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Armenian Catholicos Aram I Honored with Order of St. Thomas


KOLENCHERY: The Catholicos of Malankara Orthodox Church Baselios Marthoma Didymos I confirred the Armenian Catholicose Aram I with the ‘Order of St. Thomas’ on Saturday February 27, 2010 at a gorgeous public ceremony at Kolenchery. ‘Order of St.Thomas’ is the the most presigious honor at the Malankara Orthodox Church.

In his reply speech the Armenian Catholicos expressed his happiness over receiving such an honor from Malankara, the land of Saint Thomas.

Union Minister K.V.Thomas inaugurated the function. Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymos I presided over. Catholicos -Elect Paulose mar Milithios, Metropolitan of Marthoma Church Zacharias Mar Theophilos, Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Bishop Nareg Alezmezian, Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian, Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, Alexios Mar Eusebius and Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konatt attended the ceremony

This was the crowning function of the visit of Armenian delegation in the Northern dioceses of Malankara. The Pontiff was welcomed in the Kerala traditional style with mounted elephants, girls carrying plates of flowers and percussional accompaniments. Faithful in multitude turned up to the function, which made the event only one of its kind in the memory of many for that region.

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Chandanappally Church: Worldwide Georgian Pilgrim Center


PATHANAMTHITTA: On February 26, in the evening, visiting the St. George Church, Chandanappalli Aram I, the Armenian Catholicos has declared the Parish as Worldwide Georgian Pilgrim Centre. In his declaration speech, the Catholicos remembered his arrival at Chandanappalli 35 years back as a young Priest.

Kuriakose Mar Clemis, Metropolitan of Thumpamon Diocese read out the relevant bull from the Supreme Head of Malankara Orthodox Church to fundament the declaration. When reading of bull was over the heaven was reverberating with the voices of scintillating fireworks.

The Church at Chandanappalli plays a very important role in the spirituality of local people for the last so many decades. This Church was rebuilt a few years back in order to cater to the needs of local faithful as well as pilgrims, who take their refuge in the intercession of St. George, the Martyr there. This Church is the second important pilgrim centre in St. George’s name in Malankara, only second to St. George’s Orthodox Church, Puthuppalli. Chandanappally Church was built in 1750.

Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Prelate of Tehran, Bishop Nareg Alezmezian, Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian, Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius, and Sabha Secretary Dr. George Joseph have spoken on the occasion.

Earlier the Pontiff, Guests of Honor and Metropolitans were received and were led to the Church with percussion and band accompaniments.

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Strengthen Relationship Between Churches: Aram I


KOTTAYAM: If at all ecumenism needs to be practical, relationship between Churches has to become stronger, said the Supreme Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Aram I. Ecumenical Movement can face the challenges of 21st Century only if relations between Churches get deeper, added the Catholicos, who is also the Moderator of World Council of Churches.

Delivering key note address at the Ecumenical Meeting held at Old Seminary, Kottayam under the auspiciousness of Kerala Council of Churches, Catholicos Aram I stressed that India has always been multicultural and multireligious and the harmony of this Indian society is seen by the world nations as an adaptable model.

“Contributions by Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios and Dr. M.M. Thomas, whom Kerala has given birth, are looked upon by the World Ecumenical Movement with utmost admiration”, remembered the Armenian Catholicos.

Catholicos Elect of the Malankara Orthodox Church Paulos Mar Milithios presided over the function. Metropolitan of Marthoma Church Zacharias Mar Theophilos inaugurated the meeting.

Metropolitans from the Malankara Syrian Church Thomas Mar Thimotheos and Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Bishop of Central Kerala Diocese of the CSI Church Thomas Samuel, Secretary of Kerala Council of Churches Prof. Philip Ninan, and Principal of Orthodox Theological Seminary Dr. K. M. George spoke on the occasion.

Metropolitans from the Malankara Church and students of Orthodox Theological Seminary have attended the meeting. Metropolitan of Thiruvananthapuram Diocese Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios welcomed the gathering.

Reports by Armenian Orthodox Church

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The Cross of Christ, a Reality check for the Ecumenical Movement

Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta, from the Coptic Orthodox Church, and other members of the WCC executive committee express words of blessing during the installation of the WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit.

GENEVA: “To be one, the Church must go back to its common basis. Nothing except Jesus Christ, and him crucified”, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has said. The cross is not just a sign of religious identity, he added, but a “reality check” for both the churches and the ecumenical movement.

Tveit was preaching at a service in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 23 February. During the service, the WCC Executive Committee formally installed Tveit as the Council’s general secretary. A pastor and theologian from Norway, Tveit, 49, was elected as the WCC’s 7th general secretary in August 2009 and began his term on 1 January 2010.

“Seen in the perspective of the resurrection”, Tveit said, “the cross becomes the sign of God’s victory over sin and evil” and of “God’s unconditional love to all human beings”. It is also at the root of any possible Christian unity: “We are one as Christians because we receive the same gift” of God’s “being with us and for us” through the cross.

“It doesn’t sound like very diplomatic language”, acknowledged Tveit in his sermon, referring to the statement that the cross is “the symbol of what the churches have to give to the world […] nothing except Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. Nevertheless, he affirmed that such a statement offers “substance and direction to the ecumenical movement”.

“How shall we, then, best give shape to the ecumenical movement of the cross in our time?” Tveit wondered. “And how can the ecumenical movement be a movement of the cross – the tree of life?”

