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Dr Mar Irenaios shares thoughts at Congress of Asian Theologians in Seoul

# Indian society not doing enough to confront problem of migrants
# Says it’s clear violation of basic human rights and respect
#Flays exploitation of ‘children of lesser God’
# “We shall be judged, if we ignore these hapless human beings: Dr Mar Irenaios

SEOUL, South Korea — The seventh Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS VII) will be held at the Methodist Theological University, in Seoul, S Korea from June 30 to July 6. The Congress will debate on the theme “Embracing and embodying God’s hospitality today.”

Dr Yakob Mar Irenaios, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese, will represent the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church. His Grace will share a panel discussion on the theme “Household of God-Embracing our neighbours,” on July 2 afternoon.

The other panelists along with Mar Irenaios will be Dr Gemma Cruz and Lian Hang Do Rev Dr Huang Po Ho will be the moderator. The opening worship service in the morning will be led by Rev Dr Kim Hong Ki, President of Methodist Theological University.

An intellect of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox, Dr Mar Irenaios will share his thoughts on the ‘problems of migrant workers’ of India at CATS VII. His Grace feels that their case is a clearly one of discrimination, injustice and widely exploited by the ‘agents’.

The beneficiaries of their sweat include even the Christians with the result being violation of basic human rights and respect for them being a total nightmare. The monsoon has also compounded their woes and this is a unique problem that the Indian society confronts at the moment.
The Metropolitan regrets that we need to be ashamed of the treatment meted out to these ‘children of a lesser God,’ and on theological lines acknowledges that we are all ‘migrants’ here on the earth!

Metropolitan quotes from Exodus on the issue of migrant workers and compares the suffering people as the Hebrews and the exploiters being the Egyptians. “God shall act in his own way at the right moment. Anyway, we shall be judged, if we ignore the human rights of these hapless human beings!,” His Grace adds.

Rev Dr Henriette H Lebang, General Secretary of CCA, Rev Dr Young Ju Kim, General Secretary of NCCK, Rev Dr Moon Sung Mo, Chairperson of KAATS (Korea Association of Accredited Theological Schools) will deliver the inaugural address.

Representatives from India who will represent other various other religious denominations include Rev Sam Koshy T, Marthoma Church, Fr Greger R Kollanoor, Syrian Orthodox, Rev A Jayakumar, Evangelical Church of India, Rev Dr P Mohan Larbeer, Secretary, Biblical and Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College (BTESSC), Ms R R Irish Raih, Rev Dr Vanlalchhuannawma from North East, Dr Atola Longkumer from North East, Rev J Jeremiah Anderson, CSI, Rev Dr R R D Sajeeva Raju from Lutheran Church, Dr Hrangath Chungi and Rev Dr Ivy Singh from the Madurai Theological Seminary.

On the sidelines of CATS VII, the organisers will also hold a Women’s Forum on the afternoon of July 1.

This will provide for a special time for women to be together, share their concerns as women theologians and exchange theological insights on the theme of CATS and to reflect ourselves on what we contribute to promote Asian theology individually and also collectively.

There will also be a group discussion to tackle issues that will be raised by the women’s sharing as well as to bring these into dialogue with other issues.

The rationale of the theme for theologians from across the region who will come together, reflect on and celebrate together God’s hospitality, which is embraced and experienced through the church, neighbours and creation, and which are called to embody and witness in our own contexts.

The Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS) is a bi-tri-annual conference of theologians throughout Asia, founded in 1997 by Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), South Asia Theological Research Institute of the Board of Theological Education of Senate of Serampore College (SATHRI BTE-SSC), Association of Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA), and the Program for Theologies and Cultures in Asia (PTCA). It was later joined by some others, most notably by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

The first CATS was held in Suwon, Korea in 1997, followed by Bengaluru (India), Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Hong Kong and Iloilo (Philippines).

Diocese News Features News

St Thomas Orthodox Fellowship, Hitec City meeting on June 30

First prayer meeting on the Feast of the Apostles, June 30,2011 –file photo

Hyderabad: Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim, Metropolitan of Bangalore Diocese will address the prayer meeting of the St Thomas Orthodox Fellowship, Hitec City, Hyderabad on June 30th at 3:00PM.

The Orthodox Fellowship in Hitec City, Hyderabad was started with a prayer meeting in the home of one of the members on the Feast of the Apostles (June 30th ) in 2011.

With the blessings of Mar Seraphim, the name of the fellowship was changed to St Thomas Orthodox Fellowship – Hitec City. Earlier the fellowship was known as Hyderabad Orthodox Hitec City Fellowship.

