Athanasius Paulose

Mor Athanasius Paulose

Valiya Thirumeni, 'Defender of True Faith'
Mor Athanasius Paulose Valiya Thirumeni.jpg
Malankara Metropolitan
Born Paulose Kuttikatt

23 January 1869

Hometown Akaparambu
Residence Thrikkunathu Seminary
Died 25 January 1953 (1953-01-26) (aged 84)

Thrikkunathu Seminary
Venerated in Syriac Orthodox Church,

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Canonized 19 August 2004, Cathedral of Saint George, Damascus by Patriarch H.H Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Syriac Orthodox Church.
Major shrine St. Mary's Church Thrikkunnathu
Feast 26 January
Patronage Geevarghese Gregorios of Parumala
Major works Malankara Jacobite Syrian Sunday School Association

Athanasius Paulose, popularly known as 'Valiya Thirumeni', was the Metropolitan bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India for nearly four decades. He is now referred to as Saint Athanasius.[1]

Thirumeni was consecrated as Metropolitan for the Angamaly diocese in 1910 by Patriarch Ignatius Abded Aloho II and became the Malankara Metropolitan of the patriarch faction in 1918. He held that position until his death on 25 January 1953 at age 84.[2]

In 19 August 2004, the Patriarch beatified Thirumeni and on 18 September 2009 he was officially declared as a saint of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

The Feast of Saint Athanasius is held annually on 26 January.

Childhood [ edit ]

Valiya Thirumeni was born in India.[3] His English education took place at the Alwaye Government High School in Alwaye, Kerala. He was later sent to the Syrian seminary at Kottayam, under the direct care of Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious II. He completed the seminary course and simultaneously passed the matriculation exam at the CMS College Kottayam.

After graduation, Valiya Thirumeni was appointed a teacher (malfono) in Thrikkunnathu seminary, teaching there until 1895. Later the diocesan Metropolitan Athanasius Paulose Kadavil entrusted him with supervising the construction of St. Mary's Church at Thrikkunnathu.

Career [ edit ]

On 25 November 1898, Valiya Thirumeni was ordained as a priest (Kassisso) by Gregorios Geevarghese. On 28 November, he was elevated to monk (ramban) by Gregorios Joseph and Metropolitans Dionysious V and Athanasius Paulose Kadavil.[4]

In December 1917, after then-Malankara Metropolitan Kochuparambil Paulose Mor Koorilos died, Valiya Thirumeni was selected as the new Malankara Metropolitan. He took office in January 1918.[5]

On 6 May 1922, Valiya Thirumeni called a special convention of the students' organization of the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church at the Cheruthottukunnel St. George Church of the Angamaly diocese. Thirumeni proposed that the student organization be named after his spiritual mentor, St. Gregorios Geevarghese of Parumala. The group later came to be known as the Mar Gregorios Syrian Vidhyarthi Sangam (Mar Gregorios Syrian Students Association) and later as the Mor Gregorios Jacobite Students' Movement.

Thirumeni also founded the Brotherhood of St. Antonios and the St. Mary's Sisterhood, with the aim of building a base for the monastic movement in Malankara. He also encouraged the development of a centre for theological studies at Thrikkunnathu.

In 1931, Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias III visited India to strive for peace in the Malankara Syrian church. Thirumeni accompanied Elias throughout the apostolic visit and participated in the meetings that were held with the aim of achieving a long-standing peace. However Patriarch Elias died before accomplishing his peace mission, and was entombed at the St. Ignatius Monastery, Manjinikkara. Thirumeni led the ceremony of the Patriarch's last rites.

On 22 August 1935, a Malankara Association meeting was held at the St. George Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Karingachira which unanimously re-elected Thirumeni as the Malankara Metropolitan and Metropolitan Trustee.

Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum of the Apostolic See of Antioch and All the East gave Thuramani the title "Defender of the True Faith" (Sathya Viswasa Samrakshakan) after he had served as Metropolitan of Malankara Church for 42 years.

