Diocese News News Northeast America

Colorful Talent Show Ended In Yonkers


NEW YORK: The annual Talent Show of the North Eastern Region of the American Diocesan Sunday Schools was conducted on Saturday, November 12, 2005. This colorful event took place at the Saunders High School in Yonkers, New York.

The Diocesan Metropolitan His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas inaugurated the event. The performances of students from about 23 parishes have captured the minds and eyes of the audience. Young angels dancing like butterflies, aspiring stars singing like they are trying to penetrate into the hearts of the listeners, a skit that brings the history of our church closer to our hearts, all these created a heavenly atmosphere there. Regional talent competitions that involved all the first and second place winners from the area level competitions were conducted at the school prior to the beginning of talent show. The winners of those competitions were awarded with trophies and certificates at the end of the talent show. The rolling trophy for the Sunday school that has scored most points in different competitions was awarded to St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Jackson Heights, New York.

Diocesan Sunday School Director Fr. Dr. Raju Varghese led the competitions and talent show programs. Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas presented a plaque to Chacko Koikkaleth in recognition to his services as the talent show coordinator for seven years. Thomas Mathai of St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church will be the coordinator for next year.

Mini Oommen welcomed the gathering. Leelamma Thomas delivered the vote of thanks.

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Bible Convention In Auckland St. Dionysius On Nov 16 To 19


AUCKLAND: St. Dionysius Indian Orthodox Church, New Zealand will be conducting its first Bible Convention in Auckland from 16th to 19th November’05 at the St.Alban’s Church, 443 Dominion Road, Balmoral.

The convention will start with the evening prayers at 6.30pm followed with sermon. Madras Diocesan Metropolitan Dr. Yakob Mar Ireanios will proclaim the Word on 16, 17 & 19. On 18th Fr. M.K. Kurien (Diocesan Secretary) will be the main speaker.


Oriental Orthodox Youth Retreat In Atlanta


ATLANTA: The Oriental Orthodox Churches of Atlanta (OOCA), organized its annual youth retreat at Simpsonwood Conference Center. Over 85 youngsters from the high school and collegiate level attended the retreat from the Coptic, Indian, Syrian, Eritrean, Armenian, and Ethiopian Churches. The whole-day retreat was based on the theme, Unity in Christ, taken from 1 Corinthians 10:17.

Rev. Fr. Asmerom (Eritrean Orthodox Church) presented the first lesson on unity with God. The second lesson was prepared by Rev. Dr. Mathew Koshy (Indian Orthodox Church) on unity with each other, which focused on the transformational aspects of the self within a growing community. Events included bonding activities for the youngsters, prayers from the various Orthodox rites, lessons from the clergy of the OOCA, a panel discussion, and sporting events. Clergy, parents, and youth participated in the team-building activities and a basketball tournament.

The retreat proved to be great success for all of metro-Atlanta.” it served as a reminder for unity among Orthodox brothers and sisters, and also emphasized the importance and applicability of clergy, parents, and youth working together in today’s diverse society” percipients commended.

Mr. Michael Nawar (Youth Coordinator) was able to conduct this event under the guidance of clergy from the OOCA along with assistance from youth representatives of Atlanta’s local parishes, including Manoj Mathew, Jacob David, and Solomon Ghebre.


Glorify the Lord: The Church of Malankara Has A New Shepherd


Indian Orthodox Herald welcomes the new dawn of the Church as she enters a new epoch in her history with the enthronement of her new Supreme Head, His Holiness Mor Thoma Baselios Didymos I. At this juncture of the church, when she faces insurmountable impediments to establish her own canonical identity and autocephaly the entire church looks up to the new archpastor with confidence and wonder. We wish the new Catholicos health, long life and God’s providence to lead our Apostolic Church with fortitude, prudence and divine wisdom.

His Holiness started his service to the Church as a monk when he was a teenager. He was called to the monastic life by the late Metropolitan Mar Dionysius of Niranam. He went through a rigorous monastic life that tuned up his body through hard work and his mind through intense discipline and his spirit through spiritual exercise. This writer believes Mor Baselios Didymos I is an exemplification of eastern monastic life. Our tradition of selecting bishops from the monastic ranks has a long history. Unfortunately due to discontinued monastic communities, we could not always select our bishops from thorough-bred ascetics. Mor Didymos is an exemption to our recently fabricated monasticism as a preparation to receive the episcopate. He has been deeply rooted in his monastic practices and exercises long before he became a priest and a bishop. This writer has observed his monastic career as a priest and bishop. He has witnessed many late nights during which our new Shepherd kept vigil in the chapel of Mount Tabor Monastery. Yes, indeed the church of Malankara is blessed to be shepherded by a monk of prayer.

