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Bishop Mar Mathew Makil

MarMathewMakil

Mathew Makil was born on 27th march 1851 at Manjoor in Kottayam District. He was appointed Vicar General for the Southists in the Vicariate of Kottayam in 1889. When the Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam and Trichur were re-organized into Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanassery in 1896, hewas nominated Titular Bishop of Trallus and appointed Vicar Apostolic of Changanassery. In 1911, a new Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam was constituted exclusively for the Knanaya Catholics and Mar Mathew Makil was transferred to Kottayam as Vicar Apostolic. He died at Kottayam on 26th Jan 1914 and on 26 Jan 2009 Declared as Servant of God.

A Brief Biography of the Servant of God Mathew Makil

This is a glance in to the life and deeds of a simple and sincere human being who rose to divinity with his sacrifice, sufferings and dedication: His strength was his utter trust in God. “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Lk.22:42) was his motto. And he accepted everything that came in life-good or bad with equanimity. He is Bishop Mar Mathew Makil, the first Vicar apostolic of Changanacherry and Kottayam, the good shepherd of the syrian christians, the founder of the Visitation Congregation, and the spiritual inspirator of the Knanaya Community.

Birth

Mar Mathew Makil was born on 27th March1851 as the third son of Thomman and Anna Makil puthenpurayil of Manjoor in Kottayam District, Kerala India. His birth turned out to be an important event in the history of the Kerala Church. The family Ayurvedic Physician who was attending to his grandfather,on astrological grounds predicted that the new born was an extra ordinary child, who would attain glorious reverential positions and so was a holy gift to the family. Grandfather was cured and it was attributed to the birth of the youngest grandson Mathew Makil.

Childhood

The religious fervour and the prayerful atmosphere that existed in the family and the religious life of his parents paved the way for the child to grow as a God loving and pious individual. Standing at the back yard of his house, young Mathai used to imitate loudly thesermons of his parish priest to the blue sky and green paddy fields. He also used to sing Syriac hymns while walking back home from the School.

Virtuous Boy

He always showed a maturity beyond his age and was a role model for others. He was second to none in faith and religious practice. He showed spontaneous respect to the elders and was ready to help others. He had great care and concern for the poor, the suffering and the needy. Often he asked his mother inquisitive questions on divine matters. He was very enthusiastic to recite his regular daily prayers in clear and loud voice.

Education

The parents set an example of their holy life for the son to follow. He started his institutional education at the age of five. Along with formal education he learned the folklore of the Syrian Christian known as ‘Margamkali’ under Asan Kocheppu, who predicted that this extra ordinary disciple would attain higher positions later. He was fast in learning prayers and devotional songs along with his Malayalam and Mathematics.

From childhood onwards he was attracted to priesthood. The close association with his uncle Rev.Fr. Jospeh Makil, an exemplary priest, intensified his desire to become a priest. He used to assist the Holy Mass of his uncle. As counselled by the uncle priest his parents also gave him permission to begin priestly formation. He was admitted to the Mannanam seminary in 1865 and started learning Syriac, the liturgical language of the church. In 1866, he was admitted to the Varapuzha major seminary. The rector of the seminary, an Italian missionary by name Marcellinos Barardi was his tutor. He described the young Deacon Mathew as a noble leader like Moses, a religious person as Samuel, a musician as David, a wise man as solomon, good natured as Jacob and obedient as Isaac. Throughout the seminary course he excelled in such qualities and was well appreciated by his superiors.

Priestly Ordination

On completion of clerical studies and formation he was ordained priest by Archbishop Leonard Mellano, Vicar Apostolic of Varapuzha on 30th May, 1874. Fr. Mathew celebrated his first Holy Mass in Vanampadi Church at Varapuzha on 8th June 1874 in full solemnity and fervour. A small crowd of kith and kin participated in the solemn celebration.

