Most Rev Dr Philipose Mar Chrysotom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan has been chosen for Padma Bhushan award as he is set to celebrate his 100th birthday this year.
Born as the son of vicar general K E Oommen Kaseessa, Kalamannil, Adangapurathu, Kumbanad, and Sosamma of Nadukke Veettil, Kalaykattu, Karthikappally on April 27, 1918, Mar Chrysotom had his early education from Kozhencherry high school and St John’s high school, Eraviperoor.
Later, he attended Union Christian College, Aluva. In 1940, he became a member of the Ankola Ashram and joined United Theological College, Bengaluru in 1943 for his priesthood studies.
On new year’s day the next year, Mar Chrysostom was ordained as a deacon. On June 3 the same year, he was ordained a priest. His next position was that of the vicar of Bengaluru diocese, which too came to him in 1944.
Going steadily up the Mar Thoma Church hierarchy in the subsequent years, Mar Chrysostom was designated as Suffragan Metropolitan in 1978. Soon, he became head of the Thiruvananthapuram – Kollam diocese in 1980. Ten years on, Mar Chrysostom was designated bishop of Ranni-Nilackal and North America dioceses.
His next assignment was heading the Chengannur-Thumbamon diocese, which came Mar Chrysostom’s way in August, 1997.
A major responsibility was to follow. On March 15, 1999, Mar Chrysostom was designated as the Officiating Metropolitan of the Church, followed by his installation as the 20th Metropolitan of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church on October 23, 1999.
In the following years, Mar Chrysostom took the Church to greater heights, before announcing his decision to lead a retired life. On October 1, 2007, the Metropolitan handed over his administrative responsibilities to his successor and moved to Maramon Aramana (Jubilee Home), which has been blessed by his presence since then.
Chrisostom is known for his warm friendship with people cutting across religions, and his no-holds-barred humor sense.