Columns Opinions

Dating And Its Implications In Society


Dating: To go out on usually social/romantic dates (taken from dictionary).

It is a word that strikes terror (older generation) in some and excitement in others. It’s another question on which the Bible speaks not. Dating is a rather new phenomenon, and thus the Biblical writers had no concept of seeing someone without being engaged to them. However, perspectives can be gleaned on this subject by looking closely at the principles presented in the Bible. Please do not expect the Indian Orthodox Church to have a doctrinal view on this. This is silly. Dating, mutual interaction with the opposite sex is all cultural but should be within a Christian context. To an older generation Malayali who is settled in US, Canada, UK, Australia, Middle East, India etc the East (where they come from) is always right and the West is bad. According to the latest statistics of Human Behavior Programme conducted in Indian by Oxford University, UK, it was shocking to find that Kerala is the most sex-starved state. This leads to all the rape, harassment and abuse of woman. We claim that we are the most literate state but we have the highest number of female abuse in the country.

It is wrong to think that because our children interact with each other that they are having sex. How many parents are able to openly talk about sex with their children? How many parents can openly discuss sex with each other? Yes, we need to watch what our children are up to, but before throwing dirt at them and their ways, we have to accept certain facts. Our children born and raised in the US (UK, Australia etc), are American and not Indian. They might have an Indian identity, and you might want then to have Christian and Indian values, but never forget that their motherland (US, UK, AUSTRALIA etc) have something positive to offer them.

But, an even more pressing question for many is “OK, dating, but how far is too far”? Dating is problematic because one usually dates several people before settling down and marrying one, so there is the potential of giving a piece of yourself away to several people, thus leaving one’s spouse with a used and weathered heart.

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Kundara Seminary Synod And Origin Of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church


Vattasseril Mar Dionysius discussed the Bethany Metropolitan’s flirting with the roman catholic Church in a meeting of the Episcopal Synod held at the seminary at Kundara in either late 1929 or early 1930.The invitees were Catholicos Baselius Mar Geevarghese II, Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Of Pampady, Mar Ivanios and Mar Theopilos, Fr. Abraham Poothakuzhiyil, E. J. John and E. J. Philipose. Mar Ivanios did not attend the Synod meeting since he had objection to the presence of non-Synod members, although they were special invitees at the instance of Malankara Metropolitan. Mar Theopilos followed his Masters voice.

The major decisions of the Synod were

  • The permission given to Bethany to start parish churches under it’s control was withdrawn.
  • Mar Ivanios was forbidden to start new parish churches under the control of Bethany.
  • In case Mar Ivanios acted in contravention of these decisions, the assistance given by individuals and parishes will ordered to be with held.

Mar Dionysius communicated these decisions to Mar Ivanios.

Management of M. D. Schools- M. D. School Case

Mar Ivanios was earlier entrusted with the management od 60 odd Mar Dionysius Schools run under the auspices of the Church. Immediately before Mar Dionysius had proceeded to Mardin in 1923. Following the decisions of the Synod afore mentioned, Mar Dionysius asked the Bethany Metropolitan to hand over the management, which he refused. In this situation Mar Dionysius filed a a suit in the Munsiff’s court at Thiruvalla against Mar Ivanios for release of management of the schools to his care. Mar Ivanios, shrewd as he was, had informed the Trusts in the names of his brother and relatives and transferred the Bethany institutions to the charge of these Trusts. The church had to proceed with the legal suit.

In 1926, mar Ivanios had sent a memorandum to Rome which proposed a union of the Malankara Church with the catholic Church.

1. Preserving the ancient rites and rituals.
2. Retaining for the Holy Synod and for the individual Bishops their jurisdiction over all the Jacobite Syrians that come into re union and
3. Accepting the supremacy of the Holy See, the Pope being the successor of St.Peter, the chief of Apostles of Our Lord.

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Happy New Year?


