CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
NOVEMBER 2004 THOSE WHO LED US
VOL:3 ISSUE:11


H.H. BASALIOS PAULOSE - FIRST CATHOLICOSE [1912-1914]

By EDITOR DR. RAJAN MATHEW, PHILADELPHIA

THOSE WHO LED US
H.H. BASALIOS PAULOSE
FIRST CATHOLICOSE

The first Catholicos of Malankara Orthodox Church, H.H. Basalios Paulose was born on January 19, 1836 at Vettithara village near Kolenchery to the couple Mariamma and Kurien of the Murimattom family. As per the customs of the village that time, Paulose was sent to the local village school for the formal education of reading and writing. Paulose was very studious and his wisdom and inquisitiveness had won him affection from all around. On being very impressed by the qualities of their son, Parents of Paulose, wished to ordain him as a priest. Exactly at the same time, young Paulose decided in his heart to dedicate himself for the Lord. Very shortly, his uncle Fr. Joseph was appointed as the Vicar of the Kottoor Church. Paulose and his parents also moved to Kottoor along with Fr.Joseph. After his formal education, Paulose started his education in Syriac. From the very childhood, Paulose followed a much disciplined life which was enriched with prayer, fasting, Bible reading, Church worship etc. With the enthusiasm derived from the stories of the saints narrated by his mother, he started reading the biographies of many traditional saints and Church fathers. This has inspired him more to lead a chastise life and dedicate himself for the Service of God. As per the desire of his parents, especially that of his uncle Fr. Joseph, Paulose was blessed with the order of a deacon at the tender age of seven, in 1843, by Cheppatt Mar Dynasios. Dn. Paulose started to live in Pampakkuda Dayara with Konatt Joseph Malpan and continued the study of Syriac. Though his parents wished him to become a married priest, Dn. Paulos had choosen to lead an unmarried life. Later, Dn. Paulose got his theological training from Yuyakim Mar Coorilos of Syria while the Metropolitan was in Malankara. Mar Coorilos initiated to ordain him into the priestly order. At the age of sixteen years Dn. Paulos was ordained as a priest in 1852 by Cheppatt Mar Dynasios. Fr. Paulose had consecrated his first Holy Qurbana at his home parish at Kolenchery. Known as Muriamattom Paulose Kathanar, further he was appointed as vicar of the Kolencherry parish and later as the Secretary of Mar Coorilos.

After one year of his ordination as priest, Fr.Paulose lost his father and his uncle Fr. Joseph and all the burden of his family came to his shoulder along with the heavy responsibility of his parish at a very young age of seventeen. Considering his proficiency in Syriac Yuyakim Mar Coorilos, the then patriarchal delegate of the Holy See of Antioch, extended him intensive training and elevated Fr.Paulose as a Malpan and entrusted him for the training of deacons. As a trustworthy accomplice, Malpan Fr.Paulose traveled extensively with Mar Coorilos and visited many Churches in Malankara. Further he was appointed as the Vicar of the Kottoor Church so that he could pay some attention for his family matters also as he was responsible for the same in absence of his father and uncle.

During the visit of Patriarch Mar Peter III to Malankara, he came to know about this Syriac Guru and persuaded him to be ordained as a Bishop. Though Malapan Fr. Pauloses told excuses for his family problems, Patriarch could eventually convince him of the call of God for His Episcopate. On his consent, Patriarch himself elevated Murimattom Paulose Kathanar as a Ramban. In 1877 Patriarch Peter III ordained Paulose Ramban as Bishop with the title as Ivanios at KunnamKulangara Chiralayam Church. Paulose Kathanar was one of the six Metropolitan consecrated by the Patriarch Mar Peter III, in 1876. The newly consecrated Paulose Mar Ivanios was given the charge of Kandanad diocese.

As a diocesan Metropolitan, Mar Ivanios had established fifteen more churches along with the existed twenty one Churches. In the absence of a diocesan center for his diocese, Paulose Mar Ivanios had to live at different Churches at Kolencherry, Kadamattom, Piravam, Vadakara etc. He had constructed many Church buildings and many old worshipping places were renovated. He was very strict in his ascetic way of life and never compromised for any taboos or erratic traditions in the Church. As an example there was an erratic tradition of liquor offerings, prevailed for many years at Kolencherry and Kadamattom Churches. Mar Ivanious fought rigorously to eradiate this rotten tradition in the Church, though it was age old and very popular among the masses.

During 1912, Patriarch announced his plan of action in a circular, which envisaged consecration of Catholicose and few Metropolitans for Malankara. In due solemnity he revived and established the Catholicate in Malankara during this year. On Sunday, 17 th September 1912, Patriarch Moran Mar Abdul Messiah assisted by Malankara Metropolitan Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius and the Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Kallacheril (who became the third Catholicos) consecrated Murimattoth Paulos Mar Ivanios as the Catholicos with the title of Moran Mar Basalios Paulos, at St. Mary's Church Niranam. He continued to administer the Kandanad diocese as before. The large enthusiastic crowd of devotees greeted their first ever Catholicos with shouts of joy pronouncing him as worthy and eligible. This was an epoch making event in the history of Malankara Church. Abdul Messiah Patriarch of Syrian Church has written about the elevation of Paulose Mar Ivanios as Catholicos, "Worthy to the call, Mar Paulose Ivanios was declared and elevated as Catholicos. Just as the disciples were bestowed by our Lord, Jesus Christ, he was also bestowed authority by Holy Spirit to serve the Church and to dispense the spiritual gifts necessary to exercise the prerogatives of the Church...."

Catholicos Basalios Paulose, along with the Patriarch Abdul Messiah consecrated two Metroplolitans viz Kandanadu Karot Yuachim Mar Ivanios and Vakathanam Kaaruchira Geevarghese Mar Philoxenos on February 7, 1913. The most revered prelate of Malankara could not, however, live long. He was the Catholiose till his last breath in 1914 and joined His flock.


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