Monday, December 22, 2014

Nativity of our Lord and God Jesus Christ!!

Christ is Born ! Glorify Him!!

Below are words transcribed on Meditations on the Nativity. Produced by Theosis

Pray you and be encouraged to reflecting on these precious words on who He is to each of us
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D50-8JlcwSg

Do not think it is a small thing when you hear of this birth,but rouse up your mind and tremble,being told that God has come upon the earth
St. John Chrysostoum

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Today He who holds the whole Creation in His hand is born of a virgin.He whose essence none can touch is bound in swaddling clothes as a mortal man. God who created the Heavens lies in a manger. He who rained manna on His people in the wilderness is fed on milk from His mother's breast.
The Bridegroom of the Church summons the wise men: The Son of the Virgin accepts their gifts. We venerate Thy Birth , O Christ
Kontakion of Naivity

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Pure is the present night ,in which the Pure one appeared, Who came to purify us. Let our hearing be pure,and the sight of our eyes chaste,and the feeling of the heart holy,and the speech of the mouth sincere! This is the night of reconciliation; let none be angry at his brother and offend him! This night gave peace to the whole world! Let none threaten. This is the night of the Most Meek One; let none be cruel!
This is the night of the Humble one, Let none be proud. Now is the day of joy; let us not take revenge for offences ! Now is the day of good will; Let us not be harsh On this day of tranquilty , let us not become agitated by anger. Today God came unto sinners;let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners! Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake;let the rich man invite the poor to his table! Today we received a gift which we did not ask for ; Let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us! The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask for forgiveness! Today the God head placed upon Himself the seal of humanity and humanity has been adorned with the seal of God head !
St. Ephraim the Syrian

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Today the Lord is born,the life and salvation of mankind ;Today a reconciliation is made of Diviniy to humanity, and of humanity to Divinity;Today all creation has leapt for joy; today occured the death of darkness and life of humanity;today a way was made toward God for man, and a way for God into the soul
St. Macarius the Great
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Today the Virgin gave birth to the Transcendent One !
And the earth offers a Cave to the unapproachable One!
Angels with the sheperds sing songs of praise,
The Magi journey wiith the star,
For unto us has been born a little child
God before all the ages
Kontakion of the Nativity
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Christ is born; glorify Him !
Christ comes from heaven; go to meet Him!
Christ is on earth ;be exalted!
Sing to the Lord all the earth!
And praise Him in gladness , O people for He has been glorified!
Third irmos of the first cannon
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Thy nativity O Christ our God Has shown to the world the Light of Wisdom,For by it those who worshipped the stars,were taught by a star to adore Thee, The sun of Righteousness.
And to know Thee the Orient from on high O Lord,
Glory to Thee !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guidelines for Pious Living

Guidelines For Pious Living By His Grace Job Mar Philoxenos

There is in the heart of all of us a yearning longing for doing things that would please God. We fail often to do that as the worldly thoughts and passions encompass us. As a result, what we loose is the inner peace and tranquility that is given to those who are in communion with God. Regular practice is needed to keep off the evil and stay in communion with God. Given below are some practical suggestions that would help us to reach this goal. These guidelines for pious living are modified from the writings of one of the great Fathers of Christendom and were well received by many. In the hope that this would enable all those who wish to lead a pious life, I hereby reproduce the same. If possible get a laminated copy of this and try to follow the instructions as far as possible. Much of the tensions that fill our daily life will find relief by regular practice.

Guidelines for Pious Living

Force yourself to get up early and at a definite time. Do not sleep too much. Take seven hours maximum as a general rule, unless you are unusually fatigued. As soon as you wake up, direct your thoughts to God and piously cross yourself, thinking of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sake of our salvation. Get up from your bed at once and get dressed. Do not pamper yourself. While dressing, remember that you are in the presence of the Lord and your guardian angel. Then start your morning prayers immediately. Make a firm resolution to do everything for the Lord and to receive everything from His Fatherly Hand. Meditate in this way: maybe this is the last day of my life, then do everything the way you would-if you were preparing to come before the Justice of God.

