The greatest fact in the story of man on earth is not his material achievements, the empires he has built and broken, but the growth of his soul from age to age in its search for truth and goodness. Those who take part in the adventure of the soul secure an enduring place in the history of human culture. Time has discredited heroes as easily as it has forgotten everyone else; but the saints remain. The greatness of H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II is more in his holy living than in his heroic struggles, in his insistence on the creative power of the soul and its life-giving quality at a time when the destructive forces seem to be in the ascendant.
I borrow the words of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan to pay tribute to one of the most charismatic shepherd of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church and indeed of Christendom in the modern era. H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, sixth Catholicos of the Indian Orthodox Church and 89th Apostolic Successor of St. Thomas departed from this world for his heavenly abode at 5.10 PM on January 26, 2006 at Devalokam Aramana in Kottayam four days before his 91st birthday. His mortal remains are interred at Mount Horeb Monastery Chapel in Sasthamkotta. He was leading a life of rest in the Devalokam Catholicate Aramana at Kottayam, after relinquishing his official duties on October 29, 2005.
H.H. Mor Baselios was born on January 30, 1915 at Perinadu near Quilon in Kerala as eldest son of Puthusserazhikathu Puthenveetil Idikkula and Annamma. Ordained as Deacon in 1938, as Priest in 1941, and then ordained as a Bishop (Mathews Mor Coorilos) on May 15, 1953, H.H. was enthroned as Catholicos of the East on April 29, 1991 at Parumala Seminary following the abdication by the former Catholicos H. H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews I. Prior to becoming the Catholicos he was the Metropolitan of Quilon diocese for a long time. Mor Baselios had his theological training at the Kottayam Old Seminary and later at Basil Dayara, Pathanamthitta. Then he did his Bachelor of Divinity [BD] at Bishop’s College, Calcutta. He had advanced theological studies at the General Theological Seminary, New York. Due to ill health H. H. graciously relieved his authorities to his successor, the current Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan on Oct 31, 2005.
The life of His Holiness was a well-celebrated one and he lived his life to the full, the richness of which touched the hearts of millions and imprinted enduring mark on the history of Christianity in India during the last fifty years. Being anointed to the episcopate at a tender age of 38, Mor Baselios guided the Indian Orthodox Church with diligence of a most devoted shepherd for fifteen years from 1991 to 2005 in his Apostolic struggle in the New World.
“With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Your servant and our father Moran Mor Baselios Marthoma Mathews II where there is no pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering, but life everlasting.”