On 31st August 1910, Patriarch Mor Ignatius `Abded Aloho ordained Fr. Geevarghese Edavazhickal as the first Knanaya Bishop with the name Mor Severios. Around that period, the reformation movement that was very active in Malankara rocked the Knanya Community also. At Kottayam, Kallissery and Ranny many faithful of the Knanaya community along with some priests joined the new movement and created a rift in the churches. At Kottayam Valiyapally this movement was strongly opposed by Rev. Fr. Philipose and his son.
Mor Severios administered the Knanaya diocese residing at Kottayam Valiyapalli. He believed in the value of education and introduced several programs for the education of the Knanaya students. He founded mission centres at Chingavanam, Kallissery and Kattodu. The construction of Chingavanam seminary began in his period. This was later to become the 'Mor Ephrem Seminary' and the Knanaya Bishop's House.
Mor Severios was a source of love and selfless service to the community. An educational fund he created and named after him is his great contribution to posterity. He served the community for seventeen years during which many churches were formed in the diocese. He democratised the administration of the church. For this purpose he called a meeting of the parish representatives and formed the Knanaya Association which is the parliament of Knanaya diocese. "The Knanaya Association" rules were compiled in 1918 which later became the guideline for the present constitution of the diocese.
Mor Severius passed away on June 11, 1927 and was laid to rest at the ancient Kottayam Valiya Pally.
During his initial years as Bishop, Mor Clemis provided inspiration, and vision to a diocese that had been without a Bishop for the previous 20 years. With prayer, leadership and good counsel, Mor Clemis worked with the community leaders to organize itself. New churches, convents, and retreat centers were established. Young men and women were actively recruited to membership in the clergy. The Church constitution was amended and updated for effective administration of parishes and other institutions. Educational institutions and an orphanage were established. Encouraged and initiated many charitable works such as giving away 1000 plus homes for the financially challenged and establishing a widow fund for the financially deprived women.
Being blessed with great administrative capability and political acumen, Mor Clemis also immersed himself with spiritual and temporal matters of the larger Christian community in India and abroad. In recognition of his services and leadership, Mor Clemis was given important responsibilities and honors
Mor Clemis established himself as the veritable leader of not only the Knanaya Community but also of the Malankara Church. As a result he was elected as the Malankara Metropolitan in 1957.
In 1982, recognizing his leadership and wisdom, His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, decorated Mor Clemis with the highest honor a bishop can receive, the title of “Kubernithi Hakimo” which means ‘Wise Captain.’. Again in1989 His Holiness bestowed on Mor Clemis the position of “the Chief Metropolitan of the East” recognizing his continued contributions to the whole Indian Christian Community. It is a position similar to that of the Catholicose.
Mor Clemis made ecclesiastical visits to Ethiopia, Russia, the Middle East and many European countries. In 1956 the late Emperor Haile Selasse of Ethiopia was the guest of honor of Mor Clemis. at Mar Ephraim Seminary, the headqurters of the Knanaya Diocese in Chingavanam.
Clemis Thirumeni was a key player in the Kerala politics. His political influence was so powerful that even Mrs. Indira Gandhi went to his seminary in Chingavanam in 1970 to ask for his support as well as his advice. In 1997 none other than the then Vice-President of India Mr. K.R. Narayanan inaugurated the bishop’s Jubilee celebrations. The Community celebrated the Episcopal Jubilee of Mor Clemis on a grand scale in 2000 and His Holiness the Patriarch blessed the occasion with his presence.
Mor Clemis was warmly welcomed by the present Pope John Paul on two occasions in the company of His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Zacha Iwas I. Mor Clemis was also a guest at the palace of the late President of Syria, Hafez Al Asaad He was a member of the World Council of Churches and attended several of its meetings.
Mor Clemis was a sage and a saint. He was a sage because he gave wise counsel not only to the religious community but also to many politicians in Kerala who sought his counsel. He was a peace maker as well as a king maker. He mediated and settled many disputes between the two factions of the Jacobite churches as well as helped ease tensions between Hindus and Christians at several occasions. This he achieved by his strong belief in religious tolerance and Christian principles. Those political leaders who heeded his advice did well in their political career.
Mor Clemis could also be called a saint because he showed qualities of a saint such as concern for the betterment and wellbeing of the poor, fought against social injustice and political oppression. He practiced chastity and poverty. He usually ate only vegetarian food and that too very moderately, just enough to survive and not to indulge. He slept on a single bed with no mattress, but only a mat and a single sheet to cover his body. He had big calluses on knuckles and on his knees due to prostration during his prayers at several times during the day and at night. For an outsider his regal appearance and commanding presence gave the impression that was contrary to his inner nature of an ascetic. According to the Orthodox Christian faith a saint is also one whose soul is gone to heaven. A few minutes before his death, the bishop started a prayer with the people in the hospital and when he was praying the Lord’s prayer, he breathed his last and entered into his heavenly rest at about 11pm on Sunday the 29 of September of 2002 at the ripe old age of 84.
Thomas Mor Dioskoros, (Second Metropolitan of the Knanaya Diocese)
Mor Dioskoros led a life of simplicity and piety. He was humorous and witty. In his administrative period the 'Patriarchal Bull No.42 was issued by "Patriarch Elias III". The Bull proclaimed that Knanaya diocese shall always be directly under the holy throne of Antioch. It is a significant document. The completion of Ephrem Seminary took place in his period. He provided leadership for the founding ofVanitha Mandirum at Kurichy and M.S. High School at Ranny. It is quite unfortunate that he later converted himself to the Roman Catholic fold . (source: "Cultural Heritage of Knanaya Syrian Christians" by Rev. Fr. Joseph Kulathramannil-p 75)