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Archive for March 2015

St Mary's Orthodox Cathedral, Dadar

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Saint Mar Gregorios of Parumala stayed for a week in Bombay in February 1895 on His Grace’s way to Jerusalem. This was a significant event and a forerunner of the shape of things to come. At the turn of the century, lured by employment prospects and business opportunities, the members of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christians, began to migrate to Bombay.

 

As the members of the community increased, the necessity of a worshiping place and a priest to look after the spiritual needs of the community was very much felt. As a result of the initiative taken by some prominent members of the community, the Rev. Fr. Thomas Kottathuvilla, the then vicar of the Orthodox Syrian Church, Allepey, visited Bombay and celebrated Hoy Qurbana in St. Mary’s Church, Parel, on 23rd May 1943. A meeting was held on that day at which an adhoc committee with Mr. P.M Mathew and Mr. K.M. Thathunny as Joint Secretaries was set up to examine the possibility of a Parish in Bombay.

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On 27th February 1944, a General Body Meeting was held at Byculla YMCA under the Presidentship of His Grace Mar Thoma Dionysius at which the findings of the adhoc committee were presented and a new committee with Mr. K.M. Philip, President, Mr. P. M. Mathew, Secretary Mr. M.E. Cherian Joint. Secretary and Mr. V.K. Thomas, Treasurer was appointed. Upon the request to His Holiness Moran Mar BaseliusGeevarghese II, the Catholicos of the East, the late Rev. Fr. P. M. Philipose was appointed as the first Vicar of the newly formed Parish by His Grace Alexios Mar Therdosius, O.I.C, the first Metropolitan of the Parishes outside Kerala. Fr. Philipose arrived in Bombay on 26th May 1944 and celebrated Holy Qurbana from Sunday the 28th May 1944 onwards at the St. Peter’s Church, Mazagaon, by the generosity of the Bishop of Bombay and the Cowley Fathers. This arrangement continued till our Church was built and consecrated on 9th December 1951. Fr. P. M. Philipose served and organized the Parish on a token remuneration from 28th May 1944 to 1st April 1945. He was succeeded by the late Rev. Ft. T.I. Joseph in May 1945. Since 1945 keeping in view of the growth of the parish the General Body of the Parish at its meeting held on 7th January 1945 appointed a Church Building Committee for the Purpose with Late Mrs. Achamma John Mathai, as its Chairperson, Mr. M.E. Cherian as its convener. Late Mr. T. Mathew was appointed as convener in place of Mr. M. E. Cherian relinquishing his post on his transfer from Bombay. Mr. T. Mathew deserves a special mention for the work he rendered to the Parish in various capacities till he left for his eternal rest on 19th August 1979.

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Under the inspiring leadership of the Vicar, Rev. Fr. T. I. Joseph and Mrs. Achamma John Mathai, Chairperson a fund raising drive was launched in the month of July 1945. The Building committee then focused its attention to secure a suitable plot and through the efforts of Mrs. Achamma John Mathai, the Bombay Municipal Corporation, agreed to give on lease a plot of land at 171 Naigaum Estate, Dadar, Bombay. The Building Committee was registered under the Society’s Registration Act in the name of The Orthodox Syrian Church Building Society on 2nd April 1947 as the legal body.

 

The construction of a small parsonage was started in December 1949 and it was completed in February 1950.Fr. T. I. Joseph moved to the newly built parsonage. He was succeeded by Rev. Fr. T. G. Koshy, and under his inspiring leadership the construction of the church building was started in 3rd May 1951 and the building was completed in December 1951.The consecration of the St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church was solemnized on Sunday the 9th of December 1951 by the late His Holiness Moran Mar BaseliusGeevarghese II of the blessed memory, assisted by the late lamented His Grace Mar Thoma Dionysius and a host of clergy. Distinguished personalities like the Governor of Bombay, and a large gathering attended the holy ceremony. The event was a land mark in the history of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christians of Bombay.

