Church News News

144 Declared Around Thrikkunnathu Seminary


ALUVA: 144 was declared by the district collector today evening around the Thrikkunnathu Seminary at Aluva. Sreshta Catholicos Thomas I of Jacobite Church withdrew fast and left the scene just after the declaration of 144,for Puthen Cruz to preside a special synod meeting. His Holiness the Catholicos, Catholicos Elect and sabha Secretary returned to Kottayam today.

District Collector allowed the Patriarchal faction to enter into the seminary chapel

Many old Orthodox faithful from Aluva blame Yuhanon Mar Milithios for the entire episode at Thrikkunnathu Seminary.

The prohibitory orders stands on one kilometre radius of the Thrikkunnathu Seminary at Aluva from Tuesday June 28.

Conducting processions within a kilometer of the seminary has also been banned. The prohibitory order also bans public speeches, demonstrations and meetings in the area for one month.

Any unlawful assembly, gatherings and entering the seminary, church, cemetery and its compound has also been prohibited.

Diocese News News Northeast America

Southern Regional Family Conference In Texas In August


NEW YORK: Preparations are well under way for the Southern Regional Family Conference of the American Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Church. This Conference will be held at “Saint Vattasseril Dionysius Nagar” at The Lake Tomahawak Baptist Encampment, Livingston , Texas from August 4 – August 7, 2005.

Fr. T. J. Joshua (Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam) and Prof. Steve Mathews (Florida) will be the key note speakers of the Conference. Diocesan bishops, priests, and professionals hailing from different disciplines will be the leaders of this Conference.

Religious, social, economic and family issues will be included in the topics for discussions. The venue of this conference is two hours drive away from Houston area and around 3 hours drive away from Dallas area. Lake Tomahawk area abounds in natural beauty which is adjacent to the largest Indian reservation in the Southern United States.

There will be plenty of opportunities for water sports including fishing, canoeing, paddle boating, water slides, rock climbing, rope walking etc., all professionally supervised. Additionally, attendees will enjoy well lit basket ball and volley ball courts and vast areas of green fields to play. Cost of the conference is kept at a very low price to enable maximum participation. ranging from $85.00 (bunk) – $110 (suite) total cost per person, for three nights of stay, food, ground fees and every thing else. Plenty of food and refreshments will be on hand.

“Two sessions of entertainment evenings will provide an excellent opportunity for talent shows from participating parishes. A well organized Committee is working very hard for the success of the conference” said Joshua George, General Secretary for the Southern Regional Family Conference to Indian Orthodox Herald.

For Registration and further information, please contact your area church representatives or Joshua George (281) 773 7988 or (281)343 5099. Registration deadline is July 3rd , 2005.


Identify The True Spirituality


In today’s world, we slowly stumble on the fact that miraculous healing is turning out to be a very inevitable part of Christian ministry. And this idea is well propagated in most of the religious TV channels. Jesus and his disciples during their life time healed many sick people. But they never had the attitude put out by today’s so called ministry healers. Spirituality propagated through miracles is being dissected here.

Mimicking the godly behavior showed by Jesus in our daily life and making reality, the authenticity of the resurrected Jesus Christ can be attributed as the real spirituality. This spirituality is not confined to a person. This is a phenomenon that has to be exhibited in the social life through human relationship. When our relationship with God starts to exhibit in our relationship with fellow human being, a true sense of mysticism can be witnessed. In other words, spirituality is all about practically demonstrating the behavior of Jesus Christ in our daily social life. This is what should be promulgated in Christian Ministerial works. But through the miracles and all other forms of extraordinary happenings, we see only a highlighted picture of Christ meant only to look upon in the time of need. Spirituality is brought down plainly as a means of getting things done. This is like going to a distinguished medical doctor who comes to the scene when a sickness appears. When his medication works, a feeling of gratitude followed by a spreading of his virtues. Spiritualism is much more than just healing, wonders and extraordinary events.

