His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan
Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan was born in the Maramon Palakunnath family which was the ancestral home of the father of the reformation of the Malankara Church, Abraham Malpan and the first four Metropolitans of the Mar Thoma Church. He was born on 27th June 1931 as the son of Puthoor Mariamma and Lukochen who was the son of Palakunnath Kadon Thomachen, elder brother of Titus II, Mar Thoma Metropolitan. The childhood was formulated in the context of a very noble tradition. After school education in Kozhencherry St. Thomas High School he graduated from Union Christian College Alwaye. Having dedicated himself to serving the Church he passed Bachelor of Divinity degree from United Theological College, Bangalore. He was ordained Deacon on 29th June 1957 and Kasessa on 18th October 1957.
He served as Vicar of Ranni, Kozhikode, Kundara, Madras and Thiruvananthapuram Parishes. As the Church deputed him, he served as the travelling secretary of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association for a few years during a crisis in the organization. He got Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees after higher education in Virginia Seminary, Oxford and Canterbury St. Augustin Colleges.
The Sabha Prathinidhi Mandalam in its meeting in November 1974 selected him as Episcopa. He was ordained Ramban along with Rev. V.T. Koshy at Trissur Mar Thoma Church on 11th January 1975. Joseph Ramban was ordained Joseph Mar Iraneus Episcopa on 8th February 1975 at the temporary Madbaha in the courtyard of SC Seminary, Thiruvalla. He was given charge of Kollam – Kottarakara Diocese. He did his utmost for the overall development of the Diocese. At the same time he gave good leadership as the President of Sunday School Samajam, President of Yuvajana Sakhyam, Chairman Development Committee and President of Kerala Christian Council. During the second half of the seventies as the head of Sunday School and Yuvajana Sakhyam he was able to introduce VBS and cassette ministry respectively. Next he was in charge of outside Kerala Parishes and prepared the path for the development of the church in those regions. He was instrumental in acquiring property in Delhi, Bombay and Madras to establish Church centres there. He gave leadership to procure land from the Government to establish churches outside Kerala in Delhi, Hyderabad and Vishakhapatanam. Later he was appointed as the head of the Thiruvananthapuram – Kollam Diocese. He took special care to start Anchal ITC, student centres at Sasthamkotta and Pandalam and to register South Travancore Agency for Rural Development (STARD) for the developmental activities of South Travancore.
In 1988 he took charge of Thiruvananthapuram – Kollam Diocese again. In consequence of the unexpected demise of Easow Mar Timotheos Episcopa he had to take charge of Bombay – Delhi Diocese also along with the responsibilities of the Diocese for some years. He organized the starting of Ayoor Mar Thoma College of Science and Technology after procuring land near MC Road for the Diocese. He was the first Manager. He played a pivotal role in the development activities of Thiruvananthapuram St. Thomas Residential School.
A student centre was started in Nagarcoil. Thiruvananthapuram guidance and counselling centre was completed after settling the liabilities. The liabilities of the Women’s Centre started in Neyyattinkara also was settled. He concentrated in the completion of the construction work of the Auditorium in Kottarakara, the construction of the wards of the Mandiram and the building construction of Hospice. When the Sevika Sanghom handed over the Punalur Boys’ Home it was taker over. As president of the Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom for four years he gave leadership of its activities.
As Vice-President and President of the National Council of Churches he gave good leadership. He led the joint protest marches at Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi against the denial of justice to Dalit Christians on the basis of religious faith. He served as the Board member, Vice-President and President of Christian Auxiliary for Social Action. He provided good leadership to provide relief to earth quake, flood victims and rehabilitation activities in Lathur of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and during Tsunami in South India. He served also as the Trustee Board member of Ecumenical Church Loan Fund. He was the Executive Committee member and senior member of the presidium of Christian Conference of Asia(CCA). He worked as the Co-chairman of the Joint Committee of CCA and Asian Bishops Conference. During this period he served as member of the Peace Mission in the context of the tension in Nagaland, Manipur and East Timor. He attended the Lambeth Conference in England and the Anglican Consultant Committees held in South Africa and Hong Kong. He took part in the World Council of Churches (WCC) Assemblies in Canberra, Harare, Porto Aligrae and Busan in Korea. He attended and spoke as special invitee in the Conference of world religions held at UN. General Assembly Hall organized by the UN General Secretary. The Mayors of California and New York Yonkers in the US have honoured him by presenting Awards of Honor.
He has worked as the President of the Governing Council of St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry, Christian College, Chengannur, Mar Thoma College for Women, MBA College, School Governing Board and Mar Thoma Teachers Training College, Perumbavoor. He was in-charge of Adoor- Mavelikkara Diocese from August 1997. He took the initiative to start nursing schools in Kattanam and Hoskote. His service to organise the Maramon Convention officially and unofficially in the past and at present is commendable. As a man of unique ability to lead Thirumeni pays special attention to the construction activities of the Church. He worked as Chairman of the Sabha Auditorium Fund Committee and gave leadership to collect 84 lakhs. As Chairman he directed the re-publishing of Mar Thoma Vaideeka Directory. In recognition of the distinguished leadership in various fields the Virginia Seminary of America honoured him with a Doctorate. Moreover a second doctorate was bestowed on him by the Serampore University on 10th February 2007 taking into account Thirumeni’s activities in the Church and society. A third Doctorate to honour him was awarded to him by SHIATS (Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences) Deemed University (Formerly Allahabad Agriculture University) in recognition of his total contribution in the social field.
He was consecrated as the Supreme Head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church on 2nd October 2007. In the words of Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan, Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan is noble in heredity, rich in self acquired abilities, well versed in relations, able and talented in construction work and blessed in leadership.
In connection with the 80th Birthday of Metropolitan, Church inaugurated Snehakaram project for the critically ill Cancer\Kidney and Heart Patients irrespective of the Cast and Creed. Every year the Church is disbursing about 50 lakhs rupees for the same.
On 2020 October 18, Tirumeni was taken into Eternal Rest at 2:38 AM at Believers Church Medical College Hospital, Tiruvalla. The Funeral Service was held at Mar Thoma Church Head Quarters, Tiruvalla on 19-10-2020.