Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvares
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|Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvares or Alvares Mar Julius|
Alvares Mar Julius
|First Metropolitan Of Goa and Ceylon|
24 April 1836|
Verna, Goa, Portuguese India
|Died||23 September 1923
Ribander, Goa, Portuguese India (present day Goa, India)
|Major shrine||St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church Ribander Goa|
|Patronage||Poor and Ill|
Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvares (Alvares Mar Julius, Julius Mar Alvarez) (April 29, 1836-September 23, 1923) was initially a priest in Roman Catholic Church in Goa. He voluntarily joined the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and in 1889 was elevated to Metropolitan of Goa, Ceylon and Greater India in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career as a priest
- 3 Uniting with Orthodox Church
- 4 Alvares Mar Julius Thirumeni
- 5 Patriot and saint
- 6 Missionary
- 7 Journalist and writer
- 8 Educationist
- 9 Social work
- 10 Apostle of charity
- 11 Martyr
- 12 Last days and funeral
- 13 Sepulcher of Mar Alvares
- 14 Legacy
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
Career as a priest
Alvares was appointed by the Archbishop of Goa to minister to Catholics in territories of British India. The Portuguese Crown claimed these territories by virtue of old privileges of Padroado (papal privilege of royal patronage granted by popes beginning in the 14th century). The more modern Popes and the Congregation of Propaganda Fide separated these areas and reorganized them as Vicariates Apostolic ruled by non-Portuguese bishops, since the English rulers wished to have non-Portuguese bishops.
Successive Portuguese governments fought against this, terming this as unjustified aggression by later Popes against the irrevocable grant of Royal Patronage to the Portuguese Crown, an agitation that spread to the Goan patriots, subjects of the Portuguese Crown.
When, under Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII, the hierarchy in British India was formally reorganized independently of Portugal but with Portuguese consent, a group of pro-Padroado Goan Catholics in Bombay united under the leadership of the scholar Dr. Lisboa e Pinto and Fr. Alvares as the Society for the Defense of the Royal Patronage and agitated with the Holy See, the British India government and the Portuguese government against these changes.
Uniting with Orthodox Church
Their agitation failed to reverse the changes. Angry with the Portuguese government, the group broke away from the Catholic Church and joined Oriental Orthodoxy under the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Alvares was consecrated as Mar Julious I on 28 July 1889, by the Orthodox Bishop of Kottayam, Paulose Mar Athanasious, with the permission of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Peter IV to be Archbishop of autocephalous Latin Rite of Ceylon, Goa, and India.
St. Alvares and Fr. Lisboa e Pinto continued their efforts to draw many Goans from the Imperial Church and to Orthodoxy. The Orthodox Church of Goa failed in this goal, for outside this group, very few Goans acceded to this sect.
When Joseph Rene Vilatte was searching for a bishop with orders recognized by the Catholic Church, in order to solicit consecration, he was guided[by whom?] to Alvares, who, jointly with Paulose Mar Athanasious, and with the permission of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, consecrated him in 1892 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This became Alvares' seat.
As Mar Julious I, Alvares lived at Colombo and Brahmavar-Calianpur (Kalyanpur), a village near the town of Udipi in the Canara Coast, and finally in the town of Ribandar in Goa, where he died of dysentery and was buried.
Dr. Lisboa e Pinto, acting in his capacity as the U.S. Consul, witnessed Alvares' and Vilatte's consecrations.
Alvares Mar Julius Thirumeni
While he was a priest of the Catholic Church he was in search of the true Biblically Christian One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. He was against the false devotion and religious exhibitionism. He objected to the ‘Concordot’ of the Pope and interference of the Government in the Church Administration. He could not withstand the harassment meted out to him by the ecclesiastical and civil powers. He went to Western and Eastern Churches and finally came to Malankara and joined the Orthodox Church. Being pious and considering his faith, his way of life and attitude towards his fellow being, he was consecrated as Bishop by Mar Joseph Dionesious (Pulikkottil), Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala, Mar Paulose Evanios of Kandanadu and Mar Athanasios (Kadavil) at Kottayam Old Seminary on 29 July 1889. He was elevated to the position of Metropolitan Archbishop with the jurisdiction of Goa, India (excluding Malabar) and Ceylon.
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Patriot and saint
This designation was given to Alvares Mar Julius by Goan historians[specify]. After joining the Orthodox Church Mar Alvares was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. He was persecuted by the Catholic Church and the Portuguese Government. Though he was advised by some of his old friends to reunite with the Catholic Church, especially when he was very sick, he refused and stuck to his Orthodox faith.
Since Alvares Mar Julius was not allowed by the rulers to work freely in Goa he was mostly based in Canara region of Karnataka with the main base at Brahmawar. He along with Fr. Noronha worked among the people along the west coast of India from Mangalore to Bombay. About 5000 families joined the Orthodox Church. He ordained Rev. Fr. Joseph Kanianthra, Rev. Fr. Lukose of Kannamcote, and Deacon David Kunnamkulam at Brahmawar on 15 October 1911. The Brahmawar mission remains active as of 2010. He was in Ceylon for more than five years. While there he ordained Timothy René Vilattee as Bishop in the presence of Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala in 1892.
