Demise of His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan
Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan
(April 27, 1918 – May 5, 2021)
The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church is deeply saddened by the demise of His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan. Thirumeni was taken to eternal rest to be with our Lord at 1:15 AM (IST) on May 5, 2021 at the Fellowship Mission Hospital, Kumbanad. His Grace Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan served as the Supreme Head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church as the 20th Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan from 1999-2007.
His Grace Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan was an outstanding personality with an inborn sense of humor. He was born in Adangappurath Kalamannil, a family of priestly tradition. He was born as Philip Oommen, the son of Very Rev. K. E. Oommen Kassessa, Vicar General of the Mar Thoma Church, and Sossamma of Nadukkeveetil family of Karthikappally on April 27th, 1918. Philip Oommen was known as Dharmistan at home. His character fully justified that name. Right from childhood, he accepted, as his life’s principle, to fully support the cause of justice and to lead an ethical and principled life. After schooling in Maramon, Kozhencherry, and Eraviperoor, he obtained BA Degree from Union Christian (UC) College, Alwaye.
His commitment to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ encouraged young Philip Oommen to be involved in missionary work in Ankola, Karnataka. After working there from 1940 to 1942, he began theological studies at United Theological College, Bangalore. He was ordained as a Deacon on January 1st, 1944 and as a Kasessa on June 3rd, 1944. Along with theological studies, he ministered in the Bangalore parish. After serving the Ankola Ashram, he served as Vicar of Kottarakkara, Mylom, Pattamala, Manganam St. Peters, and Thiruvananthapuram parishes.
Rev. Philip Oommen along with Rev. Dr. M. G. Chandy and Rev. P. Thomas were ordained as Rambans on May 20th, 1953 and as Episcopas on May 23rd, 1953. Rev. Philip Oommen was consecrated with the name Philipose Mar Chrysostom Episcopa. Thirumeni indeed proved that he richly deserved the name of St. Chrysostom for his golden tongue. He joined St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury, England to pursue further theological studies. On his return in 1954, he was given responsibility of Kottayam-Kunnamkulam Diocese and the Mar Thoma Vaideeka Seminary. During this period, Thirumeni represented the Mar Thoma Church in the Evanston Conference of the World Council of Churches.
When Thomas Mar Athanasius Episcopa completed his tenure as the Missionary Bishop, Mar Chrysostom took up this responsibility with his office and residence at Olivet Aramana, Chengannur. He played a pivotal role during this period to widen the mission activities of the Church by visiting the parishes, Ashrams and mission
centers outside Kerala, thereby giving fellowship and spiritual leadership to the people there. He paid special attention to the spiritual nourishment of youths as well.
On completion of service as the Missionary Bishop, he served as the Diocesan Episcopa of Adoor- Kottarakkara Diocese. During this period, he was the President of the Sevika Sanghom, Sunday School Samajam, and Kerala Christian Council. He was also the President of Christian Auxiliary for Social Action. In 1975, Thirumeni served once again as a Missionary Bishop and was the Diocesan Episcopa of Thiruvananthapuram–Kollam, Adoor–Mavelikkara, Ranni–Nilackal, and Chengannur–Thumpamon Dioceses thereafter. Thirumeni’s special concern for socially and economically disadvantaged parishes is note worthy. He formulated and implemented projects to improve the social, economic, and cultural condition of several parishes in South Travancore. He was in the Central Committee of the World Council of churches and president of Kerala Council of churches and many other ecumenical bodies.
Thirumeni was also instrumental in the formation of what is now known as the Diocese of North America and Europe. Chrysostom Thirumeni was the first Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of North America and United Kingdom which has thus expanded and grown in tremendous ways. It is also noteworthy to mention that during the tenure of Mar Chrysostom as the Diocesan Bishop, the Mar Thoma Literature Society began its ministry of distributing worship books, church publications, and Sunday School materials to parishes throughout the Diocese.
Thirumeni was designated as Suffragan Metropolitan on May 1st, 1978, Officiating Metropolitan on March 15th, 1999, and as Metropolitan on October 23rd, 1999. Thirumeni’s spiritual leadership and sense of direction has been a great blessing for the Church and society. Considering Thirumeni’s contributions to theology, Serampore University honored Thirumeni by awarding him a Doctorate Degree. He attended the 2nd Vatican Council summoned by Pope John XXIII as the official observer from the Mar Thoma Church.
Chrysostom Metropolitan was unparalleled in his touching style of speech, full of humorous statements, communicating his broad-minded love of humanity. After voluntarily retiring from administrative responsibilities of the Church on October 1st, 2007, Thirumeni was bestowed with the title of Valiya Metropolitan. Thirumeni continued to lead a very active life, reaching out not only to believers but also to those from various religious and cultural backgrounds.
On the occasion of Thirumeni’s 90th birthday, the Mar Thoma Church decided to build houses for 1,500 homeless people, and in connection with Thirumeni’s 100th birthday, the Church decided to construct 100 homes for the homeless and also implemented a project among transgender people, which itself was a unique and novel venture that had not been taken up by any other Christian churches in Kerala. On the eve of Republic Day in 2018, considering Thirumeni’s services to society, the nation of India decided to award Padma Bhushan to Thirumeni, and on March 20th, 2018, Mar Chrysostom received the award from the President of India, Sri. Ram Nath Kovind.
Let us praise and thank God for the life of Late Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan. The Mar Thoma Church will ever remember with gratitude the commendable and dedicated leadership of our beloved Valiya Metropolitan Thirumeni during the past seventy-seven years of priestly ministry. The Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Philoxenos, Clergy, Diocesan Council, Assembly Members, and members of all parishes in the Diocese of North America and Europe of the Mar Thoma Church, express our heartfelt condolences.
On behalf of the Diocesan Council,
Rev. Aju Abraham
Mar Thoma Church, Diocese of North America & Europe
The Mar Thoma Church in the North American and European continent represents the dreams and aspirations of the faithful members of the Church.
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