- Name in Syriac - Palackal Thoma Malpan (1780-1841)
- Life History - Born In Pallipuram , ordained priest and secretary to the Apostle Vicar of Verapoly.Rector of Pallipuram Seminary and Founder of the first indigenious seminary for St. Thomas Christians in Kerala. Associated with saintly Porukara Thoma Malpan and St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara in the foundation of the congregation of the of the Carmilite of Mary Immaculate (CMI)
- Remembrance Day - 16 January
Brief History - Palackal Thoma Malpan (പാലയ്ക്കല് തോമ്മാ മല്പാന് / பாலய்க்கல் தோமா மல்பான் / पालय्क्कल् तोमा मल्पान्) (b. circa * 1780 at (South) Pallippuram (തെക്കന്) പള്ളിപ്പുറം / ചേന്നംപള്ളിപ്പുറം / ഐരാണിക്കുളം), near Shertallay (ചേര്ത്തല / കരപ്പുറം), in Alleppey (ആലപ്പുഴ), Kingdom of Travancore (തിരുവിതാംകൂര് രാജ്യം); d. there, † 16th January 1841) was an illustrious secular priest (ഇടവകപ്പട്ടക്കാരന്) from the Catholic Church of St. Thomas (Syro-Malabar Church) then under the Vicariate-Apostolic of Verapoly (വരാപ്പുഴ) and later under the Archdiocese of Ernakulam (എറണാകുളം) ; the senior founder of the first Cœnobite order of the St. Thomas Christians, the Third Order of Carmelites Discalced (കര്മ്മലീത്ത നിഷ്പാദുക മൂന്നാം സഭ / Carmelites of Mary Immaculate); and the founder and Rector of the first Seminary run by the St. Thomas Christians, first at Pallippuram and later at Mannanam (മാന്നാനം) near Kottayam (കോട്ടയം). (The title Malpan, from the Syriac word malpānā, denotes his status as a preceptor of priests.)
After his ordination in 1807 consequent to studies under Thachil Abraham Malpan (തച്ചില് അവുറാഹാം മല്പാന്) (the younger brother of Thachil Thariyath Matthoo Tharakan, Esq. (തച്ചില് തരിയതു് മാത്തു തരകന് അവര്കള്)), he was appointed the Secretary for the St. Thomas Christians and Counsellor to the Bishop Mgr. Raymond Roviglia of St. Joseph, O. C. D., Vicar-Apostolic during 1803-1815; he continued to be a counsellor to the Vicars-Apostolic for the rest of his life, even after he resigned the position of Secretary in 1815.
As secretary and counsellor, he was instrumental to several reforms in the Catholic Church of Kerala: the practice of St. Thomas Christian priests and seminarians wearing cassocks (ളോവ) was introduced (previously, they had dressed in a way resembling the Jacobite clerics); the custom of episcopal visits (വിസീത്ത) to parishes was begun; the confessional (കുമ്പസാരക്കൂടു്) was made obligatory in all churches; walled cemeteries (സെമിത്തേരി) were built for all churches (earlier, the dead had been buried in the open compound); and confraternities (കൊമ്പിരിയാ, ദര്ശനസമൂഹം) were started in the St. Thomas Christian churches borrowing the custom from the Latin churches in Kerala; the confreres (ദര്ശനക്കാര്) assisted the orderly conduct of solemn feasts (കൊമ്പിരിയാപ്പെരുന്നാള്, ദര്ശനപ്പെരുന്നാള്), funerals, and other ceremonies.
After leaving the position of secretary, he returned to Pallippuram in 1818. Since there were several acolytes desirous of studying for priesthood under him, the Malpan was compelled to start a seminary at Pallippuram, with Mangalath Chandy (മംഗലത്തു് ചാണ്ടി) of Pallippuram, later secretary and counsellor at Verapoly, as the first student. Among the first to join his seminary was Chavara Kuriakose (ചാവറ കുരിയാക്കോസ്) (1805-1871) of Kainakary (കൈനകരി), later Vicar-General for the St. Thomas Christians at Verapoly, then aged 13; the Malpan brought him up as if he were a son and considered him the spiritual heir. Seeking to bring order to the seminary, he wrote a regula (ക്രമച്ചട്ടം) for the seminarians, following it himself more stringently than all else. Even otherwise, he had kept an austere routine and diet from his early years.
