Alumni News

Priest Basil Paul takes monastic vows in India

Hieromonk Basil Paul

Saint Vladimir’s Seminary graduate Priest Basil Paul has entered the angelic life of monasticism after being tonsured in his native Kerala, India on July 14, 2021.

Following his graduation with a Master of Arts degree in May 2021, Hieromonk (Aboun Dayroyo) Basil was ordained to the Holy Diaconate and Holy Priesthood in the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church in the weeks leading up to his monastic tonsure. His Eminence, Mor Aphrem Mathews presided over Fr. Basil’s ordinations and the monastic tonsure which took place at St. Mary’s Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, Kuruppampadi, Kerala, India.

Hieromonk Basil Paul carries wooden cross

Father Basil wrote beautifully of the mystery of his monastic tonsureat the conclusion of which, in the Syriac tradition, a new monk is given a large wooden cross to carry upon his shoulder.

Today was my betrothal, betrothal to the Cross. This is attested by the second stanza of the Quqoyo [a kind of metrical hymn] sung during the Service of Incense: "This soul which has been betrothed to your crucifixion, give her to perform good works and become worthy of your bridal chamber." The cross that I carry wasn't imposed on me by any—rather it was my sole choice, as this is what I recited thrice before handing over the scissors to my bishop, His Eminence Mor Aphrem Mathews, to tonsure me: "I wish to draw near to God. Your name is good to me, Lord, my trust, so that I may recount all your wonders (Ps. 73:28)."

Stripping myself of the worldly clothes and adorning the monastic habit, I go ahead inscribing the admonition of my bishop in my heart: "My son, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptations. Do not be hasty at the time when temptations come. Cling to the Lord and do not depart from him, that you may finally become great (Sir. 2:1-3)."

Hieromonk Basil—or Basil Rambachen, as he will now be commonly called—holds two other degrees he obtained in India prior to his studies in the U.S. at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, a Bachelor of Engineering from Nagpur University and a Bachelor of Divinity from United Theological College, Bangalore. He also served as an intern for the National Council of Churches in India’s Youth Department.

May God grant Hieromonk Basil many years!