Geevarghese Mar Ivanios
|Servant of God Aboon
Geevarghese Mar Ivanios
|Archbishop of Trivandrum|
Geevarghese Mar Ivanios
|Native name||ഗീവറുഗീസ് മാർ ഈവാനിയോസ്|
|Church||Syro-Malankara Catholic Church|
|Appointed||11 June 1932|
|Term ended||15 July 1953|
|Predecessor||None (seat created)|
|Successor||Benedict Mar Gregorios|
|Ordination||15 September 1908
by Vattasseril Mar Dionysius
|Consecration||1 May 1925
by Baselios Geevarghese I
|Birth name||Geevarghese Panickeruveetil|
21 September 1882|
|Died||15 July 1953
|Previous post||Metropolitan Archbishop of Malankara Orthodox Church|
Servant of God Archbishop Aboon Geevarghese Mar Ivanios (born 21 September 1882 as Geevarghese Panickeruveetil) was the main architect of the Reunion Movement & the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum. He is the founder of the Bethany Ashram order of monks. He was the first M.A. degree holder in the Malankara Church. He also served as the Principal of the M.D seminary High School & as a Professor at the Serampore College.
- 1 Childhood
- 2 Deacon
- 3 Priestly life
- 4 Professorship in Serampore
- 5 Foundation of the Bethany Ashram
- 6 Bishop of Bethany
- 7 Ecclesial communion
- 8 Establishment of the Syro-Malankara Catholic hierarchy
- 9 Ecumenical endeavours and cultural development of the society
- 10 Silver Jubilee of Episcopal Ordination
- 11 Death
- 12 Writings
- 13 Servant of God
- 14 Sources
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Geevarghese Panicker was born in Mavelikkara, India, on 21 September 1882 to Thomas Panicker and Annamma Panicker, descendant of the 'Mylitta Panicker' of Panickervettil in Mavelikkara. He had his early education in Protestant and government schools. From 1897 he attended M. D. Seminary High School, Kottayam. In 1899 he completed his matriculation education before which he received minor orders (of clerical life) on 20 September 1898.
He was ordained deacon by Pulikkottil Mar Dionysius on 9 January 1900, he then continued his studies at CMS College, Kottayam and obtained a bachelor's degree in Economics and Indian History from Madras Christian College. In 1907 he took a Master's Degree (MA) with distinction from the same college. On his return from Madras he was appointed principal of his Alma Mater, M.D.Seminary High School. During this time he led various schemes for the renewal of the Malankara Church. He organized basic church communities, commenced Bible conventions, because of this he was popularly entitled "Koodasa Semmasan" (Deacon of Sacraments).
He was ordained to the priesthood as P.T. Geevarghese on 15 September 1908 by Vattasseril Mar Dionysius. Geevarghese was popularly known as M A Achan, as he was the first priest with a MA degree in Malankara. At the same time he took the initiative to empower the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church with hierarchical autonomy. He became instrumental to erect catholicate for the Malankara Church on 5 September 1912.
Professorship in Serampore
In 1912 Vattasseril Mar Dionysius received an invitation to attend a conference at Calcutta. Mar Dionysius selected Fr. Geevarghese to accompany him to Calcutta to attend the conference. At the conference they met Dr. Howels the principal of Serampore College who requested the Metropolitan to avail the service of Geevarghese as the professor of the College. The Metropolitan permitted Geevarghese to take up the task. He made use of this opportunity to educate the Malankara Youth. About 20 young people from Kerala reached Calcutta for higher education.
At Serampore Geevarghese got more time for prayer and contemplation. He came across the writings of St. Basil on monasticism. Basilian monastic vision had a great influence on him. Besides the visits to the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi and Santiniketan of Rabindranath Tagore gave him a new vision of Indian Sanyasa (monasticism). These experiences made him to reflect upon starting an order of missionaries to carry out the task of evangelization in India. Slowly the residence of Geevarghese and his followers at Serampore became an Ashram (Monastery), and they began to live a sort of religious life according to the monastic rules of St. Basil, adapting them to Indian culture. As he accepted this as his way of life, he resigned from the Serampore College.
Foundation of the Bethany Ashram
On his return from Calcutta, Geevarghese looked for a location to establish an ashram. One of his friends E. John Vakeel donated 100 acres (400,000 m2) of land at Mundanmala, Ranni-Perunadu, Kerala at the meeting place of the rivers Pampa and Kakkatt. The place was thickly filled with thorny bushes and herbs. Geevarghese and his followers built a small thatched hut made out of the branches of trees and bamboo. This turned to be the first Ashram in Malankara on 15 August 1919. He prayerfully searched for a name for the Ashram and opened the Bible and he got the word "Bethany". He meditated upon it and came to the conclusion that it is an apt name for a religious order which upholds both contemplation and action. Eventually the Bethany Ashram became a place of pilgrimage and spiritual experience. Spiritual retreats and discourses were given by Geevarghese especially in the Passion Week. Geevarghese envisioned the Ashram also being a shelter for the poor and the marginalised. Along with the Ashram he started a house for the orphans.