Sacred Ministry

During the early years of his priesthood he served as a professor in Puthenpally seminary and at Brahmamangalam seminary and also rendered pastoral service to neighbouring parishes. After two years Fr. Mathew was appointed assistant parish priest at Kaipuzha where his uncle Fr. Joseph Makil was the Vicar. Thereafter he served as parish priest of Edakkat and Kaipuzha parishes. During this period he was appointed as the Secretary to Mar Marcellinos Barardi, the co-adjutor bishop of Varapuzha. He was selected to that post on account of his proficiency in Latin and English languages. Fr. Mathew as secretary to the Bishop was appreciated by all for his sense of responsibility, punctuality and honesty. With his command in English and latin languages he could serve the bishop well in his foreign correspondences.

Seminary Professor and Vicar General for the Southists (Knanaya Community)

On 20th May 1887, by the papal Bull ‘Quod jam pridem’ Pope Leo XIII established two Apostolic Vicariates, Trissur and Kottayam and appointed Bishop Charles Lavigne SJ, as the vicar apostolic of Kottayam. Bishop Lavinge appointed Fr. Mathew as professor of Latin at Brahmamangalam seminary. Along with this he was in charge of two parishes, Brahmamangalam and Kaduthuruthy. In 1889 Bishop Lavigne appointed two Vicars general, Fr. Emmanel Nidhiry for the Northists and Fr. Mathew Makil for the Southists in the Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam.

Founder of SVM (Sisters of the Visitation of the BI. Virgin Mary)

As the Vicar general, Fr. Mathew Makil was very much interested in the spiritual life, education and upliftment of the Knanaya women. For this purpose he charted the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation of the Visitation sisters which was juridically erected by bishop Lavigne on 24th June 1892, the feast of the Sacrd Heart of Jesus. Being the founder of S.V.M, he took keen interest to give them firm spiritual foundation. The purpose and charism of the foundation of S.V.M was to attain Christian perfection by closely following Jesus Christ through consecrated life, to bear witness to the sweet, humble and meek love of Jesus by fulfilling God’s will through consecrated life and apostolic activities, and working for the upliftment of all people especially of women folk through education, healing ministry and other missionary activities.

While Bishop Makil was the Bishop of the eparchy of Changanacherry, Congregation of the Sacred Heart (S.H.) and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (S.A.B.S) were started. His whole hearted support and paternal care in bringing up these two congregations and the existing Franciscan Clarist Congregation (F.C.C.) is well appreciated.

Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry

When Pope Leo XIII reconstituted the two Syro-malabar Vicariates in to three, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Changanacherry in 1896 and appointed indigenous bishops, Msgr. Mathew Makil was appointed titular Bishop of Trallus and Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry. Bishop Lavigne had strongly recommended the appointment of Msgr. Mathew Makil as Bishop, highlighting the good works done by him and his various capacities. Bishop Marcellinos described him as an honest, service minded and obedient priest.

Bishop of Changanacherry

On Oct.25th 1896, Mar Mathew Makil was ordained Bishop of Trallus and Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry at Kandy by Msgr. Zaleski. Appointment of Mar Mathew Makil as the head of the newly formed Vicariate of Changanassery was not pleasing to many of the Northist majority community for he belonged to the Southist minority the Knanaya community. He served as the head of the Vicariate Apostolic of Changanassery successfully for fifteen years facing all oppositions. He was ready to accept all challenges considering it as the will of God. As a true follower of Jesus Christ, he was prone to forgive all those who turned against him, to pray for them earnestly and to work hard for them.

Decreth and pastoral Letters

Seven years after becoming the Vicar Apostolic of Changanassery Mar Makil published a book, which contained the rules and regulations for the proper administration of the Vicariate. The book of decrees promulgated by Bishop Mar Mathew Makil for the Vicariate of Changanassery was the first eparchial statutes, promulgated by a native bishop in Kerala. It was an important piece of legislation in the canonical history of the Malabar Church. In 1909 Mar Makil published ‘Christheeya Vedopadesa Samkshepam’ “A summary of Christain Catechism”. He addressed his flock in forty one pastoral letters.

Literary Works

He encouraged the collection and edition of the Christain folk songs and folklores such as the ancient songs of Syrian Christians of malayalam and the margamkali. Bishop Makil made arrangement also for printing and publishing the ‘Njaanakeerthanangal’ written by Thakidiyel Mathan Ittiavira, a knanaya poet.

