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Most Rev. Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XV)
Mar Thoma Church
Enthroned January 18, 1894 .
Reign ended October 20, 1909

Thomas Mar Athanasius

(Mar Thoma XIV)

Titus II Mar Thoma

(Mar Thoma XVI)
Ordination 1867.
Consecration December 9, 1894.
Personal details
Birth name Dethose
Born February 20, 1843
Died October 20, 1909
Buried Tiruvalla

Titus I Mar Thoma was known as Thithoos Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Thithoos is Aramaic and Malayalam) among his people, and was the fifteenth Mar Thoma (1893-1909). He was a saintly and missionary bishop of the church. His time was a period of renovation and reformation of the Malankara Church.

On the South Western coast of India lies a small state known as Kerala It was here in the first century, Thomas the Apostle arrived to preach the gospel to the Jewish community. Some of the Jews and locals including the wise men who saw Jesus as a baby at Bethlehem, became followers of Jesus of Nazareth. They were known as Nasrani people and their church as Malankara Church. They followed a unique Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition which included several Jewish elements and Indian customs.

As a bishop, Thithoos Mar Thoma Metropolitan took charge of a church that was like a ship in turbulent waters. Malankara church was split into two, Bava faction (Jacobites) and Metran faction. Thithoos Mar Thoma was the Metropolitan of the Metran faction, which later chose the name Malanakara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, now popularly known as Mar Thoma Church. This church remained completely independent and did not join the Bava (Patriarch of Antioch) faction. (Jacobite faction became Orthodox churches after 1912). In the litigation between the two factions that began in 1879 and ended in 1889, the Metran faction lost all its properties to the Bava faction. It was at this time Thithoos Mar Thoma took charge as Metropolitan.

Early days

Palakunnathu Family

In the seventeenth century, a member of the Panamkuzhy family (a branch of the Pakalomattam family), came and settled in Kozhencherry on the banks of river Pampa. Later they moved to Maramon, and lived at Chackkalyil, on the other side of the river. The second son in that family, Mathen moved to a nearby house at Palakunnathu. He had six sons and a daughter. The daughter was married to Mallapally Pavoothikunnel family and the first four sons moved to Themoottil, Neduvelil (Kozhenchery), Periyilel and Punamadom (Othera). The fifth son was a hermit priest (sanyasi achen). As was the custom, the youngest son Mathew lived at Palakunnathu family house. (This house still exists). Abraham Malpan, leader of reformation in Malankara church was the second son of Mathew. Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIV) and Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XV) were the sons of Abraham Malpan.

A number of other Marthoma Church leaders were also born in this family. Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIII) and Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XVI) were from this family. The present head of the Marthoma Church, Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XXI), is also from this family.[1][2]

Early age

Dethos (Aramaic. Titus – English) was born on February 20, 1843 as the youngest son of Abraham Malpan and Thumpamon Thondamvelil Mariamma. He was baptized by Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan at the Maramon church.

After primary education at Maramon he joined Kottayam seminary. He joined C.M.S. College, Kottayam and then left for higher studies in Madras.


IN 1867, Dethos was ordained as a priest by Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan at Maramon church, and was appointed as the assistant vicar of that church. He was a fiery speaker. [3] During that period a prayer meeting organized at the home of a parishner later became the famous Maramon Convention.


Malankara throne


Malankara Throne

After the great swearing in 1653 it became necessary to appoint a bishop. For this purpose a special chair was made and Mar Thoma I the first bishop of Malankara church was enthroned. This throne, used for the consecration of Mar Thoma I , is in the possession of the Mar Thoma Church and is kept at Tiruvalla. It has been used in the installation of every Mar Thoma Metropolitan, to this day, so that the continuity of the throne of Mar Thoma is ensured. This was the throne used for the consecration of Mar Thoma XV, Thithoos Mar Thoma Metropolitan.


Thomas Mar Athanasius, died in August 1893 without consecrating a successor. Most of the churches were under the control of Bava faction. Name of Dethos Kathanar was proposed. He reluctantly accepted it under the condition that all the parishes agreed to this suggestion. Once it was accepted, parish leaders decided to have the consecration at Kottayam Cheriya palli where Thazhathu Punnathra Chandapilla Kathanar was the vicar. Bishops of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church arrived on time. On Thursday January 18, 1894 Dethos Kathanar was consecrated by Joseph Mar Athanasius. (Maliyakal) (1888-1898), assisted by Geevarghese Mar Koorilose (Karumamkuzhi Pulikkottil). He was given the episcopal title Thithoos Mar Thoma Metropolitan. (English: Titus Mar Thoma Metropolitan). [4]


Participation by laity

Till the time of Mar Thoma VI, only clergy were included as advisers to the Metropolitan. After that they were also included in all decision making committees.

