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Visitation of Christ Is Ever Relevant: C. Divakaran


MAVELIKKARA: “Although visitation of Christ is ever relevant, its frontiers are growing shorter”, opined the Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Animal Husbandry of Kerala Government C. Divakaran.

The Minister was speaking while inaugurating the reception meeting in honor of the Catholicos of the East Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II organized by the Diocese of Mavelikkara at Theobhavan, Mavelikkara.

“Christ is the symbol that proved that everyone is equal through His eternal love. He is the first prophet, who could address everyone ‘son of man’. All His stories and messages, interpreted by any one, base nothing but love”, he carried on.

Metropolitan of the Mavelikkara Diocese Paulose Mar Pachomios presided over the meeting. Senior Metropolitan Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios inaugurated Diocesan Day celebrations. Metropolitan of the Malankara Catholic Diocese Joshua Mar Ignatios, Member of Indian Parliament Kodikkunnil Suresh, M. Murali MLA, Ex Minister R. Balakrishnapillai, Chairman of Mavelikkara Municipality K.R. Muraleedharan, and Adv. Joseph John spoke on the occasion.

Representatives from all parishes of Mavelikkara Diocese garlanded the Catholicos of the East. As the highest representative of the Malankara Church I receive your honor, said the Pontiff in response.

“It is the good fortune for the Church that the Apostolic Tradition still exists. Prayer and bear of holy saints is Church’s strength. There is an assembly of faithful, who guard the faith as important as their own life. It is important to note that instances outside the Church are also speaking about the unity of Churches. Responsibility of the Church is to extend the mission of Christ and it is possible only through love”, carried on the Supreme Spiritual Shepherd of the Malankara Church.

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Diocese News Features News

Catholicos Mathews II Was a Great Protagonist of Religious and Church Peace: Justice Benjamin Koshy


MAYUR VIHAR, NEW DELHI: LL Catholicos of the East Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II was great protagonist of peace among religions and Churches, opined Justice Benjamin Koshy. He was inaugurating the Fifth Annual Remembrance of the late Pontiff on January 26th at St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi.

Fr. Thomas John Mavelil, Vicar of St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Mayur Vihar presided over the meeting. Fr. M.C. Paulose, Fr. Y. Thomas, Fr. Philip M. Samuel, Fr. Mathew Varghese, Fr. Johnson Ipe, M. V. Thomas, Jojy Ninan and Sabu Thomas spoke on the occasion.

In the Mathews II Memorial Quiz Competition organized by the host parish St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church, Dilshad Gardan secured the first prize and ever rolling trophy. Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church, Noida and St. John’s Orthodox Church, Mayur Vihar came on second and third positions respectively.

A. Joseph welcomed the gathering and Kochumman Thomas moved vote of thanks.

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Church News Features News

Keep Yourselves Away From Alcohol, Emulate Our Holy Fathers: Catholicos Emeritus


DUBAI: Mar Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, the Catholicos Emeritus, arrived at Al Majlis International Airport, Dubai on Thursday, 27th January, 2011 and was accorded a gorgeous welcome by priests and a huge number of faithful from all over the UAE.

The Pontiff led evening prayers at the St. Thomas Cathedral, Dubai and blessed the congregation thereafter.

Later on the Holy Father inaugurated the OCYM activities of the parish for the year 2011 through lighting the lamp in Keralite traditional way.

While addressing the faithful the Catholicos observed and expressed his extreme concern over alcohol addiction, which is becoming widely and deeply rampant in Kerala’s society. He also asked the youth to emulate St. Thomas, St. Gregorios of Parumala and other holy fathers of the Church to lead a life that is pleasing to God. The Pontiff stressed that parents who attend Church regularly, offering daily prayers, observing lent and fasting are the highest gifts that the succeeding generation can inherit, emulate and imbibe.

Chor-Episcopos Philip Thomas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia delivered a keynote address of touching magnitude, where he said that various arms of the Church like OCYM, MGOCSM, Sunday School and St. Mary’s Women’s League should all work in unison to fetch all sections of worshipping community into the main stream of the parish life.