It is very clear to us today that millions of God’s children will not have a happy New Year in the South-East Asian region. The devastating oceanic earthquake and subsequent tidal waves (Tsunamis) that destroyed life and property worth of billions of dollars in more than eight countries is blatant to our eyes. One of the holiest places that Christians normally throng, the Velankanni Church in Tamil Nadu, was also terribly hit by the tidal waves. It has shaken the life and faith of many people. At the point of this write-up the total number of life lost is estimated at 26,000.00 as per CNN.

The war in Iraq is still going on with no sign of easing terrorism. Poverty is still a reality in many continents. AIDS has been affecting more countries predominantly as a sign man’s failure to abide with God’s law of human relationship. In India alone there are more than 10 million AIDS patients which will multiply to 25 million in 10 years, according to a study conducted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN. Drought or hurricane or other natural calamities have affected the economy of Kerala in the past two years. More than 100 families committed suicide in the past two years because they could not pay off their loans.

Religious leaders are becoming all the more blind. Many educated and spiritually brought-up people fail to find value of human freedom, life, and the very goal of existence. Misunderstood concept of Church and its mission has confused more people than ever in history. Anger and hatred between major religions are still rampant. Even Christians have miserably failed in grasping the mission that Lord Jesus Christ entrusted them. Hatred is the art of the game for everyone. It has become impossible to see people of other religions, language and ethnicity as our own. People’s tendency to be exclusive is on the increase. Jesus Christ’s message of inclusiveness is falling into deaf ears.

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H. B. Paulos Mar Miletheos : My Friend, My Teacher And The Newly Elected Supreme Head Of My Church


It is heart warming that a new glorious light is overtaking and exterminating the dark clouds that were enveloping our beloved Church recently. The Supreme Court Verdict of 1995 made it clear that even if the Antiochean Patriarchs had made some claims of supremacy over the church, it had vanished with the establishment of the Catholicate. But the authority of the Catholicose Mar Thoma Mathews II was questioned in the court. It was uphold by another Association of the Malankara Orthodox Church that he was the unquestionable Catholicose of the Malankara Orthodox Church. Still the dark clouds were over the Church. The authority of his successor H.H. Baselius Mar Thoma Didymus I was also questioned in the court. The court judgment reconfirming the authority of the Catholicose, Didymus I has once and for all put an end to the darkness.The unanimous decision of the Malankara Association to elect H.G.Paulose Mar Milithios as Catholicose Elect brings new rays of hope to our church.

I met the then Mr.Paul (the present Milithios Thirumeni) first time in 1972 at the MGOCSM Conference in Kolenchery. He was a seminary student and we shared the same room. In the first evening of the conference we were taking rest in the room. Mr. Paul sang a song which is sung in rememberance of our Holy Fathers in Kunnamkulam churches after the H.Qurbana. He gave me a printed copy and I could learn it from him. After a few years I knew that he was ordained and Dn.Paul had the charge of newly started MGOCSM Trivandrum Center. Then I met him as the asst. vicar of St.Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Ernakulam.

Wherever he worked, he was trustworthy, enthusiastic, sincere and hardworking. In 1982, he was elected as one of the Metropolitans of the church, with 4 others. All the five of them stayed at Parumala Seminary as Rambans for two years under the guidance of the late blessed H.G.Yuhanon Mar Savarius. It was to learn the writings of our H.Fathers, administration, tradition, learn the hymns in ‘ekkaras’ etc. Since I was also staying in the Parumala seminary for about a year, I noticed how he was related to the ‘Guru’ (Mar Savarius). Whenever I wanted to study Thaksa and festival books, Thirumeni used to call Ramban Paul and ask him to give me the guidance . Thus my friend became my teacher.