While at Serampore Geevarghese was thinking of the empowerment of the Syrian Christian women through education. To realize this ideal he took initiative to give education and training to the selected group of young girls with the help of the Epiphany Sisters of England working at Serampore. He founded the Bethany Madhom (convent) for the women religious in 1925.
Bishop of Bethany
It was decided by the Malankara Synod to ordain Fr. P.T. Geevarghese as the bishop of Bethany.He was ordained a bishop of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church by Catholicos Beselios Geevarghese I on 1 May 1925. He received the name Geevarghese Mar Ivanios. After the consecration there was a meeting to felicitate Mar Ivanios. In this meeting Mar Ivanios expressed his desire that the church might become one flock under one shepherd.
In the mean time, the civil court's decision on the litigation for a large sum of money (Vattippanam) was declared in favour of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The Malankara Church had stepped out of communion with Rome after Coonan Cross Oath in 1653 and started functioning independently as a church established by the Apostle St. Thomas. In fact, this commune with Roman Catholics started in Kerala in 1599, with the Synod of Udayamperoor(Diamper), by a Latin Bhishop Mar Menezis. Until then Marthoma Nazranis (St. Thomas Christians)had connections with St.Thomas churches of the East.
Mar Ivanios continued the efforts of communion. Finally the dream of communion with the Catholic Church came true. On 20 September 1930 Mar Ivanios made the catholic profession before Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger, OCD, the Bishop of Kollam along with Mar Theophilos, the Sufragan Bishop of Bethany, Fr. John Kuzhinapurath OIC, Deacon Alexander Attupurath OIC and Mr. Chacko Kiliyileth. Thus a miniature of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was formed. Most of the members of both the Bethany orders united with the Roman Catholic Church establishing the Eastern Catholic sui iuris Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India.
Establishment of the Syro-Malankara Catholic hierarchy
In 1932 Mar Ivanios made a historic pilgrimage to Rome and he met Pope Pius XI. Mar Ivanios received the pallium. He also participated in the thirty second Eucharistic Congress held at Dublin, Ireland. There he met Mr. G.K. Chesterton, who addressed him 'The Newman of India'. Chesterton describes Mar Ivanios as follows, "The dignified Indian gentleman, who represented this faroff triumph in the Orient, had changed his neighbours by bringing them back in to the Roman Communion."
On his return from Rome, Mar Ivanios made strenuous efforts towards the building up of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. He guided the church in its commitment of evangelization. Pope Pius XI established the Syro-Malankara Catholic Hierarchy on 11 June 1932 through the apostolic contstitution Cristo pastorum principi.
Ecumenical endeavours and cultural development of the society
The chief motive of Mar Ivanios in his efforts of communion with the Catholic Church was to form a single fold of Christ, the Good Shepherd. His motto was "that all may be one" (Jn. 17, 21). He took great efforts to establish Christian unity in the Malankara community. He sent missionaries to different parts of the land to preach the good news of Catholic Communion. Besides the reunited Bishops and Priests from different Malankara denominations, he welcomed missionaries from the Syro Malabar Church. Fr. Joseph Kuzhinjalil the founder of the congregation of the Daughters of Mary was a prominent missionary, appointed by Mar Ivanios to work in the southern parts of the land. Mar Ivanios co-ordinated the apostolate of ecclesial communion and that of evangelization at the same time. He was very and considerate to enquire about the missionary needs in various parts of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. He used to pray in the late hours of the night striking on his chest, for the different pastoral needs of parishes and mission stations. Under his leadership about 75 priests were reunited from different denominations of Malankara Church. About 150 parishes including mission stations were established.
Mar Ivanios aimed at the all-round upliftment of the society through education. In view of this he established about 50 schools and one 'A' grade college named after him, Mar Ivanios College. Mar Ivanios was known as "the Newman of India". He visited with U.S. President Harry S Truman, G.K. Chesterton, King George V of the United Kingdom, and George Bernard Shaw, among many others. The University of San Francisco honored him with the Doctorate Degree in Law.
