H.H THEVALAKKARA MAR ABO
His Holiness Mar Abo hailed from a place now in Iraq called Nineveh. He travelled through a number of places and reached Kollam. He was soon held in high esteem by the people from all walks of life due to his moral and spiritual conduct. The Kulasekhara King, who ruled over Kollam, gave him special powers and privileges. The Tharissa church at Kollam, which was established by St Thomas apostle was wrecked by tempest and people did not have a place of worship. Bishop Mar Abo who had reached Kollam in the 8th century AD, rebuilt the Tharissa church using the special privileges accorded to him by the ruler (Ref: Travancore State Manual, Page 244). He spread the gospel of God through his spiritual discourses, established churches at Kadamattom, Akaparambu, Kayamkulam, Niranam, Nilakkal, Thevalakara and strengthened the tenets of christianity in the region.
During one of his journeys to deliver spiritual message he felt tired and entered the wayside house and requested for food. The widow of Paaliyur Pakalomattom and her only son who stayed there did not have enough food to offer a guest. Gauging the pitiable situation, the Bishop said, "It is better to dine at the house of a poor person serving with purity of heart than a rich man's extravagant meal." Suddenly the widow saw that the 3 bowls which she had kept began to fill with food. She was surprised and realized that the man whom she was serving was not an ordinary man, but a Holy man. Witnessing the miracle, the widow's only son became His disciple. This disciple was later renowned by the name of Kadamattam Kathanar. On another occasion, Mar Abo cured the insane daughter of "Kartha", a well known person at Kadamattam. As an act of his gratitude, "Kartha" donated a piece of land to build a Church, which is known today as Kadamattam Orthodox Church.
A number of people who were cured by the divine powers of this holy man accepted Christianity. Enraged by his miracles, some people began to conspire against him. Realizing the situation through spiritual vision, he called his disciple, Kadamatur Kathanar and gave his finger ring. He told him that whenever the ring falls off from his hand, the Bishop would have left this world. Kadamattam Kathanar unwillingly bid farewell to his Guru. Thereafter, he set off on his journey towards south till he reached Thevalakara. There he was attracted by the church consecrated in the name of St Mary, the kind-hearted, innocent and loving people of the village. So he thought of spending the rest of his life at a place 'chavadi' in front of the church. Even now, one can see the renovated 'chavadi' where he performed many of his miracles to help the sick and destitute irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. Thus, numerous miracles were performed by the Holy man through his Godly acts resulting in wide spread love, affection and respect by the people of this region, which is prevalent even till date. After completing his worldly mission, he left for his heavenly abode.At the time of his death, the ring worn by Kadamattam Kathanar came off from his finger and fell on the ground. Remembering his Guru's words, the favourite disciple started off to see his mortal remains. After an agonising search, he reached Thevalakara to find that his believers had sorrowfully already laid him to rest at the north-western corner of 'Madbaha'. Since the Kathanar could not see Mar Abo"s body before burial, he was tearfully praying at his cemetry, when Mar Abo's hands appeared from the tomb to console his disciple. It was amazing to see the separated right hand of Mar Abo in his disciple's hands. The priest and other believers took the hand and consecrated it at the southern wall of Kadamattam church. Due to the strong bond of Guru and his disciple, people froKadamattam still regularly visit the tomb of Mar Abo. In this era of dwindling number of common places of belief by all religions, the tomb of Mar Abo attracts people from far and wide. Despite the absence of publicity to this holy man, his miracles to common people have resulted in multi fold increase in believers. The living as well as departed holy Bishops and priests are witness to his grace. His believers begin any new venture only after seeking his blessings. The prayer room next to his tomb is always open to public throughout the day. Praying at the tomb is helping a number of people to cure their diseases and overcome other sufferings in life. The holy man who blesses his believers is known to get rid off their anxieties and worries when they bow their head before him. Special prayers are held on second Friday of every month after the evening prayer for his intercession. Meditation and prayers for intercession of St Mary is also held at 10 AM to 12:30 PM on second Friday of the month. "Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward" (St Mathew 10: 41) The departed saint pray for us. So, the multitudes of people across religions who come and pray at his tomb celebrate Mar Abo perunnal from 30 January to 8 February every year. Let his heavenly peace, blessing and healing be bestowed upon all of us.
Prof. John Kurakar