100th DUKRONO OF MOR DIONYSIUS JOSEPH PULIKOTTIL
The 100th death anniversary of Mor Dionysius Joseph Pulikottil, the former Malankara Metropolitan & regional head of the Syriacs in India, falls on July 11, 2009. The occasion will be marked with special prayers in remembrance of the holy father, during the Sunday Mass on 12th July in all the Malankara Syrian churches.
Mor Dionysius V Joseph Pulikottil is one of those illustrious fathers of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church who is remembered with great reverence and affection. For nearly four and half decades he led the Malankara Church; first as assistant to the Apostolic delegate Mor Kurillos Yuyakim and later as the 'Malankara Metropolitan', the chief of the Malankara Archdiocese. The Syrian Christian community of India owes a lot to this spiritual father for his able and dedicated leadership. H.E. Mor Divanasios (Dionysius) Pulikottil is widely acknowledged as the architect of the modern Malankara Church.
Born in the 'Pulikottil' family of Kunnamkulam, Mor Divanasios rose to the order of Metropolitan in AD 1865. The sufferings he faced as Metropolitan to retain the Syrian Orthodox faith in Malankara was unprecedented. In those period, the British were the dominant force in India and they supported the Anglican Church who tried to introduce their protestant faith among the Syrian Christians. As a consequence of this, many of the churches in Central Travancore (Southern Kerala) including the lone Seminary of the Jacobite Syrian Christians at Kottayam, came under the influence of the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S). However with the arrival of Mor Ignatius Peter IV, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, in AD 1875, the situation changed for better. The discussions held by the Patriarch with the British authorities at London on his way to India, helped a lot in changing their attitude towards the Malankara Church. Since then the Government and judiciary under British rule, started to function impartially. But the internal administration of the Malankara Church remained a complicated affair. So the Patriarch held series of discussions with the representatives of the Syrian Christian community to find out a longstanding solution to the problems pertaining the Malankara Church.
In June AD 1876, Patriarch Mor Ignatius Peter IV convened a Synod at the Mulunthuruthy Mar Thoman Church, which gave birth to the popular and democratic 'Syrian Christian Association Committee'; a body comprising of representatives from the Parishes of Malankara. As per the decision of this historic Synod, Malankara Edavaka (Syrian Archdiocese in India) was divided into six new dioceses for administrative convenience, and Metropolitans were ordained for each (St.Gregorios of Parumala was one of those new Metropolitans ordained by the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Peter IV). Decision was also taken to elevate the senior most Metropolitan of Malankara Church 'H.E. Mor Divanasios Joseph Pulikottil', as the first Metropolitan President of the newly formed Association and as the chief of the local Synod, with the designation MALANKARA METROPOLITAN. Since then His Excellency came to be called 'Mor DIVANASIOS V', being the fifth Metropolitan of the Indian Church known in the same name. (The first of the Malankara bishops who adorned the title 'Divanasios' was Marthoma VI in 1770. He died in 1808).
His Grace Mor Divanasios V continued as the head of the Church in Malankara for 33 long years and by then, he was able to re-establish the lost glory of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. It was at his insistence many of the spiritual organizations like the students movement, Sunday school etc. were organized in a systematic order for the first time in Malankara. He is also the founder of the famous Seminary at Parumala. His administrative capability was considered to be extraordinary. Pulikottil Mor Divanasios V is undoubtedly one of the greatest Metropolitans of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church.
Exclusive website by Malankara Syriac Christian Resources on the life of Mor Dionysius Joseph Pulikottil: