H. H. BASALIOS MARTHOMA PAULOSE II
It is indeed an honor and privilege for me to write about H.H. Basalios Marthoma Paulose II to felicitate Thirumeni in connection with ordination and elevation as the Catholicose of Malankara Orthodox Church.
On 2nd November 2010, Catholicose designate H.B. Paulose Mar Milithios was consecrated as the eighth Catholicose of Malankara Orthodox Church (MOC), after the establishment of Catholicate in India during 1912. The Consecration ceremony was held at St. Peter and St.Paul Church at Parumala where the first Indian Christian declared saint St. Geevarghese Mar Gregorios is entombed. The ecclesiastical title of the New Catholicose is H.H. Basalios Marthoma Paulose II. Mar Basalios Poulose II succeeded the seventh Catholicose, Mar Basalios Didimos I. The Christian community established by St. Thomas in Kerala is still the dominant Christian community in India. Malankara Orthodox Church continues to uphold the apostolic traditions and religious heritage of ancient Church. As the community is purely Indian in its character and original in the lineage, the MOC remain as the basic cross section of Orthodoxy in specific and Christianity at large in India. The new Catholicose is the prelate of this prime traditional orthodox Christian faction in India.
His Grace Paulose Mar Milithios Metropolitan, was unanimously elected successor to the Catholicose of the East, H.H. Basalios Mar Thoma Didymos I, on Thursday 12th of October 2006 at St. Gregorios Nagar, Parumala Seminary by the Malankara Syrian Christian Association, the 4,051-member church parliament of the Malankara Orthodox Church. The Episcopal Synod meeting held earlier at Theological Seminary, Kottayam had unanimously selected Paulose Mar Milithios, Bishop of Kunnamkulam diocese as candidate for the election of Catholicose designate with full support of the Synod and the Managing Committee.
When we hear or talk of Metropolitan, H.G. Paulose Mar Milithios, the first word, which comes to our mind, is 'Kunnamkulam'. This beautiful agricultural town is situated 22 Kilometers North to Thrissur, 12 Kilometers East of Guruvayur Temple, the famous Pilgrim center of India. The Arabians, Greek, and Persians left their footprints on this land many many years ago. The archeologists unearthed a collection of Old Roman Coins near this place, which was buried around BC 123 and AD 117. These Coins are exhibited at Archeological Museum of Thrissur. Lt. Ward, who was the famous Surveyor of old wide Madras, reported about this town in his survey report published in 1819 that Kunnamkulam is a well developed rich and clean Christian town crescent with churches and situated on a hill top and it was the capital of Thalappilly Taluk under Kochin Rajas. When Tipu Sultan invaded Guruvayur and adjacent areas in 1790, causing damages to Temples and Churches, a large number of refugees migrated to Kunnamkulam under the leadership of Rev. Father Pulikkottil Joseph Kathanar, Vicar of Arthatt Church. This group of people contributed a lot for the development of Kunnamkulam town by all means. The old famous business centre, Pazhanji, lies north to Kunnamkulam. Pazhanji is a center of Syrian Christians. The Pazhanji Bazaar is very famous.
Mar Paulose Milithios is the third distinguished son of Kunnamkulam gifted for the Malankara Orthodox Church. Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dianasius I, who established the Old Seminary, Kottayam in 1815 as a permanent head quarters for the Malankara Metropolitan and an organized theological training centre for future clergies of the Church, was the first gift of Kunnamakulam for the Malankara Orthodox Church. Pulikkottil Dianasius II, who was a close associate of St. Gregorios of Parumala and the master-mind for the Parumala Seminary, Parumala Church, Kottayam M.D. Seminary and orginator of many of the spiritual organizations of the church, like Youth movement, Clergy Association, Malankara Sunday School Association etc. was the second gift of Kunnamkulam. Now here the third, Paulose Mar Milithiose as the prelate of the Malankara Orthodox Church.
H. H. Mar Basalios Paulose I Catholicose was born on August 30, 1946 as the second son of K.I. Iype-Kunjeetta couple of Kollannoor house, Mangad near Pazhanjy of Thalappally Taluk and Trissur district. His mother Kunjeetta belongs to Pulikkottil family. The child was named as Paul after his grand father. Infant Paul was baptized in his mother Church at Pazhanji. Paul grew up as a well matured, pious and dedicated boy and become the apple of the eye of the villagers. He was a reserved boy who was not much interested in play or enjoyments of other boys of his age. He had a graceful appearance, which attracted by all to whom he came into contact.