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Since the old Church building had outlived its estimated life, the members of the Parish decided to rebuild the Church. The Foundation stone for the new Church building with adequate space for worship, Priest Quarters, A Free Charitable Dispensary and other social activities was laid on Sunday 22nd April 1984 by our beloved Diocesan Metropolitan His Grace TheophilusPhilipos, along with His Grace Geeverghese Mar Osthathios, Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese. The construction of the building was prayerfully started under the inspiring and mature leadership of Late Rev. Fr. C.C. Geevarghese, the Vicar and ably assisted by Rev. Fr. PauloseAdai. The project received the blessings of His Holiness the Catholicos, His Grace the Diocesan Metropolitan and the whole hearted support of all the Parish members, as one entity.

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The St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church is celebrated diamond jubilee in the year 2009. On 18 Jan 2009 His Holiness Moran Mar BaseliusMarthomaDidymos I, seventh Catholicos of the East in Malankara issued a kalpana elevating this historical first Church of the Malankara Orthodox Christians of Mumbai to a Cathedral. The BavaThirumeni’skalpana was read by H.G Geevarghese Mar Coorilos (Metropolitan, Bombay Diocese), in the presence of H. G Paulose Mar Pachomios (Metropolitan, Mavelikara Diocese), H. G. Zacharias Mar Theophilus ( Metropolitan, Malabar Diocese) during the Tri Mass celebrated on the same day.

CHURCH SERVICES HOLY QURBANA Sunday : 07.00 AM (1st service) 09.30 AM (2nd service) (4th Sunday of every month 1st service in English) Friday: 06.00 PM On Obligatory days: 07.00 AM INTERCESSORY PRAYER Tuesday: 06.30 PM Evening Prayer & Intercessory Prayer to St. Mary Friday: 05.30 PM Evening Prayer, Holy Qurbana and Intercessory Prayer to Parumala Mar Gregorios.

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At present Rev.Fr Thomas  Myalil serving as the Vicar and Rev.Fr.Sunil Baby serving as the Asst.Vicar.

 

St Johns Orthodox Church, Andheri

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Brief History

FORMATION AND GROWTH

For want of suitable place for worship, the venue for Holy Qurbana was shifted to the School Hall of St. Xavier’s High School, Vile Parle. After around 5 months, authorities of Holy Family Church, Chakala was good enough to allow us to use their Asankur Hall, Chakala for worship and for other spiritual activities. Meanwhile in Oct. 1979 the congregatIon was regIstered under PublIc Trust Act and Society’s Act.

 

at at Marol was purchased in 1988.The congregation was declared as a Parish with effect from 1st December 1979 by the order of No. 48/79 dated 14th Nov. 1979 of late H.G. Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilos then Metropolitan of Bombay Diocese. Fr. Thomas Kurien was appointed as Vicar of the Parish. In Feb. 1980, Rev. Fr. M.T. Easow took charges as Vicar and served the Parish for the longest period of 8 years i.e. upto May 1988. During his tenure, the membership swelled substantially and this gave rise the necessity of having a Church of our own. Thereafter, Rev. Frs. C.J. Varghese, P.A. Kuriakose, Skaria Varghese, Mathews Thannimoottil, Koshy Alex, Jacob Koshy and M.S. Geevarghese had the privilege to serve the Parish and have made ceaseless efforts to raise the funds for the purchase of a suitable land for construction of the Church Building. Meanwhile, the Parsonage

 

The highlighting aspect of this Parish is its inspiration to do charitable activities. To cite an example is our Free Medical Centre at Sahar Village being successfully run by a Medical team under the able leadership of Dr. Philiph John MD. Apart from this, Parish always help the Poor and needy by financial aid – viz for major Diseases, Surgery, Natural Calamities etc.

LAND ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION OF A CHURCH BUILDING AND CONSECRATION OF THE CHURCH

By the Grace of God, a land admeasuring about 11000 sq. ft. was purchased at Kondivitta, Andheri (F) in Feb. 2002. After vacating the 4 tenants in 2003, the foundation stone for the Church building was laid on 9th January 2005 by H.G. Gevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Bombay Diocese. By the generous contributions / donations from Parish members and others, coupled with the free services obtained from various authorities, the Church Building was completed in 2009 and the consecration was solemnised on 5th and 6th June 2009 by H.G. Thomas Mar Athanasius, Metropolitan of Chengannur Diocese assisted by H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Bomaby Diocese and large number of priests. It is heartening to say that our Sunday School and other spiritual organisations are in the fore

 

With the unity, faith and love, let us hope that our members will show their true Christian principles in their thoughts, words and deeds. May Almighty God’s grace be with us always. front of various activities.

