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The role of women in the Church

The role of women in our church has not been clearly defined even though we do confirm that the greatest among the saints and the first evangelist commissioned to convey the resurrection message by Christ, are both women. The Old and New Testaments contain stories of women who were ‘Judges’, Prophets, and Evangelists. The genealogy of Jesus Christ mentions certain atypical women who were not really from among the Children of Israel.

These women played important roles in the salvation story of man. These women co-operated with God’s will and they in turn were blessed and became instruments for others’ blessing. They were truly like the virtuous wife depicted in Proverbs 31, that is, a definite and creative force, what is in today’s jargon called ‘women of substance’ and quite unlike the unusual  wishy- washy door mat and kitchen drudge image that is projected as the ideal woman in the Church until recently. Raising funds through Food counters, kitchen sales etc. and no votingrights. There was a prevalent stress on the image of woman as Eve – irresponsible and unreliable. St. Paul was and is quoted to substantiate this stand. But now matters are changing.

The Church is still an area of male-dominance today, yet the role of woman in our Church is evolving to the image of women as ‘Helen’ as in Jung’s theory of the development of the Anima. With the increasing number of women going out to work and becoming financially independent and part-providers, women are now understood as ‘capable of worldly success and of being self-reliant, intelligent and insightful, even though altogether not virtuous. Now they can vote, attend general body meeting and even become a trustee. But still they are excluded from any kind of public service during the Church’s most important and central work, the Sunday worship.

I understand that the Church has granted or is considering granting permission to allow women to read the Old Testament before the public celebration of the Holy Qurbana. It is being done in some Churches and this would be a very welcome change as this would enable direct participation of women in Sunday worship beyond their role as participating lay-persons. At any point of time, more women than men attend Divyabodhanam and other such courses and there are many who are well-versed with the Bible. Old and young women, who are baptized members of the Parish, may be permitted to read the Old Testament with the consent of vicar and after due practice. This would add depth and meaning to women’s role in the Church.

When considering other roles that women can play in the Church, I am tempted to use my imagination to understand how it might have been in the first century Church. In the beginning. The Church lived as a close knit community, an extended joint family. The physical, mental and intellectual as well as the spiritual talents of each was available for the benefit of all. About fifty years ago, there were more joint families and smaller parishes. The wisdom of the grand-parents and the knowledge and support of neighbourhood were freely shared and received without barriers of the self. Any parish can even now extend the benefits of a joint family under a good vicar, who can co-ordinate the women and use their talents synergistically. The following services can be rendered by the women of the Church without infringing on male bastions.

An important area where women can contribute in a significant way is in guidance/counselling. It comes naturally to women in their role as mothers and care-givers. There are several areas where nurturing and guidance are needed by the lay.

The first of these concerns women who marry into the Church from other denominations. They really need a basic idea about the Orthodox faith, rituals, prayers, etc. to make their integration smoother. Otherwise they may carry their husbands to their old faith or they might be unable to participate meaningfully. A panel of women can be appointed in each parish to identify such newly-weds and to make them feel welcome. They can offer the young women books and gentle and casual guidance regarding the liturgy, the Orthodox calendar, the importance of the day, attitude to saints, the use of incense, bells, etc. The women guides need special training to be effective. A special blue print can be developed by the Church to decide on the areas that are sacrosanct and private as well as those to be covered and the methods to be employed such as one-to-one or group interaction, literature etc. Every parish should have a library with books especially for the new converts. Women can be entrusted with the management of the library.

Women staying in each ward may also be entrusted with the duty of welcoming and acclimatizing new members of the parish in their respective wards. Relevant information regarding the parish, its routine etc. as well as the rates of wages for daily help in the locality, nearest grocery and other markets, medical help, pediatrician etc. would come in the very useful to the new comers to that area. New members must be introduced to the congregation after Sunday Service.