Even in the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus took great effort to win over temptation of becoming a savior catering to the simple worldly needs of the people. The reaction of Jesus towards these temptations gives a very coherent picture of his efforts and vision of work while taking the form of a human being on Earth. He never wished to attract people by giving physical wealth (the temptation of making bread from stone St. Luke 4:3), or by creating political authority through conquering Roman Empire (temptation for giving authority St. Luke 4:6), or by performing miracles (by jumping from temple St. Luke 4:9). His decision was to submit himself for God’s wish and perform Messiah’s mission as a suffering servant. Once when Peter incited Jesus to deviate from this approach, Jesus reprimanded saying “Get away from me Satan, your thoughts don’t come from God but from Man. (St. Mark 8:33)

Jesus never promised any sort of worldly riches on Earth to his disciples. “Listen, I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves…. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No. I did not come to bring peace but a sword (St. Mathew 10:16-39). Whoever comes to me cannot be my disciple, unless he loves me more than his father and his mother…. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple (St Luke 14: 26-27). These can be considered as the core essence of following Jesus. But today, we do not see teaching that draws people to follow Jesus with its challenges.

It can be noted in the Bible that even relatives advised Jesus to make fame and acceptance through miracles. “Leave this place and go to Judea, so that your followers will see the things that you are doing. No one hides what he is doing if he wants to be well known. Since you are doing these things let the whole world knows about you”. (St. John 7:4). Jesus answered “The right time for me has not yet come” (St. John 7:6). The phrase ‘my time’ in John’s Gospel signifies crucifixion of Jesus. He wished to attract people through cross. “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me”. (St. John 12:32). He never intended to be famous by any miraculous healing. Jesus sent back healed people by warning them, “Don’t tell anybody about this”. When the reality of Christ is drawn through miracles and wonders only, we are actually defaming the Almighty God’s love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Christian leaders should actually advocate the picture of Christ who died on the cross and repent our sins.

Diocese News News Northeast America

Be A Living Example To Your Children: Metropolitan Mar Barnabas


NEW YORK: Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas encouraged young women of the American Diocese to make their lives a living example to their children and to be sincere in their own lives. His Grace urged to use Pope Shenoda of the Coptic Church as an example in their lives. Pope Shenoda has said that he never gives a speech or address and neither volunteers his advice as his motto is “let people follow what I do.” Mar Barnabas was making his presidential address at the Annual Conference of the Young Women Samajam of the American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church which took place on Saturday June 18, 2005 at St. George Orthodox Church, Staten Island. The theme of this year’s conference was “Parent’s involvement in children’s freedom.” Metropolitan added: as a parent, your aim should be to mold your children in the way of Jesus and to bring everyone closer to God. One also has the right to involve in his or her child’s life, even if it is forced involvement. His Grace also noted that while everyone is selfish or self-centered to some extent, parents should teach their children to be self-forgetting through love.

The keynote speaker for this conference Fr. M.K.Kuriakose began his speech with a quote from the introduction of the book “Freedom by Authority,” by Late H.G. Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, in which Dr. Paulose Gregorios stated that while everyone is in the quest for freedom, no one is willing to obey each other. In Genesis, we read that man is created in the image of God, thus, we must be like God in our lives as we are images of God. He pointed out that while God has the real freedom because He is the Creator of the universe, we are also given the same freedom. The difference is that we abused our freedom in the Garden of Eden, and became unlike God, but, God never misused His freedom. it also stated that the only way to give freedom is to bring the people towards Christ through the Holy Communion.

Fr. Kuriakose used the example of a typical child’s development to convey our search for freedom in our lives. When a baby is born, its initial search for freedom begins with its eyes, as it searches around wildly for familiar objects and faces, and this same baby soon starts to explore its surroundings through its sense of touch and finally begins to turn over and crawl. Soon, this baby starts to take very small steps and until, one day, he or she is walking and running and is unstoppable in its search of freedom to explore everything and anything in its sight. Achen gave another interesting example when he remarked that we wouldn’t have many of the luxuries we have today if certain people didn’t defy their critics and follow through with their own search for their freedom. In the early 1900’s, the Wright Brothers worked very hard and produced the first airplane, and today, millions of people around the world take this luxury for granted, as we all have flown in the jumbo jets of today carrying almost 600 people around the globe. Could we have enjoyed this luxury had it not been for the exploration of their limits of freedom by the Wright Brothers? We all have studied about the first man to climb Everest, or the first man on the moon, etc., but how many of us are willing to allow our children to explore their inner dreams if they convey to us that their dream is to climb the world’s tallest mountain or to fly into space?

Fr. Kuriakose also said that the most important thing is for parents to know their children well. Parents are the ones who know a child best because “one who sleeps with you knows your night fever.” Communication and an open mind are the key methods to knowing your child better. “Parents must understand their children by giving them ample freedom to enhance their personalities,” Parents must impose discipline as well for it says in Proverbs 23:13, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” Proverbs 10:13 advises parents that “a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.” Parents must surely restrict certain things and explain these restrictions to their children. Fr .Kuriakose also insisted that parents should not sound hateful in their reprimands as children do not hold grudges. A parent shouldn’t stop talking to their child, even if it is for a short time, because of something the child did. Parents must also make an effort to monitor their children and try to meet their friends whom they spend their time with outside of the home.

