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Christ makes Himself available for us to travel together: Dr Mar Yulios

MUSCAT: As the 50-day Lenten season reaches the mid-stage, the Orthodox faithful gets closer to the Lord amidst trials and temptations and for a season of constant vigil and prayer.

Sharing his thoughts, Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, compares the 50-day period as a journey to get closer to the Lord.

“In the Biblical context, during the exodus of the people of Israelites from Egypt, we read the account of the snake on a pole. The people had grumbled against God and God sent fiery serpents into their midst. Many who were bitten died. The people repented and complained to Moses. The Lord God told Moses to make a bronze snake and lift it up on a pole. Those looking at the snake on a pole would be rescued from the fiery serpents.”
Numbers 21: 8-9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Dr Mar Yulios points out during this season, in the midst of difficulties and calamities like the Japanese tsunami and earthquake, Sleeba (Christ) is coming down to us and we are travelling together. Symbolically connecting it to the life of Christ, the Metropolitan says the most important point is despite being bogged down with troubles, we have to be one with Christ. “He abdicates the thronos (Cross) comes down to us and we have to make ourselves available to Him to travel together..”

The next weeks will see an ascension in the run up to events like the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. During the season, the faithful venerate the wooden cross (upon entering the church) both at the entry and exit, which itself testimonies as a ‘perfect symbol of Christ.’ …”we are looking at the cross and those who looked at Him were saved.” Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. Ephesian 6:14

In the same way, His Grace connects this to Northo or Golgotha (Calvary). The metropolitan’s Staff (Amshavadi) having two bent down serpents to the elevated Cross and those who look to it and prayed are saved.

Dr Mar Yulios winds his 3-week visit to the Sultanate of Oman when he leads the Holy Eucharist at the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church (MGOC) Muscat on April 1.

Diocese News Features News

Dr Mar Seraphim’s Sunthronito: Massive show of strength, unity by Orthodox faithful

Catholicos accorded matchless reception in Bangalore
Dr Mar Seraphim’s parents attend ceremony

BANGALORE : Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim is finally enthroned as the Bishop of the newly created Bangalore Diocese.

8 months after formally taking charge, the Sunthronito ceremony for its shepherd was held at the St Gregorious Cathedral on March 27 morning. The Supreme Head and Catholicos of the East Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II led the sacred ceremony and handed over the staff (Amshavadi) to the Metropolitan.

Amongst the august audience at the hour-long ceremony were Dr Mar Seraphim’s aged parents V M Mathews and Annie Mathews from Omaloor, Vadutala (Pathanamthitta) who were honoured. Dr Mar Seraphim’s home parish is St Basil Dayara, Pathanamthitta.

Metropolitans Geevarghese Mar Coorilose (Metropolitan Mumbai Diocese), Kuriakose Mar Clemis (Metropolitan, Thumpamon), Dr Yuhanon Mar Theovodorus (Metropolitan Kottarakkara, Punaloor), Dr Zachariah Mar Aprem (Metropolitan Adoor-Kadampanaadu Diocese) blessed the ceremony with their prayers and presence.

Also present were a host of Rembans, Cor-Episcopas, priests, deacons from Bangalore and elsewhere. The Enthronement Ceremony was preceded by the Holy Eucharist where the Catholicos was the chief celebrant.

Dr Mar Seraphim addressed the audience after the coronation.

Earlier, a day prior to the big event (March 26), the Supreme Head of Malankara Orthodox was accorded a matchless reception upon arrival at the Bangalore International Airport and later at a public reception at the Campus Crusade for Christ Auditorium.

Prof K V Thomas, Union Minister graced the function as the chief guest.

Dr V S Acharya, Hon’ble Minister for Higher Education represented the Karnataka government in the absence of the Chief Minister Dr B S Yedyurappa and Home Minister R Ashok. A host of Christian legislators from Bangalore namely N A Haris and K J George and J Alexander (ex-MLA) attended the function.

