His Beatitude Baselios Poulose II
Catholicos of the East
His Beatitude Baselios Poulose II was born on 12
June1914, as the second
son of Mrs. Elizabeth and Rev. Fr. Joseph Puthussery, at Cherai. The spiritual
atmosphere in his home deeply influenced the young Poulose. P.J. Poulose,
his official name on records, completed his secondary education from the
Rama Varma High School, Cherai. After completing college education at
CMS College, Kottayam and Union Christian College, Alwaye, Poulose joined
Manjinikkara Mor Ignatius Dayro. Mor A Yulius Elias, the Apostolic delegate of
the Holy See of Antioch, Patriarch to Malankara, ordained Poulose as Deacon
at Kottayam Valiapally in 1933. He was ordained Kassisso (Full Priest) again
by Mor Yulius at Manjinikkara Dayro in 1938. Fr. Poulose served as the Vicar
of various churches all over South India for many years. On 19
1952, Patriarch H. H. Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem I ordained Kassisso Poulose
as Metropolitan with the name ‘Mor Philoxenos’ at the Patriarchal Cathedral
in Homs, Syria.
Fulfilling the wishes of countless people of faith in India, the Patriarch
of Antioch, H. H. Moran Mor Ignatius Yaqub III consecrated Poulose Mor
Philoxenos as the Catholicos of the East, under the title ‘Mor Baselios Poulose
II’ on 7
September 1975 at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Demascus. His
Beatitude was officially elected as the Malankara Metropolitan at the meeting
of the church delegates held on 26 December 1975 at Thuruthissery. His
Beatitude made history by consecrating Mor Saverious Zakka, Archbishop of
Baghdad, as the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East on September 14, 1980.
This was the first time in the annals of the Syrian Orthodox Church that a
Catholicos from Malankara officiated the ordination of a Patriarch of Antioch.
His Beatitude along with H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas visited the
Pope H.H. John Paul II in June 1984 to sign the agreement between the
Syrian and Roman Churches.
After serving the Malankara Church as Metropolitan for almost 44
years and as the Catholicos of the East for 21 years, His Beatitude joined the
Heavenly Choir on Sunday the 1
September 1996 at the age of 83. The
funeral service of Bava Thirumeni on the following day, was attended by
thousands of people; a testimony to the affection and esteem that He
commanded in the Church and in the society at large. In accordance with His
last wish, the mortal remains of the Catholicos Mor Baselios Poulose II were
interned in a tomb in Malecruz Dayro near Puthencruz, in Ernakulam District.
His Beatitude was widely revered for his simplicity, his ascetic life and spartan
routine. He was a true Indian citizen in culture, a true Antiochean in tradition
and a true Christian in faith. His profound scholarship in Sanskrit helped him
know and retain the ethos of Indian culture. Bava Thirumeni was a great
scholar in Theology and in Syriac, and an appealing orator in Syriac, English
Bava Thirumeni was also a true lover of nature and enjoyed walking
across the farm, nursing plants. The humility and hospitality of this great
visionary was experienced by all who visited His Beatitude. His noble and
exemplary life will be an eternal source of inspiration to generations.