Valiya Thirumeni stayed in the downstairs of this building at Thrikkunnath which was for many years functioned
as the headquarters & as the Seminary of the Jacobite Syrian Church. The upper floor consisting of an
Aramana chapel was constructed by his successor Mor Gregorios Vayaliparambil in 1956
The Seminary and its properties at Thrikkunnathu, Aluva, situated next to the St. Mary's church, is a place of great importance for the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. The place was acquired in 1880 by the then Angamali diocesan Metropolitan Mor Kurillos Geevarghese Ambattu with an aim to build a church there and it came up during his life time itself. It was after his passing away that the Angamali diocesan body decided to construct a seminary somewhere in north Malankara and finally after lot of debates Thrikkkunnathu was chosen for the purpose. The foundation for this seminary building was laid in 1904 by H.G. Mor Athanasious Paulose (Kadavil Thirumeni Sr.) who was the second Metropolitan of Angamali diocese after Ambatt Mor Koorilose. It was his great wish that was fulfilled with the laying of foundation for a new seminary at Aluva. However the construction of both the seminary building as well as the St. Mary's church were completed under the initiative and strenuous effort of St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni who was the third diocesan Metropolitan and the Church's Malankara Metropolitan for four decades.
It was Kadavil Paulose Mor Athanasious Metropolitan, who after assuming the charge of Angamali diocese, first put forward the idea to start a seminary somewhere in northern Malankara. After much debates, four different places came into consideration out of which two were pinpointed. And finally it was decided in favour of Aluva after a 'lot' was taken at the Kothamangalam Cheriapally in the presence of, Konatt Mathen Malpan and a number of prominent priests of the diocese. Subsequently a meeting of the Angamali diocese was convened on April 1, 1903 at Aluva Thrikkunnath church to decide on the future and a 25 member committee was formed for the smooth execution of the ambitious project with Karuchira Geevarghese Ramban of Vakathanam as Chairman, Kuttikattil Pynadathu Kochu Paulose Ramban as secretary and Vayaliparambil Itty Mathu as treasurer. It was also decided to collect a certain amount from each churches of Angamali diocese as share for the construction of new seminary. The foundation stone for the seminary was laid by Kadavil Mor Athanasious thirumeni on March 1, 1904. Along with the seminary, an English medium school was also planned to be started near to the seminary and Kulangara P Mathew B.A B.L, nephew of Ambatt Mor Kurillos Thirumeni, volunteered his service for the school. But the sudden demise of Adv. P Mathew at the tender age of 28 and due to some other adverse circumstances, the School didn't took off as expected. After much effort, the seminary building was completed under the leadership of Kuttikkattil Pyanadathu Kochu Paulose Ramaban and teaching was about to start. But then Kadavil thirumeni passed away suddenly and the mantle fell on his successor, St. Paulose Mor Athanasious the Great (Kochu Paulose Ramban). Under the able guidance of new Metropolitan, the seminary started functioning and within no time it became an important teaching center for the clergy of the entire northern dioceses of Malankara Church. For many more years it was the only fully functional seminary for the Jacobite Syrian Christians and hence most of the Church prelates of the time had their moral and spiritual training from here, that too under the patronage of St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni. This had a very great positive impact on the new leadership of mid-20 century and many of the students who completed the course from here were well versed in the Church liturgy and its rich traditions. To a great extent most of those who studied here in this period garnered a very high knowledge in Syriac also.
The road to St. Mary's Church & Thrikkunnathu Seminary
The building seen on the left side of the road was constructed by Valiya Thirumeni to accommodate the Seminary students.
Its original name was 'SYRIAN HOSTEL'; a large number of seminary students once stayed here.
But from 1970's this building is not being used for the purpose it was constructed and also its name has been changed since then.
For the accommodation of the students studying here, Valiya Thirumeni has build a hostel nearby and named it as SYRIAN HOSTEL. (Unfortunately after the change of occupancy in 1970's the importance of the seminary itself diminished and the Syrian Hostel started by Valiya Thirumeni is now being used for other purposes). In short the four decade-old tenure of Valiya Thirumeni was the golden period of not only the Angamali diocese but the entire Jacobite Syrian Church and in particular the Aluva Thrikkunnath Seminary.