Our Vicars

  • Rev. Fr. Thomas Kurian
  • Late. Rev. Fr. M.T. Easow
  • Late. Rev. Fr. C.J. Varghese
  • Rev. Fr. P.A. Kuriakose (Alichen)
  • Rev. Fr. Mathew Thannimoottil
  • Rev. Fr. Skaria Varghese
  • Rev. Fr. Koshy Alex
  • Rev. Fr. Jacob Koshy
  • Rev. Fr. M S Geevarghese
  • Ver Rev. Koshy P. Plammoottil Cor Episcopa
  • Rev.Fr.Jacob Thomas Karakka

Schedule of Church Services

CHURCH SERVICES

  • All Sundays – 7.30 a.m. Morning Prayer & 8.30 a.m. Holy Qurbana
  • All Fridays – 8.00 p.m. Evening Prayer & 8.30 p.m. Intercessory Prayer to St. Greegorios of ParumaIa
  • All Saturdays – 7.00 p.m. Evening Prayer

SCHEDULE OF SPIRITUAL ORGANISATIONS

  • Sunday School – Every Sunday
  • Youth Movement – 1st Sunday
  • MGOCSM – 4th Sunday
  • Marthamariam Samajam – 3rd Sunday
  • Elders Forum – 1st Sunday
  • AMOS – 2nd Sunday

St Thomas Orthodox Valiapally, Kalyan West

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KALYAN – The place where St. Thomas the Apostle of India landed in AD 52 (as per history revealed by the late lamented Philipos Mar Theophilus) and we are blessed with his footprints.

In 1950, orthodox people who were living in and around Kalyan depended upon the mother parish St. Marys Orthodox Syrian Church Dadar to meet their spiritual needs. Considering the difficulties in reaching Dadar from Kalyan, the then Vicar of St. Marys Church Dadar Rev. Fr. Punnoose(The Late Lamented Stephanos Mar Theodosios) decided to conduct Holy Qurbana in Kalyan and accordingly the first Holy Qurbana was celebrated in December 1957 at St. Christopher Church at Kalyan which belongs to CNI Church.

With the intention to build a church and school in Kalyan, purchased a plot at Thangewadi in 1964 and a cross was placed in that plot. The Bishops who visits Dadar used to come to Kalyan and offer Prayer too. People of Kalyan started their efforts to start a school in Kalyan with the guidance of the then Vicar of St Mary’s church, Dadar,fr C.V. John in 1968. As soon as construction of the ground floor got completed, started Holy Qurbana at this new place instead of St. Christopher Church, KG classes were also started at the new premises in the name of St. Thomas school.Two services in a month were conducted till 1978.

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Considering the increase in orthodox members in Kalyan and the repeated requests to H.G. Philipose Mar Theophilus,His Gracious declared St. Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church,Kalyan as an independent Parish with effect from April 1980. A Kalpana was issued in this respect and declared Kalyan Parish as independenton 6th April 1980. Rev Fr. Thomas Kurian was the first Vicar of the independent Church. People residing at Ambernath,Ulhasnagar,Dombivili were members of Kalyan Church and by the grace of god now there are Churches at Ambernath,Ulhasnagar and Dombivili.

Day by day the number of memebers were increasing and the space of school hall was not enough to accommodate the members attending Holy Qurbana and considering this we had decided to build a new Church and started its function in 1990 with the permission of H.G. Theophilus thirumeni and the guidance of Vicar Fr. Mathew Abraham.We completed the Church building and consecrated on 19th April,1993. H.G. Philipos Mar Theophilus was the chief Celebrant. H.G. Stephanos Mar Theodosios and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos were co-celebrants.

