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Kidney Foundation of Bengaluru Diocese; a unique project of Malankara Orthodox Church

# Holy Synod to tackle kidney ailments on a war footing as ‘mission’ of the church
# Orthodox dioceses urged to implement them in each parish as a ‘project’
# Kidney Foundation to work jointly with Daya Bhavan, Kunigal
# Parishes to conduct screening tests for its members through medical camps
# Priority for bread winners who cannot afford costly treatment

BENGALURU: The Bengaluru Diocese under the dynamic leadership of Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim has officially launched the Kidney Foundation of the Diocese. Kidney Foundation of Bengaluru Diocese will be implemented in a phased manner in close collaboration with Daya Bhavan, an initiative of Malankara Orthodox Church Mission Board.

Thus Bengaluru Diocese becomes the first diocese of the Indian Orthodox Church to launch this novel venture to help those with kidney related problems.

Considering the trauma and miseries caused due to kidney, the Holy Synod of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church felt the need to tackle this issue as a ‘mission’ of the Church and directed the dioceses to implement them in each parish as a ‘project’.

The main objectives of the Foundation will be to create a public awareness of kidney disease and its prevention. It will also involve managing the patients with kidney ailments and tackle social issues surrounding the families of CKD patients. Its strategy will involve medical screening and categorization for identifying the potential CKD patients.

Bengaluru Diocese launched the new venture on June 12. The maiden meeting was also attended by priests, trustees, secretaries, medical doctors, nurses and para-medical personnel from the Bengaluru city. The meeting also decided to conduct awareness programmes about the disease among all the 12 parishes of the Diocese followed by medical camps.

The members also decided that each participating parish will be required to conduct screening tests for their members through medical camps or make arrangements with local hospitals.

The results from these medical tests will help provide the current statistics of the parish members. However, members whose financial resources are inadequate can approach the church for financial as well as medical assistance. The diocese may evaluate these requests based on established criteria including financial status, age to identify the deserving patients. Preference will be given to the sole breadwinners of the family, especially those in the age group of 30-40 years. After ascertaining about the group of patients, their mode of treatment and its financial implications are to be addressed.

The Kidney Foundation has formed two committees to work out its plans and programmes. These are the administrative committee, executive committee and an advisory council. The Executive Committee which will have the Metropolitan as the President. Others include the vice president, co-ordinator, treasurer, a representative from Daya Bhavan and others.

Another important group in the Foundation will be the role of the Parish Forum which will have a Core Committee to achieve the Foundations objectives with tenure of three years.

The Vicar of the parish will be the chairman and will elect a coordinator from among the members. It will also elect a Kidney Foundation Bangalore Diocese representative while others will be from MGOCSM, Youth League and St Mary’s League. The vicar can nominate three members who can work for the forum preferably from the medical field. Each parish will be treated as an “Autonomous Body” under the guidance of the Diocese.
After categorisation of the patient, the report will be submitted to the President through the Vicar with emphasis solely on the bread winners who cannot afford the treatment. Patients who cannot meet the expenses will be considered for subsidized treatment by the local parish.

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Features News Parish News

Send off to senior members at Muscat Maha Edavaka


MUSCAT : C M Geevarghese and Mary Varghese, have finally bid adieu to Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka (MGOME) and the Sultanate of Oman. Both senior members they joined as members of the then Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church on August 18, 1978.

Finally, after over three decades, the couple, bid adieu to various church activities and to the Sultanate of Oman on June 1, Friday. They have now settled down in Jagaty, Thiruvanthapuram.

Mary Varghese virtually held the fort as Head Mistress of the Maha Edavaka for 12 long years. During her tenure, the Sunday School students performed excellently in the OSSAE-OKR, Sunday School Final Certificate (SSFC) Exams for four consecutive years from 2008 onwards. The high point of her tenure came in 2010 when the Maha Edvaka under Ahmedabad Diocese emerged as the best Sunday School in the Outside Kerala Region in India and the entire GCC region.

Several spiritual organizations of MGOME like the Mortha Mariyam Samajam, Sunday School, MGOCYM, MGOCSM and the Maha Edavaka hosted countless farewell functions to the couple for their exemplary service towards the church and for the ministry work.

Fr Joji George, Vicar, in his address on the occasion praised the services rendered by the couple especially that of Mary Varghese.

Presenting a memento with a profile picture of Mary, Fr Joji blessed and urged her to continue her good services in the years to come in her new place in Kerala.