Erection of Kottayam Vicariate for the Southist People

In order to establish peace and harmony in the Vicariate of Changanacherry, as well as to get established a separate Vicariate for the Knanaya Community, which had kept its identity for 16 centuries the peace loving Bishop Mar Makil, accompanied by father Mathew Vattakkalam and Alexander Chulaparambil started for Rome in April 1911 to meet His Holiness Pope Pius X. On 25th May 1911 Mar Makil visited Pope Pius X and submitted a joint memorandum signed by the three Vicars apostolic, Mar Louis Pazheparambil, Mar Johannan Menacherry and Mar Mathew Makil. Bishop Makil spent several nocturnal hours in prayer for three months, waiting for the will of God. At last on August 29, 1911, Pope Pius X erected a new Apostolic Vicariate of Kottaym exclusively for the Southist People by the Apostolic letter In Universi Christiani. On the next day the Pope issued also the Papal Bull which contained the appointment of Mar Makil as the Vicar Apostolic of Kottayam. Thus, a centurie’s old long dream of the Knanaya Community came true.

Concern for his sheep at Changanassery

After returning from Rome, Mar Makil stayed at Kottayam, but did not forget the Vicariate of Changanassery where he had served for almost fifteen years. To get a good shepherd for Changanassery he strongly recommended the peace loving Fr. Thomas Kurialassery who subsequently was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Changanassery. The Archdioces of Changanassery gratefully acknowledges the great services done by bishop Mar Mathew Makil. In 2004 at a seminar in Commemoration of the 90th death anniversary of Mar Makil, Mar Joseph Powathil Archbishop of Changanassery praised Mar Mathew Makil for his services done at Changanassery, for which the people of Changanachesery would always remember him. Mar Makil occupies an important position in the history of Changanassery. Various educational institutions, churches including the famous ‘Parel Palli’ and several religious congregations for women were established during his tenure at Changanassery.

The life of bishop Makil was firmly anchored on the saving love of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. His devotion to the SacredHeart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary overflowed into his pastoral letters. The secret of success of his activities was his holiness and deep spirituality. Honesty, justice and simplicity were basic to his life style. He was a man of firm faith, deep devotion, kenotic love and endurance based on Gospel values. His compassionate heart made him one with everybody. Meek and humble of heart he considered even his enemies as friends. He was wise enough to give counsel and advice in spiritual as well as secular matters.

Faith

He was a man of deep faith, seeing the Divine providence in everything and was always ready to surrender himself to the will of God. Whether it be prosperity or adversity he stood firm in his ardent faith in God. Mar Mathew Makil had great devotion to the magisterium of the Church on faith and imparted it to the people without fail through his pastoral letters and sermons. He strongly exhorted the faithful that they should swerve from all that is dangerous and harmful in leading a life of faith. He had strong faith in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Blessed Virgin Mary. When he was faced with problems and difficulties he took refuge in prayer. We can see the depth of his faith in the letters which he sent to the sisters in their difficulties, “As we love and praise our Lord in our happy days, we should love and serve our Lord our loving Father with happiness, submission to His will and patience in all other days too”. Mar Makil taught his flock to keep up a living faith, lest, virtue might diminish and evil would conquer them.

Hope

With firm hope in the help of God he took up his duties. He was convinced that those who trust in the Lord would know no defeat. His trust in the Lord was well manifested in the foundation of Visitation Congregation. Having no facilities for higher education in Travancore for the Catholics, he sought and got government approval for St. Berchman’s School although the Vicariate of Changanassery was then pressed with financial difficulties. The advice he gave to his S.V.M. daughters before going to Rome was one of the best example of his trust in God. He said “My dear loving spiritual daughters in Jesus, don’t be afraid of anything. Because I have surrendered all of you and your convent fully to our Saviour’s Sacred Heart. Your heavenly bridegroom will protect you from all hindrances and all enemies safely”.

