Baselios Cleemis Catholicos
Denomination Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Senior posting
See Trivandrum, India
Title Major Archbishop of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Period in office 2007 – Present
Predecessor Cyril Mar Baselios
Successor Incumbent
Religious career
Priestly ordination June 11, 1986
Previous post Apostolic Visitor to North America and Europe (2001–2003), Metropolitan Bishop of Tiruvalla (2003–2006), Metropolitan Archbishop of Tiruvalla (2006–2007)
Date of birth June 15, 1959 (1959-06-15) (age 58)
Place of birth Mukkoor,Thituvalla Kerala

Baselios Cleemis Catholica Bava born Isaac Thottunkal (June 15, 1959) is the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.

Cleemis was born at Mukkoor, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India.


He attended the Minor Seminary Formation in Tiruvalla from 1976 to 1979. He received a B.Phil. degree from St. Joseph's Pontifical Institute , Mangalapuzha, Aluva where he attended from 1979 to 1982. He received a B.Th. degree from the Papal Seminary, Pune where he attended from 1983 to 1986. Thottunkal was ordained a priest on June 11, 1986. He studied for the Master of Theology in Dharmaram College, Bangalore where he attended from 1986 to 1989. Thottunkal took his Doctorate in Ecumenical Theology from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome in 1997.


On his return from Rome he became the Vicar General (Proto Syncellus) of the Eparchy of Bathery. Pope John Paul II nominated Thottunkal as Apostolic Visitor and the Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum on 18 June 2001 for the Syro-Malankarites residing in North America and Europe. He was consecrated on 15 August 2001 at Tirumoolapuram, Tiruvalla, assuming the name Isaac Mar Cleemis.

The Holy See appointed Cleemis as sixth Bishop of the Eparchy of Thiruvalla on September 11, 2003. Cleemis was installed as the first Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archieparchy of Tiruvalla on June 10, 2006.

Cleemis was elected the Second Major Archbishop Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church through the first Holy Episcopal Synod of election of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church convoked on 7 -10 February 2007 at Catholicate Centre, Pattom, Trivandrum. Pope Benedict XVI approved the election on 9 February and it was announced on 10 February at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom, Trivandrum. Baselios Cleemis was enthroned the Second Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 5 March 2007 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pattom. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil participated in the installation ceremony.

Baselios Cleemis visited the Pope Benedict XVI on 28 May 2007 at Vatican and received ecclesiastical Communion. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Rome gave a reception for him on his first visit to the Holy See.

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