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Oriental Orthodox Church Heads Meet in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

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On April 23, a meeting of the heads of the Ancient Oriental Orthodox Church family: His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Holiness Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church; His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II – Patriarch on the Apsotolic throne of St Peter and Primate of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All East and His Holiness Baselios Paulose II of the East –Catholicose on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas – Primate of the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church; was held in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

11167983_749108315202726_6344952896703201392_nDuring the meeting, the Catholicos of All Armenians expressed his joy to the Oriental Orthodox Church Heads on the occasion of this meeting, emphasizing that they have not had the opportunity to gather together, since meeting in Addis Ababa in 1965. His Holiness also expressed his gratitude to the church leaders for travelling to Armenia on the occasion of the Canonization of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.

In his remarks, His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia welcomed the Primates of the Sister Churches and presented the importance of the Canonization ceremony.
During the meeting, the Patriarchs discussed the issues concerning the family of the Oriental Orthodox Sister Churches, referring to the challenges facing the Church’s faithful. They noted the importance of restoring the tradition of holding regular meetings among the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which will serve as an impetus for strengthening their cooperation.

549256_366540286871282_49645591052865800_nThe Heads of the Coptic, Syriac and Malankara Churches also expressed their pleasure at being present for the Canonization Service, and in their turn reaffirmed the importance of the meeting of the Patriarchs of the Sister Churches.

Courtesy : News taken from the official website of Armenian Orthodox Church.

 

Six Deacons ordained for Bombay Diocese

10659309_837146476360209_3675064259849470015_nOnApril 23rd, 2015, H. G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan ordained six students studying at St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur (STOTS) for the Diocese of Bombay to the order of Sub-Deacons (Yavpadyakno) at St. Thomas Aramana Chapel, Vashi.

The seven candidates are:

  1. John Mathew (St. Thomas Orthodox Vallyapalli, Kalyan West)
  2. Anish Chacko(St. Thomas Orthodox Vallyapalli, Kalyan West)
  3. Jobin Varghese (St. George Orthodox Syrian Church, Kalyan East)
  4. Bejoy George (St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Ulhasnagar)
  5. Raji Varghese (St. George Orthodox Syrian Church, Mulund)
  6. John Mathai (St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Dombivili)
  7. Aashu Alexander (St George Orthodox Cathedral, Trivandrum)

Best wishes for the newly ordained Sub-Deacons.

H.H.Moran Mar Baselios Paulose II & H.H.Moran Mar Ignatius Aphrem II – True Brothers in Christ makes history in Armenia Yerevan

12906_698983770212017_4572845923957210037_n A rare apostolic-brotherly encounter made history at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on 22nd – 23rd April 2015. His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II – Patriarch on the Apostolic Throne of St. Peter in Antioch and All East met His Holiness Baselious Paulose II – Catholicos on the Apostolic Throne of St Thomas and Malankara Metropolitan. It was one of the happiest moment for Orthodox Christians in the East. First meeting took at the Presidential guest house during the evening hours of 22nd April. Later they met during the dinner and hugged each other for a long time in eternal love and brotherhood. They conversed on several topics. Patriarch and Catholicos were together during visits to various museums and monuments in the Capital City of Armenia.

11182130_391811761006801_536838960281085278_nThey were seated together during the canonization ceremony of the victims of the Armenian genocide. Apart from that Five Patriarchs (Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, Catholicos-Patriarch Karekin II, Catholicos Aram I and Catholicos Baselious Paulose II ) held private meeting at the Mother See. Syriac Orthodox Church and the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church have been in administrative schism for a very long time. Apostolic visit of Patriarch Aphrem II to Malankara (Kerala) resulted in warm exchange of greetings between the two churches. The Yerevan meeting is considered to be a turning point for both churches. Hopes are running high in Malankara. Orthodox faithful are hoping for immediate follow up and resumption of dialogue for the restoration of conciliar unity.