His Preliminary education was conducted at the Magad Church School till his 7th standard. His high school education was done at the Pazhanji Governmet High School, which was established by the Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dianasisus II. He attended Church services regularly and became an altar boy at an young age. In 1963, he passed S.S.L.C with high grade. Due to the local necessity of priests Paulose Mar Savarios Metropolitan of Kollam Kochi diocese could foresee the Call of God for His service in the young boy, Paul. His uncle Iyyukkutty also had inspired him for the priestly services. The affection bestowed by this Holy father encouraged Paul and inspired him for the dedication of himself for Clerical services. Paul studied for Pre-University and B.Sc. in Physics at Trichur St. Thomas College. While studying for degree, his call was strengthened. Paul was an active member of MGOCSM Unit in his church. In 1969, Paul joined the Theological Seminary at Kottayam for his theological studies under the discipleship of Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, Fr. T.G. Abraham, and Fr. Koruthu Malapan etc. He completed theological studies in GST from Orthodox Theological Seminary and BD from Seramboor University.
In 1972, Paul was ordained for the first stage of deaconate in Parumala Seminary. He was ordained as a full deacon at Karatty Seheyon Seminary. On June 2, 1973, Dn. Paul was ordained as a priest. Fr. Paul celebrated the first Holy Qurbana at the Mooleppat Mar Basalios Mar Gregorios Church and served that church for a short while. Later Fr. Paul took M.A. in Sociolgy from C.M.S College Kottayam and conducted Holy services at Aduppootty St. Magdalene Convent Chapel and Kottayam Medical College Chapel. From 1975 onwards Fr. Paul served as the vicar of Ernakulam St. Mary's Church for 9 long years. Rev. Fr. K.V.Paul was always very closely associated with MGOCSM activities of Malankara Church.
It was the fifth Catholicose Mar Basalios Marthoma Mathews I who could foresee the call of Fr. Paul to His episcopate and choosen him as a candidate for the same. The Malankara Association held at Thiruvalla on Dec. 28, 1982 elected Fr. Paul to be elevated to the episcopate. On May 3, 1983 Fr. Paul was ordained as Ramban along with other elected Bishop candidates by then Catholicate designate H.G. Mathews Mar Coorilose Metropolitan and Ramban Paulose started living in Parumala seminary along with the co-Rambans for two years under the guidance of late H. G. Yuhanon Mar Savarios for learning the holy literatures, administration, traditions etc. of the church. By this time Ramban Paul became a famous retreat master.
On May 15, 1985 Ramban Paul was ordained as a Bishop with title Paulose Mar Milithios at the age of 36 at Puthiyacavu St. Mary's Church by Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I. He is the first Metropolitan after Parumala Thirumeni who was ordained Bishop below age of 40. Four other Bishops, Mathews Mar Epiphanios, Philppose Mar Eusabius, Geevarghese Mar Ivanios and Thomas Mar Athanisios were also ordained along with Mar Milithios. A new diocese for the Church, Kunnamkulam was formed on April 14, 1985 with some of the churches of Talappally Taluk of Kochi diocese and some neighboring churches. The newly ordained Bishop Mar Milithios was appointed as the diocesan Metropolitan of the newly formed diocese of Kunnamkulam. When he took over the charge on Aug 1, 1985, there was no diocesan head quarters or any Aramana. Initially the new Metropolitan lived in an annexed room of Arthaatt Church. With a determined hard efforts and cooperation of his fellow believers of his diocese he could construct a beautiful diocesan centre with a chapel in the vicinity of Arthat church for Kunnamkulam diocese within five years span.
Further he was appointed as the vice president of MGOCSM, North Zone President of Clergy Association which was originated by himself, Pazhanji Dionasius College Manager, Kunnamkulam Malankara Medical Mission Hospital Vice President, Majapra Balabhavan President, Malankara Sbha, Orthodox Youth Magazine Vice President, Assistant to Catholicose etc. After Barnabas Thirumeni left for American diocese, Mar Milithios served as the president of the Madyavarjana Samithy and contributed exemplary services in all dioceses of Malankara, organizing the students for the cause of liquor abdication.
During the past few decades, the Church has witnessed events of outstanding significance in the ecclesiastial, administrative, missionary, educational and social fields. History of the Church is integrally the history of the prelates and the episcopates of the Church. If we make a careful overview of written history of the Church, many times, it reduces as strides for the upkeep of the apostolic throne and tangible assets. So the challenge before the new prelate of the Church is tremendeous to launch a change and breakthrough in the commissioned mission of the Apostolic Church.
HH is a good writer and orator. Light of Life is honored by H.H. Baslios Paulose as Thirumeni obliged to send a hand written devotional message exclusively written for LOL at my request which was published in May 2003 edition of Light of Life. Whichever field Thirumeni worked, he is trustworthy, enthusiastic, sincere and hardworking. His clear apostolic vision, strength and dynamism in the outfit and meaningful Title of St.Paul will definitely enable Thirumeni to accomplish the mission of church in this world as per the will of Lord Jesus Christ. 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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