The birth centenary of the His Beatitude Catholicose
- 12 June 14
Everlasting memory of the blessed ascetic – The birth centenary of the His Beatitude Catholicose
By His Grace Mor Ivanios Mathews (Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Kandanad diocesan metropolitan.
The Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite ) Church is celebrating the birth anniversary of the “Tower of Light of Malankara (India)” , Late Lamented Catholicose of the East HB Mor Basilious Paulose II on June 12th , 2014.This occasion reminds me of a comment made about HB by the Late Yuhannon Mar Thoma Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church ( Syriac rite low church protestant) .He said that he is unable to find any other hierarchs of the Kerala Christian community who can fit the description of the being called “blessed”, when compared with the Catholicose. Hundred years have passed since the birth of the Catholicose. The Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) church can never forget His Beatitude, as there is no other monk like soul among the Catholicoses in Malankara (India), who has captured the minds of the children of the Church, HB Catholicose , was born 33 years before the Indian independence on June 12th , 1914 .His father was Rev Fr Joseph Puthuserry of the village of Cherai in Ernakulam district , Kerala, India. He was ordained a deacon at St Mary’s Knanaya Syriac Orthodox Major Church (Valia pally), Kottayam by the Syriac Orthodox Antiochian Patriarchal delegate H E Mor Yulius Elias in the year 1933.He earned his intermediate degree from CMS college, Kottayam, Kerala, India and his Bachelors of Arts degree from the U C College , Aluva, Kerala , India. In the year 1938 , H E Mor Yulius Elias ordained deacon Paulose to the order of priesthood ( Kasheeho).Rev Fr Paulose was ordained as metropolitan Mor Philexinose Paulose by HH Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem I , at Homs , Syria, in the year 1952.Metropolitan Mor Philexinose Paulose was enthroned Catholicose of the East by HH Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Yacub III on 7th September , 1975 at Damascus , Syria. The critical timing of this event was instrumental in saving the canonical Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Church .
The prelate played a great role in the future decisions of the Church as a metropolitan from 1952 and as a Catholicose from the year 1975.Visions of this prelate has influenced the decisions of the Church .His Beatitude’s views were molded mainly by the training under his father in his childhood, the experiences in the Cherai Rama Varma High School, Kottayam CMS college and Aluva U C College. His Beatitude was able to blend the cultural , ideological and theological intricacies with the fundamental faith tenets. His Beatitude was able to form a world view suitable to the modernity, without sacrificing the apostolic traditions and faith of the Church, through his experiences in the secular atmosphere of Rama Varma High School, the Reform movement in CMS College and the ecumenical thought process of the U C College. The training of K C Abraham , who became the Governor of Andra Pradesh ( a state in India) led him to build a good relationship with the Swadeshi Movement of Indian freedom struggle from the British rulers .(Swadeshi – using only Indian products).During his days in CMS college ,he fasted to show his support for the protest movements of the State Congress ( The Kerala state branch of the Indian National Congress which led the freedom struggle in India against the British) These experiences trained him in granting freedom of expression to his fellow human beings and to voice his own opinion clearly and strongly , without hurting others emotions or maligning the opponents dignity. The views thus formed, prompted His Beatitude to unite with different Christian churches to work against alcoholism. He wished for the sustenance of family and society, along with improvement of the life of the members of the Church. His Beatitude opposed the influence of religion in politics and the misuse of religion for political gains. He believed that eschewing selfishness from religion will help in avoiding violence.
According to the Christian view point peace is based on justice and reconciliation. It is not possible for peace to reign when justice is denied to the majority in a church. There is injustice when right to worship is denied to Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) faithful , who refused to pollute the faith of the Church fathers and who refuse to deviate from the apostolic traditions .There the doors to reconciliation will close by itself. But, His Beatitude concentrated on opening the doors to reconciliation, by holding firmly to the faith without sacrificing the core tenets. Even, then His Beatitude held on to the firm belief that factioneers should not be allowed to violently barge into the Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) churches . Even when he believed that truth will triumph, he tried hard to prove it before the court of law. Along with all this, that he fasted and prayed with humility, continuously, in the presence of the Almighty to accomplish His will. It was HB’s abundant will power , faith in God beyond boundaries and his complete surrender for the task at hand , which saved the Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) Church during persecutions. It was his firm belief that peace is impossible , by subjugation or by being subjugated, which prompted him to fight the court case ( Court case on the church feud between the canonical Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) Church and the schismatic Indian ( Malankara )”Orthodox “ faction ), even when he believed in establishing peace.
Even when schism from the Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite)Church , the violence that followed gained media attention ,HB was able to garner a position in the hearts of the people outside the Church , comparable to the status of the Indian monks (“Sanyasi” who renounced the world according to Indian spirituality)The reason for this was the special characteristics of his personality. He had imbibed the ideal of simple living and high thinking, praised highly in the Indian culture, from great teachers like Prof K C Chacko, during his bachelor studies in Aluva. Due to these influences,, respectful positions did not bring about any change in his life style. Till his departure to eternal life, he was a simple agriculturist in his mind. Every day, early morning, he used to go for a walk in the fields and gather the farm produce, bring it back to the residence to make it ready for the guests .It is difficult to imagine the picture of a Church regional head prelate, who serves the tables of the guests, like a common man. It will be possible only for a spiritual leader who has experienced God’s presence. He was strict when it comes to the everyday canonical prayers and worship.
There are a lot of developments during his rule in the Church like establishment of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary , Udayagiri , Mulamthuruthy and Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Catholicate House at Muvattupuzha ( presently occupied by the schismatic Indian (Malankara)”Orthodox “ faction).When we take into consideration the developments for the Syriac Orthodox ( Jaccobite) church during the rule of Catholicose Mor Basilious Paulose II, we realize the power of faith.
His life based on love and sacrifice and simple life style made him popular among the common masses. The intellect which goes beyond display, leadership which goes beyond strategies, pure life made HB one of the tallest among all the spiritual leaders ever in Kerala. We the Syriac Orthodox ( Jacobite) church can be proud of this fact. We can hope that the blessed life style espoused by HB based on the will of God and good deeds will guide this and the coming generations.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=648042585289172&set=a.160489414044494.37543.159423580817744&type=1&theater