Remembering our Valiya Thirumeni
An Article Compiled by: Rincy Raju, Ahemedbad
28th September – Remembering our Valiya Thirumeni- His Grace Dr Philipose Mar Theophilus Metropolitan of blessed memory (Diocese of Bombay : 1979-1997).His Grace Dr Philipose Mar Theophilus Metropolitan of blessed memory, the Ambassador of the Malankara Orthodox Church, reserves a special place in the hearts of those who are/were associated with MGOCSM.
Born in 1911 as the sixth son of Korah and Mariamma of Kallupurakkal, Puthanangadi, Kottayam ; he pursued his education from Indian and International universities. Became as a deacon in 1929 and was anointed as a priest in 1944. He was consecrated as a Metropolitan on 24th August 1966 by His Holiness Baselios Augen I Catholicose of blessed memory and was appointed to shepherd the diocese of Angamaly (Kerala). In 1979, he took over the charge of Diocese of Mumbai too.
His Grace Zacharias Mar Theophilus Metropolitan (Malabar Diocese) in one of his sermons fondly remembered that when His Grace Philipose Mar Theophilus Thirumeni was chosen as Bishop, Thirumeni had said “my name is Philipose which means lover of horse and now God has elevated me to be Theophilus which means lover of God.”
Establishing contacts with sister Orthodox Churches, working towards the ecumenical movement, ministering the youngsters through MGOCSM, Mar Theophilus was truly the global envoy of the Indian Orthodox Church and a bishop loved by one and all. He also had served as the Principal of the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam.
Below is an excerpt of an article written by none other than the Gregory of India- His Grace Dr Paulos Mar Gregorios of blessed memory (on the occasion of Theophilus Thirumeni’s 75th birthday):
‘A Tribute to my Elder Brother’- Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorius Metropolitan
Many people abroad have asked me: “Is Mar Theophilos your brother?”. I usually reply: “yes, he is my elder brother.” Some people take me literally. Then I tell them that all Orthodox bishops are my brothers. People are often surprised that Theophilos Thirumeni and I are not really blood brothers. They say that we look like brothers.
Theophilos Thirumeni is my elder brother in at least three ways. First of all as a bishop senior to me.
Secondly, when I first came back from my studies in America in 1954, more than thirty years ago, I was a layman, while Fr. K. Philipos was already a priest. Philipos Achen became a kind of spiritual mentor and pastor to Mr. Paul Verghese. Achen was at Cheriaapally those days, and I was at the Alwaye Fellowship House.
We worked together on many projects of importance to our Church and to the ecumenical movement. Achen’s deep loyalty to our Church and his genuine ecumenical spirit made a great impression on me, and I developed an affection and respect for Philipos Achen who became an elder brother for me from that time.
Thirdly, I am grateful to Theophilos Thirumeni as my elder brother in the building of our Church’s relations with other Churches. He was particularly a pioneer in building up our relationships with the churches of Eastern Europe, with the Serbian Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, with the Romanian Orthodox Church and with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church he built up very good friendly relations. The old leaders of these Churches still speak with great appreciation of the person of Fr. Korah Philipos. It was on the foundation that he had built, that I was in turn able to develop relationships of a somewhat different kind.
He was also my elder brother in the World Council of Churches; he served on the central Committee of the World Council of Churches during the period when I was working as Associate General Secretary in Geneva and right up to 1968 when I had replaced him. I was never able to win as many friends for our Church as he was during his period on the Central Committee.
His personality is so much more affable and friendly than mine can ever be. Besides I have often been outspoken to the point of rudeness, and instead of winning friends have probably alienated many people. So in this sense too Theophilos Thirumeni had done a great service to our Church by winning many friends.”
O Theophilus Thirumeni- the lover of God, keep us, your spiritual children, in your prayers when you supplicate unceasingly before the Lord Almighty!
“May those feet that cleanly trod,
Keeping pure Thy holy place,
Tread the courts of paradise,
And with angels ever abide.” (Liturgical hymn commemorating the departed clergy)
Reference: Compiled from various sources; the article of His Grace Paulos Mar Gregorios Thirumeni of blessed memory referenced from ‘Philipose Mar Theophilose- Jeevitham, Darsanam, Anubhavam’; Edited by- Paul Manalil, May 2011, Published by MGOCSM Bookshop and Publishing House, Kottayam.
(Snaps from Vashi Aramana (Bishop’s House- Diocese of Bombay) showcasing the life and times, articles, vestments of Thirumeni)