Late Rev. Fr. Roque Zephrin Noronha, Brahmavar



Late Rev. Fr. Roque Zephrin Noronha, Brahmavar

(20/10/1850 - 23/07/1936)

"Every calling is great, when greatly pursued it", says Oliver Mendel.

The divine call was gifted to our dearest Fr. Roque Zephrin Noronha by means of His Grace Alvaris Mar Julius. Fr. Noronha, with a lot of devotion chose the path of the Lord, as his journey of life, as said rightly by Holmes.

Rev. Fr. R.Z. Noronha belongs to the "Shenvi" family (obtained from the word "Shanbhog" or "Shenoy", meaning a writer, a teacher or a scholar), a native of Cortalim, located on the left bank of Zuvari River. At present it is in "Mormugao" taluka in Goa. Fr. Roque Zephrin Noronha was born on 20th Oct. 1850, at Angediva. He is the youngest son of Custodio Santa Anna de Noronha and Feleciana Dionisia Assumpcao da Silva.

Rev. Fr. Noronha is the one who preached 'Orthodox Faith' to the coastal belt in undivided South Kanara viz. Brahmavar, Sasthan, Kolalgiri, Kandlur, Barkur, Neelavar and so on and laid a strong foundation of faith.

Fr. Noronha was impressed by the lifestyle and teachings of lamented Metropolitan His Grace Alvaris Mar Julius. As the consecration of Bishop was invoked as Mar Julius, the responsibility of St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral was handed over to Fr. Noronha. He started to follow the footsteps of his role model in high spirits and accepted the 'Orthodox Faith'. This was because he learnt that St. Thomas had established the 'Orthodox Community' 2000 years ago in Kerala, South India.

The belief in Fr. Noronha still didn't die out in the hearts of today's people because he is a person who is 'Saint in the Making'. Even after 74 years of his death, his memory has taken deep roots in the hearts of the masses especially the elderly people of Brahmavar and Brahmavarians. There are lots of reasons behind this. The first and foremost is that Fr. Noronha used to give medications. His medication was free of cost and never depended on one's caste. He always lent a helping hand to the people. Though he never did any doctoring, he utilized his teachings from Goa to aid the poor and needy, which led to miracles. This made him popular and far famed. His spirituality was beyond comparison. He has already occupied a 'Saint's' place in the minds of the people, all because of his prayers and medications.

He was a good educationist, who believed in giving good education to the poor and needy. So he founded the Cosmopolitan Higher Primary School in the year 1916. The name of the school itself reveals the personality of Fr. Noronha. Cosmopolitan meant to treat everyone equally.  (The dictionary defines 'Cosmopolitan' as diverse, multiethnic or multicultural.)

Through his writings, he challenged his opponents, the 'Colonial Christian Faith', who had challenged his mighty faith. He built the foremost Brahmavar Church with his own hands. Besides this, he went far in the service of the ones in deep waters.

Right from the time he settled at Brahmavar, this place turned into a holy and historical pilgrimage centre. Along with this, the people of St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar became more devotional to their patron 'Mother of Miracles, St. Mary.'

Let the intercession of Fr. Noronha pour out showers of blessings, good health, peace of mind, prosperity and progress to the people, one who takes shelter under his wings.

St. Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar, Karnataka