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HH the Catholicos returns Kerala after the apostolic visit to the US

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NEW YORK: After completing the 12 day apostolic visit in American dioceses, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II returned to Kerala on September 29 night from New York JFK airport. His Holiness will be back at Catholicate Palace, Kottayam by Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014 early morning.

Metropolitan Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostemos, the chairman of financial affairs, Sabha Secretary Dr. George Joseph and Private Secretary to His Holiness, Fr. Jins accompanied His Holiness on his American Apostolic visit.

His Holiness consecrated Atlanta St. Mary’s Orthodox Church and Orlando St. Mary’s Orthodox Church; inaugurated the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Greater Washington St. Thomas Orthodox Church on his visit. He also participated Clergy and Diocesan meetings of the Southwest and Northeast American dioceses. In his messages he applauded the clergy and the laity of both dioceses for their enthusiasm in church activities. HH also expressed his love to all the faithful in US while returning Kerala.

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On September 29 Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos of Northeast American diocese, Fr. M.K. Kuriakose, the diocesan secretary and Korason Varghese, the Sabha Managing Committee member traveled with HH to the airport to see him off.

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Feast of Alvares Mar Julius celebrated in Goa

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GOA: Alvares Mar Julius Feast was Celebrated with all pomp at St. Mary’s Church, Ribandar-Goa, where his mortal remains are entombed, on September 23, 2014.

The Feast was celebrated in the presence of Bishops, Mar Clemis, Mar Coorilos, Mar Demetrios, Mar Elias, Mar Nicodemus and Mar Yulios. More than 60 priests and 700 faithful came from various parts of India and abroad.

On September 23 morning, Konkani Mass for Brahmavar Konkani Orthodox Faithful was celebrated by Fr. David Crasta. Thereafter the foundation stone was laid for a Health Clinic, at the newly donated place at Thivim in the name of St. Alvares. At 3pm, Incense prayer was offered at St. Inez Cemetery, where St. Alvares was originally buried. Later, a 7km procession, on foot, from Cemetery to St. Mary’s Church was carried out. At 6.30 pm the evening Vespers began, followed by Rasa. Devotional Address for the evening was delivered by Mar Yulios.

On September 24, Holy Eucharist was offered. Dr. Joshua Mar Nicodemus was the chief celebrant. It was followed by Rasa. Eucharistic sermon was delivered by Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Coorilos.

Numerous Goans and people from other Casts also participated in the feast with great veneration.

News sent in by: Fr Noel Lewi

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Orthodox, Evangelicals to engage in missionary dialogue as per Lausanne-Orthodox communique

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ST VLASH, TIRANA, Albania: The second Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) Consultation was held at the serene St Vlash monastery in the Albanian capital of Tirana from September 15 to 19, 2014.

According to Revd Canon Mark Oxbrow, Facilitator, Lausanne Facilitator for Orthodox-Evangelical Relations, the final commnique issued states “that relationships between Evangelicals and Orthodox engaged in mission have not always been positive. But with the efforts from LOI which is working towards increased mutual understanding and healing of wounds, in order to collaborate more effectively in God’s mission.”

Three Indian Orthodox Bishops, Dr Yuhanon Mar Demetrius, Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese, Dr Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros, Metropolitan of Chennai Diocese, Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, had represented Indian Malankara Orthodox Church at the second Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) Consultation.

Dr Mar Yulios did a Biblical Reflection at the opening session while Dr Yuhanon Mar Demetrios acted as a responder at the plenary on “Ethical Evangelism and Proselytism”.

Sixty senior church and mission leaders, ecumenists and theologians from many parts of the world had come together for the initiative’s second consultation. Gathering at the Orthodox monastery of St Vlash in Albania, and hosted by His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios and the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, the consultation was chaired by Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Mrs Grace Mathews of the Lausanne Movement.

Topics explored included conversion and spiritual transformation, the relationship between ecclesiology and mission, and ethical evangelism and proselytism. Participants reported on how the two traditions have already found ways of collaborating in mission in various parts of the world. A youth event brought together some of the nation’s Orthodox and Evangelical young people.