After the passing away of St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni in 1953, his assistant Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Vayaliparambil took charge of the diocesan administration and that of Thrikkunnathu Seminary as well. Under his able leadership the upper floor of the present seminary building and an Aramana Chapel (in the upstairs) were also constructed and consecrated and dedicated it on 25th January 1957, on the fourth death anniversary of St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni. The consecration ceremony was led by the then Patriarchal delegate to Malankara Mor Yulius Elias, assisted by His Grace the Metropolitans, Mor Gregorios Vayaliparambil (Angamali), Mor Severios Mulayirickal (Kochi), Mor Clemis Abraham (Knanaya diocese) and Mor Philoxenos Paulose of Kandanad (later Catholicos Baselios Paulose II Bava).
Cover page of the Sabha Chandrika dated 15th February 1957
Sabha Chandrika, once a fortnightly Church Journal of Angamali diocese of the Jacobite Syrian church carrying the
news of the consecration of the renovated Thrikkunnathu seminary building
Historic Malankara Association meetings of the Jacobite Syrians held at Thrikkunnathu
In its initial years itself the seminary has been the venue of many historic occasions and because of that it occupies a unique position in the history of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. In 1911 an historic association meeting of representatives from each of the parishes of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church was held at Thrikkunnathu Seminary under the president-ship of the visiting Patriarch of Antioch & all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Abdedí Aloho II and elected Mor Koorilos Paulose Kochuparambil as the Malankara Metropolitan. After his passing away in 1917, St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni was chosen as the Malankara Metropolitan.
During the tenure of St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni as the primate of the Church in India, the seminary functioned as the headquarters of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. In 1931 another important association meeting of all the parishes of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church was held at Thrikkunnathu Seminary under the patronship of the then supreme head of the church, Patriarch St. Ignatius Elias III (Manjinikkara Bava). During his sojourn in Malankara the holy father stayed in this seminary building for many months which according to H.H was his favourite place in Malankara. H.H. used to return to this seminary each time after he visited churches in Malankara.
Photo taken in 1931 when Patriarch St. Ignatius Elias III (Manjinikkara Bava) stayed at the Thrikkunnathu Seminary,
which was the headquarters of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.
Malankara Metropolitan St. Athanasius Paulose (Valiya Thirumeni) is sitting next to the Patriarch. Also seen
in the photo are the two Suryoyo Metropolitans, Rambans and priests
After the ordination of Mor Gregorios Vayaliparambil as Assistant metropolitan of Angamali diocese in 1946, he also started to stay in this seminary along with St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni. On January 25, 1953, Valiya Thirumeni passed away and was entombed at the nearby St. Mary's Church after which Mor Gregorios Vayaliparambil took charge of diocese and seminary. Until the passing away of Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Vayaliparambil (fourth Metropolitan of Angamali diocese), it was here that all the Jacobite Syrian Church Metropolitans of the diocese resided. But after the second split in the Malankara Church that happened following a brief stint of unity, the seminary building and its properties came under the authority of the Malankara Orthodox Church as the Metropolitan then residing there in his capacity as the diocesan head of the united Church since late 1960's, sided with them. Since then their Metropolitans are occupying this seminary building which was before, under the possession of the Angamali diocese of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. The ownership issue with regards to this seminary building and the nearby St. Mary's Church is continuing to be a matter of great dispute even after many decades. When Malankara Orthodox Church's Angamali diocesan Metropolitan Philipose Theophilose died in 1997, he was entombed in a room constructed just outside, but adjacent to the nearby St. Mary's church.
Being the place where many of their previous Metropolitan stayed and administered, Thrikkunnathu seminary is an important place for the Jacobite Syrians. But above all it is a very sentimental place too for the Jacobite Syrian Christians as it is here that their most loved Metropolitan of the 20th century, St. Athanasious Paulose Valiya Thirumeni stayed and administered the Angamali diocese as well as the Malankara Church for more than 50 years. The development and flourishing of Thrikkunnathu Seminary was the dream of St. Athanasious Valiya Thirumeni and naturally the people who loved him has an unexplainable attachment for this great institution also.
Old marble inscription in the Thrikkunnath seminary when the
upper storey of the building was constructed
Aluva Thrikkunnathu St. Mary's church & Seminary - articles in malayalam