Patriarch Centre (Church Headquarters), Puthencuriz
Photo: Oct. 17, 2008
Patriarch Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas Centre (Patriarch Centre) at Puthencuriz in Ernakulam District is the administrative headquarters of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India. The central office of the Malankara Catholicate is situated here. Puthencuriz, being the meeting point of three major dioceses of the Church, is an important place for the Syriac Christian community. The vast majority living here are the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christians. Malecuriz Dayro, where the mortal remains of Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose II Bava are interred is at a few distance away from the Patriarch centre. National Highway is also very near to the site and Cochin city is 20 Km away. The International Airport at Nedumbasserry is 40 Km from the Church centre.
The Church headquarters in the past centuries functioned in places where the Chief Metropolitans resided. The Malankara Church in those days never thought of a permanent central office nor there was any need for that as a decentralized form of administrative structure was existing in Malankara then. When Pulikottil Mor Divanasios Thirumeni was the chief of the Malankara Church, the Syrian (Old) seminary at Kottayam was his headquarters and later when Valiya Thirumeni (St. Athanasius Paulose) assumed the responsibility, Thrikkunnathu Seminary at Aluva became the central office. This was later shifted to Muvattupuzha when Catholicos Baselios Paulose II Bava headed the Indian Church from 1975 to '96. Due to the various trials and tribulations in the past century, the Church was not able to develop any of these centers as permanent HQs until the present Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I took the initiative to develop the Church centre at Puthencuriz. Also with the change of times it became an absolute necessity for the Church to have a permanent headquarters complex to fulfill the various and manifold services and for the effective and prompt functioning of its administrative system. For the hundreds of parish churches and about more than one million faithful, the new complex at Puthencuriz was a long cherished dream.
CONSECRATION OF THE PATRIARCH CENTRE
The site for the headquarter complex was blessed on April 9, 2000 by H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I when His Holiness visited Malankara to inaugurate the Episcopal jubilee of the late Chief Metropolitan of the East Mor Clemis Abraham.
During the Patriarch's next apostolic visit on 24th September 2004, the Holy Father consecrated the main block of the Church Head quarters in co-operation with His Beatitude the Catholicos and the Metropolitans. H.H. Ignatius Zakka-I stayed here for 3 days during this short visit to India. During His Holiness' 4th apostolic visit also the holy patriarch stayed here for 9 days. The Malankara Syriac Christian community is greatly indebted to His Holiness for the Apostolic blessings and whole hearted support for this dream project.
The Head quarter Complex is named as "Patriarch Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas Centre" as the silver jubilee year memorial of the Patriarchal enthronement. The Central office of the Church including the Catholicate office now functions here. The complex established in 5 acres of land, have a beautiful Chapel, special suites for Church dignitaries, the Holy Episcopal Synod Chamber, Working Committee & Managing Committee halls, office rooms for all the office bearers of the Church, central offices for the spiritual organizations, Library and Archives, guest rooms, etc. The total plinth area on completion of the entire works will be 40,000 sq.ft. in three floors.
The church established at the Patriarchal Centre complex is named after St. Athanasius Paulose (Valiya Thirumeni, d.1953), the former Malankara Metropolitan and the head of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. The foundation stone for the church was blessed on 24 September 2004 by the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas and was laid on 25 January 2005 by His Beatitude the Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas-I. It took almost two years to complete the construction works of the church. On December 26, 2006, the Cathedral was consecrated by Catholicos Mor Baselios Thomas-I and dedicated in the name of St. Athanasius of Aluva. During the blessed ceremony, all the Metropolitans of Malankara Church, several priests and laymen participated.
The final phase of the church consecration was held two years later on 17th October 2008, when the supreme head of the Church, Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka-I consecrated the Cathedral with Holy Mooron during His Holiness' fourth apostolic visit to India. This was the first ceremony of His Holiness during the 10-day visit. The holy service started at 3 pm under the leadership of His Beatitude the Catholicos, assisted by all the Metropolitans from Malankara and three Suryoyo Metropolitans.
St. Athanasius Cathedral:
Photos of the Holy Moron consecration of the St. Athanasius Cathedral:
The book stall established in the church headquarters is named after late lamented Michael Mor Dionysius Metropolitan of Kottayam, Kollam, Niranam and Thumpamon dioceses. The book stall was blessed and declared inaugurated by the Supreme head of the Church, Patriarch H.H. Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas on 17th October 2008 in the presence of Catholicos Baselios Thomas-I and Metropolitans. A full fledged library will also be started soon at the church headquarters.
Patriarch Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas Centre (Patriarchal centre)
HQ of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
Puthencuriz, Ernakulam Dt.,
Kerala- 682 308,
Tel: 0484 - 2732804
Fax: 0484 - 2732804