Fr Santhosh Samuel, Vicar of St Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral, Hyderabad is in charge of the fellowship. All the other Vicars of the parishes in the region and regional priests, guides the fellowship by taking turns in offering Holy Eucharist and leading prayer meetings in the fellowship.

The primary aim of the fellowship is to provide spiritual support to all the Orthodox Christians working in and around Hitec City, most of them being bachelors, who are from various places, staying away from their families.

For more information contact : Fr Santhosh Samuel (9441922344, Elizabeth Cherian (8008096769, or Kiran Raj (9581001218,

Reported by: Kiran Raj

Columns Features Opinions

Urgent funds needed to complete Parumala St Gregorios Cancer Care Centre by 2014

# Fr Shaji M Baby, Finance Director, begins Gulf visit to source funds
# Long-term investors to be issued bonds signed by HH Catholiocs
# Work now on in progress at Blocks ‘A’ and ‘B’
# Building when complete to have 10 floors, with 2 in the underground
# Individuals and corporate companies requested to contribute

MUSCAT: Fr Shaji Mukadiyil Baby is a man on an urgent mission. The newly appointed Finance Director of St Gregorios International Cancer Care Centre is presently undertaking a visit to Orthodox churches in the Gulf to source funds for the timely completion of the cancer care centre by 2014.

Fr Shaji, appointed by HH the Catholicos 6 months back, looks after the financial aspects of the construction work and is engaged in sourcing funds required to complete the work on time for this prestigious project. He is presently visiting Orthodox church members in Muscat and Salalah to drum up support towards this missionary cause.

At the Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka (MGOME), Fr Shaji screened a documentary titled “Thoovalsparsham” detailing about the latest works being undertaken at the centre and explained to the parishioners about the urgent need to fulfill the task on time. By 2014, the dream project of the Cancer Care Centre aimed at providing treatment for cancer patients at an affordable cost should be ready. Structural work for the project should be ready in 18 months time.

Later addressing a meeting of the parishioners in the presence of MGOME Vicar/President Rev Fr Joji George and Associate Vicar, Fr Binu John Thomas, Fr Shaji explained about the dire need for funds to stave off an impending crisis. “The construction is divided into 3 blocks namely A, B & C with A, B being the ongoing projects. “At present building for the first floor is on. On an average we require over a crore each month for the construction works to carry on smoothly. The ground level will have 2 floors with the remaining 8 coming above for a total of 10 floors. Due to shortage of funds, I decided to visit the Gulf countries where I am confident the Orthodox faithful will help me in this hour of crisis.”
Contributors investing in the project can get back the amount after 5 years. They will be provided bonds signed by HH the Catholicos. They also stand to benefit from yearly treatments. Institutions, churches and individuals can also name the wards in memory of their dear ones and have plaques installed.

Fr Shaji, former Vicar of Muscat Maha Edavaka, began his Gulf visit upon instructions from the Supreme head of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church. He will also soon undertake visits to Orthodox churches in the UAE.

The prestigious Rs 120-crore project and the only one of its kind in Asia when ready, is being owned and managed by the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Orthodox Church. Chennai-based Consolidated Construction Consortium (CCCL) are the lead builders for the project.

Presently the project is under the direct supervision of Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II who is aided by three other Metropolitans in Dr Mathews Mar Severios, Metropolitan, Kandanad West, Dr Yuhanon Mar Chrisostomos, Metropolitan, Niranam, and Dr Zachariah Mar Aprem, Metropolitan, Adoor Diocese.

A seven-member executive committee, technical committee, engineers, supervisors, project directors meets every Wednesday to take stock of the progress on the project and also holds technical meetings.

Work on the cancer centre began in 2009. The structural work for the mega project is expected to be over by next year and the centre is expected to be fully operational by 2014.

The St Gregorios Medical Mission at Parumala, since 1975, already possesses clinical facilities, except radiotherapy facility at the centre. The full-fledged cancer centre will have exclusive cancer wards, qualified and experienced personnel and radiotherapy treatment facilities. The new facility will have 17 different departments including palliative care, hospice, nuclear medicine, radio therapy and others.

In January this year, the final concreting of bunker area was held marking an important mile stone of the Cancer Care Centre. The concreting of the bunker roof was held non-stop for 64 hours by Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC).

The project boasts 350,000 square feet building with 450 beds. Also planned is a Medical City that includes a world class Cardio Vascular Centre headed by famous cardio vascular surgeon Dr K M Cherian, a De-addiction Centre, and Mar Osthathios Palliative Services (MOPS).

Fr Shaji Baby has kindly requested to contribute towards this healing mission built in the name of saint Parumala.