Love of God

It was the burning love of God that induced Mar Makil to dedicate himself for others through loving service. This same love helped him to follow his vocation to priesthood. His words and deeds were the manifestations of this spirit which was inspiring to others. “To seek and love God and divine matters should be the first preference of every body. Because through this only humanity can attain the salvation of soul which is the eternal happiness we seek” Mar Makil lived in this world but his thoughts and ambitions went beyond up to heaven. In his words “Our soul is created by God for heaven and is sent to this mortal human `…….. those who live with God will be taken into the lap of God at the end of his life.”

Devotion to the sacred Heart, Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph

His love of God was clearly expressed through his devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. All his actions were controlled by the personal attachment to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He even declared through his pastoral letters that his wealth was his trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He used to advise the sisters, “As I entrust all of you and your endeavours to the Sacred Heart, you should trust in, live in, and pray to the Sacred Heart. If you do so, the Sacred Heart will protect you, respect you, flourish you and save you always”. Mar Makil had filial love, faith and trust to the Immaculate Mother. He said to his daughters “The devotion to the most blessed Mother of God should be your special sign and particular virtue as Visitation sisters.

You are called to this holy dignity to dwell in the Sweet Sacred Heart of Jesus under the care of the Most Blessed Viirgin Mary your Mother. We can see his ardent devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph in his letter approving the constitution of S.V.M. “Dear Children I devoutly dedicate you all in the most Sacred Heart of our Savior Jesus Christ, in the lap of Blessed Virgin Mary our mother and to the protection of St. Joseph and bless you all, each and every one with paternal and pastoral heart in the name of Father Son and the Holy Spirit”.

Love of Neighbour

His compassion was beyond all castes and creeds and it embraced the rich and the poor alike. His heart melted at the miseries of others. Taking the problems of others as his own, he tried tosolve them. His pastoral letter No: 38 was written specially about alms and help to others. It is an informative letter about the excellence of alms, donations, offerings and help to the poor. He used to tell his spiritual daughters that “You should see others especially those who are sick and poor as the living image of Jesus Christ and serve them equally. Love God by serving others, by loving make them virtuous and by the deeds of virtues make them saved.

Love and Concern for the Poor and The Marginalized

His Excellency was very much interested in the salvation of the servants and helpers who belonged to different castes such as ezhava, Pulaya, Paraya etc. He wrote in his pastoral letter No: 5 about the need and possibility of evangelizing them. He inspired his flock that our Saviour has shed His Blood not only for a special group but the whole human flock. He emphasized that in the house of God there is no caste system.

Intense desire for the Salvation of Souls

Mar Makil had an intense zeal to spread the Good News and to convert the pagans into the Catholic Church. He said “Every Christian has a mission to teach the Gospel. You have to take care of your low caste and ignorant neighbours teaching them the Gospel and helping them become members of the Catholic Church through Holy Baptism”. With this intention he started a society for Evangelization (Margamaryippusabha) through which he solicited financial as well as physical assistance for the evangelization of the World.

Forgiveness

To forgive is divine. Mar Makil had a special charism to forgive the mistakes of the priests and others and to correct them without hurting them. When he was the Vicar apostolic of Changanassery he had to face a lot of problems only because he was a member of the Southist community. One of the greatest protests was a petition made by the Northist delegate against Bishop Mar Makil. He knew well who had worked behind it. And yet, he kept up the good relationship with the person and showed great concern in his sickness. A shining example of Mar Makil’s forgiveness is his farewell letter to the faithful of Changanassery.

Love of the enemy

In the end there are three things that last faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love (1Cor. 13:13). Mar Mathew Makil showed great love for his enemies. He was a man who firmly believed in the father-hood of God and brotherhood of man and he reflected it through his thoughts, words and deeds. Even though he had many enemies within his flock he never showed irritation, impatience or displeasure. He loved all of them without any partiality and was concerned about them. The fact is that, for himself, he was a man without enemies because he loved all.