Ramban Paul was consecrated Metropolitan with the other four on 15th May 1985. He took charge of the newly formed Kunnamkulam Diocese on 1st of August 1985. The new office and the Aramana of the new diocese started in a small house given from the ancient Arthat Church. Naturally the young bishop wanted to make a diocesan center. An unanimous person, knowing his desire and trustworthiness, volunteered to give him lakhs of rupees without interest for a long term with a condition that his name should not be disclosed. So, Thirumeni could purchase a property and erect a beautiful diocesan center with chapel at the vicinity of Arthat church within two years. Thus, Thirumeni became the first from among the five. In due course, Thirumeni could pay off his debts with the ‘kaimuthu’ he received from in and out of the country and he proved his trustworthiness. The late Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus Thirumeni used to tell me of his trustworthy character. Thirumeni had a great appreciation for this kochu thirumeni.


To Save Our Church From Its Peril


Number our Internet groups are echoing with this topic for some time. Don’t we realize yet that we are like the Apostles who had a sound sleep in the garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper. Our last supper is a seven square meal of seven vices during this Apocalyptic age. It is a good aspiration for many to save our church from its peril, but it is only a dream as we are living in a fool’s paradise. Look at the degeneration of the church and the society stage by stage as portrayed in the prophesies of old. Let us start the vicious seeds that were sown from the beginning of the church as foretold by St. John( Rev.6 and later chapters and other other prophets of ancient times, particularly Daniel. The depravity of this degradation is given in order.

Persecution for the first 3 centuries> The age of heresy and the birth of Islam that led to the era of a number of Crusades. Feudal lordship and the sale of Indulgences and the birth of Protestantism> Renaissance and materialism>colonization of the world> industrialization mass migration due to world wars that uprooted the ethnic Christian communities to the four corners of the world>the age of advanced scientific inventions that led to the fossil energy and the age of the unfit test for the accumulation of money for humanizing all our religious and moral values, inviting the Beast from the nether world (Rev.13)>the age of cold war and the eventual demise of Daniel’s Iron Empire-Soviet Union- ( the last one out of the four)> the age of single super power that dragged into globalization of everything> the age of human bombs and the use of nuclear weapons and the establishment of a global kingdom of Antichrist> trials and tribulations for all religious communities that involves the era of imprinting the devil’s seal of No.666 on all their cronies and execution of all others who defy the Beast >Armageddon war that kills the Antichrist and the second coming of Jesus for taking the believers to Paradise. The global rule of Antichrist, though unimaginable now, is likely to trigger at any time, even within a couple of years. The sex culture that evolved drastically and perniciously together with the social and moral degradation dawned the age of the delusions of falsehood and unrighteousness (2.Thess.2.3-12). Now we have come to the zenith of the age of moral turpitude.

Good luck to Charley and his well wishers in their mission of saving the church from its ruin. Charley’s genuine cultural shock and his anguish in saving the church by speaking openly will have to be applauded and encouraged. The question is, can we do what God can’t do? (Lk.18: 8). This is the time when the Bride, delineated as false prophet-Rev.16: 13; 19: 20- rides on the Beast( Rev.17: 1-7). It is our duty to fight against the Beast and his evil trinity till the coming of the Lord. This furor started by the topic of dating and moral decadence of our generation, as per the posting of Charley in number of our websites. As it is a very delicate and subtle private matters, the church or the family hasn’t the taught the topic of sex morality explicitly. The article, basing on the Bible and scriptures, called ‘sex morality’ that I posted may be useful for the young and old for practicing and learning on the burning topic.


Approaches To Doctrinal, Social And Ethical Issues From The Perspective Of Orthodox Church


Years ago, while serving on the staff of the National Council of Churches in New Delhi, I made friends with the director of a research institute on Sikhism. Once I invited him to a public lecture in Delhi by Metropolitan Paulose Mar Gregorios on Science and Faith. My Punjabi Sikh friend had till then absolutely no idea of “Orthodox Churches” or bishops. During the meeting he heard several references to Mar Gregarious as the Indian Orthodox Bishop of Delhi. As usual, the bishop, with his versatile mind, gave a brilliant lecture on the topic. My friend, the intellectual, was deeply impressed. He had no words for the appreciation he felt for the “orthodox” bishop. Nevertheless he looked puzzled. As we were leaving the conference hall, he quietly confided the puzzle to me;” But, Fr. George, why do they call him “orthodox”” He is so progressive”!? My friend knew the English language rather well.

