Joseph Mar Thoma

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His Grace The Most Revd
Joseph Mar Thoma
Mar Thoma XXI
Mar Thoma Metropolitan ('Mar Thoma XXI')
Installed 2 October 2007
Term ended Incumbent

Philipose Mar Chrysostom

(Mar Thoma XX)
Successor Zacharias Mar Theophilus
Ordination 18 October 1957
Consecration 8 February 1975
Personal details
Born (1931-06-27) 27 June 1931 (age 83)
Maramon, Kerala, India

Joseph Mar Thoma is the present head of the Mar Thoma Church with its center in Kerala state in south-western India. He is 21st Mar Thoma.

Early days[edit]

Palakunnathu family[edit]

In the seventeenth century Kerala, a member of the Panamkuzhy house of Kuruvalingadu came and settled in Kozhencherry on the banks of river Pampa. Later they moved to Maramon, and lived at Chackkalyil, on the other side of the river. The second son in that family, Mathen moved to a nearby house at Palakunnathu. He had six sons and a daughter. The daughter was married to Mallapally Pavoothikunnel family and the first four sons moved to Themoottil, Neduvelil (Kozhenchery), Periyilel and Punamadom (Othera). The fifth son was a hermit priest (sanyasi achen). As was the custom, the youngest son Mathew lived at Palakunnathu family house. (This house still exists). Abraham Malpan, leader of reformation in Malankara church was the second son of Mathew. Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIV) and Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XV) were the sons of Abraham Malpan.

A number of other Marthoma Church leaders were also born in this family. Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIII), Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIV) and Titus II Mar Thoma were from this family. Joseph Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XXI), is also from this family.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

P.T. Joseph was born on 27 June 1931 as the son of Palakunnathu T. Lukose of Maramon Palakunnathu Kadon House and Mariamma of Maramon, Puthoor House.

After his education at Maramon and Kozhencherry, he joined Union Christian College Aluva.


Joseph always wanted an academic career, but when he was called to take up theological studies he readily accepted it. So, in 1954, he joined the United Theological College, Bangalore, Karnataka, India and obtained a Bachelor of Divinity degree.

He was ordained as deacon of the Mar Thoma Church on 29 June 1957, and kasseessa (priest) on 18 October 1957. He then continued his studies at the Protestant Episcopal Seminary in Virginia, United States. From there he went to Canterbury and Oxford in England and obtained Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degrees. He was later awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the Virginia Seminary where he studied.


Realizing the need for more bishops for the Mar Thoma Church, the Church Mandalam (representative assembly) in 1974, decided to consecrate two more bishops. The Rev. P.T. Joseph was one of those who were selected. He was ordained as Ramban on 11 January 1975.


On 8 February 1975, Juhanon Mar Thoma, metropolitan, assisted by the other bishops of the church ordained the Rev. P.T. Joseph and was given the episcopal title of Joseph Mar Irenaeus. The Rev. V.T. Koshy, Easow Mar Timotheos, was also ordained on the same day.

Suffragan metropolitan[edit]

He was designated as suffragan metropolitan on 15 March 1999, when Philipose Mar Chrysostom, the suffragan metropolitan, was designated as the officiating metropolitan.


Malankara throne[edit]

Malankara Throne

After the swearing in of 1653 it became necessary to appoint a bishop. For this purpose a special chair was made and Mar Thoma I the first bishop of Malankara Church was enthroned. This throne, used for the consecration of Mar Thoma I, is in the possession of the Mar Thoma Church and is kept at Tiruvalla. It has been used in the installation of every Mar Thoma metropolitan to this day, so that the continuity of the throne of Mar Thoma is ensured. This was the throne used for the consecration of Mar Thoma XXI, Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan.

It is said[who?] that after Thomas Mar Athanasius lost the case against the Jacobites he had come back to the old seminary in Kottayam to vacate his room; some members of the church out of resentment had emptied everything inside and kept it outside the premise along with the Malankara Throne. By seeing the insignificance of a chair, they put out the chair too saying isn't this the claim of your independent roots, take this degradable "Throne of Mar Thoma", Thomas Mar Athanasius had to then take that chair also which had by then broken a leg back to Maramon.


Joseph Mar Irenaeus was installed as Mar Thoma XXI Metropolitan on 2 October 2007 when Philipose Mar Chrysostom was made Valia Metrapolitan (senior metropolitan).


  1. He was the President of the National Council of Churches in India and was one of the senior presidents of CCA and the chairman of CASA.
  2. As the first steps to grow into a megachurch status, Poolatheen, residence of the Metropolitan at Tiruvalla is now rebuild with luxury of 5 star hotels including other amenities.
  3. Active introduction of sing and worship styles and other youth targeted programmes (Channel and Media Dept, Microblogging ...etc.) through corporate marketing models and research.

Ordination dates[edit]

Ordained as deacon  : 29 June 1957
Ordained as kasseessa  : 18 October 1957
Ordained as ramban  : 11 January 1975
Consecrated as episcopa : 8 February 1975
Designated as suffragan metropolitan  : 15 March 1999
Installed as metropolitan  : 2 October 2007


Preceded by
Philipose Mar Chrysostom

(Mar Thoma XX)

Metropolitans of the

Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Succeeded by

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cherian Cherian. Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil Kudumba Charitram. (Family History of Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil).
  2. ^ N.M.Mathew, History of Palakunnathu Family.

Further reading[edit]

    1. Mathew, N.M. '’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram'’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008). Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla

External links[edit]