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Association of Chhattisgarh Christian Educational Societies (ACCES) formed

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RAIPUR: A common platform for all Christian Educational Institutions in the state by the Churches which manages Educational Institutions have formed the Association of Chhattisgarh Christian Educational Societies (ACCES).

This association will bring all Christian Educational Institutions under one umbrella and function as an apex body of the Christian Minority Institutions. The registered office of ACCES shall be at Bishop Philip Ekka Pastoral Centre, Byron Bazaar, Raipur.

ACCES shall also function as an advisory body to all Christian member institutions so as to promote research activities and conduct studies and investigate further educational facilities . ACCES shall unite these institutions to safeguard their character and constitutional rights. Christian institutions and Churches are targeted often, mainly by fringe elements and these incidents are on a rise.

Arch Bishop H.E. Dr. Victor Henry Thakur (Raipur Catholic Arch Diocese) heads the Association as its President along with Vice President Dr. Joseph Mar Dionysius Metropolitan (Malanakara Orthodox Syrian Church). Fr. Joshi Varghese (Secretary St. Thomas Mission Bhilai) has been chosen as the Secretary, Ajay Dharamraj (Diocesan Secretary, CNI Raipur) as Treasurer and Dr. P.K. Martin (Mennonite Education Board, Dhamthari) as Joint Secretary.

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New Office bearers for NCCI; Bishop Dr. P. C. Singh as new president installed

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JABALPUR: The XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of NCCI held at Jabalpur, India from April 27 to 30, 2016 declared the names of office bearers for the new quadrennium 2016 – 2020.

Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh, Bishop of Jabalpur Diocese, Church of North India since 2004; Deputy Moderator of Church of North India since 2014 will be the new President for NCCI for the next 5 years.

Quadrennial Assembly had elected Rev. Dr. Ratnakara Sadananda, Aleyamma Thomas, Liju Jacob Kuriakose as the new Vice Presidents and Rev. Dr. A. G. Augustine Jeyakumar as the new treasurer.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad will be the new General secretary for the next five years. He has been the General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India since 2011 and belongs to the Presbyterian Church of India.

The Installation of the new office bearers took place in the concluding worship service held in Mary George Hall, Christ Church Girls Sr. Sec. School, Jabalpur on April 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

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Bulgarian Orthodox Church: Besides the Orthodox Church ‘there are no other churches, only heresies and schisms’

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The Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod, the church’s governing body, has adopted hard-line policy positions ahead of the Pan-Orthodox Council to be held in Crete in June 2016 – stating, among other things, that besides the “Holy Orthodox Church there are no other churches, but only heresies and schisms, and to call these ‘churches’ is theologically, dogmatically and canonically completely wrong”.

The Pan-Orthodox Council will bring together all the universally-recognised autocephalous churches of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the first such gathering in more than 1000 years.

It has been in the planning since 1961 and will cover a range of issues, including the relations between the Orthodox Church and the rest of the Christian world.

Other issues to be covered include the Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Contemporary World; The Orthodox Diaspora; Autonomy and its Manner of Proclamation; The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments; the Significance of Fasting and its Application Today.

Contentious issues, such as agreement on a church calendar common to all Orthodox churches, have been removed from the agenda.

Crete was chosen as the venue for the Pan-Orthodox Council over the originally-planned venue of Istanbul, seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, because the Russian Orthodox Church was extremely reluctant to go to the Turkish city because of the tensions between Moscow and Ankara over the 2015 downing of a Russian military aircraft by Turkey near the border with Syria.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod announced on April 21 its positions, amending an earlier draft document.

Chaired by Bulgarian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Neofit and attended by all but four metropolitans, the meeting considered letters from Lovech Metropolitan Gavriil, priests in his diocese, and a letter from Plovdiv Metropolitan Nikolai – backed up by a petition signed by 240 priests in his diocese – on the issue of the attitude of the Orthodox Church to the rest of Christendom.

