Our Patron Saint
Saint Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril, born Gheevarghese, was the Malankara Metropolitan of the Indian Orthodox Church. Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius is popularly known as ‘Malankara Sabha Bhaasuran’ (The Great Luminary of Malankara Orthodox Church), a title which the Church bestowed on him in recognition of his contribution to Malankara Orthodox Church. Vattasseril Thirumeni was a man of prayer, determination and dynamism.
Gheevarghese was born to Joseph Vattasseril of Mallappally and Aleyamma, Kolathu Kalathil of Kurichy on 31 October 1858. Following his elementary education at C. M. S. Middle School in Mallappally he completed his high school education from C. M. S. High School, Kottayam. In 1876, while still a high school student, he was ordained as a sub-deacon by Ignatius Elias III, Patriarch of Antioch.
Life in the Church
He studied at the Orthodox Theological Seminary (Old Seminary or Pazhaya Seminary), Kottayam for four years. Geevarghese soon became a great Syriac scholar under the careful tutelage of Mar Gregorios Geevarghese of Parumala, who taught him at Seminary. In 1879 Thirumeni was ordained as a full deacon and in 1880 he was ordained as a priest by Gregorios Gheevarghese of Parumala. By 1880, he had become an authority in the Syriac, Church History, Faith and Doctrine, the Church Fathers, and Theology. In recognition of his expertise in Syriac and theology he was designated as Malankara Malpan.
He spent his spare time reading, studying, and thinking which translated to his many writings, such as Doctrines of the Church. He also used his scholarship to edit and publish the order of Church worship to be used by the laity as an aid for participation in worship. He was appointed as Principal of M. D. Seminary, Kottayam. In 1903, he was blessed as a Ramban (monk). He also served as the Manager of Parumala Seminary. In 1908 he was consecrated as Geevarghese Mar Dionysius Metropolitan and served as the Assistant Malankara Metropolitan. The next year he became the Malankara Metropolitan and served and led the Church in that capacity until his death in 1934 when he and the Church triumphed in establishing the official constitution of the Malankara Orthodox Church.
He was a good orator who was well aware of the importance of the vitality and moral persuasiveness of words when delivering the speeches to the faithful. In addition to not publicizing his own spiritual advancement he also avoided spiritual hypocrisy and arrogance throughout his life. Prayers and fasting were the pillars that were spiritual foundation. In addition to the liturgical hours of prayer, he spent much time in private prayers and silent meditations behind closed doors and away from the attention of people. In spite of his busy schedule, he was also able to focus on three to four lessons from the Holy Bible everyday. Despite literal application of Christ’s instruction to pray in private and not for others to see, many recognized that he was a living saint among them.
Relics of Vattasseril Thirumeni are kept in Orthodox Theological Seminary (Pazhaya Seminary), Kerala