Contact the Finance Director on +91- 9446600107, +91-9526390810
Cheques/drafts in favour of SGICCC, Parumala.
A/C # 11310200003697, IFSC Code: FDRL 0001131
Federal Bank, Mannar – 689 622, Kerala, India.
St Gregorios International Cancer Care Centre (SGICCC)
Parumala P O, Pathanamthitta Dist, Kerala – 689 626
Tel: +91 479-2312266/2312465
Fax: +91-479-2312866

Features News Southwest America

A Malayalee from California receives Award in television broadcasting

LOS ANGELES: Jobin Panicker of Los Angeles, California won an Emmy® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Jobin is a television reporter and anchor for NBC in Fresno, California. He won in the area of writing and he has been honored with seven television awards dating back to 2010.

Jobin Panicker, son of Fr. Yohannan Panicker (Mecherayil Veedu, Kundara) and late Lilly Panicker. Jobin is married to Jenni Panicker.

Diocese News Features News

Kidney Foundation of Bengaluru Diocese; a unique project of Malankara Orthodox Church

# Holy Synod to tackle kidney ailments on a war footing as ‘mission’ of the church
# Orthodox dioceses urged to implement them in each parish as a ‘project’
# Kidney Foundation to work jointly with Daya Bhavan, Kunigal
# Parishes to conduct screening tests for its members through medical camps
# Priority for bread winners who cannot afford costly treatment

BENGALURU: The Bengaluru Diocese under the dynamic leadership of Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim has officially launched the Kidney Foundation of the Diocese. Kidney Foundation of Bengaluru Diocese will be implemented in a phased manner in close collaboration with Daya Bhavan, an initiative of Malankara Orthodox Church Mission Board.

Thus Bengaluru Diocese becomes the first diocese of the Indian Orthodox Church to launch this novel venture to help those with kidney related problems.

Considering the trauma and miseries caused due to kidney, the Holy Synod of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church felt the need to tackle this issue as a ‘mission’ of the Church and directed the dioceses to implement them in each parish as a ‘project’.

The main objectives of the Foundation will be to create a public awareness of kidney disease and its prevention. It will also involve managing the patients with kidney ailments and tackle social issues surrounding the families of CKD patients. Its strategy will involve medical screening and categorization for identifying the potential CKD patients.

Bengaluru Diocese launched the new venture on June 12. The maiden meeting was also attended by priests, trustees, secretaries, medical doctors, nurses and para-medical personnel from the Bengaluru city. The meeting also decided to conduct awareness programmes about the disease among all the 12 parishes of the Diocese followed by medical camps.

The members also decided that each participating parish will be required to conduct screening tests for their members through medical camps or make arrangements with local hospitals.

The results from these medical tests will help provide the current statistics of the parish members. However, members whose financial resources are inadequate can approach the church for financial as well as medical assistance. The diocese may evaluate these requests based on established criteria including financial status, age to identify the deserving patients. Preference will be given to the sole breadwinners of the family, especially those in the age group of 30-40 years. After ascertaining about the group of patients, their mode of treatment and its financial implications are to be addressed.

The Kidney Foundation has formed two committees to work out its plans and programmes. These are the administrative committee, executive committee and an advisory council. The Executive Committee which will have the Metropolitan as the President. Others include the vice president, co-ordinator, treasurer, a representative from Daya Bhavan and others.

Another important group in the Foundation will be the role of the Parish Forum which will have a Core Committee to achieve the Foundations objectives with tenure of three years.

The Vicar of the parish will be the chairman and will elect a coordinator from among the members. It will also elect a Kidney Foundation Bangalore Diocese representative while others will be from MGOCSM, Youth League and St Mary’s League. The vicar can nominate three members who can work for the forum preferably from the medical field. Each parish will be treated as an “Autonomous Body” under the guidance of the Diocese.
After categorisation of the patient, the report will be submitted to the President through the Vicar with emphasis solely on the bread winners who cannot afford the treatment. Patients who cannot meet the expenses will be considered for subsidized treatment by the local parish.

Features News Uk And Europe

Fr.M.K.Kuriakose to head UK Family Conference 2012 in August

LONDON: The annual family conference of the Diocese of UK-Europe and Africa will be held on the weekend 24 to 26 of August 2012 at Whitemoor Lakes, Staffordshire, under the patronage of the Diocesan Metropolitan, Dr. Mathews Mar Thimothios.

The theme of the conference will be ‘AT THE CROSS ROADS? The conference will look at the theme in different angles and a Christian Response’ in today’s fast changing contexts in relation to social, economic, political and religious impacts.

Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, vicar of St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church, Philadelphia, will be the keynote speaker for the conference.