After the speeches, there was a group discussion session in which the attendees were split into three groups and were asked to discuss the topic further and converse about the problems or hurdles they have faced in their lives concerning the topic at hand. Everyone agreed that parents must take an extra effort to give love, affection, time, and appreciation to the children and be open-minded in their dealing with their children by understanding that the child is not living in the same country or time in which the parent lived. Parents must learn to trust their children, but, also be logical in giving freedom. Limits should be set, as punishment should be enforced when these limits are broken and these punishments are carried out. Prayer life should also be encouraged in their lives through family prayer at home.

Fr. Ninan T. Easo, Fr. Dr. C. C. Mathews, Fr. John Thomas, and Cor Episcopos Paulose Adai also attended the Conference. The meeting was well attended by many young women from the tri-state area. Following registration and breakfast, the Conference began with a prayer song by Dr. Bindhu K. Lalu and Bible Reading by Sherin Mariam Joy. Fr. Philip C. Abraham, the vicar of the host parish, gave a condolence speech in memory of Mr. K.K. Abraham the twin-brother of H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas. A moment of silence was observed in his memory and in remembrance of Miss Soby Mathew of Chicago. The Business Meeting was conducted by Very Rev. Fr. Paulose Adai Cor Episcopa, the Vice President of the Martha Mariam Samajam. Felicitations were given by Fr. Dr. C. C. Mathews, Fr. John Thomas, and Liziamma Kuruvilla. A bible quiz, organized by Tilly Varughese, was conducted and three winners were awarded trophies at the end of the Conference. There was also a raffle drawing in which four lucky attendees were selected to receive prizes. A 50/50 raffle was also conducted to help the unprivileged women of Kerala, by using the money from donations from the attendees towards the purchase of sewing machines. The Conference was blessed with the melodious songs sung by the choir of the host parish.

The welcome speech was given by Mrs. Shyny Raju, the coordinator of the Young Women Samajam at St. George, Staten Island, and the vote of thanks was given by Mrs. Soffy Wilson, the Diocesan coordinator of the Annual Conference of the Young Women Samajam.

Church News News

Holy Episcopal Synod Began This Monday


KOTTAYAM: Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Orthodox Church began at Old Seminary Sophia Center, Kottayam on Monday. June 20 at 10am. The Holy Synod started its sessions with a retreat led by Fr. Dr. K. M. George, the Principal of Orthodox Theological Seminary. The sessions of the Holy Synod will conclude on 24 Friday. Managing committee of the Church, will meet on Thursday June 23 to make proposals to the Holy synod to be considered in its concluding session.

Issues on Faith, Order and Discipline come under the purview of the Holy Synod, which is considered to be the extension of the Synods of the apostolic college. The Catholicos who is the spiritual leader of the Church is the president of the Holy Synod. The temporal authority is with the Metropolitan of the Malankara, who is also the President of the ‘Malankara Association, ‘ the Parliament of the Church. After the demise of Dionysius of Vattasseril, the offices of the Metropolitan of Malankara and the Catholicos were brought together into one person to for more cohesiveness between the temporal and spiritual aspects of those positions. The present Catholicos Mar Thoma Baselius Mathews II holds both these offices.

Many issues are on the desk of the Holy Synod to consider in this session. On Monday afternoon the Holy Synod deliberated on appointing the recently ordained metropolitans various dioceses. This discussion was conducted in the absence of these bishops. The decision will be forwarded to the Managing Committee for their information. The suggestions of the Managing committee will be discussed once again in the Holy synod and finalized. After these meetings, the Catholicos will announce the decisions and to implement them.

It was reported that Mar Osthathios of Niranam and Mar Philoxenos of Delhi raised some doubts on the functions of the Managing Committee particularly on deciding certain issues, by submitting letters to the Catholicos, the president of the Synod. These letters may become topics of discussion in this session of the Holy Synod, according to an observer at the Holy Synod. The Holy synod is meeting the first time after the defection of Bishop Abraham Severios to the Jacobite Church.

The stand of the Church on issues regarding Kadamattom, Kolenchery and Aluva Churches will also be topic for discussion in these sessions.

