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Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios OIC
Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios OIC was the Second Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. The Archbishop’s baptismal name was Geevarghese. His family members used to call him Kunjukutty. He was born on 1 February 1916 in the Mundupalathinkal-Thangalathil family as the second son of Idicula and Annamma, at Kallooppara, Tiruvalla. At the age of five he was sent to the LP School, Puthussery. After completing his middle school studies he joined the St. John’s School, Eraviperoor, for his Secondary School education. It was at this time that the Metropolitan Mar Ivanios started many Bethany churches with the intention of reforming the Orthodox Church, and one among them was close to the Thangalathil family. As a result of that Varghese, who had an inclination towards sanyasa, was able to maintain a good relationship with the Bethany Sanyasis. Very soon, the reunion of a part of the Malankara Church with the Catholic Church became a reality under the leadership of Metropolitan Mar Ivanios. The relationship of Varghese, a member of the Orthodox Church, with the members of the Bethany Ashram enraged his own people. But he showed the courage to join the Bethany Ashram without their knowledge. On 21 November 1933, Brother Varghese entered the novitiate. His family later conceded to his desire. He assumed the name Benedict, which means blessed, and on 15 August 1935 he took his temporary religious vows (profession) before Archbishop Mar Ivanios. After his Minor Seminary studies, he was sent to the Papal Seminary at Candy (Sri Lanka), for his priestly studies.

He made his perpetual profession on 24 August 1941. Most Rev. Regno, the Bishop of Candy ordained him priest on 24 August 1944 and he celebrated his First Holy Qurbono in the Seminary Chapel. After his return in December 1944, Archbishop Mar Ivanios appointed Fr. Benedict to teach Syriac at the St. Aloysius Minor Seminary. He joined St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapally, in 1946 for graduation course in Economics and passed the Degree with first rank from the University of Madras in 1949. Then he was appointed the first Principal of Mar Ivanios College. In 1952, he was elected Bishop. He was ordained Remban in the Aramana Chapel on 27 December 1952 and made Auxiliary Bishop of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum after the name Mar Gregorios. He became the Archbishop in January 1955.

He received Pallium, on 14 May 1959. He dedicated his life to service not only for the Malankarites or Catholics alone but for the human society in general through his ministry. He left his ineffaceable marks in the social and religious psyche of India. During times of social calamities and religious instability he was sought after to reinstate peace and harmony in society. He was a champion of religious harmony. The various projects he initiated for the elevation of the poor produced plentiful fruits and they were well recognized and appreciated by the society. The world has witnessed the presence of the Malankara Catholic Church through Mar Gregorios and flourished in strength and vigour during his sovereniety. Forty one years of service in the Church came to an end on 10 October 1994 and his mortal remains rest adjacent to the tomb of his predecessor and master Archbishop Mar Ivanios, the Servant of God.

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