Severius Geewargis (1851 - 1927)
(First Metropolitan of the Knanaya Diocese)
Mor Severius Geewargis was the first Metropolitan of the Knanaya diocese. He was born in 1851 to Qasheesho Philipose of the Edavazhickal family, the vicar of Kottayam Valiyapally, and Kunjachi. After his primary education Gewargis prepared to become a priest. He was the 10th priest of the famous Edavazhickal family that has produced many gifted men, most well known among whom is the Church historian E.M. Philip.
On 31st August 1910, Patriarch Mor Ignatius `Abded Aloho ordained Fr. Geevarghese Edavazhickal as the first Knanaya Bishop with the name Mor Severius. Around that period, the reformation movement that was very active in Malankara rocked the Knanya Community also. At Kottayam, Kallissery and Ranny many faithful of the Knanaya community along with some priests joined the new movement and created a rift in the churches. At Kottayam Valiyapally this movement was strongly opposed by Rev. Fr. Philipose and his son.
Mor Severius administered the Knanaya diocese residing at Kottayam Valiyapalli. He believed in the value of education and introduced several programs for the education of the Knanaya students. He founded mission centres at Chingavanam, Kallissery and Kattodu. The construction of Chingavanam seminary began in his period. This was later to become the 'Mor Ephrem Seminary' and the Knanaya Bishop's House.
Mor Severius was a source of love and selfless service to the community. An educational fund he created and named after him is his great contribution to posterity. He served the community for seventeen years during which many churches were formed in the diocese. He democratised the administration of the church. For this purpose he called a meeting of the parish representatives and formed the Knanaya Association which is the parliament of Knanaya diocese. "The Knanaya Association" rules were compiled in 1918 which later became the guideline for the present constitution of the diocese.
Mor Severius passed away on June 11, 1927 and was laid to rest at the
ancient Kottayam Valiya Pally.
Source: Book by Fr. Joseph Kulathramannil
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