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Episcopal Election 2010: Catholicate Flag Hoisted at Association Nagar

SASTHAMKOTTA: Heralding the commencement of Malankara Association, Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Anthonios of Kollam hoisted the Catholicate flag at the Association Nagar – Sasthamkotta, brought from Mattanchery Church on Friday February 12, 2010 before a large crowd in the presence of Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios and Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius.

The flagpole on which the flag raised was brought from the historical place of Nazranees Thriruvithamkode half church. The flagpole rally was lead by the Metropolitan of Thirunvananthapuram Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios.

On the eve of February 12 the Flagpole rally reached Baranicavu from where it was brought in a ceremonial procession to the Association Nagar. At the gate of the Association Nagar, a rousing welcome was given to the flagpole rally with Special Band and Chendamelam. Hundreds of vehicles and thousands of faithful joined in the rally from Thiruviathamkode and Mattanchery.

Association Secretary – Dr. George Joseph, Priest Trustee – Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konatt, Fr. John Chacko, Fr. George Varghese, Ft. K. T. Varghese, Fr. Varghese. K, Fr. Jacob John, Fr. Baby Thomas, Fr. K.K. Thomas, Fr. P. J. Zachariah, Mathew Veerappally, Sabha managing Committee members-I. C. Cherian, Koshy Oommen, Prof. Y. Joy, Prof. Jose Koshy, Mathew Cherian, Samkutty, Abraham Mathew Veerappally and P.K. Rajan were the leaders of the event.

Sasthamkotta Association is the third Association convened by Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos of the East Baselios Marthoma Didymos I. The previous Associations were held on September 21 & October 12, a2006 at t Parumala Seminary and September 11, 2008 at Pampakuda

On February 17 at 1pm the Association will begin to elect 7 priests to the episcopate of the Malankara Church..

Because of the separate minimum needed from the clergy and the laity to get elected, many observers believe that a maximum of 3 to 5 candidates only will survive the election.

Many of the priests and Association members are already in Kerala to attend the Malankara Association 2010. Others would be leaving tomorrow after service to join the historical event.

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Episcopal Election 2010 Supplement

Church News Episcopal Election News

Episcopal Election 2010: Alexander Daniel IPS Appointed as the Returning Officer

Mount Horeb Ashram Sasthamkotta, the venue of Malankara Syrian Christian Association 2010 held on February 17

KOTTAYAM: Alexander Daniel IPS, the additional Director General of BSF has been appointed as the returning officer to the Episcopal Election 2010 at Sasthamkotta on February 17, 2010 by the Malankara Metropolitan who is the president of Malankara Association.

Alexander Daniel was the additional director general in the Telecom department in UP on the year 2003 and then the DGP of Uttar Pradesh. He is an IPS officer of UP cadre -1969 batch.

Alexander Daniel IPS hails from Pampurethu family, Kulanada, Pandalam.

Returning Officer is responsible for overseeing election until the result is being published. As the returning officer Alexander Daniel IPS will explain the election procedures to the 4000 plus members of the Malankara Association before the voting begins.

For the last three Association meetings and Elections O.P.Sosamma IAS from Madras was the chief returning officer.

Church News News

The Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia visits Malankara on February 24

KOTTAYAM: His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church visits Malankara Orthodox Church from February 24-28, 2010.

Metropolitan Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios of the Thiruvanthapuram diocese visited the Armenian Catholicos at the Catholicate Palace in Antelias and extended the official invitation of the supreme head of the Malankara Church at the end of January 2010. The visit of Aram I to India is in response to this invitation.

The Holy See of Cilicia is one of two wings of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Since 1930, it has been headquartered in Antelias, Lebanon. Aram I has been the Catholicos of Cilicia of the Armenian Church since 1995. Armenian Apostolic Church comes under the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The supreme head of the Armenian Church will reach Kochi on February 24 and will officially meet with Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, the Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan at his headquarters, Devalokam Aramana. Thereafter Aram I will participate in the banquet hosted by Baselios Marthoma Didymos I in honor of the visiting Catholicos.


His Holiness Aram I is Catholicos of the See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Antelias, Lebanon).