After your prayers, start your work. Let your deeds and actions be for the glory of God. Remember that God sees you everywhere, sees all your actions, doings, feelings, thoughts and desires, and will generously reward you for all your good deeds. Do not begin anything without praying to God because the things we do or say without prayer later proved to be either sinful or harmful. Amid your labors be not downcast, and entrust your success to God's Grace. Fulfill all that is difficult for you as though it were a penance for your sin in the spirit of obedience and humbleness. Repeat brief prayers, especially the "Jesus Prayer", while you are working. If your work is being accomplished with success, as your hearts desires - thank the Lord; if without success - then remembers that this too God allows, and He works everything for good.

If you wish for a spiritually peaceful life, give yourself to God. Always and in everything think of God and His holy love for us sinners. In everything, try to fulfill God's will and to please God alone. Do not care to be respected and loved by people. Keep a vigilant watch over your feelings, thoughts and motions of your heart and your passions. Give consideration to nothing trivial where your personal salvation is concerned. In everything ask yourselves: In this case what would Jesus Christ have thought, said, or done? Be meek and humble, be silent and endure by the example of Jesus. He will not lay a cross upon you, which you are not able to carry. He Himself will help you carry your cross. Do not expect to acquire any one virtue without any sorrow and pains of the soul. Beg God to give you grace to fulfill your responsibilities in the best way possible. Obey His holy commandments - even though they may seem difficult for you. Do not dwell in idleness even for a short time, but always remain in labor and be occupied. Do everything in the name of Jesus Christ and in this way all your actions will be deeds of piety.

Flee even the smallest of sins, because one who does not commit the smallest, certainly will not fold into great and deeper ones. If you do not want to be bothered by evil thoughts, then humbly receive all disparagement of soul and bodily suffering. Every thought which withdraws you further away from God, especially filthy thoughts of the flesh, banish from your heart, as quickly as possible, as you would cast from your clothes a spark of fire that fell burning on them. Amidst temptations, do not be troubled. He, who gives you the circumstance of a battle, will also give you strength for victory. Let your spirit be at rest.

Trust in God. Pray to God that He takes from you everything that feeds your self-love, even though it may be very bitter for you. Wish to live and die for God alone, and to belong to Him entirely. If you have food and clothing, be content with it by the example of Jesus Who became impoverished for our sake.

Never argue and do not depend or excuse yourselves too much. Do not say anything against your superiors or your neighbors without need or obligation. Be sincere and simple in heart. With love, accept directions, admonitions, and being exposed by others, even though you may be wise. Do not detest or be envious or exceedingly stern in word and deeds. What you do not wish for yourselves, do not do unto others and what you wish others to do to you, do it first unto them. Be gentle, modest, careful, wise, blind and deaf, according to the situation. Remember that Jesus is present among those with whom you are and among those with whom you speak. Say nothing without thought. Bear it firmly in mind that time is short and that man must give and account of every idle word that he speak. Listen more than speak; in verbosity you will not escape sin. Beg God to give you blessing to be silent and to speak at the right time. Do not be curious about gossips; it diverts the spirit. Try to do good to everyone any kind of good and at any time you can, not thinking whether it will or will not be appreciated. If one does not obey you the first time, do not force him through debate, make use of the good yourself, which he has lost, because meekness will bring you great profit.

Before going to sleep, examine your conscience, pray to be given light to recognize your sins; think of them, beg for forgiveness and promise to reform. Then give yourself up to God, as though tonight you will have to appear before Him. Entrust yourself to the Mother of God, your guardian angel, the saint whose name you bear. Picture your bed as your coffin and your blanket as your shroud. Cross yourself and kissing the cross you wear, fall asleep under the protection of Shepherd of Israel! He will not nod or fall asleep.

During an illness, first of all, entrust yourself to God in order to strengthen your spirit in the midst of your misery, often remember and think of the suffering and the death of Jesus Christ. Ceaselessly say all the prayers you know and can. Beg God to forgive you your sins and to give you patience while ill. In all ways possible, abstain from complaining an irritation that is common when ill. Our Lord Jesus Christ underwent, for the sake of our salvation, the most painful stress and suffering and what is that in comparison that we have done or suffered for the sake of our salvation?

