Christ and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church-Tenny Thomas

Presentation on “Christ and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” by Tenny Thomas, Director of FOCUS at the Orthodox Faith Seminar of 2008 conducted at St Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral in Bellwood, IL on January 12, 2008.

News World News

WCC 10th Assembly to Take Place in Korea in 2013

Central Committee members at the Plenary on Church and Society on Aug.31        © WCC / Peter Williams
Central Committee members at the Plenary on Church and Society on Aug.31 © WCC / Peter Williams

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee voted today to hold the 10th WCC Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea in 2013. The decision was taken by secret ballot and decided in one round.

A total of four member churches extended invitations to the WCC to hold its next assembly in their country. Three of the four invitations came from Orthodox churches; Damascus, Syria, Rhodes, Greece and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Rev. Dr Jong-wha Park of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea said that by celebrating the assembly in Korea the churches can be a firsthand witness to peace and justice on the divided peninsula. The churches in North and South Korea are also separated.

“The churches (in Korea) are divided, and we yearn to come together,” Park said, adding that churches in North Korea would be invited to the assembly.

The Central Committee members only voted between two locations, Damascus, Syria and Busan, Korea. The Ecumenical Patriarchate had withdrawn its invitation to Rhodes, Greece in benefit of Damascus. A discussion within the Policy Reference Committee, which is part of the Central Committee, led to forwarding only the Damascus and Busan proposals while recognizing the historical context of the churches in Ethiopia.

The fact that so many Orthodox member churches extended an invitation was unprecedented and did not go unnoticed by the Central Committee members who stated their appreciation during the deliberations. WCC moderator Rev. Dr Walter Altmann thanked the Orthodox churches for their generous hospitality and said the Central Committee would “very much like to go to Damascus” for one its future meetings.

“Selecting a venue for the next assembly is among the most important decisions that will be taken at this meeting of the Central Committee,” vice-moderator Rev. Dr Margaretha Hendriks-Ririmasse said in her introductory remarks on 27 August before representatives from each location made their presentations.

“We had two excellent choices on the table and it was very hard to decide”, said Bishop Martin Schindehütte, a Central Committee member from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had expressed interest to host the assembly in Rhodes, but withdrew the invitation as an act of solidarity with the churches in the Middle East who, he felt, needed the presence of the worldwide church fellowship by their side.

Patriarch Ignatius IV of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East had made the invitation to Damascus on behalf of a broad group of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches in Syria.

Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and one of the WCC presidents, had issued the invitation to Addis Ababa, with the support of numerous other Ethiopian churches.

The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) had issued the invitation to Busan on behalf of all NCCK member churches, including four WCC members (Anglican Church of Korea, Korean Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church of Korea and Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea).

With the decision taken, an assembly committee will be formed and begin working on planning and implementation.

News Southwest America

New Office Bearers for Spiritual Organizations of South West Diocese of America

HOUSTON: Metropolitan of the Diocese of South West America, Alexios Mar Eusebius had appointed following priests and laity to serve the various spiritual organizations and ministries for the Diocese until further orders through an encyclical to the parishes of the diocese.

Ad hoc Committee Secretary : Fr. P.M. Cheriyan (Houston)
Diocesan Finance Promoter : Fr. Joseph Kalapurayil (San Francisco)
Inter-Church & Public Relations Officer :Manoj Mathews (Houston)
Diocesan Auditor : Thomas Cherian (Austin)

Midwest Region : Fr. Daniel George (Chicago)
Northwest Region : Fr. Philipose Philip (Edmonton)
South Region : Fr. Mammen P. Mathew (Houston)
Southeast Region : Fr. Mathew Koshy (Atlanta)
West Region : Fr. Abraham Philip (Los Angeles)
General Secretary : Fr. Mathews George (San Antonio)
Joint Secretary : Dn. Mathew Alexander (Dallas)

Director of FOCUS & OCYM : Fr. Raju M. Daniel (Dallas)
General Secretary : Joe Varghese (Chicago)

Director of Sunday School : Fr. Mathew Koshy (Atlanta)
General Secretary : Alex Alexander (Dallas)
Director of OVBS : Dn. Joshua George (Dallas)

Director of Prayer Fellowship &
Mission Work : Fr. K.Y. Wilson (Dallas)

Martha Mariam Samajam:
Vice-President : Fr. George Paulose (Tampa)
General Secretary : Susan Thampan (Dallas)