On a point about the “unity of all”, the church said, it always had been understood that those who had fallen into heresy or schism had to first return to the Orthodox faith and prove their obedience to the Holy Church “and then, through repentance, they may be received into the Church”.

On the issue of “bilateral theological dialogues aiming to seek lost Christian unity, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church said that it should be noted that the “Holy Orthodox Church, which is the one and only, never lost unity in the faith and fellowship of the Holy Spirit among Christians and as it will last until the end of the world, the Lord has said that ‘the gates of hell will not prevail against it’ this fellowship will endure forever”.

The Holy Synod went on to state its view that “besides the Holy Orthodox Church there are no other churches, but only heresies and schisms, and to call these ‘churches’ is theologically, dogmatically and canonically completely wrong”.

Among other points, the document approved by the Holy Synod went on to say that “thank God” the Bulgarian Orthodox Church had left the World Council of Churches in 1998.

This was a reference to the fact that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which joined the WCC in 1961 and was an active participant – with Dr Todor Sabev as a WCC vice-chairman – quit in 1998 as an anti-ecumenical stance came to dominate the Bulgarian church. In any case, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s participation in the WCC had been less inspired by an ecumenical spirit but, in the decades of communism, as a means to help push Soviet influence over the body – as Bulgarian historian Momchil Metodiev explained in his book Between Faith and Compromise (the Dossier Commission identified Sabev, who died in 2008, as having been secret service State Security agent Damyanov).

That historical background aside, the April 2016 position of the church’s Holy Synod said that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church could not be a member of an organisation which holds a view of “one of many or as a branch of the One church, which seeks a way and struggles for its restoration through this World Council of Churches”.

The Synod quoted the Creed, saying that there was one God and one Church.

The April 2016 position of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is hardly the first time that a hard-line position has been heard from some of its leaders, perhaps most notably of all, Plovdiv Metropolitan Nikolai.

In 2007, in a television interview not long after becoming Plovdiv Metropolitan, Nikolai was asked his opinion about the Pope.

“If he professes a different belief than the Orthodox, then the church canons make him a heretic,” Nikolai replied.

However, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s relations with the Roman Catholic Church are not without some co-operation, such as commemorations on May 24 of their shared saints Cyril and Methodius, the fact that the late Pope John Paul II lent the Bulgarian Orthodox Church the use of a church in Rome, and in previous years, on the occasion of the Western and Eastern Christian churches’ Easter falling on the same date, some local joint liturgical celebrations by Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy.

Source: Written by The Sofia Globe staff on April 22, 2016 in Bulgaria
(Photo of Alexander Nevsky cathedral, Sofia: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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Catholicos bans fireworks display in Orthodox Church festivals

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KOTTAYAM: Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has banned pyrotechnic displays as part of church festivals.

In a statement, supreme head of the church, Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan Baselios Marthoma Paulose II called upon the members of the community to extend their wholehearted support to the victims of the Kollam temple fire accident.

H.H the Catholicos made it clear that pyrotechnic displays have been banned in Orthodox churches.

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90th Anniversary Celebrations of St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Ernakulam inaugurated

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KOCHI: St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Ernakulam, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The ‘Navathy Celebration’ was inaugurated by Catholicos of the East Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose-II at the Cathedral on Sunday April 3, 2016

Jiji Thompson, former Chief Secretary to the government of Kerala and Rose Varghese, Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, spoke on the occasion.

The history of the Church can be traced back to 1922, when early migrants and settlers led by visionaries P V Philip Vakil, Rao Sahib, P K Varghese, M T Varkey and M A Chacko purchased 28 cents of land near the boat jetty.

“A hall was constructed at the southern side of the land, to be used as church. On October 6, 1926, the provisional church was consecrated by Fr Geevarghese Murimattathil, vicar of the Ayyampilly Church, with the assistance of Fr M P Pathrose Mookencheril (the late Pathrose Mar Osthathios) and Fr Jacob Mureekal who served as the first vicar of the St Mary’s Orthodox Church,” stated an official release.

As the parish grew, it was decided to build a bigger church. St Mary’s Church was elevated to the status of Cathedral in 2001 by the then Catholicos of the East.