Fr. Biju P. Thomas, Vicar, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Duabi, exhorted the youth to look unto none other than the Holy Father for a life of prayer, dedication, exemplary life values and leadership. He also affirmed that the OCYM is fortunate to have the blessings of the Holy Father during its inauguration.

In their speeches Fr. Aju Abraham and Fr. Pathrose Joy touched on the importance of the role of youth in the overall spiritual growth of the parish and of the community.

The Holy Father will be in the United Arab Emirates until Friday, February 4th. The Catholicos Emeritus celebrated Holy Qurbana at the Saint Thomas Cathedral, Dubai, on Friday morning, when 91 children offered 91 flowers to welcome their Supreme Spiritual Shepherd at his 91st year of age. The Pontiff has also attended an evening service at the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah, on the same day. According to plans the Highest Bishop of the East is expected bless the Fujairah parish on Saturday and lead Holy Qurbana at Ras al-Khaymah parish on Sunday evening.

The Pontiff is to visit and bless the Al Ain Church site on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday he is expected to be present at St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Abu Dhabi and return back to Kerala on Friday from Dubai.

The Holy Father is quite alert and responsive although physically needing support to walk. On arrival the Pontiff had a medical checkup by the specialist physician and all his medical parameters were found to be satisfactory.

News sent in: Dr. Vinu Thomas

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Church News Features News

Baselios Mathews II Award to Cartoonist Yesudasan


SHASTHAMKOTTAI: Catholicos Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II conferred this year’s Baselios Mathews II award upon Cartoonist Yesudasan. The award includes INR 10,000 and a plaque.

The event took place at a function in association with the annual remembrance of the LL Catholicos of the East, Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, whose mortal remains are laid for eternal rest at the Mar Elia Chapel, Mt. Horeb Monastery, Shasthamkottai.

Catholicos Emeritus Mar Baselios Marthoma Didymus I presided over the meeting. Metropolitans Zacharia Mar Anthonios, Yuhanon Mar Milithios, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros, Jacob Mar Elias, and Joshua Mar Nichodemus and Malankara Association Secretary Dr. George Joseph spoke on the occasion.

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Columns Opinions

Byzantine Orthodox Ethos: A threat to Our Liturgical Theology? E.S.John, Australia


“I believe that warning about unbridled freedom is implicit in our Lord’s reminder, “wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

Man bereft of discipline is like an animal which is not tamed and disciplined. We have enough past experiences of drinking bitter chalice from the colonial imperial churches that have ultimately created an Indian orthodox church of organieed chaos, because of imbibing from any heretical whirlwind that bring us temporal benefits.

Discipline is like breathing and drinking water that sustains all other body system under control. If one aspires to cherish an Indian orthodox worship, the church must be insulated from all other alien influences that slowly can bring in corrupt practises, ultimately rebelling and challenging against the authority and discipline because one man’s food is another man’s poison.

Weed out all cosmetic and peripheral influences for keeping a pure apostolic church and its faith. We expected angelic gifts from the Dutch and the
British Governments and their churches; they came with olive branches and eventually formed branches of their own thorny denominations.

A stone-throw can make numberless ripples that can’t be controlled later because of the fluctuations of our thoughts seconds by seconds. Better keep away from all innovations and renovations because the impact of personal agenda will imprint upon the soul of the church slowly. Nothing is spiritual now; only a hybrid worship of personal agenda dominates in this world of a global fluid culture.

As our children yells out, ‘it is a free county and a free world and an open society”. If the church aspires to survive with its apostolic faith, discipline that brings a coherent culture is a must for our survival. Don’t borrow anything from anywhere because a crossbreed paradigm of faith has threatened our existence. Even the church denominations that sprang up few decades ago is stronger and capable of sustaining a better spiritual ethos among themselves and attracting people from our church than the 2, 000 year-old Indian orthodox church.

Nothing apparently is wrong in the beginning that may invite a disastrous war in the church later. Be careful not to adapt to changes as in the case of secular and social set-up.