Sunday School first began at the Church way back in 1982. Mary Varghese joined as a teacher the very next year in August 1983. For the next 29-and-a-half years, none would have imagined that she will be able to guide the fortunes of this important spiritual organization. From a paltry 2 teachers and 25 students in 1983, she has seen it all. Now, at the time of her departure, the Sunday School strength has grown manifold and presently has bloomed to 23 teachers and over 450 students.

Mary Varghese was able to control the spiritual fortunes of many of the Sunday School students and give them a direction for 12 years as Principal of the Sunday School since 1999. She finally volunteered after gave up her post in 2011 after serving for a long 12 years.

Mary Varghese is the daughter of Very Rev C V John Cor-Episcopa. She hails from Cherikirethu Puthen Veedu, in Elanthur Pathanamthitta district. They have two children in Dr Mathew Varghese and Ann Betty Varghese. Dr Mathew is an Ophthalmologist at Rustaq Hospital, Sultanate of Oman while Betty is settled in the United States.

Mary Varghese also served as an Editor for Vineyard, the parish bulletin of MGOME.

Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan head Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios has also extended all best wishes to Mary Varghese and C M Geevarghese and acknowledged their services to the church and the ministry.

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Features Gulf News

Thanal ‘Care for Life’ Project in aid of cancer patients Launched


MUSCAT: Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka has launched its popular Thanal Project (“Care for Life”) for 2012-13 in aid of cancer patients.

On June 1, Friday, it launched the ‘Care for Life’ project at the Ruwi St Thomas Church in the presence of Fr Joji George, Vicar, Fr Binu John Thomas, Associate Vicar, members of the managing committee and parishioners.

The highlight of the event was an enlightening short talk on cancer and how best it can be prevented by Dr Rajan Balakishnan, Senior Consultant and Head, Radiation Oncology section, The Royal Hospital, Sultanate of Oman. Dr Rajan who has done pioneering work with Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, pointed out that the disease, if diagnosed during early stages was curable. He said breast cancer and brain malignancy were the most common cancers. “The notion that treating cancer was very expensive was wrong and said that it was both expensive and less expensive depending on the intensity of the disease,” Dr Rajan said adding that controlling diet, weight and exercising regularly would go a long way in warding off such dreadful diseases.

He praised the initiative of the Maha Edavaka towards taking up the noble cause of cancer patients and wished all success to the project. Dr Rajan also thanked Dr Prakash Ninan, Co-Trustee, for providing him an opportunity to come over and present the short talk to the parishioners.

Earlier, Fr Joji George, in his address said there were over 300 different known varieties of cancer and called upon all to approach cancer patients in a way of palliative care which aims to reduce the physical, emotional and psycho social distress.

Fr Joji requested the members to contribute generously towards this noble cause and make it a grand success. He said the aid will be earmarked for genuine cancer cases irrespective of caste or creed and those with supporting documents checked by medical authorities will receive priority.

Senior member, Geevarghese Yohannan, made the maiden contribution to the project and passed on the cheque to the Vicar, Fr Joji George. He also magnanimously volunteered to sponsor three patients towards the project.
Dr Prakash Ninan, Co-Trustee and John Thomas (Santhosh), Secretary were also present.

Those willing to participate in the project can do so by:
Upholding the Cancer “Care for Life” project in your daily prayers.
Sponsor one patient by donating Rs 75,000,
Part-sponsor of single patient by donating Rs 50,000 or

Generously contributing any amount towards the project During 2011-12, the special charity under “Thanal” was named “Save A Life” and the project helped poor children with heart ailments by providing financial assistance for their heart surgery. The project was a resounding success with surgery performed for children beyond the targeted limits.

Over the years, the scheme had also extended aid for marriage, provided home for the homeless, arranged marriages of several poor girls and offered assistance for self-employment which were also beneficial to non-Christians.

Last year, the project was implemented in association with the St Gregorios Cardio-Vascular Centre (Training and Research), International Centre for Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Diseases, functioning from St Gregorios Mission Hospital, Parumala, Kerala. The Centre is supported by Frontier Lifeline and promoted by Padmashree Dr K M Cherian, a most respected and reputed cardiac surgeon known internationally.

For details: E mail: mgocmct@omantel.net.om, Phone: +968-24702606, Fax: +968-24790811

Application and brochure 1 2

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Features MGOCSM News

‘Freshers’ Day’ for MGOCYM at St Mary’s Jalahalli


BENGALURU: If you believed ‘Freshers’ Day’ was part of an activity in college, you could be sadly mistaken. Guys and gals from the MGOCSM and Youth Movement of the St Mary’s Orthodox Valiyapally followed this in true spirits.