As a fillip to ecumenical relations with other Christian communities, Most Rev Dr Bernard Moras, Archbishop, Bangalore Archdiocese and Rev Fr M O Oommen (Marthoma Church) felicitated the Catholicose.

Earlier upon arrival at the reception venue, the Catholicose was led in a procession of ceremonially dressed guards mounted on caparisoned white horses, motorbikes with Malankara Orthodox flags and decorative umbrellas (muthukkuda).

Rhythmic beats of chenda melam artistes reached its crescendo when the dignitaries entered the venue with His Holiness received along with the retinue up to the dias by St Marys League members. All of them dressed in traditional Kerala attire holding the Thalapoli and lit candles showering flowers lining the passage. A choir comprising of choristers from all churches

in Bangalore and a special orchestra welcomed His Holiness by chorusing Catholica Mangala Gaanam. Chants of Jai, Jai Catholicose rent the air as His Holiness entered to a grand welcome.

Diocesan Secretary Cor-Episcopos T K Thomas welcomed the gathering for commencing the three-hour long program.


Features News Northeast America

Dn. Markose Mani Passed Away in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA: Dn. Markose Mani passed away at Philadelphia on March 26, 2011 at 7.00 am. He hailed from Kanakkalil family, Manarkaadu, Kottayam. Deacon Mani was born to E. M. Mani and Mariamma Mani on August 17, 1934 and was 76. He belonged to St. George Orthodox Church, Puthuppally, Kottayam.

Funeral is to take place Forest Hill Cemetery on Saturday, April 2 after Holy Qurbana at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Philadelphia. Wake will be at 5.00 pm on Friday, April 1 at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Bensalem.

Dn. Mani is survived by his wife Aleyamma and sons Dr. Jiji Mani and Cherian Mani.

Dn. Mani was interested in spiritual matters from his early days of his life, which eventually led him to theological training at Nagpur Seminary from 1996 -1999. Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas of American Diocese ordained him as Deacon in 2002.

He was the Sunday School Headmaster in the St. Paul’s Church, Rourkela, Orissa for sixteen years. Once in the USA, he was a dedicated member of St. Gregorios Church, Philadelphia. He held various positions in the church including the first Secretary and first Headmaster of Sunday School. He was very much interested in the Orthodox Church history and orthodox faith also. He was involved in various community organizations namely KALAA, Philadelphia Ecumenical Fellowship and Philadelphia Kottayam Association.

He reached America in 1976 and had served as Respiratory Therapist. After having completed his MBA he worked for Alianz LIfe Insurance and Larson and Tubro for 18 years before reaching the US.

News Sent In: Dr. Rajan Mathew

Diocese News Features News

Enthronement of Dr. Mar Seraphim – Catholicos of the East As Chief Celebrant

BANGALORE: Enthronement or Sunthronitho of Metropolitan Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim is to take place on March 27, Sunday at 11.00 am.

The youngest bishop of Malankara Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim will be enthroned during the ceremony as the head of the Bangalore diocese by the Catholiocos and Malankara Metropolitan Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II.

Morning prayers began at 8.00 am after the official welcome to the Pontiff and other Metropolitans.

The Holy Eucharist will be led by the Catholicos of the East and will begin at 9 am at the St Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral, Hosur Road.

Geevarghese Mar Coorilose (Metropolitan, Mumbai Diocese), Dr Yuhanon Mar Theovodorus (Metropolitan, Kottarakkara, Punaloor), Dr Zachariah Mar Aprem (Metropolitan, Adoor-Kadampanaadu Diocese) are will be assisting the Catholicos during the lengthy services.

“Priests and faithful from all 22 parishes of the diocese are seriously counting on to make the event the most memorable one. We expect more than 5000 people to witness the events”, said Fr. Mani K. Varhgese, one of the senior clergy of the Diocese to IOH.


