Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: 1st Sunday After New Sunday
Volume 6 No. 343 April 8, 2016
IV. This Week's Supplement
Tribute to V. Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel and Mother Angelica

The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.


Reinhold Niebuhr

Dealing with Sorrow

by John MacArthur

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted"
-  (Matt. 5:4).

Human sorrow is a natural and healthy emotion, but beware of mourning over unfulfilled sinful desires.

Most people in our society have an amusement-park mentality. They spend much of their time and money on entertainment, wanting to enjoy life and avoid problems whenever possible. To them, Matthew 5:4 is a paradox. How can someone who mourns be happy? The answer lies in the difference between godly sorrow and human sorrow. Godly sorrow is sorrow over sin; human sorrow is sorrow over some tragic or disappointing turn of events (2 Cor. 7:8-11).

In Matthew 5:4, Jesus is referring to godly sorrow. But we all face human sorrow, so I want to discuss it briefly today.

Human sorrow is a natural emotion. Our Lord Himself was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3). Many things can cause it: we might mourn out of love, disappointment, loneliness, or physical illness. There is nothing wrong with that kind of mourning. It is a God- given relief valve for the pain and sorrow in this fallen world, and promotes the healing process.

Scripture gives many examples of human sorrow. Abraham wept when his wife, Sarah, died (Gen. 23:2). Through tears Jeremiah preached God's message of judgment (Jer. 9:1). Paul expressed his concern for the church with his tears (Acts 20:31). Those are natural, healthy expressions of human sorrow.

However, sorrow can also be caused by evil desires or a lack of trust in God. King Ahab mourned to the point of sulking and not eating when he couldn't have another man's property (1 Kings 21:4). Some Christians mourn excessively when they lose a loved one. Forsaking the comfort of the Spirit, they focus only on their own grief. Extreme or prolonged manifestations of sorrow are sinful and must be confessed rather than comforted.

God is gracious to His children amid times of human sorrow. Ultimately He will do away with mourning and pain forever (Rev. 21:4). Rejoice in that promise and be comforted by His wonderful grace!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the ministry of the Spirit, who is the great Comforter or Helper (John 14:16-17). When sorrow occurs, lean on the Spirit, feed your soul on God's Word, and commune with Him in prayer.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 55. How did David express his desire to escape his difficult situation? What was his final resolve?

Source: Grace to

Blessed Are Those Who Die in the Lord - A Meditation on the Christian Attitude toward Death

by Msgr. Charles Pope

The recent death of Mother Angelica provoked the expected sadness at the passing of such a great woman. Indeed, her vivacious and plain-spoken presence has long been missed during these years of her declining health. She called this her time of purgatory and purification. In an extraordinary grace, the Lord called her at 5:00 PM on Easter Sunday, likely the very time at which He was making His first appearances to His disciples at Emmaus and in Jerusalem.

For the faithful - and Mother Mary Angelica was surely that - the day we die is the greatest day of our life on this earth. And even if some final purifications await us, the beatific vision for which we long lies just ahead; the exile in this valley of tears is ended.

Is calling the day we die the greatest day of our life too strong a statement? I have seen some fellow Christians wince when I say this. But in this age of emphasis on worldly comforts, medicine, and the secular, this age in which we rarely speak of Heaven (or Hell), I wonder if we have lost some of our longing for Heaven and cling too strongly to the trinkets of this life. I attended the funeral of the relative of a family friend some years ago. She was an unbeliever, a self-described secular humanist, and she made the following comment to me: "Perhaps there is Heaven for the faithful who believe there is life after death. And perhaps, then, to die is the greatest day of their life. But I do not observe that Christians live this way. It seems to me that they are as anxious as anyone else about dying, and earnestly seek to avoid death just as much as anyone else."

It was a very interesting observation, one that I found mildly embarrassing even as legitimate explanations quickly entered my mind. And even after giving her some of those explanations, I must say that some of the embarrassment lingered as to the kind of witness we Christians sometimes fail to give to our most fundamental values. Based on her remark - and I've heard it before - most of us Christians don't manifest a very ardent longing for Heaven.

There are, of course, some legitimate reasons that we do not rush towards death; there are also some less legitimate reasons. In this post, I'd like to briefly speak to some of these.