Source: Dr Rubina Khachatryan (OCP Delegate of Yerevan and All Armenia)

OCP News Service

Holy Ordination of The 6 Deacons of Bombay Diocese

Historical Moment……Heaven Rejoicing…..Praise to God Almighty ...... This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

11716_370373279835560_1364988974261241518_nIt is very happy to know that all four heads of Oriental Orthodox Churches are met together at the 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide..

His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East, His Holiness Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria (Head of Coptic Orthodox Church) and His Holiness Ignatius Aprem II, the Patriarch of Antioch (Head of Syriac Orthodox Church), jointly participated in the function with His Holiness Karekein II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians.

The historic meeting between His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II – Patriarch on the Apsotolic throne of St Peter  and Primate of the Syriac Orthodox  Church of Antioch and All East and His Holiness Baselios Paulose II of the East –Catholicose on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas – Primate of the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church took place at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin which is the headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. The Prelates shared immense joy and pleasure during the very rare apostolic brotherly encounter. There was strong fragrance of brotherly love and apostolic bond in the air. Both Primates of the ancient sister Churches hugged each other at first sight and dined together.

Both prelates are in Yerevan to take part in the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Catholicos and the Indian Orthodox delegation was give a warm welcome by the Church of Armenia. The Primate of the Indian Church also met with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, with Catholicos-Patriarch Karekin II of All Armenia, various Eastern Orthodox Prelates including His Beatitude Thikon- Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and  other ecumenical guests.

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The sight of our Bava and Aphrem Bava possibly having a conversation here gives me good vibes.10982695_575844565889895_6354559579595700720_n

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His Holiness Catholicos of the East Reached Armenia

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

 

It is very happy to know that all four heads of Oriental Orthodox Churches are meeting together at the 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide. His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East, will leading a delegation of the Indian Orthodox Church. His Holiness Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria (Head of Coptic Orthodox Church) and His Holiness Ignatius Aprem II, the Patriarch of Antioch (Head of Syriac Orthodox Church), will participate in the function with His Holiness Karekein II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians.

 

New Seven Deacons will ordain for Bombay Diocese. Six will be ordained tomorrow (23rd April) at Vashi Aramana

10857819_10203458622009471_7842777856304160277_nTomorrow, April 23rd, 2015, H. G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan has consented to ordain six students studying at St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur (STOTS) for the Diocese of Bombay to the order of Sub-Deacons (Yavpadyakno) at St. Thomas Aramana Chapel, Vashi. These six candidates have become eligible for Ordination on the successful completion of four years of training in the Seminary. A unique aspect about all of them is that they are brought up in Mumbai. Since they belong to five different Parishes, the Ordination service will be held at the Diocesan Centre.

The seven candidates are:

  1. John Mathew (St. Thomas Orthodox Vallyapalli, Kalyan West)
  2. Anish Chacko(St. Thomas Orthodox Vallyapalli, Kalyan West)
  3. Jobin Varghese (St. George Orthodox Syrian Church, Kalyan East)
  4. Bejoy George (St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Ulhasnagar)
  5. Raji Varghese (St. George Orthodox Syrian Church, Mulund)
  6. John Mathai (St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Dombivili)
  7. Aashu Alexander (St George Orthodox Cathedral, Trivandrum)

 

 

Brother Aashu Alexander is studying at Orthodox Theological Seminary (Old Seminary, Kottayam). His ordination will be at his mother parish St George Orthodox Cathedral, Trivandrum, by H.G.Geevarghese Mar Coorilos on May 2nd 2015. Br.Aashu Alexander is also born and bought up in Mumbai, a former member of Dadar Cathedral. But he opt to study his theological studies at OTS, Kottayam

 

We request the prayers of all faithful for the blessed Ordination Service and future ministry of all these Seven candidates.