Source: ICON

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Features News Parish News

Metropolitan strengthens ecumenical ties with Episcopal visit to Ujjain


UJJAIN: Dr Pulikkottil Geevarghese Mar Yulios, the Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, visited St Gregorios Parish in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on January 25, 2011.

After the Holy Liturgy, there was an ecumenical public meeting to mark the occasion and also the valedictory session of the Ecumenical Week observed by different churches in the region. The parish also celebrated the Dukrono of His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II on his 5th anniversary of eternal rest. During the Holy liturgy, the parish held special prayers for the Republic of India on the occasion of the 62nd Republic Day Celebrations.

Dr Mar Yulios presided over the meeting which was inaugurated by Dr Sebastian Vadakel Vadakkel. Rev Fr Antony, Director of Ecumenical Relations, Fr Binu John Thomas, Vicar of Indore Orthodox Parish were also felicitated.

Jacob, trustee of Ujjain Parish welcomed the audience and Fr Sijin, Vicar of Ujjain Parish extended a word of thanks.

The young metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese was received by Dr Sebastian Vadakel MST, the Catholic Bishop of Ujjain Mission Diocese, at his Church Headquarters on Maria Nagar, Dewas Road. Both the bishops joined for lunch. It has a however a large Catholic population.

Ujjain falls under the Ahmedabad Diocese and Dr Mar Yulios was visiting this ancient city of central India, as part of his Episcopal visit and to familiarise with members of the Orthodox congregation.

The Ujjain St Gregorios Parish, one of the old parishes of this region. It gave a traditional welcome to their Metropolitan and conducted evening prayer and Holy Qurbana at Ujjain Catholic Diocesan Church. (The Catholic Church is assisting in providing their facilities to the Orthodox Church to conduct worship over the years.)

Ujjain city is situated in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, on the eastern bank of Kshipra River. The history of Ujjain has a significant value and much historical importance attached. As a great Hindu religious centre, Ujjain ranks equal to Benaras, Gaya and Kanchi. Over 75 per cent of the population is Hindus. Saivism,Vaishnavism and their various cults and sects along with Jainism and Buddhism comprise others.

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Diocese News Features News

New Public Relations Officers to the Diocese of Calcutta


BHILAI: Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan of the Diocese of Calcutta, appointed Fr. P.S. Varghese as the new Public Relations Officer for the Diocese.

Fr. Varghese completed his theological studies from STOTS Nagpur in 2006 and is at present serving as Vicar of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Jamshedpur (Tata Nagar).

Fr. Varghese belongs to the St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Veeyapuram of Niranam Diocese. He is son of Aleyamma Chacko and (late) Chacko Abraham.

The Metropolitan has also appointed Jerry John Koshy as the Media Secretary of the Diocese. Jerry John Koshy is at present member of St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Maha Edavaka, Kuwait.

Jerry is son of Sosamma Koshy and (late) Y. Koshy from Karipuzha, Mavelikara, and resids at Kuwait with his family. He is originally member of St. John’s Orthodox Valliapally, Pathichira.

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Articles We Believe

Dialogue between Malankara Orthodox Church and Catholic Church


Doctrinal Agreement on Christology

approved by Catholicos Mar Baselius Marthoma Mathews I and Pope John Paul II
issued June 3rd, 1990

1. In our first meeting which was characterized by a spirit of concord, mutual trust, fraternal love and desire to overcome division and misunderstandings inherited from the past, we found our common ground in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith, held by the one and undivided Church of the early centuries, the faith in Christ always affirmed by both sides.

2. Above all we thank the Lord Our God for having brought us together for a cordial and sincere dialogue on some doctrinal and pastoral problems which can stand in the way of our mutual ecclesial relations and communion.

3. In this atmosphere we have worked out this brief statement to be submitted to our respective church authorities for their approval, wherein we seek to express our common understanding of, and our common witness to the great and saving mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God Incarnate; we hope, this statement can lead us to the restoration of full communion between our churches. Our work was made much easier by the painstaking documentation and detailed discussions held at an unofficial level by our theologians during the past twenty-five years.

