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HH Catholicos lowers Catholicate flag, ends successful Oman visit

MUSCAT : His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, concluded a successful three-day visit to the Sultanate of Oman.

The Catholicos visited the Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka, MGOME, for the valedictory of the 40th anniversary of the church (1972-2012) and centenary of the Catholicate in India.

His Holiness was the chief celebrant at the Holy Eucharist on Friday at St Thomas Church and also presided over meetings of spiritual organizations like Sunday School, OCYM, Martha Mariam Samajam and a special meeting of the St Gregorios International Cancer Care Centre which Fr Shaji Mukadiyil Baby also attended.

The main function was the public meeting of the church anniversary celebration and Catholicate centenary and opening of a photo exhibition.

Before his departure, His Holiness after prayers lowered the Catholicate flag outside the MGOME in the presence of Fr Joji George Koickalethu, Vicar, members of the managing committee and parishioners.

The Catholicos commended the excellent coverage of his Sultanate visit by both the local print and the electronic media.

Kudos also to Reji Philip, member, Muscat Maha Edavaka, who as the media convenor of MGOME managing committee helped organize the press conference addressed by the Supreme Head.

HH Baselious Marthoma Paulose II left for Kerala by the Oman Air flight on Saturday morning. The Catholicos was accompanied by Dn Jiss Johnson, Secretary to His Holiness.

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Sohar St George Church OCYM donates for Nagpur Prerana project

MUSCAT : Sohar St George Orthodox Church, OCYM, has donated Rs 50,000 towards the St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary , Nagpur for their various charity projects.

Sohar Orthodox Church Vicar Fr C S Matthews personally handed over the cheque to His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Indian Orthodox (Malankara) Metropolitan, during his visit to Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka on September 27.

The Catholicos in turn handed over the cheque to Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, under which Sohar church falls.

The Prerana Special School is functioning under Prerana Multipurpose Society, organised by St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, as part of its various mission objectives.

The amount was collected by the church’s youth movement which is in the forefront of various activities.

Church News Features News

Centenary fete is the celebration of the autocephalous nature of the church: HH Catholicos

* Calls to reaffirm faith, allegiance to it
* Keep the Catholicate as the apple of the eye
* Muscat Maha Edavaka has set a model of helping others to flourish

MUSCAT: His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Indian Orthodox (Malankara) Metropolitan, has said the catholicate centenary celebrations is not the celebration of the institution of an office but the celebration of the autocephalous nature of the Church. It is also the commemoration of the sense of greater freedom that our forefathers have anticipated through the life of the Church and the acknowledgement of the real freedom that we have in Christ.

His Holiness was delivering the inaugural address at the valedictory of the 40th anniversary of Muscat Mar Gregorios Maha Edavaka (1972-2012) and Catholicate centenary.

While heaping praises on the Muscat Maha Edavaka, the primate of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church said it shows the exemplary endeavour of its members and the uncompromising commitment to the life and tradition of the church.

At this juncture, the Chief Shepherd of the Church exhorted each one of them to keep the Catholicate as the apple of the eye and to re-affirm the faith and allegiance to it. As children of the church, the Catholicos urged them to come forward to strengthen hands. “Though feeble in human terms, we are strong with your valuable prayers and unwavering support. The Catholicate congratulated each of its members, specially the achens who gave dynamic leadership to the parish in the last 40 years and greatly value their endeavours to uphold our faith in this land.

His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Paulose II thanked the government and the rulers of the Sultanate for providing extreme care and concern to the people who are from different faiths and nationalities.

The supreme head further noted that the church was greatfull to Muscat Maha Edavaka for the dedication it has shown in the past and hailed its role towards extending a helping hand for different projects organized by the Church. “the church has set a model of relentlessly pursuing their aim while helping others to flourish,” and quotes St Paul – “Outdo one another in showing honour.”

His Holiness further noted that dedication to the service of a community certainly involves that Biblical sense of an absolute purge of selfish goals, but it is also the opening of a door into shared riches.

Earlier, Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, in his presidential address, said the Indian Orthodox church was one of the oldest and was in forefront of ecumenical movements since its inception and made impressive contributions in various interreligious movement, providing leadership and proven leaders of repute.

