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Sopana Academy: PG Fellowship Meeting on March 18

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KOTTAYAM: The next meeting of the Sopana PG Fellowship will be at the Mar Baselios Dayara, Njaliakuzhy at 7 pm on Wednesday 18th March 2015.

Deacon Dr. Jojy George, a member of the Fellowship who has successfully completed his doctoral dissertation in the field of New Testament from Rome in 2014 will be the main speaker at the fellowship.

Topic: The Metaphor of the Shepherd in St. Mark’s Gospel

The fellowship will begin at dayara by 6 pm with the Lenten evening prayer followed by the meeting at 7 pm, and supper at 8.15 pm.

“Those interested could the fellowship meeting” informed Fr.Dr.K.M.George, the Director of Sopana Academy

For more information you may contact Fr. Abin Abraham or Fr. Varghese K. Joshua
(Phone :- +91-4812462629, +919447598671)

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The Australian Orthodox Clergy Retreat concluded

AUSTRALIAN-ORTHODOX-CLERGY-RETREAT
SYDNEY: The retreat for the clergy of the Indian Orthodox Church in Australia was held on February 20, 2015 at St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Cathedral, Sydney. The retreat was lead by Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros.

“His Grace Mar Dioscoros’ opening address encouraged the clergy under the diocese of Madras in Australia to use the Great Lent with its intensified prayer life as a preparation for the year ahead. Metropolitan suggested that although they might face criticism from people on one hand and the ire of their superiors on the other, their reaction should always be positive like Moses and Aaron.

Mar Polycarpos, in the main retreat address, spoke to the clergy referring to Psalm 34:8 enjoining them to take in God their refuge like David did when he was in danger from Abimelech. The Metropolitan emphasized that priests should pray to God to know the One Who called them properly. God’s people entrusted to them can be led by them to Him only through their right words and activities. ”

Fr. Thomas Varghese, Fr.Shinu K Thomas, Fr. James Philip, Fr. Ferdinand Pathrose, Fr. Benny K David, Fr. Varghese Maniyampra and Fr. Babu Kurian from the parishes in Australia attended this retreat. Fr. George Thomas (visiting priest) also was present at the retreat.

Fr. Benny David welcomed the gathering. Fr. James Philip proposed vote of thanks.

This event also coincided with the 6th anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros. Fr. Thomas Varghese congratulated both Metropolitans on behalf of all the priests and wished them all the best.

News sent in by Sujeev Varghese

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Malankara Orthodox Church wants peace

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KOTTAYAM: The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church gained momentum with the first ecclesiastical visit of Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem II to the state recently, to end the war between his faction and the Church. Now the Orthodox church has put the ball on Patriarchal faction’s court after meeting its Holy Episcopal Synod.

The Holy Episcopal Synod of the Orthodox Church, which concluded here on Friday, a resolution was passed, saying the Jacobite faction to accept the 1995 Supreme Court verdict and the 1934 Constitution approved by the Apex Court as the basic parameters for unity, to move ahead with the peace process.

The resolution titled ‘Malankara Church wants peace’, which welcomed the stance of the Patriarch that the discord prevailing in the Malankara Church was a catastrophe and the only solution was unity, also raises the demand that the Patriarch of Antioch officially accept these legal clauses.

“To bring about and maintain unity we need compatible legal guidelines. For this, both the factions should accept the basic parameters of unity. The unity of the Church has to be materialized within this framework. Only then, the much desired unity shall obtain legal sanctity and the peace shall have permanent prevalence,” the Synod observed. The resolution added that, His Holiness Patriarch too has to officially accept the 1934 Constitution of the Malankara Church and the 1995 SC Verdict.

“If the Patriarch agrees to re-establish the unity of the Church on the basis of the aforesaid condition, the Malankara Orthodox Church shall initiate appropriate steps to bring about peace in the Church,” it said.

“It is the primary aim of the Church to do away with the prevailing tension in the Malankara Church and establish peace.

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Orthodox Church observes cyber fast on Good Friday

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KOTTAYAM: The ministry of human empowerment department of Malankara Orthodox church urged its faithful to observe cyber fast on Good Friday. On the day, they should abstain from using cellphone, internet etc as part of lent.

It is an effort to dissuade the faithful from negative use of cell phone and internet. “Though cyber world ensures effective communication, excessive and uncontrolled use of the media can have its negative impact. Our effort is to discourage the faithful from becoming addict,” Orthodox Church public relations officer E C Elias said. “We normally observe lent skipping non-vegetarian food and fasting during the Easter. On the day, members of the church should stay away from watching TV or using internet, cell phone and social media like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.”

The church has launched a year-long programme called ‘Nervazhi’, (The Right Path) to dissuade its members from the negative use of media, especially social networking sites.

The church is in the process of selecting 50 resource persons from each diocese. Training will be given to the resources persons, who will be given the responsibility to organize family meets and seminars at parish level to spread the message. Programmes will be organized at diocese, regional and church-levels as well. “There are umpteen positive aspects of social media and mobile phone. Unfortunately it is used for spreading pornography and anti-social messages. Extremist elements use social networking sites for their propaganda,” said Fr P A Philip, director, ministry of human empowerment and joint secretary of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The church also plans to use the social networking sites and cellphone to form a new forum. “The plan is to constitute Orthodox Medical Forum, a joint platform of doctors, nurses and those employed in paramedical sectors in order to share information and tips. The forum may provide free medicines for the poor and needy,” Fr Philip said.

Meanwhile, Catholicos HH Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II, the supreme head of the Orthodox Church, warned against excessive love of money and pleasure-seeking.

Inaugurating Nervazhi, a project being implemented by the human resource department of the Church here on Wednesday, HH said excessive cyber dependency was a clear mark of this new lifestyle, which had led to various social ailments.

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Thirty Years of service to leprosy patients

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YACHARAM: The 30th anniversary of St Gregorios Balagram, which takes care of children affected by leprosy, had observed on Sunday February 22,2015 at its premises at Yacharam in Ibrahimpatnam.

“A number of children from Balagram have completed school, college and engineering and have settled in their life in the last few years,” according to Fr. KI Philip Ramban, director and clergy of the Indian Orthodox Church, which runs the institution.

A public meeting was held to mark the anniversary. Ibrahimpatnam MLA Manchi Kishan Reddy was the chief guest while K Ramesh Goud, ZPTC member, Yacharam; G Mallesh, MPTC member, Thakkalappally; and Jyothi Sreenu Naik, MPP member, Yacharam; were the important dignitaries at the event.

Dr Osthathios Metropolitan Memorial Lecture, in memory of Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, the founder of Balagram, was delivered by Fr Dr O Thomas.

The eye hospital attached to Balagram had celebrated its 14th anniversary on the occasion. The hospital has been conducting free cataract surgeries to deserving persons among villagers in the area.