Mor Didymos is not just a monk, who is enamored of some primitive practices of monasticism. He is endowed with erudition which he derived from his long career as a student of theology, mathematics and English literature. Prior to his consecration to the episcopate he had been a professional educator holding various positions in the academia. He was a mathematics instructor for many years, and was a high school headmaster for more than a decade. After receiving his post graduate degree in English literature he held his lecturership in English literature when St. Stephen’s college of Pathanapuram came into existence. His Holiness is also rightly credited with his musical skills; his divine liturgies are musically mellifluous to the ears of the participants.

The new Shepherd has many challenges in front of him. The most important challenge he has to face is the spiritual crisis that debilitates the mission of the Church. The spiritual aridity being experienced within all the ranks of the Church from top to bottom should be of primary concern for our new Shepherd. We hope he will mobilize all his energies and efforts to rejuvenate this old Church with new spiritual vitality and vigor.

The second challenge that confronts the Church is our relationship with the Patriarch of Antioch and his supporters in Malankara. We urge our new Shepherd to initiate negotiations leading to the autocephaly and autonomy of the Church of Malankara and to cordial relationship with the Patriarchate of Antioch, within the perimeters of the legal ramifications stipulated by the Supreme Court of India. We hope he will take adequate steps to deal with this crisis and close this chapter in the history of our church.

Ad Multos Annos, Domine!!

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We Keep The Doors Wide Open: His Holiness Marthoma Didymos I


KOTTAYAM: The Supreme Head of the Church of Malankara His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymos I said he was praying for peace not only to the church and for believers, but to the entire nation. Talking to newspersons after assuming the highest position of the church of Malankara at the church headquarters at Devalokam, His Holiness said his desire to establish peace with the patriarch faction is his primary concern. He is ready to start peace talks based on the constitution of the church with the Patriarch faction, if they take the initiative.

“We were keeping our doors wide open, now it is for them to take a decision,” His Holiness was answering to a question to the media persons.

Referring on a media report of an alleged ultimatum given by the Catholicos Baselios Thomas I, head of the Patriarch faction, that they would take possession of the churches under dispute if the government did not take steps to re-open them, he declined. ”Violence is not the path of the Orthodox church. The government should take steps to reopen the churches under dispute on the basis of the court verdict,” His Holiness said.

His Holiness the Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymos I was enthroned as supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian church on October 31 following the abdication of the throne by Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Mathews II due to ill health and old age.

His Holiness also expressed his gratitude to the authorities of the Gulf countries for giving permission for establishing churches in their country. His Holiness also said that the possibility of convening a meeting of the Malankara Association will be discussed with the necessary committees to elect a designate Catholicos, since there is no constitutional provision for that position.

Metropolitan Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios and Sabha Secretary Dr. Alexander Karakkal was also with His Holiness to attend the press conference. Many dignitaries also visited His Holiness at his head quarters Devalokam Aramana.

Diocese News News Northeast America

Oriental Orthodox Churches Celebrated Eucharist Jointly In Atlanta On Oct. 29


ATLANTA: The Oriental Orthodox Churches in Atlanta recently celebrated a common Oriental Orthodox liturgy here in Atlanta. The priests, deacons, and laity of the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Antiochene, and Indian Orthodox Churches came together at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church on October 29, 2005, and celebrated the Eucharist jointly.

The vision for this event was to bring out the fulfillments of the prayer made by Our Lord “Holy father, keep them in thy name, which Thou has given me that they may be one, even as we are one” (St. John 17:11). Fr. Dr. Mathew Koshy reiterated on this in his sermon during the liturgy.

This is the first time that the Oriental Orthodox Churches in communion with each other are having a common event in the Southeastern Region. All of the above Orthodox churches are existing in Atlanta under their respective dioceses. The clergy and lay leaders of these churches have been meeting every other month for the last two years. Bishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Coorilos of Bombay have also attended these meetings in the past.

