Kuriakose Elias Chavara

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara
Kuriakose Chavara und Hl. Familie.jpg
Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara
Born (1805-02-10)February 10, 1805
Kainakary, Kingdom of Travancore
Died January 3, 1871(1871-01-03) (aged 65)
Koonammavu, Cochin, British India
Honored in
Catholic Church
Beatified February 8, 1986, Mannanam, Kerala, India by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine St. Joseph's Syro-Malabar Monastery, Mannanam, Kottayam & St. Philomena's Church, Koonammavu, Eranakulam
Feast January 3
Attributes Catholic saint and social reformer of India
St. Joseph's Syro-Malabar Monastery, Mannanam, where the mortal remains of Mar Kuriakose Chavara are kept
Part of a series on
Saint Thomas Christians
St. Thomas Cross
Alternate names
Nasrani · Mar Thoma Nasrani · Syrian Christians
Saint Thomas · Thomas of Cana · Mar Sabor and Mar Proth · Tharisapalli plates · Synod of Diamper · Coonan Cross Oath
Monuments · Churches · Shrines · Liturgical language · Church music
Prominent persons
Thoma of Villarvattom · Abraham Malpan · Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar · Kuriakose Elias Chavara · Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly · Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala · Geevarghese Mar Ivanios · Saint Alphonsa

Margam Kali · Cuisine · Suriyani Malayalam

Kuriakose Elias Chavara was the co-founder and first Prior General of the first congregation for men in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, and of a similar one for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. His canonization is set for 23 November 2014.


Early life[edit]

Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born on February 10, 1805, at Kainakary, Kerala in a Saint Thomas Christian family as the son of Iko (Kuriakose) Chavara and Mariam Chothirakkunel/ Thoppil. He was baptized on February 17, 1805, at Chennamkary Parish Church in Alappuzha.

In his childhood, Kuriakose attended the village school. There he studied language and elementary sciences. He entered the seminary in 1818 in Pallipuram where Father Thoma Palackal was the Rector. He was ordained a priest on 29 November 1829 at Arthunkal and presided over the Holy Qurbana for the first time at Chennamkary Church.

Religious life[edit]

Kuriakose Kathanar joined with two other priests, Palackal Thoma Malpan and Porukara Thomas Kathanar to lead a monastic life. The name of the community they founded was the Servants of Mary Immaculate. The foundation for the first monastery at Mannanam was laid on May 11, 1831, by Porukara Thomas Kathanar. Palackal and Porukara Kathanars died in 1841 and 1846, respectively. On December 8, 1855, Kuriakose Kathanar and ten other priests took vows in the Carmelite tradition. He was nominated as the Prior General of the Mannanam Monastery. The congregation became affiliated as a Third Order institute of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. From that point on they used the postnominal initials of T.O.C.D.[1]

Service to the Church[edit]

Kuriakose Kathanar introduced Retreat Preaching for the laity for the first time in the Kerala Church. He popularised devotions and piety exercises such as Rosary, the Way of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration etc. He was made Vicar General for Syrian Catholics of Verapolly Archdiocese in 1861, in order to counter the influence of Mar Thomas Rochos on Saint Thomas Christians.[2]

Social reformer[edit]

Kuriakose Kathanar was also a social reformer and played a large role in educating the people of the lower ranks of Indian society. He started as school at Mannanam in 1846. He was the vicar general of Verapoly Diocese when Bishop Baccinelli first introduced the system called "A school along with every church" which was successful in making free education available for everyone. Thus schools in Kerala are called pallikudam.[3] He believed that intellectual development and the education of women was the first step towards overall social welfare. Hence, he founded the first religious congregation for women in 1866.[4] Kuriakose Kathanar founded the first printing press of the Indian Catholic Church at Mannanam. From this printing press came the first Malayalam Daily Nasrani Deepika.[5]

Founder of Religious Congregations[edit]

In co-operation with Fathers Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, Father Kuriakose founded an Indian religious congregation for men, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. Later, with the help of an Italian missionary, Father Leopold Beccaro, O.C.D., he started an Indian religious congregation for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel.[6]


Father Kuriakose Elias died on January 3, 1871, aged 66, at Koonammavu, of natural causes. His mortal remains were burried at Koonammavu and his memorial is celebrated on January 3.[7]


Scores of miraculous favours were reported by the intercession of Kuriakose Elias. Sister Alphonsa, who later became the first saint of India (Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, F.C.C.), has herself testified in 1936 that Father Kuriakose had appeared to her twice during her illness and relieved her suffering. In 1955, Mar Mathew Kavukattu, arch-bishop of Changanacherry, received instructions from Rome to start diocese-level procedure towards the canonisation. On April 7, 1984, Pope John Paul II approved the Servant of God, Kuriakose Elias Chavara's practice of heroic virtues and declared him "Venerable".[8]


Venerable Kuriakose Elias Chavara was beatified at Kottayam on February 8, 1986, by st.Pope John Paul II, in the course of a papal visit to India.[8]


On 3 April 2014, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decrees concerning the miracle attributed to Kuriakose Elias' intercession.[9] This confirms Pope's approval of Kuriakose Elias' canonisation.[10] On June 12, 2014, the Pope decreed that Blessed Kuriakose Elias be inscribed in the roll call of Saints on 23 November 2014, the Feast of Christ the King.[11]


External links[edit]