On June 3, Sunday, they presented ‘Freshers’ Day’ at the St Mary’s Orthodox Valiyapally, Jalahalli.

The highlight of the event was getting Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim, Metropolitan, Bengaluru Diocese, to launch their celebrations for 2012-13.

The freshers’ also got an opportunity to interact with the seniors and both mingled each other and exchanged ideas.

Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim, gleefully presided over the ‘Freshers’ Day’ celebrations and launched their activities.
The Metropolitan who spoke on the occasion happily welcomed new members and urged them to do their best.

“The MGOCSM at the Valiyapally is a good model for other units. I request you to encourage each other to be part of the MGOCSM/Youth Movement,” Dr Mar Seraphim had said earlier.

Fr Alex Iype, Valiyapally Vicar and senior member, C G Mathew, also took part in the function.

The celebration was rounded off with a cultural programme by the members.
Pictures courtesy: Moncey Mathew

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Features News Southwest America

Dr Mar Yulios US, Canada visit to focus on inter-religious dialogue


CHICAGO, Illinois: Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios embarks on a month-long visit to United States and Canada from May 24.

The visit will be the second this year coming in after four months since his previous visit in March this year. The previous visit covered Houston, Texas, Chicago and New York where the Metropolitan delivered lectures, seminars and was the chief celebrant and guest for the NE American Diocesan Catholicate Centenary celebrations at the New York Orthodox Church.

During the present visit, Dr Mar Yulios will reach Chicago on Friday and lead a baptism and also a funeral service at the St Gregorios Orthodox Church, Oak Park, Illinois. Oak Park is the favourite spot for the Metropolitan since it was here His Grace had served as a Vicar.

On May 26, His Grace moves to St Gregorios Orthodox Church, Detroit, for the service of the Festival of Pentecost. The visit also conducts Holy Eucharist, classes for various spiritual, religious organizations, conduct seminars and promote inter-religious dialogue.

The present visit will also see the Metropolitan visiting Canada for the first time after his ordination as a Bishop. His Grace will visit St Gregorios Church and St Gregorios congregation, which are two different places of worship. St Gregorios Orthodox Church of Toronto is part of the Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios is expected to return back to Diocesan HQ by July 1st.

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Diocese News Features News

Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim convenes IT professionals meet on June 3


BENGALURU: After a visit to UAE for over a month, Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim, has convened the next meeting of the Fellowship of Orthodox Professionals Meeting for June 3, Sunday at 4 pm.

The previous IT meeting had discussed in detail about the study on Holy Eucharist and had an enthusiastic response from about 75 participants.

The Metropolitan expects more participants this time and has intimated on the Facebook Group, Fellowship of Orthodox Professionals in Bengaluru Region.

During his recent visit to UAE, Dr Mar Seraphim took part in the grand reception to Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II during his first Holy Apostolic Visit to Abu Dhabi on April 26.

More importantly, the Metropolitan was the chief celebrant at the Dubai Cathedral Church for the Passion Week and also participated in a host of important events. Mar Seraphim consecrated the new site of St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Chapel on April 13, realizing the long felt dream of Dibba Orthodox Christians.

The Metropolitan also blessed the foundation stone laying ceremony at the Al Ain St Dionysius Orthodox Church, Al Ain, UAE, on April 20.

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Columns Features Opinions

Dr Mar Yulios says role of media vital in solving issues like Kolencherry

# Media wing to hold its maiden meeting in July before Holy Synod meets
# Aims at media coordination rather than control, says Metropolitan
# Media men to be recognised and honoured for their contributions

MUSCAT: Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, is the new Vice Chairman of Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church’s media wing for the Outside Kerala region.

In his comments to Indian Orthodox Herald (IOH) and Malankara Orthodox TV (M.TV) during his recent visit to Muscat, the Metropolitan emphasized that the new media wing both print and the visual, besides playing meaningful roles will also help in disseminating information about church ministry to the various news channels.

The Metropolitan’s assurance has come as a boost to the media fraternity with its promises to do more.

Excerpts from the interview:

The holy Episcopal Synod has appointed you as Vice Chairman of Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church’s media wing. What role do you visualize…

This will be a new role which has been bestowed on me by the Holy Episcopal Synod. After this new set up, Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church has hence decided to vest total charge of the foreign media section towards a metropolitan.