Left Image - Crucifix at Pallippuram received by the Malpan from the Vicar-Apostolic of Verapoly.
Considering teaching and scholarship as his vocation, the Malpan devoted his life to that aim. He took particular care that his seminary had an exemplary collection of books, especially modern books in Tamil and the few in Malayalam, printed chiefly by members of the Society of Jesus. He had a special interest in languages. Learning Tamil on his own, he translated the spiritual books in Tamil into Malayalam; as a consequence he began to be called in jest the `Tamil Malpan' (പാണ്ടി മല്പാന്). He asked his students to scribe all the books they considered valuable, including liturgical books in Syriac. These may have inspired his disciple Fr. Chavara to start a Malayalam printing press at Mannanam, only the third of its kind in Kerala, in 1844. The Malpan also took every care to have his abler students learn other languages such as Latin, sometimes from European priests.
Since his early years the Malpan seems to have cherished the notion of a Cœnobite order of the Dominican kind; his experiences in running the seminary might have strengthened the resolve. In this endeavour he found an eager and able collaborator in Porukara Thoma Kathanar (പോരൂക്കര തോമ്മാ കത്തനാര്) (1799-1846) of Kalloorkad (കല്ലൂര്ക്കാടു്), Champakulam (ചമ്പക്കുളം) (to which the Malpan's maternal family, Puthenpurackal (പുത്തന്പുരയ്ക്കല്), also belonged), who had known and admired the Malpan since his days as a seminarian. As for Fr. Chavara, as he says in his Chronicles (നാളാഗമങ്ങള്), he had always been of one mind with his Malpan in all matters. With the blessing of the Bishop Mgr. Maurelio Stabellini, O. Carm., Vicar-Apostolic during 1828-1831, the Monastery (കൊവേന്ത) was founded at Mannanam on 11th May 1831.
Two years later, the Malpan started a seminary at Mannanam to teach priests both secular and religious; a new movement in the spiritual formation of St. Thomas Christian clergy, this became the cradle for several priests and bishops such as Mar Louis Pareparambil (പഴേപറമ്പില് മാര് ളൂയീസ്), Mar Matthew Makil (മാക്കീല് മാര് മത്തായി), and Mar Augustine Kandathil (കണ്ടത്തില് മാര് ആഗസ്തീനോസ്), from the St. Thomas Christians.
He passed away in 1841 and was buried at the main altar in the Forane Church of St. Mary, Pallippuram (connected by tradition with the apostolate of St. Thomas in South India); judging from the account of Fr. Chavara, the funeral was worthy of a bishop.
ബഹുമാനപ്പെട്ട ഞങ്ങളുടെ പള്ളിപ്പുറത്തെ പാലയ്ക്കൽ തൊമ്മായെന്ന പെരു വിളിക്കപ്പെട്ട മൽപാനച്ചനോടുകൂടെ പഠിച്ചതിൽ ഒരുത്തൻ കുറയപ്പെട്ടവൻ ചാവറ കുറിയാക്കോസ് കത്തനാര് എഴുതിയത്.
