Abraham Mar Thoma

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H.G The Most Reverend Dr.
Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan
Mar Thoma Church
Installed 1944
Term ended 1 September 1949
Predecessor Titus II Mar Thoma
Successor Juhanon Mar Thoma
Orders
Ordination 5 December 1914
Consecration 24 December 1916
Personal details
Birth name M. N. Abraham
Born 30 October 1879
Kalloopara
Died 1 September 1949
Tiruvalla
Buried Tiruvalla
Nationality Indian

Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XVII) (30 October 1879 – 1 September 1949) was the Head of the Mar Thoma Church from 1944–1949. He was called Maret Kochu Thirumeni by his people. Among the bishops of Malankara Churches Including Mar Thoma Church, Abraham Mar Thoma was the first to earn a Doctoral degree.

Early life[edit]

The daughter of Panicker, a member of the Adangapurathu family at Kalloopara, Kerala, was married to a member of Vadakkethalackal Family at Mavelikara. Her husband died after their two sons were born. Her brother brought her back to Kallooppara. Her eldest son became the financial Officer of the ruler, king Edapally. Abraham was the youngest grandson of this officer. He lived at Maret House, Kalloopara.

Nina was the son of Abraham. She married Mariamma, eldest daughter of Oommachen, Karikattu. Eraviperoor. Mariamma's mother was from Chemmarapallil, Puthupally, Kottayam.[1]

Bishop Abraham was born on 30 October 1879, was the only son of Ninan and Mariamma. He had two elder sisters. His parents called him Kochavarachen. School record show his name as M. N. Abraham (Maret Ninan Abraham).[2][3]

Education[edit]

After completing his primary schooling he enrolled in the Government School, Tiruvalla. For higher studies he attended CMS College Kottayam, S.P.G. College Trichy and Madras Christian College. After becoming a deacon of the Mar Thoma church, he joined Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto (1909–14) where he earned 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.[4]

His ambition[edit]

As a youth, his ambition was to become an upadesi. (missionary) of the Mar Thoma church. He attended Sunday schools and gospel meetings. At one of the meetings in Tiruvalla, led by Anglican Thomas Walker, he accepted Jesus as his personal saviour. At that time he was 13. During his school days he organised student prayer groups and meetings. He was the prayer group secretary where he studied. While in school his classmates called him upadesi and at college he was called archbishop.

Ordination[edit]

M. N. Abraham and M. P. Pothen (Philipose), Velliyampallil, Mallappally, were the first Indians with university degrees to be ordained as deacons in the Mar Thoma Church. Titus II Mar Thoma ordained them on 30 April 1912.

On 5 December 1914, at his native place Eraviperoor, Deacon Abraham and Deacon Pothen were ordained as priests. Abraham was appointed as Kayamkulam divisional secretary.

Consecration[edit]

Before Abraham was ordained as a deacon in 1912, church leaders unanimously selected him as a bishop.

Malankara throne[edit]

Malankara Throne

After the 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. The throne shown was used for the consecration of Mar Thoma I and 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, ensuring continuity. This throne was used for the consecration of Mar Thoma XVII, Abraham Mar Thoma metropolitan.

Installation[edit]

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 approximately 20,000. 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 Gill gave the message. Abraham was given the episcopal title, Abraham Mar Thoma Suffragan Metropolitan.

Suffragan Metropolitan[edit]

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.

Mar Thoma Metropolitan[edit]

Titus II Mar Thoma died on 6 July 1944. Abraham Mar Thoma was enthroned as Metropolitan at the Kozhencherry church.

Evangelist[edit]

He infused new spirit and vigor into the evangelism of the Church. He traveled throughout India and was known in missionary circles as a great evangelist.

He believed that every Marthomite is an evangelist, and made evangelism the responsibility of every Church member. 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 evangelism.

The women of the Church were encouraged to take their part in fulfilling the Church's mission. He encouraged the formation of the Mar Thoma Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom, (in 1919) the women's evangelist auxiliary. He was behind the establishment of the Vanitha Mandiram in Tiruvalla, the training institute of the Sevika Sanghom.

The lay Voluntary Evangelistic Association was established in 1924.

The call that he gave to the young was to go and live in the villages of India, in different language areas, resulting in the establishment of Ashrams all over India. 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.

Politics[edit]

The Metropolitan was a staunch nationalist who stood for the people's democratic rights. 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.[5]

Legacy[edit]

He was a diabetic. He was diagnosed at age 46; after which he lived for a further 21 years. He took insulin and remained active until his last day. 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 crowd bade farewell to its beloved Metropolitan, the Kochu Thirumeni. He was interred in the Bishops' cemetery in the SCS Compound, Tiruvalla.

Preceded by
Titus II Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XVI)
Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
1944–1949
Succeeded by
Juhanon Mar Thoma (Mar Thoma XVIII)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daniel, K. N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography, pp. 9, 10.
  2. ^ Daniel, K. N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography, p. 11.
  3. ^ Mathew, N. M. History of the Marthoma Church, Volume II (2007), pp. 210–213.
  4. ^ Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History, pp. 125–129.
  5. ^ Mar Thoma Sabha Directory (1999), pp. 26–27.

Bibliography[edit]

English

    1. Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
    2. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. (2003). Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History. London, England. ISBN 978-81-900854-4-1.
    3. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. Metropolitan Abraham Mar Thoma. "Light of Life", Vol. 3, Issue 11, September 2004.

Malayalam.

    1. Eapen, Prof. Dr. K. V. (2001). Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
    2. Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelistic Association, (1998). Abraham Mar Thoma
    3. 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.
    4. Varghese, (1950) Dr. Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan.
    5. Daniel, K. N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography. V.V. Press, Kollam. 1948.

External links[edit]