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The Holy Bible and Orthodox Tradition

The Orthodox Church governs her life by Holy Tradition. The word “tradition” comes from the Latin traditio, which is translation of a Greek word used frequently in the scriptures,  paradosis. Translatedliterally, this word means something that is handed on from one person to another, in the same way that a baton is handed over in a relay race. Something that is “traditioned” passed on from one person or group of people to another.

In Galatians 1:11, St Paul says, that the tradition of the Church is “not according to man”. in other words, it is revealed by God. It is not a human product.

Tradition means an experience, an entire life-not simply a series of teachings, but the living out of those teachings that have come from the God who has revealed Himself to us. Tradition is the living out of the revelation of God by His people.

Five Sources of Christian Tradition

  1. The Holy Scriptures (Bible)
  2. The Liturgy
  3. The Councils (Synods)
  4. The Saints
  5. The Church Art

 

The Holy Scriptures

The first place we give to the Holy Scriptures: the Bible, Old and New Testaments. The Bible is understood by the Orthodox Christians to be the principal written record of the experience by God’s people of God’s revealing Himself to them. It is understood that the Church, therefore, wrote the Bible. The Bible is the word of God, but the word of God was not written directly and personally by God. The Holy Scriptures did not fall from Heaven in a full complete form. Instead, they were written by human beings who were inspired by God. What they write is the truth about God.They write what they write as members of God’s people.

For example, in the early years of the Christian Church, those most important books of Holy Scripture that we call the Gospels did not exist.Several decades passed afterPentecost before the first Gospel was written. It was the end of the first century by the time all four Gospels were written. Three hundred more years passed before a decision was made in the Church that there would be only four Gospels.

The books that are in the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are there because God’s people, through those who were set aside as having the authority to make the decision, decided that these books would be part of the Bible, and other books would not. The Church, as God’s people inspired by God, wrote the Bible. The Church produced the Bible. The Bible did not produced the Church.

The Holy Scriptures are the principal and most honourd written record of God’s revelation to His people. But it is the understanding of the Orthodox that Holy Scriptures cannot be completely, truthfully understood unless they are understood within the context of the Church that produced them, that declared them to be what they are.

So, the Bible is the Book of the Church, the first source of the Christian Tradition.

 

I will try to write on the Bible in greater detail later on.

 

The Liturgy

The second source of the Christian Tradition is the liturgy of the Church.”Liturgy” is a word that means in Greek, common work. The liturgy of the church means the work of the church when it comes together to be the people of God and to worship God. Liturgy includes the whole body of the Church’s common worship: the services for the various hours of the day, the days of the week, the feast days and seasons of the Church, the sacraments of the Church, like baptism, the holy Eucharist, marriage and other.

In all the public prayer of the Church we have a record of what the Church believes. In fact, there is a saying that has been popular among the Orthodox from the beginning; the rule of faith, the standard of what we believe, is established by the way we pray.

 

The Councils (Synods)

The third source of the Christian Tradition is the councils of the Churchman council is  meeting of those in the Church who have been given the authority to decide what is faithful to the Tradition of the Church and what is not. The first council that we hear described in the Act of Apostles chapter 15 takes place in the Church of Jerusalem. This council was convened to decide the question of whether Gentiles could becomes Christians and whether they should be required to obey the Jewish Law. This was a situation that Jesus had not specifically prepared His Apostles to deal with. But he has given them the authority in the Church to distinguish between what was true and what was not, so they met to decide what to do with the Gentiles who wanted to become part of the Church.

The result of the Jerusalem council was a compromise: the Gentiles would be required to keep a few core principles of the Jewish law, but the rest of it was not binding on them. Moreover, the Apostles made it very clear that this was not merely a human decision. They were so boldly as to say, “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us that this is how we answer this question. (Acts 15:28).

Many councils have met through the centuries of the Church’s life and they have decided many Questions. The answers they give to the questions that have to be resolved come in two forms: creeds and canons.

The Oriental Orthodox Family including Indian Orthodox Church accepting the first three Ecumenical Councils:

  1. Council at Nicea on AD325
  2. Council at Constantinople on AD381
  3. Council at Ephesus at AD 431

The most important of the Church’s statement of faith is contained in the creed called the Nicene Creed. It is called “Nicene” because it was written at the first Ecumenical Council in Nicea in AD 325

 

The Saints

The fourth source of the Christian Tradition is the lives of the saints and the teaching of one particular group of saints who are called the Fathers, includes some mothers.

