Mar Dionysius II
|മലങ്കര സഭാ ജ്യോതിസ് His Beatitude
Mar Dionysius II
|Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church|
|Term ended||November 24, 1816|
|Predecessor||Mar Thoma IX|
|Successor||Mar Dionysius III|
|Consecration||March 22, 1815|
|Birth name||Joseph Ittoop|
|Born||January 15, 1742
|Died||November 24, 1816
|Buried||Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam|
Mar Dionysius II, born Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop (January 15, 1742 – November 24, 1816) was Malankara Metropolitan from March 22, 1815 until his demise. Despite the brevity of his reign he made lasting contributions to the Malankara Church.
Mar Dionysius II is also known as Pulikkottil Mar Dionysius I as he was the first Metropolitan from the ancient Pulikkottil family of Kunnamkulam. He was able to keep up the traditions, improve the knowledge of the people and decree that the assets of the Metropolitan would be assets of the Church. During his lifetime, he renovated and managed Arthat St Mary's Church, one of the oldest churches in Kerala, masterminded in opening of the first formal educational institution in Kerala, namely the Orthodox Theological Seminary (Old Seminary) 
His nephew Tharu Kurien's son Joseph was later ordained as Metropolitan by the Patriarch of Antioch. He was also given the same episcopal title Joseph Mar Dionysious (Mar Dionysius VI) and was known as Pulikkottil Dionysious II. (1833–1909).
Joseph Ittoop was born on January 15, 1742 in Pulikkottil an ancient family which moved from Arthat to Kunnamkulam. He was ordained as a priest by Mar Thoma VI and was known as Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop Kathanar. He was the vicar of his parish, Chattukulangara Arthat church. Mysore ruler Tippu Sultan invaded Guruvayur and adjacent areas, in AD 1740. The people of Kunnamkulam defended the attack with all their effort. The soldiers of Tippu Sultan set fire on Arthat church and murdered a number of people. One of them was killed inside the sanctuary. Witnessing all these atrocities Pulikkottil Joseph Kathanar had no other option but to hide inside the church. A large number of refugees left Arthat and settled in Kunnamkulam under the leadership of Joseph Kathanar. After Tippu Sultan left, Joseph Kathanar returned to the parish and renovated the church, removing that area of the sanctuary where the man was killed.
It was when Col.Munroe was the resident of Travancore, Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop Ramban was ordained as bishop by the bishop of Thozhyoor Church, Geevarghese Mar Philexenos (Kidangan) (1811–1829) on March 22, 1815. After the death of Mar Thoma VIII, he was made the supreme head of the Malankiara Church by a Royal proclamation issued by the ruler of Travancore and later by the ruler of Cochin. The proclamation required every Syrian Christian of Malabar to obey the Malankara Metropolitan. He was given the episcopal title Dionysius (a Graeco-Roman name), the second bishop in the Malankara Church to get this title.
Pulikottil Joseph Ittoop Ramban travelled to Kottayam and founded the Seminary. The government of Travancore provided tax free land and the foundation stone was laid in February 1813. The work went on very fast and classes began in March 1815.
Qualified teachers to teach various subjects were also appointed. They were Maramon Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan (Syriac), Konattu Varghese Malpan (Syriac), Kozhikode Kunjan Assan (Sanskrit), Poet Laureate Chekottu Kuruvilla Assan (Malayalam) and from Kochi Mose Esarphathi (Hebrew & Greek) were the first teachers of this first education institution in Kerala. By AD 2000 Kerala became the most literate state in India.
Rev.Dr. Claudius Buchanan (1766–1815) who visited Kerala in 1806, and met Mar Thoma VI. After his return to England, missionaries who were members of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) began to arrive in Kerala. Rev.Thomas Norton arrived in Kochi on May 8, 1816 and began to open schools in and around Alappuzha. Rev. Benjamin Baily arrived in October 1816 and established a printing press at Kottayam. He also began to translate the Bible into Malayalam.
As Dionysius had not named a successor, the fate of the Malankara Church was threatened. However, Geevarghese Mar Philexenos (Kidangan) (1811–1829) of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church stepped in to take over the duties of the Malankara Metropolitan and served as the Acting Malankara Metropolitan until ordaining a successor to Mar Dionysius II. Mar Philexenos ordained Mar Dionysius III in 1817.
The memorial feast of Mar Dionysius II is celebrated on November 24. In recognition of his contributions to the Church, the Episcopal Synod of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church conferred the honorary designation "Sabha-Jyothis" (Malayalam: സഭാ ജ്യോതിസ്, meaning 'light of the Church').
Mar Thoma IX
|Malankara Metropolitan of the Malankara Church
Mar Dionysius III
- Indian Orthodox Church
- Syrian Malabar Nasrani
- Saint Thomas Christians
- Christianity in India
- List of Catholicoi of the East and Malankara Metropolitans
- List of Syrian Malabar Nasranis
- Mar Thoma VII
- Mar Thoma VIII
- Mar Thoma IX
- Punnathara Mar Dionysious (Mar Thoma XI)
- Malankara Sabha Vignanakosham, Fr. Joseph Cheeran.
- Ittoop Writer, ‘’Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram’’. (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam) Page 155-157.
- Niranam Granthavari (Record of history written during 1770-1830) Chapter 30) Chapter 30
- Neill, p. 241.
- Neill, Stephen (2004). A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-54885-3. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Neill, Stephen (2002). A History of Christianity in India: 1707-1858, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-89332-1. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
For further reading
- Fr. Dr. Joseph Cheeran; മലങ്കര സഭാ ജ്യോതിസ് പുലിക്കോട്ടിൽ ജോസഫ് മാർ ദിവന്നാസ്സ്യോസ്, ആധുനിക മലങ്കര സഭയുടെ ശില്പി (Malankara Sabha Jyothis Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius, the architect of modern Malankara Church); M. J. D. Publishing House, Kunnamkulam; 1992
- Writer, Ittoopp (1906). Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram (History of Syrian Christians in the land of Malayalam).
- Mathew, Adv.P.C. (1994). Aarthattu Pallipattum Charitra Rekhakalum. (Historical records and Aarthattu church songs).