CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
FEBRUARY 2006 HOMAGE
VOL:5 ISSUE:02
HOMAGE

H.H. BASALIOS MARTHOMA MATHEWS II
By EDITOR DR. RAJAN MATHEW, PHILADELPHIA, USA


The most charismatic shepherd of Malankara had breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life and he is gathered to his people.[Ecclesiastical History]

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H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, Sixth Catholicose of Malankara Orthodox Church and 89th Apostolic Successor of St. Thomas had departed from this world for his heavenly abode at 5.10 PM on January 26, 2006 at Devalokan Aramana in Kottayam. His mortal remains were carried as a procession to Sasthamkotta and interred at Mount Horeb Monastery Chapel at Sasthamkotta on Saturday, January 28, 2006. He was leading a rest life in the Devalokam Catholicate Aramana at Kottayam, after relinquising voluntarily from his official duties on October 29, 2005.

The life of His Holiness was a well-celebrated one and he lived his life to the full, the richness of which touched the hearts of millions and imprinted enduring mark on the history of Malankara. Being anointed to His Holy Episcopate by the descent of the Holy Spirit, Mar Basalios guided the Malankara Orthodox Church with diligence of a most devoted shepherd for fifteen years from 1991 to 2006 in his Apostolic struggle in the New World. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.' [Psalms 78:72]

H.H. Mar Basalios was born on January 30, 1915 at Perinadu near Quilon in Kerala as eldest son of Puthusserazhikathu Puthenveetil Idikkula and Annamma. Ordained as Deacon in 1938, as Priest in 1941, and then ordained as a Bishop on May 15 at a very young age of 38, 1953, His Holiness was enthroned as Catholicos of the East on April 29, 1991 at Parumala Seminary following the abdication by the former Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Mathews I. Prior to becoming the Catholicose he was the diocesan Metropolitan of Quilon diocese for a long time [Mathews Mar Coorilos]. Mar Basalios had his theological training at the Kottayam Old Seminary and later at Basil Dayara, Pathanamthitta. Then he did his Bachelor of Divinity [BD] at the famous Bishop's College, Serampore, Calcutta. He had advanced theological studies at the General Theological Seminary, New York. Due to ill health H.H. graciously relieved his authorities to his successor, the current Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan on Oct 31, 2005.

When Bava Thirumeni was a priest, he was popularly known as Angel Achen and he was fascinated by the hearts of many Christians as well as non-Christians. He was a man well respected by religious, community and political leaders. He was one of the most innate charismatic people, to ever grace with a never fading smile and features corresponded with the greatness of his soul. His natural personal sources of charisma came from disarming smiles where the whole face smiled, when his mind smiled. The Metropolitan had earned a special place in the minds of his flock through his total devotion and principled life.

In addition to his prayerful life and spiritual leadership, Mar Basalios was very active and played many important roles in the social service and educational field. Establishment of Mar Theodesius Hospital at Sasthamkotta, elevating the Kolenchery Medical Mission Hospital into a Medical College, development of hospitals in Kangazha and Parumala, establishment of Civil Services Academy in Thiruvananthapuram are the few among them. In the arena of education and charitable services Thirumeni was instrumental for the establishment of several other hospital, schools and professional colleges including Kottarakkara St Gregorious College, Adoor St Cyril's College, Kottarakkara B.Ed. College, Chovallur TTI, Sasthamkotta Public School, Chovallur St George Higher Secondary School, Kalladakuttikonam ITI, engineering colleges in Peerumedu and Sasthamkotta were some of them.

In his tenure as Catholicose, Mar Basalios had 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. His burning desire for ascetic and holy life and attracting youth to this great experience, he founded the Othara Dayara at his early age service. Thirumeni was publicly acknowledged as a man with full of Holy Spirit and wisdom full of grace and fortitude.

Besides being an ecumenical leader, his vision was always on unity and co-operation among the episcopal churches in Kerala. The Nilackel Ecumenical Church, which paved the way for communal harmony in Kerala echoed his broad foresight to the ecumenical mission. Consequently, he had taken upon himself the mission of spreading the message of love and generosity. He advocated for complete liquor prohibition and strongly believed that liquor is the cause for ruin of many families in Kerala.

This page is the tribute to beloved Bava Thirumeni for the spiritual guidance, service to the community at large, unrelenting courage and fierce determination to serve the Church and the most convincing role-model-footsteps paved for us, followers, to fulfill our pilgrimage in this world to the fruits and fullness of Holy Spirit. We, your children will dearly miss the affectionate love and sacrificial devotion of Your Holiness.

Valia Bava is not dead. He will never die because the Christian destiny is eternal fellowship with the Father Almighty and his services and dedication is enshrined in the memories of those he fed with the spiritual bread of life. His smile and spirit live with us forever. Metropolitan Basalios will never die so long as Indian Orthodoxy lives.

We bow before you and kiss your hands with tearful prayers.... LOL

ARTICLES OF H.H. BASALIOS MARTHOMA MATHEWS II

OTHER TRIBUTES IN THIS MAGAZINE

SHORT BIOGRAPHIES OF CHURCH FATHERS

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