Thursday, October 23, 2008





H.H. Patriarch, H.B.Catholicos and other Metropolitans at the Mulanthuruthy MarThoman church

on the occasion of canonization of Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim Bava

The revered Church fathers, MOR BASELIOS SHAKRALLA (Maphryono of the East, d. 1764), entombed at Kandanad St. Mary’s Church and MOR KOORILOS YUYAKKIM (Reesh Episcopo to Malankara, d. 1874), entombed at Mulanthuruthy MarThoman Church, were Canonized by the Supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, at two different ceremonies held at Kandanad and Mulanthurthy church on 21st October 2008 and 20th October 2008 respectively. Thousands of faithful were present on both the places when the Synod Secretary read the concerned Patriarchal bulls in the presence of the H.H. Patriarch, H.B. Catholicos, the Metropolitans and priests.

As per the Patriarchal decree the names of these church fathers will henceforth be remembered in the 5th TUBDEN (Diptych). The canonization of these Church fathers has been hailed as a defining moment for the Syrian Christian community of Kerala. A brief biography of the Church fathers canonized are given below.

Patriarchal Bull on the canonization of Mor Baselios Shakralla being read out by the Malankara Synod Secretary Mor Gregorios Joseph at Kandanad


St. Baselios Shakralla, Maphryono of the East (d. 1764)

Maphryono St. Baselios Shakralla is one of those illustrious Syrian fathers who came down to guide the church in Malankara during an acutely turbulent time and died here. It is more than 250 years since the Holy Father attained his eternal rest. Yet his memory is etched in golden letters in the history of Malankara Church.

The Maphryono (Maphrian) was born in the city of Aleppo in Syria as the son of Deacon Musa al-Qasabji. Under the Malfono of the local church, he studied Syriac, becoming proficient in it and also in Arabic. After completing the studies in religious sciences, he become a monk and later was ordained a priest. He was of commendable deeds and character. His knowledge was extensive. A book on the catechism written by him in Arabic is kept in the Church at Aleppo. In 1748, he was consecrated a Maphryono (Catholicos) for the church in Malabar under the name Baselios by the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Moran Mor Ignatius Geevarghese III. The book Mor Baselios wrote about his journey to Malabar and the subsequent events, in Syriac, gives an insight into the happenings of the time. His primary mission in Malabar was to validate the consecration of Mor Thoma V as the Metropolitan of Malankara Syrian Christian Church and to overcome the confusion then prevailing here. Like many of his predecessors and successors who came to India, he too had to suffer a lot, but his upright and sincere efforts helped a great in bringing the faithful together once again. After serving the Malankara Syriac Christian Church for 13 years, His Beatitude died in AD 1764 at Mattancherry in Cochin and his mortal remains were entombed at the Marth Mariam Jacobite Syrian Church, Kandanad on 22nd October.

The feast day of this father is celebrated by the entire Syriac Christian community with great enthusiasm and thousands visit the church to pray at the tomb during this time, a practise that is continuing for many centuries now. In fact the main festival of the ancient Kandanad Church is the dukrono of this Holy Father who died 244 years ago.

Biography of St. Baselios Shakralla:

St. Koorilose Yuyakkim (d. 1874)

Born in the Hbab village of Turkey in February 1810, Mor Koorilose was ordained a Deacon on August 6, 1839 and was tonsured a monk soon after. The then Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Elias II appointed him as the secretary to His Holiness, a position in which he continued till his ordination as Metropolitan at the ancient Deyrul-Saffron Monastery (Kurkumo dayro) on 18 February 1845. The very next year he was deputed to India by His Holiness to investigate the allegations against a bishop who was alleged to be got ordained by producing false information. In august 1846, he reached Malabar. When Mor Koorilose initiated stern actions against divisive forces, the British rulers of India who under influence from the European missionaries, caused serious hardships for him. In 1848 he was deported from the states of British Travancore and Cochin under the influence of these protestant missionaries who feared that even the presence of the Metropolitan would be a great obstacle in attaining their evil goals. However since he was armed with the power of God, no forces could ban him for long; after a few years of exile he was back. His life in India was always of tension and struggles. In 1865 he got a sincere companion in Mor Dionysius Joseph Pulikottil, who was ordained by the then Patriarch, in his struggle against the influential European missionaries. After hard struggles with sincere services for our Syrian Orthodox Church in India in different ways, spiritual and cultural, the Metropolitan passed away from this world on Tuesday 20th of Chingam (September 2), 1874 and was entombed at the specially erected tomb in the Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoman Church compound.

Mor Koorilose Yuyakkim was a highly educated person in Theology and Holy Bible studies, and an excellent speaker as well as a master in Syriac music and calligraphy. He left for us many letters and poems in Syriac. In fact he was the first to help in publishing some of our church’s prayer books in Malayalam in 1859. St. Gregorios Chathuruthil, popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni, had his theological and Syriac studies under Mor Koorilos Yuyakkim. Later it was Mor Koorilos who elevated Chathuruthil Geevarghese (St. Gregorios of Parumala) to the order of Kassisso and Corepiscopus.

Having good knowledge in medicine, many people used to approach the Metropolitan for treatment. Old people used to say many stories about lots of instances where people were cured of many deadly diseases. There was a general belief that abundant Godly gift is bestowed on him due to his prayerful life. As the time passed this belief got strengthened and after his death his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. There are many instances where people who seeked the intercession of Bava has been cured from major diseases. It is this faith that is bringing many to the tomb of Mor Koorilose Yuyakkim Bava.

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