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Church Should Introspect on its Mission: Jiji Thomson

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KOTTAYAM: Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson on Thursday called upon the Church to introspect on its mission. He was delivering the keynote address on the mission of the Church at the valedictory function of the bicentenary celebrations of the Kottayam Orthodox Theological Seminary (Old seminary) here.

He also called for taking up the mission of spreading Christianity and added it was Biblically imperative to bring people unto Jesus.

Thomson, who spoke at a function being attended by Governor Justice P Sathasivam, highlighted the importance of the evangelisation mission.

Thomson began his speech by saying that he was speaking not as a Chief Secretary, but as a son of the Church.

“The ultimate mission of the Church is to spread Christianity and I am thinking of ways to fulfil this mission. There are three ways to achieve this goal, which are Church evangelisation, personal evangelisation and mass evangelisation. While mass evangelisation is being held through Bible conventions, everyone can go on the path of personal evangelisation,” he said, elaborating the term gospel as ‘go’ and ‘spell.’

When Express contacted Thomson over phone and asked whether his speech amounted to evangelisation, he said being a Christian he had the right to speak about Christianity. Replying to a question whether it is proper for him to speak about attracting people to Christianity while holding the Chief Secretary’s post, he said everyone has religious freedom and he could speak about it as a person.

“There is nothing wrong in speaking about Christianity while being a Chief Secretary,” he said.

Source: The New Indian Express
By Abhilash Chandran Published: 27th November 2015

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Governor hails State’s communal harmony; Bicentenary fete of Old Seminary concludes

Governor P. Sathasivam inaugurating the valedictory session of the bicentenary celebrations of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam on Thursday.: Photo-The Hindu
Governor P. Sathasivam inaugurating the valedictory session of the bicentenary celebrations of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam on Thursday.: Photo-The Hindu

KOTTAYAM: Rich accolades were paid to the contributions made by the Orthodox Theological Seminary (Old Seminary) on the occasion of the valedictory of its bicentenary celebrations here on Thursday.

Inaugurating the valedictory function, Governor P. Sathasivam said Kerala could take pride in the rich heritage of communal harmony and high literacy levels. Recalling the role of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in the educational uplift of the State, he said he was proud to represent the State when the President called a meeting of the Governors. He also remembered that his colleagues too had commended on the achievement of the State, especially in the area of the communal harmony.

He pointed out that the seminary was the product of the collaboration between the local Syrian Christian community and the missionaries for providing modern education to the local youth. Grooming them for ministerial service was also one of the intentions, he said. The Governor also pointed to the role of the seminary in imparting education in English, Latin, Syriac and Sanskrit.

“It is a golden occasion to look back to the past with legitimate pride and look forward to specific schemes of action for much more glorious future,” he said.

Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II, head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC), presided. Metropolitan Tikhon, the primate of the Orthodox Church of America, delivered the benedictory address and Jiji Thomson, Chief Secretary, delivered keynote address.

Fr. Jacob Kurian, former Principal of the seminary, spoke. Fr. O. Thomas, Principal, Orthodox Theological Seminary, welcomed the gathering and Fr. Johns Abraham Konat, priest trustee of MOSC, proposed a vote of thanks.

Source: The Hinu
BY SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

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Indian Orthodox Church Supreme Head Visits New Zealand

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AUCKLAND: The prelate of the Indian Orthodox Church, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was on a maiden visit to New Zealand from November 10 to 14, 2015.

I was with the parishioners of St Dionysius Indian Orthodox Church in Auckland and many others to welcome the Holy Father as he landed at Auckland Airport on November 10.

The Diocesan Metropolitan, His Grace Dr Yuhanon Mar Diascoros arrived later aboard a delayed flight.

Wellington Welcomes

The Holy Father and Mar Diascoros were in Wellington on November 11 to attend the Holy Eucharist held at the Assyrian Church of St George. Mar Diascoros celebrated the service in the presence of His Holiness.

This followed with a welcome meeting where many dignitaries including Attorney General Christopher Finlayson participated. His Eminence Amphilochios Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church, Rev Richard Randerson, Retired Bishop of the Anglican Church and Fr Aprem Pithyou of the Assyrian Church, Clergies from the Catholic, Coptic Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox and Russian Orthodox offered felicitations.

Hamilton Happenings

The Holy Father and Mar Diascoros arrived in Hamilton on November 12. The faithful of the St Gergorios Indian Orthodox Church accorded a traditional welcome. The feast of the patron Saint Gregorios was held in the evening.

