Alvares Mar Julius: The great messenger of Orthodoxy
By Sibu Varghese, Member of St. Mary's Orthodox Church Ribander (Goa), India.
Late H.G Alvares Mar Julius was the only Malankara Orthodox Metropolitan buried outside Kerala. Very few people know Fr. Alvares, a Goan priest had joined the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in 1887 and consecrated as a Bishop in 1889 with the name AlvareMarJulius. The Holy Relics of the late lamented Bishop; Alvares Mar Julius is interred in a tomb at St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church Ribander (Goa), India.
The church and the clergy were fully controlled by the Portuguese Government at that time. Though born and brought up and ordained as priest of the Catholic Church, he could not withstand the harassment forced out on him by the ecclesiastical and civil powers. He was against the false devotion and religious exhibitionism. A certain section of the Catholic Community lead by Fr. Alvares never consented to the agreement between the Pope and Portuguese Government regarding administration of the church in India. They resisted the efforts of the Pope to suppress them. . In pursuit of finding out the true Christianity he went to Travancore and contacted the then Malankara Metropolitan Mar Joseph Dionysius (Pulikottil Thirumeni) who directed him to Mar Gregorios of Parumala. Fr. Alvares was profoundly impressed by these great and pious Personalities. He was very much convinced that the faiths, beliefs, principles, heritage, customs and traditions of the Orthodox Church were correct and far better than that of the Catholic Church. He embraced the Orthodox Syrian Church in 1887. Due to his pious life he was elevated to the Episcopal status on 29-7-1889 as Metropolitan of Goa, India and Ceylon by Mar Joseph Dionesius, Mar Gregorios of Parumala, Paulose Mar Ivanios and Kadvil Mar Athanosious. Bishop Alvares stood to his last breath for his faith in the Church, which he embraced.