Philipose Mar Chrysostom: The Kerala priest who made us snicker


It spoke volumes of the recognition and authority of Chrysostom that he may publicly poke amusing at a serving leader minister mins after the latter offered him with an award. At a church-organised serve as in Pathanamthitta in Might 2014, a time when Kerala Leader Minister Oommen Chandy was once weathering scandals each outside and inside the birthday celebration, Chrysostom checked out him and mentioned, “There was once a time when a Puthuppally-born boy would factor orders as a pupil chief and everybody heeded to him. He may make the state tremble in concern. However these days, I’m listening to that the state is making him tremble in concern.” Chandy and the remainder of the target market burst out in laughter.

Within the early hours of Wednesday, Philipose Mar Chrysostom, who regaled audiences together with his uncanny knack for wit and humour, died at a personal clinic in Pathanamthitta on the age of 103.

The longest-serving bishop in India, Chrysostom was once the patriarch of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, a neighborhood which is thought to were transformed through St Thomas (or Mar Thoma in Malayalam), one of the most 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. Even though the Church itself ranks as best the sixth-largest Christian neighborhood within the state as according to the 2011 Census, the type of acceptance and adoration that Chrysostom commanded was once possibly now not loved through any Christian priest within the state.

And that’s basically attributed to Chrysostom’s talent to go beyond non secular and political disparities, to succeed in out to each other the use of the language of affection and humanity. Reasonably than staying throughout the confines of a strict theologian, he believed in conversing with whomever he may in finding, regardless of the sector or sector they labored in. And so, there are reams of transcripts and loads of hours of photos of Chrysostom’s conversations with personalities of various hues, from politics to cinema, literature to social paintings and sports activities to spirituality. At the centenary of his start, acclaimed movie director Blessy produced a documentary at the existence and beliefs of Chrysostom that won access into the Guinness Ebook of International Information within the class of ‘longest documentary’ ever, operating over 48 hours.

Mar Chrysostom 1

Chrysostom was once born as Philip Oommen in 1917 right into a circle of relatives close to Thiruvalla which has produced many monks. Following within the footsteps of his father, who was once the vicar of an area Mar Thoma church, he finished his graduate research in Kerala, occurring to review theology in Bengaluru the place he started missionary actions in 1940.

Even prior to India were given Independence, Oommen was once ordained as a deacon with the Bengaluru parish. And in 1953, he was once given the episcopal identify ‘Philipose Mar Chrysostom’, the only with the golden tongue, an outline he conformed to until his closing breath.

He remained a bishop for 67 years and 11 months, the longest-ever inside any church within the nation. He was once put in as Metropolitan in 1999 and retired as Metropolitan Emeritus in 2007. He was once awarded the Padma Bhushan, the rustic’s third-highest civilian honour, in 2018 for his remarkable contribution to society and communal team spirit.

The exceptional facet about Chrysostom is that at the same time as the sector’s largest honours got here on the lookout for him, he owed his achievements to essentially the most elementary other folks whose paintings and livelihoods formed his existence. Regularly, in interviews and speeches, he has credited his Bishophood to an not going coconut plucker named Shanku. When other folks sat up pondering how that was once imaginable, he would give an explanation for, “When I used to be learning, my circle of relatives’s sole supply of source of revenue was once via coconuts within the box. Provided that Shanku got here and plucked coconuts, may the cash be used to pay the varsity charges. If he hadn’t come, research would get disrupted and I wouldn’t have turn out to be a clergyman. With out turning into a clergyman, one can not turn out to be a bishop.”

Chrysostom has additionally rallied towards social evils like dependancy to alcohol and medication, calling it one of the crucial important issues in Kerala. When Chandy presented prohibition throughout his stint in energy, the Christian patriarch lauded him for his braveness to do it, even supposing the coverage was once reversed to a big extent after the Left events got here to energy. He has additionally been important of the commercialisation of the Church amid allegations of its involvement in shady land offers. When the general public agitation towards development an airport in Aranmula through destroying acres of paddy fields reached its zenith, Chrysostom too raised his hand and mentioned, “No one must fly over us through destroying our paddy fields and denying water to us. I don’t find it irresistible.”

However above all, it’s the good-natured, and from time to time sharp humour in his phrases that endeared him to plenty going past his religion and positioned him altogether on a unique pedestal. Within the native media, he’s incessantly described as ‘chirippikkunna thirumeni’ (the priest who makes us smile) or ‘chiriyude thamburan’ (The Lord of smile). His humour was once particular as it was once incessantly at the price of himself, his religion or even God. In a society the place poking amusing at God can elicit disastrous penalties, Chrysostom proved he may do it amicably and for nice explanation why. The folk knew that he was once best making some extent.

“I inform jokes principally to cement a few of existence’s maximum basic rules within our other folks’s minds. Once they be mindful a funny story, they’ll recall the main I mentioned,” he mentioned in an interview.



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