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Catholicos of the East to lead ‘Sunthronitho’ of Metropolitan Mar Yulios

The Grand Event of Ahmedabad Diocese on March 5
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also invited

AHMEDABAD: The ‘Sunthronitho’ or Enthronement ceremony of Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios of Indian Orthodox Church’s newest Ahmedabad Diocese is to take place on March 5, 2011.

The big event will see Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, as the chief celebrant. The ceremony will also see the enthronement of Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan head of Ahmedabad Diocese, at St Thomas Chapel, Naroda on Saturday at 7 am.

Later, the ceremony will be followed by a public meeting. The Catholiocs will also be the chief guest at the felicitation meeting at 11.30 am. At the felicitation, Oscar Fernandes, MP and former union minister, will be the guest of honour.

Ahmedabad Diocese representatives recently met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and invited him for the Sunthronitho ceremony of Dr Mar Yulios. The delegation consisted of Fr Joji George, Diocesan Secretary, Fr George Varghese, Asst Vicar, Ahmedabad, P D Baby (Sabha Managing Committee member), Dr Linz and Saju Mathew.

Dignitaries and guests of honour include luminaries like Most Rev Stanislaus Fernandes, Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasios, Diocese of Chengannur, Dr Mathews Mar Severios, Metropolitan, Diocese of Kandanad (West) and Secretary to the Holy Episcopal Synod, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan, Diocese of Bombay, Rt Rev Vinodkumar Malavyya, Bishop of Gujarat, CNI Church, Bhupendra Patel, Chairman, Standing Committee, AMC, Justice Benjamin Koshy, Chief Justice of Patna High Court (retired), Fr Dr Johns Abraham Konattu, Priest-Trustee, MOSC, M G George Muthoott, Lay Trustee, MOSC and Dr George Joseph, Association Secretary, MOSC.

The Diocesan web-site will also be launched on the occasion.

The Orthodox Diocesan Council of Ahmedabad has invited all for the ceremony.

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Church News Features News

Participation for Women in Church Administration To Realize Soon in Malankara Church


KOTTAYAM: IOH has come to know that the Holy Episcopal Synod of Malankara Church decided to grant 33% participation for women in Church administration with full voting right.

All women, who are above the age of 21, having no outstanding dues, and have confessed at least once a year minimum, shall be considered eligible for election to the various ecclesiastical bodies.

With this land sliding decision women can vote in and get elected from parish general body meetings to parish managing committees, to diocesan assembly, to diocesan council, to Church managing committee, and to the Malankara Association.

Metropolitan of Trissur Diocese Yuhanon Mar Milithos presented a detailed report in the Holy Episcopal Synod on this issue. Metropolitan Mar Milithos’ report quoted from vast number of documents including from writings of Church fathers like St. Gregory of Nazianses.

The Holy Episcopal Synod has forwarded the issue for further studies to the Rule Committee. Rule Committee’s proposals need to be discussed in the Malankara Managing Committee and passed by the Malankara Association to become part of the constitution of the Church. Rule Committee’s proposals are expected to be presented in the next Managing Committee meeting and the Managing Committee’s decision shall be ratified in the next Malankara Association. With that women will have at last complete power to exercise their services to the Malankara Church to their full potential.

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All Souls Day; Sunday Preceding the Beginning of the Holy Lent

St. Luke 12: 32-48

According to the lectionary of our Church February 27 marks ‘All Souls Day’ this year. This is the Sunday that just precedes the beginning of the Holy Lent as well. The holy gospel that we hear on this Sunday is taken from St. Luke 12: 32-48. Parallels thereto can be seen in St. Matthew 6:19-21 and 24: 45-51.

