Alexander Mar Thoma

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Most Rev. Dr.
Alexander Marthoma Metropolitan
Installed 23 October 1977
Predecessor Juhanon Mar Thoma
Successor Philipose Mar Chrysostom
Orders
Ordination 7 June 1946
Consecration 20 May 1952
Personal details
Birth name Maliackel George Chandy
Born 10 April 1912
Kuriannoor
Died January 11, 2000(2000-01-11) (aged 87)
Kumbanad, Kerala, India
Buried Tiruvalla

Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan (10 April, 1912 – 11 January, 2000) was the head of the Mar Thoma Church with its center in Kerala state in south-western India.

“Look at that a Khadi wearing Bishop, with research interest in Gita. This Kerala Christians are an amazing lot and he looks amazing." – Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India.[1]

Early life[edit]

Family[edit]

In the state of Kerala, India, on the banks of river Pamba, surrounded by the villages Maramon, Ayroor, Thadiyoor, Pullad is the village of Kuriannoor. Maliackel family was one of the well-known families here. A member of this family, Rev. M.C.George (Rev. Maliackel Chandy George) was a vicar of the Mar Thoma parish in Kuriannoor. His son Kunjachen ( Alexander Mar Thoma) was born on 10 April 1913. His mother was Mariamma of Maramon, Anjilivelil family. The baby was baptised by Rev. A.V.Mathew, at the Maramon church and was given the name Maliackel George Chandy.

Education[edit]

He began his schooling at the age of four. In 1923, when he was ten years old, his father died. Kunjachen was sent to nearby High School at Kozhencherry.

He continued his studies at Maharajas College, Ernakulam and at Union Christian College, Aluva. A year after finishing he was able to secure a teaching post at C.M.S.High school, Kottayam, where he taught mathematics for 12 years. While there he began to take part in social activities.

Ordination[edit]

To further his studies, he was making arrangements to go to Agra, when he was called by Dr.Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan to join the ministry. He accepted the offer and in 1945 joined United Theological College, Bangalore. On 7 June 1946 he was ordained as a clergy. He returned to Bangalore and in addition to his studies, was also the Assistant vicar to the Mar Thoma parish.

In 1948 he completed the course and was offered admission at Union Theological college, New York. He was able to obtain S.T.M. (Master of Systematic Theology). In 1949 he was at Hartford Seminary Foundation for his PhD. He received his PhD in 1951. The title of his thesis was, "Viśvarūpa Darśana : a study of the vision of God in the Bhagavadgītā".

After returning to India in 1951, he was appointed as the vicar of Manganam (near Kottayam) Marthoma church for about a year.

Mar Thoma Church opened a College for higher education at Tiruvalla in 1952; Rev. M. G. Chandy was appointed as its first principal.

Consecration[edit]

Episcopa[edit]

The church Mandalam (representative assembly) realised the need for three more bishops. Rev. M. G. Chandy was one of those who were selected to be a bishop. On 23 May 1953, Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan assisted by Mathews Mar Athanasius Episcopa ordained Rev. M. G. Chandy as episcopa and was given the episcopal title, Alexander Mar Theophilus. P. Thomas (Thomas Mar Athanasius) and Philip Oommen (Philipose Mar Chrysostom) were ordained on the same day.

Suffragan Metropolitan[edit]

He was ordained as a suffragan in 1974 and was given the title Alexander Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan.

Metropolitan[edit]

Malankara throne[edit]

Malankara Throne

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 XIX, Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan in year 1976

Enthronement[edit]

Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan died in September 1976. Being the senior bishop, Alexander Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan was enthroned as the next Metropolitan on 23 October 1976 at Kottayam and was given the name Alexander Mar Thoma Metropolitan.

Developmental projects[edit]

For the development of under developed villages and for the low income group Metropolitan took interest to begin a number of developments projects. They included CARD (Christian Agency for Rural Development); STARD South Travancore Agency for Rural Development); for ladies SVS (Sthree Jena Vikasana Samithi) and MCRD (Marthoma Centre for Rehabilitation and Development). For backward children Nava Jyothi school and for hill tribes, Giri Deepthi school were established.

Ecumenical relations[edit]

During this period a number of Marthomites settled in various parts of India and began to emigrate to other countries. This made it necessary to get the assistance of various established churches in those areas. For this, Mar Thoma church came into close relation with suitable churches in various parts of India and around the world.

Mar Thoma Church was an active member of the World Council of Churches. Mar Thoma Church, Church of South India and Church of North India formed a joint council in 1978. Came into full communion with the Anglican communion. So in 1980 he attended the enthronement of Robert Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1984 attended its consultative council in Nairobi.

Last days[edit]

By 1999 his health deteriorated and he wished to pass on his responsibilities to his successor. So, according to the decision of church Mandalam (representative assembly), he was elevated to the position of Valia Thirumeni (senior Metropolitan) on 23 November 1999 and the responsibilities of the church were given to his successor Philipose Mar Chrysostom Suffragan Metropolitan. Alexander Mar Thoma was the first Valia Thirumeni of the church.

He died on 11 January 2000, and was interred in the Bishops' cemetery in the SCS Compound, Tiruvall].

Preceded by
Juhanon Mar Thoma

(Mar Thoma XVIII)

Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
1976–1999
Succeeded by
Philipose Mar Chrysostom

(Mar Thoma XX)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander, Dr. P. J., Valia Metropolitan, p. 102.

Further reading[edit]

    1. Dr. Alexander Marthoma Metropolitan. (1985) The Mar Thoma Church – Heritage and Mission.
    2. Dr. Alexander Marthoma Metropolitan. (1998). Deiva kripayude Thanalil (In the shadow of the grace of God).
    3. Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan, The Most Rev. Dr. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
    4. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. (2003). Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History. London, England. ISBN 8190085441.
    5. Chacko, T. C. (1936) Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charithra Samgraham (Concise History of Marthoma Church). Pub: E.J. Institute, Kompady, Tiruvalla.
    6. Eapen, Prof. Dr. K. V. (2001). Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
    7. Mathew, N. M. Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1 (2006), Volume II (2007), Volume III (2008). Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla.
    8. Valia Metropolitan (Malayalam) Published by Mar Thoma Sabha Publication (2001).

External links[edit]