We at Indian Orthodox Church bow our heads in honour and memory of our departed Holy Father, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, former Catholicos of the East.
His Holiness was leading a restful life after abdicating the apostolic throne of the Supreme Head of the Church. Because of ill health and advancing age (four days short of 92), His Holiness very graciously handed over the much-cherished treasure the ‘ STAFF’ (symbol of pastoral care) to his successor, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didimos I, in a very touching ceremony on the 29th October 2005.
The Holy Father departed for heavenly abode on Thursday the 26th of January 2006, at the Catholicate Palace Kottayam, Kerala.The priests who were staying at he palace were saying the prayers when he breathed his last and the end came very peacefully. After the service and public paying the homage, the cortege of the Holy Father started from Kottayam 3pm on Friday 27 January and faithful in huge numbers all along the route waited patiently for hours and hours together, braving the heat of the sun and suffering the chill of the night upto 5:30AM on Saturday January 28, when it reached the final resting place at Sasthamkotta (near Quilon). The entire stretch of the land was soaked in tears and echoed with grief-stricken chorus. Bava is revered by devotees for having led the Orthodox Church with all devotion and piety during some of its very turbulent and stormy period.
On May 1, 1980, the Malankara Association selected him as the successor to the throne of Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan. Later on 29 April 1991 he was anointed as the Catholicos of the Church. His Holiness served the Church as Catholicos for a decade and half. During this period church has grown to a universal Church with four and half million members all over the world in 22 Dioceses, 1395 Parishes, 205 Chapels & Worship Centres. The Indian Orthodox Church owes an immense lot to his personality and spiritual leadership. He was a great gift from God to the Church. He was a shining beacon, pride of every member of the church. Such was his personality and God given charisma that anyone met him once will always remember his radiant smiling face and inspirational speeches.
He did his theological studies at Basil Dayara in Pathanamthitta and Old Seminary, Kottayam, Bishops’ College Calcutta and advanced theological studies at the General Theological Seminary, New York.
He was given Korooyo by H. H. Geevarghese II, Catholicos in 1938 and ordained a priest on May 25, 1941. He led monastic life at St. George Dayara in Othara. He was fondly called Angel achen. On May 15, 1953, he was ordained as a Bishop Mar Coorilose by H. H. Geevarghese II, Catholicos..
He was the founder of the Ecumenical Movement in Kerala and served as the Nilackal Ecumenical Church Committee Chairman. He always stood for peace in the Church and made many sacrifices to achieve peace. He also met with various world religious heads, including the then Pope. A very widely travelled religious head, he visited the Middle Eastern Countries, Europe and United States of America many times. He won the hearts of many to favour our Church. He was the unquestioned leader and legend of Christendom in India. Presidents, Sheikhs, Rulers and Prime Ministers stood with reverence and admiration in front of him.
He respected and cared for the rich and poor. His personal relationships even with the poorest of poor are well known, which really have touched them deep and hard. He was indeed a very loving father for all. He is probably the only Catholicos who lives so much in the hearts of every Orthodox member.
His Holiness was great visionary in the field of social service. He initiated several programmes to facilitate aid to the poor for building houses, employment opportunities and also launched a group marriage programme for conducting marriages of those girls who hail from economically backward homes. In the arena of education, His Holiness established several schools and professional colleges and hospitals. He was an influential devotional speaker and gave a new lease of spiritual life to the monastic movements of the church. He founded many Ashrams, Convent Schools and educational institutions for children. He has been an inspiration to millions of believers of Orthodox faith and will continue to remain so. We pray the Almighty God to give us the strength to bear the loss and courage to continue the faith. It is our duty and responsibility to follow the paths of Love, Ecumenism and Peace that our late beloved Bava Thirumeni had strived for.
May his holy memory be most blessed?
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