Marriage counseling should go beyond the spiritual. We read stories about young couples who have had stressful and unhappy marriages because of ignorance and guilt regarding the physical aspects of marriage. The necessary details regarding physical relationship, fertility, conception and child birth and possible problems should be explained to the newly married soon after marriage.It can be an optional service where couples can phone in and seek appointments/ advice in private. There are more ignorant couples than promiscuous ones among the young who are unjustly pictured in movies and novels as cohabiting and drinking pleasure-pilgrims. In fact many have hardly any energy after their taxing jobs and the constant pressure of heavy job commitments. The awareness regarding the basics of life that children developed gradually in joint families, growing up with animals and the pets is lacking now. Older women/ doctors/ nurses etc. can do this job, if trained, without embarrassing either side. The Library can also be useful here.

Counseling is required urgently in the area of child rearing Pregnancy and Parenting sessions can be arranged in each parish periodically where older women and young mothers can provide informative sessions and lead discussions. Christian parenting sessions should be conducted for prospective and young parents to train them as ‘Listening and praying parents’ without becoming paranoid about it. Importance of quality time with the children to know where the child stands at each moments within his heart, of walking the terrain with their offspring and inculcating the awareness that God walks with them must be stressed. Parents must be ‘watching parents‘as well as ‘listening parents’, but never spying or intimidating parents. Their children’s friends must be encouraged to visit so that the parents have an idea about the company the child keeps. Older women can provides the guidance, acting as foster grandmothers to help young parents and children. Again, training is needed here. A child learns first to love and trust his father and mother and later learns to love the father in heaven. It is agreed by all psychologist that there is a firm link between how children see their fathers and their understanding of God. The role of each parent in shaping a child’s God image and later his own parenting style and vice versa is significant. Obedience comes naturally where there is love. Parents must be taught to moderate their expectations, identify special talents and needs and nurture them. The church can use senior women as well as men and have annual sessions for carrier guidance. The talent that lies dormant in the adult population of the Church is vast and hardly utilized.

Parents of the children with special needs need special assistance and support from others who walked the path before them. It is within our power to train children to face defeat instead of giving up on life out of a sense of inadequacy and unworthiness.

The respect and trust that men have for women must evolve further if women are to be allowed to exercise their full potential and do their maximum for the Church. If considered appropriate, at least on special days such as women’s day, if not oftener and in other meetings, women with the necessary talent can be asked to give messages.

Women can also be formed into teams to keep an eye on sick or old faithful of the area living alone, visit them in hospitals and if possible offer help including help to come to church.

Since ‘Church’ means the people, anything done for the upliftment of the people is also for the Church. Grandparents played an important role in the joint families of yore as story tellers and communicators of moral values. They were close to the heart of the children and formed a bridge between parent and child. Today this blessing is out of our reach but we have many young and healthy grandmothers and grandfathers sitting alone and idle in their homes while in nuclear families with young working parents, children sit alone and listless before the TV during the long vacation, waiting for their parents to come back from work. Many parents try to enroll their children in summer camps or music classes. Some are sent to the grandparents. There is a supply and a lack. But I am not sure how this may be balanced. Already the Church has a Vacation Bible school to engage the young for a week.

Men and women are physically, mentally and psychologically different and this is a God created phenomenon. God made them to complement each other and to compete with each other for prominence or dominance. This difference ensure that each has to depend on the other and nurture the other for maximum welfare. Married life is the first step to learn love, synergy and sacrifice. It is like a river, stormy and turbulent near the source, but serene and calm towards the estuary where it meets with the sea.

Families are the building blocks of society and also of the Church. Men are the natural heads of the family through their physical and psychological attributes while women as in Proverbs 31 form the backbone of the family, the iron hand in the velvet glove, constantly working towards moral, spiritual and physical welfare of the unit. This is the primary role of women in the Church, though not the only one, and while the woman builds the families of the church according to our own faith and tradition, the church builds the woman through its training, worship and other nurturing activities.

Above all, women can and must pray for the church and its leaders as well as for the community as a whole as fervently as they pray for their families.