Director of Counseling Department: Fr. John Kunnathusseril (Dallas)

Clergy Association Secretary : Fr. Rege Mathew (Dallas)

Family & Youth Conference
Diocesan Coordinator : Fr. George Daniel (South Florida)
Regional Coordinators
Midwest Region : Fr. Ham Joseph (Chicago)
Northwest Region : Fr. Philipose Philip (Edmonton)
South Region : Fr. Mathews George (San Antonio) & Rev. Fr. Sam Mathew (Austin)
Southeast Region : Fr. Jacob Mathew (Orlando)
West Region : Fr. Joseph Kalapurayil (San Francisco)

Church News News

Orthodox Church to Establish History Research Center: Holy Episcopal Synod

KOTTAYAM: The Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Orthodox Church convened here in Devalokam Aramana had decided to establish research centers for Church history and Liturgy at Kottayam and Nagpur Orthodox Seminaries in near future.

The founder of MD Seminary and Metropolitan of Malankara Late Joseph Mar Dionysius V of Pulikkottil will honored with the title – Luminary of the Holy Church- (“Sabha Thejas”).

Centenary year of the reestablishment of Catholicate in Indian and the 1960th anniversary of the church will be celebrated in grand scale in the year 2012 in New Delhi and Kerala. Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius of Chengannur presented a draft report on Sabha centenary celebration for the chore committee.

Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius was appointed as the head of the Human Resource Management division of the Church. A new Environmental (“Paristhithi”) Commission was formed under the leadership of Kuriakose Mar Clemmis of Thumpamon and Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius of Kolkotha .A new screening committee is formed to oversee the norms of the coming Episcopal election. Bi weekly “Sabha Pathrika” to be published weekly including more church news. The governing body of Kottayam Orthodox Seminary is reorganized.

The Holy Episcopal Synod recognized and applauded His Holiness the Catholicose Baselios Marthoma Didymos I for his contributions and in completing 43 years in his Episcopate.

Dr. Yakub Mar Ireanios and Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios lead the devotional addresses. Dr. Mathews Mar Severios the secretary of the Holy Synod, presented the report

Decisions Full Text

News Parish News

Ettu Nomb Perunal 2009 St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bronx

saint-maryNEW YORK: The Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Ettu Nomb Perunal) 2009 at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church of India, Bronx, New York will be held from August 30-Sunday to September 6. The church is loacted at 360 Bedford Park Blvd., Bronx, New York 10458.

Mathews Mar Barnabas, Metropolitan of the Northeast Diocese of America, Dr Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese, Fr. Dr. T.P. Elias, Fr. V.M. James, Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip, Fr. Dr.K.K. Kuriakose & Rev. Fr. Ninan T. Easo

Mathews Mar Barnabas will inaugurate the week long celebrations on Sunday, August 30 with Morning Prayers beginning at 8:30 am followed by Holy Qurbana at 9:30 am, Intercessory Prayers and the Spiritual Organizations Anniversary.

Monday, August 31-Saturday, September 5
8:00 am- 10:00 am- Morning Prayers & Holy Qurbana
10:30 am-12:30 pm- Meditation, Noon Prayers & Lunch
6:00 pm- 7:00 pm- Evening Prayers
7:00 pm- 8:30 pm- Devotional Address

Sunday, September 6
8:00 am-9:00 am- Morning Prayers
9:00 am-11:30 am- Holy Mooninmel Qurbana
11:30 am-12:30 pm- Intercessory Prayers & Kaimuth
12:30- Lunch

Fr. A.K. Cherian is the Vicar of the parish.

News Northeast America

United Orthodox Church Convention of Westchester & Bronx N.Y

NEW YORK: The united convention of the Orthodox churches in Westchester and Bronx area of New York will be conducted on September 19 and 20, Saturday and Sunday.

Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese will be giving the message on both the days. Seven Orthodox parishes in Westchester and Bronx area comes together to host this annual event.

The venue for the convention will be the Roman Catholic Church of the Most Holy Trinity located at 18, Trinity Street, Yonkers, NY 10701at 6.00PM to 8.30 PM on both days

For more details please contact
Fr. Dr. George Koshy (914-961-1587) Convention committee President.
James Mathew (914-376-3485) Program secretary.
M.V. Kurian(914-830-8644) Coordinator
Sunny Jacob (914-374-2729)

News World News

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit Elected WCC General Secretary

Dr -Olav- Fykse -Tveit
GENEVA: Norwegian theologian and pastor Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, 48, was elected 7th general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Thursday 27 August during its Central Committee meeting. Tveit will be the youngest general secretary since Willem A. Visser ‘t Hooft who had led the WCC while it was in process of formation and following its founding assembly 61 years ago.

