Sculpture Celebrates Life of Bishop Makarios
The memory and spiritual ideals of the late Bishop Thomas Mar Makarios remain alive in a figurative sculpture that was unveiled and dedicated May 16 at Alma College, the American institution he faithfully served for 25 years.
“Makarios means blessed, and today is a blessed day as we celebrate the life of Bishop Thomas Makarios,” said Father Lazarus, church priest and the Bishop’s brother as he welcomed a crowd of approximately 150 people to the dedication ceremony, many of whom drove long distances to view the sculpture and share memories of their former family member, spiritual leader, teacher, colleague and friend.
The Bishop was a prelate of the Malankara Orthodox Church of India. He was founder of the American Diocese and the first Metropolitan Bishop of Canada, UK and Europe, and South Africa.
He began teaching at Alma College in 1983, launching a 25-year association as professor of religious studies, committed to introducing students to differences between Eastern and Western modes of religious thinking.
President Saundra Tracy
“Alma College provided a nest for him as he worked tirelessly to build a foundation for his church in the Western world,” said Father Lazarus. “Every day he reached into the hearts and souls of millions of people from Alma College. He taught us to love and respect others, regardless of race and gender.
“He had a passion to teach, and he left an impression on his students,” he said. “He was a father figure to them and enjoyed the time he spent with them. He loved Alma College dearly and was a goodwill ambassador for Alma College.”
The Orthodox Memorial Prayer
The ceremony included an orthodox memorial prayer led by Father Lazarus and comments by Michigan artist Mark Chatterley, who was commissioned to create the sculpture following the Bishop’s death in February 2008.
The 13-foot high clay sculpture cast in bronze depicts a central figure with wings standing, arms raised and palms together in a prayerful gesture. The wings, at close inspection, are made up of figures that get progressively smaller. The sculpture is located at the center of the Alma College campus along a sidewalk amidst a grove of evergreen trees.
Church leaders, friends and colleagues
“This beautiful work of art provides a fitting and enduring reminder of the Bishop’s legacy at Alma College, in his beloved church, and in the world religious community,” said Alma College President Saundra Tracy.
The ceremony also included comments that were read from a letter sent by Dr. Madhavan Anirudhan, a representative of the Kerala, India, community in the United States. Bishop Makarios helped develop the Alma India Program, which has a relationship with the Mathen Mappilai Memorial Public School in the village of Ayroor in the state of Kerala. Many Alma students have performed volunteer work at the school over the years.
Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus Ronald Massanari
Posted: Mon, May 18th, 2009 at 12:58PM