Silver Jubilee of Episcopal Ordination
The Silver Jubilee of the Episcopal Ordination of Mar Ivanios was celebrated in 1951. On this occasion Pope Pius XII wrote to him "Venerable brother, health and Apostolic Benediction.... We always cherished the memory of that event when you, Mar Ivanios and Mar Theophilos, Syro-Malankara Bishops of the Antiochene Rite, together with many priests and faithful... by divine grace happily entered into the bosom of the Holy Mother, the Catholic Church. We do know what great difficulties you had to pass through, what hardships you had to put up with, before and after the reconciliation...." Eugène-Gabriel-Gervais-Laurent Tisserant, Cardinal Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches wrote, "Your fidelity to the Holy Father, your zeal, your spirit of sacrifice, your fortitude in difficulties and your apostolic activities nourished by intense faith and piety have enabled solid organization of Malankara Church which by its Catholic activities has become a beacon light of attraction and has added further luster to the church." 
Mar Ivanios died on 15 July 1953, he was buried at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum. He used to visit the place where his tomb was to be erected and he uttered "This is my last earthly abode."
Girideepam - Mountain Lamp, Trans. Sr. Rehmas SIC, Cause of Canonization of Mar Ivanios, Trivandrum, 2006.
The Sacrament of Confession: A Meditative Study, Trans. Fr. Samuel Thaikkoottathil, Cause of Canonization of Mar Ivanios, Trivandrum, 2006.
The Holy Qurbono: An Appraisal and Meditation, Trans. Dr. Antony Valiyavilayil, Cause of Canonization of Mar Ivanios, Trivandrum, 2006.
The Liturgical Year: A Theological Reflection, Trans. Fr. Samuel Thaikkoottathil, Cause of Canonization of Mar Ivanios, Trivandrum, 2006.
A Guide to Malankara Religious Life, Trans. Fr. Samuel Thaikkoottathil, Cause of Canonization of Mar Ivanios, Trivandrum, 2006.
Servant of God
Mar Ivanios was declared Servant of God (Daivadasan) on 14 July 2007, the day prior to the 54th anniversary of his death. The proclamation was read by Catholicos and Major Archbishop Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis at St. Mary's Malankara Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Trivandrum, India. Cleemis is the first member of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church to be designated as a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.
- "His Grace Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Ivanios O.I.C."; Bethany Ashram website, retrieved 10 January 2006
- David Cheney. "Archbishop Ivanios Givergis Thomas Panikervitis". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. Retrieved 15 Febr 2013.
- Maragaret Gibbons, Mar Ivanios (1882–1953) Archbishop of Trivandrum: The Story of Great Conversion, Dublin, 1962.
- L. Moolaveettil, The Spiritual Life of Mar Ivanios, Kottayam, 1977.
- "The reunion movement among the St Thomas Christians 19th and 20th centuries". Mahatma Gandhi University. 2008.
- Fr. Thomas Inchakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Vol. 1, (2006) pp. 72-74.
- Malayala Manorama, 29 July 1908 quoted in Fr. Thomas Inchakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios Vol. 1 (2006), p. 89.
- Fr. Thomas Inchakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios Vol. 1, (2006), pp. 146-147
- L. Moolaveettil, The Spiritual Life of Mar Ivanios, Kottayam, 1977, p.74
- Fr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath, "Mar Ivanios: Bharata Christava Sanyasathinte Pravachakan", Deepika, 15 July 1997.
- Fr. Thomas Inchakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios (Vol.1), pp. 152-171
- Rajan, Matthew (2004). "H.H. Baselios Geevarghese I - Second Catholicose". The Christian Light of Life 3 (12): 221–225.
- Fr. Thomas Inchyakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Vol. 1, Kottayam, 2006, pp. 470-480.
- G.K. Chesterton, From the Universe, quoted in Fr. Thomas Inchyakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Vol. 2, Kottayam, 2006, p. 125.
- Pius XI,Cristo pastorum principi in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, XXIV (1932) 289-292.
- Fr. Thomas Inchyakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Vol. 2, Kottayam, 2006, p. 213.
- Syro-Malankara Catholic Directory, 1973
- Fr. Thomas Inchyakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Vol. 2, Kottayam, 2006, p. 225.
- Pius XII, "Letter to Archbishop Mar Ivanios" quoted in M. Gibbons, Mar Ivanios (1882-1953) Archbishop of Trivandrum: The Story of a Great Conversion, Dublin, 1962, p.127.
- Eugène-Gabriel-Gervais-Laurent Tisserant, "Letter to Archbishop Mar Ivanios" quoted in M. Gibbons, Mar Ivanios (1882-1953) Archbishop of Trivandrum: The Story of a Great Conversion, Dublin, 1962, p.128
- Fr. Thomas Inchyakkalody, Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Vol. 2, Kottayam, 2006, pp. 373.
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