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VIPASSANA Emotional Support Center Inaugurated

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KOTTAYAM: The Malankara Orthodox Church has launched the Emotional Support Centre, VIPASSANA H.H. Basalios Mar Thoma Paulose II Catholicos inaugurated the Centre at MGOCSM Student Centre, Kottayam by lighting the lamp.

Justice K. T. Thomas, Fr. Dr. K. M. George (Director, Sopanam Academy of Orthodox Theology), Fr. Dr. O. Thomas (Principal, Orthodox Theological Seminary), Dr. Varghese Punnoose (Professor of Psychiatry, Government. Medical College, Kottayam), Fr. P. A. Philip (Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Human Empowerment) and Dr. Siby Tharakan (Director, Vipassana).

In the inaugural address, H. H. Catholicos emphasized that the number of people committing suicide is on the increase due to mounting emotional stress in the workplace, family and educational institutions. It is the responsibility of the Church to take care and solace the depressed through relevant measures as shown by Jesus Christ.

Justice K.T. Thomas, former Judge, Supreme Court of India said, there should not be any discrimination in funeral service for people committing self-harm. The mounting psychological pressure on an individual creates traumatic experiences in the individual which induces suicidal thoughts and the individual’s response to it is not volitional. Any act to normalize the thought process of such individual is commendable.

The Helpline envisages helping people who are under tremendous stress and emotional breakdown. The Telephone Helpline which purports to console and empower people under emotional breakdown and loneliness will function 24×6.

The calls coming to the Helpline centre will be handled by volunteers who are trained for the purpose. Three-day training for 40 volunteers was conducted at the Centre.

The callers will not be required to disclose their name and destination. The problems shared shall be kept strictly secret. Students, youth and senior citizens (anybody irrespective of their age, caste or religion) can be the beneficiaries of the helpline. Face to face interaction for emotional help and counselling by reference for the needy is also arranged in the center.

The focal point of the Centre shall be the enrichment of Family life. It will organize various Awareness /Training Program in this lineage. It will also organize various training /awareness programs for Suicide Prevention.

Vipassana shall organize programs to console and embolden families in which suicide or unnatural death happened. Get together of such families, emotional sharing, counselling, retreats etc also shall be organized. Vipassana is a joint enterprise of the Ministry of Human Empowerment and Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement.

The VIPASSANA Emotional Support Centre can be contacted at Mob: 07025067695.
E-mail: vipassana.mohe@gmail.com
Contact address: Director, VIPASSANA, MGOCSM Student Centre, CMC College Junction, Kottayam, Kerala-686001

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VIPASSANA Emotional Support Programme: Training conducted

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KOTTAYAM: VIPASSANA, the Emotional Support Centre of the Malankara Orthodox Church has organised a training program for the volunteers at MGOCSM Student Centre, Kottayam on 09 May,2015.

Dr.Thomas Mar Athanasios, President of the Ministry of Human Empowerment(MOHE) and Metropolitan of the Kandanad East Diocese inaugurated the training program.

Fr.P.A.Philip, Deputy Secretary, MOHE presided over the function.Fr.Philan Mathew,General Secretary,MGOCSM,Fr.Abraham Mathai(Fr.Shiju), Director, Student Centre, Kottayam, and Dr.Siby Tharakan, Director, Vpassana spoke on the occasion.

Dr.Varghese Punnoose, Secretary, Orthodox medical Forum and HOD, Dept.of Psychiatry, Govt.Medical College, Kottayam lead the session on ‘Understanding Human Behaviour’.

Mrs.Maya Susan Jacob, Counselling psychologist, Girideepan group of Institutions lead the session on ‘Emotional Challenges of Children’ and Fr.Dr.John Thomas Karingattil, Professor of Communication, orthodox Theological Seminary lead the session on’ Influence of Media on the Family’.

The training programme was attended by 39 participants from different walks of life including Students and Senior Citizens.The second and third training programme will be conducted on 16th and 23rd May,2015 at MGOCSM Student Centre, Kottayam.

The Ministry of Human Empowerment (MOHE) in collaboration with MGOCSM launched the Emotional Support Programme(ESP) with three-pronged strategies: like Emotional Support Helpline, Family Life Enrichment and Suicide Prevention Program, Fellowship of the family members who suffered the trauma of a suicide in the family.

The Centre also envisages helping people who are under tremendous stress and emotional breakdown.The Telephone Helpline which purports to console and empower people under emotional breakdown and loneliness will function 24×6.The calls coming to the Helpline centre will be handled by volunteers who are trained for the purpose.

The callers will not be asked to divulge their name and address. The problems shared shall be kept strictly confidential.Students, youth and seniors citizens (anybody irrespective of their age, caste or religion) can be the beneficiaries of the helpline.The focus of the Helpline shall be the enrichment of Family life. It will organize various Awareness/Training Program in this line.

It shall take up and continue various projects introduced by the Ministry of Human Empowerment of the Church.It will also organize various training /awareness programs for Suicide Prevention.

The centre shall organize programs to console and embolden families in which suicide or unnatural death happened. Get together of such families, emotional sharing, counseling, retreats etc also shall be organized.

The VIPASSANA Emotional Support Center can be contacted at Mob:07025067695, e-mail: vipassana.mohe@gmail.com or hrm@mosc.in

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President asks not to ignore Christians’ role in education

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NEW DELHI: President of India, Mr.Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said the role of the Church in spreading education cannot be ignored as he released a postal stamp commemorating the 200 years of the Orthodox Theological Seminary based in Kottayam, Kerala.

“The Christian Community established a large chain of elementary schools throughout Kerala, under the supervision of the Seminary and its leaders,” he said at the function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Seminary was the first indigenous initiative towards universal literacy and education, which has today made Kerala the most literate state in the country.’’ The president said the charity and health care activities of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church also originated in the Old Seminary under its leadership.