In every generation in the life of the Church, there have been people who lve the teachings of Christ faithfully, heroically, who attain while living in this world the destiny for which we as Christians believe God has created us: to share His own life.

The ultimate promise concerning the Christian revelation is that it is true. “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free”. Free from what? Free from error, free from sin, free from emptiness, and ultimately free from death in the negative sense. Those are the things that God frees from us from. But He does this so that we can be free for something that is indescribably greater: to reach our destiny as partakers of the life of God Himself.

A certain group of those saints is called the Fathers. By a Father of the Church, we mean one who by his or her wisdom in teaching or defending Church doctrine, often at the cost of his or her life or in the face of great suffering, bore witness to the Tradition of the Church. When we read the Gospel here is what the Church has always believed. In the same sense, when we read the writings of the great Fathers, we can find in them a faithful and true testimony to what the Church has always believed and experienced about God.

 

The Church Art

The final source of the Christian Tradition is the Church Art. It might come as a surprise to some that along with such exalted things as the Holy Scriptures and the Liturgy of the Church and the Saints and the Fathers, we would speak of Church art. In the minds of some people, art is simply a kind of decoration, a secondary thing.

In the Orthodox understanding of the nature of human being, of how God has made us, how God has revealed Himself to us, is that material creation is very much involved. One could say that the Orthodox Faith, the Orthodox experience is a holistic one. It involves the whole into the material world, God becoming man, God becoming matter-is uniquely at the heart of the Christian Faith.

Art is, by definition, the use of material things as the medium for the revelation of God. So for the Orthodox, art is not icing on the cake; it is something very central to what we know of how God has revealed Himself to us. One goes in to the Orthodox Church building and is immediately surrounded by all sorts of things that appeal to the senses.

We could divide them into the three categories:-

  1. Iconography: the way in which the images of Christ, His life, His Mother, and the saints are portrayed in the Church.
  2. Church Music: the way our Church services are sung, the chants that are used in the liturgical services.
  3. Church architecture: even the way an Orthodox Church is traditionally built is a visible testimony to the Faith of the Church as it has been experienced throughout the ages.

None of these is understood to be merely accidental or a frill. Rather, they are at the heart of our experience in the Church as the people of God.

 

So we have these five basic sources of the Orthodox Tradition, what has been passed on from one generation of the faithful to the next, from Christ and the Apostles even to the present time: the scripture, the liturgy, the creeds and canons that have come from the Church Councils or Synods, the lives of the saints and the teaching of the Fathers, and finally Orthodox Christian Art.

Rev.Fr.Joshy Pallattu Jacob

Address                                              : St.Thomas Orthodox Theological

Seminary, Kalmeshwar, Brahmani

Post,Nagpur, M.H.,441501.

 

Nationality                                         : Indian.

Date of Birth                                      : 29th June 1978.

Marital status                                    : Single.

Linguistic Skill                                    : Malayalam,English,Hindi,Syriac.

 

Permanent Address                          : S/o P.I. Jacob,

Pallattu, Puthuppally, Kottayam-11.

 

Contact details

Cell Nos                                               : +919746427701,+919702762767.

Email                                                    :frjoshypallattu@gmail.com

 

Home Parish                                       :St.GeorgeOthodoxChurch,Meenadom

Home Diocese                                    : Kottayam.

Diocese to which Ordained              : Bombay.

 

Date of Ordination : 12th May 2007.

 

Academic Qualifiaction

Sl.No. Degree/Diploma University College Year of Study

1 M.A. Syriac Mahatma Gandhi SEERI 2012-14 2. M.A. Administration IGNOU OPEN 2010- 12

  1. P.G Diploma Biblical Studies Dharmaram DADE 2011-12
  2. Bachelor of Divinity Serampore STOTS 2002-07
  3. GST MOSC STOTS 2002-07
  4. B.Com Mahatma Gandhi Baselius 1996-99

Counselling for HIV/AIDS Evangeline Booth Hospital,Ahmednager in 2005

Participated in the International Syriac Musical Festival “MAZMUR-2013”

 

 

Positions held.

 

VICAR.

