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Saint Baselios Yeldo
|Maphrian of the East|
Bakhdida, Ottoman Empire
|Died||29 September 1685|
|Venerated in||Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Syriac Orthodox Church and Jacobite Syrian Christian Church|
|Canonized||2 November 1947 by Baselios Geevarghese II|
20 October 1987 by Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
|Major shrine||St. Thomas Church, Kothamangalam|
Saint Baselios Yeldo was the Maphrian of the East of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1678 until his resignation in 1684. He is venerated as a saint in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Syriac Orthodox Church and Jacobite Syrian Christian Church and his feast day is 2 October.
Baselios Yeldo was proclaimed a saint by Baselios Geevarghese II, Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan, on 2 November 1947, and later also by Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, on 20 October 1987.
Yeldo was born in 1593 in the village of Bakhdida, near the city of Mosul, and became a monk at the Monastery of Saint Behnam at a young age. He was consecrated Maphrian of the East in 1678 by Ignatius Abded Mshiho I, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.
In 1683, Ignatius Abded Mshiho I, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, received a letter and later a delegation from Mar Thoma II, Archbishop of Malankara, requesting clergymen to help against Portuguese attempts to subdue the Church of Malankara. The patriarch met with clergymen at the Monastery of Saint Ananias in the following year to discuss the state of the Church of Malankara and decide who to send, and Yeldo volunteered to travel to Malankara and thus resign as Maphrian. The patriarch and others expressed concern at the health and age of the saint, however, the patriarch granted Yeldo permission to undertake the journey. He returned to the Monastery of Saint Matthew and made preparations for the journey to India. The monks Joea and Matthew, from the monasteries of Saint Matthew and Saint Behnam respectively, Bishop Ivanios Hidyat Allah, and Yeldo's brother Jamma joined him on the journey south to Basra.
The group travelled by sea from Basra to Thalassery via Surat, arriving in 1685, but due to the threat of the Portuguese and pirates, Yeldo and his entourage decided to continue their journey to Kothamangalam by land and in disguise. Whilst travelling, the group encountered a tiger, but was repelled when Yeldo made the sign of the cross in its direction, forcing it to flee. He later arrived at the village of Pallivasal and, with the knowledge a heavy flood would afflict the village in the night, advised the villagers to sleep in the hills. Those who followed the saint and his entourage into the hills survived whilst the animals and villagers who remained were drowned. Ivanios and Yeldo continued on to Kozhippilli, near Kothamangalam, where Ivanios agreed to hide in a tree until Yeldo returned as it was deemed unsafe to travel together.
He later reached the River Periyar and asked a local man tending his cattle to show him to the local Church of Saint Thomas. The man stated he could not do so due to his cattle, and thus Yeldo drew a circle in the dirt with his walking stick and instructed the man to direct the cattle into the circle. The cattle consequently did not leave the circle, and the man told the saint of his sister's labour pains, to which Yeldo asked for water. The man went to climb a coconut tree only for it to bend and he gathered two coconuts. Yeldo blessed one of the coconuts and told the man to make his sister drink from the coconut. The man later returned with the news that his sister had successfully given birth to a boy. As the cattle had remained within the circle, the man agreed to show Yeldo to the local church.
At the Church of Saint Thomas, members of the local congregation returned to Kozhippilli with Yeldo's handkerchief to retrieve Ivanios who, however, refused to come down from the tree as he believed that the crowd had murdered the saint. The local deacon, who spoke Syriac, showed the bishop the handkerchief and convinced him to come with them to Kothamangalam. At Kothmangalam, on the Feast of the Holy Cross, Yeldo consecrated Ivanios Hidyat Allah as archbishop to help consecrate clergy and thus combat Portuguese affronts against the Church of Malankara. Due to his age, however, the saint became ill three days later and died on 29 September 1685. The huge granite gross within the Church of Saint Thomas lit up at the time of his death.
Baselios Habeeb II
| Syriac Orthodox Maphrian of the East
Baselios George I