Go to the services in church as often as possible. Try especially to be present often at the Holy Liturgy. Go to confession and receive the holy sacraments as often as possible. Receive Holy Communion always with sincere hunger and real thirst of your soul, with a contrite heart, with reverence, humbleness, faith, trust and love. Think of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ as often as possible, begging Him to veil your sins and receive you into His kingdom. May the name of Jesus always be on your lips, in your soul and in your heart. As often as possible, meditate on God's great love to you. Glorify and worship the Holy Trinity so that you yourself may love Him with all your heart, all your soul and with all your thoughts. Doing so you will enable you to lead a peaceful life on earth and a blessed one in Heaven forever.

May God bless you.

Your shepherd in Christ,
Job Mar Philoxenos, Diocese of Delhi
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This is an old article by HG Philoxenos of Memory Eternal.  Pray it heals

Friday, December 5, 2014

Joint Commission for the Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox & Oriental Orthodox Churches Revamped - Response of a Lay man

Joint Commission for the Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox & Oriental Orthodox Churches Revamped : Communique Available - Response of a Lay man


Wonderful to see that  this effort in which Fr. V.C Samuel of Memory Eternal whose memory we remembered on November 18 and many others still continue keenly. The dialogue was yet again reaffirmed in 1965 when Heads of Oriental Orthodox Church  met in Addis Ababa ( We are celebrating 50 years of this event in January 2015 - Wondering if the 6 Oriental Orthodox communities have at least had a dialogue within respective Synods and one other to commemorate and re-look the decisions and work together on path forward as One Body ) . Let us also keep in mind that all the fruit of the dialogue that  started with God as per Scriptures in St. John 17 .


The dialogue of 1964 in which V.C Samuel Achen was a participant had the theologians from both families agreeing to understand each other as having same faith and taking the effort back to their communities . However we live in an imperfect fallen world which is being redeemed an encounter with Christ and one other as Church with imperfect members from the world  .


 In 2001  I asked the OCA St. Vladimir Seminary  if they would include web pages of Oriental Orthodox  under a section as 'Other Orthodox Churches ' or 'Pre-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches ' citing the statement of1964 met  was a quick / short email saying  ' At this point , we only list Chalcedonian Churches in communion' . However in that we are seeing visible progress  because of day to day interface b/w the Seminarians of St. Vladimir from our Oriental Orthodox  and the authorities .  I believe by the various  day to day opportunities for an encounter between the two parties like the visits of our current  North East Diocese of North America Bishop Nicholovas to assist our students there made a lot of inroads in that direction than when the theologians agreed in many things in paper. Personally I was blessed as a family from 2000 to 2003 in Calgary, Canada with the blessing and permission from the both bishops ( HG Seraphim of OCA and our HG Makarios) to have communion in an OCA parish as we had not our parish and circumstances was limiting for me to attend other OO parishes in Calgary when they had liturgy'   


Having said that , I see this statement-  '  was noted that three local Churches from the Orthodox family (Alexandria, Antioch and Romania) and three Churches from the Oriental Orthodox family (Alexandria, Antioch and Malankara- India), had already declared their acceptance of the agreed statements and proposals from the Joint Commission.'


Praying that our Synod or a Kalpana from Catholicose of East , listing in detail which agreed statements and proposals   to all parishes , that can reaffirm this as  don't think we would  want  to go through repeating history people  like Fr. V.C Samuel Achen had to face . This will help provide voice to theologians and the laity o to know and work towards an agreement is real and not in paper alone
George Varghese
Calgary,Canada
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

Reference : http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2014/11/joint-commission-for-the-dialogue-between-eastern-orthodox-oriental-orthodox-churches-revamped-communique-available/

See a very clear balanced approach by Fr. Peter of British Orthodox Church which seem not sure if considered by these Theologians who participate in these dialogues
http://anorthodoxpriest.blogspot.ca/2014/10/can-oriental-orthodox-receive-eastern.html#more

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lest we become slaves or hirelings


So with the object of helping this brother and doing all I could to strengthen his faith, I took The Philokalia out of my knapsack.

Turning to the 109th chapter of Isikhi, I read it to him. I set out to prove to him the uselessness and vanity of avoiding sin merely from fear of the tortures of hell. I told him that the soul could be freed from sinful thoughts only by guarding the mind and cleansing the heart, and that this could only be done by interior prayer.