St.Stephens Orthodox Church, Gandhidam. 2007-2008

St.Peters St.Pauls Orthodox Church,Roha. 2008-2012

St.Thomas Orthodox Church,Pen. 2008-2012

St.Gregorios Orthodox Church,Khopoli . 2008-2010

St.Marys Orthodox Church,Aurangabad 2009-2012

St.Marys Orthodox Church, Kattilapoovam. 2012-2014

St.Gregorious Orthodox Church, Dhule. 2014 cont.

 

Principal, Gregorian Public School, Roha 2008-2012.

Administrator,Gregorian Community Centre,Roha. 2008-2012.

Gregorian Public School,Roha. 2008-2012.

Gregorian Old Age Home 2008-2012.

 

Cuurent position:

Bursar and Teacher of St.Thomas Theological Seminary,Nagpur(Hymnology & Syriac)

Vicar: St.Gregorious Orthodox Church, Dhule. M.H.

 

 

Is there an Orthodox Bible?

Many people do not know that there is an essential difference between the Protestant Churches and the Orthodox Church concerning the Bible. This is not only seen in the attitude towards the Bible and the attitude towards the Bible and the way of interpreting individual texts of it, but also in the number of books contained in the Bible. The contents of the Bible are known as the Canon in its technical sense. As far as the Canon of the New Testament is concerned, all the Churches in the East and West follow the list prepared by St. Athanasius of Alexandra, the stalwart of the Council of Nicea in his Easter letter of AD 327. It put an end to the disputes between Eastern and Western Churches concerning the content of the New Testament and it was established that 27 books from St.Mathew to the Book of Revelation would from the New Testament.

The term Old Testament is coined by the Christians and it indicates the Bible of Jews. During the time of Jesus there were two types of Jews based on their cultural heritage. One group had its base in Palestine and they used the Hebrew Bible.  A  Council of Rabbis held in Jamnia completed the Canon of this Bible only in AD 100. This Bible had only 39 books which is the reason why the Bible used by the Protestants does not include the seven books mentioned above.

However, a great number of Jews lived in different parts of the Roman Empire outside Palestine. Alexandria was their cultural centre and they used Greek as their language for communication. It can be seen that the new generations of Malankara Orthodox Church who use English instead of Malayalam. The Bible of Jews was prepared in Greek language during the reign of King Ptolemy II (285-247 BCE). This was called the Septuagint, which means Seventy in Greek, because of the seventy people who were engaged in its formation.

The Septuagint was not merely a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible; instead it had three changes in comparison with the Hebrew Bible:

  1. It contained seven additional books, namely, 1-2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Bara Sirach and Wisdom of Solomon.
  2. There were some additions and changes in the books like Esther and Daniel.
  3. The order of the books in the Septuagint was different from that of the Hebrew Bible. For example, II Chronicles was the last book of the Hebrew Bible. The numbering of Psalms was also different in the Septuagint.

Now the most important question is: what was the Bible used by Jesus and his disciples? None of the books of the New Testament    was written during the time of Jesus; the Bible, which he used, was that of the Jews. Once the new scriptures were written by the Early Christians, the Church reffered to it as the Old Testament rather than the Hebrew Bible of the Palestinian Jews. Since the Canon of the Hebrew Bible  was finalized only in AD 90 there is every reason to conclude that Septuagint was used during that time. Moreover, the modern researches have proved that the New Testament writers like St.Mathew and St. Paul quoted not from the Hebrew Bible but from the Septuagint.Since we want to follow the Old Testament of the Apostles and the Early Church, we consider the seven books mentioned above as scriptural texts.

Now the most important question is: what was the Bible used by Jesus and his disciples? None of the books of the New Testament    was written during the time of Jesus; the Bible, which he used, was that of the Jews. Once the new scriptures were written by the Early Christians, the Church reffered to it as the Old Testament rather than the Hebrew Bible of the Palestinian Jews. Since the Canon of the Hebrew Bible  was finalized only in AD 90 there is every reason to conclude that Septuagint was used during that time. Moreover, the modern researches have proved that the New Testament writers like St.Mathew and St. Paul quoted not from the Hebrew Bible but from the Septuagint.Since we want to follow the Old Testament of the Apostles and the Early Church, we consider the seven books mentioned above as scriptural texts.

The above are two most important reasons why the Deutrocanonical books could be considered as scriptural texts. The Orthodox Church of India considered the Syriac Peshitta version as its Bible. This was originated in the Aramaic speaking world of the Jews in the dawn of the modern of the modern age. The word Peshitta means “simple” and the version was more or less the same as Septuagint in content. That’s why we teach the 46 Old Testament books and include the seven books in our liturgical life.