The other eight vibrant Key speakers are Fr. Mat Alexander. Miss. Mariam Ceena Varghese, Fr. Vijay Abraham, Mrs. Elizabeth Joy, Fr. Abraham Thomas. Very Rev.M.S.Skariah Ramban and Dr.Manoj Kurian(WCC).

The venue, Staffordshire and Whitmoor Lakes , is a full-fledged, brand new lakeside residential holiday and conference centre with unique southwest facing views across a 40 acre lake ,home to various migratory and indigenous birds- a truly inspirational location.

“This conference will be a wonderful opportunity for all the Indian Orthodox families within UK and around, to come together for a time of fellowship and celebration to nurture spiritual, cultural, and social development” .said Dr.Thomas Jacob [Remmy] to IOH today

More than 350 resident delegates are expected to attend the conference this year

Highlights of the conference will be:

• Prayer routine and Holy Qurbana • Parallel streams and programs catering to different age groups, • Group discussion & interactive forums • Parallel session for children under 12 & toddler group • Congregational singing with high quality audio and musical accompaniment. • Archana- A Christian Cultural experience- A different expression of praise and worship incorporating the entire Congregation. This will include traditional and contemporary Christian performing arts propagating Christian themes and prayers to the accompaniment of traditional and modern music style and arrangements. The program will conclude with a Grand Catholicate Centenary Extravaganza which promises to be rich in quality and diversity! • At the Cross-Retreat!! An emotional journey to the Cross through liturgical song, music & prayer. • Camp fire for youth- Combination of traditional British sketches, riddles, stories and typical Mallu Anthaksharies.
• Team games, adventure activities & social networking opportunities. • Pre conference discussion on face book guided by the speakers. • Clergy meeting and fellowship • Sunday school teachers meet and update • Strong youth presence.

Theme Promo video
Key speaker’s promo Video
Venue Promo Video

For registration and information


Dr.Thomas Jacob [Remmy]

Mr.Baiju Kuriakose

Dr.Ajay Mathews

Dr.Sandeep Mathews

Features News Parish News

Send off to senior members at Muscat Maha Edavaka

MUSCAT : C M Geevarghese and Mary Varghese, have finally bid adieu to Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka (MGOME) and the Sultanate of Oman. Both senior members they joined as members of the then Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church on August 18, 1978.

Finally, after over three decades, the couple, bid adieu to various church activities and to the Sultanate of Oman on June 1, Friday. They have now settled down in Jagaty, Thiruvanthapuram.

Mary Varghese virtually held the fort as Head Mistress of the Maha Edavaka for 12 long years. During her tenure, the Sunday School students performed excellently in the OSSAE-OKR, Sunday School Final Certificate (SSFC) Exams for four consecutive years from 2008 onwards. The high point of her tenure came in 2010 when the Maha Edvaka under Ahmedabad Diocese emerged as the best Sunday School in the Outside Kerala Region in India and the entire GCC region.

Several spiritual organizations of MGOME like the Mortha Mariyam Samajam, Sunday School, MGOCYM, MGOCSM and the Maha Edavaka hosted countless farewell functions to the couple for their exemplary service towards the church and for the ministry work.

Fr Joji George, Vicar, in his address on the occasion praised the services rendered by the couple especially that of Mary Varghese.

Presenting a memento with a profile picture of Mary, Fr Joji blessed and urged her to continue her good services in the years to come in her new place in Kerala.

Sunday School first began at the Church way back in 1982. Mary Varghese joined as a teacher the very next year in August 1983. For the next 29-and-a-half years, none would have imagined that she will be able to guide the fortunes of this important spiritual organization. From a paltry 2 teachers and 25 students in 1983, she has seen it all. Now, at the time of her departure, the Sunday School strength has grown manifold and presently has bloomed to 23 teachers and over 450 students.

Mary Varghese was able to control the spiritual fortunes of many of the Sunday School students and give them a direction for 12 years as Principal of the Sunday School since 1999. She finally volunteered after gave up her post in 2011 after serving for a long 12 years.

Mary Varghese is the daughter of Very Rev C V John Cor-Episcopa. She hails from Cherikirethu Puthen Veedu, in Elanthur Pathanamthitta district. They have two children in Dr Mathew Varghese and Ann Betty Varghese. Dr Mathew is an Ophthalmologist at Rustaq Hospital, Sultanate of Oman while Betty is settled in the United States.

Mary Varghese also served as an Editor for Vineyard, the parish bulletin of MGOME.

Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan head Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios has also extended all best wishes to Mary Varghese and C M Geevarghese and acknowledged their services to the church and the ministry.