A torch lit from the first Indian Orthodox Church in New Zealand, named after the sacred memory of the illuminator of the church, St Dionysius was brought by a group of parishioners from Auckland.

Evening prayers followed and the Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Mar Diascoros in the presence of His Holiness. After the benediction, a public meeting was held to greet the visiting primate.

The Anglican Bishop of Waikato, Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley was present at the Feast and spoke at the meeting.

Auckland Calling

The Holy Father was in Auckland on Friday, November 13 and visited the Church at 55 Keeling Road, Henderson where the Indian Orthodox Church owned the first property in New Zealand. The church members and local MP Phil Twyford were present to receive the Holy Father. Children with lighted candles, youth throwing flowers on the walkway, ornamental umbrellas, firecrackers, illuminations etc. all added flavour to the event.

The Auckland Parish also celebrated the Feast of St Gregorios. His Holiness celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the newly built Church, which was consecrated early this year.

The Eucharist was followed with a public meeting where clergy and faithful from the Coptic, Syrian, Catholic & Marthoma churches also participated.

The Diocesan Bishop chaired the meeting. Mr Twyford, priests from the Coptic, Catholic and Marthoma Churches felicitated His Holiness, who addressed, blessed the gathering and distributed gifts to the dignitaries.

Later, His Holiness consecrated the first cross shrine in the Pacific Region dedicated in the memory of The Holy Theotokos, in front of the Church.

After the benediction and love feast, His Holiness planted a New Zealand fern sapling at the church premises in memory of the historic visit.

Faithful gathered in large numbers to meet and seek the blessings of His Holiness.

The contingent then left for the next leg of this visit to Sydney on November 14.

The Diocesan Metropolitan Dr Yuhanon Mar Diascoros and I accompanied His Holiness throughout the visit.

In retrospection, the maiden Apostolic visit of His Holiness was rejoicing for the faithful in NZ who were privileged to view the radiance of the Holy Father’s countenance.

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News : Fr Anup Joseph Eapen

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Catholicos to Visit Brahmavar in early December

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UDUPI: The Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, is set to make his maiden visit to St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral Brahmavar and its chapels (‘Brahmavar Konkani Orthodox Community’) from 4 to 6 of December, said Fr Issac C A, Vicar General of St Mary’s Cathedral Brahmavar, at a press meet held at the Press Club here on Monday, November 9, 2015.

St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral and its 7 chapels is the only Konkani speaking orthodox community, within the jurisdiction of the Indian Orthodox Church and in the entire world. As such, this visit is of great importance for the community and its churches.

The Brahmavar Konkani Orthodox Community and the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church share many things in common, especially their history. Both have fought foreign (Western) domination over the Indian Church and as such, they have fostered native or Indian leadership. Thus, promulgating ‘Swadeshi Ideology’ within the Christian Church. It was for this reason the founder of Brahmavar Konkani Orthodox Community, late Alvares Mar Julius Archbishop, brought the community under the communion of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church in 1889.

Catholicos Paulose II had taken an interest in the affairs of the Brahmavar Konkani Orthodox Community from the beginning and had expressed keen interest in visiting the community. He will arrive in Udupi on the morning of 4 December, 2015. Catholicos Paulose II will be received in a procession from Udupi Karavali Junction to St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar at 9 am.

In the evening at 4 pm, a public meet will be held in the Church compound in view of the maiden visit of Catholicos Paulose II. Along with it, the inaugural ceremony of the Centennial Celebrations of the Cosmopolitan Higher Primary School Brahmavar will also be held.

On 5 December, Catholicos Paulose II will set out to Hulikel, Shivamogga District to consecrate the newly built St Gregorios Orthodox Syrian Church, a chapel of St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar. Thereafter, His Holiness will be visiting all the Chapels, namely: Hosangady – St George Church, Kandlur – St Mary’s Church, Sastan – St Thomas Church, Kurady – St Peter and Paul’s Church and Kolalgiri – St Antony Church.

On 6 December, Catholicos Paulose II will be celebrating the holy Eucharist at 8:30 am. During the Eucharist, late Alvares Mar Juilus Archbishop (Founder of Brahmavar Konkani Orthodox Community) and late Fr R Z Noronha (First Vicar General of St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral Brahmavar) will be declared as ‘Blessed Saints’. Thereafter, Paulose II will meet various spiritual organizations and management committees associated with St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar.

In the morning of 7 December, Catholicos Paulose will return to Kottayam.

