Rev. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Remembered by Dr. Rajan Varghese, Former Director/ Principal, MCMAT

Rev. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Remembered by Dr. Rajan Varghese, Former Director/ Principal, MCMAT
Right from my childhood I knew Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan – a youthful priest of the Mar Thoma Church at the time. I grew up in Tirumeni’s hometown, Maramon, Kozhencherry near the Pamba river, where I was a member of the Mar Thoma parish. Later in 1975, as the Secretary of the Mar Thoma Congregation of Union Christian College, Aluva, I had the fortune to felicitate Irenaeus Thirumeni on the occasion of his installation as a Bishop of the Mar Thoma Church.

Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan was interested in all educational institutions, both Schools and institutions of Higher Learning. Thirumeni had a soft corner and concern for Union Christian College from where he had graduated. As the Principal of Union Christian College, I received great support and assistance from Irenaeus Thirumeni especially for the fund collection drive in connection with the Platinum Jubilee Projects during 1995 – 2000.

Joseph Thirumeni was very active in supporting the needs of all educational Institutions of the Mar Thoma Church in the North-Travancore area especially of Perumbavoor, and showed keen interest in the growth and development of Mar Thoma College for Women, Perumbavoor. I personally experienced this during my tenure as Principal of the Women’s College during 2000 – 2003.

The Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA), with Athanasius Thirumeni as the President and Rev. T. O. Joseph as the General Secretary, considered the prospects of establishing the first professional college of the Mar Thoma Church — the Marthoma College of Management and Technology (MCMAT) to offer MBA and MCA programmes (2003-2004). On completion of my tenure as Principal of the Women’s College, late Geevarghese Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan (Rt. Rev. Geevarghese Mar Athanasius at that time), then President of MTEA, appointed me as the first Director and Principal of MCMAT and assigned to me the responsibility of obtaining statutory approvals and sanctions and to take necessary steps and preparations to start the College. The then Metropolitan, Philipose Mar Chrysostom, now Valiya Metropolitan, gave blessings and tutelage as the Patron of the College. I consulted Joseph Mar Irenaeus Suffragan Thirumeni and obtained constructive suggestions and recommendations for the starting of the College. Athanasius Thirumeni continued as Manager of MCMAT until October, 2005 by which time the AICTE approval for MCMAT had been granted.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Irenaeus Suffragan Thirumeni became President of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA) and took charge as the Manager of the Mar Thoma College of Management and Technology (MCMAT) in October 2005, as the second Manager after Athanasius Thirumeni. The Mahatma Gandhi University affiliated the Marthoma College of Management and Technology (MCMAT) in 2005 and the first batch of MBA began in June, 2006. From the time he assumed responsibility as Manager, Thirumeni took the lead to nurture the infant institution, and oversaw its growth into a full-fledged Business School. Though Thirumeni had been elevated to the position of the Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church in 2007, he continued to be the Manager of MCMAT till 2008. Even after Metropolitan Thirumeni handed over the responsibility to Zacharias Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan in 2008, he continued to nurture the College in a number of ways.

This was a challenging time for the Marthoma College of Management and Technology (MCMAT) in terms of faculty and staff selection, student admission, development of mandatory infrastructure, constitution of Professional, Academic, Placement Advisory Committees, generating needed resources and creating goodwill for the institution within the Mar Thoma community and among the general public. Thirumeni guided and directed the Governing Council and supported the Director/Principal, thus providing a healthy environment for MCMAT to grow in terms of student quality, faculty and staff competence and sumptuous infrastructure. The major challenge MCMAT faced during the initial years was the garnering of seed money, and raising the AICTE security deposit. The MTEA advanced these initially but it had to be repaid urgently. It was Thirumeni’s timely support which resulted in the Federal Bank Perumbavoor branch offering a term loan of Rs.50 lakhs helping MCMAT to overcome a major financial hurdle.

Metropolitan Thirumeni gave dynamic leadership and direction to every aspect of the development of MCMAT through frequent visits, presiding over all the important public functions of the College, and issuing circulars to all the parishes of Mar Thoma Church regarding the opportunities available at MCMAT. Thirumeni’s messages in Sabha Tharaka carried positive references, and he gave rich publicity to MCMAT at various important public functions of the Mar Thoma Church including the Maramon Convention and the Clergy Conference of the Church. Metropolitan Thirumeni took special care to preside over all the Ceremonial Course Completion functions of the MBA College beginning with the first event in 2009, continuing to 2017, and offered blessings to the outgoing MBA professionals inspiring them to contribute to the community and society. As Mar Thoma Metropolitan and as Bishop of the Kottayam Kochi Diocese, Thirumeni ensured that competent professionals are nominated to the Governing Council of MCMAT. Once Thirumeni was satisfied with the functioning, he gave freedom in all matters of governance and management, and insisted on quality in every area.

MCMAT benefited immensely from Thirumeni’s positive references in his speeches and interactions with the general public. He supported MCMAT’s international collaboration with the reputed Catholic institution – Bellarmine University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA from 2009. Thirumeni offered a very special reception to the visiting dignitaries of the Bellarmine University at Poolathin Aramana.
The multi-country collaborative research project of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) with the Indian Institute of management (IIM) Ahmedabad and MCMAT on the Migration and Supply Chain Management of labor from India and Nepal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during 2014-15 under the Project Manager Prof. Biju Varkkey and Principal Investigator Prof. Rajan Varughese was strongly supported by Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan and the then Manager Rt. Rev. Thomas Mar Thimotheos Episcopa by providing necessary infrastructure facilities for the Project.

Metropolitan Thirumeni personally selected MCMAT and the Women’s College campus as the venue of the Mar Thoma Students’ Conference of 2017 and nominated me as the President of the Conference to provide greater visibility to the MBA College among the students of the Mar Thoma community.

The very special care and concern Thirumeni gave MCMAT will always be cherished. The MCMAT community deeply mourns the demise of Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan. We thank God Almighty for the blessings and support MCMAT received through the life and work of our dear Metropolitan Thirumeni.

Dr. Rajan Varughese

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