Poverty

Mar Makil led a life of poverty to identify with his poor fellow men. He saw hard work as an essential part of poverty, and encouraged his flock to do so. He instructed his spiritual daughters in their first constitution “You should have a funeral just like the poorest of the parish because you have taken the vow of poverty. Only a wooden cross and black flag are necessary for the procession. If necessary a couple of photos could be taken. He always concentrated on heavenly bliss. He was never attached to the worldly treasures. So he used to invite his flock to such detachment. “Travellers from afar are not concerned about the way side attractions like castles, towers, beautiful scenery and entertainment facilities or even the different people they meet on their way. Their mind is set on their dear parents, brothers, sisters and dear ones, home and home land and they consider other possessions or attractions unimportant. In the same way truthful Christians set their minds on heaven and heavenly bliss and consider the worldly attractions of little value. St. Paul in his letter to Philippine’s (Phil, 3:20) reminds us we shall set our goal on heaven and heavenly glories”. He followed this principle sincerely and so, was a poor man, though he was rich in heavenly glories.

Celibacy

Mar Makil was a man who lived very closely to Christ with an undivided heart and total dedication. Through this closeness to Christ he became an effective sign of the love the Father and the Son within the Trinity and he could include everyone in the circle of his love. He took celibacy seriously even in minute things. According to Mar Makil, “The basis of religious chastity is the love and self surrender of a person to her heavenly bridegroom Jesus Christ. Through celibacy we are bound to live, breathe and wish to have all our dealings, mental aspirations, senses, bodily activities, words and deeds in purity, brightness and holiness.

Obedience

Through obedience one gives up himself completely to God and to His will and this requires a certain asceticism of life. A positive response to the calling of the Lord implies both positive and negative elements. From childhood onwards Mar Makil showed great docility to his parents and teachers. He believed he was just a tool in the hands of God and succumbed to His will. There were days of suffering, mourning, distress and frustration. Nothing could affect his peace of mind. Though he never wanted positions or fame they just fell upon him. ‘When the high positions, came in search of Mar Makil, -a minority community member, he humbly used to decline them. But when he was told that it was the Will of God he bowed before the superiors and well wishers. This shows his humility, obedience and trust in God.

Prudence

Prudence, a virtue which helps one reach ones goal through suitable means, was very evident in Mar Makil. The Decrees remind the Christians that the zeal for baptizing the non Christians should not be so excessive as to lose prudence that is necessary in spreading the kingdom of God. Lest the activities of over zealous Christians might cause harm to the communal harmony and might turn out to be detrimental to the whole Christian community, Makil advised all to be prudent in administering baptism to Hindu children (Df. Makil Decrees 8, pp.52-63). Mar Makil was aware of the need of prudence in averting problems affecting family life. For example he included in his Decree about the need of last will and testament. “The head of the family should write the last will and testament to avoid enmity between the successors. He should emphasize the right of his wife for alimony. The dowry ornaments and other gifts which were given to the married women should be counted as patrimony (Decree No).

Justice

Mar Makil who led a life of justice exhorted his people

through his pastoral letters to live likewise. “There were 140000 Catholics in the Vicariate apostolic of Changanassery governed by Mar Mathew Makil. This Vicariate stood first among the Syrian vicariates in the number of people and churches. He governed the faithful of this largest vicariate as a merciful father with patience, meekness and with out any partiality. So was he accepted by everyone as a very good administrator. (Bishop Chulaparambil (ed.), PL.pp. Vii-Xviii).

Dedication

The life of Mar Makil, from the day of his priestly ordination was so active that it required much self-sacrifice. The appointment as a Syriac professor of Puthenpally seminary literally demanded much hard work. As Vicar General for the Southist Community and founder of the Visitation Congregation and later as the Vicar Apostolic of Changanassery he had to lead a strenuous life. He spent hours together before the Blessed Sacrament on his knees with folded hands.

In his time the Vicariate of Changanassery was spread over a vast area. With the very little travelling facilities available then he regularly visited all the churches scattered in the vast territory and did whatever was possible to uplift the spiritual and material life of his sheep. He was ready to face all difficulties and hardships in discharging his official duties to their perfection.

