Daijiworld Media Network - Brahmavar (JD)
Brahmavar, Sep 22: St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, is all set to celebrate the 100th year of remembrance of Bishop Alvares Mar Julius with holistic fervour on September 23 and 24.
Bishop Alvares Mar Julius was born on April 29, 1836 in Verna of Goa. He joined Rachol seminary of Goa, and was ordained in 1862. He served as priest in Goa, Mumbai and Belgaum. He joined the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in 1887. He was consecrated as Mar Julius l in 1889, and also served as Archbishop of Goa, Ceylon and India.
The tradition of celebrating ‘Alvares Feast’ began during 1984. Every year, September 23 is now celebrated as Alvares Feast to commemorate Bishop Alvares. It was a minimalist celebration. But after Bishop Alvares was declared as ‘Blessed’ in 2015, the Alvares Feast gained more prominence and it is now celebrated in a much grand manner.
Brahmavar diocese is an inspiration of Bishop Alvares. It is one of the largest congregations founded by him. Every year scholarship is being distributed to students in both church and educational institutions as a remembrance of Bishop Alvares' service. Houses are also being constructed under the service scheme.
The 100th year of remembrance of Bishop Alvares Mar Julius will be held on September 23 and 24. On September 23 at 6 pm, evening prayers, sermon and blessings will be celebrated. On September 24, at 8 am morning prayers, Holy Eucharistic celebrations, procession and blessings will be held. Devotees will be served with lunch as part of the feast.
Bishop Alvares as ‘Apostle of Charity’
Bishop Alvares came to Brahmavar on December 31, 1888. He stayed in Basel Mission Bungalow situated at Barkur then. His arrival was opposed as he was supporting ‘Padroado’. He was a knowledgeable person and also published ‘The Cruise’ and ‘Verdade’ papers. Bishop Alvares was also called as ‘Apostle of Charity’ for his charity work conducted during famine. He also worked for the people suffering from cholera disease. He came from an affluent family, but always kind towards the needy. Bishop Alvares began English medium school in Panjim, Sawantwadi. He always wanted to build a seminary in Brahmavar.
Bishop Alvares bought 97 cents of land on contract and later on he succeeded in getting 14 acre of land from the then British government.
Bishop Alvares and Fr R Z Noronha are two sides of the same coin. They were declared as ‘Blessed’ on December 6, 2015. Many miracles have happened through them. He was determined and worked towards spreading faith. Bishop Alvares provided opportunities for people in various arenas. Being a bishop he travelled all throughout his jurisdiction on a regular basis.
Even being from a rich and affluent family his love towards the almighty and service oriented attitude made him become a priest. He saw almighty in his fellow beings.
Bishop Alvares always propagated swadeshi. He had contacts with freedom fighter Gopalkrishna Gokhale too. He treated and gave shelter to the beggars and deprived.
Fr MC Mathai, vicar general St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar, Rocky Lewis, feast sponsor administrative committee and all the parishioners have extended a loving welcome to the general public to participate in the Alvares Feast.
Watch interview with Fr David Crasta and Thomas Souares, former trustee, St Mary's Syrian Orthodox Church, Brahmavar: