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St. Thomas belongs to the whole of India

PCALEXANDER

(Speech by Dr. P. C. Alexander, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India at Sapthathi celebration public meeting in 1982 September 12 at Kottayam)

Respected Rashtrapathiji, Your Holiness Marthoma Mathews I, Catholicos of the East. Your Holiness Catholicos- Patriarch Ilia, Archbishops, Representatives of the Christian Churches, Eminent Emissaries of His Holiness the Pope, Heads of various Christian Communities in India, Heads of Religious Communities present here and my fellow members of the Indian Orthodox Church.

Let me at the very outset as a member of the India n Orthodox Church, offer our respectful felicitations and gratitude’s to our Res. Rashtrapathi for his gracious gesture of his presence in our midst this evening . Sir, we are greatly honored and privileged by your presence here. To the members of the Orthodox Community your presence should carry a greater message. That the head of the 700 million people of India, should find the time and take trouble to corns allover to this corner of our State and to be present here for a small function organized by 1. 5 million people of the State, speaks volumes about the concern and the patronage with which he looks at, and his Government looks at all communities. It is an eloquent tribute to the policy of his Government that they make no distinction between one community and another; and the size of a community does not matter at all. In the same way, the presence of the luminaries, dignitaries of the various Churches here should also convey to us great message. It is not merely we are rejoicing in this great function of ours, which is indeed a recognition of the eminent position which our Church has acquired after we regained our independence. Whenever I think of this small community of Orthodox Christians in lndis, I am struck by one simple factor and that is the real life. vigor and vitality of this small community. I have lived in various
parts of the world, had different times and occasions to see Christian Communities in operation and I tell you with full knowledge of facts, there are very few communities in this wide world of Christianity with as much spiritual life, as much vigor and vitality as this small community has. I have asked this question how is it that for 1900 years, this community has survived, the turmoil’s, the troubles, the litigations; and how is it that the Church has been able to retain its faith. I have only a few answers to that. The first is the passionate faith of this community in the tradition of St. Thomas I am not claiming this tradition as the exclusive heritage of the Orthodox Christians. St. Thomas belongs to the whole of India. In fact Jawaharlal Nehru once said when he was participating in the 1900 years’ celebrations of St. Thomas, that St. Thomas belongs to the whole Indian heritage. We are not making an exclusive claim of St. Thomas.

But there is a special point for this community. While for other Christians, it may be a part of history, while for some others it may be a part of heritage, for Orthodox Syrian Christians it is a part of their emotion, something which we have imbibed from the milk of mothers. Something which we want to transfer to our children and to our children’s children as treasure to be preserved with awe and pride. This is the special feature about St. Thomas as far as we, Christians are concerned I have always Wondered why 51. Thomas chose to come to this ancient land of ours, which is the cradle for the four religions of the world. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism and I have the answer for that.

In this ancient holy land of ours, Christianity out of necessity has to come from the authentic hands of the Apostle of Christ himself. Imagine what would have the inadequacy been of Christianity, if our ancestors have been converted by the missionaries who carne with the Portuguese, the French or the Dutch. It was one of the justifications of the historical necessity and inevitable part of history that in this land, the authenticity of Christianity should be established by the disciple of Christ himself. When we speak about the authenticity of Christianity, we should also remember another thing and that is to preserve the faith of our fathers. On this day of joy and gratitude let us remember them also.

4 replies on “St. Thomas belongs to the whole of India”

I was fortunate to associate with Mr P.C.Alexander when His Excellency was the High Commissioner in London. The formative days of the Orthodox Community as a Secretary and Treasure, I was truly inspired by him and also by our Bishop Paulose Mar Gregorios presence from the inception of our church. To be honest I truly remember them in our prayers for the departed souls and the eminent friends passed on their mantle of Orthodoxy in an alien country like Britain… May their memory be a fortress and inspiration to carry on from generation to generation – God Bless

One of the greatest and noble personalities of Indian origin whom I admire greatly, also had the privilege to hear him speak at my college more than 50 years back was Dr. P. C. Alexander. He was a true follower of CHRIST, looking above the denominational walls. My friend Dr. P. P. Job from Delhi, a Marthoma Church member told me, how much Dr. P. C. Alexander has helped him while he was the Governor of Maharastra to conduct the biggest Christian crusade in 1998 in Mumbai; while faced with many challenges and threats from the radical Hindu parties like RSS-VHP-BD-Siva Sena etc.

Wherever the gospel of JESUS CHRIST has penetrated, its overall effect can be visible through the transformed lives and their changed way of life, more literacy and prosperity. Look at the States of India, based on the percentage of the Christians, we can see the difference in the standard of living and literacy.

Can we imagine the tedious journey of Apostle Thomas 2000 years back to bring that good news to the extreme southern side of India.? King Solomon’s merchant navy brought many Jews to India, especially to Kerala, and that was a direct motivation for St. Thomas to come to the extreme southern side of Kerala. Even when the missionaries of the western world came to India, most of them came straight to Kerala due to the presence of the minority Christian community. The 20% Christian population of Kerala must ponder the divine blessing they have received through the Jews first, then through St. Thomas, and finally through the Christian missionaries. But we are reluctant to take over the job?

Dr. P. C. Alexander was a great visionary and beloved son of the Malankara Orthodox Church. His heart desired for the unity of the Church and had many proposals for the better establishment of the Church. Unfortunately, they all went to deaf ears.

ALMOST 20 YEARS BACK, DR. P.C. ALEXANDER, ONE OF THE GREAT SONS OF MALANKARA ORTHODOX CHURCH, CALLED UPON THE CHURCH LEADERS AND THE FAITHFULS TO THROW AWAY THE ANTIOCHIAN YOKE AND AMEND THE 1934 CHURCH CONSTITUTION TO RENAME “MALANKARA ORTHODOX CHURCH” AS “INDIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH” AND ALSO THAT OF THE “CATHOLICOSE” AS ” INDIAN PATRIARCH”.

HOWEVER, AS OF TODAY, NOBODY IN THE CHURCH HIERARCHY TOOK HIS WORDS SERIOUS AND THE PROUD WARRIOR OF THE CHURCH DIED A NORMAL DEATH, WITHOUT ACCOMPLISHING HIS GREAT DREAMS!

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE!

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