Fr. Thomas Philipose
Elder Brother in law of H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan (Diocesan Metropolitan, Bombay Diocese), MR.ABRAHAM TITUS (84 years), #19, NSR Road, Saibaba Colony ,Coimbatore, hailing from Anthariathu family, Ranny, left for his heavenly abode on Tuesday, 24th February at 2PM. Funeral services held on Thursday, 26th February 2015 at 2PM at St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Coimbatore.
He had been the manager of Clyfee Estates, Nilgiris, Glenburn Tea Factory, Kil Kotagiri,Hishami International, Abu Dhabi and ADNFC, Abu Dhabi. He is survived by wife Alice Titus (Puliyeril, Kollad, Kottayam), son Anand Titus (CBD Manager, Khimji Ramdas, Muscat) and daughter in law Mrs. Nima Anand Titus (Kunnamkulam). Jose Kurian Puliyeril(Kottayam) and Babu Kurian Puliyeril(Dubai) are the other brothers in law.
We,the Priests and faithful of Diocese of Bombays offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members and pray for a hallowed funeral. May his blessed memories soothe them to tide over this difficult time.
Faithful belonging to the Malankara Orthodox Church will have an ‘unorthodox way’ of observing lent this Easter. The church has urged its members to observe cyber fast on Good Friday. On the day, they should abstain from using cellphone, internet etc as part of lent.
According to the church authorities, it is an effort to dissuade its members from negative use of cell phone and internet. “Though cyber world ensures effective communication, excessive and uncontrolled use of the media can have its negative impact. Our effort is to discourage the faithful from becoming addict,” Orthodox Church public relations officer Prof.P C Elias said. “We normally observe lent skipping non-vegetarian food and fasting during the Easter. On the day, members of the church should stay away from watching TV or using internet, cell phone and social media like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.”
The church has launched a year-long programme called ‘Nervazhi’, (The Right Path) to dissuade its members from the negative use of media, especially social networking sites.
The church is in the process of selecting 50 resource persons from each diocese. Training will be given to the resources persons, who will be given the responsibility to organize family meets and seminars at parish level to spread the message. Programmes will be organized at diocese, regional and church-levels as well. “There are umpteen positive aspects of social media and mobile phone. Unfortunately it is used for spreading pornography and anti-social messages. Extremist elements use social networking sites for their propaganda,” said Rev. Fr P A Philip, director, ministry of human empowerment and joint secretary of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
The church also plans to use the social networking sites and cellphone to form a new forum. “The plan is to constitute Orthodox Medical Forum, a joint platform of doctors, nurses and those employed in paramedical sectors in order to share information and tips. The forum may provide free medicines for the poor and needy,” Fr Philip said. Meanwhile, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan His Holiness Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II, head of the Orthodox Church, warned against excessive love of money and pleasure-seeking.
Thirty five Orthodox Christian families residing at Mira-Bhayander, who were the members of St George Orthodox Church Borivali, felt the need for a separate parish at Mira-Bhayander. The issue was discussed time and again and finally decided to approach Diocesan Metropolitan for an independent parish and unanimously decided to name the proposed parish after St.Gregorios of Parumala. Accordingly a delegation representing Mira-Bhayander Orthodox Christians met His Grace Philipose Mar Theophilos Metropolitan and His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Asst. Metropolitan of Mumbai Diocese on several times at Vashi Aramana. After many persuasions His Grace convinced of genuine necessity and permitted to celebrate the feast of St.Gregorios at Mira-Bhayander. The faithful assembled at the residence of Shri K.U Abraham at Asmita Hill View, Mira Road (East) and passed a resolution confirming the erstwhile decision of independent parish and its proposed name and also emulated future plans for raising funds for immediate needs. A delegation met Sr. Johanna of Holy Cross Convent, Mira road and sought her permission to conduct service at their premises and the sister gracefully permitted to utilize the fourth floor corridor of Holy Cross Convent School.
The first Holy Qurbana and feast of St.Gregorios was a celebrated on 4th Nov 1994 at 4th floor corridor of Holy Cross Convent School Mira Road by Rev Fr Paul Mathew of St Paul’s Mission Centre Mavelikara. Therefore Holy Qurbana has been conducted on Sunday evening on the availability of priests from the diocese till declaration of independent parish.
ST GREGORIOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH – MIRA BHAYANDAR has been declared as independent parish with effect from 1st June 1995 comprising members of erstwhile St George Orthodox Church Broivali who resides at Mira-Bhayander and all other Orthodox Christians resides in Mira-Bhayander by an order of Diocesan Metropolitan and appointed Rev Fr. C.J Varghese as its first Vicar. The Holy Qurbana has been conducted on every Sunday morning at 4th floor corridor of Holy Cross Convent School Mira Road. Meanwhile members under the guidance and leadership of vicar restlessly searched for a suitable place for worship. A trust Viz., ST GREGORIOUS ORTHODOX CHARITABLE SOCEITY is registered vide Reg No MAH/479/96 THANE DT 31/1/1996 under Bombay Public trust Act. By the Grace of God Almighty matter was negotiated with M/s Rainbow Realtors and consented to construct present church building through the parish had no substantial balance fund for purpose. Bestowing faith in Almighty and our patron saint, foundation stone was laid on 8th June 1997 by late Lamented His Grace Philipose Mar Theophilos, then the metropolitan of Mumbai Diocese which was His Grace last official function. The construction work has begun. Members offered their contributions as well as collected donations from faithful of various churches and also through souvenir, coupon collection etc. Considering the old age of Vicar Rev Fr C.J Varghese Rev Fr M.S. Geevarghese was appointed as Assistant vicar with effect from june1998.