 

prepared by Fr.Thomas Philipose

 

Fr.Joshy P Jacob appointed as the Syriac Faculty of STOTS, Nagpur

His Holiness Moran Mar Baselius Marthoma Paulos II, Catholicos of the East appointed, Rev.Fr.Joshy P Jacob as the Syriac faculty of STOTS Nagpur..

 

Rev. Fr. Joshy Pallattu Jacob, an alumnus of STOTS, Nagpur of the 2002-2007 Batch, joined the STOTS family as a faculty member early this year. He is also given the charge as the Asst.Warden of the Seminary. He hails from Meenadom, Kerala and a member of St. George Orthodox Syrian Church, Meenadom.He holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration & Syriac (SEERI). He also serves as the vicar of St. Gregorios Orthodox Syrian Church, Dhule under the Diocese of Bombay. After his seminary studies Fr Joshy served in the churches of Bombay diocese and served as the in charge of Gregorian Community, Roha. With the permission of H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitan, He successfully completed in MA in Syriac from SEERI, Kottayam.Congratulations Achen.

 

BOMBAY REGIONAL WINTER CAMP FOR OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL

BOMBAY REGIONAL WINTER CAMP FOR OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL CHILDREN WILL BE HELD FROM 28TH TO 30TH OF DECEMBER AT VASHI.

EMINENT PERSONALITIES FROM DIFFERENT FIELDS WILL LEAD THE CAMP.HG GEEVRGHESE MAR COORILOSE, FR JOMON (VICAR ST BASELIOS KALINA) AND MR BASIL KURIAKOSE BORIVILLI(SEMINARY STUDENT, USA) AND MR JOHN YESUDASAN WILL LEAD THE CAMP.
THE THEME OF THE CAMP IS “GROW AND GLOW”. CLASSES ON PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT, COUNSELING ETC ARE INCLUDED. “SONG SESSIONS, “CHRISTMAS CAROL SINGING, SKITS, CAMPFIRE, BIBLICAL GAMES, HINDI HOLY QURBANA, INTERACTION WITH HG MAR COORILOSE, DOCUMENTARY,MORNING-YOGA SESSIONS ETC ARE INCLUDED IN THE CAMP. LAST DATE OF REGISTRATION WILL BE 15th DECEMBER. FEE: Rs 400/ PER HEAD.
CHILDREN HAVE TO BRING THEIR PERSONAL BIBLE, NOTE BOOKS, WINTER CLOTHES, BED SHEETS, ETC.

Bombay diocese got a new Congregation at Rahuri

His Grace  Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan,visited Rahuri and celebrated Holy Qurbana on Sunday 7th December, 2014.

A gathering of around 150 faithful attended the Holy Qurbana. This is the first time, a Orthodox Metropolitan visiting this area. Orthodox Church is having around 22 families settled in Rahuri, Sreerampur, Shirdi, Coppergaon

. His Grace arrived around 6 PM at Syro Malabar Church, Rahuri, there the faithful gave a warm welcome to His Grace, under the leadership of Catholic priests working in that area. and Fr John, Vicar of Syro Malabar Church, presented a shawl to Hihs Grace as a token of love.

Photo1579

A group of 30 people from Nashik Church also accompanied His Grace under the leadership of Fr.Thomas Philipose. After the Holy Qurbana, a small meeting convened. His Grace declared this as an official congregation of Orthodox Church under Bombay diocese. His Grace gave instruction to Fr.Thomas Philipose to conduct Holy Qurbana on every second Saturday morning, either in Rahuri or in sreerampur.

Photo1600

Fr.Thomas Philipose visited Rahuri on 18th August 2013, and conducted Holy Qurbana, first time, in the history of Rahuri congregation.

FR. SCARIA VARGHESE

NAME: FR.SANTHOSH VARGHESE (SCARIA).

DATE OF BIRTH: 7th OCTOBER 1967.

DATE OF MARRIAGE: 30th OCTOBER 1995.

PARENTS NAME: MR.V.K.VARGHESE & MRS.ALEYAMMA VARGHESE.

NATIVE PLACE ADDRESS: VALLIATHU HOUSE, ENNAKKAD.P.O, CHENGANNUR, PIN 689624.

HOME PARISH: ST GEORGR.O.S.C PERINGILIPURAM, MAVELIKARA.

HOME DIOCESE: MAVELIKARA.

