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Abraham Mar Thoma

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Most Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XVII)
Enthroned 1944.
Reign ended September 1, 1947.

Titus II Mar Thoma

(Mar Thoma XVI)

Juhanon Mar Thoma

(Mar Thoma XVIII)
Ordination December 5, 1915.
Consecration December 24, 1917
Personal details
Birth name M.N.Abraham
Born August 7, 1893.
Died September 1, 1947
Buried Tiruvalla

Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Mar Thoma XVII) was the Head of the Mar Thoma Church from 1944-1947. He was called Marettu Kochu Thirumeni by his people. Among all the bishops of Malankara Churches Including Mar Thoma Church, Abraham Mar Thoma was the first one who had a Doctorate degree.

Early years

Bishop Abraham was born in Kerala, India, on October 30, 1880. His father Ninan was from Kallooppara and a member of the Marettu family who were rich and strong believers of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. His mother was Mariamma from Eraviperoor, Karrikkattu family strong believers of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

His parents called him Kochavarachen and in the school records his name was M. N. Abraham (Marettu Ninan Abraham). He was the only son of his parents and had two elder sisters. Abraham’s father died when he was five years old and he was brought up by his mother with the help of his uncle (mother’s brother) at Eraviperoor. Abraham’s mother, Mariamma was a very God fearing woman, who used to pray for hours keeping the child Abraham in her lap. Tears from her eyes used to fall on his head.


After completing his primary schooling at Eraviperoor he joined the Government School, Tiruvalla. For higher studies he was at CMS College Kottayam, S.P.G. College Trichy and Madras Christian College. Soon after becoming a deacon of the Mar Thoma church, he proceeded to join Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, Canada (1911-1914). From there he had obtained his MA and BD degrees.

He was not a bright student. Many times he failed in his school final and degree examinations. That helped him in later years to encourage the students who failed in their examinations and showed them the path to success.[1]

His ambition

From very early days, his ambition was to become an upadesi. (missionary) of the Mar Thoma church. He used to attend Sunday schools and gospel meetings. At one of the meetings in Tiruvalla, by an Anglican Priest - Rev. Thomas Walker of Tirunelveli he had accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour. At that time he was 13. During his school days he used to organize prayer groups and meetings for his classmates and other students. He was the prayer group secretary in all places he studied. While in school his class mates called him upadesi and at college he was called arch bishop.

Relation with his paternal family

According to the Syrian Christian traditions Abraham was to get one-third of the Marettu family’s property (his father’s share). But due to his close association with the Mar Thoma Church, his grandfather did not give him his share. His educational expenses were met buy his uncle Kochoonju, mother’s brother.


M. N. Abraham and M.P.Pothen(Philipose), Velliyampallil, Mallappally, were the first two persons with university degrees, to be ordained as deacons in the Mar Thoma Church. Titus II Mar Thoma ordained both of them on April 30, 1911.

On December 5, 1915, at his native place Eraviperoor, Deacon Abraham and Deacon Pothen were ordained as priests. Rev.Abraham was appointed as Kayamkulam divisional secretary


Even before Abraham was ordained as a deacon in 1911, the church leaders unanimously decided to select him as a bishop of the Mar Thoma Church. Even today, to select a layman as a bishop is very unusual.

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 XVII, Abraham Mar Thoma metropolitan.


The consecration ceremony of Rev. Abraham was held in Tiruvalla on December 27, 1917. A special ‘’madhubaha’’ (sanctuary) was built and a big ‘’pandal’’ (canopy) was made to accommodate approximate 20,000 for this purpose. This was the first time a consecration ceremony was held outside a church building. It was conducted by Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan assisted by Geevarghese Mar Coorilos and Poulose Mar Athanasius of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church. Anglican bishop Dr. Gill gave the message. Rev. Abraham was given the episcopal title, Abraham Mar Thoma Suffragan Metropolitan.

