Mar Gregorios College of Law is a product of the vision and far sight of His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, the Head and Father of Malankara Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church and the President of Malankara Catholic Educational Society of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum. The College is envisaged and established to be a Centre of Excellence in Legal Studies and a prominent Research Centre in Juridical Science. The College, established in the fond commemoration of Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios, the second Archbishop of Malankara Syrian Catholic Church came into existence in the year 2012 with the approval of Government of Kerala, affiliated to the Kerala University, with statutory approval of the Bar Council of India (BCI). The blessing ceremony and formal inauguration was presided over by His Beatitude Moron Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos on 24 September 2012 in the esteemed presence of other dignitaries. The college came to function with Rev. Fr. Jinoy Mathew as the first Director and Prof. Dr. K. Vikraman Nair holding the position of the first principal. The positions are now held by Rev. Dr. Koshy Issac Punnamoottil and Prof. Dr. John PC respectively.
The college offers three undergraduate programs in integrated BA. LLB, BBA. LLB, B.Com. LLB and a Post Graduate LL. M Degree in Constitutional Law. Over the past few years the college has made an exponential growth in its performance and results. In addition to curricular activities, the college organizes various development programs such as Public Law Lectures, Seminars and Conferences in which dignitaries of national and international eminence take part. Ever since its establishment the college has been consistent in its reputation for bagging the first of the University ranks.
Within a short span of 5 years MGCL came to the fore among other distinguished law colleges by receiving the prestigious SILF-MILAT Institutional Excellence Award, proclaiming itself the first college in Kerala & the eighth in India to receive the same. With such an eminence in its performance MGCL has now emerged as one among the most sought-after colleges not only in the state but also on the national level with aspiring lawyers from nook and corners of India competing for admission into our courses.
The Heavenly Patron of our College, Most Rev. Benedict Mar Gregorios of happy memory was an extraordinary personality who inspired, prompted and motivated thousands of people. He led an exemplary life where his prime concern was the welfare of others, especially the marginalized and downtrodden. His ecclesiastical status was never been a hindrance for him to submit for the cause of the poor. He maintained his consistency in his words and deeds and thus he became an open textbook for all those who are concerned about the wellbeing of others.
Varughese (Kunjukutty), born on 1 February 1916 as the second son of Idiculla and Annamma at Kallupara, Thiruvalla , Kerala was designed to guide and nourish the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church through his priestly ministry extending more than 50 years of which 9 years as Bethany(OIC) Priest and 41 years as Archbishop of Trivandrum Archdiocese. In 1933 he joined the Bethany Ashram and took his first religious profession on 15th August 1935 before Archbishop Mar Ivanios and took the name Benedict, which means blessed. After his studies in St. Aloysius Minor Seminary, he was sent to the Papal Seminary at Kandy (Sri Lanka) for his priestly studies in Philosophy and Theology. He made his perpetual vows on 24 August; 1941. Bishop of Kandy Most Rev. Regno ordained him priest on 24 August 1941. He served the St. Aloysius Minor Seminary as teacher of Syriac from 1944 to 1946. He joined St. Joseph’s College Tiruchirapalli and took his MA degree in Economics with first Rank from University of Madras. Then he was appointed the first Principal of Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. In 1952, he was elected Bishop. He was ordained a Bishop on 29 January 1953 and made the Archbishop of Archdiocese of Trivandrum on 27 January 1955. He received Pallium on 14 May 1959. He served as the President of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC). After serving the community in general and the Malankara Catholic Church for 41 years as Archbishop of Trivandrum, he left to heavenly abode on 10 October 1994.
A Rare Episcopal Moto
His episcopal Motto “Love is My Light” amply reveals his orientation and during his long ministry he remained as a beacon of mercy. All those who were privileged to have an encounter with him always enjoyed the rays of Divine Mercy. During his 50 years of priestly ministry he showed by his exemplary life that no one and no area was alien to him. He was a good friend of all; not only for Church members, but for outsiders, members of other religions and even to atheists as well. He was known by different names: Father of the Poor, Prophet of Love, A man of Prayer, Archbishop of All, and Guardian of Social Justice. His mercy crossed all boundaries and boarders. He stood for spreading the message of love transcending all barriers like religion, caste, language and social and economic status. He held the view that “developed countries should help developing countries not out of charity, but out of justice”.