I added that according to the holy Fathers, one who performs saving works simply from the fear of hell follows the way of bondage, and he who does the same just in order to be rewarded with the kingdom of heaven follows the path of a bargainer with God.

The one they call a slave, the other a hireling. But God wants us to come to Him as sons to their Father; He wants us to behave ourselves honorably from love for Him and zeal for His service; He wants us to find our happiness in uniting ourselves with Him in a saving union of mind and heart.

( From Way of the Pilgrim)

When some well meaning  people  propel us with   -" Are You Saved? For If you are not , You go to Hell"  , Don't you want to Heaven ?etc. and point  us to verses from the Bible ,   Some from the Church are perplexed and fall into doubts and join their groups and become  more in fervor to go and convert those within their own families and Church

This teaching from the Way of Pilgrim is something that I wished I had known almost 25 years back   as some thing that felt very meaningful to me ., May this encourage us to turn to Him continually and not fall to such traps. Lord Have Mercy upon us Sinners

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Holy week Tuesday Morning thoughts

As we approach Holy Pascha  (Easter) part of today's readings of Church points us to:

1. Why did God become Man ?
Hebrew 2:14-18
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

2.  - Why was Gospel proclaimed ?
I John 1: 1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our[a] joy complete. 

3.  How  can our senses be transformed in Christ  

 On Sunday Raju Chayan from Church asked to reflect that the words from our mouth affect others and humanity.  Our Achan reinforced that all of our five senses should be transformed and perfected in Christ.
I John 1: 5-9
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

4. Listen rightly  unlike those who listened with wrong intention :
St. Luke 11:53-55
53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.

April 15, 2014
 
 
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Extrapolations - Syrian Orthodox relation with Catholicate - Memory Eternal !!


Extrapolations - Syrian Orthodox relation with Catholicate at the occasion of the departure of Syrian Orthodox Patriarch

First and foremost, let me share Memory Eternal - HH Patriarch Ignatius Zaka
HG Ignatius Zaka was the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch which is in communion with the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church. One of his quotes which is important to us is "Prayer is not an attempt to subdue the will of God for our desires, but is always an attempt to subjugate our will to the will of God,"


Having said that , some are using HH demise to tout him as a Child of peace for unity of Malankara and no way can peace and unity happen without the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch and their patriarchate special honor and the Catholicate as a subdivision or chota child/brother of the Syrian Patriarchate. Obliged to work towards the Catholicate , praying that thoughts of this common man will be understood as intended for posterity and available to reflect by future generations.

Unity is not by concession to Syrian Orthodox Church. First of all in our hearts, we must acknowledge that Syrian Orthodox Church is, as much equal, and in no way any superior as the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church. Just as there is a Coptic Patriarchate and Antiochene Patriarchate, the Catholicate of Malankara Orthodox Church exist and we are its members be we Laity, Priest or Bishop.

Yes, the representatives of Catholicate should represent and visit and be there at the burial just as they had represented the burial of Pope Shenouda. The Syrian Orthodox Church should be special to the Catholicate not because of some document or 1995 alliance which totally was used as a hoast by the fundamentalists to divide the One Holy Catholic Church that has the potential under the Catholicate to witness and continue the mission started by St. Thomas .

It should be with clear understanding:

1. When the heretic Roman Catholicism came with armadas to subdue us to them that we sought help from all that by God's providence the Syrian Orthodox Church sent help

2. When the Syrian Orthodox came in more numbers from 17h Century, it took almost two centuries for us to complexly adopt their West Syrian Liturgy and translated to Malayalam and even now in 2014 , not all of their tradition have been translated to Malaylam and not many within the Catholicate have understood or making use of that tradition which took almost 16 centuries to develop in Antiochene tradition.

3. We because of our relation with them could understood the Theology and Faith that St. Diascoros of Egypt and St. Severus of Antioch defended and now stand as one of the Six Oriental Orthodox Churches that share same faith (Egypt, Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Indian)

4. We in 17th and 18th never fully took on the course of Martyrdom and defended our faith but used/ depended atleast partly on the name or allied with the Syrian Church to face against Protestant Roman Catholic heretic teaching.

