H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas, Metropolitan A Memorial Website

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His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas


His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas, Metropolitan, was a man of small
physical stature, but a great spiritual giant, by which the Northeast
American Diocese, and the Malankara Church in North America as a
whole, is proud to embrace and cherish as our ‘Vailya Thirumeni’.

Early Life
Mathukutty (childhood name) was born in Kallarackaparampil house at
Vengola, to Kuruvilla & Mariamma of the Kidangethu Thombra Family, on
August 9, 1924. He is the youngest one among four brothers and two
sisters.  Young Mathukutty, was inspired to seek the ascetic
discipline and Orthodox Christian way of life, by witnessing the lives
of his grandfather and uncle, who were Orthodox priests.  It is their
earnestness and service to Christ’s Church that inspired young
Mathukutty.  Aside from these priests, his mother who was baptized by
St. Gregorios of Parumala, was known to be a pious and devoted
Orthodox Christian woman, who would do anything for the Church and
Faith. Her uncompromising habit of fasting and love for the poor, made
a deep impression in the mind of her son.

With these examples of Christian faith, at the age of 7, Mathukutty
decided in his heart to become a monk, and gave up eating meat and
fish.  He initiated the plan to join Gethsemane Monastery in
Piramadam, near Moovattupuzha, of which his uncle, Rev. Fr. K. P.
Paulose, was one of the founding members.

During his summer vacation, rather than playing games like the other
young children, he and his twin brother, sought the life of meditation
and ascetic struggle in the Monastery.

He joined Madras Christian College for the study of Biology, and while
he served as a priest of the parish in Secunderabad he did his Masters
in Botany at Osmania University.  Under the mentorship and guidance of
his uncle Rev. Fr. K. P. Paulose, he began theological studies.  In
1949 he joined the Orthodox Theological Seminary as a special student
and studied Syriac for two years.  While he was the Vicar of a parish
in Calcutta, he studied in the Bishop's College, Calcutta and earned
his Bachelor of Divinity through Serampore University, as an external

His Holiness Catholicos Baselios Geevarghese II ordained him to the
Holy Diaconate in 1943, at his home parish, St. Thomas Cheriapally,
Thuruthipaly, Vengola. In 1951 Metropolitan Augen Mar Thimotheos
(Later Catholicos), ordained him to the Holy Priesthood. In 1977, that
the Malankara Association elected Rev. Fr. K. K. Mathews to become a
Metropolitan of the Church. On May 15, 1978 His Holiness Moran Mar
Baselios Marthoma Mathews I, Catholicos of the East, consecrated him
as Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas of the Malankara Orthodox Church.

As a Deacon, he was a teacher at Kurppumpady M.G. M. High School in
1947. He taught there for two years and continued to teach for another
two years at the MD Seminary High School, Kottayam, until he was
ordained to priesthood. He also was a lecturer in the Orthodox
Theological Seminary at Kottayam for five years. During this period
(1967-1972) he was the resident faculty member at the Seminary and
full-time Warden.  He also cherished the years when he served as
Chaplain in the Kolenchery Medical Mission Hospital from 1972-1978.

Episcopal Life
Metropolitan Mar Barnabas has been the Shepherd to the Dioceses of
Kottayam, Angamaly, and Idukki Dioceses. As the first Metropolitan of
the newly formed Idukki Diocese, a Diocesan Center and Metropolitan's
Residence were built. He led that Diocese efficiently and organized
new parishes and visited the flock regularly. The Idukki Medical
Mission at Nettithozhu is another significant achievement for the
Church which was under His Grace's leadership.

His Grace Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas, was appointed to the
American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, and was
enthroned as her Metropolitan in 1993.  Under his arch-pastorship the
Diocese grew to over 100 parishes and congregations.

One of his finest achievements was the creation and enhancement of
various ministries to cater to the spiritual needs of the younger
generation of his flock.  The prayerful life and pious life style of
Mar Barnabas, inspired many young men born and raised in this country,
to join the ordained ministry.  His Grace sought to break down the
walls of separation between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox
Churches, by sending these future pastors of his diocese to the
Theological Seminaries of the Orthodox Church in America.

Under the leadership of Metropolitan Mar Barnabas, the Malankara
Orthodox Syrian Church joined their sister Oriental Orthodox Churches,
the Coptic and Armenian Orthodox Churches, by becoming a member of the
National Council of Churches in the United States.

As the Diocese grew substantially, in 2008 the Diocese was divided
into two Diocese, the Northeast American Diocese and the Southwest
American Diocese.  As the first Metropolitan of the Northeast American
Diocese, His Grace oversaw the development of the newly built Diocesan
Chancery in Muttontown, New York and consecrated it in the presence of
the Diocesan Assembly.

In January 2011, His Holiness Paulose II, the Catholicose of the East,
formally accepted the request of His Grace Mar Barnabas to be relieved
from administrative responsibilities as the Diocesan Metropolitan of
the Northeast American Diocese.  Metropolitan Barnabas passed over the
reigns to his successor, Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos.  Mar
Barnabas retired back to India in May 2011,  to the Monastery of St.
Kuriakose the Martyr, Kerala, India.

Early Sunday morning, December 9, 2012, the golden bishop with a
wooden cross closed his eyes to this world, and opened his eyes to
eternity.  His Grace is entombed at Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church,
Valayanchirangara, Kerala, India. The Malankara Church in North
America, will never forget our Vailya Thirumeni, and his legacy
continues to live on in the ministry of the Diocese.

May our beloved Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas, continue to
intercede for us, and may his memory, be eternal!


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