Written by

Susan Eapen

Family fellowship will on 15th February at Vashi Aramana

We are immensely delighted to present before all the faithful of Bombay Diocese, one day family fellowship under the banner of Spiritual Revival programs. The event will be held on Sunday 15th February 2015 at St Thomas Orthodox Church, Vashi Aramana from 10.30 to 4.30 pm. The theme for the conference shall be “They are One”. H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitan urged all the wedded couples in Diocese, between 25 – 50 years to attend this family fellowship and achieve spiritual and moral strength to confront the challenges of today’s Christian married life.

The registration fee will be Rs.100/- per head.

This one day fellowship will be an introduction for the 3 day family conference at a later date. The earlier 3 day conference has been a blessing for all who participated, with motivates us to organize more such events in the family ministry. We plan to conduct such events in different zones of the Diocese.

For more details and registration please contact:

Rev. Fr. Jacob Koshy (Cell No 9892129033)

Mr. Viju V John (Cell No.9323407946)

Doney Biju succeded first rank in SSFC XII Examination

Photo Master Doney Biju, Son of Biju Mathew, who is a member of St George Orthodox  Church,Nashik secured 1st rank in the SSFC XII Examination conducted in December 2014 by Outside Kerala Region of Sunday School. Congratulations.

Diocesan Priests’ Annual Retreat on 17, 18 & 19 Feb. 2015

The annual retreat of Bombay Diocese Priest’s  will be held at Vashi Aramana on 16th to 19th February 2015.This  retreat will be father is Fr. Bobby Jose Kattikkadu.


The tentative schedule of the retreat is herewith attached. H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the diocesan Metropolitan, in his Kalpana No.5/2015 urged all the diocesan priests to attend the retreat on time and also confirmed  participation. Pray for the blessings of the retreat.

Tentative Programe

Arrival on 16th /Feb/2015

Evening Prayer 6.00 PM

Followed by

Priests’ Meeting

8.00 Dinner

9.00 Soothara

17th Tue & 18th Wed

6.00 – 7.00 AM Namaskaram

7.00 – 8.00 AM


8.00 – 9.00 Free

9.00 – 10.30 1st, 5th Section

10.30 – 10.45 Song

10.45 – 12.15 2nd, 6th Section

12.15 Ucha Namaskaram

12.45 Lunch

2.15 Song

2.30 – 400 3rd, 7th Section

4.00 – 6.00 Tea & Break

6.00 Eve Prayer

6.45 Song

7.00 – 8.00 4th, 8th Section

8.00 Dinner

9.00 Confession

19th Thursday

6.00 – 7.00 AM Namaskaram

7.00 – 8.00 AM


8.00 – 9.00 Free

9.00 – 10.30 5th Section

10.30 – 10.45 Song

10.45 – 12.15 6th Section

12.15 Ucha Namaskaram

12.45 Lunch

2.00 – 4.00 Evaluation & Future steps

4.00 Tea & Departure



Family Meet at Nashik Church held today

Rev.Fr.Geevarghese Vallikkattil and Team, Sukhada Retreat Centre, Kolencherry, leading family meet at Nashik Orthodox Gospel Convention 2015


Nashik Orthodox Gospel Convention-2015

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ.

Here is an invitation to all of us to receive, respond and own the living Word of God, in and through the grant spiritual fellowship in the coming days in our Parish. We the Vicar and Managing committee members of St George Orthodox Church, Nashik urge you all to attend three days Nashik Orthodox Gospel Convention with your family, scheduled on Nineve lent from 25th Sunday to 28th Wednesday, 2015.

This year Convention will be led by Rev.Fr. Geevarghese Vallikkatthil & Team,Sukhada Retreat Centre,

Kolencherry, Kerala.

Come and seek the Blessing  of God Almighty.

