His Excellency Lawrence Mar Ephraem (1980-1997):
Rev. Fr. Lawrence J. Thottam was born on 15 May 1928 an ancient family of Kakathottam at Vellelumbu, Nellikkakuzhy in the Neyyattinkara Taluk as the eldest son of Justus and Victoria. In the initial days of the Reunion Movement, his parents joined the Malankara Catholic Church.
He had his elementary education in an English Medium School at Kanjiramukalam. He had a special relationship with Fr. Pothanamoozhy (later Bishop Pothanamoozhy) who was Secretary to the Archbishop Mar Ivanios and the Rector of the St. Aloysius Minor Seminary. He joined the St. Mary’s School Pattom and successfully completed the tenth standard in 1944. Later he started his studies in St. Aloysius Minor Seminary. He was sent to St. Joseph’s Inter-diocesan Seminary, Mangalore in 1946. He was ordained priest by Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios on 14 May 1953. He then served for one and a half years in St. Aloysius Seminary. Later, he was appointed the Rector of the Seminary. His service as Rector from December 1954 to October 1962 was noteworthy and he was hailed as ‘scholar-rector’. He also served as a missionary during this period. He started around thirty mission centres.
Later he was sent to Rome for higher education. He secured his Diploma in Missiology and Degree in Sociology from the Gregorian University. When he returned he was appointed Director of St. Mary’s Institute of Pastoral Studies at Palayam.
He undertook the ministry to serve the lepers at St. John’s Hospital, Pireppencode from 1964. He served as its Director till 1977. He worked as the Vice President of Catholic Hospital Association of India for three years and as its President for six years. He also served as the Vice President of Voluntary Health Association of India for two years. He spent most of his time for the sick. He founded The Health for One Million people (HOM). He started mission centres and charitable institutes in the Kanyakumari Disrtict. He started a high school in Kirathoor and five Primary and Upper primary schools in its suburbs. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archieparchy at the age of 52. During the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Malankara Reunion Movement, he was ordained Bishop after the name Lawrence Mar Ephraem by the Metropolitan Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios at Kottayam on Saturday, 27 December 1980. He was elected Administrator of the Archieparchy after the demise of Archbishop Mar Gregorios on 10 October 1994. He was appointed the first Metropolitan of the Eparchy of Marthandom, established on 16 December 1996. His enthronement ceremonies were held at the Christuraja Cathedral, Marthandom on 23 January 1997. He passed away on 8 April 1997 and his mortal remains rest in the Christuraja Cathedral at Marthandom.