[Konatt Malpan - Priest Trustee  (1901-'28)]


Konatt Korah Mathen Corepiscopo, a renowned Syriac Scholar and author of many religious books, was one of the prominent Priests of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church in the 20th century. Born in a well known priestly family of Pampakuda village near Kochi on 30 March 1860, he had his early education under his father Yohannan Malpan who also was a priest. Later he continued the theological studies under Chathuruthil St. Gregorios Bava (Parumala Thirumeni) from whom he gained great scholarship in Syriac and religious science.

In 1883 he was ordained a priest and began teaching at the Syrian seminary in Kottayam. After a short period he established a small seminary in his own village as per the advise of the Malankara Metropolitan to train the young clergy from that area.

One of the greatest works of Konatt Mathen Malpan was the translation and editing of the Prayer book from Syriac to Malayalam used by the Malankara Syrian church to the present day. This book, popularly known as 'Pampakuda Namaskaram' was first published in 1910 with the permission of the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Abded' Aloho (Abdulla II), the Supreme Pontiff of Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. Very Rev. Mathen Malpan Corepiscopo had also translated from Syriac into Malayalam, chapters from Bar Salibi's Scholia on the Gospel according to St.Mathew, the Nomocanon by Bar Hebraeus, the New Testament (except Revelation) which was published in 1936 and a selection of church rituals and hymns. Further more, he published the Ishhim (Regular Weekday Service Book of Prayers) some anaphoras, the service of deacons, the orders of baptism, marriage, and funerals as well as the service book for principal feast and the service book for the Week of the Passion.  There is also a book on church festivities and letters written by him. 


Priest Trustee (1901-'28)

At a very young age itself, Konatt Mathen Malpan Achen's scholarship gained him great reputation in the Church. Impressed by his Godly gifts, Mor Gregorios (Parumala Thirumeni) recommended him as the Priest-Trustee of the Church.  In 1901, Konatt Mathen Malpan was elected as one of the three trustees of the Jacobite Syrian Church. For eight years he continued in the position together with Pulikottil Mor Dionysius V, the then Metropolitan Trustee. In 1909 Pulikuttil Mor Dionysius Metran, the Metropolitan Trustee passed away and Wattasseril Mor Dionysius assumed the office as successor. Both Konatt Mathen Malpan (Priest trustee) and Akkara C J Kurien, (lay trustee) continued in the honorable positions as the co-trustees of the new Malankara Metropolitan. About a year later, some disputes started to surface in the Church. Konatt Malpan and the lay trustee questioned some of the unilateral actions of the Metropolitan Trustee. By 1911 the internal schism that followed due to the autocratic rule of the Metropolitan led to a great split in the Church; a separate faction was organized under the leadership of Wattasseril Mor Dionysius Metran. 

The mental agony which the Konatt Mathen Malpan had faced in this period was severe. Ignoring the threats from his opponents, Konatt Malpan bravely stood along with the other prelates of the Holy Church, upholding the apostolic faith and traditions of the Syrian Orthodox church. He was a person who never succumbed to any kind of pressures or tempting offers. A strong advocate of the Antiochean traditions, he was closely associated with at least two Syrian Orthodox Patriarchs of Antioch. In 1926, the Church honoured Konatt Malpan by elevating him as 'Corepiscopo', the highest order in the Church conferred to a married Priest.  In a period of great trials and tribulation in the church, he always stood in the forefront and guided the faithful in the right path. He was the priest trustee of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church till his last. 

On 8th November 1927, at the age of 68, Very Rev. Mathen Corepiscopa Konatt died and was buried in the chapel located in his family property at Pampakuda. His funeral services was led by Valiya Thirumeni (St. Athanasius Paulose, the Malankara Metropolitan), St. Osthatheos Bava (patriarchal delegate) and other Metropolitans of the church in India.

Late Korah Mathen Corepsicopo is the only Indian who is mentioned in the elite list of Syriac scholars in the book titled 'Syriac Literature and Sciences' written by the late lamented Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Aphrem I. His short biography is also given in the book.




The chapel where the last resting places of Metropolitan Mor Julius

and four Priests of Konatt family are situated

The last resting place of Konatt Mathen Malpan (front) and

Metropolitan Mor Julius Geevarghese (1829-'84), in the chapel