As a church, we grieve over the demise of H.G. Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan. Thirumeni served the church for precisely 63 years and passed away at the age of 89. Thirumeni will always be remembered as a bishop and shepherd of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar and the universal church and society. Thirumeni’s active and dynamic involvement in ecumenical and social initiatives and movements enabled the Mar Thoma Church to be an effective witness and known worldwide. Thirumeni’s passing is a loss felt by all and a gap that can never be filled.
My memories of Thirumeni come from my studies in the Mar Thoma Vaideeka Seminary in Kottayam and my ministry’s initial beginnings. Thirumeni used to visit the seminary from time to time. Thirumeni embraced the church’s Syriac heritage and tradition and taught us to embrace our church history as a way of enhancing our Christian spirituality and appreciation of the teachings of the apostles. I have personally observed Thirumeni engaging in Christian dialogue with people of different Christian traditions and religions. Thirumeni faced many challenges in ministry and had to make difficult decisions in such circumstances. Thirumeni also had physical ailments but continued to fervently serve the Lord and shepherd the Holy Church until the very end. Many who served alongside Thirumeni have testified about Thirumeni’s caring nature and keen observance of every minute detail, keeping in mind the church’s needs.
Hebrews 13:7 says:
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
Let us praise our Triune God for Thirumeni’s life and ministry. Let us remember Thirumeni’s life, along with other forefathers and foremothers of faith who have now fallen asleep. Let us follow the ways of Christ shown through them.
Let us pray for peace and comfort for the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the faithful, and let us move forward in a spirit of hope, patiently waiting for the second coming of our Lord. Let us also continue to pray for our Bishops, Priests, Evangelists, and seminarians, along with all who serve in Christ’s ministry. To Him belong all glory, honor, and praise, now and forever. Memory eternal. Amen.
Rev. Dennis Abraham