Friday, February 17, 2017

Sunday of all Departed faithful

In every Liturgical year , We enter into the Holy Lent  not alone but with a whole congregation . May the prayers of Saint Severus , Mother Mary and All the  Saints -  Priests and  Faithful the Departed and in Earth amongst us lead us as we enter into yet another Holy Lent in 2017.

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Primary purpose of prayer is to offer praise and adoration to our Lord. Infact, when we do request anything from God, our main request is mercy. We bessech Christ for mercy and compassion for the sins that we have commited against Him. However , the prayers are not just about repentance , but communion with God. In our communion with God , we are also brought into communion with those who loved God through out their life: the Saints and Faithful Departed , as well as our Faithful brethren on this earth. So Prayer , while being personal , is not independent. Prayer for the Orthodox Christians is personal, yet communal.

Short introduction from Church School  Grade 12 textbook  - Lesson 9
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Evening : St.Matthew25:31-46 Morning :St.John5:19-29

Before Holy Qurbana
Deuteronomy 34:1-12 

Holy Qurbana

Scripture Readings from Church Lectionary.

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 February 19, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Homily Notes - 3rd Week after Danaha Perunaal

From 2003 onwards , ICON discussion group have tried to post notes on homilies for the upcoming Sunday Liturgy or Feast day . This week, It was an old repost from one of our Deacon Daniel Mathai who has been serving  for many  years with HG Nicholovas  in our North East Diocese . Shared here with prayer it edify and help us as we go to upcoming liturgy in our respective parishes.
January 20, 2016
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Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, One God forever Amen +


On the 3rd Sunday after Theophany, the Church reads to us the Gospel of St. John 3:1-12.
This passage invites us the faithful, to participate in a conversation between Nicodemus, a member of the Pharisees, and Jesus.


During this conversation at night, we see Nicodemus sitting in a state of confusion by one of the most profound theological mysteries spoken by the Lord – the regeneration of man through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.


Christ tries to offer an explanation to Nicodemus, however, the ignorance of Nicodemus causes him to be deaf to the words of the Lord and he remains ‘in the dark'. Nicodemus is indeed a biblical character however; the character in this passage is none other than ourselves.


Many of us often sit in the darkness of our own ignorance, specifically in relation to our Faith in Christ and being active members in His Body – The Church. As many times we may or may not be willing to admit, we remain in a state of ignorance or darkness like Nicodemus, by our refusal to acknowledge or participate in that Truth offered to us by Christ.


About one month ago we celebrated and participated in the Incarnation of Truth – Christ our God. Churches were filled beyond capacity as they invited Her faithful to have this precious Messiah be born in our hearts and have Him shine through the darkness of this world through our words, deeds and ultimately with our entire lives.


We participated in the ‘Thejwala Sushroosha’, where we chanted the very hymn of the Angelic Hosts, to the God who destroys all darkness. Hopefully we were engulfed in that glorious light of Christ who inspires us to change our ways and not to be confused in dark ignorant state like Nicodemus. What a wonderful Truth!


More that two weeks ago the Church invited us to come to the river Jordan and participate in the Feast of Theophany or Denaha. We participated and experienced through those divine services, Truth Himself – Christ, who was revealed to Israel as the Messiah. The Church prayed that her faithful may confess the same words of St. John the Baptist – ‘…I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God’ (St. John 1:34). Just as the world was illumined on this Feast, by the Light of lights - Christ, we too were hopefully illumined from our confused and ignorant state of darkness as Nicodemus was in. What a wonderful Truth!


What a wonderful Truth indeed! Our souls rejoiced at Truth offered to us on those two glorious Feasts of the Orthodox Christian Church, but, where is this Truth now, specifically in our lives? Have we left Truth in the Manger of Bethlehem or in river Jordan?


St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Do not deceive yourselves...” (1 Corinthians 3:18). How many times have we deceived ourselves by offering promises on Christmas that we will come more often to Church? How many times have we offered resolutions or promises to God in the spirit of the holy days that we will pray more, fast more, confess our sins, read the Holy Scriptures more, tithe more – all divine acts of virtue which help us on the continuous journey of being ‘born in the Spirit’?


Have we become ignorant or numb, to the words of Christ? This sermon is not to make one feel like there is no hope, because there is hope. Hope however does not lie in our own ignorance; it lies in the virtue of humility. It is in the virtue of humility that we are able to be born again in the Spirit. It is the virtue of humility that brings us before God and it is His Spirit that inspires us to confess our ignorance and the horrible fruits of it.


It is through this virtue of humility Nicodemus is able to comprehend the words of the Lord and not remain in his own Pharisaical shadow of ignorance. It is through this virtue of humility, this ignorant Pharisee dies and resurrects to as one of the most celebrated saints of Christendom.


