+BE WITH HIM AND BE LIKE HIM+ —That’s a unique email signature line of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church’s second youngest bishop and presently the head for Ahmedabad diocese, Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios. Written in capital letters with a cross ‘+’, it truly reflects the Metropolitan’s commitment and efforts towards bringing the laity to the divine path of the Almighty.
A young bishop at 43, he is full of ideas and advocates changes in the Orthodoxy and inter-religious harmony. A Facebook member he uses the social networking site to exchange his views on Christianity with the younger generation.
Before formally taking charge on September 3, he flew to New Delhi and offered floral tributes at Raj Ghat, the eternal samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. A learned scholar, Dr Yulios, draws inspiration from the ideals and values which held dear to the Mahatma, the ultimate advocate of non-violence and peace, as he shepherds the Church and parishioners under the new diocese.
The Ahmedabad Diocese came into existence through Kalpana No 93/2009 dated March 2, 2009. It consists of 23 parishes and 7 congregations spread over mostly in Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh with parishes in Sultanate of Oman (Muscat, Sohar and Salalah).
Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Bombay and former Assistant Metropolitan of Ahmedabad had said the newly formed Ahmedabad Diocese was like a crawling child on a blind alley which needs to be supported and nurtured by the Church members. His Grace strived to build a foundation from where his successor (Dr Yulios) could take off smoothly. Dr Yulios will have his task laid out after taking over his apostolic responsibilities from HG Mar Coorilos who was assisting the Ahmedabad diocese since early 2009
Various missionary, charitable and administrative works will be the main focus of the new bishop.With most of the diocese’s Churches in the Hindi heartland, this will be a challenge. Sourcing funds for the Ahmedabad Diocese Development Fund, locating land for the new diocesan head quarters, inducting new members and keeping all of them together will be some of the other priorities.
Dr Yulios envisions a global Church for the baby diocese. His Grace says he will strive for making the diocese a global Church with oriental aspirations inculcating the true spirit of India and its ethos and for the betterment of the universe.
“Due importance will be given for study of word of God and interpretation of happenings in Church life and her sacraments,” he says and condemns ‘hypocrite spirituality’ calling for more openness in the church.
Born to late Mr P V Pavu and Mrs K V Anna on May 17, 1967, His Grace hails from a letter loving family, the famed Pulikkottil family from Kunnamkulam. He is the member of St Mathias South Cross Parish, Kunnamkulam and author of over 10 publications.
His Grace has a post doctoral research from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen (Germany) adding to diplomas in Sanskrit, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and German languages.
His predecessor bishops, especially Pulikkottil Dionysius II toiled hard to publish the Holy Bible in Malayalam and were instrumental in the establishment of various print media. He was a courageous, popular, spiritual leader who guided his followers through one of the most difficult times in the history of Malankara Church. At a simple ceremony last month, Dr Yulios recently donated a portrait of Pulikkottil II to the Orthodox Seminary chapel. Similarly, the new bishop will strive in the same footsteps guiding the shepherd in trying times as he takes on the mantle in a true spirit.
After his consecration as Bishop on May 12, 2010, Fr Geevarghese Pulikkottil Ramban became Pulikkottil Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulius Metropolitan. As a priest Rev Fr George Pulikkottil (Pulikkottil Achen) from 1992 served in different parishes under dioceses of Kunnamkulam (home parish), Kottayam, Madras, UK & Europe, Canada and the Diocese of America
He was lecturer and professor of religion and philosophy at Orthodox Theological Seminary Kottayam and Nagpur from 1994. He also served as the bursar of St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur. Other posts relate to serving as Registrar of Divyabodhanam, Programme Secretary of Sophia Centre, the Kochi-based centre for inter-religious dialogue and cultural studies, as resource person for oriental studies, Associate Secretary of the Kerala Council of Churches, member of the Association of Professors and Research Scholars in Germany for Study of Religion since 2002.
Dr Yulios assumed the position as Patron of Indian Orthodox Herald after he became the Metropolitan. He was earlier one of the Trustee Board Members of Indian Orthodox Herald having published many articles on theological and current issues in Orthodox Herald.
After consecration as Bishop, new Metropolitans, Dr Yulios and Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim embarked on their first tour abroad. Both of them visited Chicago, USA where they had served as Assistant Vicars at St Gregorios Orthodox Church, under the South-West American Diocese. The Oak Park church gave them a rousing reception and later they attended a three-day Family Conference at Milwaukee organized by the parish.
From November 4-20, Mar Yulios is scheduled to make his maiden visit to the Sultanate of Oman for the Muscat Church’s Annual Harvest with visits to St George Orthodox Church, Sohar and St Stephens Orthodox Church, Salalah, family house visits and meeting congregation.
Active on Facebook, he has used the popular social networking site to propagate Orthodoxy and its beliefs.
Dr Yulios has 334 friends on Facebook but now finds less time for updates. Interesting to note are his political and religious views which are moderate and of universal love and service.
Here’s wishing Dr Mar Yulios all the best as he steers the diocese in a new direction.
Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, the new Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, has appointed Liju Cherian from Muscat as his Personal Press Secretary.
Liju Cherian is a print media journalist of repute. Presently he is a senior journalist with the Oman Establishment for Press Publication and Advertising (OEPPA) group. He is also a regular contributor for church related events and news to Orthodox Herald, Indian Christian Orthodox Network and Malankara Orthodox TV.
Having wide experience in mainstream journalism spanning over a decade, he began his journalism days as a freelancer for the New Indian Express and The Times of India’s Bangalore editions. He began his career with Bangalore Eveninger, a daily eveninger from Bangalore and worked up the ladder with the Deccan Herald. He has worked as Sub Editor, Reporter, Feature Writer and Senior Sub Editor. He was the senior Correspondent with the Printers Mysore Group Ltd, which publishes the Deccan Herald, Prajavani publications, when he moved to the Sultanate of Oman.
Liju is the son of Chackizhathu Abraham Cherian from Chenganoor but settled in Bangalore for long and his home parish is St Marys Orthodox Valliapally, Jalahalli, Bangalore. In Muscat, he is a member of the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church which falls under the new Ahmedabad Diocese.