Canonisation Process of the Servant of God

Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios

The fame of holiness of Archbishop Mar Ivanios has been attested to by both Christians and others. The very life of Mar Ivanios was great testimony to the Providential love of God. On the basis of the fame of his sanctity, the Superiors General of the Order of the Imitation of Christ (OIC), Sisters of the Imitation of Christ (SIC) and Daughters of Mary (DM) made a request to the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church on 15 July 1997 to open the cause of his beatification and canonisation of Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios Panickaruveetil. Later, on 14 April 2011 the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church also requested the Holy See to join with the petitioners and the Holy See permitted the request on 18 August 2011. The Major Archbishop of Trivandrum, Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos appointed the Historical Commission on 15 December 2009 and the Theological Censors on 14 June 2011. Since all the eye witnesses were of advanced age, the Major Archbishop constituted the Board of Inquiry, applying the provision of article 82 of the Instruction Sanctorum Mater of 17th May 2007 given by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints – “lest proofs be lost” – to examine witnesses concerning the reputation of sanctity of the Servant of God, before the work of the Historical Commission and the Theological Censors are over. It was established on 14 June 2011. The opening session of the Board of Inquiry was held on 20 June 2011. The exhumation, identification and reburial of the mortal remains of the Servant of God were done on 23 June 2014. The Archieparchial Board of Inquiry was closed on 25 August 2016.

The Cause of Beatification and Canonisation of the Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios Panickaruveetil was set in motion with the petition submitted by Very Rev. Fr. Jerome Peedikaparampil OIC (then Superior General of the Order of the Imitation of Christ), Very Rev. Mother Philomina SIC (then Superior General of Sisters of the Imitation of Christ), and Very Rev. Mother Felix DM (then Superior General of the Daughters of Mary), on 15 July 1997 to His Grace Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios, the Archbishop of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum, the bishop competent to instruct the said Cause. This request was considered by the Archbishop and he asked the Superiors General to do the needful. After due consultation with him and with his consent, Rev. Fr. Antony Valiyavilayil OIC was appointed the Postulator of the Cause. The same was announced in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church through a common Pastoral Letter of the Metropolitan-Archbishop on February 25, 1998.

On 15 July 2005 the Canonical Petition to initiate the Cause of Beatification and Canonisation of Archbishop Mar Ivanios was submitted by the Postulator, Fr. Antony Valiyavilayil OIC to His Beatitude Moran Mor Cyril Beselios, the Major Archbishop- Catholicos of Trivandrum. Following the acceptance of the canonical petition by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis-Catholicos in consultation with the Holy Synod, on July 14, 2007 and Mar Ivanios was declared as “Servant of God”. Then we requested to obtain Non objection letter from the Holy See. With the letter Prot. N. 2896 of November 11, 2009, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has conveyed the proper Nihil Obstat (they don’t see any canonical errors to proceed this cause) to His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis for the canonization process. His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, has further advanced the process of canonization with the erection of various commissions and related bodies.

Further Studies, Various Commissions

There are two commissions and the Board of Inquiry constituted by His Beatitude in order to complete the Eparchial phase of the process.

Historical Commission

On December 15, 2009, there constituted a historical commission to make a research study into the life of Mar Ivanios and to substantiate his heroic virtues and sanctity of life. The historical commission consists of Fr. James Puthuparampil OIC, as chairman, Fr. Cherian Varicatt, Fr. Prabheesh George as members, who swore on 15 December 2009, as per the norm of Sanctorum Mater. The task of the team is to search out and gather all the writings of the Servant of God, those not yet published, as well as each and every historical document, either handwritten or printed, which in any way regard the cause (68).

Theological Commission

It is presumed that, His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis –Catholicos has appointed two theological censors. It is a confidential Inquiry made independently by each Theological censor. Their names are not made known until they submit their report to the Board of Inquiry. Their task is to examine the published writings of the Servant of God and to substantiate the orthodoxy in matters of faith and morals.

Board of Inquiry

The Board of Eparchial Inquiry for the Cause of Canonization of the Servant of God was formally constituted by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, on 14 June 2011. The installation ceremony was held, on June 20, 2011. The team consists of Rev. Dr. Michael Vattappalam as Episcopal Delegate, Rev. Dr. Saju Augustine CST as Promoter of Justice and Rev. Sr. Jose Mary SH as Notary and Pushpa Augustine as Vice-Notary. The team has already interviewed 37 members (priests, sisters and laity) from different dioceses.

When the inquiries of the various commissions are completed, a transcript of all the acts is to be sent in duplicate to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, together with the copy of the books of the Servant of God, which were examined by the theological censors, along with their judgment. Here begins the Roman phase of the process. Once the transcript is submitted to Rome, and if it is accepted, the process of declaring the person as “Blessed” begins. This is enhanced by the proof of a miracle. Once a Servant of God is proclaimed as “Blessed”, the process of canonizing as a “Saint” is further advanced by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

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