Through his saintly example, let us not die in ignorance, but rather live up to our baptismal promise every day – to be born and to live in the Spirit, for the salvation of our souls!
-Dn. Daniel Mathai (Dennis)
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Philosophies and a Cry

Today I stand to request even beg to to Clergy and those within Church not to take so much from the world ,other philosophies and so much intellectualism and bring it to the Church . 

Orthodox Christianity that has been shown by our Fathers primarily as simple and they have stressed the need to make it a matter of heart and not so much a matter of the head . 

It is true in time the Fathers of the Church ex: ApologIists fathers had to step up intellectually to explain to those within the Church the heretical teachings that crept in from members of the Church using philosophies . Unlike the modernist approach to search these philosophies out , the Apologist fathers were very particularly to highlight that this was for those in the Church and the intention was to help those within the Church to not lose their faith and real perception of our Lord and our Encounter with Him.

In my mind if we don't listen to these and curtain ourselves from indulging in these philosophies, we will be on a quick and speedy path to disaster and stand ashamed before the question raised by our Lord in St. Luke " When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith ?"

While the posting was done in haste , Please keep in Prayer and in His mercy enlighten us as we approach to commemorate the Theophany of our Lord

January 4, 2017
Calgary, Canada

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Elder Sophrony's prayer

O Eternal Lord.... and Creator of all things , in your inscrutable goodness you have called me in to this life, and have given me the grace of baptism, and the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
You have instilled in me the desire to seek your face , Hear my prayer!

I have no life, no light, no joy, no strength, no wisdom without you, O God.
Because of my unrighteousness I dare not lift my eyes in your presence,
but I obey you who said : " whatever you ask in prayer , believe that you have received it and it will be yours." and "if you ask anything of the Father He will give it to you in My name" .
Therefore , I now dare to approach you. Purify me from all stain of flesh and spirit. Teach me to pray rightly Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant. By the power of your blessing enable me at all times to speak and to act with a pure spirit to your glory; with faith, hope and love,
humility, patience, gentleness, peace, purity, simplicity, sobriety, courage and wisdom. Let me always be aware of your presence.

In your boundless goodness, O Lord God show me your will and grant me to walk in your sight without sin. O Lord, unto whom all hearts are open, you know what I need and what is necessary for me. And when my perverted will leads me otherwise, O Lord do not spare me ,but force me back to your way.

You know my infirmity and corruption . You know my blindness and ignorance ,My pain and anguish are not hidden from you,  Therefore I beg you : Grant me ,Lord to hold fast to what is good ,by the power of your love. Preserve me from every word and act which corrupts the soul ,and from every impulse that is unpleasing in your sight and harmful to the people around me and teach me by the power of your Holy Spirit the way in which I should walk. Teach me what I should say and how I should speak. If it be your holy will that I be quiet and make no answer, inspire me to be silent in a peaceful spirit that causes neither harm nor hurt to my fellow human beings.

Establish me in the path of your commandments and until my last breath do not let me stray from the light of your ordinances. May your commandments be the sole law of my being in this life and for all eternity. O Lord, I pray to you: Have mercy on me. Spare me in my affliction and misery and hide not the way of salvation from me. By your Holy Spirit, Lord, teach me good judgment and sound knowledge. Let me know the truth before I die. Maintain my life in this world until the end that I may offer worthy repentance. Do not take me away while my mind  is still blind and bound by darkness. When you are pleased to end my life, give me warning that I may prepare my soul to come before you. Be with me, Lord , at that awesome hour and assure me by your grace of the joy of my salvation. Cleanse me from secret faults. Purify me from hidden iniquities. Give me a good answer at your dread judgement seat. In my foolishness, O God , I plead with you for many and great things. Yet I am ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness. Have pity on me ! Cast me not away from your presence because of my foolish presumption. Increase rather in me the right presumption of your grace and grant that I, the worst of people, may love you with all my mind, all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. as you have commanded. Lord of great mercy and measureless love for all people:Hear my prayer ! Amen.

From

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaI5dvjpHcE

Note:  Ever more reminded that  Lord gives us  infinite ways to help us.
Fr. Stephen Freeman had this prayer as early at 2008 after a friend shared this to him
Ms. Teodora monica fulga could share this in You tube,
St.  Siluoan and his disciple Elder Sophrony who moved to Essex outside of  Greece to help the western world,
Ancient faith radio and many  others could bring  St, Siluoan and Elder Sophrony's  thoughts to the world.
Lord Have mercy








Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Saint Thomas day thoughts

Traditionally , the Church in India and its Diaspora pride themselves as their community being the first Christians in the world , founded by none other than the St. Thomas the Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ . St. Thomas came to point the lost generation of Jews to Christ  , as commanded by our Lord.  In this tradition, through St. Thomas  the locals too turned to Christ and he  was instrumental in establishing the Church in India , speared on December 18 and suffered Martyrdom on December 21.