Ex. Vicars:
1. Rev. Fr. Thomas Kurian
2. Rev. Fr. C.J. Varghese
3. Rev. Fr. Koshy Plammoottil
4. Rev. Fr. P.O. Jacob
5. Rev. Fr. Mathew Abraham
6. Rev. Fr. Koshy Alex
7. Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Thannikot
8. Rev. Fr. N.S. Varghese
9. Rev. Fr. Thomas Panicker
10. Rev. Fr. T.A. Daniel
11. Rev. Fr. P.J. James
12. Rev. Fr. Benjamin S. Philip
13. Rev. Fr. Koshy Plammoottil
14. Rev. Fr. Varghese Yohannan
15. Rev. Fr. Yaunan Mulammoottil

16. Rev.Fr.Jiji K Thomas

 

 

Assistant Vicars:

1. Rev. Fr. George Varghese
2. Rev. Fr. M.E. Joseph
3. Rev. Fr. Presquillas Peter

Now we have 340 subscribed members. Very Rev N.S Geevargis Cor Episcopa and Fr. George Abraham are the members of our church. The 17th Vicar of the Church Fr. Shaji Chacko is serving as Vicar since JUNE 2015 onwards.

Sunday school, MGOCSM, youth League, Martha Mariam Vanitha Samajam are very well functioning in our church.A choir group is there adding solemnity to the Holy Qurbana. A team of Altar assistants are there and the senior most is Mr. P.G.Chacko.

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We have erected a Kalluvilakku and FlagPole (kodi maram) in front of our church and was consecrated on 30th September 2012 by the Diocesan Metrapolitan His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Thirumeni. The repainted Holy Altar was blessed by the Diocesan Metrapolitan on the same day.

We have pride in informing that St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Kalyan is the second church in Bombay Diocese.

Metropolitans in Bombay Diocese during Passion Week 2015

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Parishes in Gujarat Region

H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan,will lead passion week services at the Churches in Gujarat Region. His Grace will conduct Hosanna service at St Gregorios O.S.C, Silvasa, Service of Washing the feet and Pessaha service at  and at St Gregorios Orthodox Church, Valsad and Good Friday service at StMary’s Orthodox Church,Vapi.

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St Mary’s Indian Orthodox Cathedral, Baharin

H G Dr.Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan of Trivandrum Diocese, will lead the  Holy week services in St Marys Indian Orthodox Cathedral assisted by Fr Varghese Yohannan (Vicar) Vattaparampil and Fr M B George (Asst Vicar).

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St Mary’s Orthodox Catherdral, Dadar

H.G.Alexios Mar Eusebius, Metropolitan of South West America, will lead Passion week services at St Marys Cathedral, Dadar, assisted by Rev.Fr. P.C.Thomas ( Vicar) and Rev.Fr. Sunil Baby (Asst.Vicar).

 

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Malankara Orthodox Church, Doha

H.G. Dr.Zachariah Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of Adoor-Kadampanad will lead Passion week services at Malankara Orthodox Church, Doha, assisted by Rev.Fr.Benjamin S Philip (Vicar) and Rev. Fr.M.E.Joseph (Asst Vicar)

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St Thomas Orthodox Valiapally, Malad

H.G.Dr.Mathews Mar Severios, Metropolitan of Kandanad West will lead Passion week services at St Thomas Orthodox Valiapally, Malad, assisted by Rev.Fr.Thomas Varghese and Rev.Fr. Saji Thannimottil (Asst Vicar)

 

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St Thomas Orthodox Valiapally, Kalyan (West)

H.G.  Abraham Mar Epiphanios, Metropolitan of Sultan Battery, will lead Passion week services at St.Thomas Orthodox Valiapally, Kalyan West, assisted by Rev.Fr. Jiji K Thomas (Vicar).

Stigmata - Human Obsession for Signs and Wonders

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                                                                                                       By Rev.Fr.Jaise K George

Many of you might have heard the news of a baby in Philippines, born with the stigmata of Jesus that became viral in the social media. While we want to know whether this is a hoax or not, we have seen similar phenomenon earlier. St. Francis of Assisi was the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. Later, Christian history records many number of comparable occurrences. Mother Susan, a nun of the Malankara Orthodox Church, residing in Kerala is also experiencing this.