4. We affirm our common faith in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, the Eternal Logos of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. We believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, is true God and true man. The Word of God has taken a human body with a rational soul, uniting humanity with divinity.

5. Our Lord Jesus Christ is one, perfect in his humanity and perfect in his divinity — at once consubstantial with the Father in his divinity, and consubstantial with us in his humanity. His humanity is one with his divinity — without change, without commingling, without division and without separation. In the Person of the Eternal Logos Incarnate are united and active in a real and perfect way the divine and human natures, with all their properties, faculties and operations.

6. Divinity was revealed in humanity. The Glory of the Father was manifest in the flesh of the Son. We saw the Father’s love in the life of the suffering Servant. The Incarnate Lord died on the Cross that we may live. He rose again on the third day, and opened for us the way to the Father and to eternal life.

7. All who believe in the Son of God and receive him by faith and baptism are given power to become children of God. Through the Incarnate Son into whose body they are integrated by the Holy Spirit, they are in communion with the Father and with one another. This is the heart of the mystery of the Church, in which and through which the Father by His Holy Spirit renews and reunites the whole creation in Christ. In the Church, Christ the Word of God is known, lived, proclaimed and celebrated.

8. It is this faith which we both confess. Its content is the same in both communions; in formulating that content in the course of history, however, differences have arisen, in terminology and emphasis. We are convinced that these differences are such as can co-exist in the same communion and therefore need not and should not divide us, especially when we proclaim Him to our brothers and sisters in the world in terms which they can more easily understand.

9. It is the awareness of our common faith that leads us to pray that the Holy Spirit of God may remove all remaining obstacles and lead us to that common goal — the restoration of full communion between our churches.

[Information Service 73 (1990/II) 39] Centro Pro Union

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An Appeal: St. Gregorios Orthodox Syrian Church, Dhule


Short History

St. Gregorios Orthodox Syrian Church, Dhule is the first Parish of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in the northern region of Maharastra. In the year 1984, our Late Lamented Metropolitan Dr.Philipose Mar Theophilus visited Dhule and established this Congregation. In the initial period the Priests from St.George Orthodox Church, Nasik (i.e. 155 kms away from Dhule) led the worship. Unfortunately, because of the shortage of Priests in the Diocese of Bombay, the diocese was unable to provide much attention to this Congregation for last 15 years and no priests visited Dhule during this period. Slowly this congregation stopped functioning.

At this time the Catholic Priests from CMI Congregation (Chavara Fathers) came to Dhule. With the support of Malayalee Christian Community, most of them are Orthodox Christians, they purchased land and established a Hospital, School and Church and most of the Orthodox Christians joined in that Church.

In 2008, Rev. Fr.Thomas Myalil, then Vicar of St. George Orthodox Church, Nasik, visited Dhule and reorganized the Orthodox Christian Community. With the initiative of Fr. Thomas Holy Qurbana is being celebrated once a month. In the initial period Holy Qurbana was conducted in different houses, especially in the house of Mr.P.V.John, and then the Holy Qurbana was being conducted in the nearby Syro Malabar Catholic Church, in the evening of the first Sunday of every month. After 4 months, Fr. Thomas was transferred to Doha. Then Fr. Shaji Chacko from Nasik continued to visit Dhule for one year.

Current Situation:

In June 2009, H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Metropolitan of Diocese of Bombay appointed Fr.Thomas Philipose as the Vicar of this Congregation. From August 2009 onwards Holy Qurbana is being celebrated every month regularly at Syro Malabar Catholic Church on every First Sunday morning at 11 a.m. More than 120 people attend Holy Qurbana regularly. Faithful come from Dhule and surrounding places, some of them are coming from 100KMs away. There are around 30 families scattered around 300 kilometer radius.

Under the leadership of His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos we raised Rs. 15 lakhs and purchased a small property, around 7 cents with an old building, in the city. The old building is renovated to a chapel by the hard work of parishioners. His Grace consecrated this Chapel on 12th and 13th of November and declared as an official Parish and Church under Mumbai Diocese.

