Mar Dionysius II

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മലങ്കര സഭാ ജ്യോതിസ് His Grace

Mar Dionysius II

Malankara Metropolitan
Malankara Syrian Church
Appointed22 March 1815
Term ended24 November 1816
PredecessorMar Thoma IX
SuccessorMar Dionysius III
Consecration22 March 1815
Personal details
Birth nameJoseph Ittoop
Born15 January 1742
Died24 November 1816 (1816-11-25) (aged 74)
BuriedOrthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam

Mar Dionysius II, born Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop (15 January 1742 – 24 November 1816) was Malankara Metropolitan from 22 March 1815 until his demise. Despite the brevity of his reign he made lasting contributions to the Malankara Syrian 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,[1] 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)[2]

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 V) (1833–1909) and was known as Pulikkottil Dionysious II.

Early days[edit]

Joseph Ittoop was born on 15 January 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.


As ramban[edit]

As per the decision of the meeting of the representatives from parishes at Kandanad, on 14 September 1809, Pulikkottil Joseph Ittoop Kathanar was ordained as a Ramban.[3]

Malankara Metropolitan[edit]

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) (1811–29) on 22 March 1815.[4] After the death of Mar Thoma VIII, he was made the supreme head of the Malankara 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 Travancore-Cochin 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.

Syrian seminary[edit]

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.

English missionaries[edit]

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 8 May 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.

Last days[edit]

At the age of 74, and only nine months as Metropolitan, Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius died on 24 November 1816. He was entombed at Kottayam Orthodox Pazhaya Seminary (Old Seminary).

As Dionysius had not named a successor, the fate of the Malankara Church was threatened. However, Geevarghese Mar Philexenos (Kidangan) (1811–29) 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.[5]

The memorial feast of Mar Dionysius II is celebrated on 24 November.[6] 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').

Preceded by
Mar Thoma IX
Malankara Metropolitan of the Malankara Syrian Church
Succeeded by
Mar Dionysius III

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Malankara Sabha Vignanakosham, Fr. Joseph Cheeran.
  3. ^ Ittoop Writer, Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam), pp. 155–157.
  4. ^ Niranam Granthavari (Record of history written during 1770–1830), Chapter 30.
  5. ^ Neill, p. 241.
  6. ^

Further reading[edit]

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