Features MGOCSM News

OCYM Annual Conference to Take Place in October at Delhi

This Year’s Theme will be ‘Learning St. Thomas Heritage and Lessons of Discernment’
Mid Lent Wednesday To be Observed as ‘Day of Prayer’
Use Voting Rights Intelligibly and Prayerfully

KOTTAYAM: Metropolitan Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos, President, OCYM, issued orders to all units of the Movement to get themselves ready for this year’s Annual Conference, which will take place at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Hauz Khaz, and will be conducted under the auspices of the Diocese of Delhi. Dates for the conference were confirmed as October 5, 6, 7, and 8.

The order that also address current geological and political fiascoes around the globe as well as election scenario in Kerala was dated March 20, 2011 and was issued from the St. Thomas Bhavan, Central Office of OCYM, near Old Seminary, Kottayam.

Usually the OCYM Annual Conferences are conducted in May. However, due to the location outside Kerala this year, the dates are pushed 5 months later.

“‘Learning St. Thomas Heritage and Lessons of Discernment’ will be the theme for this year’s conference”, says the order from Metropolitan Mar Polycarpos. “Handbook on the theme will soon be published. Diocesan level seminars basing the main theme shall be conducted on a timely manner”, urges the Metropolitan.

Since the conference was to take place in Delhi, each parish should select two members to represent the unit at the conference. Registrations should be made before May 30 and registration fees would be Rs 200.00. Train charges remained Rs 1200.00. Therefore, total registration for each representative would be Rs 1400.00 and should be paid by the respective parishes, orders the OCYM President.

The order further admonishes OCYM members to offer special prayers for everyone working in the Arabian Gulf that they are protected spiritually, physically and economically. The order also admonishes the Youth of the Church to pray for spiritual strenght and comfort of all, who were affected by the recent tsunami in Japan. Members of OCYM are exhorted also to pray to God to protect humanity from potentially harmful radiations possible from atomic reactors all around the world. “Everyone is duty bound to do everything possible for accomplishing the above said in the name of God. It is our duty to do so during prayers of seven watches of the day. Moreover, Mid Lent Wednesday shall be observed as ‘Day of Prayer'”, exhorts Metropolitan Mar Polycarpos.

President of OCYM quoted St. Matthew 10:16 to remind all members with voting right to remain intelligent like serpents and innocent like doves. “Use your voting right intelligibly and prayerfully as a weapon against those, who pose stumbling blokes against accomplishing justice for the Church. You shall also follow guidelines given from the Church leadership from time to time”, concludes the order from Metropolitan Mar Polycarpos.

Features News Uk And Europe

Metropolitan Mar Thimothios Reached South Africa

JOHANNESBURG: Metropolitan Dr. Mathews Mar Thimothios of UK, Europe and Africa Diocese reached South Africa and is on his second apostolic visit to the far southern region of the diocese.

“We are very happy that our faithful have bought a very good parsonage and a plot for constructing a Church. They did a commendable job”, said the Metropolitan in his note of felicitation about the faithful in South Africa.

The Metropolitan is to go to Botswana and Tanzania as part of his mission to visit the Orthodox faithful there.

Metropolitan Dr. Mar Thimothios will arrive at Dubai on April 13 and visit various parishes in the UAE until May 11. Peak of his visit to the UAE will be the Holy Week Services at St. Thomas Cathedral, Dubai.

Diocese News Features News

Observe Holy Lent Strictly to Receive Heavenly blessings: Dr. Mar Dionysius

BHOPAL: “Holy Lent is an utmost important event in one’s life , and one should follow the lent strictly to receive blessings upon blessings from heaven”, said Metropolitan Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius of the Diocese of Calcutta. Metropolitan was addressing the faithful during his two day visit, 19, 20 March 2011, to the St. Thomas Cathedral, Bhopal, .

Dr. Mar Dionysius also blessed the new house bought by the Cathedral and dedicated it to the Church. Mar Dionysius also launched the new website of St. Thomas Cathedral, Bhopal. He also appreciated the parish members, who worked behind the creation of the website.