‘’The role of the Church in healthcare, women’s empowerment and upliftment of the less privileged section of society are unparalleled,’’ the President said.

The President said for nearly 14 Centuries, the three major religions of Kerala, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have existed in peace and harmony, respecting each other’s belief and cooperating to promote social welfare.

‘’In fact, Kerala was the first state in the country in which both Christianity and Islam took roots with people voluntarily choosing different religious beliefs.

The Old Seminary was set up by the Malankara Orthodox Church situated in Kerala, a state known for the peaceful co-existence of different religions and communal harmony.

“The lighting of oil lamps in and around Churches, the raising of the flagstaff and flags during festivals and the custom of entering the Churches barefoot are all Hindu traditions that have become a part of the Church practice. These bear testimony to the sharing of traditions by both the religions,’’ the president said.

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Source: UCAN India

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Catholicos: My heart bleeds for every single son of Malankara who go astray

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MUSCAT: His Holiness Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, concluded a 10-day visit to the Sultanate of Oman during which His Holiness was the chief celebrant for the Holy Week programme at the Muscat Mar Gregorios Maha Edavaka.

For the first time in the 43-year history of the Maha Edavaka, a Catholicos led the Passion Week services.

In a parting message to the faithful during the Holy Eucharist at the Holy Easter service, His Holiness who spoke his mind out said during several instances he was pained when children of Malankara Orthodox Syrian community move over to other faiths. “I am pained and extremely ashamed when our children go astray. I am disappointed as the Supreme Head. If this is the case, Malankara Orthodox will under threat and it be a different scene in about 50 years…”

His Holiness cited several instances from his own personal experiences to relate this. Even during his visit here, a family who is known to HH visited him and exchanged pleasantries and posed for photographs. The very same family moved over to Pentecostal church when life became a hard reality.

The Supreme head of the Malankara Church hailed the Muscat Maha Edavaka who has stood as a ‘beacon of hope’ at all times and hoped that it would continue to do so in future and extended his wishes for the future.

The Catholicos rushed to Kerala immediately after the Easter service where His Holiness will lead the Dukrono of St Kuriakose Mar Gregorios at Pampady Dayara on Sunday. His Holiness enplaned for Kerala by the 1 am Oman Air flight from Muscat International Airport and was seen off by executive committee members of the Maha Edavaka.

The Catholicos was accompanied by Dn Santhosh Babu, Secretary to His Holiness, during the visit.

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Catholicos Easter message: Christ’s Resurrection Signifies Big Victory Despite Problems For Mankind

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MUSCAT: His Holiness Baselious Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Indian Orthodox (Malankara) Metropolitan, has in a Easter message called upon the faithful to face the problems and not be disappointed, since victory is at the end of every phase.

The Supreme Head of the Indian Orthodox Church who delivered the Easter message at the Muscat Mar Gregorios Maha Edavaka in Malayalam pointed out that despite the numerous problems we face in this world, one needs to move forward and not be cowed down by them. Even with these issues, man still overcomes them all and comes forward to happy times in the end which in itself signifies victory. This victory is an indication and message of resurrection.

For Easter, Christians experience their biggest moment which is not a silly and an ordinary experience in itself. The Catholicos said that one must leave an imprint in our life from Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The resurrection is also proof enough that death is not the end of all but we live through a different life and have a right to a happy and everlasting life.

His Holiness also reiterates in his message that mankind who is part of a world beset with problems, neglection, poverty and sadness, need to face them. In the same manner, Jesus also expects these traits from us just like how we fed Him when He was hungry, clothed Him when he was naked, visited Him when he was alone. Similarly we must strive to take part in the pain of others in our ordinary lifes. Through this message, Jesus who showed that his life of crucifixion and resurrection was not for him but for others, set a shining example for others to follow them.

“We have passed through the last stages life of Christ, who overcame death and also participated in His suffering, followed by crucifixion and resurrection. Each year we celebrate the resurrection and once again we have been part of the passion week, going through them all. We need to take something new in our life and imbibe it in our life,” the Supreme Head said adding that we need to bring solace to others just like Christ who brought peace upon all mankind.

The Catholicos ended his message by extending his Easter greetings to all.

Link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OugVM3erW6s

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Digital Library of Orthodox Seminary Opened

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KOTTAYAM: The Orthodox Seminary Digital Library (OSDL), an ambitious project of Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, to offer digital versions of centuries-old documents, manuscripts and books, opened its doors for thre public on Tuesday.

The library has been formed as part of the bicentenary year celebrations of the Seminary. More than 1,500 manuscripts and 75,000 printed books and documents have been scanned to form the digital archive. The database, labelled as ‘Malankara Document’, can be accessed by students and researchers under the copyright laws and Seminary regulations.

The epigraphic database on the history and milestones of churches in Kerala have been under the threat of being lost, neglected and destroyed. The project aims to conserve the Indian St Thomas Christian heritage by protecting primary and secondary source materials like ancient documents, manuscripts and books, both published and unpublished, kept in various libraries, churches, institutions and individual collections across the state.

The first phase of the digitisation process started in 1990 in microfilm format as part of the 175th anniversary of the Seminary. The collected materials were digitised, catalogued and stored in a server to form the library. Those with the access codes can avail themselves of materials set up at the digital library room within the Seminary library.

The Seminary library also possess a large number of text materials inherited from the Malankara Church. After the Udayamperoor Synod in 1599, a large collection of books were burnt and destroyed. Following this, the Marthoma Metropolitans of the Malankara Church collected the remaining books. A section of these collections is also made available in the digital library.

Source: The New Indian Express

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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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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.