Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mor Gregorius Gheevarghese - February

Church celebrates the Memory of Mor Gregorius Gheevarghese (Perumpilly Thirumeni) on Februaruy 22nd. Perumpilly Thirumeni, Late Metropolitan of Kottayam Diocese was a very good orator, teacher, poet, and singer. In my childhood days, i was really motivated by the sermons of Thirumeni. I dont have to introduce him. He is a living Saint of the Century. I could find a very breif Biography of him.

A Short Biography

Born as the third son of Parapallil Mathew Asan of Puthupally (near Kottayam) and Annamma, daughter of Veloor Kanjiram Edavamthalayil Abraham Vaidyan, on 1933 Thulam 8th, Varghese received his theological education at Thrikkothamangalam Mor Sharbil Deyro and Manjinikkara Mor Ignatius Dayro. Gheevarghese was ordained priest by Mor Yulius Elias Qoro on August 1, 1958 and for several years served as vicar of Perumpilly St. George's Simhasana Church. Fr. Gheevarghese was elected to the episcopate by the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Association meeting at Karingachira St. George Church in January 1974. Consecrated metropolitan by Moran Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III on February 24, 1974 for Cochin diocese with additional charge of Kottayam diocese, Mor Gregorius became the Metropolitan of Kottayam after the 1982 Synod at Cochin presided by H.H. Patriarch Zakka I. In the early 1970s, when the church in Malankara became divided again over the role of the Patriarchate of Antioch, Mor Gregorius provided the faithful, who did not wish to sever their long spiritual association with Antioch, with able leadership. Due to his long association with the Perumpilly church, which he reconstructed in 1976, Mor Gregorius was affectionately called Perumpilly thirumeni. Following the death of Catholicos Paulos II on September 2, 1996, His Grace presided over the Synod of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church until he was called to eternal rest on February 22, 1999. His remains are interred in the sanctuary of the Perumpilly Simhasana Church.

Source :

Thursday, February 11, 2010

HH Patriarch Saint Mor Ignatius Elias III Shakir - February 13

Church remembers HH Patriarch Saint Mor Ignatius Elias III Shakir on February 13th. Pilgrims from all over the world reached Manjinikara by end of the day. Elias III is the only Patriarch of Antioch whose remains are interred in Malankara and his tomb stands as a towering symbol of the sacrifices made by the Syriac fathers to nurture the church in Malankara. On October 20, 1987, Patriarch Mor Zakka I through encyclical E265/87 permitted the Church in Malankara to remember his name in the fifth diptych.

A Short Biography of Patriarch Saint Mor Ignatius Elias III Shakir

Patriarch Saint Mor Ignatius Elias III Shakir the second son of Chorepiscopus Abraham and Maryam, was born in Mardin, Turkey. He was called Nasri. He had 4 brothers and 3 sisters. After the death of his mother, Nasri was raised in the care of his elder sister Helena. He worked as a shoemaker in his teens and served in the government service for about three months. At the direction of Patriarch Peter IV, Nasri joined the theological school of the forty martyrs. In 1887, he joined Deir al-Za`faran and was ordained deacon by Patriarch Peter IV in 1887. He became a sharwoyo (novitiate) in 1888 and a monk in 1889 upon which he came to be known as Elias. Elias was ordained qashisho (priest; lit. presbyter) in 1892 by Patriarch Peter IV.

In the waning years of the 19th century, numerous Armenian and Syriac Christians were massacred in Turkey. Qashisho Elias endeared himself to the Armenian Christians providing refuge for about 7000 in the monastery of Mor Quryaqos. He was later appointed the reesh dayroyo (Cheif of the Monastry) of the Mor Quryaqos as well as Deir al-Za`faran. In 1908 Qashisho Elias was consecrated bishop of Amid (Diyarbakr) by Patriarch `Abded Aloho II and was named Mor Iwanius. Mor Osthasios Sleeba, the delegate of the Holy See of Antioch to India, was also ordained along with Mor Iwanius. In 1912, he was transferred to Mosul where he served until his elevation to the patriarchate in 1917. After Patriarch `Abded Aloho passed away on Nov 26, 1915, Mor Iwanius was elected Patriarch and assumed the throne in 1917. The firman (decree) was issued to Patriarch Elias III by the Ottoman sultan Muhammad Rashid. The sultan conferred the Ismania medal to the Patriarch. In 1922, when civil war broke out in Turkey and Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha assumed leadership of the newly formed democracy, Moran Mor Elias III spent a few months in Jerusalem. Moran laid the foundation stone of the church our lady atJerusalem on 22 March 1926. He established a printing press there and began publication of journals in Syriac and Arabic.

Mor Elias III was the last Patriarch to reign at the Kurkmo Dayro (Deir Za`faran) in Mardin, Turkey the seat of the Patriarchate for most of the second millenium. Following the massacre of the Syriac Christians in South East Turkey in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire and during World War I, the Patriarch was forced to leave Mardin. In the aftermath of the saypho massacres, Mor Elias III undertook pastoral tours to the Middle East, the first in 1919 and the second in 1925 to Aleppo and Jerusalem. Mor Elias III held a synod Dayro d-Mor Matay, Mosul, Iraq in 1930.