Journalist and writer
He started a number of periodicals including “A Cruz”(The Cross), “Vardade”(The Truth), O Progress De Goa”, “O Brado Indiano”, “Times Of Goa”. Most of them were educative and supportive for the right of the public. As he was a critic of the Government, most of them were banned and forced to stop publications after few years. “The Universal supremacy of the Church of Christ”, “Antioch and Rome” were two of his books.
Fr. Alvares was a great Scholar, man of high principles, and had an impressing personality. He opened a college where Goan priests were teaching Portuguese, Latin, French, and Philosophy. In 1912, Mar Julius opened an English School in Panaji. Both did not function for long, due to one reason or other.
At that time Goa was frequently affected by epidemic like malaria, typhoid, small pox, cholera, and plague. Alvares published a booklet “Direcoes Para O Treatment Do Cholera” (Directions for Treatment for Cholera). He was so concerned about shortage of food in Goa that he appealed to the people to produce cheaper food. He published a booklet “Mandioca” (about the cultivation of Tapioca).
Apostle of charity
In 1871 he started a Charitable Association in Panaji to render help to the poor, beginning with wandering beggars. After a few years he extended the Association to other cities in Goa. During the last ten years of his life he concentrated his activities in Panaji. His home for the poor was having lepers, T.B patients, scavengers, beggars and all other destitutes as inmates. Since he had no income he begged with a bowl in one hand and a staff in the other for support. One day Mar Alvares requested a shopkeeper for contribution, but the shopkeeper spat in the bowl. Without getting angry Alvarez said “All right, I shall keep this for me. Now, give something for the poor”; the shopkeeper contributed generously.
Alvares embraced the Orthodox Church. He was excommunicated and persecuted. He was arrested, stripped of his Episcopal vestments and taken through the street in his underwear to the police lockup. There he was put in a filthy room without a bed or chair wherein the floor smelt of urine and feces. He was also forcibly deprived of his cross and the ring, the episcopal insigne he was wearing. He was beaten and presented in the Court. But the Government could not prove the allegations[clarification needed] and he was acquitted. After a few days he was arrested again on alleged charges of high treason, but this time too the Justice found him innocent. He was no longer allowed to use his Episcopal Vestments, and wore a black robe. When he was persecuted, none of the Orthodox Church people were nearby.
Last days and funeral
His last days were in Ribandar Hospital, a charitable institution, ill with dysentery. It was his wish to be buried by Orthodox designates, he was specific not to have any Catholic priest for the same. He died 23 September 1923. The citizen committee led by the Chief Justice, arranged a grand funeral. His body lay in state in the Municipal Hall for 24 hours. All the newspapers were full of articles and homage about the departed. Though Alvares was considered an enemy by the government, the Governor General sent his representative. Thousands of people especially poor and beggars paid their last respects. Funeral speeches were made by high dignitaries. The funeral procession winding all the main roads of Panaji was taken and the body was laid to rest in the secluded corner of St. Inez Panaji cemetery on 24 September 1923 without any funeral rites.
Sepulcher of Mar Alvares
After four years (23 September 1927) his bones were collected by his friends and admirers[who?], placed in a lead box, buried in the same place, under a marble slab with the inscription “Em Memoria De Padre Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvares, Diue Foimui Humanitario Missionario E Um Grade Patriota” (In Memory of Father Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvares, a great Humanitarian, Missionary and a great Patriot) and a large cross, still the biggest cross in the cemetery
For forty years nobody visited the grave. Mathews Mar Athanasios, the then Metropolitan of outside Kerala Diocese (Later Baselios Marthoma Mathews First) during his visit to Goa in 1967, after a lot of enquiries, found the tomb. According to his and the Panaji Orthodox Parishners’ wishes, a small Church was constructed in Ribandar and the remains were transferred to the Church by Philipose Mar Theophilose, the Diocesan Metropolitan Of Bombay on 5 October 1979.
When the St. Mary’s Church was reconstructed in the same place, the remains were moved to the present sepulchre which was specially made on the side of the ‘Madbaha’, by the Catholicos of the East Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II on 6 October 2001.
The remains of the Metropolitan has been entombed at St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Ribander. Although congregation is small, the "Orthodox Church of Goa" has survived almost a century after the death of Bishop Alvares. The St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Ribandar, Panaji celebrates his Dukrono (Memorial Feast) every year during the week in which 23 September falls.
- Kiraz, George A. (July 2004). "The Credentials of Mar Julius Alvares, bishop of Ceylon, Goa and India Excluding Malabar". HUGOYE: JOURNAL OF SYRIAC STUDIES 7 (2). Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-30
- "His Grace Alvares Mar Julius Metropolitan". StAlvares.com. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- St Thomas Christians, David Daniel,P245
- Indian Orthodox Church, Rev Fr. Cheeran, Page 306
- Azevedo, Carmo (1988). Patriot & Saint: The life story of Father Alvares/Bishop Mar Julius I. Panjim, IN: Azevedo. LCCN 88905901. OCLC 556945748. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
- Kamat, Pratima P (29 April 2012). "Remembering H G Alvares: Mar Julius". Navhind Times (online edition ed.) (Panaji, IN: Navhind Papers & Publications). OCLC 60632493. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.