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Kerala High Court stays filling of Metran Kayal for tourism project

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KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the government order to fill vast tract of ecologically sensitive paddy-field and backwaters at Kumarakam in Kottayam, known as methran kayal, for a major tourism project proposed by a private developer.

The Congress government had given nod for reclamation of ‘the methran kayal‘ at the famous tourist destination at Kumarakam three days before the notification for the assembly elections was announced.

The government decision, which amounted to flagrant violation of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act-2008, had come under sharp criticism from the Congress itself.

Acting upon the petition of a farmer named Alexander, the bench of Justice Muhammed Mustaq ordered that status quo should be maintained in the issue and banned construction activities at the project site.

Last week, the government had issued an order allowing Chennai-based Rakindo Developers Pvt Limited to fill 376 acres of paddy field and backwaters at Kumarakam for a tourism project worth Rs 1,000 crore.

The government allowed reclamation of the paddy field, disregarding the adverse reports from the departments of agriculture, fisheries, environment and local self governing.

Besides, the Assembly subject committee too had registered its dissent for granting sanction for the proposed tourism project at the cost of paddy fields and backwaters. However, to overcome the objections raised by various departments, the government had got a report from the district collector, which said the proposed site was not suitable for farming.

As the government decision on the eve of election notification became controversial, Congress state president V M Sudheeran publically stated that the decision should be revoked. He said such controversial decisions do not bode well for a government at election times. He urged CM Oommen Chandy and Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash to review the decision taken by the revenue department.

The high court stay came at a time the government indicated that it was ready to revisit the controversial decision. The Opposition had alleged corrupt deal behind the decision.

Methran Kayal Dying a Slow Death

Large areas of the Vembanad lake were transformed into cultivable lands in the beginning of the 19th century, during the reign of Sri Moolam Thirunal, to meet the food requirement of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore.

Of these, Methran Kayal, a paddy polder in the Kumarakom panchayat, was the richest land in terms of productivity.

Unfortunately, Methran Kayal has been falling prey to unsustainable developmental activities, which is making land non-cultivable. When cultivated properly, the land had produced more than 10,500 quintal of rice, annually.

Methran Kayal, which was handed over to the Malankara Orthodox Church during the time of Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysious-II by Sri Moolam Thirunal, was also called the ‘Seminary Kayal’.

According to the Orthodox Church, the area was handed over to some farmers for cultivation during the time of Geevarghese Mar Vattasseril (Vattasseril Thirumeni), in return for a stipulated quantity of rice to be given to the Kottayam Old Seminary.

All those who cultivated paddy there were members of the Orthodox Church, except for one Hindu family. All, except the Hindu family, refused to return the land. Then, the Thirumeni asked the Hindu family to keep the land with them.

The Church authorities did not take any legal action against those who held the land against the agreement. Later, an area of around 417 acre went to private parties, which was cultivated until 2006.

Courtsey: The Indian Express /Shaju Philip

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Church Sponsors students for paramedical courses at C M C Vellore

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KOTTAYAM: Malankara Orthodox Church is sponsoring students for paramedical courses at C M C Vellore for the coming academic year. Those interested, please contact MGOCSM Student Centre, College Road, Kottayam-1.

Please note:

1. Download your application forms

2. Enclose a Demand Draft in favour of ‘MGOCSM’ for Rs. 600/- as application fee.

3. Attach Baptism Certificate and send it to MGOCSM Student Centre, College Road, Kottayam-1

For More information contact MGOCSN office : Ph. 0481 2567338 or Email: mgocsmoffice@yahoo.com

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Former Managing Committee Member Joshua Philip passes away in Hyderabad

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HYDERABAD: Former member of Malankara Sabha Managing Committee and Retd. VST employee Joshua Philip (90) passed away on Feb. 29 at early hours/Hyderabad.

His wife late Kujamma, Puthanpurayil Karipuza Mavelikkara and son Philip Jousha, Daughter Elizabeth (Kuwait). In-laws Annie Philip and Thomas.

