Monday, December 10, 2012

In Memoriam: Metropolitan Mar Barnabas of New York

Metropolitan Mar Barnabas (Mathews) of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, recently retired Metropolitan of New York and Northeast America, has reposed at the age of eighty-eight. Born K.K. Mathukutty in Perumbavoor, Kerala, on 9 August 1924, the future metropolitan was in 1951 ordained to the priesthood as Fr. Mathews, later being consecrated to the episcopacy in 1978 as Bishop Mar Barnabas.

In 1981 Mar Barnabas was elevated to the rank of metropolitan, and in 1982 he was elected as the first metropolitan of the newly established Diocese of Idukki in eastern Kerala. In 1992 Metropolitan Mar Barnabas was transferred to the Malankara Orthodox Diocese of New York and America, becoming its second ruling metropolitan and shepherding the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in North America until 2009, when new dioceses were created and he became ruling metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese.

During Metropolitan Mar Barnabas' tenure in North America the Church there underwent a period of significant growth, with new churches being established across the continent. In 2011 he retired as metropolitan to return to Kerala, where he was cared for as his health declined. This past Sunday, 9 December, he fell asleep at the Pampady Monastery at the age of eighty-eight. May Metropolitan Mar Barnabas' memory be eternal! A full account of his life may be found here.

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