He was elected moderator of the WCC Central Committee at the Seventh Assembly (Canberra 1991) – the youngest person ever to be chosen for that position – and was re-elected at the Eighth Assembly (Harare 1998), and he is the first moderator to be re-elected since Franklin Clark Fry in 1961.

Ordained a priest in 1968, Aram Keshishian was named locum tenens of the diocese of Lebanon in 1978 and primate in 1979, and was ordained as a bishop in 1980. In 1995 he was elected Catholicos.

He has studied theology – specializing in philosophy, contemporary systematic theology and Middle Eastern church history – at his church’s theological seminary in Antelias, Lebanon, the Near East School of Theology (Beirut), the American University of Beirut, and Fordham University (New York), from which he earned a Ph.D. in theology. He also attended the WCC’s graduate school of ecumenical studies in Bossey, Switzerland, and has done theological research at Oxford University.

In 1975 he was named to the WCC Faith and Order Commission. He was a delegate to the WCC’s Sixth Assembly (Vancouver 1983), where he was elected to the Central Committee. He played an active role in the founding and re-structuring of the Middle East Council of Churches. He is a member of the Oriental-Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Bilateral Dialogues. He is an honorary member of Pro-Oriente, a Roman Catholic Ecumenical Foundation located in Vienna.

He has written a dozen books in Armenian and English about the Armenian Church and about ecumenical issues. An abridged version of his doctoral dissertation was published in 1990 under the title Conciliar Fellowship: A Common Goal (Geneva, WCC Publications, 1990). His most recent book is a collection of essays entitled The Challenge to be a Church in a Changing World (1997).


Feb.25 Thursday : Ecumenical leaders meet, Press meet . After Noon at Kolenchery
Feb. 26 Friday : Participate in the Holy Synod at Old Seminary. Face to face with Seminary Students. Evening at Puthuppally Church.
Feb. 27 Saturday: Participate in the Dukrono of Vattasseril Thirumeni at Old Seminary
Feb. 28. Sunday: Participate in the Holy Eucharist at Parumala Seminary
2pm Chenganoor Diocesan Silver Jubilee celebrations
6pm.Thiruvananthapuram Cathedral Church.
8pm attend the Banquet with Dignitaries and religious leaders

Church News Episcopal Election News

Episcopal Election 2010: Eleven Candidates to Malankara Syrian Christian Association

KOTTAYAM: Sabha Managing Committee held at Kottayam Old Seminary today finalized the official panel of the Episcopal candidates for the 2010 election.

The Committee began at 11.30 am and presided by the Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymos I. After completing the regular business affairs, at 12.15pm voting was conducted to select 11 candidates from the 14 names submitted by the screening Committee. Fr. Dr. O. Thomas, Dr. George Varghese and Adv. Biju Oommen Muringasseril represented the Sabha managing Committee in the Screening Committee.

Rtd. Justice John Mathews was appointed by the Catholicos as the Chief election officer to conduct the election in the managing Committee.

After the lunch break the counting was started. Finally at 4.40pm the names of the first 11 candidates with highest votes were declared as the official candidates of the Church.

Candidates declared as the official panel of the Church were as follows.

1. Fr. Dr. George Pulikottil
2. Fr. V. M. James
3. Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Ramban
4. Rev. Thomas Yohannan Elavukattu Ramban
5. Fr. Zacharia O.I.C
6. Fr. Mathukkutty Chengamanadu
7. Rev. Yoohanon Ramban
8. Fr. M. K. Kurian
9. Fr. Dr. Sabu Kuriakose
10. Fr. Dr. John Mathews
11. Fr. Dr. V. M. Abraham

Trikkunnathu Seminary issue was also discussed in detail at the Sabha meeting.

Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios, Metropolitans Thomas Mar Athanasius, Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius, Yuhanon Mar Milithios, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Paulose Mar Pachomios, Kuriakose Mar Clemmis, Dr. Gabriel mar Gregorios, Mar Anthonios, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos, Mathews Mar Theodosius and Abraham Mar Epiphanios attended the Sabha Managing Committee.

Sabha Secretary Dr. George Joseph, Priest Trustee Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konatt and lay Trustee M. G. George Muthoot gave leadership to the proceedings of the Managing Committee.

