Abraham Mar Thoma
|H.G The Most Reverend Dr.
Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan
|Mar Thoma Church|
|Term ended||1 September 1947|
|Predecessor||Titus II Mar Thoma|
|Successor||Juhanon Mar Thoma|
|Ordination||5 December 1915|
|Consecration||24 December 1917|
|Birth name||M. N. Abraham|
|Born||30 October 1880
|Died||1 September 1947
Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XVII) (30 October 1880 – 1 September 1947) was the Head of the Mar Thoma Church in 1944–47. He was called Maret Kochu Thirumeni by his people. Among all the bishops of Malankara Churches Including Mar Thoma Church, Abraham Mar Thoma was the first one who had a Doctorate degree.
The daughter of Panicker, a member of the Adangapurathu family at Kalloopara, in Kerala was married to a member of Vadakkethalackal Family at Mavelikara. Her husband died after her two sons were born. So her brother brought her back to Kalloopara. Her eldest son became the financial Officer of the ruler, Edapally king. The youngest grand son of this officer Abraham lived at Maret House, Kalloopara. Nina was the son of this officer Abraham. Nina married Mariamma, eldest daughter of Oommachen, Karikattu, Eraviperoor. Mariamma's mother was from Chemmarapallil, Puthupally, Kottayam.
Bishop Abraham born on 30 October 1880, was the only son of Ninan and Mariamma and had two elder sisters. His parents called him Kochavarachen and in the school records his name was M. N. Abraham (Maret Ninan Abraham).
After completing his primary schooling at Eraviperoor he joined the Government School, Tiruvalla. For higher studies he was at CMS College Kottayam, S.P.G. College Trichy and Madras Christian College. Soon after becoming a deacon of the Mar Thoma church, he proceeded to join Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto in Canada (1911–14). From there he had obtained his MA and BD degrees.
He was not a bright student. Many times he failed in his school final and degree examinations. That helped him in later years to encourage the students who failed in their examinations and showed them the path to success.
From very early days, his ambition was to become an upadesi. (missionary) of the Mar Thoma church. He used to attend Sunday schools and gospel meetings. At one of the meetings in Tiruvalla, by an Anglican Priest – Thomas Walker of Tirunelveli he had accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour. At that time he was 13. During his school days he used to organise prayer groups and meetings for his classmates and other students. He was the prayer group secretary in all places he studied. While in school his class mates called him upadesi and at college he was called arch bishop.
M. N. Abraham and M. P. Pothen (Philipose), Velliyampallil, Mallappally, were the first two persons with university degrees, to be ordained as deacons in the Mar Thoma Church. Titus II Mar Thoma ordained both of them on 30 April 1911.
On 5 December 1915, at his native place Eraviperoor, Deacon Abraham and Deacon Pothen were ordained as priests. Abraham was appointed as Kayamkulam divisional secretary.
Even before Abraham was ordained as a deacon in 1911, the church leaders unanimously decided to select him as a bishop of the Mar Thoma Church. Even today, to select a layman as a bishop is very unusual.
After the great swearing in 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 XVII, Abraham Mar Thoma metropolitan.
The consecration ceremony of Abraham was held in Tiruvalla on 27 December 1917. A special '’madhubaha'’ (sanctuary) was built and a big '’pandal'’ (canopy) was made to accommodate approximate 20,000 for this purpose. This was the first time a consecration ceremony was held outside a church building. It was conducted by Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan assisted by Geevarghese Mar Coorilos and Poulose Mar Athanasius of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church. Anglican bishop Dr. Gill gave the message. Abraham was given the episcopal title, Abraham Mar Thoma Suffragan Metropolitan.
For 27 years, Metropolitan Titus II and Bishop Abraham worked together. The passing of a constitution for the Mar Thoma Church, giving due places to Bishops, clergy and laity; and the bringing into use of a tentative Qurbana Thaksa (Liturgy of the Holy Communion) were peacefully achieved during their administration in the Church.
Mar Thoma Metropolitan
He infused new spirit and vigor into the evangelistic work of the Church. He travelled throughout India and was a known figure in all the missionary circles as a great evangelist.
He believed that every Marthomite is an evangelist, so evangelism is the responsibility of every member of the Church and not that of the clergy alone. He emphasised that every man and woman was called to be the witness of Jesus Christ, irrespective of his secular occupation. It was this conviction that led him to organise groups of people and give them specialised training in personal evangelism.
The women of the Church also were encouraged to take up their part in fulfilling the mission of the Church. He encouraged the formation of the Mar Thoma Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom, (in 1919) which is the women's auxiliary of the Evangelistic work in the Church. He was behind the establishment of the Vanitha Mandiram in Tiruvalla, the training institute of the Sevika Sanghom.
The Voluntary Evangelistic Association was established in 1924, as a voluntary lay movement of the Church.
The call that he gave to young men and women was to go and live in the villages of India, in different language areas, resulted in the establishment of Ashrams all over India from the South up to the borders of Tibet. His help was sought by Christian friends all over India to lead evangelistic conventions. Such assignments took him from Kanyakumari (Cape Comerin) in the South, to Kashmir in the North. He was a friend of every missionary in India and all of them looked up to him for inspiration and guidance.
The Metropolitan was a staunch nationalist who stood for the democratic rights of the people. He resisted the undemocratic and dictatorial actions of Dewan Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and was instrumental in getting a resolution passed by the Sabha Council (church council) condemning Sir C. P.'s move to proclaim Travancore as an independent state following the lapse of British Paramountey.
He was a diabetic patient. It was diagnosed at the age of 46; after which he lived for a further 21 years. He used to take insulin injections and was very active till the last day of his life. On Friday, 30 August 1947, he became ill and died on 1 September 1947. The funeral service was held at St. Thomas Church in Tiruvalla. A huge crowd was present to bid farewell to their beloved Metropolitan, the Kochu Thirumeni. He was interred in the Bishops' cemetery in the SCS Compound, Tiruvalla.
Titus II Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XVI)
|Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
Juhanon Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XVIII)
- Mar Thoma Church
- Throne of St. Thomas
- Marthoma Metrans
- List of Malankara Metropolitans
- Syrian Malabar Nasrani
- Saint Thomas Christians
- Christianity in India
- List of Catholicoi of the East and Malankara Metropolitans
- List of Syrian Malabar Nasranis
- Daniel, K. N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography, pp. 9, 10.
- Daniel, K. N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography, p. 11.
- Mathew, N. M. History of the Marthoma Church, Volume II (2007), pp. 210–213.
- Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History, pp. 125–129.
- Mar Thoma Sabha Directory (1999), pp. 26–27.
- Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
- Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. (2003). Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History. London, England. ISBN 978-81-900854-4-1.
- Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. Metropolitan Abraham Mar Thoma. "Light of Life", Vol. 3, Issue 11, September 2004.
- Eapen, Prof. Dr. K. V. (2001). Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
- Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelistic Association, (1998). Abraham Mar Thoma
- Mathew, N. M. Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume I (2006), Volume II (2007), Volume III (2008). Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla.
- Varghese, (1950) Dr. Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan.
- Daniel, K. N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography. V.V. Press, Kollam. 1948.