The collection of funds has been rejuvenated under the leadership of Assistant Vicar.
The construction of building was completed by the end of year 1998.The church was consecrated temporarily by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos on 13th December 1998 and the Holy Qurbana was performed. Despite ill health and old age, Rev Fr C.J Varghese has done a commendable piece of work for building parish and church which is appreciable. Rev Fr M.S. Geevarghese elevated as Vicar with effect from 1st June 1999.
The church was finally consecrated on 8th November 1999 by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Osthathious metropolitan of Niranam Diocese assisted by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos of Mumbai diocese and His Grace Dr Abraham Mar Severious of Ankamaly East Diocese with presence of Ramban, priest and multitude of faith. At the time of consecration membership of parish has enhanced to 110 from 35.
Our parish blessed with service of following priest as vicars and Asst. Vicar.
Rev Fr Varghese Yohnnan
Rev Fr Jesudasan as Asst Vicar
Rev Fr Koshy Plammmottil
Rev Fr Koshy Alex
Rev Fr Jiji K Thomas
Rev Fr Thomas Kurian
Rev Fr Benjamin S Philip
Rev Fr Geevarghese Abraham
The parishioners appreciate the dedicated services of all Vicars and Asst. Vicar for the temporal as well as spiritual development of parish.
Liturgy services on Moranaya perunal and Saints day have been celebrated since the inception of parish by the faith, aromatic parishioners. The church organs such as Sunday School,Choir,Youth League , MGOCSM, Matha Mariam Vanitha Samajam and Prayer meetings have been programmed and systematically functioned to keep members attached to parish.
A Cross vault constructed and donated by Shri Viju C Varghese and Issac Kottadiyil to parish, was dedicated by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos the metropolitan of Mumbai diocese on 2nd July 2006.
Shri Jose Parumala has donated a part of Holy Relics of St Gregorious Parumala gifted to him by Rev Fr K.B Mathews, Karikott, Mattackal to parish which was installed and dedicated on 15th June 2008 by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos the metropolitan of Mumbai diocese, assisted by Vicar Rev Fr Jiji K Thomas.
H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Diocese of Bombay, in his Order No. 7/2015, appointed the following persons as the Office Bearers of MGOCSM Bombay at the Zonal, Regional and the Diocesan Level for the smooth and fruitful functioning to deepen the Christian witness and Spiritual Orientation of the promising young flock of the Church. This shall be in effect for the period from 1st January to 31st December 2015. All the parishes, the Revered clergy of the Diocese and the MGOCSM Senior Friends are advised to extend all possible support.
Rev. Fr. Jacob Koshy will continue as the Vice President of MGOCSM Bombay Diocese and Rev Fr. Joshua Abraham as the zonal Vice President for Pune Zone, until further orders.
Diocesan Coordinator: Mr. Robin Varughese (Kalyan East)
Diocesan Treasurer: Mr.Renjin Mathew (Powai)
- Ms. Jincy Anna Valson (Mulund)
- Mr. Bibin Philip (Vashi)
- Mr. Shebin Charley (Akurdi)
Central Working Committee Members
- Mr. T. Lloyd Joseph (Powai)
- Ms. Linsa Elizabeth Sabu (Mulund)
- Mr. Jijo Yohanan Perakavil (Ambernath)
- Mr. Reese Sam (Kalyan East)
- Ms. Annie Roy (Nallasopara)
- Mr. Jobin John Varghese (Kalamboli)
- Mr. Benson Daniel Babu (Airoli)
- Ms. Smithymary Samuel (Nashik)
- Mr. Jithin George (Vapi)
- Mr. Cibin Koshy (Dehu Road)
- Mr. Mathew Cherian (Khadki)
- Mr. Sijo Varghese (Pune)
Dadar Zone: Mr. Jobin Jacob (Sakinakka)
Malad Zone: Ms. Sherrel Thomas (Andheri)
Kalyan Zone: Ms. Merlin Joseph (Ambernath)
Vashi Zone: Mr. Moncy Varghese (Nerul)
Nashik Zone: Mr. Curran Abraham (Nashik)
Surat Zone: Mr. Sachin Thomas Mannil (Surat)
Wishing all the best for the new team.
What made a non believer Chadian citizen; die for Christ, along with his “20 Coptic Christian friends”?
ISIS announced the execution of 21 Copts but only 20 names were confirmed, most of them were from the province of Minya(Upper Egypt). There was an inaccuracy in the number of Egyptian Hostages; there were only 20 Egyptians(Copts). Then who was this remaining one non-Coptic victim?
Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian Citizen (Darker skin shown in picture) who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When Terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “their God is my God“ so the terrorist beheaded him also.
Think about the faith, shining through those 20 Christians who made a non believer, a true believer in Christ, even at the point of death. In Bible, Gospel of Luke describes about two thieves, being on either side of Jesus as they were crucified. At that very point of death by Crucifixion, one of the thief accepted Christ saying, ‘LORD, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ Here this Chadian citizen showed the same faith in Christ.
Can we put ourselves into his place? The faith he showed was not a mean faith, at such a moment, he could believe in Jesus as Lord and King.
May God help us to strength our faith so that the world may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven. (Mathew 5:16)
(News referred from Ahram-Canadian news)
“Let all of us offer our prayers for the Egyptian nation and the world-wide Coptic community and for the entire region of the Middle East.
IIBM (Indira Institute of Business Management) which is run and managed by the Diocese of Bombay is sponsoring a ‘Workshop on Career Development’ exclusively for the Orthodox Students of Bombay Diocese.
This program is in association with MGOCSM Bombay as it would be a Golden opportunity for the MGOCSM members who are career aspirants. The target group is Orthodox Students who have completed their graduation or are to graduate in May of 2015 .The program is open not only for MBA Aspirants but also for other careers.
The workshop will be held at IIBM Campus Sanpada on the Sunday the 8th March 2015, from 3 pm to 6 pm. The Program will be addressed and led by eminent persons from various career streams.
It would be useful in case the participants list is sent to Mr. Robin Varghese (MGOCSM Diocesan Coordinator 9769377375) or that the participants contact IIBM (Ms.Annie Mathews 9769555385 or firstname.lastname@example.org) at the earliest.
“They were killed simply for the fact they were Christians,””The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard,”, “They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.’
Rijo Geevarghese, one of our MGOCSM member, who is presently studying Iconography in Cairo, Egypt, wrote in Facebook,on 16th February.
“And My Coptic Christian friend said, Forgive those militants and lets pray for them, for they do not know what they are doing”+
I want to share an experience and some thoughts, going through my mind from last couple of days.
Friday, 13th February I was having my exam and paper submission at St Mark’s Cathedral. Before leaving the Institute of Coptic studies I saw a huge crowd in front of Pope’s residency at Anba Rewis. I didn’t know the reason why they were standing there, holding banners with some Arabic inscriptions. Later my Egyptian colleagues told me they all are the families of 21 Coptic Christians kidnapped by ISIS. After reaching back in my room, I went through the whole issue in internet and was hopeful because there were very good chances of their release as Egyptian government and also many Islamic officials interfered in this matter. Earlier the Relatives of the kidnapped workers had urged even in front of UN office at Cairo for their release. I really hoped about their release and that evening the anxious faces of their relatives were going through my mind.
Sunday, 15th February, evening, the day before Great lent, which is also considered as the day of forgiveness according to Orthodox church belief. That day I received a message from one of my Egyptian friend,
Message: Rijo “ISIS beheaded all 21 kidnapped Copts “
I was shattered by this news because I couldn’t believe it happened, a very disturbing and traumatic event. Coincidentally, it happened on the day of Forgiveness (Al Shubkono), the day before Great lent. I messaged one of my Coptic friends asking forgiveness and she replied ,
Message: “First, lets forgive those militants, and pray for them for they do not know what they are doing.”
This above message unveiled that I don’t have the strength to forgive someone to that level. This incidence was not normal for me, especially being an Indian. I have only heard about Christian Persecution in Middle East but never experienced one. Or this might not even an experience in compare to the trauma victim’s families going through. The reason it happened on the day of forgiveness and just before the Great lent was not a mere coincidence.
Many a time we underestimate the power and depth of Forgiveness. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two of the most difficult task. And this is what Christ taught us, sometimes I think, how it was possible for Jesus, when he was tortured and killed on Cross and then teaching us to “forgive those who persecute you and pray for them.”
This Great lent is a journey with hopeful heart, with pictures of newly crowned 21 Martyrs and their families in front of my eyes. In these days of Great lent their martyrdom teaches all of us to be firm and strong in our faith. Let’s not fear them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul (Mt 10:28). Let’s forgive and Love them who persecute us, who strike us, who hate us.
May God Almighty grant us that strength to forgive and Love those who persecute us.
Remembering the Martyrs, their families and the militants in prayers
We the Indian Orthodox Church members expressing our deep heartfelt condolence, solidarity and prayers. Continuing our prayer support to all persecuted Brethren, especially to the Coptic Orthodox Church.Let all of us offer our prayers for the Egyptian nation and the world-wide Coptic community and for the entire region of the Middle East.
Web Manager, Diocese of Bombay,
The annual retreat of Bombay Diocese Priest’s held at Vashi Aramana on 16th to 19th February 2015.The retreat was led by Fr. Bobby Jose Kattikkadu. 45 priests along with H.G Geevarghese Mar Coorilos attended the retreat.
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.