St Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church, Toronto

Location23 Brownlea Ave, Toronto, Ontario M9P 1W2
      

Rev. Dr. Parackel Kuriakose Mathew (1937-2015) Called to His Heavenly Abode, October 29th, 2015

Rev. Dr. Parackel Kuriakose Mathew (Mathew Achen, age 78) passed away the morning of October 29th, 2015, in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada.  Achen is the son of the late Rev. Fr. Parackel Kuriakose Cor Episcopa and Annamma Kuriakose. He was born and brought up in Meenadom, near Kottayam, Kerala, India, as the eldest of six children.  He came to Canada in 1972 and has been serving the communities in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal.  He organized congregations and served as vicar of St. Thomas Orthodox Churches in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, and St. George's Orthodox Church, Kingston.  He was very active in social, community and Church spheres in India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Canada.  His last Holy Qurbana was on September 20th, 2015, at St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Toronto.

His decision to become a priest came about in his youth when he encountered H.G. Geevarghese Mar Philoxenos (Puthencavil Kochu Thirumeni).  When passing through Pampady in front of his mother’s house, Thirumeni stopped and spoke to the young Thankachen (Mathew Achen), exhorting him to become a priest like his father, Parackel Achen.  He has been influenced in his life by many pious and saintly men, key among them being H.H. Baselios Augen I, H.G. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, and H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas.

After completing his B.A. from SB College, Changanassery, P.K. Mathew joined the first batch of students (1959) at the Kottayam seminary after it was re-opened.  He studied under H.G. Yuhanon Mar Severios (then Malpan Achen), and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios (then M.V. George Achen), among others.  Recognizing the talents in the young student after one year of studying in Kottayam, M.V. George Achen helped him to gain admission at Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur, with recommendation from H.G. Pathrose Mar Osthathios.  During his time there he became close with K.K. Mathews Achen (later H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas).  He completed his B.D. degree and served as the SCM Secretary in Trivandrum for one year.  He wanted to pursue higher studies, so he went to H.H. Baselios Augen I (Augen Bava).  Augen Bava encouraged this aim.  Thus, with the recommendation and blessings from Augen Bava, he completed his M.Th. from Serampore University, Calcutta.  He was ordained as a Kooroyo by Augen Bava after completing his M.Th.  When a unique opportunity arose, Augen Bava sent Deacon Mathew to teach at Theological College of Holy Trinity, Haile Selassie I (present Addis Ababa) University, Ethiopia.  There, as a young associate of the great Professor V.C. Samuel Achen, he benefitted greatly from this extraordinary Malpan’s guidance, supervision and discipline. During his time in Ethiopia, he returned briefly to India, to be ordained first as a full deacon by H.G. Mathews Mar Ivanios (Parettu Thirumeni), then as a priest by Augen Bava in 1968.  Mathew Achen wanted to pursue further studies, so completed an S.T.M. (Master of Sacred Theology) degree from the Near East School of Theology, Beirut, in one year, and earned a Ph.D. from McGill University, Montreal in New Testament studies. For eight years afterwards, he taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria. He was also visiting Professor of Biblical Languages at the Spiritan International School of Theology at Enugu, Nigeria and has published articles in books and international journals.  Achen more recently embarked on a task of creating a collection of literature on the Malankara Orthodox Church's beliefs, traditions and its relevance today (parackelmathewachen.blogspot.com).

Mathew Achen has been a very devout and faithful Orthodox priest, an excellent scholar, counselor, and defender of the Orthodox faith. He was a strong proponent of the ecumenical movement and counted priests and members from other denominations and faiths among his friends.  Above all he was a truly noble soul who loved to tell stories from his life and cared for all his faithful and loved ones, unreservedly. 

He is survived by his wife Ponnamma Mathew (retired teacher) from Venmony (Kandalore House) in Kerala and three daughters, Dr. Anu Mathew (w/o Varghese Abraham (Unni), Maryland, USA), Renu Mathew (w/o Bejoy Philip, Montreal, Canada) and Sneha Susan Mathew (w/o Sanjay Markose, Montreal, Canada).  His greatest pride was his six grandchildren – Mariam (Ammu), Anna, Anika, Tarun, Joshua and Nathan, who will miss their Appacha as will his congregations and many friends and relatives around the world.

Let us pray for the soul of this noble and valiant servant of God. May his soul be welcomed in Paradise with hosts of Saints and Angels.