Other than the Metropolitans, 85% of the 129 elected and 30 nominated members of the Sabha managing Committee were present in the Managing Committee

Gulf News

Mission Accomplished: Nine Couples United in Holy Matrimony at Parumala

PARUMALA: In the spiritual presence of Saint Gregorios of Parumala, the Metropolitans and a good number of Priests joined nine couples in Holy Matrimony on Monday January 4, 2010 at Parumala as a part of the Jubilee celebrations of the Dubai Cathedral.

This event reminds us that we could also celebrate the most illustrious moments of our life by fulfilling the word of God and extending our hands to those who are less fortunate in their life. The faithful attended the ceremony  and witnessed Dubai Cathedral becoming literally the hands of God, through conducting the group marriage.

The president of the Servants of Cross, Mar Anthonios, the Catholicos Elect mar Milithios and Mar Epiphanios were the chief celebrants on this joyous occasion.

A large number for faithful, members of Dubai cathedral and a good number of priests attended the function.

A committee under the patronage of Mar Anthonios as well as leadership of Church Secretary Dr George Joseph, Parumala Seminary Manager M.D. Youhanon Ramban, Coordinator C.C. Cherian , V.K. Varghese, Susheela Varghese, Fr. Biju P Thomas, the Vicar of the Cathedral and Babu Kurian Puliyeril, Dubai, the convener of this program was working for the success of memorable event.

A large number of members and Church officials of Dubai Parish attended the function.


Saint Vattasseril Mar Dionysius : 71st Memorial Festival


The Metropolitan, Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius was the beacon of Malankara Church. He had held up freedom as his birthright. His life story enrolls before us the saga of his sacrifices and long-standing devotion to Christianity. He has achieved immortality through the establishment of the Catholicos.

Geevarghese was born on 1858 October 31st in the Vattasseril family in Pauvathikunnel, Mallappally as the son of Joseph and Aleyamma. He learnt the basic lessons from Kottuvalanji Chacko Asan. After completing his studies at the C.M.S. High School, Kottayam, he joined the Vettical Dayara. He had been impressed by the magnetic personality and enlightening speech of Parumala Thirumeni. Geevarghese achieved proficiency in Syriac and Church history. He became Dean in 1879 and Priest in January 18th, 1880. He received the title of Ramban on 2nd November 1903 from Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan. Vattasseril Thirumeni performed mentions service to the church as the Malpan of the Old Seminary, as the principles of M.D .Seminary and as the Manager of Parumala Seminary. His monumental work “Mathopadesa Sarangal” (The Essence of Religious Advice) is the collection of the brief notes that he had prepared for teaching his students at these seminaries. It is an authoritative work in which the faith and customs of the Malankara Church are explained on the basis of the Bible. It is a very clear proof the Metropolitan mastery of the Syriac. Church history and Canonical ideas. The intensity of faith that the Metropolitan had intended from his Guru and had purified through meditation always stood in good stead. In moments of crisis this deep faith in the Almighty defended the church. He had also written the work, ‘The Suriani Text Book”.

The Vattasseril Ramban was ordained as Metropolitan on 3rd May 1908 at Jerusalem. On his return to Kerala he engaged himself in Church affairs and acted as the assistant of Joseph Mar Dionysius. On His demise Vattasseril became the Metropolitan of the Malankara Sabha in 1909.

1910 was a problematic year in the history of the Malankara Church. Vattasseril was isolated in the midst of the other Metropolitans who were willing to abandon their faith for the sake of power. He did not fall a prey to the persuasions of the Patriarch Abdulla but stood firmly for the freedom of the church. In 1911 the Patriarch tried to silence the Vattasseril Thirumeni by suspending him. But the church could not accept the suspensions as it was not canonical. In 1912 Ahathulla Bava came here from Antioch and removed the suspension. With this Catholicos came into effect in Malankara. This was the golden dawn of freedom for the true believers of this
country. Till then they had been disturbed by the indolence of native church officials and the implementation of power by foreigners.

Many Movements have taken shape from the foresight of Vattasseril Thirumeni. The Students Movement and the Vanitha Samajam are examples of this. Through the
Students Movement he encouraged the personality development of students which would enable them to take up responsibilities in life. He could mould the character and workmanship of young men and women. He advised them to retain this principles and philosophy of life at all odds. The aim of the Vanitha Samajam was to bring women from the backyards of then homes to the mainstream of society.