Dr Mar Yulios mentioned about the overwhelmingly large number of faithful (over 6,000) who attend the Holy Week celebrations at the Muscat Maha Edavaka from all wilayats (interior) areas of the Sultanate.

Mementos were also presented to HH Baselius Marthoma Paulose II, Dr Mar Yulios, HE J S Mukhul, Ambassador of India and Shaikh Ahmed al Bari, Director, Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs.

The meeting was also attended by Dr Barry P Dawson, Lead Pastor, PCO, Rev Mathew P Thomas, Marthoma Church in Oman, Fr Binu John Thomas, Associate Vicar, Rev Fr C S Mathews, Vicar, Sohar St George Orthodox Church,

About 40 senior parish members and previous executive committee members were honoured with a ponnada by the Catholicos.

Dr Chona Thomas, senior member a well-known plastic surgeon, made the reciprocal speech, recalling his earlier days when the church was formed in 1972.

Earlier, Fr Joji George, Vicar, MGOME, gave a welcome speech. E I Rajan, Hon Trustee, briefed about MGOME over the years. John Thomas (Santhosh) delivered a vote of thanks while the Catholicate Anthem sung by the senior choir.

The function ended with a benediction by HH Baselius Marthoma Paulose II and dinner served to all.

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Catholicose in Muscat -2012

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Features Gulf News

Indian Orthodox Church to launch new project for the elderly: HH Catholicos

Catholicos HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II addressing a press conference in Muscat. Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr. Geevarghese Mar. Yulios is also seen in this picture.

MUSCAT: His Holiness Moran Mar Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Indian Orthodox (Malankara) Metropolitan, has called on upholding family values and for helping the cause of the old and the infirm.

The Catholicos said that the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church now celebrating its centenary year (1912-2012), was espousing the cause of the elderly and palliative care with an exclusive project for who were left alone and had none to care for in their twilight years. His Holiness termed it as a “burning issue” and needs to be tackled on an urgent basis. The project now in its initial stages will be launched with a five-member panel headed by a doctor in each of the churches in Kerala and dioceses abroad.

Titled “Palliveedu” (church as a home), the elderly will be taken care for a day and kept themselves engaged in discussions, prayers, reading magazines and providing them with food. They will be picked up in the church vehicles and also provided palliative care.

The project is being initiated by the Ministry of Human Empowerment of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church under ‘Sneha Thanalil Ee Sayahnam.’ It will be launched by the Catholicos on September 30, Sunday, at Catholicate Centre, Kolenchery, Kerala.

A committee in each church will be set up to implement the project and irrespective of all castes can take part in the scheme. Initially, the project will be launched in big churches and slowly extended to each of the 30 dioceses all over the globe.

The Catholicos also hailed His Majesty’s magnanimous offer to extending help to enable the Orthodox community a place of worship and hailed the Sultan’s role towards religious tolerance.

Among those who took part in the press conference include Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, Fr Joji George Koickalethu, Fr Binu John Thomas, Rev Fr Varghese George, Fr Shaji M Baby, Rajan, Dr Prakash Ninan, John Thomas and Malankara Sabha managing committee member P K Koshy.

Earlier, the Catholicos arrived in Muscat on a two-day visit on Thursday to participate in the valedictory of the 40th anniversary of Muscat Mar Gregorios Maha Edavaka (1972-2012) and Catholicate centenary.

Later in the evening at the public meeting, MGOME honoured 40 previous executive members and senior parish members with a ponnada. HE J S S Mukul, Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate, was the chief guest.
Felicitations were also offered by J S Mukul, Shaikh Ahmed al Bari, Director, Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Dr Barry P Dawson, Lead Pastor, PCO, Rev Mathew p Thomas, Marthoma Church in Oman and Rev Fr Binu John Thomas, Associate Vicar. A souvenir was also released to mark the occasion.

Earlier, upon arrival at the Maha Edavaka, the Catholicos offered intercessory prayers and inaugurated a photo exhibition on “Catholicate through the ages” at the Maha Edavaka.

The Catholicos was also the chief celebrant at the tri-mass yesterday at the St Thomas Church, Ruwi.


