Pope Francis on Sunday declared Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluventhinkal from India as Saints at Vatican.
With their Canonisation, as the finale of the long-drawn process is known in Catholic parlance, the centuries old Syro Malabar Catholic Church has three Saints, the first being Sister Alphonsa raised to the revered rank in 2008.
The two from Kerala were declared as Saints during a special mass at St Peter’s Square at Vatican, Syro Malabar Catholic Church sources said here.
According to church scholars, Syro Malabar Church, which traces its origin to the visit of Apostle St Thomas to the Kerala coast in the first century AD, is one of the 22 Eastern Churches in Full Communion with Rome.
The Pope declared Chavara and Euphrasia as Saints during a special mass at St Peter’s Square at Vatican, a moment shared in elation and spiritual fervour by churches across Kerala where the faithful throng in large numbers for thanks giving service and prayers.
A large number of devotees, two Cardinals, bishops and clergy and nuns from Kerala attended the ceremony at Vatican also.
Three places closely associated to the lives of Chavara and Euprhasia at Mannman in Kottayam, Koonammavu in Ernakulam and Ollur in Thrissur have already been in a jubilant mood for the last several days.
Founder of the congregation Carmalites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), F Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871) was more than a spiritual leader of Syro Malabar Catholic community.
Historians and church chroniclers consider him as a social reformer who gave thrust to secular education of not only Catholics but also of children other communities, especially the depressed classes. Incidentally, one of the first institutions he founded was a Sanskrit school.
As the Prior General of the congregation, Chavara also took initiative for setting up a printing press and encouraged the community leaders to launch its own publications.
The CMI has over the decades set up a large number of educational and charity organisations within and outside Kerala, drawing inspiration from the work and vision of its founder.
He was born in a family of modest means at Kainakari village in Kuttanad in Alappuzha district on February 10, 1805. He entered the seminary for training as a priest at a young age. After his ordination in 1829, he took the initiative to form the CMI in 1831, the first congregation for men in the Syro Malabar Church.
The Canonisation procedures in his case began long back and was declared a Venerable in 1984 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Kerala in 1986.
Sister Euprhasia was a spiritual person who chose to live in the confines of a convent in Thrissur helping the people who came seeking her support
“Evuprasiamma”, as she is known to the members of the local community around her convent in Ollur, brought spiritual solace to the people who approached her through prayers and wise counsel.
Sister Euphrasia, who was born on October 17, 1877 at Arnattukara in Thrissur and died in 1952, was significantly a member of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel (CMC), founded by Chavara for women.
She was declared Servant of God in 1987 and beatified in 2006 after the approval of a miracle attributed through her intercession by the Vatican panel set up to consider her case for Sainthood.