Late Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church
His Holliness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church was born on April 21, 1933 in Mosul, Iraq. He became a monk on June 6, 1954 then later became a priest on November 11, 1957. He was consecrated Metropolitan in Mosul, Iraq on November 17, 1963. His Holliness then was transfered to Archdiocese of Baghdad in 1969. He became the Patriarch of Antioch and all of the East on September 14, 1980.
The 122nd successor to St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch, completes 25 years in the Patriarchal See on the day of the Feast of Holy Cross, 2005. The Universal Syrian Church with its flocks spread over many nations, celebrates this unique historic occasion, of His Holiness’s Silver Jubilee of the Patriarchal enthronement, with great fervor and enthusiasm.
It was on September 14, 1980, the Holy father was enthroned as the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. He is one of the very few primates of the Syrian Church who have been in the Patriarchal office for an entire quarter of a century. As a true Shepherd, His Holiness has led the Holy Church to greater glories in these years of his Patriarchal Service.
Late Lamented Koober Neethi Hakkimo Mor Clemis Abraham
Kizhakinte Valiya Metrapolita (Chief Metropolitian of the East & Chief Metropolitian of Kananaya Samudhayam)
His Grace Abraham Mor Clemis was born into the Vayala family in Ranni, on April 22, 1918 as the sixth offspring of Mr. & Mrs. Idiculla Kochidiculla. His brother Vayala Idiculla was a well-known political leader and a freedom fighter. Young Abraham’s liking was to be a politician, but God had other plans for him. Like Moses, when the Knanaya people had no bishop for a long period of time, God called him to be their Shepherd. Mor Clemis joined the church as a deacon at a young age. A graduate in Theology and Political Sciences, Mor Clemis studied at Seminaries in Manjinikkara, Alwaye, Mosul, Homs, and Union Theological Seminary in New York. Consecrated Knanaya Diocesan Bishop in 1951, Mor Clemis served that office for 52 years. He was indeed a good shepherd and he tended his flock with diligence and faithfulness.
Mor Clemis established himself as the veritable leader of not only the Knanaya Community but also of the Malankara Church. As a result he was elected as the Malankara Metropolitan in 1957. In 1982, recognizing his leadership and wisdom, His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, decorated Mor Clemis with the highest honor a bishop can receive, the title of “Kubernithi Hakimo” which means ‘Wise Captain.’ Again in 1989 His Holiness bestowed on Mor Clemis the position of “the Chief Metropolitan of the East” recognizing his continued contributions to the whole Indian Christian Community. It is a position similar to that of the Catholicose.
H.G Mor Dioskoros Thomas
Second Bishop of Knanaya Diocese
Mor Dioskoros Thomas was ordained as Metropolitan at Jerusalem in 1926. Initially he assisted Mor Severious Geevarghese Metropolitan and took over the administration of the diocese at the demise of Mor Severious. He was from the famous Thervaladi descendants of the Knights of Thekkumkoor royal family. His mother belonged to the famous Ottathycal family at Chingavanam, where his father was resided, as there were no male members there.
In his administrative period the ‘Patriarchal Bull No. 42 was issued by “Patriarch Elias III”. The Bull proclaimed that Knanaya diocese shall always be directly under the holy throne of Antioch. Construction of the Ephraim Seminary building was completed during his time.
The Vanitha Mandiram (Kurichy) and Mor Severious High School (Ranny) were established during his time. Unfortunate Mor Diascoros joined Roman Catholic Church in November 1939.
H.G Mor Severios Geevarghese
First Metropolitan of the Knanaya Diocese
Mor Severios Geevarghese was born in 1851 to Kasiso Philipose of the Edavazhickal family, the vicar of Kottayam Valiyapally, and Kunjachi. After his primary education Geevarghese prepared to become a priest. He was the 10th priest of the famous Edavazhickal family that has produced many gifted men, most well-known among whom is the Church historian E.M. Philip. On 31st August 1910, Patriarch Mor Ignatius Abded Aloho ordained Fr. Geevarghese Edavazhickal as the first Knanaya Bishop with the name Mor Severios.
Around that period, the reformation movement that was very active in Malankara rocked the Knanaya Community also. At Kottayam, Kallissery and Ranny many faithful of the Knanaya community along with some priests joined the new movement and created a rift in the churches.
“The Knanaya Association” rules were compiled in 1918 which later became the guideline for the present constitution of the diocese. Mor Severios passed away on June 11, 1927 and was laid to rest at the ancient Kottayam Valiya Pally.