Here are some legitimate and understandable reasons that we may draw back from dying, and may not at first think of dying is the greatest day of our life:

1. There is a natural fear of dying that is part of our physical makeup and, it would seem, hard-wired into our psyche as well. Every sentient and physical being on this planet, man or animal, has a strong instinct for survival. Without this instinct, strongly tied to both hunger and sexual desire, we might not only die as individuals but as a species. It also drives us to look to the future, as we work to ensure the survival, even thriving, of our children and those who will come after us. So this is a basic human instinct that we ought not to expect to disappear, because it has necessary and useful aspects.

2. Most of us would like to finish certain important things before we die. It makes sense, for example, that parents would like to see their children well into adulthood before meeting their demise. Parents rightly see their existence in this world as critical to their children. Hence we love life here and cling to it not just for our own sake, but because we understand that others depend on us.

3. The Christian is called to love life at every stage. Most of us realize that we are called to love and appreciate what we have here, for it is the gift of God. To so utterly despise the world that we are almost suicidal and wish only to leave it, manifests a strange sort of ingratitude.

It also manifests a lack of understanding that life here prepares us for the fuller life that is to come. I remember that at a low point in my own life, afflicted with anxiety and depression, I asked the Lord to please end my life quickly and take me home out of this misery. And yet, without hearing words, I felt the Lord's rebuke: "Until you learn to love the life you have now, you will not love eternal life. If you can't learn to appreciate the glory of the gifts of this life, then you will not and cannot embrace the fullness of life that is called eternal life." Indeed, I was seeing eternal life merely in terms of relief or escape from this life, rather than as the full blossoming of a life that has been healed and made whole. We don't embrace life by trying to escape from it.

Thus a healthy Christian attitude learns to love life as we have it now, even as we yearn and strive for a life that we do not yet fully comprehend: a life that eye has not seen, nor ear heard; what God has prepared for those who love Him.

4. Most of us seek to set our life in order to some degree before we go to face judgment. While it is true that we can procrastinate, there is a proper sense of wanting time to make amends and to prepare in a fitting and growing way to meet God.

5. It is not necessarily death that we fear, but dying. Dying is something none of us has ever done before and we tend to fear the unknown. Further, most of us realize that dying itself involves some degree of agony. Instinctively and understandably, we draw back from such things.

Even Jesus, in His human nature, recoiled at the thought of the agony before Him, so much so that He sweat blood and asked, if possible, that the cup of suffering be taken from him. Manfully, though, He embraced His Father's will, and our benefit rather than His. Still, He did recoil humanly at the suffering soon to befall Him.

Despite this hesitancy to meet death, for a faithful Christian the day we die is the greatest day of our life. And while we ought to regard the day of our judgment with sober reverence, we should go with joyful hope to the Lord who loves us and for whom we have longed. That day of judgment, awesome though it is, will for the future saint disclose only that which needs final healing in purgation, not that which merits damnation.

But we don't hear much longing for our last day on this earth or for God and Heaven. Instead we hear fretting about how we're "getting older." We're anxious about our health, even the natural effects of aging. And there are such grim looks as death approaches! Where is the joy one might expect? Does our faith really make a difference for us, or are we like those who have no hope? Older prayers referred to life on this earth as an exile and expressed a longing for God and Heaven. But few of today's prayers or sermons speak this way.

Here are some of the not-so-legitimate reasons that we may draw back from dying:

1. We live comfortably. While comfort is not the same as happiness, it is very appealing. It is also very deceiving, seductive, and addictive. It is deceiving because it tends to make us think that this world can be our paradise. It is seductive because it draws and shifts us our focus away from the God of comforts to the comforts of God. We would rather have the gift than the Giver. It is addictive because we can't ever seem to get enough of it; we seem to spend our whole life working toward gaining more and more comforts. We become preoccupied by achieving rather than working toward our truest happiness, which is to be with God in Heaven.

2. Comfort leads to worldliness. Here, worldliness means focusing on making the world more comfortable while allowing notions of God and Heaven to recede into the background. Even the so-called spiritual life of many Christians is almost wholly devoted to prayers asking to make this world a better place: "Fix my health. Fix my finances. Grant me that promotion." And while it is not wrong to pray about these things, their cumulative effect, added to our silence on more spiritual and eternal things, gives the impression that we are saying to God, "Make this world a better place and I'll just be happy to stay here forever." What a total loss! This world is not the point; it is not the goal, Heaven is. Being with God forever is the point.