Suffragan Metropolitan

For 27 years, Metropolitan Titus II and Bishop Abraham worked together. The passing of a constitution for the Mar Thoma Church, giving due places to Bishops, clergy and laity; and the bringing into use of a tentative Qurbana Thaksa (Liturgy of the Holy Communion) were peacefully achieved during their administration in the Church.

Mar Thoma Metropolitan

Titus II Mar Thoma died on July 6, 1944. Abraham Mar Thoma was enthroned as Metropolitan at the Kozhencherry church.


He infused new spirit and vigor into the evangelistic work of the Church. He traveled throughout India and was a known figure in all the missionary circles as a great evangelist.

He believed that every Marthomite is an evangelist, so evangelism is the responsibility of every member of the Church and not that of the clergy alone. He emphasized that every man and woman was called to be the witness of Jesus Christ, irrespective of his secular occupation. It was this conviction that led him to organize groups of people and give them specialized training in personal evangelism.

The women of the Church also were encouraged to take up their part in fulfilling the mission of the Church. He encouraged the formation of the Mar Thoma Suvisesha Sevika Sanghom, (in 1919) which is the women’s auxiliary of the Evangelistic work in the Church. He was behind the establishment of the Vanitha Mandiram in Tiruvalla, the training institute of the Sevika Sanghom.

The Voluntary Evangelistic Association was established in 1924, as a voluntary lay movement of the Church.

The call that he gave to young men and women was to go and live in the villages of India, in different language areas, resulted in the establishment of Ashrams all over India from the South up to the borders of Tibet. His help was sought by Christian friends all over India to lead evangelistic conventions. Such assignments took him from Kanyakumari (Cape Comerin) in the South, to Kashmir in the North. He was a friend of every missionary in India and all of them looked up to him for inspiration and guidance.

Political field

The Metropolitan was a staunch nationalist who stood for the democratic rights of the people. He resisted the undemocratic and dictatorial actions of Dewan Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and was instrumental in getting a resolution passed by the Sabha Council (church council) condemning Sir C. P’s move to proclaim Travancore as an independent state following the lapse of British Paramountey..[2]

Final days

He was a diabetic patient. It was diagnosed at the age of 46; after which he lived for a further 21 years. He used to take insulin injections and was very active till the last day of his life. On Friday, 30 August 1947, he became ill and died on September 1, 1947. The funeral service was held at St. Thomas Church in Tiruvalla. A huge crowd was present to bid farewell to their beloved Metropolitan, the Kochu Thirumeni. He was interred in the Bishops’ cemetery in the SCS Compound, Tiruvalla.

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See also


  1. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. ‘’Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History.’’ Page 125-129.
  2. Mar Thoma Sabha Directory. (1999). Page 26-27



    1. Juhanon Marthoma Metropolitan, The Most Rev. Dr. (1952). Christianity in India and a Brief History of the Marthoma Syrian Church.. Pub: K.M. Cherian.
    2. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. (2003). Glimpses of Mar Thoma Church History. London, England. ISBN 978-81-900854-4-1
    3. Zac Varghese Dr. & Mathew A. Kallumpram. Metropolitan Abraham Mar Thoma. “Light of Life”, Vol.3, Issue 11, September 2004.


    1. Eapen, Prof. Dr. K.V. (2001). Malankara Marthoma Suryani Sabha Charitram. (History of Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church). Pub: Kallettu, Muttambalam, Kottayam.
    2. Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelistic Association, (1998). Abraham Mar Thoma
    3. Mathew, N.M. Malankara Marthoma Sabha Charitram, (History of the Marthoma Church), Volume I (2006), Volume II (2007). Volume III (2008) Pub. E.J.Institute, Thiruvalla
    4. Varghese, (1950) Dr.Abraham Mar Thoma Metropolitan.
    5. Daniel, K.N. Dr. Abraham Marthoma Metropolitan – Biography. V.V. Press, Kollam. 1948.

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