Indian Malankara Orthodox Church
Indian/Kerala: Mathews Mar Bernabas of the Indian Orthodox Church entered in to eternal rest. Mar Barnabas moved on from this world at around 2:30 a.m., Sunday, December 09, 2012. Metropolitan was admitted to Pushpagiri Hospital for a pain-related issue. H.H. The Catholicos is en route to the hospital after which the blessed body is to be embalmed and placed in a mobile mortuary seated in an upright position, as is customary for a Metropolitan who has entered eternal rest.
His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas Metropolitan has traveled in the path of the Cross is a legendary mount of love and sacrifice.
K. K. Mathukutty took birth as the son of Korala and Mariamma, Thombra house, Perumpavoor, on 9th Aug 1924. He had his school education from M.G.M. High School, Kuruppampady. He accepted the monastic life due to the inspiration and guidance of his paternal uncle, Rev. Fr. K. P. Paulos, the then well-known orator and scholar, as well as by his own sister, Rev. Sister Mary, a member of the Kishakkambalam convent. He did his intermediate studies at C.M.S. College, Kottayam, B.Sc. Degree course from Christian College Madras and M.Sc. degree from Osmania University. In addition to this he had B.D. degree from Serampure University and higher studies in Greek language and literature at Leonard Theological College at Jabelpur.
He was ordained as Qorooyo by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Geevarghese II, Catholicose of the East, at Thuruthiply Church in 1943. L.L. His Grace Augen Mar Timothios Metropolitan ordained him as Deacon at Moovattupuzha Aramana Chapel and in 1951 he was ordained as Priest. Rev. Fr. K. K. Mathews celebrated the first Holy Eucharist at St. George Orthodox Church, Kadamattam. Fr. Mathews served as a teacher in M.G.M. High School Kuruppampady and M.D. Seminary High School, Kottayam. He served the Parishes in Secondrabad, Valayamchirangara, Calcutta, Jabelpur and Velloor. From 1967 to 1972 he served as the Lecturer in Greek, Church History and Counseling at Orthodox Seminary Kottayam. In addition to all these he served as the Warden during the above mentioned time. From 1972 to 77 he served as the Chaplain of the Medical Mission Hospital Kolencherry.
He was elected as a Bishop designate by the Malankara Syrian Christian Association held at Mavelikkara on 16th May 1977. The tumor in the back bone was diagnosed only after the election as the Bishop Designate. During the operation which lasted for 9 hours at CMC Hospital Vellore, the tumor as a whole was removed without hurting the entire nerves system. In Aug 1977, he accepted the vows of monkhood. On 15th May 1978, he was consecrated as an Episcopa (Bishop) by L.L. H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews I, Catholicose at Pazhanji Church with the name Mathews Mar Barnabas and in Feb 1981 His Grace was elevated as a Metropolitan.
He became the first Metropolitan of the newly formed Idukki Diocese on 1st June 1982. His Grace visited all the Parishes as well as the residences of all parishioners within a short span of time. A small and simple Aramana was erected at Kunkiripetty. So also a health Centre was established at Nettithozhu. Along with the administration of the Diocese, His Grace served as the President of Akhila Malankara Marth Mariyam Samajam, Balika Samajam, Malankara Sabha Masika, Abandonment movement of liquor, the organization to enhance the moral values etc. and enabled them all to grow systematicallyand faster. The services rendered being the Manager of the Corporate Colleges in those days are considered as milestones in the path of development and progress.
His Grace’s services as the Metropolitan of Ankamaly, Kottayam and America are really worth mentioning. Thirumeni is the first Metropolitan of the newly formed “North East American Diocese.” Mar Barnabas is instrumental for the multifarious growth of the Indian Orthodox Church in USA and Canada in the period between 1992 and 2009. His Grace was the shepherd of the various Dioceses in Kerala for 14 years and in the Dioceses in USA and Canada for 19 years. It is doubtless to mention that all these Dioceses could enjoy spiritual and secular progress during the term of His Grace’s blessed and sanctified shepherd-ship as he was so particular in mixing love, sacrifice and holiness in his words, deeds and thoughts.
Mar Banabas has authored more than 25 enduring and scholarly books in English and Malayalam languages. ‘A hand book of Holy Eucharist: A meditative study’ is the first book. ‘Prayers for various occasions’ is another remarkable book. Another important work is the ‘meditations for all the days of a year.’ In 2011 His Grace has published his small autobiography with the title ‘Beneficence of God’
When he was enthroned he was particular: ‘A Metropolitan need not carry a golden Staff as well as a golden cross, where as he has to follow simplicity.’ So he accepted the staff and Cross made up of wood, when he became a Metropolitan at the age of 54 and proved the fullness of his conviction. His Grace could attract a number of faithful towards his simple but meaningful life style with piety and devotion. While carrying the wooden staff and cross he could shower the message of the divine love and hence he could win the hearts of almost all the faithful in the American Dioceses.
Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios of sacred memory is the first Metropolitan of our Diocese of America. His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas is the successor of Mar Makarios Metropolitan. While His Grace tasted and enjoyed the streams of the mercies and compassions of Lord God frequently and without break, he accepted the virtues of life like love, endurance, patience as the mark and sign of his shepherd-ship all along his life. His Grace lead a model life giving priority for hard work, benevolence and encouragement in the public service. So it enables to fill the minds and hearts of so many with odor of simple life and gentleness of pious and distinguished life.
His Grace Mar Barnabas did not get a room for his stay in any one of the Churches when he reached USA to settle certain issues that prevailed in the Diocese of America in 1990. So Thirumeni had to opt to stay with either one of the faithful. His Grace had to face the fierce tribulations and afflictions due to the splits and divisions intogroups that prevailed there. His Grace submitted all of them to God Almighty and faced them calmly and patiently. Later he could purchase a building at Bellerose in New York and started staying there. In 2009 he could purchase 3 acres of land in Mutton town and constructed an Aramana of 8000 sq. ft. and converted the same as the Head Quarters of the Diocese of America in 2010. His Grace remembers the period “as the time of God’s wonderful and precious mercy and care” and praises God for the benevolence.” He also claims to have the same guidance and kindness from God Almighty all along his life.
The experience Thirumeni gathered from the services as the Assistant Metropolitan of Ankamaly and Kottayam Dioceses as well as the first Metropolitan of the newly formed Diocese in 1982 were good and might enough for him to utilize the administrational assignments in America. Hence his decisions and directives could influence and win the flock under him. One who lead the American Diocese and the faithful there for more than 19 years is confident about the future. He says: “There is nothing to worry about the future of the Diocese. Everything is safe and systematic, by the Grace of God.”
For the convenience of administration, the American Diocese is divided as North- East and South-West Dioceses in April 2009. Mar Barnabas was the Metropolitan of the undivided American Diocese he served as the Metropolitan for 18 years and from 2009 till2011 he served the North-East Diocese.
The Diocese of American Diocese is four times bigger than India in size. It covers 50 states of USA and Canada. There are more than 100 Parishes and Priests and more than 5000 families spread all over. Mar Barnabas will be ever and ever remembered in the history as the ascetic sage who could bring the Diocese to the banks of peace, harmony and brotherhood. Thirumeni, who fondly prefers to continue prayer, humble and simple life longed to reach back in his home country, for the rest of his life time, though he lived for a long time in New York. On 25th May 2o11 he held the hand of his successor, His Grace Zecharia Mar Nicholovos in his hand and said: In US there are plenty of most modern residential buildings and a number of Posh Cars and traveling facilities. Still I long to go back to my native place, where I intend to mingle with the sick and patients, who needs my service and care.” What all he had gathered as cash was entrusted with the Diocese saying: “this belongs to the Diocese and I am not in bad needs of money.”
His Grace Mar Barnabas who reached back in Kerala was in the Kolencherry Medical Mission Hospital availing treatment. When his health conditions became worse, he was transferred to a private Hospital in Perumpavoor. When his health conditions became better, he started living in a nearby Church building. From the very first day of stay of Mar Barnabas in Kerala, His Grace Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, Metropolitan of Kottayam Diocese had deputed two of the pre-seminarians of his Dayara for the care and service of His Grace Mar Barnabas. And finally His Grace Mar Ivanios Thirumeni brought Mar Barnabas Thirumeni to Pampady Dayara.
Mar Barnabas remembers: “When I was a Deacon, I was invited by the saintly Pampady Thirumeni to stay in the Dayara. Now I got the chance as God enabled me to stay here.” By leading a retired life His Grace visits the Parishes near-by on all Sundays. Thirumeni is particular in instructing the inmates to give something to eat or drink to the visitors, imitating Pampady Thirumeni, who was so particular in guest reception.
His Grace Mar Barnabas who has succeeded cent percent in leading a model pious life ignoring the money that he gained, the power and popularity that he held, and the richness of the culture in which he lived and followed the path of the Cross, is entering the 88th year of his age on 9th Aug 2012. This pious sage has erected the legendary mountain of love and sacrifice. Our Holy Father, we submit the respects and reverence of entire beloved children of Malankara Orthodox Church.