Saints - St Yeldho Mar Baselios of Kothamangalam - Smiocbristol
St Yeldho Mar Baselios was born in a village in Karakosh (formerly known as Kooded) near Mosul, Iraq. At a very young age, he joined the Mar Behanan monastery in Mosul and became a monk. In 1678 he was consecrated as a Maphriyana (the second-highest rank in the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the church at that time) by the then Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mar Ignatius Abdul Mashiha I.
After the Coonan Cross Oath, our church in India needed spiritual guidance. Mar Thoma II of Malankara informed the Patriarchate about the unpleasant situation of the church in India and the sufferings endured by the faithful. St Yeldho at the age of 92 volunteered to travel to India to assist the Church and in the year 1685, he travelled to India via Basra to Surat and finally arriving at Thalasseri, North Kerala and then through the hills to Kothamangalam. St Yeldho was accompanied by Mar Ivanios Hidayathulla, his brother and two monks. History states only three of them eventually reached Malankara guided by a Hindu gentleman and his men. The journey was treacherous and they survived all these by the power of prayers of St Yeldho Mar Baselios and miracles were wrought during this journey.
In late September of 1685, St Yeldho finally arrived at Marthoman Cheriyapally, Kothamangalam. The church bells were rung and the neighbourhood believers rushed to the church to see what had happened. St Yeldho entered the church and sat on the steps of the altar. He was extremely exhausted and weak after the journey. Three days after, he became seriously ill. The believers assembled in the church and started to pray for St Yeldho. In the afternoon of the third day of being ill, the saintly father left his mortal self for our Lord’s heavenly abode at the age of 92. St Yeldho Mar Baselios died on 29th September 1685 and was entombed on the western side of the sanctuary in the Marthoman Cheriyapally Church, Kothamangalam, Kerala, India.
Though St Yeldho Mar Baselius only lived in Malankara for a few days, his name had spread far and wide leaving a lasting mark in the history of the Malankara Church. Fulfilling the wishes of the multitude of the faithful, the Holy Church in 1987 included the name of this holy Saint in the 5th Diptych (Thubden) of the Holy Communion order of service. The Church is indebted to this Holy Saint who suffered for the sake of the church and arrived at Malankara at a very old age.
St Yeldho Mar Baselios was canonized as a Saint of our church on 2nd of November 1947 by His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thomas Geevarghese II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan.
The Church commemorates St Yeldho Mar Baselios on the 2nd and 3rd of October as the saint’s feasts days every year. The saint is also fondly known to the faithful as ‘Kothamangalam Bava’.