Thalavady Chiramel Mekkaringattu Kudumbam Mallappally

Rev Fr Philipose Nadamala - a life unusually inspired by Holy Spirit for an ascetic yet in the midst of an underdeveloped society

Saffron-robed with long white beard, sandal less feet, a humble down to the earth posture and a fresh flower like smile on face, reminding us the figure of a Hindu or Buddhist Monk, yes- he is Superior of  Chayalpady Ashram, Nilackal Angamoozhy - Fr. Philipose Nadamala. Some affectionately call him Marthoma sleeha, the Apostle who evangelized and founded Christianity in southern India in AD 52. He is the beloved Nadamala Achen of  Angamoozhy habitants. Nadamala Achen’s presence is filled in every inch of that whole area. It is still a common scene that people visit him for a pat and blessing. One who enters into the peaceful environment of this monastery transforms to the owner of a divine and serene self.

Fr. Philipose Nadamala was born in 1934 in the Mekkaringattu family of Mallappally. He received religious fervidness from the genealogical inheritance of Thalavady Chiramel, the very same family from which God chose the late Catholica Bava of Orthodox Church, Bishop Athanassious of Marthoma Church, several respected priests and nuns. After schooling, Nadamala Achen joined Kurishumala Ashram of Vagamon founded by Francis Acharya. He was introduced to the Ashram by the vicar of his parish Fr.Cherian Powethikunnel and Fr.John O.I.C. (one of the architects of Reunion movement) The life style of this Kurishumala Ashram is a natural blend of Indian Hindu monasticism and Christian faith. Lessons from this hermitage taught him that the fulfillment of eternal salvation is attained through the social commitment to human being. He perceived that spirituality is not renunciation of the world, but containing it in full entity

After his ordination as priest in 1978, while descending the steps of Kurishumala Ashram, his mind was filled with the thoughts of the revival of ancient site of Nilackal Church. With that objective, two youngsters joined him to travel with. But the harsh realities of life, pulled them back from the track leading to the objective. However, Fr. Philipose continued his rigorous journey with intermediate meditation and relentless prayers.

During a visit to the late Trivandrum Arch Bishop Mar Gregorios, Pithavu arranged Fr. Philipose to work at Angamoozhy, very close to the famous site of ancient Nilackal Church. Angamoozhy was a remote jungle land with hills, river and wild animals. Fr. Philipose felt that was his ‘Karma Bhoomi’.  He built a hut roofed with dry grass and walled with bamboo on a small hill and called that place ‘Chayalpady Ashram’

Fr. Philipose helped of native habitants to change the face of the most undeveloped Angamoozhy into a habitable land with roads, schools and hospitals. He founded Malankara Catholic churches in all the nearby areas. He loved and served every one without any discrimination of religion, cast or creed. He worked hard for that place and its people.  Every sand grain of that piece of land sensed the caring touch of this celibate’s soft sandal less feet. His feet always moved towards helpless and needy. People followed their daily routine by hearing the sound of the bell ringing from Asrham. His stature has carved an image of unshakable support in distress and pain in the minds of people. While going out, he plucks the ripe guavas from the leaning branches of guava trees of Ashram premises and hands over to whoever meets him on the way with his usual innocent smile and pleasant chat.

Bishop Ignathious of Mavelikkara Diocese and many others call him as ‘Puthappu Achen’ because he always drapes a large saffron sheet of cloth as the Budhist monks do. Angamoozhy witnessed celebration of Nadamala Achen’s ‘Sapthathi’ (70th Birthday) on 22nd July 2005 organized by the parishioners, inhabitants of monastery and the local residents. Fr. Philipose Nadamala is the vicar of the rebuilt St.Thomas Malankara Catholic pilgrimage Church of Angamoozhy and the Founder Superior of Chayalpady Christu Sanyas Samaj Ashram. He handed over the whole temporal properties of the Ashram lately to the Bethany Order.

Mekkaringattu Family acknowledges his selfless work for the community, church and all people around him. We pray for him, for a healthy and long life for an extended service of God.

Written by Varughese Mathew Mekkaringattu


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