Before we get in into the exegesis of the gospel portion, let us remind ourselves of two important concepts the Holy Church emphasizes thoroughly. For one, the holy Church includes the faithful, who are physically visible and invisible for us and for the other, holy lent is a combined experience for both the parties. In other words, we enter into the holy lent not without our departed ones, but with them. Our prayers gain wind when are added with that of the departed and their prayers gain momentum when added with that of ours. Since the seal of baptism is active upon us and upon them, we pray on this Sunday for them and in their realm they pray for us that the Lord prepare us all without spot and blemish to experience the heavenly bliss of resurrection. Therefore, the fathers have arranged the lectionary remembering all the departed clergy and faithful on two very Sundays before the holy lent commences.

St. Luke 12: 32-48 can be divided into three sections: I. v. 32-34, II. v. 35-40, and III. v. 41- 48. These three sections highlight the necessity to become poor by giving alms, the necessity of being watchful and the necessity of being faithful managers.

I. Necessity to become poor, give alms (v. 32-34)

When we buy something we pay the price, either in cash or in kind, just as the proverb goes, ‘there is no free lunch’. V. 32 exhorts that the little flock need not to fear for it is their Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom. One needs to buy a share or place in the kingdom by earning the good pleasure of the Father. To get into the kingdom, and to have a good treasure in the kingdom one is advised to sell all possessions off and give alms. When one sells ones possessions one gets money and that money shall be distributed as alms to get rid of it. In other words, one shall be poor in this world to enter into the kingdom and it is by becoming poor that one is buying a share in the kingdom.

I know a person, who has literally distributed all his wealth to the ones, who asked him therefore. Recently an Achen, who was a close ally to LL Catholicos HH Baselios Marthoma Mathew I narrated an incident similar. Bava Thirumeni had 42.5 laks of Rupees in his possession from the sales of Qurbanakramam, which he used to publish for decades. At his mid eighties, during 1980s, Bava Thirumeni would suddenly start distributing his wealth to anyone, who asked him. All the money was gone and his secretary Fr. Binoy (later LL Augen Mar Dionysius) told Bava Thirumeni that anymore checks would mean he would become bankrupt. That prompted Bava Thirumeni to preach a sermon about the need to become poor before dying. The Achen himself, who narrated this to me, heard it from Bava Thirumeni. It is very important to become poor, if one needs to enter into the kingdom.

One might think in the line, like Bava Thirumeni was a monk and a monk can distribute his wealth like that. In fact a monk is not supposed to own anything as well. Can we, the ones, who live in this world

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Church News News

Managing Committee Proposes to Appoint Mar Nicholavos as Metropolitan of NE America


KOTTAYAM: The Malankara Managing Committee met on Thursday, February 24, 2011 proposed to the Holy Episcopal Synod to appoint Zachariah Mar Nicholavos as Metropolitan of North-East American Diocese.

The Holy Episcopal Synod that meets on February 25 will take a final decision upon this issue and thereafter the Malankara Metropolitan will issue necessary orders to this effect. The meeting accepted the proposal that Pulikkottil Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, has put forth.

Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos of the East Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II presided over the meeting. The Malankara Metropolitan thankfully acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas, who had recently retired from all administrational duties of the Diocese of North-East America. “Metropolitan Mar Barnabas led the diocese for more than 18 years commendably”, observed the Pontiff.

Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese Pulikkottil Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios led the meeting with a thought provoking meditation. Malankara Association Secretary Dr. George Joseph read out the Notice Order from Malankara Metropolitan and presented the minutes of the previous meeting.

The meeting condoled over the demise of Prof. E.J. Thomas Chor-Episcopos, who had been vice principal of C.M.S. College Kottayam for many years. The meeting also congratulated Dr. Alexander Karackal, who successfully served the Malankara Managing Committee for more than 40 years, Raju M. Varghese, Chairman FOMA, and Dr. Shaji Varghese, who secured the Mar Philoxenos Kashiro Award for best teacher. The meeting unanimously decided to let no stone unturned to make the ‘Nazrani Meet – 2011’ on April 10 at Marine Drive, Ernakulam a grand success. Ranchiladi Estate, Karnataka, will from now on come under the administration of Brahmavar Diocese.

