158th dukrono of Cheppaud Mor Dionysius IV ((Malankara Metropolitan 1825 – 1852)


After the death of Mor Dionysius III in 1825, Pallipattu (Cheppaud) Philipose Malpano was ordained as Metropolitan Mor Dionysius IV for the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church by Mor Pheloxenose of Thozhyur. Initially like his predecessors, he too tried to compromise with the British.

As the British missionaries got more and more involved in the church activities, the metropolitan at the Pazhaya seminary, Kottayam and other leaders of the church started to feel their involvement irritating. More over, some prominent priests, who were teaching at the Seminary asked for “reformation” of the church from the ancient traditions and practices. They did have some followers too.

The church did not agree to make any kind of changes or compromises, instead suspended some of those priests from The Church. At this time, the Metropolitan of Malankara got rid of the CMS missionaries from Pazhaya Seminary.

In 1836, January 16, the Malankara Church convened a Synod at Mavelikara, by then The Malankara Metropolitan Cheppaud Mor Dionysius and it openly and officially declared the acceptance of the Supremacy of Antiochian Patriarch and rite. Which is known as “Mavelikara Padiyola”.

In the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost the one true God, Padiyola (agreement) drawn up in the year of our Lord 1836 corresponding 5th Makarom 1011 at the church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of Lord at Mavelikara, between Mar Dionyosious Metropolitan of the Jacobite Syrian Church of Malankarai subject to the supremacy of Mar Ignatius Patriarch, the Father of Fathers, and the Chief of Chiefs ruling the throne of St. Peter of Antioch, the mother of all Churches and his successor Mar Kurilos, and the vicars, priests and parishioners of Ankamali and other churches under the charge of the said Metropolitan

That whereas an interview held at Kottayam between the Rt. Rev. Daniel, Lord Bishop of Calcutta and the Metropolitan, in Vrischikam last, it was proposed by the former that certain changes should be introduced in the Liturgies and ordinances of our Syrian Church and whereas it was stated in reply that a conference of all the churches would be held on the subject and its determination made known, we the Jacobite Syrians being subject to the supremacy of the Patriarch of Antioch and observing as we do the Liturgies and ordinance instituted by the prelates sent under his command, cannot deviate from such Liturgies and ordinances and maintain a discipline contrary thereto, and a man of one persuasion being not authorized to preach and admonish in the church of another following a different persuasion without the permission of the respective Patriarchs, we cannot permit the same to be done against us, and our churches being built by the aid of the prelates sent under the order of the Patriarch and on the wishes of the people of each parish and ornamented by their money, and as the accounts of the annual income according to our churches under the head of voluntary contributions offerings etc, are as required by the rules furnished to our bishops, as is the custom in the churches of Antioch as well as in the churches of this and other countries following different persuasions we are without the power, and feel disinclined, to follow and cause to be followed a different procedure from the above

That the Honorable Colonel Macaulay having taken a loan of 3000 star pagodas from (Valia) great Mar Dionysius who died in 983, gave him a bond for the same. The interest on the amount having fallen in arrears, Mar Dionysius Metropolitan who died in 992 made a representation to Col. Munro and received the interest with which he (Dionysius) built the Seminary at Kottayam. Having also collected at the Seminary the money brought by the prelates that had come here from Antioch and the property left by the late Bishops of the Pakalomattom family, Mar Dionysius laid out a portion of this together with the donation made by HIS HIGHNESS THE MAHARAJA on behalf of the Syrian Christian Youths, on Kanom and therewith met the expense of their education. The Reverend the missionaries who have come down to Kottayam, in their profuse benevolence taught the youth at the Seminary, English and other languages, protected our children like loving fathers, caused books to be printed for the benefit of all classes, rendered all necessary help in maintaining the prevailing discipline of the Syrian Church caused the annual interest due, to be drawn on the receipt of the Metropolitan, had superintendence over the affairs of the Seminary and caused ordination to be made agreeable to the request of the people and the power of the prelates. While affairs were being thus conducted the Missionaries took to managing the Seminary without consulting the Metropolitan, themselves expended the interest money drawn annually on the receipt of the Metropolitan, dispersed the deacons instructed in the Seminary, conducted affairs in opposition to the discipline of the church and created dissensions amongst us, all of which have occasioned much sorrow and vexation. For this reason we do (would) not follow any faith or teaching other than the Orthodox faith of the Jacobite Syrian Christians, to the end, that we may obtain salvation through the prayers of ever happy, holy, and ever-blessed Mother of God, the redresser of all complaints and through the prayers of all Saints. Witness, Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Syrian Church History’ by Very.Rev.Fr.Kurien Cor-Episcopa Kaniamaparambil

The Church renounced the reformation activities and the CMS activities. The two local leaders, Palakunnathu Abraham Malpano (Syriac Professor at the Theological Seminary at Kottayam) and Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpano and their followers were excommunicated from the Syrian Orthodox church.

