life of Blessed Chavara
Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born on 10th Feb. 1805 of God-fearing
parents Iko (Kuriakose) Chavara and Mariam Thoppil of the
Syro-Malabar Church, at Kainakary, near Alappuzha, Kerala.
According to the local custom the infant was baptized on the
8th day in Chennankari Parish Church, Alappuzha.
the age 5 to 10, he attended the village school (Kalari) to
study languages, different dialects, and elementary sciences
under the guidance of a Hindu teacher (Asan). Inspired by
the desire to become a priest, he began the studies under
the parish priest of the church of St. Joseph. At the age
of 13 in 1818 he entered the seminary at Pallipuram where
Malpan Thomas Palackal was the Rector. He was ordained priest
on 29th November, 1829 at Arthunkal and celebrated his First
Holy Mass at Chennankari Church.
the ordination he was engaged for some time in pastoral ministry;
however he soon returned to the seminary to teach and also
to officiate for the Malpan Thomas Palackal during his absence.
Thus he joined Malpan Thomas Porukara and Malpan Thoms Palackal
when they were planning to found a congregation. In 1830 he
went to Mannanam to direct the construction of the first house
of the congregation of which the foundation stone was laid
on 11th May, 1831. After the death of both the Malpans, Blessed
Chavara took up leadership. On 8th December, 1855 he made
the religious profession along with other 10 companions, under
the name "Kuriakose Elias of Holy Family".
was the Prior General of all the monasteries of the congregation
from 1856 till his death in 1871. When, in 1861, a schism
threatened the Church of Kerala with the arrival of Mar Thomas
Rokos without proper credentials from the Pope, Blessed Chavara
was appointed the Vicar-General of the Syro-Malabar Church
by the Arch-Bishop of Verapolly. Blessed Chavara is gratefully
remembered and acknowledged by the later leaders of the Church
and by the Catholic community in general for his strenuous
fight, strong stance , and effective leadership in thwarting
`Thomas Rochos' intrusion and saving the church of Kerala
on January 3rd, Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, after a short,
painful illness, died at Koonammavu near Kochi, preserving
his baptismal innocence. His mortal remains were later transferred
from Koonammavu to Mannanam in 1989 and are piously kept in
the chapel of St. Joseph's Monastery.