On Friday July 26, 2002 His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, consecrated the 73-year old HG Mor Dionysius Thomas as the Catholicos (Maphriyano) with the title ‘Baselius Thomas I’ at a solemn function held at St. Peter & St. Paul Cathedral in Mor Ephrem Monastery, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, near Damascus. Thus, fulfilling the wishes of a multitude of faithful, the Malankara Church received a Catholicos after a gap of six years (late Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose II passed away in 1996). In the Syriac Orthodox Church hierarchy, the Catholicos (Maphrian) is second in rank to the supreme spiritual head, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. As the head of the Syriac Church in India, the Catholicos presides over the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) Church. He is also the Metropolitan Trustee of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.
Fourteen Syriac Orthodox Metropolitans from India, Syria, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Turkey and Australia attended the enthronement ceremony as co-celebrants. Thirty five Rabans, many clergy, nuns & laity were also present on the occasion to participate in the historical ceremony. Representatives from the Governments of Syria & India attended the consecration ceremony as special guests. The consecration ceremony started with the celebration of Holy Qurbono by HH the Patriarch, followed by the enthronement ceremony (Sunthroniso), signing of ‘Susthathikon’ (Agreement) and ‘Axios’ (Rising and Declaration). The ceremonial Services ended with the completion of the Holy Qurbono by the newly consecrated HB Catholicos Baselius Thomas I (Bavathirumeni)