Fortitude

Fortitude is the virtue that makes one able to face life’s problems and even death for the sake of the kingdom of God. Ever since his ordination in 1874 he was always ready to suffer any difficulties. He was determined to serve the people with extra ordinary courage. Even facing courageously some protests from the society, he tried to eradicate some vices of the flock such as alcoholism, gambling, robbery, adultery etc: (PL.No: 6). He dared to advise the parents on their duties, “it is the mistake of the parents that make children wanton or stubborn. So from childhood itself you should create fear and hatred towards sin in the minds of the children”. (PL. No: 11). “Those Parents who do not send their children to catechism classes are negligent of their responsibility and so will not be worthy to receive the holy Sacraments” (PL. No: 2).

Humility

Humility is the quality of not thinking that you are better than the other. It is acknowledging one’s own merits and demerits as they are. Mar Makil was a man of humility and simplicity. He never desired to have high positions. When he became Vicar General of Southist (Dairy of Mar Makil, 1889) and Vicar Apostolic of Changanassery from the depth of his humility he confessed unworthiness to this positions neither his education, wealth, the positions which he held, nor his family prestige made him proud. He was always ready to make amends for any fault that happened from his side. There were several occasions when he practiced humility.

A life of suffering

Mar Makil was a man of sufferings. From the time of elevation to the office of the vicar general for the Southists, started his sufferings. From the Northists he had to face a lot of oppositions. Some expressed their protest very openly. The death of one of his best spiritual daughters Tharayil Thekkethil Eliswa, an aspirant of SVM was a cause of agony for him (dairy of Mar Makil p. 126, Nalagamam of kaipuzha SVM, 1892 Chingam4).

What grieved him most was the spiritual indifference of his flock with their lack of Christian values and evil practices, repeatedly mentioned in his pastoral letters. Financial insecurity of the SVM as well as of his own new Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam for the Southist were also matters of concern for him. For Mar Makil ill health was also a cause of suffering.

Discernment of the Spirit

From his actions it seemed that Mar Makil, could discern the workings of the spirit. Very often he could predict the future. He was able to read the hearts of others and had a deep understanding of human nature, It is clear that the voice of Holy Spirit was always evident in the life of Mar Makil. Amidst opposition from various forces he managed to administer the Vicariate of Changanacherry rather well for fifteen years.

Other Charismatic Gifts

Mar Makil had several charismatic gifts. From verbal messages transmitted from our ancestors we could collect many incidents which reveal the special charisma of bishop Mar Makil. He blessed a medal and gave it to his family instructing them that “a pregnant women in labour placing the medal on her belly and reciting the creed of faith will have a safe delivery”. His own grand niece Annamma is one who has narrated it worked. Our bishop had a divine insight into the future. For instance “once, when he visited the church in Mannarapara the parishioners who were mostly poor told him their sorrows. The compassionate shepherd foretold them ‘don’t worry my children, all these sufferings will pass away, this Mannoopara will become a Ponnoorpara’ and it happened”. (Annamma Mathai Inchikalayil, Kuruppanthara). In 1913 bishop was travelling through Chingavanam. He was tired and thirsty. He asked for a glass of water from a way side tea shop. The shopkeeper was a pregnant lady and she noticing that the one who was asking for water was a bishop offered him breakfast too with great reverence. The Bishop pleased with her hospitality blessed her and the baby in her womb. After the birth of that child the family had a fast economic growth and they gratefully remember the bishop with respect even today. (Gomathy bus owners Kavalackal family).

