Bishop Jonas Thaliyath was one of the greatest men whom I adored as I grew up. He was a rebel in the Catholic Church. He wanted to serve the poor of India. He brought by air good varieties of sheep from Europe and gave it to the poor of Gujarat where he was the Bishop in Rajkot province. As a result the poor could shear the sheep and sell the wool and increase their income which saved them from dying of poverty.
I had the good fortune to know him intimately when I went to Gujarat at the invitation of the Bishop whose father was the first Christian who became the Chief Justice in Kerala. Bishop Jonas Thaliyath believed in “Indianisation” of the Christian Church. He thought that Yoga and Dhyana could be adopted by Christian Fathers. He wanted large number of service-minded women to join the convent and serve the poor. During the great famine in the 1970s he brought and distributed woollen clothes freely to the poor in Rajkot Diocese. He established St. John’s College of Bangalore which is now a great institution training doctors and requiring them to serve an initial period the poor before taking the Doctor’s degree. Bishop Jonas Thaliyath’s family consisted of really good looking and beautiful people. The Indian Church was in great grief when he passed away in his 70th year.
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