LOCAL PARISH: ST MARY’S CATHEDRAL, DADAR EAST, MUMBAI.

QUALIFICATION: BSc, BD, Bed, PGDCA.

SEMINARY AND PERIOD: OTS, KOTTAYAM; 1991-1995.

PRIESTHOOD ORDINATION: 18th DECEMBER 1995.

SUB DEACON: 13th MAY 1994.

NAME OF SPOUSE: MRS ANITA SANTHOSH.

NAME OF CHILDREN: ANNA, SHEBA, AYDEN, ALINA.

RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS: CHIMAN NIVAS, SION EAST, MUMBAI-22.

TEL NO: 022/ 24080556; MOB: 09869125758.

EMAIL ADDS: frscarivarghese@gmail.com/ fr.scariavarghese@yahoo.com

ACHIEVEMENTS: 1, BOUGHT A PIECE OF LAND AND CONSTRUCTED A NEW CHURCH OF POWAI ST PAUL’S PARISH IN 1998-99.

2, BOUGHT ¾ ACRE OF LAND FOR ST.GREGORIOS O S C PANVEL.

3, CONSTRUCTED A COMMUNITY HALL FOR ST BASELIOS O S C AT KALINA.

4, A NEW CHURCH FOR CBD-BELAPUR PARISH IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

Rev.Fr.Jacob Thomas Karakkal

Name                                                                                : Rev.Fr.Jacob Thomas Karakkal

Date of Birth                                                                    : 19th December, 1965

Date of Marriage                                                             : 10th June 1996

Family name                                                                     :  Manalady Kattuparampil

Parents Name                                                                   : Late Mr M.E.Thomas & Late Mrs Aleyamma Thomas

Home Parish                                                                      : St George O.S.C, Karakkal

Home Diocese                                                                   : Niranam

Local Parish                                                                        : St Baselios O.S.C, Kalina

Qualification                                                                       : B.sc , B ED, M.D (Edu)

Seminary studied                                                             :  Orthodox Theological Seminary,Kottayam

Period                                                                                 : 1991-1996

Ordination details

Sub deacon :

Deacon: 21st December,1996 at St Pauls OSC,Kollad

Priest: 24TH December 1996 at St George OSC, Karakkal

Name of Spouse: Mrs Merin Preetha Jacob

Name of Children: Miss Achsah Elsa Jacob & Master Aaron Thomas Jacob

Residential Address:

Parishes served: Kalina, Sakkinakka, Borivilli, Chembur, Colaba, Vapi, Malad & Anderi

Mobile No                 :  9869045747

Email                          :frjacobthomask@gmail.com

Positions held:

Faculty of Pre-marital counseling

Vice president: YMCA Mumbai, MGOCSM Bombay, Divya bodhanam, School

Secretary: Vaideeka Sangam

 

 

Marth Mariam Samajam Arts Competitions 2014

Marth Mariam Samajam, Bombay Diocesan level Arts Competitions held at Vashi Aramana on 30th November, 2014.Congratulations to winners.

Winners List

Items Juniors Seniors Supper seniors
Solo song 1st Prize: Rincy Saji (Vapi)

 

2nd Prize: Sheba Kurian (Dadar)

 

1st Prize: Ruby Roy (Malad)

 

2nd Prize: Susan Babu (Kalyan)

 

1st prize:  Leegi Alexander (Vashi)

 

2nd prize: Susheela Varghese(Dadar)

 

Elocution 1st Prize: Rincy Saji (Vapi)

 

2nd Prize:Lissy George (Kalyan)

1st Prize:Lissy Sunny (Malad)

 

2nd Prize: Bini Job (Vashi)

1st prize:Gracy Mathews (Dadar)

 

2nd Prize: Mary Paulose (Nashik)

Quick Bible reading 1st Prize: Asha Ebin (Malad)

 

 

2nd Prize: Annie Saji (Kalyan)

1st Prize:Sindhu Achenkunju (Kalyan) & Annie Samkutty (Malad)

2nd Prize: Mercy Alex (Dadar)

1st Prize: Thankamma Raju (Kalyan)

 

 

2nd Prize: Aleyamma George (Malad)

 

Quiz Competition

1st Prize: Malad Zone

2nd Prize: Pune Zone & Vashi Zone

Group Song

1st Prize:  Suja T Thomas & Group, Malad

2nd Prize : Lissy Thomas & Group, Vapi

 

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