Bishop Makil could serve the Vicariate of Kottayam, which he nourished with his blood, tears and sweat only for three years. “On 18th January 1914 he delivered festal sermon in St. George Catholic Church Edackat. Then he felt sick and came back to bishop’s house. Everybody thought he was having thc flu. On 21st January 1914 he offered his last holy mass. Afterwards he felt too sick and was on sickbed. He was always reciting “O Mary my mother’ on his sick bed. On 23rd he got pain all over the body and on 24th he got high fever. They brought a doctor (Vaidyan) from Changanacherry He examined the bishop and diagnosed his illness was small pox. About this diagnosis the fathers were not satisfied. The famous panampunnayil Chandykunju Vaidyan from Olessa came soon after that and examined the bishop and found no signs or symptoms of small pox. He shouted ‘Who said that our bishop is having small pox pneumonia on the body of bishop there is no les in of it. He is having and renal failure. O my God it is difficult to bring him back to health”. On 25th he had haematuria. His condition was critical on 26th January. Many people visited him. And all were so sad about their loving bishop’s serious condition. Bishop’s secretary Rev. Fr. Chandy Chulaparambil, his brother Rev. Fr. Kunjeppu Makil, Rev. Fathers Mathai Vattakkalathil, Lukachan Kalladanthyil, Thommy Poothathil and Luka Vanchipurackal were present by the sick bed all the time. At 2.P.M. the bishop called his secretary to him and asked the other to go out of the room. He spoke with the secretary alone for sometime. Then he called everybody together and gave his apostolic blessing. He told his brother ‘Let me go first my dear brother, all of you come after. Don’t be sad, pray for me. Each person who took birth should die once. Let me have a confession and my last sacrament. Rev. Fr. Emmanuel came from good Shepherd Church and heard his confession. Rev. Fr. Chandy went to the near by convent (Latin Rite) brought Holy sacrament to the bishop. After the communion he lifted the Crucifix in his hand and kissed it. All those who were present there recited the prayer, the bishop’s brother anointed him. At 4.P.M. on 26th January 1914 he took his last breath” (James Makil, Makil Mar Mathai Mathran Mattullavarude Kazhchapadial, p. 343-350). Unfortunately since the contagious disease small pox was spreading that time, there was a rumor that Mar makil’s death was also due to that disease and so his funeral was very simple. His body was buried at Edakatt church in the presence of parishioners of that parish. Fr. Mathew Kooplikat was the main celebrant and Fr. Thommy Poothathil delivered the funeral homily which touched every bodys heart. The vicar general of Varapuzha and the representative of Delegate apostolic Fr. Bonifatius also participated in the funeral (Changanassery Athgiroopatha Innale, Innu, pp. 197-198). There is one more information from Mathai Kulangara whose mother was an eye witness of bishop’s funeral. “The funeral of the bishop was very early in the morning because at that time there was a quarrel between the two groups of Jacobites especially during special occasions like marriages, funerals, Holy Mass etc. (Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha, Thirusabhacharitham, P. 899). The Peschkar at that time who did not know to which community Bishop Makil belonged feared trouble and ordered that the bishop’s funeral should be before dawn with out any celebration.

In his condolence message His Holiness Pope Pius X wrote, Bishop Makil’s death was not due to his old age; but because of the weight of his reverence and piety he laid himself in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Divan (Minister) of Travancore State Sir. Rajagopalachahry, remembered Mar. Makil as a noble, gentle and loving friend and also a valuable statesman. Leaders of Kerala sent deep condolence messages on his sad demise.

The Knanaya History Congress cultural organization of all Knanites conducted a national seminar on the 90th death anniversary of Mar Makil. Archbishop Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry who presided the seminar stated that Mar Makil was the most “mis-understood Bishop”. He felt that no other bishop had to face mis under standing to that level suffered all solely to protect Faith. A disciple of Christ has to embrace suffering with good will and pleasure”. Mar Makil lived up to this slogan with high morale and tolerance. He continued, I seek the patronage of Mar makil on many occasions. I also visit the Holy ‘Samadhi’ of Mar Makil and offer prayers before taking important decisions. I am sure the patronage of Mar Makil will always be with us”.

The words of Mar Kunnacherry have already gained momentum and are coming true. Knowing about the patronage of Mar Makil and the blessing received by many through prayers offered, people from far and near visit the tomb of the great soul and seek solace, peace and spiritual satisfaction with good results. There is every reason to believe that this trend will continue.

Favours through his Intercession

People from all walks of life consider him as a saint and have started visiting the tomb of Mar Makil at Edakat Kottayam. He was a silent Martyr of love and peace. Manywho sought his intercession, received favours through his intercession. Several sisters of our congregation and other congregations narrate stories of miraculous healing obtained through his intercession. His picture is exhibited in homes and convents and before it they recite regularly the intercessory prayers.

Source: marmakil.org