Following early teachers of the church, Tveit suggested that “when Christ stretches out his arms at the cross, he is stretching out to the whole world, embracing everybody”. The uniqueness of the cross “is precisely that it is inclusive”, he said.

For Tveit, the call of the ecumenical movement goes beyond successes and failures. “Whether we are heard or not, our call is to carry the cross with one another”. This may entail walking in the shoes of the poor and oppressed, suffering distress when agreements are not reached, overcoming disappointment when problems are not solved.

However, Tveit said, the call to “carry the cross in our search for unity” remains. “And we shall do it together, never alone.”

The service of installation of the new WCC general secretary was led by the moderator of the WCC central committee Rev. Dr Walter Altmann. Participants included a large number of representatives of churches, ecumenical and international organizations, and members of the diplomatic corps based in Geneva.

After the service, greetings were presented by Mr. Jens Petter Johnsen, director of the Church of Norway national council; the Rev. Thomas Wipf, president of the Council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches; Mr. Alain Stehlé, president of the Association of Churches and Christian Communities of Geneva; the Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches on behalf of the ecumenical organizations in the Ecumenical Centre; Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; and Ms Bente Agell-Hansen, Norwegian ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations.

The WCC executive committee is meeting in Bossey, near Geneva, from 23-26 February.

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Dukrono of Saint Dionysius at Thatta Simhasana Church on Feb. 27-28


THUMPAMON: 76 th Dukrono perunnal of Saint Dionysius at St. George Orthodox Catholicate Simhasna Church, Thatta will be held on February 27-28, 2010.

Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of South West diocese of America will be the Chief Celebrant.

On Saturday February 27 at 6pm -Evening prayer and Rasa.

On February 28 at 7.30 am Morning Prayer will be followed by Holy Qurbana. At 11am with Nercha vilambu festivities will be concluded.

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Aram I Catholicose Reception

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Rousing Reception to the Armenian Catholicose at Nedumbassery Airport


KOCHI: The Supreme Head of Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church Aram I stated that India has always been the exemplary model for religious harmony. The Armenian Catholicos was talking to the press reporters at the Nedumbassery International Airport, when he was welcomed at his arrival from Lebanon.

The Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios, Metropolitan of Kandanad West Diocese and Holy Episcopal Synod Secretary Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, Metropolitan of Kandanad East Diocese Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasios, Metropolitan of Bombay Diocese Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Trissur Diocese Youhanon Mar Milithios, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese Dr. Jacob Mar Ireanios, Metropolitan of Trivandrum Diocese Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan of Ankamali Diocese Youhanon Mar Polycarpos, Bishop Elect Fr. Dr. John Mathew, Priest Trustee Dr. Jones Abraham Konatt, Lay Trustee M. G. George Muthoot, Association Secretary Dr. George Joseph, Fr. Jacob Mannaraprayil Chor-Episcopa, Mother Superior of Kizhakkambalam Bethlahem Convent Sr. Deena and many other prominent personalities together received the Armenian Delegation.

Apart from the Armenian Catholicos Aram I, the Armenian Apostolic Delegation includes Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Prelate of Tehran, Bishop Nareg Alezmezian, Eccumenical officer, Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian, Secretary to the Catholicose.

From Kochi the Armenian Delegation set out to Devalokam with State Guest Honors and the Armenian Catholicos met with the Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan Baselios Marthoma Didymos I. The Armenian Catholicos handed over pleasantries from the See of Cilicia to his Indian counterpart.

There was a banquet arranged at the Catholicate Palace in honor of the visiting Catholicos. Dignitaries from other sister Churches and Government Officials attended the banquet.

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Armenian Catholicose Aram I: State Guest of Honor


KOTTAYAM: Government of Kerala declared the visiting Armenian Catholicos, Aram I, as state guest of honor. Aram I is arriving to visit Malankara as the special invitee of the Catholicos of Malankara and the visit spans from February 24 through 28. The Armenian Catholicos is currently serving as the Moderator of World Council of Churches too.

The Armenian Catholicos will meet with the Catholicos of Malankara on February 24 and will attend the banquet of honor at Catholicate Palace, Devalokam, Kottayam. The Armenian Apostolic Delegation includes Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Prelate of Tehran,Bishop Nareg Alezmezian, Eccumenical officer, Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian, Secretary to the Catholicose apart from the Catholicos.

The Armenian Catholicos will attend various important functions at Malankara like the feast of St. Dionysius Vattasserial at the Old Seminary, Kottayam, the Silver Jubilee of the Diocese of Chengannur, laying the foundation stone for the Holy Episcopal Synod Building etc. Aram I will attend the Holy Episcopal Synod of Malankara as well.

The visiting Armenian Catholicos will be honored with ‘The Order of St. Thomas’ by Catholicos Marthoma Didymos I on Saturday evening at a public function at Kolencherry.

The Armenian Delegation is arriving Kochi on February 24th at 8.00 am on Emirates Airways and is returning on February 28th from Thiruvananthapuram.

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Dn. George Mathew Ordained to the Holy Priesthood


THOTTAKADU: Dn. George Mathew was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at St. Mary’s Bethlehem Orthodox Church, Thottakadu.

Fr.George, member of St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church of Greater Washington D. C., graduated from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, Pennsylvania in May 2009 and has tirelessly served as the OVBS Director for the American Diocese, and has been instrumental in the various ministries of the Baltimore/Washington D. C./Virginia Area.

Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Assistant Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese led the Holy Ordination Service in the presence of Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius (Chengannur Diocese).