Metropolitan Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios of Canada-Europe and Asst Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos of America are currently attending the Holy Synod. Thomas Mar Athanasios of Chengannur is the secretary of the Holy Synod. The faithful of the Church are eagerly looking forward to a mandate issued by the Catholicos on these decisions.

Church News News

Kolencherry Church Re-opening Issue: Church Needs Court Order To Implement


KOLENCHERRY: The Kandanadu Diocesan leadership of Malankara Orthodox Church informed that implementation of the court order would be the most feasible way to have regular services in Kolencherry Church, which is currently locked. So far all court judgments against the cases of Kolencherry Church were in favor of Malankara Orthodox Church. In a joint statement issued by Fr. Abraham Vaalayil, Fr. John Thenumkal, Fr. Kuriakose Chelattu, who are also the members of Kolencherry Parish explains that the lack of co operation from the Patriarch faction and irresponsible approach and opportunism of certain members of our own faction have delayed the re-opening of the locked Church.

Bishops of the Orthodox Church fasted a day at Kolencherry, with the demand to get the implementation of the court judgments. The proposals of the sub committee of the council of ministers for the settlement of issues were spoiled due to the false approach of the Patriarch faction. The priests who released the note explained that few of our lay leaders (of Laity Forum) were instrumental in joining hands with the Jacobite Church in undermining the treaty made when the Church administration was taken back from the Government Receiver as well as the proposals of the Council of Ministers’ sub committee. When Fr. Zachariah Echikkottil, vicar from the Jacobite faction revolted against Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, the Diocesan Metropolitan, there started tensions and it resulted in the closure of the Church.

The statement of the Orthodox Priests, suggest the following:

1) The decisions of the Malankara Association held at Parumala in 2002, must be implemented in the Parish.

2) There is a case regarding the above topic in the court and it is heard from reliable sources that the case would be considered by the Court in the near future.

3) His Holiness the Catholicos, Head of Indian Orthodox Church has given clear intimation personally to the Diocesan Metropolitan and the Vicar of the Parish that the issue of the Parish is to be taken for discussion only after the court judgment of the abovementioned case.

4) All attempts to settle the existing problems other than the established means and ways would reach us in further deep pits. It will create an atmosphere of riots in Kolencherry.

5) There is no right for the people who accepted a Constitution of their own in the Kolencherry Church, where the constitution of 1934 of Malankara Orthodox Church, is in prevalence. If a right is granted to such, will the policy not applicable to the ones who embraced Pentecostal Churches or rite (Reeth) factions?

6) The decisions of the Church are liable for all members of the Church alike. No one, who ignores and work against the instructions and decisions of the Church and Church Fathers, whoever it might be, are not entitled to represent the Church or Parish in any of the Forums.

7) The decisions of the opportunists, other than the Church Leadership wont be binding to Kolencherry Church. The Parishioners as a whole are getting ready to resist all such steps from any side, at any cost They have decided to oppose such moves with all force.

8) It is doubted that a few members of Orthodox Laity, who are trying to co-operate with the Patriarch faction, are doing so with the feeling and fear to summon all records and the wealth of the Church they enjoy at the moment illegally, back to the Indian Orthodox Church as and when the court cases are completely over soon.

There is no doubt for the fact that the Kolencherry Church is to be governed as a part and parcel of Malankara Orthodox Church according to the judgment of the Supreme Court of India and in the guide lines of the Constitution (1934 )of the Church. This means the Church (Parish) administration must be by a Vicar and assistant Vicars, and the managing committee elected as per the 1934 Constitution, appointed by the Diocesan Metropolitan, who is under the Malankara Metropolitan, who is re-confirmed in the Malankara Association held at Parumala on 20th March 2002. Only such an arrangement could be enforced in Kolencherry Church. All other arrangements would be illegal , null and void. That is why we are not favoring any other substitute arrangement.

Church News News

Managing Committee Should Work In Tandem : Mar Philoxenos


DELHI: As we all know the Managing committee Meetings are not what they used to be. As an institution it was the mainstay of the Church, has supported the Malankara Metropolitans in times of crisis and defended the Church against the alien onslaughts. Now this institution has been reduced to a group of people whose interests, it seems, are anything other than that of the Church. The meetings have become very uncontrollable. The members of the Managing Committee think that they are the law-makers and people simp believe them. This makes them to shout at the top of their voice in the meetings as our representatives in Assemblies/ Parliaments do and people to come with placards and bills, as people would do before Assemblies/ Parliaments. I think the people need to be informed about the reality.

