St. Dionysius

Our Church canonized Vattaserril Thirumeni as a Saint on February 23, 2003. Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius is popularly known as “Malankara Sabha Bhasuran” (The Great Luminary of Malankara Orthodox Church). Vattasseril Thirumeni was a man of prayer, determination and dynamism. He was a saint who never stopped before falsehood. He bravely fought for the establishment of Catholicate to be the symbol of self-identity and independence of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The unique and historic contribution of Mar Dionysius is the establishment of Catholicate in Malankara in 1912 at Kottayam. He can be called as the architect of the Indian Orthodox Church and thus endeared himself as one of the greatest fathers of the Indian Orthodox Church.

Thirumeni was born on 31st Oct 1858. He had his childhood education from CMS Middle School at Mallappally and the High School education from CMS High School, Kottayam. In 1876, when he was a high school student, he was ordained as sub-deacon by H. H. Moran Mar Pathrose Patriarch. Dn. Geevarghese had his four-year theological studies at the Orthodox Theological Seminary, (Old Seminary) Kottayam. He came out well versed in Eastern Orthodox Theology. When he was a theological student, St. Gregorios of Parumala was his Syriac Professor. Within a short span of time, Dn. Geevarghese became a great Scholar of Syriac language and literature. In 1879 Dn. Geevarghese was ordained as a full Deacon and in 1880, he was ordained as a priest by St. Gregorios (Parumala Thirumeni). By this time Fr. Geevarghese had become an authority of the Syriac language, Church history, faith and doctrines of the fathers, and theology. Being the dearly beloved of Parumala Thirumeni, he was designated as the Malankara Malpan. He spent his spare time reading, studying and thinking and this resulted him to achieve the status of a renowned writer. ‘Doctrines of the Church’ is one of the famous books. He was able to edit and publish the Church worship order (detailed Qurbana Kramam), which could be used by the ordinary faithful for the meaningful participation in the worships. He was appointed as Principal of the Seminary, Kottayam, Saint’s Corner Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Divanasios compiled by – John K. Abraham in recognition of his scholarship and administrative skills. In 1903, he was elevated as a Ramban (monk). In the meantime, he had served as the Manager of the Parumala Seminary. In1908 he was consecrated as H. G. Geevarghese Mar Divanasios Metropolitan and served as the Assistant Malankara Metropolitan. From the next year, up until his entrance to eternal rest, he served as the Malankara Metropolitan. H. H. Moran Mar Baselios Geevarghese II, Catholicos remarked in the speech at the funeral of Vattasseil Thirumeni:

“When we look at the highest solemn position held by Vattasseril Thirumeni and his deep and firm faith in God, he is similar to Moses who led the sons of Abraham from the captive land of Egypt to the promised land of freedom and happiness. There is no doubt about it. Moses had spent his entire life for the freedom of his people but he could not enter the promised land. He was only able to see the promised land from a distance. Likewise the ‘Moses’ of Malankara Church has also watched freedom of his Church from a distance”.

Spiritually he was great and he had no scars of sins. Many people are ignorant about the pious life of Thirumeni as he had never exposed his spiritual life. He was never touched by the hypocrisy. Prayers and fasting influenced the personality of Vattasseril Thirumeni. Lents and above all by a sacramental pious life. All tensions were faced with the power he had gained through his valued spiritual life. St. Gregorios was his role model. Thirumeni had his private prayers as well as meditations without the notice of others inside closed doors. In spite of the busy schedules, he used to listen 3-4 lessons from the Holy Bible everyday. Almost all-private fasting was observed without the notice of others.

Vattasseril Thirumeni was a good orator who was well aware of the importance of the vitality and morality of the speeches. He was the founder of spiritual organizations such as the Student Movement, Women’s Organization, and Society of the Cross. The “Faith of the Church “(Mathopadesam) released by him is still valuable for Malankara Church. He was also instrumental in drafting our Church Constitution.

He entered Heavenly abode on 23rd February 1933 and was buried at the Old Seminary in Kottayam.

As our Church pays its profound respects to the sacred memory of Mar Divanasios VI, we should dedicate ourselves to follow his example and build on what he had begun. May the remembrance of his saintly life be a blessing to the Church as a whole and to its members individually.

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