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Fr. M.P. George Procures Doctorate


KOTTAYAM: Fr. M.P. George, professor of liturgical music at Orthodox Theological Seminary and Director of Sruthi School of Liturgical Music was conferred with Ph.D. His area of study was Syriac liturgical music.

International Doctoral Committee for Syriac Studies headed by the famous Syriac Scholar and Professor at the Oxford University Prof. Sebastian Brock has recommended that Fr. George’s thesis was of outstanding quality to earn him the coveted honor.

Fr. George has transcribed the Syriac liturgical music into music notations and this was the first endeavor of its kind in India.

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Christian Consumerism in a Contemporary American Society

Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Christian values and beliefs are constantly being tested and tried in the society we live, on a daily basis. The rapacious greed to amass wealth beyond ones’ need has delivered a blow to the Christian faith and value system.

Jesus asked his disciples to leave all possessions and follow Him. Later He sends them to the corners of the world to spread his message of love for one another and asked others to take up His cross, a cross of pain and suffering. The message to love one’s own neighbor has changed now days ‘to keep up with the present media idol, to emulate his style, own his brand possessions and if possible to outsmart him in the list of things you own’. The value of material possessions are deemed as ‘net worth’ and are prized more than the spiritual worthiness. Material possessions offer more prestige in the eyes of the world as well. The materialistic world beckons and by no fault the multitude is drawn toward it, namely, the need to expand beyond the means and the necessities. Thus, large homes with outlandish decorations, expensive cars, designer dresses and accessories have become the fashion of the day and increasingly becoming the model to emulate. It, in consequence, forces people to consume more. To live the dreams out the system provides the means also to buy them. Thus self worth and point systems are introduced to assess a person’s credit worthiness and allow them to borrow more and follow the massive debt trap that swallowed this nation and brought us to the brink of destruction. The real spiritual worthiness of a Christian and his values are constantly forgotten in this loudly proclaimed ‘One Nation under God’ country that is richly bestowed with the potential to enrich the world both spiritually and materialistically.

We find ourselves in a culture that defines our relationships and actions primarily through a ‘prism of consumption’. Consumption has assembled a value judgment for everyone based on the goods we purchase. One’s identity is now constructed by the clothes you wear, the vehicle you drive, and the rich friends- of Wall Street fame you associate with. Consumerism has become the alternative symbol of identification to the Christian gospel. It is no longer merely an economic system; consumerism has become the American worldview – the framework through which we interpret everything else, including God, the gospel and Church. Jesus Christ is relegated to a lower status- from Lord to a label – where money has become the Lord supreme. To live as a Christian no longer carries an expectation of obedience and good works, but rather the perpetual consumption of Christian merchandise and experiences – music, books, t-shirts, conferences, Christian symbols richly adorned in jewelry. Thus the pastor has become the embodiment of a salesperson and evangelism the key market strategy. Thus mega churches and cities are being built that can trump constructions of other denominations and religions which are being heralded on a daily basis. The recent attempt to build a mosque near the old world trade center has created much furor. The proposed Hindu version of mega temple with multiplex cinema in Disney style has raised many eyebrows. The ordinary Christian is indoctrinated so much that this prevailing world view has mostly been accepted without questioning its authority or historical validity.

Consumerism in itself is not to be shunned as it helps to nurture the body where the spirit itself resides; the Jewish tradition always welcomed riches foods and occasions of grandeur but never supported amassing wealth through

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A Report of the Historic Events at Mumbai Diocese

Mumbai Diocese Accords an Astounding and Historic Welcome to the Supreme Head of The Indian Orthodox Church

