St. George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church

(Under the Holy See of Patriarchate of Antioch)

Cheppaud

 

 

 

 

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”.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Tomb of Cheppaud Mor Dionysius

 


 

 

 

 

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