 

 

 

SPEECH BY SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE, THE  PRESIDENT OF INDIA, ABOUT ORTHODOX CHURCH AT THE RELEASE OF THE COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE STAMP ON OLD SEMINARY, KOTTAYAM

 

Rashtrapati Bhavan: APRIL 21, 2015

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  1. It gave me great pleasure to release the postal stamp commemorating the 200 years of the “Old Seminary” in Kottayam. The seminary was set up by the Malankara Orthodox Church situated in Kerala, a state known for the peaceful co-existence of different religions and communal harmony. The Seminary and the Orthodox Church too played their part in achieving the laudable goal which led to the state realizing the complete separation of spiritualism and communalism.
    2. For nearly 14 Centuries, the three major religions of Kerala, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have existed in peace and harmony, respecting each other’s belief and cooperating to promote social welfare. In fact, Kerala was the first state in the country in which both Christianity and Islam took roots with people voluntarily choosing different religious beliefs.
  2. There is another significant feature of communal relations in Kerala. The absence of animosity between religions is considered tolerance. But this only means the absence of negativity. But in Kerala it has a different dimension. It is that the society has moved to a higher plane where religions have cooperated to promote other religions. It is this extraordinary feature of the society that led to the Hindu Kings of Kerala giving land to both Christians and Muslims to set up their places of worship. In fact, the land for initially setting up the Old Seminary and the first contributions for its development came from the coffers of the Travancore Ruler, Gowry Parvathi Bhai, Regent Queen.
  3. India’s tallest leaders like Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the long and glorious history of the Christian Church in Kerala, and lauded its religious tolerance and respect for other religions. Dr. Radhakrishnan noted that the Syrian Christians have only welcomed those who wanted to join the faith out of their own volition. Pandit Nehru recalled the fact that Christianity in India came in the 1st century itself even before Europe embraced it.
  4. It is significant that the St. Thomas or Malankara Christians in their 2000 years of existence has assimilated and in many cases retained some of the important social customs and rituals of the Hindus. An Orthodox Christian marriage ceremony incorporates many such Hindu customs for instance.
  5. The lighting of oil lamps in and around Churches, the raising of the flagstaff and flags during festivals and the custom of entering the Churches barefoot are all Hindu traditions that have become a part of the Church practice. These bear testimony to the sharing of traditions by both the religions.
  6. I have been given to understand that the Orthodox Church has made enduring contributions to the betterment of the life of the people of Kerala. If Kerala is the shining example of universal literacy, the role of the Church in spreading education cannot be ignored. One of the earliest contributions of the Christian Community is the setting up of a large chain of elementary Schools throughout Kerala, under the supervision of the Seminary and its leaders.
  7. The chain of elementary schools set up under the supervision of the Seminary was the first indigenous initiative towards universal literacy and education, which has today made Kerala the most literate state in the country. The charity and healthcare activities of the Syrian Church also originated in the Old Seminary under its leadership. It contributed to the improvement of the overall literacy in the state, created greater access to healthcare and empowerment of women leading to higher standards of living and quality of life in the state. This has resulted in Kerala having the lowest infant mortality, lowest birthrates, highest number of hospital beds per lakh population, best male to female population ratio and one of the highest life expectancy in the country. It is heartening to note that the example set by Christian Churches have been emulated by all religions and Communities.
  8. In the area of Human Development Index, Kerala has done remarkably well. The role of the Church in healthcare, Women’s empowerment and upliftment of the less privileged section of society are simply unparalleled.
  9. In many ways, the Old Seminary played a seminal role in the unique form of development of Kerala. The Seminary, on its part took upon itself the onerous task of overall development, education and welfare of the whole State instead of limiting its role to the narrow and limited task of teaching religious practices and liturgy to the clergy.
  10. It is inspiring to note that the benefits of all these humanitarian and charity work of the Seminary and the enlightened and progressive leadership were not confined to any particular religious group. It has benefitted all in the society, irrespective of religion, caste and creed. This has inspired the other communities to set up similar institutions all over Kerala.
    12. It is not without reason that the Seminary has to its credit several ‘firsts’ in the area of Human Development, apart from its contributions to the training and development of the clergy of the Church. I am informed that the ‘Cottayam College’, which was co-located with the Seminary was the first English teaching institution in the State. The College taught, apart from Malayalam, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Hebrew and Sanskrit.
  11. The first printing press was also established in the premises and scholars of the Seminary took active part in unifying and standardizing the common Malayalam Script. Benjamin Bailey along with Hermann Gundert, were among the pioneers of the development of modern Malayalam language and script. To imagine that the first Malayalam Dictionary was developed and published by a Theological Seminary is a tribute to the commitment of the leaders of the Seminary and the Church itself to the overall development of Kerala. The credit of translating Bible into the first Indian language, Malayalam, also goes to the Seminary and College under the leadership of Benjamin Bayley.
  12. It is interesting to note that the Orthodox Theological Seminary continues the traditions of its predecessor to take active interest in developing nontraditional and liberal disciplines like Counseling, Devotional Music, Meditation and Fine Arts. I hope, in keeping with the great tradition of universal brotherhood, the portals of the Seminary would also accommodate centres for the study of comparative religions and Philosophy.
  13. I can say without hesitation that the Orthodox Church and its leaders trained in the great portals of the Old Seminary have not only made sterling contributions to the Human Development of the State but also worked hard to promote shining example of communal harmony and mutual respect among the members of different religions. This is in fact the true accomplishment of the old Hindu concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – “The World is One Family” as envisaged in the ancient Hindu scripture, Mahopanishad.
  14. With these few words, I conclude hoping that the Church and the Seminary would continue with their good work for the society.