The Supreme Head of The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulos II, Catholicose of the East and Malankara Metropolitan was given an arousing and august reception at Mumbai on 5th February, 2011. His Holiness arrived from Pune after a grand reception, where His Holiness has inaugurated Mumbai Diocese’s new ICSE school. The programme started at 3.30 p.m. Even in that hot sun thousands of faithful assembled at the Vashi St. Mary’s school ground, as a mark of the loyalty, allegiance and love to His Holiness. Each and every one was so eager and happy to make the reception a grand success and to make the mighty leader of the Orthodox Church happy. Bava Thirumeni was escorted to the dais by Diocesan Secretary – Rev. Fr. T. E. Isaac, School Principal – Rev. Fr. Abraham Joseph, Rev. Fr. Aswin Fernandez – Joint Secretary of Gregorian Community, all the revered Priests, the officials of the Diocesan Centre and of St. Mary’s school. It was an awesome experience to see that procession with Catholicate flag first (which was carried by Mr. M. C. Sunny – the Diocesan Council member), followed by the dignitaries. The school band did their job in an exemplary and appreciable manner. The procession also had ‘The Platter of Light’ (Thalappoli), adding colour and brightness as well as transforming the procession to spectacular especially with all paraphernalia, wherein 60 girls clad in Kerala Saree, ceremoniously carried a platter (thalam) in their hands having rice, fresh flowers, coconut and lighted lamp, signifying love, reverence, honor and prosperity.

His Grace Mar Coorilos welcomed His Holiness in a short speech, since one more welcome speech had to be done during the function of the school jubilee. Mar Coorilos expressed the joy in welcoming the Holy Father. His Holiness inaugurated the Birth Centenary celebration programmes of our former Diocesan Metropolitan, late lamented His Grace Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus, the mentor of the Diocese. All the churches of the Diocese participated in the function. The vicars/representatives of each Parish felicitated Bava Thirumeni by presenting woolen shawl/our Kerala special handloom ‘kasavu kavani’, which His Holiness appreciates much, as His Holiness distributes the same among the needy and poor. Also Mr. Kurien Daniel felicitated Bava Thirumeni on behalf of Trinity News. His Grace Mar Coorilos, on behalf of the Diocese, handed over the citation to Bava Thirumeni. Reception to the Holy Father concluded here. For the next function His Excellency, Sri Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, the Honourable Excise Minister – Mr. Ganesh Naik and the Navi Mumbai Mayor Mr. Sagar Naik had to arrive. Till their arrival, the talented choir took the audience to a divinely atmosphere with their devotional songs.

Dr. Mar Theophilus Birth Centenary & the Silver Jubilee Celebration of St. Mary’s Multipurpose School at the School Ground, Vashi.

His Excellency Sri Sankaranarayanan and the Honourable Excise Minister – Mr. Ganesh Naik were received at 5.30 p.m. by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, along with all other dignitaries, office bearers and school teachers. The guests of honour were also accompanied by the same school band and “thalappoli”. The Inauguration of Mar Theophilus Birth Centenary Award and Silver Jubilee celebration of St. Mary’s Multi Purpose High School were the purpose of this function. The function was presided by His Excellency Sri. Shankaranarayanan. State Excise Minister Hon. Ganesh Naik – who is an integral part of Mumbai Orthodox diocese (his own words), His Grace Yuhanon Mar Chrisostomos – Metropolitan of Niranam Dicocese and President of Balika Samajam, Rev. Fr. K. M. George – Principal Orthodox Theological Seminary and a great theologian of international reputation, Justice (Retd) Benjamin Koshy, Mr. Ashok Alexander – Mr. P. C. Alexander’s son (Executive Director of Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation for Public Health and Charities in India), and Navi Mumbai Mayor Mr. Sagar Naik (Nephew of Minister Mr. Ganesh Naik) were the other dignitaries along with the host His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan.

