H.E. Most Rev. Dr. Joshua Mar Ignathios
Bishop of Mavelikkara
Koshy Varghese was born on 24 May 1950 at Kottarakara in the civil District of Kollam as the son of Mr. Kizhakkevettil Oommen Varghese and Mrs. Annamma Varghese. He had his primary education at the St. Mary’s School, Kizhaketheruvu and he completed his secondary education at the Government High School, Kottarakkara in 1967.
He entered the St. Aloysius Minor Seminary, Trivandrum in 1967. He did his Pre Degree Course at the Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. He had his course in Philosophy and Theology at the St. Joseph’s Seminary, Thiruchirapally, Tamil Nadu, during the period 1970- ’78. He was ordained priest on 2 April 1978 by the Metropolitan Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios. Fr. Koshy Varghese Kizhakkeveettil served in the parishes at Kirathoor, Manjathoppu, Vimalapuram, Susaipuram from 1978-1983. He graduated from the Christian College, Marthandom, in Tamil Nadu, with History, Economics, and Politics as his optional subjects. He secured his Master’s Degree from Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu, in 1984.
In 1983 Fr. Koshy Varghese was appointed vicar of the mission stations at Padi, Perampur and Thiruvottiyoor in Chennai. During his tenure in Chennai, he started the Mar Ivanios Dispensary, and founded the Sacred Heart School, and served as its Principal from its inception. He took Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education from Kamaraj University, Madurai in 1985 and 1987 respectively. In 1994, he established the Mar Gregorios College and served as its local manager till 1996. He did his research on “Leadership, Organizational Health with School Effectiveness” in Stella Matituna College of Education, Chennai and obtained Ph. D from the University of Madras, in 2000.
In May 1996 he was appointed Vicar General of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum. He was made Cor-episcopo in 1997. On 15 April 1998 he was appointed the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archieparchy of Trivandrum by Pope John Paul II. Metropolitan Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios, ordained him Bishop after the name Joshua Mar Ignathios on 29 June 1998.
Metropolitan Mar Ignathios was the Vice Chairman of the Labour Movement of the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Conference (KCBC) during the period1998-2000 and later he was elected as its Chairman for the years 2002-2007. He was elected the Secretary of the KCBC and served the Church of Kerala in this capacity during the period 2000-2002. In December 2007, he was elected the Vice President of the KCBC. His Excellency holds chairmanship of the Labour Commission of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI) from 2002 onwards.
Metropolitan Mar Ignathios was an active member of the Nilackal Ecumenical Trust. Along with the Bishops of the Episcopal Churches, His Excellency made several ecumenical journeys and visited many international pilgrim centres. He also visited the World Council of Churches’ Centre at Geneva and attended an International Conference organized by it. He has visited several countries in the West and East for attending various International Conferences organized either by the CBCI or the Holy See.
The Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Catholic Church elected him the first Metropolitan of the newly erected Eparchy of Mavelikara. The inauguration of the new Eparchy and the installation of Mar Ignathios as its Metropolitan took place on 16 February 2007.
He is known as an eloquent preacher and powerful speaker and has an admirable command in many languages including Malayalam, Tamil and English.