Saint Kuriakos Elias Chavara

Date: 
January 3, 2016
January 3, 2017
January 3, 2018
January 3, 2019
January 3, 2020
OCD commemoration: 
Memorial
Classification: 
Priest

Saint Kuriakos Elias Chavara, co-founder and first prior general of the congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, was born at Kainakary in Kerala, India, February 10, 1805. He entered the seminary in 1818, and was ordained priest in 1829. He made his religious profession in 1855, in the congregation he founded. In 1861 he was named vicar general for the Syro- Malabar church; in this capacity he defended ecclesial unity threatened by schism when Mar Tomas Rochos was sent from Mesopotamia to consecrate Nestorian bishops. Throughout his life he worked for the renovation of the church in Malabar. He was also co-founder in 1866 of the congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Above all, he was a man of prayer, zealous for the Eucharistic Lord and devoted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He died at Koonammavu in 1871. His body was transferred to Mannana  in 1889.

From a note written on the day of his death, by his spiritual director, Fr. Leopold Beccaro.

"Day and night he fought to arrest the spread of schism. Today, Tuesday, January, 3, 1871, at 7:15 in the morning, Fr. Cyriac (Kuriakos) Elias of the Holy Family, the first Prior, died after a life of great innocence... He could declare before his death he had never lost his baptismal innocence. He was exercising himself in the practice of virtues, especially in simplicity of heart, living faith, tender obedience, and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Joseph. He has undergone immense hardships for the good of the Christians of Malabar, especially during the time of the schism of Rochos, when he, having been appointed vicar general of the Syrians, showed his extraordinary devotion to the Holy See. He fought day and night to arrest the spread of schism from which he would save no less than forty parishes. On this account the Holy Father Pope Pius IX sent him a letter expressing his great satisfaction. He was the founder and the first Prior of the Carmelites of Malabar. He founded also the convent of nuns after undergoing many hardships. On account of his endearing virtues, learning and profound knowledge of the Syriac language he enjoyed great influence on the Syrians of Malabar. He was always greatly loved by the Vicars Apostolic of Malabar, and even more by the people of Malabar, the gentiles and Nestorians not excluded. He endured his last illness for two years in a spirit of great resignation, nay with joy. He was detached from all disorderly affections for earthly things, which was all the more true in the last days of his life. Having received the last sacraments with extraordinary piety and devotion, in a heavenly joy, and amidst the tears of all who knew him, especially my own, who knew him even as myself, he breathed his last at the age of sixty-five and was buried in the church of St. Philomena at Koonammavu. O holy and beautiful soul, pray for me."

 

Canonization: November 23, 2014 Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Beatified: February 8, 1986, Mannanam, Kerala, India by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine: Chavara Shrine, Mannanam, Kottayam Kerala, India

Visit Wikipedia page.

Letter to the Faithful from Pope Francis announcing his Canonization.

Homily of Pope Francis from the Rite of Canonization via vatican.va

Carmelite Prayer: 
Lord God, You raised up Blessed Kuriakos Elias your priest to strengthen the unity of the Church. Grant that through his intercession we may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit to read the signs of the times with wisdom and spread the news of the Gospel by both word and example. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.