Jai Hind.

 

SPEECH BY SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE, THE  PRESIDENT OF INDIA,  AT THE RELEASE OF THE COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE STAMP ON OLD SEMINARY, KOTTAYAM

Rashtrapati Bhavan: APRIL 21, 2015

11167966_657499157683402_545122917211746078_n

  1. It gave me great pleasure to release the postal stamp commemorating the 200 years of the “Old Seminary” in Kottayam. The seminary was set up by the Malankara Orthodox Church situated in Kerala, a state known for the peaceful co-existence of different religions and communal harmony. The Seminary and the Orthodox Church too played their part in achieving the laudable goal which led to the state realizing the complete separation of spiritualism and communalism.
    2. For nearly 14 Centuries, the three major religions of Kerala, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have existed in peace and harmony, respecting each other’s belief and cooperating to promote social welfare. In fact, Kerala was the first state in the country in which both Christianity and Islam took roots with people voluntarily choosing different religious beliefs.
  2. There is another significant feature of communal relations in Kerala. The absence of animosity between religions is considered tolerance. But this only means the absence of negativity. But in Kerala it has a different dimension. It is that the society has moved to a higher plane where religions have cooperated to promote other religions. It is this extraordinary feature of the society that led to the Hindu Kings of Kerala giving land to both Christians and Muslims to set up their places of worship. In fact, the land for initially setting up the Old Seminary and the first contributions for its development came from the coffers of the Travancore Ruler, Gowry Parvathi Bhai, Regent Queen.
  3. India’s tallest leaders like Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the long and glorious history of the Christian Church in Kerala, and lauded its religious tolerance and respect for other religions. Dr. Radhakrishnan noted that the Syrian Christians have only welcomed those who wanted to join the faith out of their own volition. Pandit Nehru recalled the fact that Christianity in India came in the 1st century itself even before Europe embraced it.
  4. It is significant that the St. Thomas or Malankara Christians in their 2000 years of existence has assimilated and in many cases retained some of the important social customs and rituals of the Hindus. An Orthodox Christian marriage ceremony incorporates many such Hindu customs for instance.
  5. The lighting of oil lamps in and around Churches, the raising of the flagstaff and flags during festivals and the custom of entering the Churches barefoot are all Hindu traditions that have become a part of the Church practice. These bear testimony to the sharing of traditions by both the religions.
  6. I have been given to understand that the Orthodox Church has made enduring contributions to the betterment of the life of the people of Kerala. If Kerala is the shining example of universal literacy, the role of the Church in spreading education cannot be ignored. One of the earliest contributions of the Christian Community is the setting up of a large chain of elementary Schools throughout Kerala, under the supervision of the Seminary and its leaders.
  7. The chain of elementary schools set up under the supervision of the Seminary was the first indigenous initiative towards universal literacy and education, which has today made Kerala the most literate state in the country. The charity and healthcare activities of the Syrian Church also originated in the Old Seminary under its leadership. It contributed to the improvement of the overall literacy in the state, created greater access to healthcare and empowerment of women leading to higher standards of living and quality of life in the state. This has resulted in Kerala having the lowest infant mortality, lowest birthrates, highest number of hospital beds per lakh population, best male to female population ratio and one of the highest life expectancy in the country. It is heartening to note that the example set by Christian Churches have been emulated by all religions and Communities.
  8. In the area of Human Development Index, Kerala has done remarkably well. The role of the Church in healthcare, Women’s empowerment and upliftment of the less privileged section of society are simply unparalleled.
