The Metropolitan of Bathery
His Excellency Most Rev. Joseph Mar Thomas, the veteran educationalist and economist was born in the small village of Vadaserikkara, presently in the district of Pathanamthitta, on 20th April 1952 to Mr. K.C. Thomas and Sosamma Thomas. He did his primary education in the Govt. L.P. School, Vadasserikkara and completed his schooling at Vadasserikkara High School.
He then joined the St. Aloysius Minor Seminary in June 1968. He did his Pre-degree choosing Economics, History and Political Science as his optional subjects from Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. Thereafter, he joined the Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye for completing Bachelors degree in Theology (B.Th). Later as part of his priestly studies he did his Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Ph) at Carmelgiri Seminary, Alwaye.
He was ordained as Priest by His Grace Dr. Benedict Mar Gregorios the late Archbishop of Trivandrum, on 23rd December 1978 at St. Antony’s Church, his home Parish at Vadaserikkara. After his ordination Fr Joseph Konnathu served in various parishes like Thatta, Adoor, Anandapally, Parakode, Elamannoor, Perandal, Kalayapuram etc. By 1979 he was sent to Kollam (Kadappakkada) as the first resident Vicar of the St. Thomas Malankara Catholic Church, Kadappakada and Assistant Vicar of seven parishes in the neighbourhood such as Kummalloor, Kottara, Pooyappally, Paruthiyara, Maruthamonpally, Chenkulam and Poriacode. In spite of his busy mission work at Kollam he did his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the esteemed Fathima Matha National College, Kollam and passed out with flying colours.
In June 1982, he was appointed as the Local Manager of Sarvodaya School and St. John’s High School and the Boarding Rector of Sarvodaya. During this period he served as the Chaplain of the S.H. Convent, Nalanchira and served as Parish priest of the three missions in Trivandrum district, viz. Chalai, Kallayam and Karakulam. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Education taking English as his optional subject and continued doing a Master’s Degree in the same.
During his tenure as the Rector of the Trivandrum Minor Seminary he also served as the Senate member of the Pontifical Institute, Alwaye. He also pursued a diploma in Guidance and Counselling (Kodaikanal). During this period he rendered his service as the Vocation Promoter of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum and as member of All Kerala Vocation Promotion Council.
From 1986 onwards he served as Lecturer in the faculty of Economics at Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. After completing six years of service in the Minor Seminary, he was appointed as the Ecclesiastical District Vicar of Trivandrum and the Vicar of the St. Mary’s Metropolitan Church, Pattom. While working as a lecturer in Mar Ivanios College he started his research work in the field of “Economics of Education” in the University of Kerala and completed the same by 1997 and was awarded Doctorate in Education. Fr. Joseph Konnathu joined the faculty of Education at Mar Theophilos Training College, Trivandrum in 1996 and after a year he took charge as the Principal of his alma mater for a period of 10 years.
In 1998, he contested the Kerala University Senate election, as an independent candidate and became senate member, securing a huge majority of votes from the College Teacher’s constituency. In 1999, he became a member of Board of Studies of Education and Faculty Member of Education in the University of Kerala. In the year 2000 he was appointed as the member of School Curriculam Committee, headed by the Education Minister, Government of Kerala. He worked as the NCTE South Zone Expert Committee Member, Bangalore, Vice President of Council for Teacher Education (CTE) Kerala chapter, Malankara Catholic Catechism Text Book Committee Chairman and the committee member of the Principal’s Council of Kerala.
In his various capacities as Theologian, Priest and Professor, Most Rev. Mar Thomas has been writing for the Print Media. He has published several research articles on various subjects in Economics and Education in recently published books.
On the 5th of Jan 2005 he was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum and Apostolic Visitator to North America and Europe by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. And the same was announced in Trivandrum by His Beatitude Moran Mor Cyril Baselios Catholicos, the Major Archbishop of Trivandrum. His consecration ceremony was celebrated on 19th of February 2005 with the name Joseph Mar Thomas at St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, Pattom.
Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas has visited several countries namely Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine Italy, UAE, Qatar, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Britain, North America, Canada for pastoral ministry and attending international seminars. Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas organized several National and international Seminars and attended more than 100 seminars of the same. He is a research guide of the University of Kerala and at present six students are conducting research leading to Ph.D. under him. He is serving as educational consultant of several regional, national and international institutions. He is the Director of the international center for research and development at Chennai, Trivandrum and New York Chapters. Besides, at present he is a consultant member of the New York State board education.