“This task I really feel is the call of God. I feel that we have a lot to do together”, said Tveit in his acceptance speech before the central committee. He stressed the spirit of unity that dominated the whole process and expressed hope that it will continue to reign in the common journey. Tveit encouraged the committee members to continue praying for him: “Please do not stop!”

Since 2002, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has been the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations. Tveit is a member of the WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission and the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway.

“He impressed me very much with his speech to us,” said Dean Anders Gadegaard, a Central Committee member from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. “It was both pastoral, personal and political at the same time, and that gives me much hope for the future.” Gadegaard said he sees Tveit’s election as part of an opportunity for the WCC to “have a kind of shift in generations in leadership”.

Tveit was one of two candidates standing for election to the WCC’s highest administrative post. The other candidate was Rev. Dr Park Seong-won, 61, a Presbyterian theologian from South Korea.

“We entered into this process with most of us not knowing Dr. Park or Dr. Tveit”, said Father Leonid Kishkovsky, ecumenical officer of the Orthodox Church in America and a Central Committee member. “In the end, I was impressed with both of their speeches. I’m happy with the outcome.” Kishkovsky said he believes Tveit brings a “good balance” of skills in a variety of areas. “It seems to me the blend is a good one”, he said.

“The atmosphere after this election is one of hope”, said Rev. Dr Emilio Castro, who was WCC general secretary between 1985 and 1992. “I am certain that in this process there were neither winner nor losers, but the ecumenical movement has been strengthened. I am convinced that the best years of the WCC are ahead of us.”

Tveit will replace outgoing general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia who in February 2008 informed the Central Committee, the WCC’s highest governing body, that he would not seek a second term in office. Kobia has served as general secretary since 2004. It is anticipated that Tveit will take office on 1 Jan., subject to negotiations with the Central Committee.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit : Profile

Since 2002, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has been the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations. He was previously secretary for the Church of Norway Doctrinal Commission, 1999-2000, and Church-State Relations, 2001-02. He is an ordained pastor in the Church of Norway and has also served as a parish priest in Haram, Møre Diocese, 1988-91 and an army chaplain during his compulsory year of national service in 1987-88.

Tveit is a member of the WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission, co-chair of the WCC Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum core group, a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway, moderator of the Church of Norway – Islamic Council of Norway contact group and the same for the Jewish Congregation contact group. He is also a member of the Inter-Faith Council of Norway and a member of the board of trustees of Norwegian Church Aid.
Educational background:

* Doctor Theologiae (Doctor of Theology), Norwegian School of Theology/Menighetsfakultetet (NST/MF), Oslo 2002
* Practicum, NST/MF 1987
* Candidate Theologiae (Master in Theology), NST/MF 1986

News Southwest America

South West American Diocese Passed the Budget : 10% Goes for Charity

HOUSTON: The ad-hoc committee of the Diocese of South West America was held on Friday August 7, 2009 at the Diocesan Aramana office in Houston and unanimously passed a budget for $230,000.00 for this fiscal year. Diocesan Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius presided over the meeting. Ad-hoc committee secretary Fr. P. M Cherian presented the first budget of the new diocese.

Centralized salary, home allowance, and family health care for the priests will be implemented in the diocese shortly. The committee approved a diocesan level grant for priest welfare and priest annual retreat expenses. Diocese will take initiative in supporting the theological students of the diocese and approved a grant per student from the diocesan account.

All diocesan spiritual organizations (Balika Bala Samajam/ Sunday School, MGOSM/Campus Ministry, OCYM/FOCUS, Martha Mariam Samajam and Prayer fellowship) will be reorganized. The committee recommended the Diocesan Metropolitan to appoint Vice presidents / General secretaries for all spiritual organizations.

The demarcation of the South West American Diocese into five regions for the convenience of coordinating the spiritual activities, seminars and conferences was approved. The regions are South East, Mid West, South, West, and North West.

A  Diocesan counseling center will be opened shortly. Fr. John Kunnathusseril (St.Marys church‐Dallas) has been appointed as the counseling Center director by the Diocesan Metropolitan. He is given the responsibility to start the Christian premarital counseling courses, to propagate family counseling awareness programs in all the parishes.