3. Worldliness makes Heaven and being with God seem more abstract and less desirable. With our magnificent comfort that leads to worldly preoccupation, Heaven and any talk of Heaven or going to be with God recedes to the background. In this climate, few speak of Heaven or even long for it. They'd rather just have that new cell phone or the cable upgrade with the sports package. Some say that they never hear about Hell anymore in sermons, and in many parishes (though not in mine, thank you) that is regrettably the case. But it is also true that they almost never of Heaven either (except in some cheesy funeral moments that miss the target altogether and make Heaven seem trivial rather than a glorious gift to be sought). Heaven just isn't on most people's radar, except as a vague abstraction for some far off time - certainly not now.

This is the perfect storm of comfort and worldliness leading to slothful aversion to heavenly gifts. That may be why, when I say that dying is the greatest day of our life, or that I am glad to be getting older because it means I'm getting closer to the time I can go home to God, or that I can't wait to meet God, people look at me strangely and seem to wonder if I need therapy.

No, I don't need therapy - at least not for this. I am simply expressing the ultimate longing of every human heart. Addiction to comfort has deceived and seduced us such that we are no longer in touch with our heart's greatest longing; we cling to passing things. I would argue (as does my family friend) that we seem little different from those who have no hope. We no longer witness to a joyful journey to God that says, "Closer to Home! … Soon and very soon I am going to see the King … Soon I will be done with the troubles of this world … Going home to live with God!"

There are legitimate, understandable reasons for being averse to dying. But how about even a glimmer of excitement from the faithful as we see that our journey is coming to an end? St. Paul wrote the following to the Thessalonians regarding death: We do not want you to be like those who have no hope (1 Thess 4:13). Do we witness to the glory of going to be with God or not? It would seem not.

The video below features a rendition of the hymn "For All the Saints Who from Their Labors Rest." Here is a brief passage from the lyrics:

The golden evening brightens in the West,
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise most blest. Alleluia!
Mother Mary Angelica, faithful warrior, rest in peace.


Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN, Dies on Easter, 2016
The world has lost the Poor Clare nun who changed the face of Christianity in the United States and around the world. Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, foundress of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), passed away on March 27, 2016 after a lengthy struggle with the after-effects of a stroke. She was 92 years old.

Mother Angelica, Photo Courtesy of EWTN/CNA

"Mother has always and will always personify EWTN, the network that God asked her to found," said EWTN Chairman and CEO  Michael Warsaw. "Her accomplishments and legacies in evangelization throughout the world are nothing short of miraculous and can only be attributed to divine Providence and her unwavering faithfulness to Our Lord."

In 1981, Mother Angelica launched Eternal Word Television Network, which today transmits 24-hour-a-day programming to more than 264 million homes in 144 countries. What began with approximately 20 employees has now grown to nearly 400. The religious network broadcasts terrestrial and shortwave radio around the world, operates a religious goods catalog and publishes the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, among other publishing ventures.

"Mother Angelica succeeded at a task the nation's bishops themselves couldn't achieve," said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who has served on EWTN's board of governors since 1995. "She founded and grew a network that appealed to everyday Catholics, understood their needs and fed their spirits. She had a lot of help, obviously, but that was part of her genius."

"In passing to eternal life, Mother Angelica leaves behind a legacy of holiness and commitment to the New Evangelization that should inspire us all," said Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. "I was honored to know and be able to assist Mother Angelica during the early days of EWTN. Over the years, that relationship grew, and today the Knights of Columbus and EWTN partner regularly on important projects."

"Mother Angelica was fearless because she had God on her side," Anderson added. "She saw what he needed her to do, and she did it! She transformed the world of Catholic broadcasting and brought the Gospel to far corners of our world. That witness of faith was unmistakable to anyone who met and worked with her, and generations of Catholics have and will continue to be formed by her vision and her ‘Yes' to God's will."

Early Life

Born Rita Rizzo on April 20, 1923, few would have predicted that the girl from a troubled family in Canton, Ohio, would go on to found not only two thriving religious orders, but also the world's largest religious media network. Her life was one marked by many trials, but also by a profound "Yes" to whatever she felt God was asking of her.

"My parents divorced when I was 6 years old. That's when hell began," Mother Angelica said in a Register interview published in 2001. "My mother and I were desperate - moving from place to place, poor, hungry and barely surviving."

