Moran Mar Baselios Paulose I

His Holiness
Baselios Paulose I (Catholicos of the East)
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
Diocese Kandanad
Installed 1912
Term ended 1914
Successor Baselios Geevarghese I
Ordination 1852.
Consecration Sep 15, 1912
Personal details
Birth name Paulose
Born Kolenchery
Died May 3, 1914
Buried St.Thomas Syrian Orthodox Church, Pampakuda

Moran Mar Baselios Paulose I or Murimattathil Bava (born at Kolenchery, India on January 17, 1836, died May 3, 1914) is the first Catholicos of the East after its reinstatement in India. The First Catholicos of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church was in power only for one-and-a-half years (September 15, 1912 till his death on May 3, 1914). He was 76 years old when he became the Catholicos and died when he was 77 years old.

But his assignment as Catholicos of the East is considered as a very important period in the history of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church which continues the apostolic work of St. Thomas (Marthoma Sleeha) in the Christian domain. H.H Moran Mar Baselios Paulose I was 84th in the lineage of St. Thomas.

Early life

Paulosekutty, son of Kurien and Mariam of the Murimattathil family, later to be Mar Baselios І, was born on January 17, 1836.

The ancestors of Murimattathil family belong to Pakaloth family, from Bharananganam. This family was said to have been christened by St. Thomas. One family came by Vallom (canoe), and settled near the banks of Muvattupuzha river at Ramamangalam. The Murimattathil Kudumbam(family) has more than 600 families living near Ramamangalam. One branch settled at Kolenchery.

Thus Murimattathil Bava was born in a Murimattathil family of Kolenchery.

He learnt Syriac at a very early age and read many religious books from the collection of his uncle, Youseph Kathanar.

When his elder brother, Kunjikkuru Chemmachen, a deacon, died, his parents and uncle Youseph Kathanar expressed their desire that Paulosekutty becomes deacon to take the place of Kunjikkuru. Paulosekutty was consecrated Deacon by Philipose Mar Dionysius at the age of seven.

Deacon Paulosekutty completed his Syriac education from Konattu Yohannan, Malpan of Pampakkuda. In 1852, at the age of 16, he was ordained priest by the Malankara Metropolitan, Philipose Mar Dionysius of Cheppad. Paulose Achan took the responsibility of Kolenchery Church. Paulose Achan had the opportunity to continue his Syriac education under Yuyakkim Mar Kurilose, Metropolitan from Syria.

In 1875 Pathrose Patriarch Bava visited Malankara; Paulose met him at Mulanthuraty. Bava arranged for Paulose Achan to be ordained as methran (bishop).

On May 17, 1877, Paulose Achan was ordained as Mar Evanios Methrapolitan (bishop) at Kunnamkulam Church by Patriarch Peter. He was assigned the responsibility of the Diocese Kandanad .

During this time the Church maintained a good relationship with the church of Antioch, rather than the Church of Rome.

The Patriarch of Antioch believed that the church and the wealth of Malankara Church belonged to them since the local church used Suriani/Syriac liturgy and practices. It used to be common for the Patriarch to visit Malankara and its churches and receive gifts. Later the bishops from Antioch assumed to have a right over the churches of Malankara.

First Catholicos of the East in India

The Vaideeka Synod (Synod of the Clergy) presided by Ignatius Abdul Masih II and Malankara Association Managing Committee unanimously decided that Mar Evanios Metropolitan be enthroned as Catholicos of the East. Ignatius Abdul Masih II was the controversially deposed Patriarch of Antioch[1][2] and some claim the relocation of the Catholicate to India, was without authority from the Universal Syriac Orthodox Synod, thus causing century long disputes in the Malankara Church.

Initially, Baselios Paulose I refused to take up the position due to his ill health and old age. When pressured further from all sides, he consulted the Diocese, friends and relatives and later accepted the position for the cause of the Malankara faithful.

On September 15, 1912, Mar Evanios Metropolitan was ordained and enthroned as Moran Mar Paulose Baselios I Catholicos of the East at Saint Mary’s Church, Niranam by Ignatius Abdul Masih II, in the presence of Mar Geevarghese Divannasios, head of Malankara Methrapolitans amidst a huge crowd of priests and Orthodox believers.

When Paulose Baselios I was crowned on the Throne of Saint Thomas, Ignatius Abdul Masih II declared the Malankara Orthodox Church as an independent church with its own constitution and powers, which included the right to ordain Metropolitans, to consecrate Holy Chrism and perform other holy services.

Bava as Catholicos of the East lived at Orthodox Pazhaya Seminary, Kottayam.

His last days

Upon falling ill Mar Baselios,expressed his desire to settle in one of the churches of Kandanad Diocese, however the trustee of the clergy, Mani Paulose Palapillil of Pambakuda, invited him to his church and provided him with the necessary facilities. Bava predicted the day of his demise and a large crowd of people visited him and waited in prayer. On May 3, 1914 he died in peace. His remains are interred St. Thomas Church, Pambakuda.

His work

Paulose Baselios I designed the order and style of the prayers and Holy Qurbana (Eucharist) that is still followed in the church. He established Malankara Suriani Suvishesha Sangham as well as Sunday schools in the church.

As Metropolitan he had built 17 churches in the Kandanad Diocese. He also started many schools. He trained many priests at St. Peters and St. Pauls Church of Kolenchery. He bought land at Muvattupuzha to build an Aramana (palace) which became the church headquarters and also built a small church there.

Preceded by
Baselios Bahnam
Catholicos of the East
Succeeded by
H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Geevarghese I



  1. Murimattathil Bava Malankara’s First Catholica : Joseph Mar Pakkomios 1991
  2. Murimattathil Bava: A brief life history :Prof.M.G.George, Murimattathil, Offset Press Kolenchery 2003.
  • Tamcke, Martin (2009). . Verlag Otto Lembeck. 3874765806.
  • Vadakkekara, Benedict (2007). . Media House Delhi.

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