 

Stigmata refer to the wounds of Jesus that are miraculously reproduced in the body. On very rare occasions, the Catholic Church has accepted an occurrence of the stigmata as authentic, but has never defined their origin or nature, thus allowing physical, psychological, and preternatural explanations for these phenomena. Ian Wilson, in Stigmata (Harper & Row, San Francisco), declares, “They [stigmata] are one of the most baffling and intriguing of medical and scientific mysteries.”

 

It is possible that people had unusual wounds or blood blisters in places on their body that could be related to certain wounds of Christ. But each of these cases would need to be rationally explained. Are the wounds real or forged? Do they match the wounds of Christ or is this a product of imagination or self-inflicted? Are they natural or divine? Could they be the product of satanic activity? (We sometimes forget that Satan uses religion to draw people away from what is important). The question to ask is, how blood spots mysteriously appearing on someone’s hands is an evidence of ‘sharing in the suffering of Christ’. Does appearance of marks signify that the bearer is taking part in the suffering? If anything, these oddities minimize suffering. Obviously, there are few answers we can give or find about the stigmata.

 

We can only speculate and not be certain how the ‘stigmata’-wounds of the Passion looked on Christ’s body. But we do know that stigmata appear the same in all who are believed to have had them. Joe Nickell, a former detective and magician, investigates claims of the supernatural and paranormal for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, based in Amherst wrote a book on this topic in 1993. “Jesus most likely was nailed to the cross through his wrists. Once the notion that Jesus was nailed through the wrists became accepted, some stigmatics began to display wrist wounds. Here is my logic: Stigmata are supposed to be a reflection of the wounds of Christ, whatever those were like. If these were true manifestations, they ought to tell us where the wounds were,” Nickell said. Instead, stigmata appear “all over the place. There’s every kind of variant, and they keep changing.”

 

The evidence available is scanty with much of it supplied by supporters of stigmata. We do not see Stigmata mentioned in the bible. However, most of the occurrences started around 1200 years after the death of Christ, and there is a strong argument that it is a product of the superstitions in the darkness of the middle Ages. The Church is cautious about reported instances of the stigmata for two reasons: the possibility of a hoax (and thus all faith in God might seem questionable) and the possibility that some people could distort the meaning of the stigmata. For example, these marks might appear more central to a person’s faith than the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus, the Scriptures, the sacraments or many other things that are more central to faith than the stigmata are. 

 

Researchers of stigmata, even Catholic believers like the late Herbert Thurston, S.J., almost unanimously agree that such phenomena are best explained as bodily reactions to intense ecstatic and psychological experiences. The film- ‘Stigmata’, one of the most controversial religious movies, released in the year 1999 was highly controversial due to the manner in which it dealt with issues close to Catholic’s hearts. A Jesuit priest, one of the main characters of this film, discovers a connection between the stigmata and one of the Gnostic Gospels (4th century religious writings condemned by the Catholic Church). The priest uncovers a plot to keep the gospels “truth” concealed.

 

Some modern researches has showed stigmata are of hysterical origin, or linked to dissociative identity disorders, especially the link between dietary constriction by self-starvation, dissociative mental states and self-mutilation, in a religious belief. Anorexia nervosa cases often display self-mutilation like stigmata as part of a ritualistic, obsessive-compulsive disorder. A relationship between starvation and self-mutilation has been reported amongst prisoners of war and during famines. A psychoanalytic study of stigmatic Therese Neumann has suggested that her stigmata resulted from post-traumatic stress symptoms expressed in unconscious self-mutilation through abnormal autosuggestibility.

 

BIBLICAL VERSES FOR CONSIDERATION:

“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:28. It could be said that stigmata are cuttings in the flesh, which seems to contradict God’s command.


One verse sometimes referred to by people who want to defend stigmata, is found in Galatians 6:17 Paul wrote: “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” The word “mark” comes from the Greek word “stigma” which means a tattooed mark, or mark burned in by a brand. Now we  know that it was against God’s law to mark one’s own body with cuttings, so Paul would not have inflict them on himself, so what did he mean?

