With great grief and sorrow we inform the news of the sad demise of His Grace Job Mar Philoxenos, the Bishop of Delhi Diocese of the Indian Orthodox Church (Malankara Orthodox Church). He was 72 years.
He attained his heavenly abode at 7.00 am as he breathed his last at the Kolencherry Medical Mission Hospital after a prolonged illness resulting from renal failure. The Bishop was admitted to Kolencherry hospital in September this year for undergoing further treatment.
His Grace was the second Bishop of the Delhi Diocese ever since it was formed in 1975. In 1993, because of kidney failure, he had to undergo kidney transplantation. Despite his inclement health, on account of the operation, he performed his duties as Bishop of Delhi in an efficient and able manner. Blessed with a melodious voice, his renditions of Orthodox worship songs recorded in CDs and cassettes have been popularly received.
His Grace was born on May 8, 1939 in the Kanianthra family in Kerala and was the sixth son of late K.C. Thomas, Arumapettiyil. Even though Kanianthra family had 13 priests before his time, His Grace Job Mar Philoxenos was the first to become a Bishop.
Born in an illustrious family, Thirumeni was the grand nephew of late H.H. Baselios Mar Geevarghese II, the Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox church. His mother was the daughter of Bava Thirumeni’s brother Late Mr. Philipose.
His Grace got his primary education at St. John’s School, Mepral (Kerala), and PMV School, Peringara. At the age of 16, he joined as a novice in “Mount Tabor Dayara” founded by His Grace Thoma Mar Divanasios at Pathanapuram. He was ordained as a Deacon on May 26, 1956 by his grand uncle, H.H. Baselios Mar Geevarghese II himself.
In 1962 he was ordained as a full deacon at Parumala and on May 11, 1972 as a priest. He continued with his studies and acquired Masters degree in English Literature from St. Joseph’s College Trichy. In 1969, he was appointed as a lecturer at St. Stephen’s college, Pathanapuram, administered by the Dayara. He steadily rose up in ranks to head the Department of English and later became the Vice-Principal of the College.
This celebate priest was appointed as Vicar of St. John’s Orthodox Church, Mepral (Kerala) from 1974 onwards. On week days, he taught in College. Every Saturday he made it a habit to visit Mepral and conduct the Holy Qurbana at his home parish. He stayed in a room specially constructed for him at Padinjarae Veetil. He took an active interest in the welfare of his congregation.
In 1989, the Malankara Association elected him as a Bishop of the Church. He was then installed as a Ramban on March 31, 1990 at St. Peters & St. Pauls Orthodox Church, Parumala. Consequently, he was ordained a Bishop of the Malankara Orthodox Church (also known as Indian Orthodox Church) on April 30, 1991 at Parumala Church. Delhi Diocese was his first assignment where he was appointed as Assistant Metropolitan. He took full charge of the Diocese after his predecessor Late His Grace Dr Paulos Mar Gregorios attained heavenly abode on November 24, 1996.
He was elevated as Metropolitan on August 27, 2002 at Devalokam, Kottayam (Kerala) by Catholicos His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II. His Sundhroneeso (Enthronment) as metropolitan of Delhi Diocese was held on December 29, 2002 at St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Hauz Khas at Delhi.
His tenure as Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese witnessed a meteoric rise in the growth of the Church in Northern India. The Church established many schools and hospitals during this time and five churches were opened in the National Capital and its vicinity.
His most significant contribution was to make the memory of his predecessor H.G Paulos Mar Gregorios immortal by organizing the Paulos Mar Gregorios Memorial Award. The recipients of the award have been eminent national and international personalities including His Holiness Dalai Lama, social activist Baba Amte, Father of White revolution V Kurien, Arya Vaidya Shala Kottakal founder PK Warrier, and statesman Karan Singh.
Thirumeni gave lead and mentorship to the Shantigram Social Service Project in District Mandavar, Haryana where the Church has established a school and medical clinic. Recently, under his guidance a self-help group for the womenfolk of Mandavar village was inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at a grand function organized at Thyagraja Stadium early this year.
Giving wings to the dream of Late H.G. Paulos Mar Gregorios, he started construction of a Retreat Centre at Aravalli Hills in District Sohna, Haryana, which now is popularly known as Shanti Giri Ashram. The first medical mission of the Orthodox Church in the heart of the Capital was established at Aaya Nagar on April 2, 2001 under Thirumeni’s leadership.
Thirumeni was a revolutionary in many aspects and this was evident from several decisions he took during his tenure. His vision to cater to the needs of the outside Kerala youngsters and families led him to give shape to the Indian Orthodox Diaspora Movement, which later emerged as a full-fledged spiritual organization, besides the Sunday School, MGOCSM, Martha Mariam Samajam, AMOSS and Orthodox Christian Youth Movement.
History was again created when Thirumeni brought women in the Church to the forefront giving approval for inducting young women of the Church into the Youth League. To encourage their participation in Sunday worship, Thirumeni issued an order allowing girls to read the Old Testament reading before the start of Qurbana.
Thirumeni was ahead of his times in every sense. He was instrumental in opening the Internet as a means to connect to millions of Orthodox believers across the world in an attempt to clear their doubts on issues of faith, Under his cheerful spirit and joyful face he always hid the pain and sorrow of his illness. Even in testing times, he conveyed his views on raging social and moral issues such as homosexuality, attack on Christians and need for world peace. As a strenuous worker of peace and unity among all religions, all Christian denominations and other religions condole the loss of a great soul. Together with them, each member of the Indian Orthodox Church join in this solemn moment.
Press release-Delhi Diocese