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‘Patriarch Ridiculed Judiciary’: Malankara Orthodox Church

KOTTAYAM: The Malankara Orthodox Church alleged that the Patriarch has ridiculed the Judiciary by visiting Piravom Church. The Patriarch was led to the feuded Churches, despite the Court order banning the entry of Bishops. “He could have been misled by the followers. Yet, he, being a foreign spiritual leader, challenged the law of the land. This has put out the enthusiasm for reconciliation,” the Catholicos said.

A similar opinion was aired by the Metropolitan of the Kandanadu East diocese Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius two days ago. He said the Patriarch’s visit to Piravom Church was not in the program schedule approved by the state government. By arranging such a program later, the state has also shown partiality. The Orthodox Church will present an official response on the affair at a Holy Synod to be convened on February 23.

The Patriarch constituted a panel to hold mediation talks between the two churches during his first ecclesiastical visit to India last week. The decision was welcomed by the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church also. However, now HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Church, had said that certain actions by the Patriarch had disturbed the mediation attempts.

The Orthodox Church alleged that there are certain people within the other Church with vested interests, though the Patriarch yearned for peace between both.

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Consecration of Auckland St Dionysius Orthodox Church on Feb 13, 14

AUCKLAND: The first Indian Orthodox Church for the faithful of Auckland, New Zealand, is being consecrated on February 13, 14, 2015.

The St Dionysius Indian Orthodox Church under Madras Diocese will be consecrated from the blessed hands of three Metropolitans. The ceremony will be led by Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenios, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros, Metropolitan of Chennai Diocese and Yuhanon Mar Policarpos, Metropolitan of Angamaly Diocese.

The Church is being named after St Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril (1858-1934), who was the Malankara Metropolitan (primate) of the Indian Orthodox Church. Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius also popularly known as ‘Malankara Sabha Bhaasuran’, a title which the Church bestowed on him in recognition of his contribution to Malankara Church.
Vicar Fr Biju Mathai Pulickal has requested the prayerful presence of the faithful in large numbers during the occasion.

The event will also the participation of a large number of clergy who were involved with the church earlier. They include Philip Thomas Cor Episcpa, Vicar, St Mary’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur, former Vicar Fr Shinu K Thomas, Vicar, St Mary’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Fr Thomas Varghese, Vicar, St Thomas Cathedral, Sydney, former Vicar Fr Varghese P Idichandy, presently Vicar, StGregorios Church, Mathikere, Bengaluru.

On the occasion, Fr Biju Mathai Pulickal, Vicar, says the “building stands as an ever-present image of the Church, where the Holy Trinity is worshiped in spirit and in truth. It is a holy space to gather and hear the word of God, to offer intercession and praise, to offer happiness and pains of their daily lives, and to celebrate the sacraments through which we are nourished and strengthened as God’s people.”

The Vicar notes that the events marks a life time achievement moment for the faithful which will be cherished through generations.

The office bearers and various committees which worked for building the new church include: Fr Biju Mathew, Vicar, E M Jacob, Trusttee, Oommen Philip, Secretary, John Varghese, Building Committee General Convener and Philip Ayyamplackal, Consecration Committee General Convener.

The new church is located at: 55 Keeling Road, Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand. Tel +09-9485215 Mobile: +027 5814215, 021-0535882

The live streaming of the event can be followed here

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Theological education to impart social justice and virtue: Catholicos

The Catholicos H. H. Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II delivering the commemoration message. 7th Feb. 2015
The Catholicos H. H. Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II delivering the commemoration message. 7th Feb. 2015

Kottayam: In the pluralistic context of India, Theological Education should help creating a new humanity which impart social justice and virtues that give sanctity to life, says Catholicos
Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

He reflected this in the commemoration speech of the Convocation of the Senate of Serampore University in the Orthodox Seminary, Kottayam.

From the words of the Catholicos:
“The original vision of Serampore of the founding fathers Carey, Marshman and Ward combined theory and practice in an admirable manner. For them, knowledge was to be at the service of the masses. They did not limit it and research we do should ultimately be in the service of the pastoral care of our people. We have the original model in the ministry of Jesus Christ our lord, whose teachings and acts of healing, his prayer and meditation, his suffering, death and resurrection were all for the sake of this “world that God so loved”.