 

It was common in Paul’s day for slaves and sometimes soldiers to be branded, and followers of the cult of Mithra were also branded. In later times, the followers of Hinduism marked themselves with the trident of Vishnu. The mark or brand signified ownership, a scar of service and the initiate usually bore it proudly. But in the context in which Paul is writing, he is making a defense to the Judaizer, who practiced circumcision, and he refers to his own physical sufferings which he had had to endure for the sake of the Lord Jesus. These, he says, are his stigma, or branding. The scars, scratches, and bruises in his body are proof of His ownership.

 

The Amplified Bible says: “From now on let no person trouble me (by making it necessary to vindicate my apostolic authority and the divine truth of my Gospel), for I bear on my body the (brand) marks of the Lord Jesus (the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions – these testify to His ownership of me)!”

 

MY PERSONAL VIEWS AND THOUGHTS:

I am sure that stigmata exist as real wounds in some people’s bodies. I also believe visions, apparitions, signs and wonders have been seen and experienced by many people down through the ages and that stigmata are just one of hundreds of other similar marvels. However, it is not the authenticity of stigmata that should be our main interest; it is what these wonders are pointing to. The devil is able to perform signs and wonders too, for example, the wizards of Egypt were able to turn water into blood, as well as Moses, but the wizards were pointing away from God, and were fighting against Moses.

 

The Bible depicts that Jesus came to the world and gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice. Nothing can be added to or taken from the one great sacrifice. On the other hand, Stigmata is challenging the finality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ because it seem to be extending it, and repeating it at least in some measure. It would therefore seem that, despite their absolute sincerity, those who manifest stigmata are not being worked on by the power of God. They are manifesting lying wonders with their force being either demonic or psychosomatic, or a combination of both. We would do far better if we put our trust in the finished work of Jesus than seek after people who seem to be in a state of crucifixion all over again. No one could bear the sins of the world except Jesus. It is futile to even imagine bearing those sins in our own body, and a great insult to God to think that we could HELP Him with the redemption of the world.

 

The media are always looking for ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And it is no surprise how the news about Jejomar Castillo, baby with stigmata of Jesus born on March 15 in Philippines went viral. We have entered the second half of the Great Lent; we meditate and reflect on the sufferings of Jesus Christ. This is a time when we are doing an unusually amazing job, staying focused but newsflash like this are too tempting. It is imperative we should keep our focus on the Cross. Can we compare anything with the sufferings and wounds inflicted on Christ? Can any human being share the pain Christ suffered for us? That is why our father in Christ, St. Thomas who proclaimed the faith in the resurrected Christ demanded to “see in his hands the print of the nails, and put his finger into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into Jesus’ side (John 20:25)”. For a believer, these are personal marks of the identification of our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us on the Cross. I, as a believer, cannot find the same wounds in anyone or anywhere. 

 

I pray for baby Jejomar’s speedy recovery but am greatly saddened by the so called believers’s responses: “Welcome to the Saviour”, “biblical return of Jesus Christ”. Holy Scripture reminds “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? “(Gal 3:1). This verse compels us to ponder if we wish to be foolish like the Galatians and be infatuated by events such as stigmata or we rekindle our faith in Christ, Our Saviour. 

 

Christians must not waste time or devotion dwelling on miracles and wonders. These ‘stigmata wounds’ does not move me or ‘strengthen’ my faith in Christ, but I am stirred by martyrdom of the 21 Coptic Orthodox young men and the sufferings of the 72 year old sister who was ganged raped in Bengal, examples of true believers taking part in the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Let signs and wonders spark valuable conversation rather than being the manifestations of spiritual realities. Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit leading us into a life of holy living, not be in a state of awe and reverence for the occurrences of body marks corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. 

 

By Fr.Jaise K George

*Fr. Jaise K. George has completed the theological education from STOTS Nagpur and serving as the Vicar of various parishes in the Diocese of Delhi. He is the Co-ordinator for the Pre-Marital Guidance Programme, Diocese of Delhi. He is a research scholar in Psychology. e-mail: frjaise@gmail.com 

Christian community in Pune holds solidarity rally

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Hundreds of members of  Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches organized a peace rally in the city on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015 to support the rights of minority communities in India and protest against the gang-rape of a nun in Kolkata. The rally commenced from Saint Felix School in Bund Garden at 9 am and the protestors marched up to Council Hall by 11 am.