My role will be to disseminate various Church news and doctrines to Malankara Sabha community all over the world.

The wing will look after both print and the visual media. It will work under the Presidentship of Chengannur Diocese Metropolitan HG Thomas Mar Athanasius and Niranam Diocese Metropolitan Dr Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos. HG Mar Athanasius will look after activities in Kerala while myself will head the media for all Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church activities in the Outside Kerala region. We will meet soon to chalk out our future programmes.

What will be the main aims and programmes of the wing..

Let me make few things very clear. The media wing has not been formed with the intention to control the media but to help the freelancers in their work.

We will go to any extent to provide information to freelance journalists with providing latest information about the church activities and the ministry. Let me make it clear that the church will not control the media with a tight leash. But we will disseminate whatever information we have and also accept and honour Christian media workers.

The Holy Episcopal Synod is also very clear on this. The media cell will also act as a platform for media watch and alert.

When is the committee you likely to meet

The new committee has not met so far after its formation. We have planned to meet by July before the Holy Episcopal Synod meets in August for its customary sitting. We plan to discuss few matters in our meeting and will come up with proposals to be presented at the Holy Synod meeting.

Can you explain on the type of media watch and how it will act on..

As I said earlier, the wing has no plans to impose total control on the media but instead will help the freelancers towards discharging their duties in a free and fair manner possible. It will also serve as a proper platform for media watch on many of the church issues.

The Kolencherry church issue is one such. Media can really play a major part in solving the vexed issue. Many other issues which the church faces can be highlighted by the media and a solution can be found. They have to be vigilant and help solve the matter and not aggravate the issue. The church schism which presently exists can be solved and cooperation of the media is very much sought.

We will be able to help the media get accurate information and facts for all their news. HH the Catholicos will act as the spokesperson of the Sabha matters.

We feel the recent Kolencherry issue was not highlighted by the media with regard to the views of the Indian Orthodox Church. At the height of the crisis in September last year, we conducted a press conference on the issue to express our stand on the matter. Sadly it never came out the way we had expected it to be, both in print and visual media. The news media failed to project our views to the world and instead were partial. Rather than espousing our stand, the media was more eager to report on which of the political parties we would align with or support during the Piravom by elections.

The main purpose of the cell will be to strive towards unifying all media groups in the outside Kerala region and for its effective working with a common goal.

The Holy Episcopal Synod also discussed the role played by various Orthodox print and e-media channels like Indian Orthodox Herald, (IOH), Malankara Orthodox TV (M.TV), Orthodox TV, ICON and others.

Any other issues which will be taken up…

The Indian Orthodox will also try and highlight topical issues. Something like the recent Earth Day, Heritage Day, Autism Day and various other events of global significance.

If any incidents occur, say in North India, we must be able to explain to our community about our stand on such issues. We like to have some kind of coordination with the media folk but never to control them or twist them. I can give my assurance in this regard.

We will honour our media men for their contributions and encourage them. We will provide them with all official information and help towards their work. The committee will hold its first meeting in July and come up with suggestions.

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Features Gulf News

Focus on Christ-oriented meetings: Pulikkottil Dr Mar Yulios


MUSCAT : Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios has called up on the Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Youth Movement members to concentrate on Christ-oriented spiritual meetings than organizing mere business meetings.

While applauding the charity work of the youth members, Dr Mar Yulios, has urged them to do more for the new Ahmedabad Diocese and for the MGOHE.

Dr Mar Yulios was addressing the valedictory of the OCYM’s activities for 2011-12 at the St Thomas Church, Ruwi, on April 13, Friday, after lighting the traditional lamp.

The Metropolitan also advised old-time youth members to encourage new comers and to work united for the welfare of all and for the church in general. Metropolitan later welcomed new office bearers for 2012-13 and urged them to do their best. Prizes and mementoes were also presented by the Metropolitan to all those who won prizes in the various competitions held during the year.

Outgoing Vice President Mathew Abraham in his address gave details of the activities undertaken during 2011-12 and the achievements.

Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka Vicar Fr Joji George, Associate Vicar Rev Fr Binu John Thomas and Fr Varghese George also addressed.

Large numbers of youth movement and church members also took part in the function.

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Features News Parish News

New Office Bearers for Mar Gregorios Maha Edavaka, Muscat


MUSCAT: The Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka has elected its managing committee members for 2012-2013 under Fr Joji George as President/ Vicar and Rev Fr Binu John Thomas as Associate Vicar.

