The 14th of November, 2020, marks a unique place in the annals of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar as the day when the Most Rev. Dr Theodosius Mar Thoma Metropolitan was installed as the 22nd Mar Thoma at the specially consecrated Madbaha of the Dr Alexander Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan Smaraka Auditorium in Tiruvalla.
This Madbaha was consecrated on the 13th of November at 6 PM by the Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios Metropolitan of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church of Thozhiyoor in the presence of all the Bishops of the Mar Thoma Church (Click here to view the dedication service of Madbaha).
On the day of the new Metropolitan’s installation, the service commenced at 8AM with the celebration of the Holy Qurbana, by the Senior-most Episcopa, the Rt. Rev. Dr Euyakim Mar Coorilos. The Holy Qurbana started with a prayerful procession from the Chapel at Poolatheen to the consecrated Madbaha consisting of the Sabha Council Members, the Clergy in white cassock, the Clergy adorning the kappa, the Office Bearers of the Church, the Bishops of our Church and sister churches, the Vicar-General holding the Episcopal Staff of the celebrant and lastly followed by the Metropolitan designate, Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius Suffragan Metropolitan. The whole congregation rose as a mark of reverence as the procession entered the hall. The other Episcopas of our Church, Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas, Rt. Rev Thomas Mar Timotheos, Rt Rev Dr Isaac Mar Philoxenos, Rt Rev Dr Abraham Mar Paulos, Rt Rev Dr Mathews Mar Makarios, Rt Rev Dr Gregorios Mar Stephanos, Rt Rev Dr Thomas Mar Theethos and the other Metropolitans and Bishops blessed the service throughout. The Epistle portion from the Bible was read by Mr Christin Issac Solomon, while Rev. Rovin Varughese John assisted throughout the service. The sermon was led by the Rt Rev Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa who highlighted the mighty ways in which Almighty God led our Church throughout the centuries and also reminded that now was the time of re-dedication as a faith community before God (The sermon can be downloaded from here).
After the song Daiva Suthar..,.that was sung later, the Installation Service began. The Most Rev. Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan exalted the service with his devout presence (The worship order can be downloaded from here). As the faithful community around the globe piously prayed for the new Metropolitan, the Sabha Secretary read the desire of the Church to elevate the Rt. Rev. Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius Suffragan Metropolitan as the new Mar Thoma Metropolitan and thereafter invited His Grace to be seated on the Malankara Throne. Then the Crown (Mudi) of the Mar Thoma Metropolitan and the Staff (Amsavadi) were given to the new Metropolitan who was then named Theodosius Mar Thoma being elevated to be the new Metropolitan shepherding upon the Holy Apostolic See of St. Thomas. As a mark of recognition and acceptance of the new Metropolitan of the Church, the Metropolitan sitting on the Throne was lifted thrice by the clergy and the faith community said aloud oxios thrice meaning ‘He is Worthy and Good’. After this, the Metropolitan read aloud the Gospel portion of St. John 10:1-5 & 11-15. Thereafter the other Bishops greeted the new Metropolitan sharing the kiss of peace and the Metropolitan blessed the office bearers of the Church and Sr. Mariamma of Sanyasini Samooham with his Kaimuthu.
His Grace the Metropolitan in his speech that followed reminded the role of the Church as the called-out community, which is to actively engage in the society equipping it to face the challenges of the common people (The speech and its translation can be read here). After the sermon, the Holy Communion was led and fulfilled by the new Mar Thoma Metropolitan.
At 11:30 AM a felicitation meeting was arranged to felicitate our Metropolitan, which was inaugurated by H.B. Mar George Cardinal Alencherry (the Major Arch Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church). The felicitations were given by the following revered dignitaries: H.B. Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II Catholicose (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church – via Video), Most Rev. Dr P. C. Singh (Moderator CNI- via Video), H.B. Moran Mor Cardinal Baselious Cleemis Catholicos (Arch Bishop, Syro Malankara Catholic Church), Most Rev Dr Dharmaraj Rasalam (Moderator CSI – Via Video), Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselious Metropolitan (Malabar Independent Syrian Church, Thozhiyoor), Most. Rev Dr Joseph Mar Gregorios Metropolitan (Metropolitan Trustee of Jacobite Syrian Church), Most Rev Kuriakose Mor Severios Metropolitan (Arch Bishop, Knanaya Syrian Church), Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitan (Diocese of Mumbai, Malankara Orthodox Church), Dr Mathews George Chunakkara (General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia), Dr Jim Winkler (President- National Council of Churches of Christ, USA – via video), Prof. P. J. Kurien (Former Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha), Shri. Anto Antony (Member of Parliament), Adv. Mathew T. Thomas (Member of Kerala Legislative Assembly), Dr Usha Titus IAS ( Principal Secretary of Higher Education Department), Shri. R. Jayakumar (Municipal Chairman, Tiruvalla), Dr A. P. John (Former Principal, Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla), and Mr Kishore Jagatrao Wankhade (Representing Mission Field). The felicitation messages of The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan (Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala) were read by the Sabha Secretary to the audience.
The Rev. Thomas C. Alexander, Clergy Trustee presented the “Felicitation Deed” Mangalapathram (can be viewed here) along with Mr P. P. Achankunju who then presented the memento of the Church. The opening and closing prayers were led by Rt. Rev. Dr Abraham Mar Paulos Episcopa and Rt. Rev. Dr Mathews Mar Makarios Episcopa respectively. In the reply speech His Grace the Most Rev Dr Theodosius Mar Thoma Metropolitan remembered with gratitude the abundant mercy of the Lord, thanked the people for their presence and sought their prayers into the future.
Members of the Department of Sacred Music and Communications (DSM&C) formed the choir leading the services with hymns in unison. The programme reached over four lakh people around the globe., blessing everyone with peace, hope and assurance.