(1) This unusual phenomenon is perhaps the after-effect of the verdict of the Supreme Court which has been wrongly interpreted by some of the people. In the context of that Judgment, the Supreme Court wanted the new Managing Committee elected by the Malankara Association with Justice Malimath as the observer to approve the allotment of Dioceses to the Metropolitans. This allotting of the Dioceses was only for that occasion. The usual practice is that the Malankara Metropolitan, the Episcopal Synod and the Managing Committee work in tandem in allotting the Dioceses to Metropolitans. This was a very extra ordinary situation where the Court had asked to convene the Malankara Syrian Christian Association under an observer to elect the Malankara Metropolitan and the members of the Managing Committee. The Court then asked the new Managing Committee to allot the Dioceses to Metropolitans who owed allegiance to the Catholicos. It should be mentioned here that this was another extra ordinary occasion when the Episcopal Synod was practically not functioning. Though, there were Metropolitans, they were to be accepted by the Malankara Metropolitan and the Managing Committee first and the Malankara Metropolitan and the Managing Committee were to then allot their Dioceses. This is another extra ordinary situation when the trio i.e., the Malankara Metropolitan, the Episcopal Synod and the Managing Committee were not in a position to work in tandem. So, it can be said that this was the rarest of rare situations. Once, the allotment of Dioceses was over and the Episcopal Synod has come to officiate as a responsible body, once again the status quanta ought to be maintained, each playing the respective role assigned to them by the Constitution. It cannot be perceived that the Supreme Court will assign this role exclusively to the Managing Committee for all times and for all purposes. As mentioned above, it goes without saying that the Supreme Court gave that specific direction in that particular context.

(2) The Supreme Court has approved the 1934 Constitution except for an amendment to clauses 46 and 71(dealing with the Parish Churches and Parish Assembles) which have absolutely no mention about the powers of the Managing Committee, either by way of widening or diminishing its powers. Hence, the rest of the provisions of the Constitution remain intact which implies that the Managing Committee is not vested with more powers than what is envisaged by the Constitution.

(3) It needs to be reiterated that the ultimate authority is the Malankara Metropolitan and all decisions pertaining to both temporal as well as spiritual matters vest with him in accordance with clause 94 of the Constitution. The Managing Committee in itself is not competent to take decisions independently.

Church News News

Tension Around Thrikkunnathu Seminary Premise


ALUVA: The attempt of the Catholicos-Elect Thomas Mar Thimothios to establish the headquarters of Diocese of Angamaly East at the Thrikkunnathu Seminary created un precedent tension here on Friday, according media reports. Now Catholicos-Elect Mar Thimothios is in charge of Angamaly East following the resignation of Bishop Severios, who had been its bishop.

Without fully understanding the situation, the Catholicos-Elect reached Thrikkunnathu seminary to establish an office at Thrikkunnathu seminary for Angamaly East and eventually to give this place to a Metropolitan who is set to be the successor to bishop Severios. Foreseeing the danger of giving Thrikkunnathu Seminary under the custody of a Metropolitan who had come from the Patriarchal faction, Chor-Episcopos Jacob Mannaraprayil, vicar at Thukkunnah Seminary and the Orthodox faithful attached to it resisted the move, which created an unhealthy tension.

“The church leaders do not understand the trap arranged behind this move. The people who are against the vicar and Manager of Thrikkunnathu seminary Jacob Mannaraprayil Chor-Episcopos are not trustworthy. They have a hidden agenda to grab this Seminary for the dissident faction.” one of the observers told Indian Orthodox Herald.

Mannaraprayil reportedly called for the police to protect himself and the property of the seminary. Police Superintendent M. Wahab visited the seminary premises to check the law and order on campus

A strong police contingent, including officers of Aluva Sub-Division led by DySP E.T.Mathew, has camped around the seminary in order to protect the Seminary and its properties. This was necessary because of a threat that the seminary would be taken over by the gangs of a metropolitan, violating a court order.

“This was not a procedure against the leaders of the Malankara Church; this is to save the seminary from from going into the hands of the enemies” said Mannaraprayil

(Indian Orthodox Herald wonder why the office of the diocese of the Angamaly East should be at Thrikkunnathu Seminary? Can’t they not find and adequate place some where within territories of that diocese)

Further, he reportedly told the police that no Kalpana from Devalokam could be enforced in the seminary, in the absence of its Metropolitan Paulos Mar Pachomios, who is undergoing treatment at Karthikappilly following a car accident.