Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara
A commemorative postage stamp on Iko Kuriakose Chavara, an Indian Syro-Malabar Catholic priest, first Indian male been canonized as Catholic saint :
Issued by India
Issued on Dec 20, 1987
Description of Designs : The stamp has been designed by India Security Press, Nashik Road. The first day cover represents the St. Joseph’s Church, in Mannanam. The cancellation is designed by Smt. Alka Sharma.
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Single colour
Denomination : 60 Paise
Overall size : 3.91 x 2.90 cms.
Printing size : 3.55 x 2.54 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Paper : Indigenous unwatermarked P.G. Matt Coated stamp paper
Number printed : 15,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 35
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printed : India Security Press
Name : Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara
Born on Feb 10, 1805 at Kainakary, Kuttanad, Travancore, British India [now in Alappuzha district, Kerala, India]
Died on Jan 3, 1871 at Koonammavu, Ernakulam district, Kingdom of Cochin, British India [now in Kerala, India]
- Venerable Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born at Kainakary, Kerala on 10th February 1806. After his schooling in the village and priestly studies under Fr. Thomas Palackal at Pallipuram, he was ordained priest in 1829.
- Along with Frs. Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, he founded the first indigenous religious congregation in India for men in 1831 at Mannanam, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. He proved himself an able administrator as head of the CMI for 25 years. In 1866, with Fr. Leopold Beccaro, he started the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel for women.
- Interested in education, he started a Sanskrit school in 1846 and the first English School of the St. Thomas Christians in 1881, both at Mannanam. He started theological colleges for the education of priests.
- Father Chavara set up the first Catholic Press at Mannanam in 1844, from which a network of printing houses spread over the country, managed by the CMI Congregation. The congregation also manages the Malayalam daily “Deepika”. His own prolific writings, both prose and verse, bear witness to his wisdom.
- He fought for the cause of the Harijans, seeing in them the image of God. He started two schools for Harijan children and a home for the destitute.
- Amidst his diverse activities he remained essentially a man of prayer and charity.
- He died on 3rd January, 1871, humbly professing gratitude to God that he could preserve his baptismal innocence. His mortal remains lie at his tomb in St. Joseph’s Church, CMI Monastery, Mannanam.
- Today the Congregation runs educational institutions, hospitals, dispensaries, welfare & cultural centres and printing presses. The work of the congregation is a tribute to the vision of Fr. Chavara. His Holiness Pope John Paul II conferred the formal recognition of the Church by Beatifying him on 8th February, 1986.
- Text by CMI.