The Metropolitan reminded the people that woman in the centre of the family. Every family can attain education and purity mainly through women. He tried to uplift the backward classes through the activities of the ‘Sleeba Dasa Samooham”.

Another great achievement of the Thirumeni was the conversion of the system of worship into Malayalam.

Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius was the modern Mosses who could lead the church forward in the changing times. He passed away on 23 February 1934.

The Metropolitan was entombed in the Old Seminary Chapel at Kottayam. We are now celebrating the 71st Memorial Festival of this great religious leader who
had been the ever glowing symbol of the magnificence of the Malankara Church.

Church News News

Four New Metropolitans for The Malankara Orthodox Church

PARUMALA: Malankara Orthodox Church is now blessed with four more Metropolitans today as the elect ones were consecrated as their new shepherds. Dr .K J Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Dr. Zachariah Mar Theophilos, Augen Mar Dionysius and Dr. Yoohanon Mar Chrisostom are the four consecrated as Metropolitans at Parumala Seminary Church on Saturday March 5 2005.

The holy consecration ceremony was led the supreme head of the Church, His Holiness the Catholicos Baselius Marthoma Mathews II and assisted by the Catholicos elect H.B. Thomas Mar Thimothios, in the presence of 18 other Metropolitans, hundreds of clergies, tens of thousands of faithful at home and all over the world.

The Catholicos and other Metropolitans of the church first led the four Bishop-elects into the ‘Madbaha’ during the morning prayers. After being initiated into the new ecclesiastic status by the Catholicos, the four ‘Rambans’ knelt down in mediation. In middle of the holy Eucharist, celebrated by His Holiness, the consecration ceremony began. During the first phase, all the four Rambans sealed their divine contract affixing the signatures. The second phase saw them declared as new Metropolitans of the church. Then they were given the shepherd staff, seated in thrones attired in Metropolitan’s vestments and raised three times as per custom by saying ‘Oxios’.

The Catholicos-designate, Thomas Mar Themotheos, Geevarghese Mar Osthatheus, Thomas Mar Makarios, Abraham Mar Savarios, Mathews Mar Epiphaenus, Thomas Mar Athanasius (Chengannur), Thomas Mar Athanseus (Kandanad), Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, Kuriakose Mar Cleemis, Mathews Mar Savarios, Zacharia Mar Anthonios, Geevarghese Mar Koorilos, Paulos Mar Pachomios, Yakoob Mar Ireneus and Zacharia Mar Nicholaos assisted the Cathoicos in the consecration ceremony.

Later, in a public meeting to felicitate the newly ordained shepherds, Chief Minister of Kerala Mr. Oommen Chandy hoped the newly ordained bishops would serve the church and society alike positively. He said this while on inaugurating the public meeting held at the Church premises immediately after the consecration ceremony. His Holiness the Catholicos Baselius Marthoma Mathews II presided over the public meeting. Among those who offered felicitations were Dr Marthoma Metropolitan Philipose Mar Chrisostom , Catholicos-Elect of Malankara Orthodox Church Thomas Mar Thimothios, Thomas Mar Athanasios, Dr Thomas Mar Makarios, and Sabha Secretary Dr Alexander Karackal.

Felicitatory Message
From Fr. K. G. Philipose ( Diocesan Secretary, America)

“Our Church has consecrated four new bishops at the Parumala Seminary Church. It gives me great honor and privilege representing the American Diocese to wish them well as distinguished spiritual leaders of our Church. Our Church is looking up to them with great hope. We desperately need their leadership and service. We, the members-at-large including the bishops need spiritual armor to retain the current members and bring in new ones to our Church. We truly have to focus on our youngsters with great potential and resources. It is high time to focus on ways and means of upholding the honor and dignity of our Church and stay away from political means distracting the mission of the Church. I hope that the new bishops will get in touch with our ordinary people and meet their spiritual needs strengthening our Church. We need unity within the Church and make peace with our brothers and sisters now under the spell of Patriarchal faction. This does not mean we accept their bishops and priests (while ordinary people and their church buildings remain with the Patriarchal side) alienating our own clergy; we have to make choices on a case by case basis distinguishing between shepherds and wolves. It is my hope and prayers that the newly consecrated bishops may uphold the honor and dignity of our Church continuing their accomplishments in the past. Let us pray for them that His name may be glorified. Long live Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church!”

