Dr Mathews Mar Severios was ordained the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church on Friday in a ceremony here.
He adopted the new name of Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews III Catholicos.
The ordination, conducted at St. Paul and St. Peter’s Church in Parumala at 6.30 a.m., saw Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, the 72-year-old bishop, inducted as the new Catholicos of the East. Metropolitan of Malankara succeeds Baselios Mar Thomas Poulose II, who died in July of this year.
Dr Severios was unanimously elected Thursday at the 57th meeting of the Syrian Christian Association of Malankara, a supreme body comprising priests and lay representatives from all parishes of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Malankara. The meeting took place virtually and brought together 3,091 representatives from various regions of the world.
Church officials said there was only one candidate for the new Catholicos. There was therefore no vote for the post. Metropolitan Principal Kuriakose Mar Cleemis made the official announcement of the Metropolitan’s election at the venue on Thursday. As a result of this, he was officially invited to the throne of the Catholicos and took over the Metropolitan of Malankara.
The dedication service for the new supreme head of the church began at 5 a.m. on Friday at the Parumala church. The other bishops in the church lifted the new head from a chair three times during the ceremony, uttering the Greek word Axios, which means “he who deserves.”
Dr Mathews Mar Severios was previously the Metropolitan of the Kandanad West Diocese of the Orthodox Church. He was born in 1949 in Vazhoor near Kottayam. Severios graduated in chemistry from the University of Kerala before joining Orthodox Seminary in Kottayam.
After completing his religious education in India, he continued his graduate studies in theology at the Theological Academy in Leningrad, Russia. He later joined the Oriental Institute in Rome and obtained his Masters and Doctorate there.
He was ordained deacon in 1976 and priest in 1978. He was promoted episcopal in 1991 and metropolitan in 1993.