Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilos
We are commemorating the 15th Death Anniversary of late lamented Dr.Philipose Mar Theophilus on September 28th, who was the former metropolitan of Bombay and Ankamaly dioceses and served as the President of MGOCSM for more than 30 years.His Grace was known as the Foreign Minster or Ambasidor of Malankara Church, and served our church in different capabilities such as Old Seminary Principal, Inter church relation committee chairman of our church etc…His Grace was man of definite vision, mission and commitment and helped our Church become the present status.Here I am trying to a detailed life history of His Grace.
1.Childhood and Academics
Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilose Metropolitan was born on 9 May 1911 as the sixth son of Korah and Mariamma of Kallupurakkal, Puthanangadi, Kottayam. He took his B.A degree from Cochin Maharaja’s College. He studied M.A in St.Augustine of Canterbury in England, T.H.M in Cardiff University, UK, and D.D from Harward University in Chicago, USA.
4. Priestly Ministry and Ordinations
He became as a deacon in 1929, received from St.Vattasseril Mar Dionysius Metropolitan and anointed as a priest in 1944 by His Holiness Baselios Geevarghese II, the Catholicos of the East. On 24 August 1966, at Kolencherry His Holiness Baselios Augen Catholicose consecrated Philipose Mar Theophilos as Metropolitan.
3. Metropolitan of Ankamali Diocese
Then he was appointed as the head of the Ankamali Diocese. Many new schools, orphanages, hospitals etc. were started by him. He laid stones for hospitals at Kothamangalam, Chalad, and Pothanicad. Self employment projects for poor and School for blind at Alwaye were some of his ambitious projects in Ankamali.
3. Metropolitan of Bombay
On 1979 February 1 he took over the charge of Mumbai Diocese too. He initially established his headquarters near St. Gregorios Church, Chembur in Mumbai before moving out in the year 1988 to the present headquarters at the Orthodox Church Centre, Vashi, Navi Mumbai. This Diocese was spread over the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, a tail portion of Karnataka, Bahrain, Qatar and Suadi Arabia. Three years back a portion of Gujarat separated from Bombay and become the part of Ahmedbad Diocese and Goa was attached to Brahmawar Diocese.At the same year on October 5 His Grace took initiative to transfer the Holy Relics of Blessed Alvares mar Julius Metropolitan from the secluded corner of St. Inez Cemetery to the St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Ribander in Goa.
4. The Architect of Old Seminary.
He served as the Principal of the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam (Old Seminary). And he was the architect of the revamped Seminary.During His Grace period as the Pricipal, the Seminary entered its modern period. A systematized course of studies was introduced. A new generation of qualified professors of theology and biblical studies took responsibility for running the Seminary. Classes and students’ residence were moved to the new buildings in the campus of the M.D. Seminary at Kottayam. When the Catholicos moved his residence from the Old Seminary to the present Devalokam, theological education was once again brought back to the “Old Syrian Seminary “. In 1964 the Seminary became affiliated to the Serampore University for its B.D. degree course. 1965, the 150th year of its founding, was celebrated on a grand scale in the presence of ecclesiastical dignitaries and church leaders from abroad.
5. As the President of MGOCSM
The Metropolitan ministered among student Community as the President of the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Students Movement (MGOCSM).His Grace period Presidential period is known as the Golden Period of MGOCSM. In his tenure, His Grace established student centres at Trivandrum, Kothamangalam and Alwaye.This helped the movement to become self-sufficient. His Grace also started a Charitable project Mar Gregorios Rehabiliation Centre for the blind under the banner of MGOCSM. It is very pleasant see that two of his diciples and coworkers of MGOCSM became the Metropolitans of our Church. Fr.George Kurian, who was the Warden of Student Centre Trivandrum, and former General Secretary of MGOCSM, elevated to the position of Metropolitan under the name Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, and became His Grace successor in Bombay Diocese.H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos is the present president of MGOCSM. Fr.Dr.M.C.Cherian , who was the warden and General Secretary of MGOCSM, became Dr.Zachariah Mar Theophilus, and at present His Grace is the Metropolitan of Malabar Diocese.
6.As the Ambassador of the Malankara Church and his works in Ecumenical Field.
Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilos was known as the Ambassador of the Malankara Orthodox Church during his life time. Mar Theophilos was one of the one of the associated with the founding of the World Christian Council (WCC). He worked as Secretary of Faith and Order division and central committee member of the WCC. He was the first person from the rank and file of WCC to visit eastern orthodox churches, which bore fruit when those churches took WCC’s membership. Dr.Mar.Theophilos was highly honored by Eastern Orthodox churches. He was the only one special invitee to attend the selection of His Holiness Peeman Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church. He was given a grand honor when he was invited to attend the Republic day parade of Romania as chief guest along with Romanian President and Romanian Patriarch.
I am very blessed because I got many opportunities to closely interact with Valiya Thirumeni during my MGOCSM Days…I am one of His Grace last appointee as the office bearer of MGOCSM. His Grace appointed me as the regional Secretary of MGOCSM, Trivandrum, in the first week of September, when His Grace was spending his last days in Kolencherry Hospital. I continued in that post till May 2001. H.G.Philipose mar Theophilos passed away on 28 September 1997 and was laid to rest in Thrikunnath Seminary, Aluva in Kerala.