for the Church. This was fulfilled with the founding of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Seminary at Udayagiri near Mulunthuruthy in late 1980's. Earlier the theological education for the clergy were given in the monasteries like Malecuriz Dayro, Majanikkara Dayro etc. that had only limited resources compared to the modern day seminaries. Understanding the difficulties, it was our Bava Thirumeni who suggested and initiated the starting of a new centre for theological education.  

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 life long wish and vision of Bava Thirumeni that was accomplished with this consecration. This 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; leadership was given by Bava Thirumeni himself to build this institution.  Metropolitan Thomas Mor Thimotheos, the then chief 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' (Holy Diptych)

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  names of Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias IIIMaphriyono Mor Baselios Yeldo and Mor Gregorios 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, were of the pre-7th century.  

On 20th December 1987, through an 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.  (Link to the Patriarchal Encyclical Permitting the additions to the diptychs .  --- In 1994 the Sacred Relics of St.Thomas was established in the MarThoman Church at Mulanthuruthy by the Patriarchal delegate)

 

M.J.S.S.A  and  other institutions under the Patron-ship of Bava Thirumeni

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, 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 'Dhukrono' (death anniversary).

'The Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Youth Association' is another organization that was initiated under the special 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.

 

Demise of Bava Thirumeni

After serving the Malankara Church as its Metropolitan for almost 44 years and as the Catholicose of the East for 21 years, Mor Baselios Paulose II Bava passed away on Sunday the 1st September, 1996 at the tender age of 83.  He was then residing at Piramadom Dayro.  The funeral of Bava Thirumeni 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.

 

Bava Thirumeni, the Catholicos of the East

Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II was widely revered for his simple mind and his Spartan ascetic life. He conducted 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 desired for a lasting peace in the Malankara church. 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 of 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.  He was a great scholar in Syriac too.  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 (Roman Catholic institution), are recalled by many even today.  Sebastian P Brock, the professor at the Oriental Institute of the Oxford University has mentioned about this famous speech by Bava Thirumeni in his books.

  Piramadom Dayro

Bava Thirumeni was a true lover of nature and loved to lead the life of a farmer. Though his Catholicate palace was at the heart of Muvattupuzha town, he preferred to be in the Piramadom Dayro situated in an interior place, where he spent most part of his life as Metropolitan and Catholicose.  This Dayro had a vast farm.  He thoroughly enjoyed walking through the farm, nursing the plants.  Agriculture and farmers problems were his favorite subjects and whenever he visited churches in Kerala he used to discuss their problems with the parishioners.   After a deputy was ordained for the Kandanad diocese, he preferred to stay in this Dayro, or in the Dayro at Malecuriz, which is also located in an interior part.  

The late Bava Thirumeni was 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 head 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 Catholicos 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.  Truly he was an extraordinary personality who led a divine life of a great Holy father.  One will only rarely come upon a person like His Beatitude.

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