Features News Northeast America

Washington DC area Parishes jointly celebrated the Catholicate Centenary

WASHINGTON DC: To reflect upon the nationality of the Holy Church, autonomy, and its autocephaly, and to rejuvenate, the members of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area came together and jointly celebrated the centenary of the establishment of Catholicate in India, on September 23 at St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church of Greater Washington.

Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, the Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese was the Chief Guest on the occasion and inaugurated the Catholicate Centenary celebrations by lighting the lamp.

In his inaugural address, Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos reminded the majestic coming of St. Thomas into India for spreading the gospel, teachings of his Master, and converting many in to Christianity. His Grace reiterated the need to rise up to the occasion to support the Church and its establishments and gave a detailed history of the Catholicate in Malankara. He congratulated the faithful in the region on their continued commitment to upholding our Orthodox faith, the support for the Throne of the Catholicate, and the Diocese. He stated that this celebration shows the honor of our membership of a Church that is over 1960 years old; a historic event in the history of Christianity. The Metropolitan added that the establishment of the Catholicate of the East reflects international commitment of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church, her autocephalous nature and proper insights on the mission of the Church.

Fr. Alexander Kurien, the former vicar of St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church of Greater Washington and a Senior Staff of the current President Obama Administration read the congratulatory felicitation from the Office of the President.

In his letter, the President recognized the leadership of the Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos and commended the faithful for the continued commitment to service and charities in the local communities.

Fr. K.P. Varghese read the official felicitation from His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the eighth Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan since the establishment of the Catholicate in India in 1912.

Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, the Diocesan Secretary congratulated the members of all five churches and the committee members for coordinating this wonderful event.

State and local political representatives extended congratulations, citations, and felicitations for the event. The Choir under the lead by Laby George Panackamattom, vicar of St. Gregorios Church, added color to the event. Fr. George Mathew, the vicar of St. Mary’s Indian Orthodox Church of Virginia and Fr. Reji Chacko, the vicar of St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church participated in the celebrations. Prior to the public meeting, Holy Qurbana was celebrated.

A week-long celebration began with hoisting the Catholicate flag on Saturday September 15, 2012. More than 400 faithful members of the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Churches in the region participated

Fr. K.P. Varghese, served as the President of the Catholicate Centenary Celebration Committee.

Photo Gallery

200 years Of Malayalam Bible

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Features News Uk And Europe

Mike Penning MP attended the inauguration of St Thomas Orthodox Church, UK

LONDON: Local MP, Mike Penning attended the inauguration of St Thomas Indian Orthodox Church in St Agnell’s Lane.

The consecration was led by Dr. Mathews Mar Timotheos, Bishop of the Indian Orthodox Diocese of Europe & Africa and assisted by bishops and priests from the Oriental Orthodox family.

The church has been partially rebuilt in traditional architecture and is the second church owned by Malankara Orthodox Church in the UK.

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Catholicate Centenary Lecture series inaugurated

KOTTAYAM: The official inauguration of the Catholicate Centenary Lecture series, which is to be held simultaneously in 1500 stations, including a few selected Churches, across India, was officially inaugurated by H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulos II, Catholicose of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, at 3.45 pm at Mar Elia Cathedral, Kottayam.

Metropolitan Youhanon Mar Polycarpose presided over the meeting and exhorted the listeners to make the grand meeting at Marine Drive, Ernakulam on 25th Nov a great success.

There were many priests and hundreds of faithful from various Dioceses from south to north of Kerala as participants of the unique function.

In the inaugural address His Holiness stated : “The year 2012 is a milestone in the history of the Church. Until the 16th century, our Church was enjoying full freedom and it was sabotaged by the intervention of the foreign churches, which came one after the other. But our Church Fathers as well as the faithful fought against such attempts with prayer and fasting and succeeded finally in 1912 by the establishment of the Catholicate. For us, it is symbol of freedom, autocelaphy and integrity.” His Holiness expressed satisfaction in organizing the inauguration of the series of talks in various stages so grandly and applauded the organizers and the large gathering representing almost all Dioceses in Kerala.

The key note address was delivered by Fr. Dr. Jacob Kurian, the well-known orator, Theologian of reputation, Scholar and above all the Principal of Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam. A gist of the thought provoking speech is given hereunder.