Lord Irwin, then British Viceroy to India, wrote to the Patriarch on December 1, 1930 requesting his intervention in person or through a delegate in resolving the schism that had erupted in the Malankara Church.

His Holiness responded to the Viceroy's letter, on December 15, 1930 accepting his invitation with certain conditions. Given his cardiac problems, his doctors attempted to dissuade him from the trip. His 75 year old sister also discouraged him from the trip. His Holiness said to her, "Death is inevitable whether here or in India; I would rather sacrifice my life for the sake of our children in Malankara."

Mor Elias III left Mosul on February 6, 1931 accompanied by Mor Clemis Yuhanon Abbachi, Rabban Quryaqos (later Mor Ostathios Quryaqos), and Rabban Yeshu` Samuel (later Mor Athanasius Samuel of North America), his secretary Zkaryo Shakir (his brother Joseph's son) and translator Adv.Elias Ghaduri. They set sail to India on February 28, 1931 from Basra on the ship "Warsova" and disembarked at the Karachi port on March 5, 1931. They were received at Karachi by the Patriarchal Delegate Mor Yulius Elias Qoro, Mor Athanasius Paulos of Alwaye and several clergymen and faithful. On March 6, 1931, the Patriarch and his entourage proceeded to Delhi by train reaching there on the 8th and visited Lord Irwin. On March 14th, the Patriarch arrived at Madras and stayed as a guest of the British Governor Sir George Staly. From there, he arrived at the Thrikkunathu Seminary in Alwaye on March 21st, and offered the divine liturgy there on March 22nd.

H.H. Mor Elias III convened conciliatory meetings at Alwaye, Karingachira, Panampady and Kuruppumpady. The Patriarch lead the passion week services at St.George Church, Karingachira. A church delegates meeting was held at Kuruppumpady on July 5, 1931. The denho (Epiphany) services in January 1932 were at the St.Thomas church, Pakkil, Kottayam.

On February 11, 1932, at the invitation of Qashisho Kuriakos Elavinamannil, the Patriarch arrived at the Manjinikkara Mor Stephanos church from Kallissery. The inability to bring about reconciliation in the church had weighed down heavily on the Patriarch; moreover, the hardships of the long travel had taken its toll on His Holiness. On arriving at Manjinikkara, the Patriarch said, "This place offers us much comfort; we desire to remain here permanently." On February 12th, His Holiness requested the priests who came to visit him not to leave for a couple of days. In the evening, the Patriarch recited many prayers of the qandilo (unction) and contemplated on the departed. On February 13th, Mor Clemis Yuhanon Abbachi offered the Holy Qurbono; His Holiness gave the sermon during the liturgy.

After the noon prayers and lunch, as was his routine, the Patriarch spent time recording events in his journal; he asked for a dictionary to get clarification for the meaning of a word. Following that, he complained of pain in his head. Soon he fainted and was placed on a cot by the monks where he slipped into eternal rest at 2:30 pm. Many eye witnesses recount the deep gloom that cast its spell in the area that evening and the wails of the monks who accompanied the Patriarch.

Different opinions arose regarding the final resting place for the Patriarch—a situation that the church in Malankara never had to confront before. The decision was in favor of interring the mortal remains in a plot of land to the north of the Mor Stephanos church, the title deed of which was transferred to the Patriarchate. On February 14th, the funeral services for His Holiness were held there. Mor Dionysius Michael consoled the gathering.

Tomb of Saint Mor Ignatius Elias III Shakir Mor Ignatios Dayro church attached to the tomb of late Patriarch was built by the Patriarchal delegate Mor Yulius Elias Qoro. The memory of the holy Patriarch is revered throughout the Syriac Orthodox Church and especially in Malankara where thousands of pilgrims reach the tomb by foot on the annual feast day, February 13, from various parts of the Kerala state.

Mor Elias III is the only Patriarch of Antioch whose remains are interred in Malankara and his tomb stands as a towering symbol of the sacrifices made by the Syriac fathers to nurture the church in Malankara. On October 20, 1987, Patriarch Mor Zakka I through encyclical E265/87 permitted the Church in Malankara to remember his name in the fifth diptych.