Immediate need:

Lot of work is left. But the Church immediately need (1) a bore well to make the place livable and (2) a boundary wall around the property to make it safe and secure. As a small congregation it can’t lift this burden themselves since they are already exhausted their resources.

This Church is appealing you all for your prayerful support and financial help to complete this humble mission. We will be very grateful to you if you sponsor any or part of these works. You can send your financial contributions in favor of

St.Gregorios Orthodox Syrian Church,
a/c No in HDFC Bank. 06371450000148.
RTGS / NEFT IFSC Code – HDFC0000637.

Fr.Thomas Philipose (Vicar)
Aurangabad

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Features News Southwest America

Let Us Be Smaller than the Temple of God: Metropolitan Mar Eusebius


HOLLYWOOD, SOUTH FLORIDA: “Let us be smaller than the temple of God” said Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the Diocese of South West America. The Metropolitan was speaking after the consecration of the newly built St. Gregorios Orthodox Church of India, South Florida.

Consecration and dedication of the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church of India, South Florida took place on Friday and Saturday, 14th and 15th January 2011.

Members of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church of India, South Florida accorded a grand reception to the Metropolitan on January 14th, 2011, which sounded the prelude to the Church consecration service. Following the traditions of Kerala, Metropolitan Mar Eusebius cut the ribbon and entered into the church, whereby declaring the Church open to the goodness and to humanity at large.

Fr. George John, the Vicar, welcomed the Metropolitan by handing over a lighted candle and the Metropolitan lit the oil lamp. Following this ceremony, the first part of the consecration began with evening prayers. The first part of consecration included laying of the foundation stone of the Church. The evening concluded with a gathering of food and fellowship for all who attended.

On Saturday, January 15, 2011, Morning Prayer started at 7:00 am followed by the second part of the consecration, Holy Trimass, Procession and Benediction.

Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius, Fr. Thampan Varghese and Fr. George Paulose were the main celebrants. Fr. Thampan Varghese, Fr. Dr. Joy Pyngolil, Fr. George Paulose, Fr. George Daniel, Fr. Dr. Jacob Mathew, Fr. Sam Mathew, Fr. Thomson Chacko, Fr. Vartan D. Joulfayan, Fr. Nersess Jebejian, Fr. Shibu Yohannan, Rev. Jose Abraham, Rev. Thomas Mathew and Fr. Zachariah Thottuvelil attended the consecration service. The consecration service was followed by a lunch time gathering of all participants.

Metropolitan Mar Eusebius presided over the public meeting, which took place in the afternoon. In his presidential address, the President of the Diocese of South West America provided a detailed and informative explanation on the significance of the consecration of a Church.

Hon. Peter Bobber conveyed well wishes on behalf of the Mayor of the City of Hollywood. The City Commissioner Hon. Linda Sherwood also spoke on the occasion.

The Metropolitan released the souvenir by handing over the first copy to the Vice Mayor of the city of Hollywood, Hon. Heidi O’sheehan.

Rev. Jose P. Abraham, Vicar, Marthoma Church of South Florida, Heidi O’sheehan, Vice Mayor of the City of Hollywood, Biju P. John, Treasurer, St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Samuel Thomas, Abraham Varghese Vadakara, and Tara Thomas spoke on the occasion.

Fr. George John was honored for his exemplary leadership with a plaque. Plaques were also handed over to Mathai Skaria, Biju P.John, Georgy John and to the contractor Natalya Golyk and Valery Vorozheykin.

Melodious singing from the Sunday school students added color to the proceedings. St. Gregorios Church Choir performed a number of religious songs throughout the meeting.

Mathai Skaria, Convener of St. Gregorios Construction Committee, welcomed the gathering. Rejit George moved the vote of thanks. Georgy John, the Parish Secretary, was the master of ceremony.

St. Gregorios Orthodox Church of India, South Florida is located at 2850 Taylor Street, Hollywood, FL 33020

Pictures

News sent in: Samuel Thomas