H.B Catholicose Baselios Thomas I assisted by Metrapolitians of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church ordained Very Rev. Sabor Zacharia Ramban as H.G Zacharia Mor Philexinose for Malabar Diocese & Very Rev. Afroth Issac Ramban as H.G Issac Mor Osthathiose for Mylapore Diocese at St. Athanasious Cathedral in Puthencuriz, India.
As the Cathedral was not big enough to hold the people who had gathered for the ordination, it was held at a temporarily erected altar outside the church.
Click on the link below for photos from the ordination:http://picasaweb.google.com/malankarasyriacorthodox/Ordination#
Both these new bishops have very interesting life stories.
H.G Zacharia Mor Philexinose’s father was a police officer. Though baptized as an infant, he was not a believer and didn’t go to church regularly. He was very active in the student’s wing of the communist party. He not only did not believe in God, but questioned all sorts of authority, which ultimately resulted in him being expelled from St. Mary's High School while in his 11th grade. He had to complete his secular education elsewhere. In 1989, while Zacharia was only 18, his father who was a Police Officer was shot and killed in the line of duty by a criminal named Dhanasekharan. The young and rebellious Zacharia was full of hatred and resolved to take revenge. His diary note from that day reads: “ I will kill Dhanasekharan.” Zacharia not only lost his father, but his family that was leading a middle class life with the salary of a police officer was suddenly thrown into economic hardship as well with the loss of his income. This only increased the bitterness in Zacharia’s heart.
The change in heart for Zacharia came through divine intervention. While pursuing his Bachelor of Arts at Baselious College, Zacharia happened to hear Fr. Mathew Naikamparambil, a Eastern Rite Catholic priest speaking at an open air convention held in Kottayam town. Zacharia recollects that was the beginning. He started turning to God. His mind that was filled with hatred, started to forgive his father’s killer and he started to experience peace. He joined an organization called ‘Nava Jeevan’ (translated as New Life) and visited and prayed for poor patients admitted to the Govt Hospital in Kottayam.
Things at home began to take a turn for the worse; they received a foreclosure notice for their house. This also turned around, as his elder brother miraculously got employment. Zacharia saw this also as God’s interZacharia decided to dedicate his life for Christ and joined the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Seminary and became a priest. Even after becoming a priest he did not limit his activities to the church or a monastery. He was posted as a priest to one of the poorest regions. He soon realized that the alcoholism was one of the biggest reasons for the poverty of the region. He started a retreat and prayer center targeted at helping people recover from alcoholism.
H.G Issac Mor Osthathiose on the contrary, literally grew up in the church. His grandfather’s brother was late lamented H.G Thomas Mor Osthathiose, Metropolitan of Kochi. At the age of 7, Issac left his parents and went and lived with his grand uncle the late Mor Osthathiose at the Qyomtha Dayara (Resurrection Monastery). His grand uncle ordained him a sub-deacon and was ordained as a full deacon by H.G Gregorious, who succeeded H.G Osthathiose as the Metropolitan of Kochi. He had is school education at the Gregorian Academy, a school run by the church. He has a Bachelors degree in Economics from the Mahatma Gandhi University and post graduate degree from the Kerala University. He graduated with a degree in Theology from the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Theological Seminary, Udayagiri and in Syriac Language and the Liturgy from St. Aphrem Theological Seminary, Damascus Syria, and pursued a Masters in Sacramental Theology at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary, Boston, Massachusetts USA.