Chor-Episcopos Mathias Ramban, the Diocesean Secretary, Fr. Geevarghese Ramban, Vice-president of Bhilai Mission, Fr. Raju Thomas, Treasurer Bhilai Mission, Fr. Joseph Sunny John, Principal, MGM school, Itarsi, Fr. M. J. Mathew, Vicar, St Gregorios Orthodox Church, Kolar, Fr. Abraham P. J., Manager, Abhaya Niketan, Makodiya, Fr. T. S. Mathai, Vicar, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Bhopal, and Fr. Giju George, the Asistant vicar were also present during the occasion.

News Sent In: Fr. P. S. Varghese

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St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Melbourne Elevated as Cathedral

MELBOURNE: Reading out the Bull from Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Metropolitan of Chennai Diocese Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros proclaimed that the parish has been elevated to the rank of a Cathedral. The proclamation was received with loud applause.

The declaration was made after Holy Qurbana on Sunday, March 20, 2011. Metropolitan Dr. Mar Dioscoros was the chief celebrant and Fr. K.Y. Chacko and Fr. Charles Philipose con-celebrated with the Metropolitan.

The public meeting thereafter honored the founding and initial members of the parish. Sunday School Annual Day was also observed.

The Metropolitan handed over trophy to the Melbourne team, who came first at the talent search competitions and sports during the conference of OCYM at Sydney.

The Cathedral Declaration Committee was also felicitated for their hard work for the success of the event.

News Sent In: Thomas Panicker, Melbourne

Features News Northeast America

Sunday School Teachers’ Training Camp Held at Staten Island

NEW YORK: Area 3, the Staten Island Unit Teachers’ Training Conference of the North-East American Diocese was held on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at St. George Orthodox Church, Staten Island, New York.

Around 30 teachers from Staten Island Sunday Schools attended.

Fr. Alex K. Joy, vicar of the host parish opened the program with a prayer. Varughese Mathew, Principal of Sunday School, St. George Orthodox Church, Staten Island, made a brief introduction to the program and welcomed the attendees.

Dr. Alex Thomas made a commendable presentation on teaching techniques, special education for scholar students, which was followed by a model class as well. Korah T. Mani briefed on the Teachers’ Training Certificate Program. Viji Kurian, the Centralized Examination Coordinator, and. Aju Thomas, the Area Coordinator, also addressed the gathering.

There was an open forum for discussion and a question and answer session subsequently .

Dr. Skaria Oommen, Cicily Sunny, Sunny Abraham, Annamma Mathew and Linda Mathew felicitated the occasion.

Abraham Eapen moved vote of thanks to all participants.

A traditional Indian lunch was also arranged afterward for the participants.

News sent in: Varghese Mathew

Features Gulf News

MGOC Supplement in Manorama to Commemorate Catholiose visit to Oman

MUSCAT: Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church (MGOC) Muscat issued out a full-page supplement in the Malayala Manorama (Dubai edition, issued dated March 17) to commemorate the maiden visit of HH Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicose and Malankara Metropolitan to the Sultanate of Oman (March 17-19, 2011).

The advertisement contained the profile and programme schedule of the Catholicos with large size photos and of HG Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese.

Also of the nine-member executive members who toiled hard for successful visit of His Holiness under the Presidentship of MGOC Vicar Rev Fr James Geevarghese. Other executive members include: P C Cherian (Trustee), O Thomas (Co-Trustee), John Thomas (Secretary), Jacobs Kuriakose (Sabha Managing Committee Member), Cherian P Thomas (Diocesan Council Member), Geevarghese Yohannan (Finance Committee Convenor), Abraham Mathew (Reception Committee Convenor) and P K Koshy (Supplement & Media Committee Convenor).

Photos of the 18-member MGOC committee members for 2010-11 were also included. The supplement was brought out with sponsorship and best compliments from various companies in Oman.

The print and online media also extensively covered the visit of His Holiness.
Some of them were:
Manorama supplement and Gulf Madhyamam Daily

Oman Tribune (March 22)

Oman Daily Observer (March 19)