When Titus Mar Thoma took charge of the church, there was only a clergy committee to take the important decisions. Metropolitan wanted democratic principles to be applied in all decision makings. So after consultation with the clergy committee it was decided to have a Managing committee (now known as Sabha Council) and a Representative Assembly (now known as Prathinidhi Mandalam). Both these committees included all the bishops and representatives of clergy and parishes. The first Managing committee included 7 clergy and five laity. First meeting of these committees were held in 1896. [5]

Other reforms

A constitution for the Church was prepared and approved by the Representative Assembly and by the Managing committee.

Vaideeka Selection committee for selecting laity for ordination as clergy was instituted.

Qurbana Thaksa (Holy communion liturgy) – improvements were made to the liturgy to fall in line with the reformation ideals. (The Syriac word Qurbana is cognate with the Hebrew word Korban)

Educational institutions

Kottayam Marthoma Seminary School (1896), Tiruvalla S.C. Seminary High School (1902), were opened. It paved the way to the opening of a number of primary schools in a number of parishes. This improved the conditions of the villages and towns in Kerala.

Missionary work

Missionary efforts began around Kottayam and then expanded to North Travancore. By 1909 it spread outside Kerala. Sunday School Samajam began on 1905

Maramon Convention

But Mar Thoma had to face a number of problems. Soon false teachings got into the church. Yet by 1894 a number of small prayer groups were formed in the church and this was followed by a big revival. They had regular meetings in various parishes. Because the number of people attending these meetings was growing it was decided to have a meeting of all these groups at a central place. The duty of organizing this meeting was given to the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association and the first convention was held in 1895 at Maramon. This was the beginning of the Maramon Convention.


The litigation which began in 1879 and ended in 1889 was only for the Malankara Church properties. But the parish properties belonged to the individual parishes. So each parish had to give separate litigation to possess their parish properties. [6]

Parishes (church and their properties) that remained with the Marthoma church during the reformation: Elanthoor Valia palli, Kumbanad Valia Palli, Kottarakara palli, Paryaram pazhya palli, Thalavady West,

After civil cases, the following churches and its properties were under Mar Thoma church but lost due to other reasons: Manarcaud palli, Puthencavu palli.

Churches that won the earlier court cases, but lost in the final verdict : Aarthattu palli and Puthupally pally.

Consecration of a successor

Rev. P.J. Dethos was selected by the Representative Assembly at Mavelikara to be consecrated as a bishop to assist Metropolitan. Dethos Kathanar was consecrated on December 9, 1898 at Puthenkavu church by Titus Mar Thoma Metropolitan assisted by Geevarghese Mar Koorilose (Karumamkuzhi Pulikkottil) of Malabar Independent Syrian Church. He was given the episcopal title Thithoos Dwitheeyan Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Titus II Mar Thoma)

Safe in His arms

Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan escaped from great dangers on two occasions. The first one was in March 1907 S.C.Seminary school building at Tiruvalla was under construction. Mar Thoma was living in a temporary thatched shed. At that time some miscreants set fire to the building at about mid night. Mar Thoma escaped from there.

The second one was in June 1907. It was raining cats and dogs. Mar Thoma was living in the balcony of Maramon church. Suddenly the whole church except the balcony crashed.

Last days

Metropolitan was suffering from diabetics for a long time. He passed away on October 20, 1909 and was entombed at Tiruvalla church . The funeral service was conducted by Titus II Mar Thoma in the presence of Vicar General Ipe Thoma Kathanar and a large crowd.

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See also


  1. Cherian Cherian. Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil Kudumba Charitram. (Family History of Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil).
  2. N.M.Mathew, History of Palakunnathu Family.
  3. Chacko T.C. Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charithra Samgraham’’. (Concise History of Marthoma Church), Page 168
  4. Varughese, Rev. K.C., ’’Malabar Swathanthra Suryani Sabhyude Charitram’’ (History of the Malankar Independednt Suryani Church). Page 82
  5. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume II. Pages 155-157.
  6. for more information refer Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume III. Pages 172-220.

Further References

    1. Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan, The Most Rev. Dr. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church.. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
    2. Cherian Cherian. (1958). Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil Kudumba Charitram. (Family History of Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil)
    3. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. (2003). ‘’Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History’’. London, England. ISBN 81/900854/4/1
    4. Chacko, T.C. (1936) Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charithra Samgraham’’. (Concise History of Marthoma Church), Pub: E.J. Institute, Kompady, Tiruvalla.
    5. Eapen, Prof. Dr. K.V. (2001). ‘’Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram’’. (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
    6. Ittoop Writer, (1906). ‘’Malayalathulla Suryani Chistianikauleday Charitram’’. (History of Syrain Christians in the land of Malayalam)
    7. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008) Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla.
    8. Mathew, N.M. (2003). History of Palakunnathu Family. Pub: Palakunnathu Family committee.

External links