Source :

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mor Severios - February 8th

Church celebrates the memory of St. Severios, the Great on February 8th. The fifth diptych (Thubaden) remembers Mor Severios as “Patriarch Mor Severios, the crown of the Syrians, that rational mouth and pillar and teacher of all the holy Church of God, the meadow fill of flowers who always preached that Mary is undoubtedly the Mother of God”

Brief Biography of Mor Severios

Mor Severios was born at Sozopolis, Pisidia. His father was a member of the Council of the city. Mor Severios was the third son of his parents. After the death of his father, Mor Severios’ mother send him to one of the most eminent monastery in Alexandria to study Green, Latin and rhetoric. Later in A.D 486 he went to Beirut and studied Law and practiced as an advocate there. At this time he read widely on theology and published a book praising St. Paul – Encomium of the Apostle Paul. It is not certain whether his parents were Christians. Severios was baptized in AD 488 at Tripolis. He sold all his properties and distributed to poor and needy. Mor Severios visited Jerusalem and joined the monastery of Peter between Gaza and Majuma. After learning the Holy Bible and the customs of ascetic life he build a Monastery nearby and lived there. He became ill due to the strict ascetic practices in the monastery.

Bishop Epphiphanos ordained Severios as Priest. He lived at Constantinople during AD 508-511. Patriarch Flavian II was removed from the Throne in AD 512. Severios was enthroned Patriarch on 6th November 512. After assuming the position as Patriarch, he continued the monastic life style. He demolished all luxurious facilities build by his predecessor (Aphrem 1963).

In A.D 518 a pro-Chalcedonian emperor, came into power and the writings of Patriarch Mor Severios were burned. Anybody having in his or her possession the writings of Mor Severios were tortured. Subsequently, on 29th September AD 518, he was exiled from Antioch to Alezandria. The teachings of Patriarch Mor Severioson the incarnation is famous. “His conception of the incarnation was, that all the human qualities remained in Christ unchanged in their nature and essence, but that they were amalgamated with the totality of hypostasis; that they had no longer separate existence, and having no longer any kind of center or focus of their own, no longer constituted a distinct monad. On the contrary, the foci had become one. The monads were conjoined; the substratum in which the qualities of both natures inhered no longer had an independent subsistent in this composite hypostasis.”

The above confession of faith is repeated during the fracture and commixture in the Holy Mass. That is “He is One Immanuel, and is indivisible into two natures after the unity. Thus we believe and thus we confess and this we confirm.”

The responsory (Manisso) of Mor Severios sung in the beginning of the celebration of Holy Qurobono also proclaims the basic tenet of the church regarding the incarnation of God, the Word. “.. and did become incarnate of the Holy and glorious pure virgin, Mother of God, Mary; who did become man, being God without change, and was crucified for us.”

Patriarch Mor Severios was a prolific writer. He has prepared a liturgy and several other prayers for special occasions, as list of which is available. Mor Severios foreseeing his death called his disciples and said: “It is good that I am going to join Jesus Christ. You will also come to me there and will again unite.” He spend about twenty years in hiding and departed for the heavenly abode on 8th Feb(Saturday) 538 at Sakha, Egypt at the age of 79.


Thubathen – Dr. A.V. Zakkariya

Martyrs, Saints & Prelates of The Syriac Orthodoc Church – Rev. Fr. K. Mani Rajan

Vellinakshatrangal – HE Aphrem Poulose Mor Athanasiose

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mor Barsoumo - February 3rd

Barsoumo- The Head of Mourners, lived in 5th century. Barsoumo was born at the village of Otton near the city of Smeshath as the son of Hanok and Sakayi. His fater Hanok died in his early childhood days, and Sakayi got married to another man. The kid loved solitude in his early stages of life. One day Barsoumo along with his mother and step father went for a festival in the city of Smeshath. He happened to be alone on the bank of Euphrates (Frath). A monk named Abraham saw Barsoumo walking alone, crying and heavyhearted. Abraham enquired him about the reason for his unhappiness. Barsoumo replied him “I want to be the slave of Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Abraham took him to the monastery and taught him ascetic practices. Barsoumo learned all the practices of a Dayaroyuso very fast, and was stringent in those. Abraham, his teacher died in A.D 409.

After the death of his teacher, Barsoumo left the monastery and visited the Holy land. He was just wearing a thick cloth all through his journey. On return he stayed on a high mountain near to his monastery. The faithful built a monastery for him and he stayed there. The Dayaro of Mor Barsoumo is near Melitine. Many youngsters hearing about his rigorous practices and faith joined along with him. On a summer night Barsoumo went out of his room and looked at the shining stars. He thought of his humble self and the mighty creations of God. He took a strong decision on that time and said “How can I sit before the master who created this wonders.” It is written by his disciple Mor Samuel, that Mor Barsoumo never sat in his lifetime after that day.

In AD 449, Barsoumo attended the second Synod of Ephesus as the representative of all monastries of the East. Barsoumo was sad about the decision of Chalcedon Synod. The Chalcedonians read an order of excommunication of Barsoumo in a church. Then a prominent person testified that his son was seriously ill and Barsoumo’s prayer healed him. The faithful was unanimous in their conviction of the saintly life of Barsoumo.

Mor Barsoumo entered his heavenly abode on February 3rd AD 457/58.


Thubathen – Dr. A.V. Zakkariya

Martyrs, Saints & Prelates of The Syriac Orthodoc Church – Rev. Fr. K. Mani Rajan

Vellinakshatrangal – HE Aphrem Poulose Mor Athanasiose