He holds two master’s degrees in Church History, one from the United Theological College, Bangalore (M.Th. of Serampore, 1966), and the other from the Union Theological Seminary, New York (S.T.M. degree in 1967). He was a candidate for Doctor of Theology (Th. D.) degree at Princeton Theological Seminary, USA. When he was made bishop and eight days later as Metropolitan at Baghdad, Iraq in September 1968. In 1976 he earned his D.Th. degree from Serampore University near Calcutta.
He was an active participant and supporter in most of the conferences and symposia held at SEERI (St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute) Kottayam. He has encouraged scholars abroad to co-operate with SEERI. He sent two students from his church to study at SEERI for M.A. Degree courses and several others to do the certificate course. He has helped to project the ecumenical vision of the SEERI.
Mar Aprem has a collection of the rare Syriac Manuscripts in the Eastern Syriac. He took active part in encouraging ecumenical attempts for the preservation of these manuscripts in co-operation with SEERI. In 1995, Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam recognized SEERI as the Centre for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Syriac language and Literature.
Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan(locum tenens) registered for Ph.D. After 5 years of extensive research traveling and reading in Lambeth Palace Library, London, British Library, London, Oriental Institute, Rome, and the Harvard University, USA he submitted his Ph.D. dissertation in October 2000. In May 2002 he successfully defended his thesis. In October 2002 the Syndicate of the M. G. University decided to award Ph.D. degree to Mar Aprem.
Mar Aprem was given the Medal of Merit of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Centre, Venice for his cultural and ecumenical experience. He was the recipient of the Literary Award of the Rotary Club of Thrissur in 1990.
The first prize in the writing competition of the New Delhi based publishing House ISPCK went to him. They published that essay under the title Adoption Abroad (ISBN-81-7214-010-x) in 1991. He received World Wide Award of Thrissur as well as the William Carey Award of the Kraisthava Sahithya Academy. He was awarded the Mary Paul Chammanam Award by the Trichur Ecumenical Group for the best Ecumenical worker on 22nd December 2002.
He delivered the 10th Annual Chaplaincy lecture in the Loughborough University of Technology in England in May 1994. The University published his lecture. He has lectured and preached in many places all over the world. He is at home in small groups of scholars or ordinary people as well as in large gatherings.
Ordained a deacon on June 25, 1961 he became a priest on the day he completed twenty-five years of age on 13 June 1965. He was consecrated Bishop on September 21, 1968 by Mar Thoma Darmo at Mar Zaia Cathedral in Karradat Mariam in Baghdad and promoted as a Metropolitan eight days later in the same Cathedral.
Dr.Mar Aprem Metropolitan(locum tenens) of the Chaldean Syrian Church of The East in India with headquarters in Thrissur was awarded the “MEN OF ACHIEVEMENT”, Award of the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England in 1984. This award is given to selected men and women all over the world for their distinguished achievements.
Mar Aprem has written 68 books mostly in English and a few in Malayalam such as biographies, autobiography, travelogue, church history, etc. His books Bishop’s Jokes and Laugh with the Bishop have already attracted world attention. He wrote four more books in the humor series. Laugh to Health, Holy Humor, Joy to the World and Holy Smile. His seventh book of humor Not So Funny was released in 2004. ORBIS books in New York reprinted his book “Nestorian Missions”.
His first two humor books were translated into Russian language and released in Moscow in 1992. Some of his jokes were translated into Malayalam and published by Deepika Books, Kottayam under the caption Vishudha Phalithangal. This book is out of print for many years. Doma Publications, Ernakulam brought out another book in 2002 captioned Aprem Phalithangal.
His biography of Mar Abimalek Timotheus Metropolitan was translated in to the Assyrian language and published in Chicago. His books, Council of Ephesus of 431 AD and the Nestorian Fathers were translated into Arabic language and published in Iraq and Chicago. His books Sermons From the Gospels Vol.1 and Vol. 2 were translated into Assyrian and published in Canada. His biographies of his two predecessors, Mar Abimalek Timotheus and Mar Thoma Darmo were published in Thrissur in Malayalam translations.
The biography of Catholicos Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV written by him in 1994 was sold out within a few months, His second Doctorate thesis History of the Assyrian Church in the 20th century was published in 2003 and a Malayalam translation due in 2009.
The biographical details of Mar Aprem have been given in the Men of Achievement, Vol. 10, Cambridge, England in 1984. His biography appears in the International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Vol. 6 Cambridge, 1985. The International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, First Edition, USA, 1986 also gives the biographical details of the Metropolitan. Similar details are found also in Reference Asia Vol. 2 in 1986 and Vol. 4 in 1989. Biography International, Delhi, 1993 also has details about him. The Akhila Vinjyana Kosham, DC Books, Kottayam, 1989 and many reference books in Malayalam and English languages have published details about him
He is also a writer of devotional songs broadcast over All India Radio. His song Behold the Cross of Calvary was published in 50 Indian and 50 foreign translations. His album of 16 songs composed by Mar Aprem was released in 2007 under the title Alaha (God), Mar Aprem who has spoken in various platforms throughout India and abroad is a linguist.
He founded The Mar Thimotheus Birth Centenary Technical Training Centre in Trichur in 1980, which imparts free training in printing technology to students without any discrimination of caste or creed. This is funded from the World Council of Churches, Geneva through CASA, Delhi.
In June 1990 Dr. Mar Aprem read a paper in the one-man-symposium organized by the Pro Oriente, Vienna. The title of his paper was “Was Nestorius a Nestorian?” This was the first step to form a Syriac commission by the Pro Oriente, Vienna. He has been active in Pro Oriente since the Syriac Commission was formed in 1994. He has participated actively in its deliberations.
He is the co-Chairman of the ten-member Joint committee for Theological Dialogue between Vatican and the Assyrian Church, which meets once a year. This committee has made significant studies on the Liturgy of Mar Addai and Mar Mari as well as the Sacraments of the Assyrian Church of the East.
Since 1968 he is the head of the Church of the East in India with his headquarters in Thrissur. He was the President of the Church History Association of India during 1976 – 1982. He is a member of the National Board of CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) since its founding in 1976 in New Delhi. He is active in several religious and social organizations, all over India.
Church Of the East,
High Road Thrissur - 680 001 Kerala, India
Phone: +91 487 2442166
Mob: +91 9446621511