The seeds of Mother's vocation were in a healing she received when she was a teenager. She suffered from severe stomach pain when she and her mother went to visit Rhoda Wise, a Canton local to whom people had attributed miraculous healings. Wise gave Rita a novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. After nine days of prayer, Rita's pain disappeared: She had been healed.

"That was the day I became aware of God's love for me and began to thirst for him," said Mother Angelica. "All I wanted to do after my healing was give myself to Jesus." And give herself to Jesus, she did.

On Aug. 15, 1944, at the age of 21, Rita entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland and took the name by which the world would come to know her — Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation.

A Promise to God

A life-changing incident then set in motion her abiding trust in Providence.

"In 1946, I was chosen as one of the founding sisters of a new monastery [Sancta Clara] in my hometown of Canton, Ohio," Mother Angelica said in her 2001 interview with the Register. "One day in the 1950s, my work assignment was to scrub the floors in the monastery."

"Unlike St. Thérèse, I used an electric scrubbing machine. In an instant, the machine went out of control. I lost my footing on the soapy floor and was thrown against the wall, back first."

Two years later, the injury had worsened to the point Sister Mary Angelica could barely perform her duties. Hospitalized and awaiting surgery, she was told there was a 50/50 chance she'd never walk again.

"I was panic-stricken and made a bargain with God," Mother recounted. "I promised if he would allow me to walk again that I would build him a monastery in the South. God kept his end, and through divine Providence, so did I."

Soon after, she presented her desire to her superior. Confronted with two requests by two different nuns to start separate foundations, the abbess, Mother Veronica, who was Sister Mary Angelica's novice mistress at the monastery in Cleveland, came up with a novel response.

Mother Veronica mailed two letters on the same day. One, on behalf of Sister Mary of the Cross, was mailed to the bishop of Saint Cloud, Minn.; the other, on behalf of Sister Mary Angelica, was mailed to Mobile-Birmingham, Ala., Archbishop Thomas Toolen. The first nun to receive a positive response from the bishop could proceed with her foundation; the other would abandon her idea. By Providence, Archbishop Toolen responded first, forever wedding Sister Angelica with Alabama.

On Feb. 3, 1961, after various medical problems and potential roadblocks, Rome granted Sister Mary Angelica permission for the Alabama foundation, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Ala. At the time, the Catholic population of the region was only 2 percent.

Media Apostolate

Mother Angelica was always a charismatic speaker. Her persuasive talks on the faith reached the ears of those in charge of radio and eventually television. In 1969, she began recording spiritual talks on audio for mass distribution. She recorded her first radio program in 1971, 10-minute programs for WBRC, according to her biography, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN's The World Over.

Encouraged by her new friend and patron Nashville lawyer Bill Steltemeier, she recorded her first television programs seven years later - half-hour programs called Our Hermitage. It didn't take long for her to warm to the idea of a faithful Catholic media apostolate.

While utilizing a secular studio to produce programs for a Christian cable television network one day in 1978, Mother Angelica heard that the station owned by the studio planned to air a program she felt was blasphemous.

"When I found out that the station was going to broadcast a blasphemous movie, I confronted the station manager and objected," said Mother Angelica. "He ignored my complaint, so I told him I would go elsewhere to make my tapes. He told me, ‘You leave this station and you're off television.'"

"I'll build my own!" responded Mother Angelica.

"That decision was the catalyst for EWTN," said Arroyo. "It led to the sisters' suggestion to turn the garage into a television studio."

Eternal Word Television Network was launched, fittingly, on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Aug. 15, 1981. That garage became the first television studio and eventually became the control room - the nerve center - for EWTN's global television programming.

Spiritual Legacy

Mother's order, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, which began in Irondale with five nuns, moved and expanded in 1999 to a monastery at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. The Poor Clares also expanded to new houses in Texas and Arizona.

In November 2015, the Hanceville community was augmented with the arrival of nuns from St. Joseph Adoration Monastery of Charlotte, N.C., which was merged with Our Lady of the Angels, under the leadership of Mother Dolores Marie.

Mother Dolores, who, before becoming a nun, worked for EWTN, described Mother Angelica's spiritual legacy as a constant striving to respond daily to God's will.