In Tirana, consultation participants were received by Archbishop Anastasios at the Orthodox Cathedral, attended a meeting of the Albanian Evangelical Brotherhood (VUSH), and visited a local evangelical church, hearing in each place of the resurrection of the country’s Christian community.

The monastery’s welcoming hospitality provided a context for participants, half of whom had not been at the first consultation in 2013, to develop contacts with a view to building solid relationships. A remarkable sense of unity was evident, even during discussing contentious issues. Over time, relationships forged at these consultations should foster mutual respect and co-operation in the missionary task of our respective Christian traditions, the communique added.

The ongoing work of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative can be followed at loimission.net

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Diocese News Features News

Fr. Biju P Thomas, the new General Secretary of NWICC

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NEW DELHI: The National Council of Churches (NCCI) and the North West India Council of Churches at the joint meeting held at bible Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi appointed a new committee to revitalize the activities of NWICC. Bishop Subodh C Mondol as Chairperson, Rt. Rev. Collin C Theodore as the Co Chairperson, Fr. Biju P Thomas, the Vicar of St Gregorios Orthodox Church, Delhi as the General Secretary. NCCI General Secretary Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad presided over the meeting.

NWICC is the official regional council of churches for Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. Fr. Biju P Thomas is currently working as the Chairman of St. Gregorios School, Delhi

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His Holiness the Catholicos will inaugurate Golden Jubilee celebrations of Washington DC St. Thomas on this Sunday

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Washington DC: The yearlong Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church will be inaugurated on Sept, 28 by the Supreme Head of the church The Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan H.H Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II

HH The Catholicos and other Diocesan Metropolitan will be received to the Parish in a traditional welcoming ceremony. The festivities will begin with evening prayer on September 27 at 6pm led by His Holiness.

Holy Eucharist will begin on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8.00 am. His Holiness the Catholicos will be the chief celebrant on the occasion.

The Golden Jubilee public meeting will commence at 12:00, presided by North East American Diocese Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos. His Holiness will officially inaugurate the golden jubilee of the church. Priests and other dignitaries from various walks of life will also join at the public meeting.

Golden Jubilee committee under the guidance of Vicar Fr. Dr. Johnson C. John is working diligently toward the success of this function.

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St. Mary’s Consecration Atlanta

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Bangalore Diocese under Mar Seraphim envisions dream project of “Orthodox University”

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BENGALURU: Indian Orthodox youngest bishop has set his vision for Bangalore Diocese with focus on the education sector. Metropolitan HG Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim has envisioned setting up of an ‘Orthodox University’ on the city’s outskirts.

In all about 10 to 12 acres, 30 kilometers beyond the Bengaluru International Airport in Devanahalli area, was spotted for the University. Registration deal for the property failed to materialize when real estate agents hiked up the prices at the last moment. Though, this has come has a setback, the Diocese is scouting for new spots around fast developing areas like Malur (in nearby Kolar district), Kengeri, the satellite area of Bangalore, for the project.

Disclosing these details in a telephonic interview with this correspondent, Mar Serpahim said he desires the proposed university to be set up on the lines of Christ University in Bangalore. Managed by priests of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, Christ University on Hosur Road, is a private deemed to be university and is the first indigenous Syrian Catholic religious congregation in India.

Land acquisition will be the main criteria for the Diocese in the coming days, Mar Seraphim said, adding that this will be the only project of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church if it comes up in future. “Agriculture lands can be used for educational purposes and the project will be launched in a phased manner, in stages of about 4 to 5 years. We will not launch it at one go, but go about in a phased manner – maybe start from primary school onwards and develop it further to extend it to university level,” Mar Seraphim explained.

RETREAT CENTRE AT ARAMANA: Mar Seraphim has also laid out plans to develop the vast space at the Bangalore Diocese, Dodda Gubbi Village, as a retreat-cum-conference centre, which will bring in additional revenue for the Diocese.