Metropolitans ordained during the tenure of Mor Athanasius Paulose [ edit ]

After Thuramani became Mor Athanasius, the following Metropolitans were ordained to serve with him in the Malankara Church:

  • Mor Severious Edavazhikkal, ordained as the first metropolitan of Knanaya diocese in August 1910 by Patriarch Ignatius Abded Aloho III.
  • Mor Divanasios Michael for the Kottayam, Niranam, Kollam and Thumpamon diocese, ordained in 1926 by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias III.
  • Mor Awgen Thimotheos for Kandand diocese, ordained in 1926 by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias III.
  • Mor Dioscoros Thomas for Knanaya diocese, ordained in 1926 by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Elias III.

Mor Dioscoros later joined the newly formed Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. Mor Awgen Thimotheos deserted the Holy Church in 1942, at a time when the church was crippled in a series of crises. Following this defection, the Patriarch appointed Mor Athanasius Paulose as the diocesan metropolitan.

In 1945, due to his advancing age, Mor Athanasius requested additional help. Fr. Geevarghese Vayaliparambil and Ramban Paulose Mulayirickal were elected by the diocesan bodies of Angamali and Kochi and consecrated bishops under the names Mor Geevarghese Gregorios and Mor Severious Paulose by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem I. Mor Gregorios served under Mor Athanasius in the Angamali diocese and Mor Severious was assigned to the Kochi diocese.

In 1951 Abraham Mor Clemis was ordained to the Knanaya diocese, and in 1952, Paulose Mor Philoxenos was ordained for the diocese of Kandanad. He assumed the charge of the diocese just two weeks before the demise of Mor Athanasiu.

Death [ edit ]

Valiya Thirumeni died on 25 January 1953 at the age of 84. The next day he was buried at the northern side of the madbho (altar) of St. Mary's Church Thrikkunnathu.

Memorials [ edit ]

The Mor Athanasius College of Engineering at Kothamangalam, the Mor Athanasius High School at Nedumbassery, and the Mor Athanasius English Medium School at Puthencuriz are all named for Valiya Thirumeni. In 2006, the St. Athanasius Cathedral was founded at the church headquarters in Puthencruz.

The sandalwood cot presented to Valiya Thirumeni by his uncle is kept in a separate room of the office of his home parish, the Mor Sabor Mor Aphroth Church at Akaparambu.

In 2003, the 50th anniversary of Mor Athanasius' death, the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church organized several commemoration ceremonies that continued throughout the year. The celebration of Holy Qurbono on the 50th Dhukrono of Mor Athanasius was presided over by Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I, assisted by all the prelates of the Malankara Church, at the Jacobite Syrian Chapel in Alwaye on 26 January 2003.

Beatification [ edit ]

Two miracles have been attributed to Valiya Thirumeni:

  • A woman claimed to have suffered from haemorrhage for several years despite medical treatments. She approached Valiya Thirumeni for help. He prayed for her and she was reportedly healed of the disease.
  • A man called Varkey claimed to have suffered from an evil spirit for 20 years. Valiya Thirumeni placed his sleeba (cross) on the man's forehead and prayed for him. The man claimed that he was immediately cured.

On 18 September 2009, the Patriarch signed bull No.152/2009. It permitted the reciting of the name of St. Athanasius Paulose in the 5th Tubden. Henceforth, he name was remembered in all Malankara Jacobite Syrian churches worldwide, after the names of St. Gregorios Abdul Jaleel and St. Osthatheos Sleeba.

The bull was read at the Kothamangalam Mar Thoma Church on 2 October 2009 during the 324th memorial feast of Maphryono St. Baselios Yeldho in the presence of the Catholicos, the visiting Archbishop Mor Thimotheos Mousa Al Shamani of Nineveh and the Abbot of Mor Mattai Dayro, Mosul, Iraq and all the Metropolitans of the Malankara Syrian Church.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ Ward, Gary L.; Persson, Bertil; Bain, Alan (1990). Independent Bishops: An International Directory. Apogee Books. ISBN 978-1-55888-307-9.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Eastern Churches Journal: A Journal of Eastern Christendom. Society of Saint John Chrysostom. 2004.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Valiya Thirumeni". Retrieved 12 July 2018.

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