H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II – Jul 12 I (1946 – 2021)
His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was born on 30th August 1946 in a village called Mangad near Kunnamkulam, Trissur District, Kerala as the son of the late Kollannur Iype and the late Kunjeetty, who hails from the famous family of Pulikkottil. Paul was baptized at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Pazhanji, named Paul after his grandfather. The boy K. I. Paul had his early education in local schools, groomed by his parents and grandparents. Paul had his LP and UP education at Mangad schools.
He had his secondary education at Govt. H. S. Pazhanji. From his childhood Paul showed keen interest in spiritual matters. Paul attended Church services regularly and became an altar boy at a young age. His uncle Iyyukkutty also had inspired him for the priestly services. The affection bestowed by him encouraged Paul and inspired him to dedicate himself for clerical services. His, parish church, St. Marys Orthodox church was the nerve centre of his spiritual growth. At the age of 13, he was selected by his parish priest to be vast in the ‘washing of feet’ service celebrated by H G Paulose Mar Severios Metropolitan. This marked a turning point in the life of young Paul when the metropolitan invited him to the priesthood. The influence of his parents especially that of his mother who hails from the famous Pulikkottil family played a great role in moulding his early life. Even from his childhood, he learned Syriac chants and prayers and was very keen in attending the Church service.
Paul moved to the city of Trissur for his pre-university and undergraduate studies at St. Thomas college. He graduated, doing B.Sc. in Physics from St. Thomas College, Trichur in flying colours. His call was strengthened while studying for the degree and was an active member of MGOCSM unit in his Church. Paul joined the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, in 1969 from where he obtained G.S.T and B.D. degrees of the Serampore University. Paul enrolled at the Theological Seminary in Kottayam for his theological studies under the discipleship of Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, Fr. T J Abraham Malpan, and Fr. Koruthu Malapan. After taking the holy orders, he joined C.M.S College, Kottayam and took his M.A in Sociology. Young Paul joined the Orthodox Theological Seminary from where he secured GST and took BD from the Serampore University.
H G the late Yuhanon Mar Severios, Metropolitan of Kochi diocese ordained him as sub deacon at Parumala seminary on 8th April 1972 and as deacon at Sion seminary, Koratty on 31st May 1973. He was ordained as priest by H G the late Yuhanon Mar Severios at Sion Seminary, Koratty on 2nd June 1973. Fr K I Paul celebrated his fist Holy Qurbana at Mar Gregorius Orthodox Chapel Mangad. Fr Paul served as a model shepherd of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church Ernakulam, Moolepat Orthodox Church Pazhanji, St. Marys Magdalene Convent Adappotty, Kummanmkulam and Medical College Chapel Kottayam.
The Malankara Syrian Christian association held at MGM Thiruvalla on December 28th 1982, elected Fr Paul as metropolitan. H G the late Mathews Mar Coorilos (HH Moran Mar Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II) professed him Ramban on 14 May 1983 at Parumala Seminary. At the young age of 36, the Malankara Syrian Christian Association elected Fr. K. I. Paul as Bishop. He is the first Metropolitan after Parumala Thirumeni and Puthenkavil Geevarghese Mar Philoxenos to be ordained to Bishopric below age of 40. On 15th May 1985, he was consecrated as Episcopa with the new name Paulose Mar Milithios. Subsequently, His Grace was elevated as the first Metropolitan of the newly formed Kunnamkulam diocese on 1st August 1985. Four other Bishops, Mathews Mar Epiphanius, Philipose Mar Eusebious[JV1] Geevarghese Mar Ivanios and Thomas Mar Athanasius were also ordained along with Mar Milithios. A new diocese for the Church, Kunnamkulam was formed on 14 April 1985 with some of the churches of Talappally Taluk of Kochi diocese and some neighbouring churches.
The newly ordained Bishop Mar Milithios was appointed as the Diocesan Metropolitan of the newly formed diocese of Kunnamkulam. When he took over the charge on 1 Aug 1985, there was no diocesan headquarters or any Aramana. Initially the new Metropolitan lived in an annexed room of Arthat Church. With determined efforts and cooperation of his fellow believers of his diocese he was able to construct a beautiful diocesan centre with a chapel in the vicinity of Arthat Church for Kunnamkulam diocese within five years.
The Malankara Syrian Christian Association held at Parumala on 12th October 2006 unanimously elected His Grace Paulose Mar Milithios Metropolitan as the Catholicos Designate and the successor to the Malankara Metropolitan. On 1st November 2010, following the abdication of his predecessor, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymus I. His Grace Paulose Mar Milithios Metropolitan was enthroned as the Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan with the new name His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II. Incidentally, Kunnamkulam which is a stronghold of the Orthodox Community in Kerala has given birth to three Malankara Metropolitans including the reigning Catholicos. His Holiness’ illustrious Predecessors Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius II and Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius V were towering personalities who contributed much to making the Malankara Church what it is today.
H G Paulose Mar Milithios had the privileged of becoming the first bishop of newly formed Kunnamkulam diociese on 1st August 1985. His Grace was elevated as Metropolitan on 25th Oct 1991. besides shepherding the kunnamkulam dioceses His Grace serves as the president of Orthodox Syrian Sunday School Association of the East (OSSAE), MBCH Mannapra Vadavucode, Pulikottil Mar Divannasius Bhavan Kottapady. His Grace is the vice president of Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement of India, MMM hospital, Kunnamkulam and manager of M. D. College Pazhanji. His grace has also served as the president of the Orthodox Youth Movement.
His Grace was enthroned as the Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan (the Supreme Head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India) on Monday, 1st November 2010 and as the 91st Primate on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas and 21st Malankara Metropolitan in the lineage of Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitans
It was His Holiness’ keen interest that the Church should have effective and meaningful Inter-Church relations. It is with this emphasis that His Holiness has already finished journeying to all the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Once in this short span of time as Catholicos, he has already had meetings with all the present heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The fraternal relations with the sister Churches too have been given prime importance. The meeting with the present Pope of the Catholic Church has enhanced the bilateral relations between the two Churches. His Holiness’ unassuming character and his philanthropic interests gave new dimensions to the life of the Church. He has authored a few devotional and contemplative books in Malayalam.
Bawa Thirumeni was much-loved personality, a very genuine spiritual leader and was a great source of support to the destitute and the poor for whom he executed many a service scheme. A great humanitarian, he was a votary of social justice and equality. This was amply evident when the Malankara Metropolitan broke age-old traditions by allowing women equal participation in the administration of the Church and the community too. He went a step ahead when in 2011 he granted women voting rights along with their male counterparts in all parishes of the Church. The Catholicos was a symbol of change with his contemporary moves and courage of conviction. He served and tirelessly toiled in the Lord’s Vineyard. Born to lead, he led the Church, faithfully and vigorously, with God given wisdom and heavenly devotion.
His Holiness, Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II passed away in the Lord, at the age of 74, at 2:35 am on Monday, July 12, 2021. The funeral services was held on Tuesday, 13 July 2021 at the Catholicate Palace chapel in Devalokam in Kottayam, where his body lies interred.