Recently an adjacent plot to the Aramana, about 50 cents, was purchased adding up to 1 lakh square feet additional space which will be rented out for private functions in future. Arterial road leading to the Aramana located in Bidarahalli Hobli of Bangalore East Taluk is to be widened by BBMP for the proposed peripheral highway. This will further develop areas around the Aramana, thus bringing in more connectivity and real estate value. Mar Seraphim also outlined several school projects coming up in Mysore district under the Diocese.

The Metropolitan assumed charge of the Diocese 4 years back which now has 21 parishes and congregations spread across Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and 3 UAE cities of Fujairah, Dibba and Ras–al-Khaima (RAK) with about 4,000 families as its members and 23 priests, including 6 Cor-Episcopoi.

The Metropolitan has called upon all to extend their helping hand towards the project.

Those willing to contribute towards the Diocese Fund can contact Mar Seraphim on his mobile at +91-94479 63528 or email: marseraphim@gmail.com

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Apostolic Visit of the Catholicose of the East in America

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New York: Supreme Head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II reached the United States on September 17, 2014 for 15 day’s visit. Metropolitan of the North-East American Diocese Zachariah Mar Nicholaos along with Priests of the Diocese, Malankara Managing Committee Members, and Diocesan Council Members offered a very welcome to the Pontiff at the Airport.

This is for the first time that the Supreme Head of the Church comes to the United States to personally receive the Catholicate Day Collection. Under patronage of the Metropolitans of both the American dioceses representatives from all parishes will handover the collections to the Catholicose and Malankara Metropolitan, the Supreme and Chief Trustee of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It is an age old practice that the Catholicose personally receives Catholicate Day Collection from each dioceses in Kerala, which is extended to the American Dioceses this year.

His Holiness has the consecration of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Atlanta for Thursday and Friday, September 18th and 19th. Metropolitans Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos and Alexios Mar Eusebius will assist the Catholicose at this solemn event. The consecration will be over on Friday after Holy Qurbana and the Pontiff will go to Houston, his next destination.
After Holy Qurbana at the Diocesan Center of South West American Diocese, ‘Urshlem’, the Holy Father is to inaugurate the Green-Project, namely, planting 102 trees to mark the 102nd anniversary of the establishment of the Catholicate in Malankara.

The Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicose will be addressing the meeting of parish representatives, who assemble at the Diocesan Center to hand over the Catholicate Day Collection to their Supreme shepherd. Metroplitan Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos of the Diocese of Niranam, Fr. Shaji Mukudiyil, CEO, St. Gregorios Hospital Parumala, and Dr. George Joseph, Malankara Association Secretary are also to address the meeting. Retired priests of the Diocese of South West America also will be honored at the meeting.

His Holiness will lead the Evening prayers at the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Houston on Saturday, September 20th. On Sunday, September 21st, the Pontiff will celebrate Holy Qurbana at the St. Thomas Cathedral, Houston. The Catholicose will be laying the foundation stone of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Houston, in the evening. Bava Thirumeni will deliver his words of blessings at the Ecumenical gathering of Houston on Monday, September 22nd at the St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church, Houston.

His Holiness’ next destination will be Detroit. There will be a meeting in honor of the Pontiff at the St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Detroit, which His Holiness will be addressing. His Holiness is to consecrate the St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Orlando, on September 24 and 25th. Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius will assist the Catholicose at the consecration.

On September 25th evening, the Catholicose will be received at the Airport, Philadelphia by the North East Diocese of America. The meeting of all Diocesan Priests of the North East America will take place on September 26th, which will be blessed by the speech of the Pontiff. At the St. John’s Orthodox Church, Delaware Valley, the Catholicose and Malankara Metropolitan will receive Catholicate Day Collection from all parishes of the North East American Diocese on Saturday, September 27th. Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholavos will preside over the meeting, which will be attended by all priests and representatives.

On September 28th the Catholicose will inaugurate the Golden Jubilee celebrations of St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Washington DC after Holy Qurbana there. On September 30th, the Pontiff is to fly back to Kerala.