The programme started at 5.30 p.m. immediately after the arrival of the Governor and other dignitaries. The function started with prayers by His Holiness which was followed by welcome speech by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos. His Grace said “It is the most blessed occasion for the Diocese of Bombay and this august gathering to extend a very warm welcome to His Holiness the Catholicose and felicitate His Holiness for being elevated to the highest rank of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It is also a great privilege for us to celebrate the Birth Centenary of Late Lamented H.G. Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus, former Metropolitan and chief architect of the Diocese of Bombay and the Founder Manager of this St. Mary’s School which celebrates its silver jubilee. During the Birth Centenary celebrations, the first

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Ras Al Khaimah church consecration ceremony and felicitation to Bava Thirumeni


1. It was a matchless Church traditional function attended on 18th Feb, 2011 that the consecration ceremony of newly built St. Mary’s Orthodox Church at Ras Al Kaimah. I am very glad to see a new beautiful Orthodox Church and happy to congratulate the Vicar Fr. Manoj achen and all the dedicated team of congregation members. It is a fact that many have been toiling very hard for long years for the completion of this Church. I could physically look at the intercession of Mother Mary and God’s abundant blessings in fulfilling the desire of the Orthodox Children at RAK. On behalf of the Bangalore Diocese which I am representing now as Sabha Managing committee member, I appreciate the efforts and contributions of each and every congregation members and all the orthodox members at UAE.

The new church consecration ceremony was led by the supreme head of Malankara Orthodox Church His Holiness The Catholicose of the East as the Chief Celebrant assisted by H.G. Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim, Bangalore Diocesan Metropolitan, H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis, Thumpamon Diocesan Metropolitan H.G. Abraham Mar Epiphanios, Former Bangalore Diocesan Assistant Metropolitan and presently Sultan Battery Diocesan Metropolitan together with a host of respected priests.

The public function that followed was mainly to felicitate His Holiness The Catholicose at his maiden visit to UAE as Head of Malankara Orthodox Church. H.E. Ambassador of India to UAE Mr. Lokesh Mysore Kapanaiah was the Chief Guest. Three Orthodox Bishops, Ethiopian Orthodox Church arch Bishop Mar Abbha Demetrious, Mr. M.G. George muthoot, Sabha Trustee, Dr. George Joseph, Sabha Secretary and many dignitaries attended the programme. H H Bava Thirumeni in His Holiness’s words expressed satisfaction over the wonderful reception extended to him by the UAE Church members at the airport. Further His Holiness thanked the RAK ruler His Highness Sheik Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi for allotting the land and appreciated the RAK Orthodox community for building a beautiful Church. The RAK Church dedication function was marvelously arranged.

2.) I have attended the evening reception function for His Holiness The Catholicose of the East & Malankara Metropolitan By Dubai St. Thomas Orthodox cathedral. A thrilling traditional welcome was granted by the Church members to His Holiness and other three Metropolitans H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis, H.G. Abraham Mar Epiphanios, H.G. Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim and Sabha Trustee and Sabha Secretary. The procession at Church Premises was in traditional style with Chendamelam and chanting of Jai Jai Catholicose…. by the youth members was heard proudly around the Dubai Cathedral. The affection and excitement of the members showed to H H Bava Thirumeni was very impressive. H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis Thirumeni presided over the function. H H Bava Thirumeni reminded in his words to the congregation that to recognize the God’s gift to work in Dubai to all for accomplish the bright future and there by continue to help the needy of the society.

The writer Sam Cherian Karuvely is a Sabha Managing Committee Member.

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Features News Southwest America

Consecration of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Dallas on May 13,14,15


DALLAS: The newly constructed St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Farmers Branch, Dallas, Texas will be consecrated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 13,14 and 15, 2011.

Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitans Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II will be the chief celebrant, who will be assisted by other Metropolitans.

St. Mary’s Malankara Orthodox Church of Dallas was established in 1973. At present the parish is part of the South-west American diocese.

The meeting held after Holy Qurbana on Sunday, February 20, 2011, elected Rusk Jacob as the General Convener of the 101 member Consecration committee. Consecration Committee include various sub committees for the smooth conduct of events.

Fr. Thampan Varghese is serving the parish as vicar. Prince Zachariah and Roy Thomas are Trustee and Secretary for the current year.

News sent in: Biji Baby Uzhathil

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Sabha Bhasura Perunal -Apostolic Blessings, Feb. 23, 2011

By joicethottackad