- April 9, 2000
Mor Gregorius `Abd-al Jalil (N. Parur) and Mor Ostatheos Sleebo (Kunnamkulam)
Apostolic Benediction to our beloved Metropolitan His Grace Bar Regesh Mor Dionosius Thomas the President of our Holy Episcopal Synod in India, Their Graces all our other Metropolitans, and our beloved Spiritual children—the Venerable Corepiscopos, the Dedicated Dayroyos, the Esteemed Priests, the Rev. Deacons, the Devoted Nuns and all the faithful of our Syrian Orthodox Church in India.
We have great joy in sending you this Apostolic Bull. In his Epistle to the Hebrews the Apostle St. Paul says: "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God, consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith". (Hebrew 13: 7). Our Holy Apostolic Church has always received and remembered the true messengers of Christ. All Saints were first recognized and accepted in the localities where they lived, worked and died. Later on, as the news of their holy lives and works spread abroad, and more and more people began to seek their intercession before God, their names were included in the prayers and Holy Services of our Church. We recall our Apostolic Bull No. E265/87 dated October 20, 1987 whereby we permitted you to include the name of St. Thomas the Apostle in the fourth Tubden (Diphtooko) and the names of Patriarch St. Elias III, Maphriyono Saint Baselios Yaldo and Metropolitan St. Gregorios of Parumala in the fifth Tubden of the Holy Eucharist Service. We glorify God for having given us the grace to do so.
Now, our Holy Episcopal Synod in India, through its President our beloved Metropolitan His Grace Bar Regesh Mor Dionosius Thomas, has beseeched our attention to the lives and works of Their Graces the late Metropolitans Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel of North Paravur and Mor Osthatheos Saliba of Kunnamkulam.
Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel was born in Mosul, Iraq. He was at first the Metropolitan of Diyarbakr and thereafter was transferred to Jerusalem. He was later sent to India by the then Patriarch of Antioch Abdulmessih the First in response to the request of our Church there. He reached Malankara in AD 1665. At that time our people there were being persecuted by Roman Missionaries and by some local rulers. Many religious practices alien to the Holy Apostolic Faith of our Church had also crept in. With love and patience and through peaceful means Mor Gregorios taught the people the true Apostolic Faith. He had to face many threats, even to his own life. But placing his trust in God Almighty, he braved all odds. By his prayers and piety he gained souls for our Lord Jesus Christ. Mor Gregorios also consecrated two Bishops for our Church in Malankara. His last days were spent at our St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Church of North Paravur in the Diocese of Ankamally. He entered his heavenly abode on April 27, 1681 and was entombed at that Church. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.
Mor Ostatheos Saliba was consecrated Metropolitan at Jerusalem and sent to India as Patriarchal Delegate in 1908 by the Late Patriarch Mor Abdulla II. He was a native of the village of Kafarso near Diyarbakr in Turkey. Earlier he was in Malankara for many years as a deacon, and during that period he regularly preached the Holy Gospel of our Lord both within our Church and outside. During his tenure as Patriarchal Delegate, he had to face many challenges. From 1911 onwards, rebellious leaders arose from within our Church and began to teach false doctrines. Some heretic groups outside our Church were also trying to wean away our faithful. Mor Ostatheos rose up to the occasion. He did not remain a silent spectator but actively defended the Holy Apostolic Faith of our Church. In co-operation with the Metropolitans of our Church in Malankara he guided the faithful in the way of truth. He was a pioneer of the Sunday School movement in Malankara. He founded the famous St. Mary's Simhasana Church of Arthat, Kunnamkulam. The Malelkurishu Dayara, Puthencruz, too, owned by the Holy See of Antioch, was established in his time. He wrote two books in defence of our Faith—the Jacobites and the Messianic Character. In spite of his high office as the Patriarchal Delegate, he led a simple life. His perseverance in prayer was exemplary. His piety was known far and wide. People sought his special intercessory prayers even during his lifetime. His prayers healed many sick, and those who were childless were blessed with children. God called him to his eternal rest on March 19, 1930. His mortal remains were interred at our Arthat Simhasana Church. He proved to be a good shepherd of the flock entrusted to his care.
Going through the lives and works of Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel and Mor Osthatheos Saliba, and considering the fact that throughout the year thousands of believers are visiting their tombs beseeching their intercession, we are convinced of their saintliness. We, therefore, in accordance with the Apostolic authority vested in us, hereby declare Mor Gregorios Abdul Jaleel and Mor Ostatheos Saliba SAINTS, and permit you to recite the Quqalyon for the Saints (Zadeeko) at their holy tombs and whenever you remember them and beseech their intercession. On this solemn occasion, we exhort you to imitate their faith and rededicate yourselves to God. May their intercession be a blessing to all.
We extend our Apostolic Blessings to you. May the grace of God be with you through the intercession of St. Virgin Mary the Mother of God, St. Peter the Chief of the Apostles, St. Thomas the Apostle of India, St. Gregorios Abdul Jaleel, St. Osthatheos Saliba and all other Saints. Amen.
Abun d-bashmayo w-sharko (Our Father Who art in Heaven…).
Issued at our Patriarchal house in Damascus, Syria
Issued at our Patriarchal
house in Damascus, Syria
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