10% of the total diocesan income will go for charity and this will be implemented with immediate effect.

Metropolitan appointed K.V. Chacko (St.Thomas, Houston), Thomas Mathew (St.Stephens Houston) and Varughese Kuriakose (St.Gregorious Houston) as subcommittee members. A supplementary budget for purchasing the temporary Bishop House has been approved by the committee.


Holy Qurbana Is Not A Drama Re-enacted

According to Christian theology, in the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God brooded over the waters and infused life into it. And as a crown of creation, God created man in his own image and likeness by blowing His life-breath into the nostrils of the first human being-Adam. He was adorned with a garment of glory and had full- fledged physical- mental- spiritual faculties almost similar to all features and characteristics of God. But because of the sin and fall of man, there occurred depletion in the aura of glory and his power began to diminish. The love of God for humanity persuaded Him to venture replenishing the depleted haloes. God knew it would be possible only by His coming down in the form of human. Thus an incarnation was imperative.

Through the Incarnation of Christ, (i.e. God taking flesh or matter) the lost relation between the Creator-God and the Creation-Universe was reinstated and restored. This atonement (at –one- ment) is maintained as an on-going relationship through the sacraments by the Christian Church. Jesus Christ’s atoning supreme sacrifice at Calvary was meant for the atonement of the world (1John 1:7). His was a vicarious sacrifice for and on behalf of every human being to propitiate God and to exempt them from being demanded to be sacrificed. It was meant to put an end to the symbolic bloodshed of animal sacrifice from the face of the earth and to replace it with the bloodless sacrifice – the Holy Qurbana- in which the bread and wine are the symbolic representation, and mystical actualization of the real body and blood of Christ that had been shed and given as the ransom at the cross of Calvary. (Ref John 6:55, Luke22:14-20, Mark14:22-25, Mathew 26:26-29,). Holy Eucharist meaning-Thanks giving- is not at all a repetition but it is the continuation of the Supreme Sacrifice of Christ at the Cross and is also the sharing of the very life of Christ by being in his company whereby we acquire His nature of love and power of creativity. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Hebrew13:10-16, Psalms50:14). One accepts Christ’s offer of atonement when each time one accepts Jesus Christ as one’s personal God and Saviour in real faith and deed. This is possible when a person renews their faith in Christ through the sacraments like holy baptism, true confession and Holy Communion, etc. Gradually and eventually that person gains entry into the Kingdom of God (Rom 10:10). Salvation is a continuous spiritual process touching the continuum of past, present and future.

Unless one confesses their belief in Christ’s death on the cross and professes that it was for them and in their place, they are not going to get its benefits. The act of confessing and Professing of faith in Christ’s redeeming work is the means for one to get salvation wrought by Christ. The sacramental rites and rituals in Christian Church are the dramatic enactments and the historic presents of the life of Christ and through it the faithful re-live those events happened in the past and foretaste the eschatological events yet to happen in future. Through worship, a faithful makes a travel in time- machine to reach the three realms of time- the past, the present and the future. It goes beyond space transcending the time which means the four dimensional space-time continuums.

May God give us more wisdom to understand his ways.

Church News Episcopal Election News

7 More Bishops for Malankara Orthodox Church

holy-episcopal-synodKOTTAYAM: Sabha Managing Committee held today at Devalokam Aramana had decided to hold a separate meeting in September 2009 to discuss further on the recommendation of the Holy Episcopal Synod to elect 7 more bishops for the church in 2010. “This matter will be included in the agenda of the September meeting and the decision will be taken appropriately.” Said Dr. George Joseph, the Sabha Secretary to Orthodox Herald today after the meeting.

Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Orthodox Church convened here on August 26 had decided to hold an Association meeting on Wednesday Feb. 17, 2010 to elect 7 more bishops for the church. This recommendation was welcomed by the managing committee and decided to hold another meeting with this agenda for a final decision. The next managing committee will also decide the date and venue of the coming Malankara Association. The age bar recommended by the Synod is 40 to 58 and Holy Synod authorized the Catholicose for extending the age up to 61 if needed.

The managing Committee also had decided to celebrate the centenary of the re –establishment of Catholicate in India in the year 2012 in Delhi and Kochi Marine Drive.

A committee was formed to revise the salary pattern of the priests of the church.

His Holiness the Catholicose Baselios Marthoma Didymose I presided over the meeting.

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