E I Rajan will be the new Trustee, Dr Prakash Ninan, Co-Trustee and John Thomas (Santhosh) Secretary are the new members. Area members for 16 areas in Muscat were also elected.

They are: Jacobs Kuriakose (Darsait/Muscat/Corniche), Mammen George (Muttrah/Great Muttrah), Boban Mathew Thomas (Ruwi), Mathew P Thomas (Wadi Kabir East/Industrial Area), Biju M Samuel (Wadi Kabir West/Market Road), E M Daniel (Walja/MBD), M K Abraham (Hamariya/Central East),
Biju Varghese (Hamariya West/Al Nadha), O Thomas (Wattayah/Qurum/Al Amerat), Mathew Varghese (Al Khuwair East), Reji Philip (Al Khuwair Central and South), Salib John (Al Ghubra/Azaiba), John Thomas Vadakkedom (Ghala/Royal Hospital), C M Varghese (Seeb/Al Hail), Thomas Vaidhyan (MOD/Rusayl/Al Khoud), Achenkunj John (Interior). Sajan C Varghese will be the new Auditor and Abraham Mathew the Ex-0fficio.

Mar Greogorios OCYM also elected its office bearers for 2012-13.
Biju George will be the new Vice President with Binu Ammini, the Treasurer, Joji John as Secretary and Jomy John as Joint Secretary. They will be aided by a six-member committee consisting of Binil K S, Biju John, Varghese P Alex, Tijo Thomas and Jithin Sunny. Byju Babu John will be the Ex-officio and Cyril Samuel the auditor.

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Church News Features News

Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios makes scathing attack against Thomas I Bava

#Malankara Jacobite head agitating the minds of innocent people
#Media must play an important towards exposing injustice
#MOSC surprised by stand taken by the state government
#True believers left out and criminals gaining upper hand
#Court order must be implemented at the earliest

MUSCAT : The Kolencherry issue which was at its height in September last year had taken a worse turn with claims and counterclaims by both the groups. Even now, it looks like there is no solution in sight. As support to the hunger strike undertaken by the Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos, many Diocese Metropolitans had come out openly against the Jacobite faction who had claimed their right to worship at the St Peters and Paul Church at Kolencherry.

Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios who spearheaded the campaign by holding many street rallies and made fiery public speeches, has once again denounced the stand of the Jacobite faction, its ‘so-called’ Catholicos H B Thomas I and his cronies.

In an interview with Malankara Orthodox TV (M.TV) during his visit to Muscat, Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios has come out openly against Thomas I Bava and has questioned the very position he holds as the head of the Jacobite group.

Says Dr Mar Yulios rather sarcastically. “Thomas I Bava is arguing not for the sake of the true believers and questions about the position of the Bava himself? There is only one true Catholicos in India, which is the Malankara Metropolitan. Thomas I is creating factionalism which is not based on truth and principles. Courts have already pointed out that there is only one Church which is the Malanakara Orthodox Syrian Church……”

Dr Mar Yulios points that Thomas I Bava was using the Antioch Patriarch for his own personal ends and was misleading the public. “He is clearly deviating away from churches and agitating innocent minds. It is not merely property dispute between the two churches at all…” he reasons.

“If Thomas I Bava is the true head, why cannot the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch HH Ignatius Zakka I who is aged and ailing, make him as the supreme head,” asks Dr Mar Yulios.

The wrangling between the two main Christian factions in Kerala over places of worship and its many valuable real estate properties is very old. Despite several efforts at reconciliation between the two, nothing concrete has come out so far.

Venting his anger, the Metropolitan says ‘criminals and goons’ should not be dragged into the Holy Church issue. True believers are left out and criminals and thugs have a say in their affairs. He cites the case of an individual having at least 18 criminal cases who was actively dominating the scene during the height of crisis. The Orthodox faction has rightly claimed its authority over its ownership due to the High Court verdict which fell in its favour.

The silence of the state government is baffling on this vexed issue. The Metropolitan notes that there is a political agenda which is involved. Three key ministers of the UDF government had taken the initiative since September but no settlement has come out of the dialogue between the two parties.

“The Orthodox group has already requested for the ministerial committee report to be published. Let the people come to know the reality about what is happening. It is a waste of time. Media has an important role to play in this issue and they have to expose the injustice meted out to Malankara Orthodox Church,” His Grace reasons.