In 1842, Abraham Malpano sent his twenty-three years old nephew, then only a Deacon, to Antioch for Bishop-hood. Deacon Mathews was proficient in both English and Syriac. Dionysius IV who had ordained him as deacon removed him from the deaconship due to indiscipline. So at the time of stealthily going to Mardene, residence of Patriarch, he was not a deacon nor eligible for priesthood. ‘He was dismissed from the theological school in Madras as was found unfit to priesthood or missionary work,’ thus said his professor Rev H. Backer. ‘He fell in Satan’s trap and thus he was outcast from the school,’ said Mrs Hocksworth (See “Day Dawn in Travancore” page 63-64).

Despite all these aggravating circumstances and personal flaws Anglican Bishop Wilson of Calcutta found him useful to carry out reform. Mathews reported to the Patriarch with the whole falsehood as coached by his uncle and also lied he was priest and conducted Holy Eucharist at Mosul. Unsuspecting legitimacy, the Patriarch of Antioch, Mor Elias II, consecrated him as Mor Athanasios in 1842. After a short while he returned to Alwaye and conducted regular Eucharist. The whole Malankara received him warmly. After a while showed his true color, conducted edited Eucharist, propagated reformist ideologies and encouraged English missionaries against the ancient Church.

The Patriarch appears to have realized too late that he had been the victim of “a fabricated letter purporting to be one from the Syrian Church people in Malankara… having misrepresented facts and given false name.” Appeals from both parties led to Patriarch Elias II sending Yoyakin Mor Coorilos the bishop of “TUR-ABDIN” in 1846, with plenary powers to resolve the crisis. He supported canonically serving Mor Dionysius IV against Mor Mathews Mor Athanasios.

It was now the turn of he Reformers to appeal to the Travancore Government to have the appointment of Mor Coorilos set aside and he was duly expelled, leaving Mathews More Athanasios triumphant. Strongly assisted by Anglicans, for it was their need to encourage schism and division among the faithful, obtained proclamation from the government as “Malankara Methran.” Government also barred entry to Mor Dionesius in the State of Travancore. Thus reformation was imposed against the Will of the faithful in the State of Travancore. But his gain was dismal in Travancore and zero in Cochin and Malabar. That is why even after 150 years of origin this church-faction is mainly confined only to a few southern districts of Kerala. However, he ruled the Church with iron fist by the support of the Resident and the King for a decade.

Mor Dionysius IV entered his heavenly abode on October 12, 1855 and was entombed at Cheppaud St. George Orthodox Syrian Church (Yacobaya Pally). He fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith


About SOCMNet

SOCMNet is an internet platform of Malankara Jacobite Syriac Christians (Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Church - under the Holy See of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.). According to tradition, Christianity in India was established by St. Thomas, who arrived in Malankara (Kerala) from Edessa in A.D. 52. The Church in Malankara has had close ties with the Church in the Near East ever since. The ties between the Church in Malankara and the Near East formalized and strengthen by, when under the leadership of the merchant Thomas of Cana and 72 families (around 400 odd persons comprising men, women and children, reached Cragananore (Kodungalloore). The group consisted of the Bishop Mor Joseph of Edessa as well as some priests and deacons traveled and migrated to India and met Christians there by AD 345. The church in Malankara is an integral part of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church with the Patriarch of Antioch [His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas] as its supreme head. The local head of the church in Malankara is the Catholicose of India [His Beatitude Baselios Thomas I], ordained by and accountable to the Patriarch of Antioch. The web sites in the SOCMNet are not official web sites of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Malankara, even though the Owners, Moderators and Webmasters owe allegiance to the hierarchy of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church. However, opinions and responses of the Church leadership are posted here.
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