Mor Themotheos Thomas Muriyankal
(Metropolitan of Greater India & Kottayam Dioceses)
Source: Photograph, March
Mor Themotheos Thomas was ordained as the Metropolitan of the Outside Kerala Diocese on 3rd January 1991. Thomas was born on 2nd May 1950 in the Muriyankal family of the Lakkattoor village (Kottayam District, Kerala, India) to Mr. Kurian Kuruvilla and Mrs. Annamma Kuruvilla, as the sixth of their eight children.
Thomas had his initial primary education in the village CMS (the Anglican Church Missionary Society) School. Middle School and High School education were completed at the Amayannoor High School. IN 1964, while in the ninth grade, Thomas was ordained Korooyo by Mor Philexinos Paulose (later Catholicos Baselius Paulos II) who was then Metropolitan of the Kottayam diocese. His parish priest, Cor Episcopus V. Rev. Thomas Mattathil, imparted early instruction in Syriac and liturgical rites. Having completed the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination in 1965, Dn. Thomas joined the Baselious College, Kottayam, for the Pre-Degree course. Subsequently, he joined the CMS college, Kottayam, where he continued till 1972, graduating with a Bachelors and Masters degrees in English literature.
In 1973, Dn. Thomas joined the Old Seminary, Kottayam for theological studies. He could study there only for a year due to the then erupting volatile situation in the Malankara Church, which had its echoes on the Seminary too. Finding it difficult to continue, Dn. Thomas joined the Manjinikkara Dayro for Syriac Studies and priestly formation. Under the spiritual guidance of V. Rev. Jacob Madapattu Rabban (later Metropolitan H.G. Mor Yulius Yakoub), he completed liturgical studies. During the one year stay at the monastery, he completed Bachelor of Education degree at the NSS Training College, Pandalam. While at the seminary, late Metropolitan of Kottayam diocese, H.G. Mor Gregorius Gheevarghese (Perumpilly Thirumeni) ordained him shamshono (full deacon). In 1975, H.G. Mor Philexinos Paulose (later Catholicos) ordained him qasheesho (priest). Thereupon, Fr. Thomas began to assist the vicar of his parish. Later he began to teach at the T.M. High School, Perumpilavu near Kunnamkulam. While teaching there, he assisted Rev. Fr. K.V. Kuriakose (H.G. Mor Yulius Kuriakose), at the Simhasana Church, Kunnamkulam. When late Mor Philexinos Paulose was consecrated Catholicose of the East, His Beatitude invited Fr. Thomas to assist him at the Muvattupuzha Aramana. After a few months, Fr. Thomas was appointed vicar of the St. Mary's Church, Bangalore. This became a turning point in his life. He served in this capacity for eight years until 1984. During this period, along with his pastoral duties, Fr. Thomas completed the Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees. The St. Mary's Church in Bangalore was built during this period.
In 1984, Fr. Thomas became the vicar of St. Peter's Church, New Delhi. He served there for two years organizing the parish. In 1986, he left for Germany for higher studies and joined the Erbangen-Nuremburg University. After completing studies in German language, he moved to the Goettingen University in 1987 to pursue Syriac patristic studies. He returned to India in 1990, after being elected to the bishophric of the Greater India diocese. On 3rd January, 1991, Fr. Thomas was consecrated bishop by late H.B. Catholicos Baselius Paulos II, assuming the name Mor Themotheos, and was appointed to assist the then Metropolitan of the Greater India diocese H.G. Mor Theophilus Thomas who had advanced in age. On 12th January 1992, H.G. Theophilus Thomas passed away and Mor Themotheos assumed full responsibility for the diocese.
The Metropolitan established his administrative office at Mulund, Bombay. A new publication, "The Vision" was started thereafter and continues to be published as a bilingual monthly. In 1993, when a severe earthquake occured in the Latur District, His Grace launched a rehabilitation program with the support of the entire Church. A Gram Jyothi Social Welfare Centre was established at the Harangul village in Latur which serves three villages with health clinics and educational programmes. A mission centre was organized at Anagalpura near Bangalore city and the centre has started functioning along with the St. George's School.
In 1999, when the late Metropolitan of Kottayam Diocese, H.G. Gregorius Gheevarghese fell ill, Mor Themotheos Thomas assumed responsibility of the Kottayam diocese. After His Grace passed away on February 22nd, 1999, full responsibility for the diocese was entrusted to Mor Themotheos. In addition, His Grace assumed responsibilities as Assistant Metropolitan for the Southern Kerala Dioceses of Thumpamon, Niranam and Quilon.
His Grace serves as the President of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary at Udayagiri, near Mulanthuruthy and the President of the Youth League of the Malankara Church.
His Grace participated in the Vienna Consultations--the dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. H.G. represented the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in the eighth assembly of the World Council of Churches, held at Zimbabwe in 1998. H.G. is a regular participant in forums hosted by the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and served for fours years a the President of NCCI Unit I. Mor Themotheos has also been a key participant in the dialogue between the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church which produced breakthroughs in controversial issues such as inter-confessional marriages.
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|Last Update: March 27, 2001|