Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Dr. Curien Kaniyamparambil Archcorepiscopa: “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live I will not leave you”
The inevitable has happened. A revered priest who completed a century on this earth has passed away or rather passed on to paradise. Everyone knew that one day it had to happen and yet the void, blankness and sadness felt is immeasurable. It is but natural that one who is born has to die but when that person happens to be the Archcorepiscopa it is a bit difficult to accept and one is left bargaining with God to change destiny.
Now that Archcorepiscopa Kaniyamparambil leaves behind memories it is also a time to identity what achen wants from us in the course of his final journey from earth. He was a man of faith and a practical man who gave a lot of importance to relationships. He loved to see us during an engagement, wedding, prayer and then hold our hand, ask about news in our lives and look ahead as if showing that he was making the information received settle down into his well oiled brain. The Archcorepiscopa wanted to be loved, affirmed, respected and accepted. But it was never a one way expectation but rather a required minimal requisite from our part for the countless ways in which he loved, affirmed, respected and accepted us. As we visit to see his mortal remains we can touch any part of the bed to keep the spirit of community which binded us with the Archcorepiscopa to be kept alive.
Kaniyamparambil Archcorepiscopa prayed for several miracles to take place in the lives of his congregation. He used the relics with him to touch people and pray for them. He believed that the body and blood of Christ gave life to the lifeless and brought back the dead to life. Many people are not aware that the Archcorepiscopa went to visit a new born baby who was declared dead at birth in one hospital in Thiruvalla. The Archcorepiscopa undeterred and unfazed by the hopeless situation told the family that he would bless the baby with Holy oil. The baby came to life to the joy of the family. Such incidents are many and lot of people have benefitted from the prayers of the Archcorepiscopa. He would be happy to leave behind that legacy of faith among those who are close to him and know him.
Archcorepiscopa Kaniyamparambil would also like people to maintain peace and harmony in their lives. He was known for having a good relationship with priests and people belonging to various denominations and religions. His close friends were priests from other denominations and religions. He never instigated people to commit violence and take revenge. He was willing to forgive and let go and he will expect the same from us. Perhaps it was his scholarly approach which made him such or it was his pastoral foundation which was responsible. Whatever it was he inspires us to do the same. Finding problems in everything is easy. But finding good in everything is a special calling.
Appachen as many called him out of love considering him as their own grandfather and great grand father used his talents to the maximum. He didn’t believing in allowing our talents to be buried underground and letting them stay there. It is interesting that although the church and many of us consider the Archcorepiscopa as a scholar of the church, he did not do so himself. His works are interesting. No work of his was the best he could ever produce but it was the best he could produce on a particular day. Success for him was measured not on the basis of what we had inside us but what we could produce with meager resources. He understood that he was successful not because there were no other priests in the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church but because he took a risk in doing something with whatever less he possessed. He would definitely want us to do the same. He would want us to write with whatever little we possess in the hope that God will transform it into something great and useful for others.
Kaniyamparambil Archcorepiscopa’s life was one which was relentlessly lived in the understanding that each day had a value of its own and yet each day had certain responsibilities to complete. Despite his high stature he kept praying every single day at the appointed time, being also careful to intercede to Mother Mary and several saints. It was his understanding that time would pass only if every single second in the clock arm would tick, which was also our own responsibility in this world. He saw this together with the God given gift to think and plan a sermon, prayer, book or programme. He stayed alive because his mind was more fresh than a youngster, always alert and thinking about various things and permutations in its entirety. He would want us to be thinking beings, looking at the enumerable possibilities of what we can do instead of living resigned to what we assume our fate to be.
When it is time for Elijah to go in 2 Kings 2:1-14, Elisha his disciple says “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” Usually this is what we would want someone who has to go say. But here Elijah knew he had to go but Elisha simply could not let go. He finally gets Elijah’s mantle, which interestingly in modern day usage is also responsibility. He wanted to get double the share of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah replies and says that Elisha has asked for a hard thing. Yet if he sees him being taken up he will get it. The mantle of Elijah falls upon Elisha and he uses it to strike the water and say “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” The water parts. This passing away of Archcorepiscopa Curien Kaniyamparambil is not an end but a test of our faith to take up his mantle and see God’s glory being manifested now.
Are we willing to take upon the mantle of Archcorepiscopa Curien Kaniyamparambil? Are we willing to ask “Where is the Lord, the God of Archcorepiscopa Kaniyamparambil?” The blessed man has left behind several disciples and it is our responsibility to rise up to the occasion and work for the church and society. Women and men of the church and all walks of life have been inspired by his life. The Archcorepiscopa knows that it is the time for him to leave as it is decided by God. But can we in our inspirational grief say “As long as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you”? It has been a blessing to know the Archcorepiscopa and I say at this time with all my heart and soul “I will not leave you.”
(The picture was taken on July 23, 2015 with Archcorepiscopa Curien Kaniyamparambil blessing the St. Ignatius JSOC, K.R. Puram, Bangalore with the relic of St. Ignatius Elias III. We bow down before the greatness of this humble father.)