H. H. BASALIOS MARTHOMA MATHEWS III
H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews III is the Ninth Catholicos of the East in Malankara succeeding H.H. Baselios Marthoma Paulose II the Eighth Catholicos of the East in Malankara who departed for heavenly abode on July 2021. As a key advancement of the epoch, Episcopal synod of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) held at Church headquarters in Devalokam in Kottayam presided over by the eldest Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Cleemmis, has unanimously nominated Dr. Mathews Mar Saverios as the Catholicos designate and the Supreme Head of the Church. All 24 Metropolitans present in the synod had cheered on the decision. Mar Saverios was the Metropolitan of the Diocese of Kandanad West and the Diocese of Kottayam Central. He is also the former secretary of the Episcopal Synod.
Malankara Association, the apex body comprising priests and laity representatives from all parishes of the Church held at Parumala Seminary on October 14, 2021 ratified the decision of the Episcopal synod and so elected Metropolitan Mar Saverios as the Malankara Metropolitan and the chosen one to be consecrated as the Catholicos. On the very next day, on October 15, 2021 Mar Saverios was consecrated as the Catholicos at St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Parumala in presence of all Metropolitans of Malankara and Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Cleemmis as the chief celebrant. The ecclesiastical name given to the new Catholicos is H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews III. His Holiness is the 92nd Primate on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas, 22nd Malankara Metropolitan, ninth Catholicos and supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church. As a vernacular practice he is devotedly called as His Holiness Catholica Bava.
Heads of sister churches and religious and political leaders in Kerala especially Cardinal Mar George Alenchery, Panakkad Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, Marthoma Metropolitan, Cardinal Mar Cleemis etc. felicitated the newly consecrated Catholicos. Also felicitations were conveyed by international ecumenical heads and prelates of Orthodox Churches in the world. US President Joe Biden conveyed wishes and presented a memento from White House through Rev. Fr. Alexander Kurien.
His Holiness was born on 12 February 1949 to Mrs. and Mr. Cherian Anthrayos of Mattathil family in Vazhoor in Kottayam District, poised halfway between Cochin and Periyar, on the lower slopes of the Cardamom Hills where rubber plantations thrive. Their parental church was St. Peters Church, Vazhoor. In spite of financial challenges during his childhood Anthrayos children excelled well in education, spiritual growth and moral upbringing. Calloused spots (hard thickened skin) on the fingers of his both hands reveal the strict practice of his kneeled prayers and prostrating with his palm up on the floor from his childhood and also as family practice.
After his school education in local schools, Mathews graduated (B.Sc.) in Chemistry from Kerala University. It was his childhood passion to become a priest and so he joined Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, and had his GST degree. Further he took his BD degree from the Serampore University. Later he did his higher studies in Theology at Theological Academy, Leningrad, Russia. Subsequently he joined Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, and took his M. Th. and PhD from there and specialized in the Christology of Philoxenos of Mabbug of the West Syriac tradition.
Mathews was ordained a deacon in 1976 and a priest in 1978 by the Catholicos HH Baselios Marthoma Mathews I. Fr. Mathews was consecrated as Episcopa on 30 April 1991 at Parumala Church and further as Metropolitan in 1993 by HH Baselios Marthoma Mathews II. In addition to the duty of diocesan Metropolitan of diocese of Kandanad west he was a teacher and faculty member of Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam since 1984. He is an excellent teacher and master in Christology both for the graduate and post-graduate levels and also guided a number of doctoral thesis. He has authored several scholarly books and articles in the field of Theology.
Being a dedicated philanthropist, Mar Saverios worked relentlessly for the uplift of the poor, especially women. He had started many ventures to give employment opportunities to women from the economically backward classes and downtrodden. Thirumeni organized several charitable projects at the diocesan level under Mar Pachomios Charitable Society, formed in the memory of his predecessor Joseph Mar Pachomios, Metropolitan of Kandanad, which runs over a dozen charitable projects including; Pratheeksha Bhavan, Prasanthi Bhavan, Prathyasa Bhavan, Pradanam Centre, Pramodam Project, Prasannam Bhavan, Prakasam Institute of Special Education and Prathibha Products. Other notable charitable institutions under his administration are Asha Bhawan (Kozhimala, Thiruvalla), Karunalayam (Aduputty, Kunnamkulam) for mentally retarded women (each houses 50 women) and upcoming Sneha Bhawan at Hunsur, Mysore, which has 100 mentally challeged inmates. He also keeps a strong conviction to maintain ecology of nature. He was also heading ‘The Servants of the Cross’ organization and was the president of St. Thomas Orthodox Vaidika Sangham and Malankara Orthodox Baskiyamma Association.
Personally, I had an opportunity to give a ride to Saverios Thirumeni from Philadelphia to Elizabeth in New Jersey to his nephew's house. During this two hours journey in solitude with we two alone in the car, we had discussed many topics. After we reached the house, while beloved Johnson Achen (Currently H.G. Joshua Mar Nichodomos of Nilackal diocese) was taking a Bible study class for the parishioners, Thirumeni sat alone in a room and had written an article for LOL 'STEWARDSHIP OF CHRISTIAN MINISTRY' and that was published in Light of Life May 2002 Volume. Though I offered a cash gift, Thirumeni refused to accept it saying that he never accept any gift or present from anybody. That is the kind of Savarios Thirumeni. I could get a primary understanding of Thirumeni during this occasion.
Saverios Thirumeni is very simple, down to earth, silent and soft talking: the central virtue for Christians, conforming to the choicest advice of all the dictates of wisdom of King Solomon. 'The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.' [Ecclesiastes 9:17] Uproaring and excessive rejoicing are not in tune with nature of Mar Saverios. He is to the point, serious and sincere to his mission. As St. Paul exhorts to Ephesians he avoids silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting for a spiritual man. Despite his humility and simplistic character, his official profile depicts his proficiency and sharpness in the matters of complex church affairs.
We congratulate Thirumeni on this grand occasion. May God Shower His Choicest Blessings on Thirumeni in abundance and keep in good health. LOL as a whole and personally me wish all the best for Thirumeni and pray to God Almighty for all the blessings to Thirumeni from heaven.
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