Kuriakose Elias Chavara
|Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara|
Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara
February 10, 1805|
Kainakary, Kingdom of Travancore
|Died||January 3, 1871
Koonammavu, Cochin, British India
|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|
|Attributes||Catholic saint and social reformer of India|
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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.
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.
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.
Service to the Church
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.
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. 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. 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.
Founder of Religious Congregations
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.
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".
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. This confirms Pope's approval of Kuriakose Elias' canonisation. 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.
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- "The life of Blessed Chavara". blessedchavara.org. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Unique Contributions of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara in Education".
- "Congregation of Mother of Carmel".
- "Rashtra Deepika Ltd at a Glance". Deepika.
- "Beatification of Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Alfonsa Muttathupandathu - Homily of His Holiness John Paul II". Vatican.va. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Bl. Kuriakose Elias Chavara".
- "Canonisation process of Kuriakose Elias Chavara". BlessedChavara.org.
- "Decrees for the Causes of Saints". The Vatican Information Service. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Laval, Marie de l'Incarnation decreed saints". The Catholic Register. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Six news Saints to be created on feast of Christ the King". Radio Vaticana. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kuriakose Elias Chavara.|
- Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara
- Postage stamp issued in honor of Father Elias by the Republic of India on 20 December 1987
- Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara at Patron Saint Index