OUR PARISH - OUR VICARS
Our Founder Vicar: Very Rev. K. Mathai Cor-Episcopa
Very Reverend Kaleeckal Mathai Cor-Episcopa is a very esteemed and distinguished name among the Orthodox priests of American diocese. History of our Parish, St. Gregorios Church, Philadelphia and priestly history of Mathai Achen are closely interlinked. Out of his priestly service of 36 years, Achen had served our Parish for 35 years and Mathai Achen is the only Vicar of our parish from its inception till year 2011.
Fr. Mathai is born on July 3, 1942 as second son to Ninan Daniel and Rachel Daniel of Kollanteth family in Prakanam, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. In Childhood he was fondly called as Kochu Mathai. From his childhood Kochu Mathai fervently desired to lead a ministerial life in service of Lord. Very Rev. Mathews Ramban of Attachakkal was a great influence for young Mathai for his desire for the ecclesiastical ministry.
As a first step to accomplish his desire to become a priest, young Mathai joined the ‘Servants of Cross’, in the year 1961, as a Missionary worker [Sleeba-Dasan]. H.G. Pathros Mar Osthathios Metropolitan who had been an Apostle of Dalits in Malankara was the pioneer organizer of the Servant of Cross.
While serving for the Servants of Cross, Sleeba-Dasan Mathai joined Bishop Moor College, Mavelikara for his higher education. Further, he continued his college education at Catholicate College Pathanamthitta and graduated as Bachelor of Arts [B.A.] majoring Economics from Kerala University. His theological studies were done in Orthodox Theological College, Kottayam wherefrom he earned GST diploma and a Bachelor of Divinity [B.D.] from the affiliated Serampore University.
His Holiness Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I had ordained Sleeba-Dasan Mathai as a Sub-Deacon and later he got ordained as a Full-Deacon by H.G. Daniel Mar Philaxenos Metropolitan. On April 28, 1975, Dn. Mathai was ordained as a priest by H.H. Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I.
In the same year of 1975, Fr. Mathai and family migrated to USA. Fr. Mathai served first in St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Yonkers in New York before he moved to Philadelphia. H.G. Thomas Mar Makarios Metropolitan had appointed Fr. Mathai as the Vicar of St. Thomas Orthodox Church, which is later, renamed as St. Gregorios Church in 1986. Further Rev. Fr. K. Mathai is part and parcel of our Parish. Achen also served as the secretary of Clergy Association, Chairman of the Ecumenical Fellowship of Indian Churches in Philadelphia etc.
His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas Metropolitan, diocesan Metropolitan of American Diocese, had elevated Rev. Fr. K. Mathai to the title of Cor-Episcopa on June 22, 1996. Members of our Parish had befittingly felicitated our Vicar on the solemn occasion of the sacerdotal silver Jubilee Celebration of his priestly ordination on April 29, 2000.
Achen is married to Mariamma Mathai and is blessed with son Justin and two daughters Sheeba and Sheena. Achen had worked as a Pennsylvania State Auditor and retired from service in 2007. Achen and family live in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
Cor-Episcopa Achen is a truly faithful witness upholding the spiritual tenets of the training he received in Servants of Cross, along with it, his strong faith, devotion and deep humility coupled together caused to instill in our Parish, a high standard of spiritual fellowship in the Gospel.
By: Dr. Rajan Mathew
ARTICLES OF V. REV. K. MATHAI COR-EPISCOPA
Our Current Vicar : Rev. Fr. Shibu Venad Mathai
Rev. Fr. Shibu Venad Mathai had taken over as the Vicar of our Parish on June 4, 2011, as our Founder Vicar V. Rev. K. Mathai Cor-Episcopa had moved to Kerala. Shibu Achen previously served as the Assistant Vicar of the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Oak Park, Chicago.
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1. About Our Parish
2. Parish History
3. Our Vicar
4. Other Clergies
5. Office Bearers
6. Our Patron Saint
7. Our Congregation And Worship