5. The Syrian Church and its prelates in the history of time in 18th and 19th Century, because they had helped us in the past, when it faced problems started assuming and demanding:

Malankara Church as a subdivision with Syrian Orthodox and our parishes in India should provide money to help the Syrian Patriarchate to pay off Turkish authorities. The response by the community took them by surprise. This led in time to ex-communicating the Chief shepherd of our Church HH St. Dionysius , the community rise up to establish the Catholicate in Malankara in 1912 with the blessing of the Syrian Orthodox Bishop and senior Patriarch of Syrian Orthodox Church . It should be noted also that history has shown that this Syrian Patriarch was not the ruling Patriarch and the ruling Patriarch has paid off the Turks and secured his position. I believe, it was prudent that a Senior Syrian official of the Syrian Church was present to show and explain to our own people who have a high regard when a foreigner or a White Bishop is present. More importantly from 1912 this Catholicate was established as the gift of God to the Church and available to those in Kerala / Malayalam language speaking people to whom St. Thomas the Apostle came to preach to work towards for the Glory of God.

6. From day one, the mission of Catholicate was thwarted by evil from within and externally. This will continue as long as Catholicate exist. Right from 1912, there was a group who felt that the doom of the Catholicate is imminent as they have fought against the people of God from the land of our God Jesus Christ. There were also selfish parties from within and the Syrian Church who felt their importance will be lost and must remain under the Syrian Patriarchate.

7. Through the prayers and tears of innocent who wished to see eternal peace in Malankara, those who wanted to be under the Patriarchate and those under the Catholicate in 1958 agreed to be under the head of the Catholicate. Unfortunately the evil one use the law of the land and constitution by keeping the vision of foresight blind put in special concession of Syrian Orthodox Patriarch as Spiritual head and when a Patriarch is enthroned at Syrian Orthodox Church it should be at the blessing of the Chief shepherd of the Catholicate - the Catholicose of the East and vice versa. These concessions are the bane and failure of the Catholicate to trust in God but in men and their crafty ways. An example is when a senior priest of the Church in 19th Century went over to Antioch and got himself ordained as head of the Church in Malankara and returned to form the heretical alliance with Anglican faith and establish Marthoma church, instead of defending ourselves on the basis of our Orthodox Christian faith said in a Padiyola called Mavelikara Padiyola that we are members of Jacob Syrian Church and under the Patriarch.

8. From 1912, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch’s and their followers had the opportunity to recognize the autonomy and autocephalous status of the Malankara Orthodox Church and its Catholicate. There were opportunities since then when we came so close.

9. In 1965, at the leadership conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches held in Addis Ababa,an issue that came up for discussion was about the number of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. One argument was that there were only 3 Churches while another view was that there were five. Those who supported the first view were the Antiochian Syrians and the Egyptians. The reason for their stand was that while the Syrians considered the Indians as part of their Church, the Egyptians considered the Ethiopians as their ‘subjects’. For them, language, race, culture etc were not relevant at all. But, the conclusion that was finally reached at the Conference, and accepted as its decision, was that Oriental Orthodox Churches were five in number, ie, the Indian Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox should be treated as separate Churches. What it meant was that none of these Churches were under another Church .Based on this decision, the Conference set up a Standing Committee comprising of two representatives from each of the five Oriental Churches. Fr.Dr.V.C.Samuel was one of them. This decision taken by the conclave of Oriental Orthodox Churches should put to rest any doubts about the independence and auto-cephalous identity of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church.

At Addis Ababa in 1965, God deemed it to be that prelate representing the Catholicate was addressed such by other members of Oriental Orthodox family including the Syrian Patriarch "HH Moran Mar Baselius Mar Basils Augen I - Fourth Catholicos of the Ancient See of St. Thomas" since its restoration in 1912.

10. Right from 1959, that relationship of Catholicate and Patriachate was strained. At the Feb. 20, 1959 meeting of the newly elected Managing Committee, Paulose Mar Philexinos surprised everyone by griping about having to serve as the Assistant Metropolitan of Kandanad diocese. This prompted the Synod which met on Feb. 21 to appoint him as Joint Diocesan Metropolitan of Kandanad diocese alongside Augen Mar Thimothios. Though this bought temporary peace, Mar Philexinos was not to abandon his mission of wrecking the hard-won peace. As events later unfolded, he became the king-pin and leader of the rebellious ‘Antiochian Movement’. We know the 1965 incident was a terrible blow that added injury to the Syrian supporters to help fan the distrust in Malankara as well as in Syria. In fact it was the Syrian Patriarch of 1965 who questioned the validity of Priest hood of St. Thomas and using it to disclaim that St. Thomas established Church in India. .