“The centenary celebration is to provide awareness of the significance and greatness of the Catholicate to the growing generation.

Malankara Orthodox Church is the only Church, which was established in 1st century, in a region outside the Roman Empire, which could claim the vast and bright history of continuous existence for such a long term.

In other regions, the Christian Church remained withstanding the persecutions, objections etc. from the natives whereas in Kerala, the Church was accepted with open hands and with broadminded attitude of the local inhabitants and the same sort of love and care is enjoyed still from the fellow inhabitants of India. Whereas the Church in India suffered a lot when Christians from foreign countries came and dominated the Church for about 400 years. Our Church Fathers as well as our ancestors resisted with staunch faith and hope and finally we achieved the final freedom in AD 1912.

When we feel proud of the achievements due to the establishment of Catholicate in India, we must take care to achieve more opportunities with farsighted visions. There exists a dount among many of us: whether the Catholicate was established or reestablished.

In the Church constitution it is mentioned that it was a reestablishment of the Catholicate, which was prevelant in the Eastern Orthodox Church. We could say that the Catholicate in Celucia of the third century (in the Persian Orthodox Church originally established by St. Thomas) and the Catholicate/Maphrianate established in Tigris were amalgamated and was reestablished in Malankara in AD 1912 If so, we could address it as reestablishment. In such circumstances, is the Catholicate in Malankara is under the Patriarchate of Antioch? For the reasons mentioned below, we could boldly say that the Catholicate in Malankara is not under the Patriarchate.

1) The Catholicate in Tigris was independent and there was freedom of administration according to the agreement in Capharthutha Synod of the 9th century.

2) According to the two bulls of the Patriarch, who was the chief celebrant of the establishment in 1912, it was free and was not under any other power or regime.

3) It was clearly spelled that it was on the throne of St. Thomas in India.(as announced by the celebrant Patriarch during the function)

4) It assures fellowship with the Patriarchate as well as the share of the global Christian heritage. 5) When the Chaldean Catholicate was in existence in old Persian province, it was the reestablishment of the Orthodox Catholicate, which was free. In short, we use the term reestablishment in the meaning of ‘continuation and completion’ and in such a sense there is no reason for considering being under some other powers.

While considering the freedom and autocelaphy of the Indian Church, we could use the term ‘established.’ The term established denotes something new and which has the originality. The prominence of the Catholicose being the head of the Holy Synod is to be realized as a new theory. By the establishment of the Catholicate, we were declaring the amalgamation of the Apostolic succession of the priesthood that existed here from the first century with the principle of autocelaphy. It approves the fellowship with the Patriarchate and at the same time it stands for the freedom of Malankara Church.

In short it is a reestablishment denouncing the argument of a position below some other position as well as the establishment of new chances of the independent church including the position of president in general. We have to convert the throne of St. Thomas in India and its originality to the perfection of the heritage of Marthoma.

Immediately after the establishment of Catholicate, our Church is recognized and honored by the other Christian Churches elsewhere globally”.

Features News World News

Archbishop Aghan Baliozian of the Armenian Orthodox Church passed away

SYDNEY: His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, primate of the diocese of Australia and New Zealand passed away on September 22, 2012, in Sydney Australia. Archbishop Baliozian passed away suddenly of a heart attack. His Eminence was 66 years old.

Archbishop Aghan Baliozian was a great friend of the Malankara Orthodox Church. Archbishop Aghan Baliozian visited India on numerous occasions. His Eminence was a guiding light to the St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral Sydney, right from its inception. The parish has been very fortunate to enjoy his hospitality during the visit of late Catholicose H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II and many other bishops from Indian Orthodox Church Church.

Archbishop Aghan Baliozian has been very active in ecumenical activities in Australia. From 1994 to 1997 Archbishop Aghan served as the first president of the National Ecclesiastic Council of Australia. In 2001 His Eminence was elected as the President of the New South Wales Ecumenical Council. He served three terms, and was re-elected to the position.

Dr. Yakob Mar Irenaios and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros have sent their condolences to the Armenian Apostolic Church on behalf of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.