Fr. Dr. Mathew Koshy of St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church was the founding President, and Rev. Fr. Luke Wassiff of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church is the current President of this fellowship. Armen and Greg Avesessian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Fr. Ephrem Kabede, Fr. Asmeron Hagos, Fr. Michael Yuhannes, Fr. Mark Deress, Fr. Sabapthi, Fr.Mathew Puthukunnathu, and Arch-Deacon Haileyesus from the different churches are working as a core group for its functioning. Thomas David is working as the current secretary, Michael Nawar is the youth-coordinator, and Sunil Varkey as the Public Relations Officer.

It was an unusual experience to have fellowship with the brethren of the same family and to have a common liturgy- said Thomas David the secretary of the fellowship to Indian Orthodox Herald.

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New Catholicos of Malankara Orthodox Church Consecrated

PARUMAlA: Thomas Mar Themothios has been enthroned as the seventh Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Church at a solemn ceremony held at the St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church at Parumala on Monday. This was following the abdication of the throne by his predecessor, 91-year-old Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews-II, owing to old age and bad health on Sunday.

The 85-year old new Catholicos has been christened as Moran Mor Baselius Mar Thoma Didymos-I.

The enthronement service was led by the Church Synod comprising all the Metropolitans amidst the holy Eucharist celebrated by Thomas Mar Makarios. Senior Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos was the chief celebrant of the enthronement service.

Thomas Mar Athanaseus, Geevarghese Mar Ivaneos, Kuriakose Mar Cleemis, Mathews Mar Epiphaneus, Peelipose Mar Eusebeus, Paulose Mar Pachomeos, Paulose Mar Militheos, Mathews Mar Savarios, Zacharia Mar Theophelus, Youhanon Mar Chrisostomos, Augen Mar Dioneseus, Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Gevarghese Mar Koorilos and Youhanon Mar Milithos were the co-celebrants.

Hundreds of faithful thronged Parumala on the banks of river Pampa to witness the occasion.

The holy Eucharist began at 7 a.m. and the enthronement service around 9 a.m. The new Catholicos, seated in a chair, was lifted thrice by the Metropolitans amidst loud chants of `Oxion’, a Greek word that meaning `that he is worthy’. Then, the new Catholicos read out the Holy Bible.

Outgoing Catholicos Moran Mor Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews-II blessed his successor and handed over the Pastoral Staff to him, later, marking the culmination of the main part of the enthronement ceremony.

It is for the first time in the history of the Malankara Orthodox Church an outgoing Catholicos himself attending the enthronement of his successor. The newly enthroned Catholicose blessed the gathering and he was felicitated at a meeting held at the church hall later.

The new Catholicos made his reply speech on the occasion.

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Enthronement Of New Catholicos


KOTTAYAM: Baselios Marthoma Mathews II Makes the Abdication a Gracious Event for the Orthodox Church.

True to His Holiness’s ingrained quality of being with malice towards none and but with goodwill to all Baselios Marthoma Mathews II abdicated the throne enabling the Seventh Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan to be well in office with the divine christening as Baselios Marthoma Didymos I.

Amidst prayerful chanting that swelled from the faithful at the Parumala Seminary Church H. B. Thomas Mar Thimothios was ordained as the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan on Monday 31 October 2005.

For the first time in the history of the Church, the newly ordained Catholicos was privileged with the physical presence of his predecessor during the installation ceremony. Invoking prayers from one and all, when Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Mathews II offered the shepherd Staff – Amsavadi – and adorned the successor with three engelpions – one of Cross and another of St. Mary and another of St. Thomas, with the words – the Spiritual authority and the Temporal authority that the Church entrusted with me fourteen years ago is now handed over to you with all the satisfaction of the heart – it was a divine will that was fulfilled. Choking the eyes and hearts of all, when His Holiness Marthoma Mathews II Bava stood up, at the conclusion of the ceremony, to hug and garland his successor, it was a meeting of the Past and the Present, giving way for the latter.

More touching was the parting message given by the outgoing Catholicos, wishing the new Catholicos God’s benison in the discharging of the duties for the steadier growth of the Church. Then taking leave of his Authority and the Throne, with his head held high, H. H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, stepped down from the Holy Place of the Parumala Seminary Church assisted by Fr. V. M .James and Fr. Varughese and Deacon Siby, leaving the destiny of the Church, safely and graciously, in the hands of Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymos First and other Metropolitans , Priests, Deacons and the Faithful.