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Saint Vattasseril Mar Dionysius : 71st Memorial Festival

Posted By Adminstrator On June 23, 2009 @ 12:56 am In Columns | No Comments

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The Metropolitan, Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius was the beacon of Malankara Church. He had held up freedom as his birthright. His life story enrolls before us the saga of his sacrifices and long-standing devotion to Christianity. He has achieved immortality through the establishment of the Catholicos.

Geevarghese was born on 1858 October 31st in the Vattasseril family in Pauvathikunnel, Mallappally as the son of Joseph and Aleyamma. He learnt the basic lessons from Kottuvalanji Chacko Asan. After completing his studies at the C.M.S. High School, Kottayam, he joined the Vettical Dayara. He had been impressed by the magnetic personality and enlightening speech of Parumala Thirumeni. Geevarghese achieved proficiency in Syriac and Church history. He became Dean in 1879 and Priest in January 18th, 1880. He received the title of Ramban on 2nd November 1903 from Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan. Vattasseril Thirumeni performed mentions service to the church as the Malpan of the Old Seminary, as the principles of M.D .Seminary and as the Manager of Parumala Seminary. His monumental work “Mathopadesa Sarangal” (The Essence of Religious Advice) is the collection of the brief notes that he had prepared for teaching his students at these seminaries. It is an authoritative work in which the faith and customs of the Malankara Church are explained on the basis of the Bible. It is a very clear proof the Metropolitan mastery of the Syriac. Church history and Canonical ideas. The intensity of faith that the Metropolitan had intended from his Guru and had purified through meditation always stood in good stead. In moments of crisis this deep faith in the Almighty defended the church. He had also written the work, ‘The Suriani Text Book”.

The Vattasseril Ramban was ordained as Metropolitan on 3rd May 1908 at Jerusalem. On his return to Kerala he engaged himself in Church affairs and acted as the assistant of Joseph Mar Dionysius. On His demise Vattasseril became the Metropolitan of the Malankara Sabha in 1909.

1910 was a problematic year in the history of the Malankara Church. Vattasseril was isolated in the midst of the other Metropolitans who were willing to abandon their faith for the sake of power. He did not fall a prey to the persuasions of the Patriarch Abdulla but stood firmly for the freedom of the church. In 1911 the Patriarch tried to silence the Vattasseril Thirumeni by suspending him. But the church could not accept the suspensions as it was not canonical. In 1912 Ahathulla Bava came here from Antioch and removed the suspension. With this Catholicos came into effect in Malankara. This was the golden dawn of freedom for the true believers of this
country. Till then they had been disturbed by the indolence of native church officials and the implementation of power by foreigners.

Many Movements have taken shape from the foresight of Vattasseril Thirumeni. The Students Movement and the Vanitha Samajam are examples of this. Through the
Students Movement he encouraged the personality development of students which would enable them to take up responsibilities in life. He could mould the character and workmanship of young men and women. He advised them to retain this principles and philosophy of life at all odds. The aim of the Vanitha Samajam was to bring women from the backyards of then homes to the mainstream of society.

The Metropolitan reminded the people that woman in the centre of the family. Every family can attain education and purity mainly through women. He tried to uplift the backward classes through the activities of the ‘Sleeba Dasa Samooham”.

Another great achievement of the Thirumeni was the conversion of the system of worship into Malayalam.

Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius was the modern Mosses who could lead the church forward in the changing times. He passed away on 23 February 1934.

The Metropolitan was entombed in the Old Seminary Chapel at Kottayam. We are now celebrating the 71st Memorial Festival of this great religious leader who
had been the ever glowing symbol of the magnificence of the Malankara Church.


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