  9. In many ways, the Old Seminary played a seminal role in the unique form of development of Kerala. The Seminary, on its part took upon itself the onerous task of overall development, education and welfare of the whole State instead of limiting its role to the narrow and limited task of teaching religious practices and liturgy to the clergy.
  10. It is inspiring to note that the benefits of all these humanitarian and charity work of the Seminary and the enlightened and progressive leadership were not confined to any particular religious group. It has benefitted all in the society, irrespective of religion, caste and creed. This has inspired the other communities to set up similar institutions all over Kerala.
    12. It is not without reason that the Seminary has to its credit several ‘firsts’ in the area of Human Development, apart from its contributions to the training and development of the clergy of the Church. I am informed that the ‘Cottayam College’, which was co-located with the Seminary was the first English teaching institution in the State. The College taught, apart from Malayalam, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Hebrew and Sanskrit.
  11. The first printing press was also established in the premises and scholars of the Seminary took active part in unifying and standardizing the common Malayalam Script. Benjamin Bailey along with Hermann Gundert, were among the pioneers of the development of modern Malayalam language and script. To imagine that the first Malayalam Dictionary was developed and published by a Theological Seminary is a tribute to the commitment of the leaders of the Seminary and the Church itself to the overall development of Kerala. The credit of translating Bible into the first Indian language, Malayalam, also goes to the Seminary and College under the leadership of Benjamin Bayley.
  12. It is interesting to note that the Orthodox Theological Seminary continues the traditions of its predecessor to take active interest in developing nontraditional and liberal disciplines like Counseling, Devotional Music, Meditation and Fine Arts. I hope, in keeping with the great tradition of universal brotherhood, the portals of the Seminary would also accommodate centres for the study of comparative religions and Philosophy.
  13. I can say without hesitation that the Orthodox Church and its leaders trained in the great portals of the Old Seminary have not only made sterling contributions to the Human Development of the State but also worked hard to promote shining example of communal harmony and mutual respect among the members of different religions. This is in fact the true accomplishment of the old Hindu concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – “The World is One Family” as envisaged in the ancient Hindu scripture, Mahopanishad.
  14. With these few words, I conclude hoping that the Church and the Seminary would continue with their good work for the society.

Jai Hind.

 

President of India released commemorative stamp on Old seminary,Kottayam

11147088_10205506009785553_4488474018346364555_nPranab Mukherjee,  Honarable President of India  released a commemorative postage stamp on the bicentennial of Kerala’s Orthodox Theological Seminary or Old Seminary, Kottayam today. The function was held at  Rashtrapati Bhavan .  His Holiness Moran Mar Baselius Marthoma Paulos II, the Catholicos of the East along with  other Metropolitans, Priests and a good number of Lay people attended the function.

The Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, traditionally known as the “Padithaveedu” or “Old Seminary” was originally a place for priestly training and a centre of English education. It was from here that the English missionaries shifted the English education-centre in 1837 to a nearby location which is to-day known as the CMS. College, Kottayam.

20150421_1007461-300x214The bicentenary celebration is, therefore, not only of the Seminary but also of the starting of English education in India.

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His Holiness Moran Mar Baselius Marthoma Paulos II, the Catholicos of the East along with  other Metropolitans, Priests and a good number of Lay people  reached at Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Delhi, today morning.

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