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The Most Reverend
 Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan
 Mar Thoma XXI
Enthroned October 2, 2007
Reign ended Incumbent

Philipose Mar Chrysostom

(Mar Thoma XX)
Successor Incumbent
Ordination October 18, 1957
Consecration February 8, 1975
Personal details
Born June 27, 1931 (1931-06-27) (age 90)

Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan is the present head of the Mar Thoma Church with its center in Kerala state in south-western India. He is the 21st Mar Thoma, to head the church, respected as a theologian and a good administrator.

It was in Kerala in the first century, Thomas the Apostle arrived to preach the gospel to the Jewish community. Some of the Jews and locals including the wise men who saw Jesus as a baby at Bethlehem [1] became followers of Jesus of Nazareth. They were known as Nasrani people and their church as Malankara Church. They followed a unique Hebrew-Syriac Christian tradition which included several Jewish elements and Indian customs. The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church was born from the influence of reformed ideas brought to Kerala by Anglican (CMS) missionaries[2].

Early days

Palakunnathu Family

In the seventeenth century Kerala, a member of the Panamkuzhy family (a branch of the Pakalomattam family), came and settled in Kozhencherry on the banks of river Pampa. Later they moved to Maramon, and lived at Chackkalyil, on the other side of the river. The second son in that family, Mathen moved to a nearby house at Palakunnathu. He had six sons and a daughter. The daughter was married to Mallapally Pavoothikunnel family and the first four sons moved to Themoottil, Neduvelil (Kozhenchery), Periyilel and Punamadom (Othera). The fifth son was a hermit priest (sanyasi achen). As was the custom, the youngest son Mathew lived at Palakunnathu family house. (This house still exists). Abraham Malpan, leader of reformation in Malankara church was the second son of Mathew. Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIV) and Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XV) were the sons of Abraham Malpan.

A number of other Marthoma Church leaders were also born in this family. Mathews Mar Athanasius Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XIII) and Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XV) were from this family. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XXI), is also from this family.[3][4]

Early life

P.T. Joseph was born on 27 June 1931 as the son of Maramon Palakunnathu Kadon P.T. Lukose and Maramon, Puthoor Mariamma.

After his education at Maramon and Kozhencherry, he joined Union Christian College Aluva.


Joseph always wanted to join an academic career, but when he was called to take up theological studies he readily accepted it. So in 1954, he joined the United Theological College, Bangalore, Karnataka, India and obtained B.D. degree.

He was ordained as Deacon of the Mar Thoma Church on June 29, 1957 and Kasseessa (priest) on October 18, 1957.

Then he continued his studies at Protestant Episcopal Seminary in Virginia, USA. From there he went to Canterbury and Oxford in England. He was able to obtain MDiv (Master of Divinity) and STM (Master of Sacred Theology) degrees. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by Virginia Seminary where he studied.


Realizing the need for more bishops for the Mar Thoma Church, the Church Mandalam (representative assembly) in 1974, decided to consecrate two more bishops. Rev. P.T.Joseph was one of those who were selected. He was ordained as Ramban on January 11, 1975.


On February 8, 1975, Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan assisted by the other bishops of the church ordained Rev. P.T.Joseph and was given the episcopal title, Joseph Mar Irenaeus. Rev. V.T. Koshy, Easow Mar Timotheos was also ordained on the same day.

Suffragan Metropolitan

He was designated as Suffragan Metropolitan in March 15, 1999 when Philipose Mar Chrysostom Suffragan Metropolitan was designated as Officiating Metropolitan .


Malankara throne


Malankara Throne

After the great swearing in 1653 it became necessary to appoint a bishop. For this purpose a special chair was made and Mar Thoma I the first bishop of Malankara Church was enthroned. This throne, used for the consecration of Mar Thoma I , is in the possession of the Mar Thoma Church and is kept at Tiruvalla, It has been used in the installation of every Mar Thoma Metropolitan, to this day, so that the continuity of the throne of Mar Thoma is ensured. This was the throne used for the consecration of Mar Thoma XXI, Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan.


Joseph Mar Irenaeus Suffragan Metropolitan was installed as Mar Thoma XXI Metropolitan on October 2, 2007 when Philipose Mar Chrysostom was made Valia Metrapolitan. (Senior Metropolitan)


He was the President of the National Council of Churches in India and was one of the senior Presidents of CCA and the chairman of CASA.


Ordained as Deacon = June 29, 1957
Ordained as Kasseessa = October 18, 1957
Ordained as Ramban = January 11, 1975
Consecrated as Episcopa = February 8, 1975
Designated as Suffragan Metropolitan = March 15, 1999
Installed as Metropolitan = October 2, 2007

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See also


  1. Bible - Matthew chapter 2.
  3. Cherian Cherian. Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil Kudumba Charitram. (Family History of Maramon Pakalomattom Chackalyil).
  4. N.M.Mathew, History of Palakunnathu Family.

For further reading

    1. Mathew, N.M. ‘’Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram’’, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume 1.(2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008). Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla

External links

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