Speaking to the crowd that gathered for the rally, Pune Bishop Thomas Dabre said, “We are forgetting the secular approach of the Indian Constitution. In a situation, where minority groups are being targeted and their houses of worship are being vandalized, it is a direct attack on the constitutional rights of the citizens. We demand that the Modi government must ensure that that the culprits behind the attack on the Panvel church and the nun in Kolkata must be punished.”

Emphasising on the concept that God is one and every religion preaches the tenets of peace, Father Malcolm Sequeira said, “We are all one and if we stay united nobody can do any harm to us.”After the collector expressed his support to the cause and assured that the government would ensure that such incidents do not occur in Pune, the peace rally ended with the protesters singing the national anthem.

Rev.Fr.Thomas Myalil, Vicar of St Gregorios OSC, Dighi, Pune, and Rev. Fr. Jacob Thomas(Sherin),Vicar of St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church,Pimpri  represented Malankara Orthodox Church in this peace rally.

Edited by Aneesha George.

New Director General of OSSAE

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HH  Baselius Marthoma Paulos II,the Catholicos of the East appointed Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew , former Principal of St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary,Nagpur as the new Director General of OSSAE from 2015 May 1.Congratulations Achen.

Malankara Orthodox Church, Doha

PARISH HISTORY IN BRIEF

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Orthodox Church in Doha has a history of more than 70 years. People from Kerala started to arrive here as oil exploration started in the year 1939. Since 1940, priests from Bahrain used to visit Doha via Dukhan using British mini aircrafts visiting for business purposes and conducted holy services. In the beginning all Christian denominations joined together and started community prayers. As time passed, more members from Orthodox churches arrived and felt to have their own church and traditional prayers as followed in Kerala.
During the year 1973, members of our Doha congregation approached H.Ga. Mathews Mar Athanasius, Metropolitan of outside Kerala with this request and His Grace issued a Kalpana on 20th September 1973 declaring a parish named “Malankara St. Thomas Orthodox Parish”.

HG appointed Rev. Fr. C.C. Gheevarghese as the first vicar for the new parish and was succeeded by Rev. Fr. M. T. Easo, Rev. Fr. Joseph Mankidiyil, Rev. Fr. A.M. Peter, Rev. Fr. Joseph Kalapurayil and Rev. Fr. Yunan Mulamootil till 1988. The Parish was at the residence of Late Mr. Baby Kongalam and Orthodox Parish cannot forget his devoted services to Orthodox Church in Qatar. What we are now is the result of sacrifices done by late Mr. Baby Kongalam.Rev. Fr. C.C. Geevarghese was the vicar of Bahrain Church also and in the beginning he used to come once in six weeks and conduct Holy Qurbana.

This practice was continued for a long time. As number of members increased, frequency of visits of priests from Bahrain had increased to once in three weeks. During the year 1988 Rev. Fr. George Joseph was appointed as a full time vicar for the parish.

Mar Gregorious Orthodox Parish was established during the year 1990 and St. Mary’s Orthodox Parish in 1995. Until the establishment of the new Church with the consecration ceremony held on 2,3rd July 2009, the three Orthodox Parishes were independently serving the orthodox community in Doha.

A new place of worship for Malankara Orthodox Church in Doha

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The New Church Interior

The new church built for Malankara Orthodox Church in the deserts of Arabia, with the approval of the rulers of Qatar,was consecrated under the name Malankara Orthodox Church Doha (MOC Doha). The members of St. Thomas, Mar Gregorios and St. Mary’s parishes of Doha came under the banner of Malankara Orthodox Church Construction Committee to build this church which can accommodate up to 1500 people at a time. The building consisting of 1968 sq.mt.has the Parish hall, two parsonages, guest room, conference hall, office room etc. at the ground floor.

Seven buildings are constructed on 12,861 sq. Meter land given free of cost by the government of Qatar to the Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC) Doha. 28 different Christian denominations conduct their worship here. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 23rd December 2005 by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Mumbai Diocese. An amount of Qatar Riyals 9 million (Rs. 12 crores) was spend on the construction.