11. In 1975 the Syrian Patriarch came down at the supporters of that stood grudgingly right from 1959 against the Catholicate came and appointed the Philexinos Paulose mentioned in Point #10and ordained as Catholicose Mor Baselios Paulose II.

12. 1995 - As usual the evil one use court cases and they continued , common man sigh and guess their prayers reached God who made sure to force the issue with a court order in 1995 that you need to get together and there should be one Orthodox Christian Church from Kerala. There was some hope and there was some hope this could pave unity and led some of those Bishops and priests from the supporters of the Syrian side to the Catholicate. While that shift occurred, many could still be harboring the teaching that they came over hoping to have the Catholicate under the Syrian Patriarchate and we can see the evil one sending breezes of confusion over through their words. Praying that God in time can and will change if any has such feelings remain. The hope for peace in 1995 did not last as the supporters who felt they will lose their authority under a united Catholicate appealed to the sensitivities of the Syrian Patriarch this departed HH Patriarch Ignatius Zaka. Unfortunately in a land surrounded by Muslim community and the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch reduced in Damascus to where four others who claim themselves as the Patriarch of Antioch, told he agreed to succumb to agree to await decisions of further court cases.

13. Again in 12 July 2002, the Supreme Court verdicts came that the parishes should come together and establish and retain the integrity as a united Church - Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church. A group of evil people devised a formula to take a slice - Individual parishes to declare by majority vote to leave the Malankara Orthodox Church and join a new independent Church. They want to leave not because of differences in faith or dogma but because they do not want the head of the Malankara Orthodox Church to sit on the throne of St. Thomas but only on a footstool beneath the throne of St. Peter and refuse at all costs the future standing firm a United Catholicate . Unfortunately for the Catholicate, one of the Bishops who wanted to be the next Catholicose of the East under the United Catholicate when told by the Catholicose of the East that this decision is not for him to give but a United Synod and Managing committee and a Successor has already been named, took the lead to form the new independent faction. This new faction while it could have been told as unacceptable by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch was however supported by him and blessed the dissident Bishop just as previous Syrian Patriarch had blessed the Bishop who separated those who were to have been under the Catholicate to the protestant teaching and Marthoma community. In fact he came blessed with a title to rival as ' Catholicose of India' under the Syrian Orthodox Church and formed the new group as ' Jacobite Syrian Church' in 2003. Some of us as common men had contacted the Patriarch not to take this step now as it would divide the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to schism and asked to recollect that a hasty decision by a previous Patriarch had led to heresy and separation.

13. The new group continues and thus at the time of the departure of this Patriarch of the Church that we share in communion Pray and cry out for his mercy - he , who though with short comings like each of us, was blessed to the successor of St. Severus the defender of the Orthodox Christian faith. Also, yet more importantly we need to look critically within ourselves as Catholicate if we really are seeking as the blind man from God, living out as individuals and together as Orthodox Christians and crying out 'Lord Have Mercy' and seeking to be open and welcoming to those who turned away like the Jacobite Syrian faction and the Marthomite to come forward and accept and live out the discipline of the Church.  Another key point to never forget is that while we have differences of opinion , in our heart we should not forget that the Syrian Church had once came to help with right intention and  there are many fathers who are buried in that Church seeking Yama prarthana from us while we fight among us. It is with prayers this article may inspire the future members of Catholicate and the Patriarchate to work together understanding the differences but move beyond that that to work together for His Glory.