Let me point out a few issues of “approach”. (An approach implies a perspective, a method, an attitude and a world-view):

Modern European languages in general retain a predominantly pejorative sense of the word “Orthodox”. Makers of dictionaries and keepers of prejudices seem to like it that way. So the dichotomy of the conservative versus progressive, the outdated versus modern and the irrelevant versus relevant continues to play in the ecumenical circles as well. The emergence of post-modern sensitivity has challenged the legitimacy of this dichotomy to some extent, but not always in a way useful for ecumenical dialogue. Our dialogue needs to be liberated from the clutches of traditional semantic and theological dichotomies. Our usual self-definition in opposition to the other as well as our caricaturing of each other need to be transcended in the process. St. Gregory of Nazianzus once ironically observed: “We become pious by condemning the impiety of others”. Most often our self-righteousness makes use of this convenient tool.

Another set of categories we use is “East” and “West”, apparently more legitimate and congenial than the conservative progressive pair. The Orthodox Churches, in spite of their acknowledged identification with “the faith of the undivided church” and “the church of the oikoumene,” the whole inhabited earth, consider themselves as “Eastern” Churches. This is quite understandable in the light of the “local church ecclesiology” of the Orthodox tradition. A true local Church can be local and catholic at the same time. It can manifest itself at the same time as the one Body of Christ diachronically and synchronically. Our present historical experience is that the western local church has become universal ever since the historic colonial conquests beginning with the 15th century while the Eastern churches have remained parochially local due to known historical coincidences. This has created theological and emotional imbalances in the dialogues between the Eastern and the Western church traditions.

In terms of spiritual and theological sensitivity, the East-West cultural distinction still holds good in much of our ecumenical conversation. Culture is the key here. Culture of the East, however one may define it, has cut so deep into the faith and practice of Orthodox churches that the sight, smell and sound of Orthodoxy are clearly distinguishable from those of the western churches. Theological arguments and attitudes are also shaped on these cultural lines. So it is hard to fully agree and identify with each other’s positions. We may at best make some verbal agreements as in the B E M document for instance, but the way forward from that point on is not necessarily handled by theologians but by custodians of culture whoever that may be. From obviously non-theological questions like whether the priest should carry a beard to purely doctrinal matters like whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son too, East-West relationship has always been determined to a significant measure by the respective cultural attitudes of the partners in dialogue.

Columns Humor

A Very Faithful Woman


An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout “PRAISE THE LORD!”

Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout, “There ain’t no Lord!!”

Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for GOD to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted “PRAISE THE LORD. GOD I NEED FOOD!! I AM HAVING A HARD TIME. PLEASE LORD, SEND ME SOME GROCERIES!!”

The next morning the lady went out on her porch and noted a large bag of groceries and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD.”

The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.”

The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD. He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Praise the Lord!”

Offer made to Adam

God looks down and notices that Adam is all alone while all the animals have companions, so he decides to create a companion for man as well. He comes to see Adam and says to him, “Adam, you are my greatest creation and therefore, I am going to create for you the ultimate companion. She will worship the very ground you walk on, she will long for you and no other, she will be highly intelligent, she will wait on you hand and foot and obey your every command, she will be beautiful, and all it will cost you is an arm and a leg.” Thinking for a few moments, Adam replies, “What could I get for a rib?”