Church News News

71st memorial feast of Saint Vattasseril Mar Dionysius

KOTTAYAM: The 71st memorial festival of Saint Vattasseril Mar Dionysius will be celebrated at Old Seminary Chapel, Kottayam from Feb 23 to 26, 2005.

On Feb 23 Perunal flag was hoisted by His Holiness marking the commencement of 3 day festival. At 7pm after the evening prayer the memorial speech session was inaugurated by the Catholicos Elect Thomas Mar Themothios. Bishop Elect Fr. Dr. M. C. Zachariah Ramban delivered the first day memorial speech.

On Feb 24 the Sabha Managing Committee will meet at ‘Smruthi’ Auditorium. Many important decisions are expected. At 7pm Bishop Elect Very. Fr. Dr. K .J. Gabriel Ramban will deliver the 2nd day memorial Speech.

On Feb 25 At Old Seminary Chapel His Holiness the Catholicos will lead the evening Prayer. At Cheriya Pally, Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios, Paulose Mar Milithios and Geevarghese Mar Coorilos will lead the evening prayer, from where the pilgrimage will proceed to old seminary Chapel. The pilgrims from all around the church will be received at Old Seminary by Fr. Dr. K. M. George (Principal, Orthodox Seminary) and Fr. K. V. Joseph (Manager, Old Seminary) at Old Seminary at 8pm. There after the incense prayer at the tomb of the saint will be conducted.

On Feb 28 at 8.30am the Perunal Qurbana will be celebrated. His Holiness and all the Metropolitans of the church will attend the Holy Qurbana. Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios will address the believers on Perunal day. A huge gathering of believers and priests are expected on this second anniversary of the elevation to sainthood of this blessed saint.

Church News News

Holy Relics of St. Thomas at Niranam Church

NIRANAM: The Holy Relics of the Apostle St. Thomas were consecrated at Niranam ´Valiya Palli´. In connection with this the memorial festival of the Apostle was held in the church from December 17-21. The flag hoisting took place on December 17. The memorial hall of the Saint Mar Gregorios of Parumala was sanctified on December 18th. This was followed by the public meeting. On 19th the Holy Relics of the Apostle was ceremoniously taken to the Niranam Church from Parumala.

On December 18th Public meeting held. Changanassery Archbishop Mar Pawathil delivered Marthoma Smrithi. His Holiness Baselius presided over the meeting. Kerala Chief Minister Sri. Oommen Chandy inaugurated the function. Mar Osthathios delivered keynote speech. Elected Bishop Dr. Yoohanon Ramban, Dr. O. Thomas, Dr. Alexander Karackal etc. felicitated. On December 19th the Gospel meditation meeting was held. There was also Raza from Parumala Church. The relics were consecrated on December 21st after ´anchinmel Qurbana´.

The Holy Relics had been brought from the tomb of the Apostle at Mylapur.

Church News News

Birth Centenary Of Mylapra Mathews Ramban

PATHANAMTHITTA:The well known embodiment of Orthodox Spirituality, Mylapra Mathews Ramban is remembered and honored by different functions in the birth centenary year.

The main public function was arranged at Mylapra Ashram on December 12. The Catholicos Baselius Marthoma Mathews II, Thomas Mar Themothios, the Catholicos-Elect and other Metropolitans blessed the occasion with their presence and message.

Fr. T. J. Joshua delivered the keynote address on the spiritual life of Mathews Ramban.

Mylapra Mathews Ramban was born on September 30, 1904 at Kumbazha the son of Velasseril Fr. Easo and Achamma. Ramban P. I. Mathews started Mar Kuriakose Ashram in Attachakkal in the year 1937. Since 1962 Mar Kuriakose Ashram and its activities were made extensive with Mylapra as the center. He spread the good news of love and care among the children of God. Many sensed the heavenly peace while in the presence of Mathews Ramban and still it continues.