Our motherland India is likely seeing a major change in the self- understanding of our country. The secular character of our country which recognized the value of all religious beliefs and diverse spiritualities and the constitutional freedom of religious belief, conscience and hence on, seem to be challenged by communal forces. I believe the tiny population of Christians in India of less than 2.5% is not a menace to anybody. On the contrary, Christians are supposed to be at the service of the nation out of genuine love and compassion for the people, not for quantitative growth or power-building of their churches. We are together in the Household of God and nobody can threaten to send us out of our own house.

A genuine friendship and collaboration is required among the Seminaries in the Serampore family for our joint Christian witness in the present setting. The church should return to the original Indian identity and authenticity of our faith in Christ Jesus and to our commitment to justice and compassion of the kingdom of God. There are so much inequality and injustice in our society, particularly the centuries old suffering of Dalits, Adivasis and women and all those poor who are socially and economically marginalized in a globalized economy. Empowering these people is a major task on our hands. But we need to enlist the genuine collaboration of our neighbors of other faiths in carrying out this task of building a new humanity and new nation.”

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Home for the differently challenged girls and school in Mysore consecrates

MYSORE: Bengaluru Diocese of Indian Orthodox Church is giving increasing importance to the existing Diocese Mission projects at Bilikere, Mysore, in Karnataka and in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh.

Diocese Metropolitan Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim had started a home for the differently abled girls and an English medium school at Bilikere in Hunsur Taluk of Mysore district.

On January 26, Metropolitan Mar Seraphim led the inauguration and consecration of the project.

H P Manjunath, Hunsur MLA, cut the ribbon and lighted a traditional lamp to signal the formal opening of the school and home. A number of clergy and faithful from various parishes in Bengaluru also attended the function.

At present construction in about five-and-half acres in the district has begun in right earnest. The Diocese is planning to build an international school which will have Kannada school primarily for the local students and aims to provide quality education.

The future plan is to construct on the remaining four acre area with an international school and hostel facility. The estimated cost of the institution which can accommodate about 20 girls came to around Rs 85 lakhs. Mar Seraphim says the school will remain as a mission centre for the Diocese.


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Patriarch of Antioch to Arrive on Feb 7 in Kerala

KOCHI: Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem-II, the supreme head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, will arrive in Kerala on February 7 for an 11-day-long Apostolic Visit to India. This is the first apostolic visit of Patriarch Aphrem to India after taking up the position of the supreme head of the Orthodox Church in March 2014.

During the nine-day trip in Kerala includes visitations to various churches under his jurisdiction, delivering blessing message at ‘Maramon convention’ and meeting with State Government officials.

On February 16, he will leave for Chennai, for the installation of a Church at Anna Nagar. From Chennai, the Patriarch will proceed to Delhi to see the President of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

A delegation, comprising six metropolitans, will accompany the Patriarch during his trip to India.

At a press conference, asked whether there would be any conciliation talks with the Malankara Orthodox Church, Mar Gregorios of Jacobite church and secretary of the Synod said, “no such plan has been scheduled so far. It is learnt that the Catholicos of Malankara Orthodox Church has sent a letter to the Patriarch seeking an initiative for conciliation. We have not received any official communication. Sill we consider it as a welcome move.”

Letter from HH the Catholicos

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Oriental Orthodox-Catholic dialogue concludes in Rome

Vatican: International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and all the Oriental Orthodox Churches concluded on Friday, January 27 at the Vatican in Rome.

The weeklong discussions dealt with aspects of communion in the Early Church and ended with an audience with Pope Francis.

The five-day dialogue, which commenced on Monday, was aimed to finalize a joint document on Communion and Communication in the first five centuries of Christianity.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are amongst the most ancient Christian communities in the world, founded according to tradition by the first apostles in Egypt, Armenia, Syria, India and Ethiopia in the decades following Christ’s death and Resurrection. They have not been in communion with either the Roman Catholic Church or the Byzantine Orthodox world since they officially severed ties in the 5th C.

Fr Gabriel Quicke, who’s in charge of relations with these Oriental Orthodox Churches at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity says the new document is significant for Christians today as it highlights the rich heritage the Churches shared in the first five centuries before the divisions took place…

He says the Commission will go on to a new round of discussions on the sacraments, especially the question of Baptism which is still not recognized by some of the Oriental Orthodox Churches…

Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios of Thiruvananthapuram Diocese and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Demetrios of Delhi Diocese represented Indian Orthodox Church in the dialogue.