A Tribute to H. H. Moron Mor Baselios Marthoma Mathews II

The greatest fact in the story of man on earth is not his material achievements, the empires he has built and broken, but the growth of his soul from age to age in its search for truth and goodness. Those who take part in the adventure of the soul secure an enduring place in the history of human culture. Time has discredited heroes as easily as it has forgotten everyone else; but the saints remain. The greatness of H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II is more in his holy living than in his heroic struggles, in his insistence on the creative power of the soul and its life-giving quality at a time when the destructive forces seem to be in the ascendant.

baselios-mathoma-mathews-ii-old-photoI borrow the words of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan to pay tribute to one of the most charismatic shepherd of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church and indeed of Christendom in the modern era. H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, sixth Catholicos of the Indian Orthodox Church and 89th Apostolic Successor of St. Thomas departed from this world for his heavenly abode at 5.10 PM on January 26, 2006 at Devalokam Aramana in Kottayam four days before his 91st birthday. His mortal remains are interred at Mount Horeb Monastery Chapel in Sasthamkotta. He was leading a life of rest in the Devalokam Catholicate Aramana at Kottayam, after relinquishing his official duties on October 29, 2005.

H.H. Mor Baselios was born on January 30, 1915 at Perinadu near Quilon in Kerala as eldest son of Puthusserazhikathu Puthenveetil Idikkula and Annamma. Ordained as Deacon in 1938, as Priest in 1941, and then ordained as a Bishop (Mathews Mor Coorilos) on May 15, 1953, H.H. was enthroned as Catholicos of the East on April 29, 1991 at Parumala Seminary following the abdication by the former Catholicos H. H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews I. Prior to becoming the Catholicos he was the Metropolitan of Quilon diocese for a long time. Mor Baselios had his theological training at the Kottayam Old Seminary and later at Basil Dayara, Pathanamthitta. Then he did his Bachelor of Divinity [BD] at Bishop’s College, Calcutta. He had advanced theological studies at the General Theological Seminary, New York. Due to ill health H. H. graciously relieved his authorities to his successor, the current Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan on Oct 31, 2005.

The life of His Holiness was a well-celebrated one and he lived his life to the full, the richness of which touched the hearts of millions and imprinted enduring mark on the history of Christianity in India during the last fifty years. Being anointed to the episcopate at a tender age of 38, Mor Baselios guided the Indian Orthodox Church with diligence of a most devoted shepherd for fifteen years from 1991 to 2005 in his Apostolic struggle in the New World.

“With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Your servant and our father Moran Mor Baselios Marthoma Mathews II where there is no pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering, but life everlasting.”


Malankara Association 2002: Speech by the Catholicos

(This Presidential speach was delivered by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews II , the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church at the Malankara Association Meeting Held At Parumala on March 20, 2002.It was delivered just before the election.In this election His Holiness was reconfirmed and declared as Malankara Metropolitan by Justice Sri. V. S. Mulimud)

Your Grace The Catholicos Designate Thomas Mar Thimothios Thirumeni, our brethren Bishops, Your Lordship Justice Sri .V. S.Mulimud, beloved Clergy and Lay Trustee, dear and beloved representatives from parishes and children of the Holy Malankara Sabha and friends from various press and Channels.

We give thanks and express our deep gratitude to the Almighty God who was merciful enough in planting a church in India and allowing having a global growth to it. Forgetting our old age difficulties and with greatest pleasure of mind I am hereby standing in your presence. I was longing with prayers to get this opportunity. We have faced various trials to protect the individuality and liberty of our beloved Church. In spite of all these happenings, the Spirit of Lord pervaded and was working in the Church. This critical day has provided to us better guidance and blessings by the Grace of God. The Hon. Supreme Court of India has given us a former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court to conduct this Association. In Sri. V. S. Mulimud, we see a man who is just truthful and loyal to law and impartial in his observations of the performance of the Association. We give thanks to him and the various Governments ., States and Central who rendered great and valuable helps in the past ordeal times. We also express our deep gratitude towards our brethren Bishops, Cor-Episcopos, Rambans, Priests, Monks, Nuns and all the faithful ones to the Holy Malankara Church.

