The Last Pastoral letter (Kalpana) of St. Dionysius
From Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan of Malankara
Blessings to all our dear children, the vicars of all our churches, other priests, and the faithful in the Malankara Church founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle.
Dear children, the sheep of the spiritual fold entrusted to us, who are dear to our heart, I think you have come to know that we are on our sick bed for a few days now. We, are 76 years old now and plagued by a number of illness; therefore, we feel that we have no right to wish and hope that our earthly life be extended beyond this. So, we feel that nothing needs to be done, except to submit happily to the will of God, which is merciful and irreversible. It was God’s will that we should shoulder the administrative responsibilities of this Church during one of the most difficult times in its history, despite our frailties and ineligibility. The events of the last 25 years have moved on like a shadow; however their consequences shall certainly influence the future of the Church. It was because of the mercy of God alone that the Malankara Church community has survived a variety of great dangers.
You may believe firmly that our memory and gratitude to you all shall not go away from us till our last breath; for each one of you have worked with me magnanimously, for the uplift of our community all these days, forgetting our weaknesses, shortcomings and unworthiness. At this time, it is really painful for us to recall that some of our beloved children have difference of opinion regarding many of the projects we have undertaken for the sheer good of our community. Beloved children, we are all common people with lots of weakness. We feel today that many of the quarrels and feuds which our fathers have conducted during their time were negligible and foolish; therefore it is good for us to know that many of the things that we deem serious today may be judged as negligible and foolish by the future generations. Therefore, we exhort you with our last breath, to dispense with all kinds of quarrels and obstinacy, so that our poor Church, which is a little flock, shall not fall into disarray; and that you should accept it as your bounden duty to work for unity in the Church unselfishly. We believe that you will accept this request with a soft mind like the children who received blessings from the Lord ; and not hard- heartedly like the Pharaoh. All of you know that, unless you ask pardon for each other’s faults and forgive and forget, it will not be possible for you to get mercy and pardon from the Lord at the Last Judgment. You should believe that even after our bones have joined the bone of our Fathers, we will always submit our humble prayers before God that you will have the wisdom to work for reconciliation in our Church, forgetting all quarrels and differences. We have had a great desire in our heart for a long time now that we should work for union with those of our brother communities, who have deserted our Church. We would like you to accept this as a responsibility, as entrusted to you along with our last breath, to realize our desire.We also entrust it to each one of you to the responsibility to maintain the Catholicate, which all of us have been working hard to protect, against heavy odds, and which you sincerely believe, along with us , as indispensable for the upkeep, welfare and development of our Church.
Finally, dear children, there is no one that is good, not even one. No one who is righteous is made so except by the blood of our Lord. If during our period of administration, we have caused anyone of you sorrow or loss ; or done any wrong willfully or otherwise, knowingly or unknowingly; for all of them, we entreat you to forgive us in Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down His life for the sake of sinners and prayed to His Father for those who crucified Him . In the same way, if anyone has done anything against us, we would let you know that we have not kept them in our mind; and that we have forgiven in Christ. Again, our beloved, just as St. James has asked us to pray for each other, you pray for us! Your prayers will be a great comfort for us in death as well as in our rest. We entreat your love to pray for us, and priests to offer Qurbana on our behalf, now, and even after we have passed away. In this way, may the words of St. Paul,” I have fought a good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith; now the crown of righteousness awaits me. The Lord, who is the Righteous Judge, shall give it to me that day “may become true even in us. We pray our Lord Jesus Christ to extend his right hand, along with the right hand of us, weak and sinful one, and bless you, your homes, all your handiwork, and comfort us and all of you, and your faithful departed, in the heavenly paradise.By the prayers of Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and all the saints, especially St. Thomas our Patron Saint. Amen
May the love of God the Father, the grace of the only begotten Son, and the fellowship and indwelling of the Holy Spirit be upon you all, my beloved children, forever. Amen.From Old Seminary, Kottayam
Kumbham 11, 1109.
Note: - This last message is an extract from the book " Saint Vattasseril Mar Dionysius Personal Diary " by HG Yakob Mar Irenaios. As we commemorate the two fathers of the Church - the Cannonical Saint Dionysius and HG Makarios on February 23, it is my prayer that posting of this last kalpana may inspire us to see that the task of maintaining the Catholicate and realizing yet its potential to witness fully the mission started by St. Thomas is entrusted not to some one else, but to each one of us. The Saint Vattasseril Thirumeni stood firm to saying No to the Catholicate under any foreign authority. The Bishop Makarios lived the the message of the Catholicate amongst those who were outside of Kerala . May their prayers be with each of us and the Catholicate to the Glory of God. Amen.