എത്രയും പെ: ബ: ലഒപ്പൊല്ദ എന്ന മൂപ്പച്ചനെ പുത്തൻ സന്യാസിയുടെ ഗുരുവും കൊമെന്തക്കാർക്ക് ഒക്കെയും വികാരി പ്രൊവിൻസിയാൽ ആകുന്ന പെ: ബ: മെത്രാപ്പോലീത്തച്ചന്റെ പെർക്കുള്ള ദേലഗാദ ആയിട്ടും കല്പിച്ച, അദ്ദേഹം ഭരിച്ചു നടത്തി വരുമ്പോൾ 1864 മകരം 12 നു ഞാനും ഈ കൂനമ്മാവ് കൊവേന്തയിൽ വന്ന പാർത്തിരിക്കയിൽ ഈ 12 നു 8 മണിക്ക് കൊവേന്തയിൽ കൂടിയിരിക്കുന്നവരുടെയും മരിച്ചു പോയവരുടെയും പേരും നാടും ഇടവക മുതലായ ചില വിവരങ്ങളും ചോദിപ്പാനായിട്ടു എന്നെ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ മുറിയിൽ വിളിച്ചു ചോദിച്ചപ്പോൾ നമ്മുടെ കൊവേന്തയ്ക്കു അടിസ്ഥാനക്കാരനായ പെ: ബ: പള്ളിപ്പുറത്തെ മാല്പനച്ചന്റെ പേരും വിവരവും ചോദിച്ചപ്പോൾ ഞാൻ അറിഞ്ഞിരിക്കുന്ന ചില വർത്തമാനങ്ങൾ പറഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ നമ്മുടെ കാരണവർ ആയിരിക്കയാലും അദ്ദേഹം ഏറിയ വേലകൾ ഒക്കെയും ചെയ്തിരിക്കകൊണ്ടും പിൻവരുന്നവർക്ക് ഒരു ഓര്മയുണ്ടാകുവാനായിട്ടു ഇയാളിന്റെ വർത്തമാനങ്ങൾ അറിയുന്നതൊക്കെയും ഒന്ന് എഴുതിക്കണമെന്നും ആയതിനുവേണ്ടിയ ഒത്താശകൾ ഒക്കെയും ഞാൻ ചെയ്യണമെന്ന് പെ: ബ: മൂപ്പച്ചൻ കല്പിച്ചു ........................ Read More
The Two Founders of the CMI Congregation (1828-1831)
The Two Founders of the Congregation beginnings of the Mother-House. 1.It was the beginning of of the 19th century; the famine and plague that followed Tippu Sultan’s invasion of Malabar had just subsided. The schismatic Syrians, owing to their too close contact with Protestant Missionaries, began gradually to be protestantized. Disobedience to the mandates of the Holy See was about to give rise to the notorious Padroado schism in the churches under the Portuguese Patronage. The Syrian Catholics of Malabar, however, as a body kept imperturbably of the apostolic See. There was, however, among them much room for improvement and progress. .... To Read More
Courtesy - Wilson Muriyadan
Rev. Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI reads from a manuscript from St. John’s Monastery (CMI at Mutholy, in the Kottayam district of Kerala. The anonymous author wrote in 1918 a concise history of the Malpanate (system of priestly formation among the Catholic St. Thomas Christians. The writer refers (pages 2-3 to Palackal Thoma Malpan as the "adisthanakkaran" (founder of the Religious Congregation of the Third Order of the Discalced Carmelites (TOCD) CMI.
Here the Congregation first acknowledges the role of Palackal Malpan (p. 11, paragraph 4 as the originator of the concept of a religious congregation for the Catholic St. Thomas Christians in Kerala. Also, paragraph 5 (page 12 describes the role of Fr. Thomas Porukara, who happened to be a close friend of Palackal Malpan, in assisting to materialize the original vision of Palackal Malpan. The contents of two documents corroborate what Saint Chavara Kuriakose Elias, an eyewitness, wrote in his Chronicle (Nalagamangal. Saint Chavara included a biography of his adopted father and revered Guru, the saintly Palackal Thoma Malpan in the Chronicle. Saint Chavara concludes the biography by referring to Palackal Malpan as the Foundation of the Congregation” (kowenthayute thutakkam. Ironically, all these documents are a corrective to the current narrative about the founding fathers of the CMI Congregation.
The manuscript is currently at the archive at the Dharmaram College Library. See also the comments by Koonammakkal Thoma Kathanar: https://youtu.be/N1dJtcIltH0
Rev. Fr. Davis Madavana, Vicar - St. Mary's Forane Church speaks about the mostly forgotten Pallippuram, Palackal Thoma Malpan and the Pallippuram Seminary; the true factors, instrumental in the making of the Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara. Fr. Madavana addressed the gathering on the occasion of Forane level "Chavara Vishudhapada aaghozhanal at Pallippuram, on 23.11.2014