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Fr Abraham Kuriakose, Fr Noel Lewis, assistant priest of the cathedral Fr David Crasta, treasurer of the cathedral Anil Rodrigues and Joslin Almeida were present at the press meet.

Courtesy: Mangalorean

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Feast of Metropolitan Dr. Stephanos Mar Theodosius concluded in Bhilai

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BHILAI: The glowing memories of ‘ Bada Baba’ -as Metropolitan Dr. Stephanos Mar Theodosius of Blessed Memory were fondly called by the villagers- was re-lived on the occasion of the 8th Annual Feast of the first Metropolitan of the Dioceses of Madras and Calcutta from 29 October to 5 November, 2015 at the St. Thomas Chapel, Kailash Nagar, Bhilai.

In a solemn ceremony at 12pm on October 29 at the St. Thomas Ashram, Kailash Nagar, Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II hoisted the flag marking the opening of the 8th Memorial Feast of Mar Theodosius. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostemos, Metropolitan of Diocese of Niranam was the chief celebrant for the feast.

On 4th November, Holy Qurbana was celebrated by Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan of Calcutta Diocese. A symposium was conducted on the “Mission perspectives of Metropolitans Late Lamented Alexios Mar Theodosius, Late Lamented Kuriakose Mar Gregorios and Late Lamented Stephanos Mar Theodosius”. Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan, Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip, Principal, STOTS and Fr. Mathewkutty, Pampady Dayara were the resource persons.

A seminar on “Use and abuse of social media” was conducted in the afternoon. Fr. Titus John led the session. Rasa conducted from the MGO Cathedral to the Tomb of Mar Theodosius situated at St. Thomas Chapel, Kailash Nagar, Bhilai.

On 5th of November, Holy Qurbana was celebrated by Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostemos, Metropolitan of Diocese of Niranam.

The Meritorious students from the Schools under the Diocese of Calcutta and St. Thomas Mission were presented with a Mar Theodosius Merit Award. Submission of Catholicate Day Collection, Diocesan Priests’ Meeting, and Baskiamma Meeting were also held after the service.

The Feast concluded with a ceremonial lowering of Perunal flag at 2pm by the Diocesan Metropolitan Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius.

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Fr. M.M.Abraham’s Funeral on Friday November 6

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BENGALURU: Fr. MM, Abraham (80) a senior priest of Malankara Orthodox Church and Chaplain of NAMS Snehasadan, Bangalore had passed away on 4th November 2015.

Funeral service will begin on Friday 6 November at 10 am at NAMS Snehasadan and the burial service at 1 PM at St. Mary’s Orthodox Valiapally, Jalahalli, and Bangalore.

Fr. Abraham was born on 11th March 1935 at Mallapally, Kerala into the Vattaserril family and was ordained as priest on 15th August 1960.His first assignment was at Trichy for the people who came from Latin Catholic sect to the Orthodox fold. (1961-62)

Fr. M.M Abraham had served in the Diocese of Malabar from 1962 to 1992, where he established more than 16 churches and was the Vicar of, 20 parishes. He is an acclaimed priest whose contribution is considered to be very vital in laying a strong foundation to the Diocese. He was instrumental in organizing the migrant population in the difficult terrains of the Malabar region. He took the initiative and constructed parishes in the districts of Malappuram, Palghat and Kozhikkode. He is known as the ‘Apostle of Malabar’. A selfless priest devoted and totally dedicated to his call, he traveled bare foot through the length and breadth of the region without proper food and even reached out to the migrant population, taking care of their social, economic and religious needs and “kept the sheep under the fold” who would have been otherwise lost.

After his retirement in 1992 he has served Christu Shishya Asharam, Tadagam near Coimbatore and St Gregorios Balagram, Yacharam before settling down at NAMS Snehasadan, Bangalore. Achen was the MGOCSM Chaplain for Karnataka between 2002 and 2005.

Fr. M .M Abraham did his BSc Mathematics Degree from St Joseph’s Devagiri, Kozhikode.He was awarded merit scholarship for his excellence in studies, the same was used to construct parishes for small congregations. Achen has three post graduate degrees to his credit in History, Political Science and Sociology. A vivid reader, a scholar of par excellence. He was an authority on Church History. His capsule sermons during the Holy Qurbana were very popular. He was always very popular among children and youngsters. He was a role model for the children and youth of Malabar during his tenure there and later on for the Pravasi students as the Chaplain of MGOCSM, Karnataka Region. He managed to guide many people to priesthood and inspired a generation towards a spiritual path.