Malankara Association 2002: Speech by the Catholicos

(This Presidential speach was delivered by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews II , the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church at the Malankara Association Meeting Held At Parumala on March 20, 2002.It was delivered just before the election.In this election His Holiness was reconfirmed and declared as Malankara Metropolitan by Justice Sri. V. S. Mulimud)

Your Grace The Catholicos Designate Thomas Mar Thimothios Thirumeni, our brethren Bishops, Your Lordship Justice Sri .V. S.Mulimud, beloved Clergy and Lay Trustee, dear and beloved representatives from parishes and children of the Holy Malankara Sabha and friends from various press and Channels.

We give thanks and express our deep gratitude to the Almighty God who was merciful enough in planting a church in India and allowing having a global growth to it. Forgetting our old age difficulties and with greatest pleasure of mind I am hereby standing in your presence. I was longing with prayers to get this opportunity. We have faced various trials to protect the individuality and liberty of our beloved Church. In spite of all these happenings, the Spirit of Lord pervaded and was working in the Church. This critical day has provided to us better guidance and blessings by the Grace of God. The Hon. Supreme Court of India has given us a former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court to conduct this Association. In Sri. V. S. Mulimud, we see a man who is just truthful and loyal to law and impartial in his observations of the performance of the Association. We give thanks to him and the various Governments ., States and Central who rendered great and valuable helps in the past ordeal times. We also express our deep gratitude towards our brethren Bishops, Cor-Episcopos, Rambans, Priests, Monks, Nuns and all the faithful ones to the Holy Malankara Church.

We understand that it is a divine providence to conduct another such Association in this Holy place where our Holy declared Saint Mar Gregorios takes his eternal rest. May his intercession and care keep us and this Association. We are here now remembering all those holy fore- fathers of the Church

Also we are grateful to our Brethren Bishops Mar Abraham Severios, Thomas Mar Athanasios, Yuhanon Mar Milithiose, Zacharias Mar Nichalovos who have strong steps towards the unity of the Church depending the verdict of the Supreme Court of India. There are representatives from the Churches in India and abroad. We have here representatives from the churches at Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Arabian Gulf Countries, America, Europe, Canada and Africa. You have all assembled here out of respect towards me and the Catholicate. Submitting you all in the merciful hand of our God, we and our Brethren Bishops express our thanks to you all. You are representing a growing and flourishing Holy Church. During the first Association, only 100 churches from all around Kerala represented and at this Association is representing 1244 churches all around the world. Now Malankara Church got the full growth as a Universal Church.

Certain prior Associations are to be particularly dealt with. The first Association convened in 1876 at Mulanthuruthy. The Kottayam Association in 1934, passed the Constitution of the Church. According to the decision of that Association, the post of Catholicos and post of Malankara Metropolitan conferred to one person. 1958 verdict of the Supreme Court of India, united the two parties and in the Association at Puthencavu elected Lay Trustee and Clergy Trustee. This Association is an epoch making event in the history of the Church and it is convened as per direction of the Supreme Court of India. Regarding the Constitution of 1934, Abdul Messiah, the Holy Patriarch of Antioch has opinioned in his letter (A-14) to establish Catholicate in India to protect the sanctity and purity of the Church and to strengthen the relationship of the Church with the Antiochene Church. That was why he himself arrived in India and re-instated the Catholicate here. He ordained the Catholicos and in his commendation he has written “Your Catholicos and the Bishops will look after the sheep here and when a Catholicos expires all the other Bishops in the Synod will ordain another Catholicos here.” Depending on this letter we have formulated our Constitution in 1934. The Supreme Court of India has given more importance in this Commendation and has accepted it as a most important document. “The constitution will bind both parties metropolises and members of the Church” Says the Supreme Court. We stand by these Constitutional laws and only want all to be under this Constitution. We like to govern the parish churches as the Constitution says and do not like to capture the parish wealth. Order and discipline are indispensable to the growth of any institution. This Association is the most elaborate parliament in the world. Hence it’s responsibilities are also great. Our Church is an Episcopal Church. We have a beautiful constitution that Episcopacy and Democracy coincided. You are selecting today 37 priests and 74 laymen to the Association of the Church. We know that you are electing responsible persons to this Association.

Like all other Eastern Churches, Malankara Church also is Apostolic and ancient. We have a very important place among other ancient Churches of the world. Our Theologians have taken risks to formulate its true history and to attain great reputation. The Church will ever remember them. Only this Church, among all other Oriental Churches, is fully national and has complete liberty. We are indebted to our democratic systems and democracy of India for this.

Now we are getting free from Cases. Now it is the time for us for a spiritual revival. We have to receive this challenge. Liturgical worship that provides a spiritual mind and the presence of the Divinity, is highly essential. Our existence is only on those who give response to God’s voice and on those who denounce material benefits when doing service to the Church. The future of the Church is depended on such laity, and clergy. The Synod has formulated a document for the welfare of the Church for 10 years. We are happy that we keep better Christians fellowship with all other Churches in the world. We never misuse opportunities that strengthen Christian fellowships. You all know that we and our Brethren Bishops have taken greater interests in limiting two parties after the Court verdict of 1955. We also look for the unity of these two parties at the earliest. The aim of the Supreme Court is also the same.

We thank God that always our aim and attempt was to save the church from all cases and calamities. Now in this Association which is convened as per the direction of the Supreme Court, the party ship are going to end. This is a step to achieve reconciliation and unity among both. No more stagnation. No more looking back. Never we will follow the dark paths of the Court Cases and struggles. Let us go foreword to the future directed by the Holy Spirit of God. The door of the Church will be ever opened for peace and light from above. We will never avoid or reject anybody. We consider all in the love and care of God Almighty and invite all for a spiritual pilgrimage. Here let it start as a beginning. Request to have your prayers and cooperation always for me in this pilgrimage.

Let God Almighty bless our Church and us abundantly.

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