His association with leaders and people of various religious groups was so deep and all revered him as their own man. His advice and interventions were expected and sought after in social issues. His constant focus in social, educational and economic fields of Kerala was appreciated by all irrespective of caste, creed or religion. His timely interventions paved way for bringing back normalcy during several such occasions including communal violence. One occasion is worth to be elaborated, because it demonstrates how the timely intervention of Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios prevented major catastrophe. The Poonthura (a coastal village in the Trivandrum district, Kerala) riot of 1992 lasted for days claimed five lives. Communal tension prevailed in the coastal area between Hindus and Muslims. Governmental machinery failed to control the situation. The then Chief Minister of Kerala Sri K Karunakaran requested to the Archbishop to intervene and he took the role of mediator which was happily accepted by the two warring factions. His mediation produced fruits and normalcy was brought back within few hours!
Friend of the Poor
He was a true friend of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalized. In his reply to the felicitations offered to him after his episcopal consecration he said, “Today onwards your sorrows will be my sorrows and your happiness will be my happiness. I do have a special love for the poor. I was poor. I pledge that I will dedicate my entire life for uplifting the poor. I challenge those who wet their eyes for the poor without a single drop of sweat in their hands”
The very many social welfare programmes initiated and implemented by him stands as testimony for his commitment for the cause of poor. His approach was comprehensive and for him poverty eradication programme implied empowerment of the poor. The Health for One million (HOM) programme implemented in the Archdiocese has been lauded by international rating agencies for its novelty and content which facilitated empowerment of poor, especially women.
His simplicity and his devotion for the cause of mankind made him as the most sought-after person in this part of the Country. Sri K R Narayanan, the then President of India and an intimate friend of Archbishop, in a meeting held in 1994, to felicitate Mar Gregorios on his Sacerdotal Golden Jubilee (relating to priests or priesthood), complimented him by stating that M added Mar Gregorios is a “World Citizen” and a perfect example of secularism in India. He added, Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios is a Glorious example of Secular Humanism. In 1980, when the then Prime Minister of India, Sri Rajeev Gandhi visited Kerala, he gave a list of 15 people with whom he wanted to interact. Archbishop’s name was the first in the list. In 1992, in the backdrop of demolition of Babari Masjid and resultant communal tension in the Country, a special meeting was conveyed by the then Prime Minister Sri P V Narashimha Rao. Archbishop was the only person representing Christianity. His intervention in the conference got very special attention not only within the country but also abroad. In the meeting Archbishop said, “Unemployment is the cause of communal violence and terrorism. To address the issue of violence you have to address the issue of poverty and unemployment.”
He firmly believed that social upliftment of the poor and marginalized is possible only through empowering them with appropriate education. He has established more than hundred educational institutions starting from Lower Primary schools to First Grade Colleges in different Parts of Kerala and outside Kerala. These institutions are catering to the needs of all without distinction of religion, caste, social or economic status. He was meticulous in selecting names for these institutions which amply demonstrates his secular outlook, to name a few are Sarvodaya Vidyalaya Trivandrum, Temple Entry Memorial School, Peroorkada, Trivandrum, Arya Bharathi High School, Omallor, Pathanthitta, Sri Ayyappavilasm High Scholl, Angamoozhi , Pathanthitta.
His contribution in the field of academics was not limited in the running of quality educational institutions alone. He played well his role as the Advisor to the State Planning Board Kerala, Member of Academic Council of Kerala Agricultural University, Academic Advisor of Centre for Development Studies Trivandrum and enriched these bodies with his innovative ideas on education and development. An agricultural expert, the Archbishop started model farms and experimented with various plant forms to bolster the lives of his people, most of whom live on farms.
This true apostle of love enriched mankind with his deeds and words. A true religious and humanist, with uncompromising stand on ethics and values in life, remained faithful to his call to be the Shepherd of His folk. His service to the Church and society at large will be remembered for its Divine touch of Mercy. For him Christianity was not a religion to preached but practiced. He was particular in ensuring consistency in words and deeds. His exemplary life ignited many. The ever-shining smile in his face reflected the Divine prescience which served as stimulus to many to seek his presence and to heed to his words. Though he returned to his Master for eternal bliss his tomb at Trivandrum continues to attract thousands as tomb of a saint where they could enjoy consolation and peace.
He was called to eternal rest on 10 October 1994. As a mark of respect to this great personality, incongruent to precedents, the Kerala Government accorded him a State Funeral. His mortal remains rest at St.Mary’s Cathedral Pattom, Trivandrum.