For me, my fascination on St. Thomas was a series of incidents in my own history not limited to my grandmother speaking of her family background to St. Thomas, my own glorious building up castles in air seeing how generations back we were members of the first parish - the  Church in Niranam founded by St. Thomas
(http://niranamchurch.com/history/) , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niranam_Church

My personal take on history , as written by Mankind  is that it is and was always written and will be rewritten and being modified at any particular time to suit any particular side or a particular position . It is my faith that in seeking this history , we will see that Truth lies in between the positions and views of the differing sides , and even as we discover a partial knowledge of this Truth in this journey, will only be humbled  that there is more to it and our time is limited . It is my hope that you will forgive any errors and  correct any short comings in this posting.  It is my prayer that  you reading this and me posting this will be inspired and seek Him the Truth whom St. Thomas declared as soon it was revealed to him by crying out ' My Lord and My God'

1. It was He that led the Church in India to defend against  subjugation by the Roman Catholics in 16th Century
2. It was He that made our forefathers to seek out help from amongst all the other historical Churches  founded by Apostles or their disciples
3. It was He that led  after 50 years the age old bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem HG Gregorios Abdul Jaleel to come to Kerala.
 3. It was  He that caused through this interaction with this West Syrian Church to introduce the Church in India to turn more fully to Orthodox Christianity as developed till 16h Century.
4. It was He that made us to chose and adopt this Liturgical practice that sustain us in Right Glory.
5. It was He that led the Church and St. Dionysius to stand up to show its independence and put trust in God to tell the West Syrian Patriarch  that Church in India is not going to under the Syrian Orthodox Church as its subdivision .
6. It was He that led yet another  West Syrian Patriarch to come to India and have the Catholicate established in 1912. (http://rightglory.blogspot.ca/2014/02/last-kalpana-of-vattasheril-tirumeni-to.html)
6. It was He who led the Church in India to not follow teachings that were known as heresy to the Church all over even though it was brought forward the British and Anglican Church
7.It was He that led the Church in India to be united though for a short time that led the aged Bishop Augen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baselios_Augen_I) to be a part of the 1965 Oriental Orthodox Conference where the Heads of the Church could meet after 16 Centuries of separation through it brought the relics of St. Thomas to the Church even though he was martyred in India and  his remains taken to Edessa

Let us  remember today  St. Thomas and seek his intercession and prayers to God so that this history that God started in Kerala will still being written through each of us irrespective of where we are and what situation we are being placed and His Mercy upon us.


December 21, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20 ,2016 - Annunciation to St. Mary Mother of God


November 20 - Annunciation to St. Mary Mother of God. Let us remember she who was chosen for our Salvation that we can cry out . O Holy Mother Mary Mother of God Save us .

From Evening Prayer

In Heaven and Earth and Eden – Halleluiah
1. May a good memory be made of the Virgin In churches and monasteries throughout the world .She was pure and holy in virginity Pleasing to the King of Kings who dwelt - in her womb Her memory- is in heaven and earth May her prayer – be for our refuge Lord, make us share in the memory of Your mother. Barekmor
Priest: Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit People: Unto the ages of ages and for ever more.
2. Glory to the Son of God who was so pleased To come forth from the blessed and Holy  virgin Through her ear she received him and - she bore him He came forth from her womb and yet it - remained sealed Praise to Him – Who humbled Himself Praise to Him – Who did become Man Praise to Him who saved His Church and she – sings His praise!

From Lectionary of Malankara Orthodox Church .

Evening St.Luke8:16-21  ,
Morning St.Mark3:31-35

Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis28:10-22 ,  Judges13:2-14
Zechariah2:10-13,4:1-7,8:3
Isaiah63:15-64:5

Holy Qurbana
IJohn3:2-17 , Galatians:4:1-7
 St.Luke1:26-38

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hoodosh Etho ( "Dedication or Renewal"Sunday) Readings

Hoodosh Etho ( "Dedication or Renewal")  Sunday is the second Sunday in the Liturgical calendar of  West Syrian tradition .
The  Church prescribes to its members to reflect prior to coming together to Church and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ these Scripture Readings and hear it each year being read and listen to the Homily on these from the mouth of the Priest .


Evening St.Luke19:47-20:8
Morning St.Mark12:41-44


Before Holy Qurbana
Exodus33:7-11 , IKings:8:22-40
Isaiah55:1-13
Holy Qurbana
Acts7:44-53  ,  Hebrews9:1-14
St.John10:22-38


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Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way,And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him;And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon
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But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,  how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
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My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.”
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Lord , Have Mercy upon us. We have forgotten your teachings, willingly closed our eyes to what Church is to what we want it to be for us- from the Abode of you O Lord the Holy Spirit in its fullness for your Right Glory to be a community of mere men gathering as Social gathering and bring your percepts as mere rituals.