He was the son of Late Rev. Fr. PJ. Philipose Poovathoor house, Chengannur. He is one of the founder member of Orthodox services in Hyderabad and St. Andrews Church Society, Secunderabad.

Funeral service on Tuesday March 1 at 10.30 am at St. Gregorious Orthodox Cathedral and funeral at No.12 Garison Cemetery/Trimulgery , Secunerabad at 11.30 am.

News sent in by: Kurian G Thomas

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Fr. Philip M. Samuel, celebrates Priesthood Pearl Jubilee

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DELHI: Fr. Philip M. Samuel, Priest of the Delhi Diocese today completes 30 years of Priesthood.

Fr. Philip M. Samuel, was ordained on February 23, 1986 at St. George Orthodox Valiyapally, Thumpamon Erom, Mathoor, Pathanamthitta by Late Lamented Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios Metropolitan.

Currently he is serving as the Vicar of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Gurgaon. Wife: Valsamma Philip. Children Cecil Sam Philip, Cerin Mary Philip. Fr. Philip is from Changayil Family, Mathoor.

Previously he served in St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Hauz Khas, New Delhi (Astt. Vicar) – 1986-1989, St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Udaipur, Rajasthan – 1989-1992, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bhilwara, Rajasthan – 1989-1992, St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Banswara, Rajasthan – 1989-1992, St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Dungarpur, Rajasthan -1989-1992, St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Dubai, UAE – 1992-1995, Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church, Janakpuri, New Delhi – 1996-2002, St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Ghaziabad – 2002-2005, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Faridabad – 2005-2006, St. John’s Orthodox Church, Mayur Vihar Phase – I, Delhi – 2006-2011 and St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, C-3, SDA, Hauz Khas, as vicar

News: Varughese P Thomas

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Living word of God is the media followed by Christians, says Mar Yulios

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UDAIPUR: “The living word of God, the good news, should be the media which Christians must devotedly follow”, the Metropolitan Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios said.

The base of our media culture should be “Christ is our savior” the Metropolitan reminded, quoting from the Gospel St Luke 2-10:11

Mar Yulios was delivering the presidential address after inaugurating the 6th annual MMVS conference of Ahmedabad Diocese, at Mar Gregorios Valiya Pally, Udaipur, from December 12, 13, 2015.

The theme of the conference was based on “The Christian family in the context of New Media Culture”.

About 250 delegates from the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan attended the two-day annual conference and shared their experience of having an enriching and rewarding experience.

Fr George Abraham, Vicar, Mar Gregorios Valiya Pally, Udaipur, welcomed the dignitaries at the inaugural function and urged the Samajam delegates to seize the opportunity to attain maximum benefit from the conference.

Elaborating on the theme, Fr Dr John Thomas Karingattil, focused on the role of parents to inculcate Christian values among children. “This will help them differentiate the good and evil of new media culture and its influence,” he explained.

Jaisy John Karingattil with her expertise as an advocate briefed about empowerment of women and urged the womenfolk to be aware of their rights and to kindle the spirit of self-confidence, self-respect and empower oneself and the society.

The delegates enjoyed the classes as the lessons were interspersed with fun and humor. The classes were also made very interactive as the message was delivered to the delegates in a very interesting manner.
Fr Manu Varghese Jacob, Vice President MMVS, Fr Binu John, Vicar, Banaswara Church also graced the occasion and delivered felicitation speeches.

A group discussion with presentation brought forth the theme in its full depth which was much appreciated. The conference also saw various flair of the Samajam members being exhibited through competitions on solo song, quick Bible verses and talent show.

Top rankers from the diocesan level results of annual MMVS examinations 2015 were declared during the conference and awarded.

General Secretary Mrs Beena Kuriakose presented the annual report and the annual accounts for 2014-15 was read by treasurer Mrs Ponnamma Thomas.

The warmth of the hospitality by Mar Gregorios Valiya Pally, Udaipur, the host church, under the leadership of Fr George, the Vicar, was highly applauded by all the participants.