"When Mother first had her stroke [in 2001], a lot of people said what a shame because she was a voice of the Catholic faith and for the truth," said Mother Dolores. "But faith tells us that all these 14 years were not wasted at all. Probably her most profound work has gone on in this time, in her silence and suffering. I believe that to be true. Our Lord gave her this time to be truly cloistered in her bed and have that time of deep prayer and intercession and suffering as an offering for the Church and for the world, for our order, for the network, for many things. And ultimately for souls. We won't know until eternity the value of these past years."

Mother Marie Andre, one of five nuns who started the Phoenix house and is now the abbess of the Poor Clares' Our Lady of Solitude Monastery, also recognized Mother's total commitment to God's plan.

"She was never fearful of failure, but only fearful of not following God's will" she added. "Mother described it as a train with several cars. The 'Yes' was the engine, with everything else attached to that. If she hadn't said 'Yes,' neither the foundations nor the network would have been founded."

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, like EWTN, continues to draw thousands of visitors annually.

"The first thing you detected with Mother was her spousal love of Jesus. She was always telling people, 'Jesus loves you,'" said Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, one of the original members of the men's religious community founded by Mother Angelica, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Currently, there are 15 friars in the community. The friars are largely involved in EWTN's apostolate.

Father Joseph summed up Mother's spiritual legacy as marked by her love of Jesus, centered on the Eucharist, a great trust in divine Providence and a strong family spirit.

Mother Angelica's remarkable trust in divine Providence is evidenced by founding the network without counting the cost, as well as by how she prepared for her live television shows.

"She never prepared for live shows," said Father Joseph, who used to work for the network as an engineer. "She would just pray with the crew and then go on television and trust that God would give her the words to say."

On an EWTN television special for her 90th birthday, Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa talked about Mother's authenticity. "To me," highlighted Father Pacwa, "one of the most important things about Mother Angelica is that what you saw on TV is what you knew off of the stage as well. There was no difference."

Bishop Robert Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham offered yet another insight into Mother's rare abilities over the phone on the TV special. "In a special way, I think George Weigel's book Evangelical Catholicism summarizes what Mother Angelica was about," Bishop Baker said. "She not only invented that term, many years ago, but put it into practice concretely — working so beautifully off the Scriptures and bringing the truth and the love and the life of the Gospel of Jesus to so many people, not only to our Catholic household of faith, but to many thousands of people who are not Catholic, in that beautiful way she had of touching lives, bringing so many people into the Catholic household of faith."

Safeguarding the Church

Commentators say that aside from the foundation of the women's and men's religious orders, Mother Angelica also played a larger role. Some have asserted that she helped to safeguard the Church in the United States.

"Mother Angelica has been compared to a powerful medieval abbess. But the mass-media instrument she created has extended her influence for the Gospel far beyond that of any medieval abbess, and even beyond that of many of the last century's most prominent American bishops," said Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press. "Her long-term contribution is hard to assess, of course, but there is no doubt that Mother Angelica has helped root the Church in America more deeply in the Catholic Tradition; and at the same time, she has helped make the Church more innovative in how she communicates that tradition. All Catholics in America should thank God for Mother Angelica."

"Mother Angelica has two important legacies," said Arroyo. "To the wider world, she's the first woman in the history of broadcast to found and lead a network for over 20 years. No one else has ever done that."

"She was such a great support to Pope John Paul II and his successor," added Arroyo. "Her active ministry ran parallel to Pope John Paul II's, and she backed him up at a time when so many people were undermining Church authority, distorting the history and nature of the liturgy and popular devotion and confusing Catholic teaching. She showed that the commonsense approach of Catholics was right. She normalized the truth of the faith at a time when it was up for grabs."

On Feb. 12, Pope Francis sent his greetings to Mother Angelica from aboard his papal plane to Cuba. "To Mother Angelica with my blessing, and I ask you to pray for me; I need it," the Holy Father said. "God bless you, Mother Angelica."

Retirement From Leadership

Mother Angelica retired from her leadership of EWTN in 2000. She suffered a stroke the following Christmas Eve. As a consequence, she spent the last years of her life mostly without the capacity for speech. Arroyo said that didn't weaken her effectiveness.

"While she was unable to speak at length and sound off on the controversies and confusions of the day, what she did through prayer in her suffering was remarkable," said Arroyo. "It's certainly not our efforts that have kept EWTN on the air and allowed it to reach people in amazing ways. I attribute it all to the suffering of that one woman in Hanceville."