We understand that it is a divine providence to conduct another such Association in this Holy place where our Holy declared Saint Mar Gregorios takes his eternal rest. May his intercession and care keep us and this Association. We are here now remembering all those holy fore- fathers of the Church

Also we are grateful to our Brethren Bishops Mar Abraham Severios, Thomas Mar Athanasios, Yuhanon Mar Milithiose, Zacharias Mar Nichalovos who have strong steps towards the unity of the Church depending the verdict of the Supreme Court of India. There are representatives from the Churches in India and abroad. We have here representatives from the churches at Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Arabian Gulf Countries, America, Europe, Canada and Africa. You have all assembled here out of respect towards me and the Catholicate. Submitting you all in the merciful hand of our God, we and our Brethren Bishops express our thanks to you all. You are representing a growing and flourishing Holy Church. During the first Association, only 100 churches from all around Kerala represented and at this Association is representing 1244 churches all around the world. Now Malankara Church got the full growth as a Universal Church.

Certain prior Associations are to be particularly dealt with. The first Association convened in 1876 at Mulanthuruthy. The Kottayam Association in 1934, passed the Constitution of the Church. According to the decision of that Association, the post of Catholicos and post of Malankara Metropolitan conferred to one person. 1958 verdict of the Supreme Court of India, united the two parties and in the Association at Puthencavu elected Lay Trustee and Clergy Trustee. This Association is an epoch making event in the history of the Church and it is convened as per direction of the Supreme Court of India. Regarding the Constitution of 1934, Abdul Messiah, the Holy Patriarch of Antioch has opinioned in his letter (A-14) to establish Catholicate in India to protect the sanctity and purity of the Church and to strengthen the relationship of the Church with the Antiochene Church. That was why he himself arrived in India and re-instated the Catholicate here. He ordained the Catholicos and in his commendation he has written “Your Catholicos and the Bishops will look after the sheep here and when a Catholicos expires all the other Bishops in the Synod will ordain another Catholicos here.” Depending on this letter we have formulated our Constitution in 1934. The Supreme Court of India has given more importance in this Commendation and has accepted it as a most important document. “The constitution will bind both parties metropolises and members of the Church” Says the Supreme Court. We stand by these Constitutional laws and only want all to be under this Constitution. We like to govern the parish churches as the Constitution says and do not like to capture the parish wealth. Order and discipline are indispensable to the growth of any institution. This Association is the most elaborate parliament in the world. Hence it’s responsibilities are also great. Our Church is an Episcopal Church. We have a beautiful constitution that Episcopacy and Democracy coincided. You are selecting today 37 priests and 74 laymen to the Association of the Church. We know that you are electing responsible persons to this Association.

Like all other Eastern Churches, Malankara Church also is Apostolic and ancient. We have a very important place among other ancient Churches of the world. Our Theologians have taken risks to formulate its true history and to attain great reputation. The Church will ever remember them. Only this Church, among all other Oriental Churches, is fully national and has complete liberty. We are indebted to our democratic systems and democracy of India for this.

Now we are getting free from Cases. Now it is the time for us for a spiritual revival. We have to receive this challenge. Liturgical worship that provides a spiritual mind and the presence of the Divinity, is highly essential. Our existence is only on those who give response to God’s voice and on those who denounce material benefits when doing service to the Church. The future of the Church is depended on such laity, and clergy. The Synod has formulated a document for the welfare of the Church for 10 years. We are happy that we keep better Christians fellowship with all other Churches in the world. We never misuse opportunities that strengthen Christian fellowships. You all know that we and our Brethren Bishops have taken greater interests in limiting two parties after the Court verdict of 1955. We also look for the unity of these two parties at the earliest. The aim of the Supreme Court is also the same.

We thank God that always our aim and attempt was to save the church from all cases and calamities. Now in this Association which is convened as per the direction of the Supreme Court, the party ship are going to end. This is a step to achieve reconciliation and unity among both. No more stagnation. No more looking back. Never we will follow the dark paths of the Court Cases and struggles. Let us go foreword to the future directed by the Holy Spirit of God. The door of the Church will be ever opened for peace and light from above. We will never avoid or reject anybody. We consider all in the love and care of God Almighty and invite all for a spiritual pilgrimage. Here let it start as a beginning. Request to have your prayers and cooperation always for me in this pilgrimage.

Let God Almighty bless our Church and us abundantly.