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Reception to HH the Catholicos at Atlanta Air port on September 18, 2014
Reception to HH the Catholicos at Atlanta Air port on September 18, 2014
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Mar Demetrius, Mar Dioscoros, Mar Yulios at Orthodox-Evangelical Consultation in Albania

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TIRANA, Albania: Three Indian Orthodox Bishops, Dr Yuhanon Mar Demetrius, Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese, Dr Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros, Metropolitan of Chennai Diocese, Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, will represent Malankara Orthodox Church at the second Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) Consultation, to be held at St Vlash monastery, Albania, from September 15 to 19, 2014.

Around 60 Orthodox (both Oriental and Eastern) and Evangelical leaders (church and mission) have confirmed their participation at the invitation of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

Revd Canon Mark Oxbrow, Facilitator, Lausanne Facilitator for Orthodox-Evangelical Relations, has in an email to all the participants urged them to pray so that they come prepared to face hard issues, “to repent, forgive and work hard to find new ways forward together in mission.”

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Grace Mathew, and the planning team have made all the necessary arrangements to welcome the participants at the monastery in Tirana, the Albanian capital.

The meet which will focus on the mission of God will also have many critical topics for discussion on Conversion and Spiritual Transformation, Ecclesiology and Mission, Conflict Transformation and Ethical Evangelism for discussion.

The joint Evangelical-Orthodox Youth gathering which will take place on September 16, Tuesday, with speakers from Egypt and Australia. During the plenary, the participants will be invited to share their own experiences of collaboration between Orthodox and Evangelical Christians as part of the mission of God during the session.

In the end there will also be a discussion led by members of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative Steering Group to consider the next steps for the initiative and of the Orthodox-Evangelical relationships in general.

Dr Mar Yulios has been assigned to do a Biblical Reflection at the opening of the conference. There will also be an opening dinner and reception with a welcome from His Eminence Archbishop Anastasios and Pastor Ali Kurti, President of the Evangelical Alliance of Albania.

Last year, the Metropolitan, though invited, could not make it to the Orthodox-Evangelical Consultation of Senior Leaders at Tirana, Albania which was held from September 2-6, 2013.

The Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative is a movement of Orthodox and Evangelical Christians who wish to respect each other’s beliefs, learn from each other, and support one another as we each obey the call to share in God’s mission. The initiative was established after the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010.

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Aram I Shares Middle East Christian Concerns with Obama

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WASHINGTON: On Thursday, September 11, the spiritual leaders of the Middle Eastern Maronite, Armenian, Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Syrian Catholic churches who had gathered for a Christian conference in Washington, DC, held an hour long meeting with President Barack Obama. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other key White House staff also attended the meeting.

At the request of the patriarchs, Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church spoke, first offering condolences in memory of the victims on the 13th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in Washington DC and New York. He noted that terrorism, in its different forms and expressions, continues in various corners of the world, and particularly in the Middle East. His Holiness noted that the expanding terrorist movements in the region are not only a threat to Christians, but also to Muslims and the world as a whole. As such, collective and concerted efforts must be made to combat extremism. The participation of Arab and Islamic states in this effort is crucial, noted Catholicos Aram I.

Referring to the Christian presence in the Middle East, His Holiness noted that Christians are not new-comers or outsiders to the region, nor should they be considered second class citizens, as their history is deeply rooted in the Middle East. Aram I welcomed President Obama’s announcement just one day earlier and the U.S. commitment to a united effort to eradicate extremist movements.

Following His Holiness Aram I’s remarks, each of the Patriarchs briefly shared their concerns, primarily focusing on the plight of Christian communities in Iraq. His Eminence, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, submitted to President Obama a previously prepared letter by the spiritual leaders.

President Obama, in turn, broadly outlined the key points of his address to the nation, stressing that freedom of conscience and the defense of human rights remain top priorities in U.S. foreign policy.

Also present at the meeting were His Beatitude, Gregorius III Laham Melkite, Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem; His Beatitude, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; His Beatitude, Ignatius Youssef III Yonan Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East; His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlaoui Archbishop of New York and All North America of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church (Official representative of His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and all the East), His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Official representative of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of St. Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria); and His Excellency Ibrahim, Ibrahim Bishop Emeritus of Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle (Official representative of His Beatitude Louis Rahphael Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and the Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church).
Source: The Armenian Weekly