Warsaw praised Mother Angelica as an inspiring model of Christian faith.

"The important thing, as Mother Angelica's life and the lives so many of the saints have shown us, is to be faithful and to persevere," he noted. "She once said, 'You have been created by God and know Jesus for one reason: to witness to faith, hope and love before an unbelieving world.'"

"Mother Angelica's life has been a life of faith; her prayer life and obedience to God are worthy of our imitation," Warsaw continued. "Everything she did was an act of faith," Archbishop Chaput agreed.

"She inspired other gifted people to join her in the work without compromising her own leadership and vision," he said. "I admired her very much, not just as a talented leader and communicator, but as a friend and great woman religious of generosity, intellect and Catholic faith."

Source: CNA/EWTN News

Very Rev. Pukkunnel Joseph Cor Episcopa (1925-2019)

by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Malankara World

V Rev. Pukkunnel Joseph Cor Episcopa has gone to his eternal home on 18 March 2016. He was 91 years old. He is survived by his wife Alice, 8 children and their spouses and numerous grand children.

V Rev Joseph Pukkunnel Cor Episcopa. Picture Courtesy of Jijo Joseph

Fr. Joseph was born on 18 August 1925 as son of Thoma Mathai and Kunjamma Mathai of Pukkunnel Family in Kothamangalam. He was the youngest of 7 children.


Passed ESLC exam in 1943 from Mar Basil High School.
Graduated in 1949 (BA)
Passed MA - English in 1978


1949 - 1981 - Teacher, St. Basil's School
1981 - Principal, St. Basil Higher Secondary School, Baroda, St. Thomas School, Kalyan


He was ordained as a deacon on 25 March 1944 by Saint Mar Athanasius Poulose, Metropolitan of Angamaly (Popularly known as 'Valia Thirumeni' - entombed in Thrikunnathu Seminary, Aluva). March 25 1944 was a special day in Church calendar. It was the day of annunciation to St. Mary (Suboro Feast). In 1944, March 25th coincided with the 40th day of Great Lent (beginning of Passion Week). During the ordination of young Joseph Pukkunnel, saint valia thirumeni has stated that he has never ordained anyone on such an important and auspicious day. It was indeed a great blessing and a rare honor. It was a clear signal that Deacon Joseph will be 'going places.'

Deacon Joseph was ordained as a Priest on 8 May 1955 by HG Geevarghese Mar Gregoriose, Metropolitan of Angamali. His first Holy Eucharist (Puthen Qurbana) was celebrated on 11 Sep 1955 at St. Mary's Church, Kothamangalam. He was consecrated as a Cor Episcopa on May 20, 2006 by His Beatitude Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas 1, Catholicose of the East.

Father Joseph's first appointment was as a vicar in St. Mary's Church, Thalakode in 1955. Since then he had served numerous churches. (see the below)

Churches Served:

St. Mary's Church, Thalakode
St. Mary's Church, Kuttamangalam
St. Mary's Church, Chathamattom
St. George Church, Kumbanpara
St. Mary's Church, Kallar
St. Mary's Church, Munnar
St. George Church, Ayankara
St. George Church, Maramangalom
Bes Ania Church, Chelad
St. George Church, Kalkurish
UC College Church, Aluva
St. Mary's Church, Angamali Telc
St. Mary's Church, Karakunnam
St. Mary's Church, Mulavoor
Mor Ignatius Church, Chenkara
Bandra Church, Mumbai
Malad Church, Mumbai
Vapi Church, Mumbai
Balsad Church, Mumbai
Colaba Afghan Church, Mumbai

Achen also constructed, remodeled and rebuilt numerous churches. Achen also was very active in charitable activities. He had led the efforts to build homes for poor people in several churches he served.