Features Gulf News

Abu Dhabi Cathedral Receives EEG Award for Mobile Recycling Campaign

ABU DHABI: The environmental activities of St George Orthodox Cathedral are adorned by EEG, a pioneer in the field of environmental activism in U.A.E.

In glittering ceremony held in the conference center of Dubai Knowledge village, Mr. Abdul Aziz Al Midfa, Vice Chairperson, handed over the award to Fr.Jose Chemmon in the presence of former Minister for Environment and Water H.E. Dr. Mohamed Saeed Al Kindi and other distinguished guests from various segments of the society.

EEG has also awarded Dubai Police, Dubai Muncipality, DUBAL, OUR OWN SCHOOL and other champions of environmental cause during the occasion.This is the second consecutive time St George Orthodox Cathedral, Abu Dhabi, is getting the award for the green initiatives.

News sent in: Bino V John

Features Gulf News

Thanal ‘Care for Life’ Project in aid of cancer patients Launched

MUSCAT: Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka has launched its popular Thanal Project (“Care for Life”) for 2012-13 in aid of cancer patients.

On June 1, Friday, it launched the ‘Care for Life’ project at the Ruwi St Thomas Church in the presence of Fr Joji George, Vicar, Fr Binu John Thomas, Associate Vicar, members of the managing committee and parishioners.

The highlight of the event was an enlightening short talk on cancer and how best it can be prevented by Dr Rajan Balakishnan, Senior Consultant and Head, Radiation Oncology section, The Royal Hospital, Sultanate of Oman. Dr Rajan who has done pioneering work with Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, pointed out that the disease, if diagnosed during early stages was curable. He said breast cancer and brain malignancy were the most common cancers. “The notion that treating cancer was very expensive was wrong and said that it was both expensive and less expensive depending on the intensity of the disease,” Dr Rajan said adding that controlling diet, weight and exercising regularly would go a long way in warding off such dreadful diseases.

He praised the initiative of the Maha Edavaka towards taking up the noble cause of cancer patients and wished all success to the project. Dr Rajan also thanked Dr Prakash Ninan, Co-Trustee, for providing him an opportunity to come over and present the short talk to the parishioners.

Earlier, Fr Joji George, in his address said there were over 300 different known varieties of cancer and called upon all to approach cancer patients in a way of palliative care which aims to reduce the physical, emotional and psycho social distress.

Fr Joji requested the members to contribute generously towards this noble cause and make it a grand success. He said the aid will be earmarked for genuine cancer cases irrespective of caste or creed and those with supporting documents checked by medical authorities will receive priority.

Senior member, Geevarghese Yohannan, made the maiden contribution to the project and passed on the cheque to the Vicar, Fr Joji George. He also magnanimously volunteered to sponsor three patients towards the project.
Dr Prakash Ninan, Co-Trustee and John Thomas (Santhosh), Secretary were also present.

Those willing to participate in the project can do so by:
Upholding the Cancer “Care for Life” project in your daily prayers.
Sponsor one patient by donating Rs 75,000,
Part-sponsor of single patient by donating Rs 50,000 or

Generously contributing any amount towards the project During 2011-12, the special charity under “Thanal” was named “Save A Life” and the project helped poor children with heart ailments by providing financial assistance for their heart surgery. The project was a resounding success with surgery performed for children beyond the targeted limits.

Over the years, the scheme had also extended aid for marriage, provided home for the homeless, arranged marriages of several poor girls and offered assistance for self-employment which were also beneficial to non-Christians.

Last year, the project was implemented in association with the St Gregorios Cardio-Vascular Centre (Training and Research), International Centre for Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Diseases, functioning from St Gregorios Mission Hospital, Parumala, Kerala. The Centre is supported by Frontier Lifeline and promoted by Padmashree Dr K M Cherian, a most respected and reputed cardiac surgeon known internationally.

For details: E mail:, Phone: +968-24702606, Fax: +968-24790811

Application and brochure 1 2

Diocese News Features News

Dubai OCYM unit distributes “School Kits” in Idukki Diocese

DUBAI: Dubai St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral OCYM unit is organizing the distribution of school kits to financially challenged students in the first week of June through various churches in Idukki diocese.

This project is being taken up in memory of the Metropolitan of the Idukki diocese. Augen Mar Dionysius. The kits will be distributed to more than 70 students in the first stage of the initiative.

It was while on a journey to distribute school supplies to students that Augen Mar Dionysius passed away in an unfortunate accident that took place on June 6, 2007. The arrangements for the project will be made in coordination with the OCYM units of the Idukki diocese.

Report by:John kutty, Secretary, OCYM Dubai Unit