Yours in Him,

Fr.Thomas Philipose


Rev.Fr.Thomas Kutty P.N

Rev.Fr.Thomas Kutty P.N

Date of Birth:                     04/05/1971

Date of Ordination:          30/07/2005

Name of Spouse:               Linit Thara Thomas

Date of Birth:                     04/05/1981

Date of Marriage:              12/06/2005

Children & Other Members of the Family

Sl.No Name Relationship Date of Birth Remarks
Gregory Thomas Son
Grace Thomas Daughter


Native Parish: St Marys Orthodox Church, Ullannur

Native Address: Nekamkaliyil, Ullannur, Pathanamthitta

Contact details:


Cell no: 9594738944

Parish presently serving: St. George O. S. C., Kalyan (East)

Parish served:

Rev. Fr. Benjamin Stephen


Rev. Fr. Benjamin Stephen 


Diocese Bombay  
Home Diocese  Trivandrum
Home Parish St . George Orthodox Church Palayam, Trivandrum
Seminary The Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam
Status Priest
Important Dates:
Date of Birth May 26 1956
Date of Ordination
Priestly Ordination by  
Priest Jan 8 1987
Personal Details:
   Married to Mrs Elezabeth StephenChidren:Susanna Stephen (married)Neteesh M John  (son in law)

Mereena Stephen  (unmarried)

Education  M COM,B.Ed, B.D, GST
Permanent Address
Phone 0961-973-6937

Rev. Fr. Benjamin S. Philip


Rev. Fr. Benjamin S. Philip
Diocese Bombay  
Home Diocese  
Home Parish  
Seminary The Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam
Status Priest
Important Dates:
Date of Birth Jul 31 1962
Date of Ordination
Deacon Jan 10 1987
Priestly Ordination by H H Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II.
Priest Feb 6 1988
Personal Details:
Marital Status Married
Education BSc, BEd, GST, BD
Permanent Address Tharayil, Maruthimood,
Elamannoor P. O., Adoor,
Pathanamthitta Dt., PIN- 691 524
Present Address 404, Bldg No-1, Lord Shiva Paradise,
S.No.49, Chickanghar
Kalyan(W), Thane,
PIN-421 301
Phone 0251-2314366
Mobile 9820796486
Name and Occupation of Wife Reena Benjamin,Home Maker
Children Diya Benjamin, Engineer, Infosys Dinsa Benjamin, Student, Std 12
Other Details:
Positions Held (Previous & Present):
Served as Teacher and Principal at Kalyan, Dighi and Malad Schools.OCYM and AMOSS Vice- President (Bombay Diocese)
Previous Parishes:

Very Rev. Yaunan Mulammoottil Cor Episcopa

4 years ago


Very Rev. Yaunan Mulammoottil Cor Episcopa
Diocese Bombay
Home Diocese Thumpamon
Home Parish Omalloor St. Thomas
Seminary The Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam
Status Priest
Important Dates:
Date of Birth Aug 2 1950
Date of Ordination
Deacon May 15 1977
Priestly Ordination by H H Baselios Mar Thoma,Didimos I assisted by H G Dr Thomas Mar Macarios Metropolitan
Priest May 17 1977
Personal Details:
Marital Status Married
Education B.A.G.S.T
Permanent Address Vadakedathu Mulamoottil,
Present Address 2-D/303,Powai Vihar,
Powai Mumbai:400076.
Phone 022 25700760
Mobile 9869 191693
Name and Occupation of Wife Annamma ,Retd Customs Officer.
Children Beno Joshua,Shyno George Kurian,Sheba
Other Details:
Son in Law :Jerry George Kurian
Grand Son:Mast. Ethan George Kurian.
Daughter in law:Suma Joshua.
Grand daughter:Kum. Ameriah Ann Joshua
Positions Held (Previous & Present):
Served as the Bombay Diocesan Secretory, Diocesan Council Member & Member of Malankara Managing Committee.
Secretary AMOSS.
Previous Parishes:
Dadar, Kalina-Santacruz, Vasai Road, Mulund, Bahrain – Doha, Chembur, Borivili, Thane, Powai, Sakinaka & Kalyan. At present he is the vicar of St. Peter’s Orthodox Parish Colaba ( Armenian Orthodox Church, Fort Mumbai.)
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