Alice, daughter of VC Thomas and Kuttiyamma, Vakkayil Family, Aleppey

Jane - Retd. Teacher, Fact School, Ambalamedu
Jessy - Retd. Teacher, St. Peter's Higher Secondary School, Kadayiruppu
Jimmy - Indian Expressm (Retd.), Ernakulam
Joy - Dubai
Jemima - Professor, KC College, Mumbai
Jagan - Chief Manager, State Bank of Travancore
Jijo - VP, Bank of America, Delaware, USA, ex- Archdiocesan Council member, Malankara Archdiocese, USA
Jasmine - Dubai

Spouses of Children:
Jose Mathew, Kanjirathinkal (Retd. Supdt, Central Excise
Shine V. Athithottam, Retd. Principal, St. Mary's Higher Secondary School, Thuruthipally
Anie, Retd. Professor, St. Peters College, Kolencherry
Latha, Teacher, Dubai
Samuel Mathew, Assistant Commissioner, Central Excise, Mumbai
Dr. Emi, San Maria Dental Clinic, Kothamangalam
Sunitha Jijo Flowerhill, Data Architect, Delaware, USA. also Board Member, Malankara World
Rajan Baby, Dubai

Death and Funeral

Interestingly, achen died on the 40th Friday of Great Lent in 2016. 2016 was unique because, the annunciation to St. Mary happened to coincide with Good Friday this year, a very rare event not to be repeated in 100 years! Jijo, achen's youngest son, told me that achen was looking forward to the 40th Friday of Great Lent this year -72nd anniversary of his ordination as a deacon - while confined to the hospital on his death bed.

Last Rites at home

Achen's funeral services were attended by numerous bishops, priests, deacons, and laity including several ministers, MLAs and other Civic leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. etc. The funeral services were led by HG Joseph Mor Gregoriose with assistance from HG Mathews Mor Ivaniose, HG Kuriakose Mor Dioscoros, HG Elias Mor Athanasios, HG Elias Mor Yuliose, and numerous Cor Episcopas, Priests, etc. etc. His Beatitude Baseliose Thomas I Catholicose and several other bishops visited the home and comforted the family.

Body of Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopa is brought to his church
Body of Very Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopa is brought to
St. Mary's Cathedral (Valiapally), Kothamangalam

Pukkunnel achen bids farewell to the Madbaha

V. Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel bids farewell to the Madbaha
he has served for the last time.

Procession with the Body of V. Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel Corepiscopa from Church to the Cemetery for Burial

Procession with the Body of V. Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel from
St Mary's Cathedral (Valiapally), Kothamangalam
to the Cemetery for Burial.

Personal Reflections:

Achen was a remarkable person. He was in Cleveland, Ohio about 20-years ago and spent a summer here with his son Jijo and daughter in law Sunitha. During this time, he conducted several church services in Cleveland and I got a chance to know achen, 'up close and personal.' What impressed me most about achen was the sermons he delivered. They were well prepared. He was a good story teller. He sprinkling some humor, and, like Jesus' parables, explained the biblical passages with the contemporary experiences.

I had wrote notes and published them on our website - internet was new at that time. He was very humble. He protested, "I am just an ordinary priest. These will be seen all over the world!" That is what I call humility!

I still refer to his sermons and often quote a passage achen talked about St. Mary's encounter with angel Gabriel. I must have heard at least 1000 sermons since then and read many times more for Malankara World. So, the fact that I can still recall his sermons can tell you the quality of them and their impact on me personally.

Myself and my wife Shila had the great fortune to visit achen and Kochamma a few years back (2012). We spent nearly 4-5 hours with them. They were the perfect hosts. Achen told Kochamma, after giving a list of foods, "The Americans will like these kind of food so, make some more." We were stuffed when we left. Had eaten all my favorite fruits there. Achen knew exactly what we liked!! They were the perfect hosts.

Painting of Jesus by Fr. Joseph Pukunnel Cor Episcopa. Photo by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Malankara World

A Painting by V. Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel

I saw Achen's collection of paintings and many paintings in various stages of completion. Achen was also an expert in wood carving. He had built and donated to churches several carved furniture. (see an example below.) Like Da Vinci, achen's talents were multi dimensional and remarkable.

Wood Carving by V Rev Joseph Pookunnel courtesy: Jijo Joseph

Furniture Carved by V. Rev. Joseph Pukkunnel

He had designed a great drainage system for the house and explained to me how that worked. I was floored!

Achen was a Syriac scholar. When we met him, he was translating several rare Syriac manuscripts for the seminary.

Achen also built 4-6 new churches; he acted many roles in the construction of those churches including that of a General Contractor and stayed at the construction site from sunrise to sunset. In addition to these, he had rebuilt several others.

I have just started. But you get the idea. He was one of the most remarkable persons I have the pleasure of knowing.

Achen's departure is a big loss to our church. May God grant him a spot in the bosom of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.


We express our thanks to Jijo Flowerhill for photographs and biographical information on achen.


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