The consecration ceremony of July 2nd and 3rd 2009 started with the arrival of lamp from St. Thomas Parish, Censor from Mar Gregorios and Flag from St, Mary’s as a true symbol of unity of the three parishes. The Metropolitans and guests were received at the main entrance of IDCC complex and led to the church in ceremonial procession. The public meeting started after the flag hoisting, opening of the main church entrance, lighting of the lamp and offering of the first censor.

  1. G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilose presided over the public meeting which was inaugurated by H.H. Thomas Mar Athanasios, Metroplitan of Chengannur Diocese. Felicitation addresses were given by H.G. Dr. Mathews Mas Savarios, H. E. Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa –Indian Ambassador to Qatar, Fr. Jose Thachukunnel – president of Ecumenical Clergy Fellowship Doha, Rev. Fr. T J Joshua – Former Vice-Princopal of Orthodox Theological Seminary and Mr. K C Cherian – IDCC Co-ordinator. Mr. M B Thomas – Convenor of Church Construction Committee presented the working report and Mr. George Pothen – IDCC Chief Co-ordinator placed on record the efforts put in by all in completing the church building. Rev. Fr. Thomas Myalil – Convenor of Consecration Committee gave the welcome speech and Mr. George Thomas- General Convenor of Consecration Committee proposed the vote of thanks.

At the conclusion of evening prayer, Mr. K S Varghese – Secretary of Church Construction Committee handed over the keys of the Church to H. G. Thomas Mar Athanasios which was then handed over to the Diocesan Metropolitan, the Diocesan Bishop to the Vicar and finally the Vicar to the Church Trusty – Mr. M P Philip.

The Metropolitans were assisted during the 2 days of the consecration ceremony by Rev. Fr. Joseph Mankidi – Past Vicar; Rev. Fr, P C Thomas, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Stephen, Rev. Fr. George Abraham and Rev. Fr. M E Joseph, all vicars during the construction stage of the church. Besides Priests from Syro-Malabar, Marthoma, CSI, Knanaya, Malankara Catholic rite etc were participated. The 55 member Choir for the ceremoy was trained and led by Rev. Fr. M P George – Director of Shruthi School of Liturgical music.

Holy Qurbana is conducted in the Church on Friday (morning and evening), Saturday (evening) and on Sunday (evening). The Intercession prayer for St. Mary is on Wednesday and for Parumala Mar Gregorios on Thursday. The church celebrates August 15th as the feast of St. Mary, November 2nd as the feast of Parumala Mar Gregorios and December 21st as the feast of St. Thomas.

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The church which is under the leadership of l –  Rev.Benjamin S Philip Vicar and,   Rev. Fr.Skaria Varghese – Assistant Vicar is managed by 15 member Working Committee and 42 member Managing Committee. The Spiritual organisations like Sunday School, Bala Samajam, MGOCSM, Youth Movement, Martha Mariam Samajam, Elders Forum, Medical Forum, Prayer Group, Divyabodhanam, Shruthi, AMOS are very active

 

Officer Bearers for OMF and Emotional Support Help Line appointed

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His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan has graciously appointed Dr Varghese Punnoose (HOD,Psychiatry, Kottayam Medical College) as the honorary Secretary of the Orthodox Medical Forum. Dr Siby Tharakan (Former Associate Director of Ecumenical Christian Centre, Bangalore) is appointed as the Director of Emotional Support Helpline under the Ministry of Human Empowerment of Malankara Orthodox Church.

Hearty congratulations to both the personalities.

Contact Details:

Dr. Varghese Punnose: +91 9447085734

Dr Siby Tharakan:  +91 9446029859

Divyabodham registration for the year 2015 should complete before March 2015

New academic year of Divyabodhanam P.O.C.E and D.O.C.E courses will be started on June 2015 and the registration should complete before March 2015. The Registration fees of P.O.C.E is Rs.250/- and D.O.C.E is Rs.275/- If the parish give order for text book you can collect the book from the diocesan office (Fr. Paul Mathew – 09920207749)

Hope that you got the Kalpana from the Diocesan Metropolitan regarding this. Hope that your parish will register the courses before the cut off date. For more details visit www.divyabodhanam.org

With Prayers

Fr. Thomas K Chacko (Manojachen)

Vice-President

Divyabodhanam, Bombay Diocese

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