March 24, 2014

Calgary, Canada

Monday, February 17, 2014

Last Kalpana of Vattasheril Tirumeni to Catholicate


The Last Pastoral letter (Kalpana) of St. Dionysius

From Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan of Malankara

Blessings to all our dear children, the vicars of all our churches, other priests, and the faithful in the Malankara Church founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle.
Dear children, the sheep of the spiritual fold entrusted to us, who are dear to our heart, I think you have come to know that we are on our sick bed for a few days now. We, are 76 years old now and plagued by a number of illness; therefore, we feel that we have no right to wish and hope that our earthly life be extended beyond this. So, we feel that nothing needs to be done, except to submit happily to the will of God, which is merciful and irreversible. It was God’s will that we should shoulder the administrative responsibilities of this Church during one of the most difficult times in its history, despite our frailties and ineligibility. The events of the last 25 years have moved on like a shadow; however their consequences shall certainly influence the future of the Church. It was because of the mercy of God alone that the Malankara Church community has survived a variety of great dangers.
You may believe firmly that our memory and gratitude to you all shall not go away from us till our last breath; for each one of you have worked with me magnanimously, for the uplift of our community all these days, forgetting our weaknesses, shortcomings and unworthiness. At this time, it is really painful for us to recall that some of our beloved children have difference of opinion regarding many of the projects we have undertaken for the sheer good of our community. Beloved children, we are all common people with lots of weakness. We feel today that many of the quarrels and feuds which our fathers have conducted during their time were negligible and foolish; therefore it is good for us to know that many of the things that we deem serious today may be judged as negligible and foolish by the future generations. Therefore, we exhort you with our last breath, to dispense with all kinds of quarrels and obstinacy, so that our poor Church, which is a little flock, shall not fall into disarray; and that you should accept it as your bounden duty to work for unity in the Church unselfishly. We believe that you will accept this request with a soft mind like the children who received blessings from the Lord ; and not hard- heartedly like the Pharaoh. All of you know that, unless you ask pardon for each other’s faults and forgive and forget, it will not be possible for you to get mercy and pardon from the Lord at the Last Judgment. You should believe that even after our bones have joined the bone of our Fathers, we will always submit our humble prayers before God that you will have the wisdom to work for reconciliation in our Church, forgetting all quarrels and differences. We have had a great desire in our heart for a long time now that we should work for union with those of our brother communities, who have deserted our Church. We would like you to accept this as a responsibility, as entrusted to you along with our last breath, to realize our desire.
We also entrust it to each one of you to the responsibility to maintain the Catholicate, which all of us have been working hard to protect, against heavy odds, and which you sincerely believe, along with us , as indispensable for the upkeep, welfare and development of our Church.

Finally, dear children, there is no one that is good, not even one. No one who is righteous is made so except by the blood of our Lord. If during our period of administration, we have caused anyone of you sorrow or loss ; or done any wrong willfully or otherwise, knowingly or unknowingly; for all of them, we entreat you to forgive us in Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down His life for the sake of sinners and prayed to His Father for those who crucified Him . In the same way, if anyone has done anything against us, we would let you know that we have not kept them in our mind; and that we have forgiven in Christ. Again, our beloved, just as St. James has asked us to pray for each other, you pray for us!  Your prayers will be a great comfort for us in death as well as in our rest. We entreat your love to pray for us, and priests to offer Qurbana on our behalf, now, and even after we have passed away. In this way, may the words of St. Paul,” I have fought a good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith; now the crown of righteousness awaits me. The Lord, who is the Righteous Judge, shall give it to me that day “may become true even in us. We pray our Lord Jesus Christ to extend his right hand, along with the right hand of us, weak and sinful one, and bless you, your homes, all your handiwork, and comfort us and all of you, and your faithful departed, in the heavenly paradise.
By the prayers of Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and all the saints, especially St. Thomas our Patron Saint. Amen

May the love of God the Father, the grace of the only begotten Son, and the fellowship and indwelling of the Holy Spirit be upon you all, my beloved children, forever. Amen.
From Old Seminary, Kottayam
Kumbham 11, 1109.

Note: -  This last message is an extract from the book "  Saint Vattasseril Mar Dionysius Personal Diary " by HG Yakob Mar Irenaios.  As we commemorate the two fathers of the Church  - the Cannonical Saint Dionysius and HG Makarios on February 23, it is my prayer that posting of this last kalpana may inspire us to see that  the  task of maintaining the Catholicate and realizing yet its potential to witness fully the mission started by St. Thomas is entrusted not to some one else, but to each one of us. The Saint  Vattasseril Thirumeni stood firm to saying No to the Catholicate under any foreign authority. The Bishop Makarios lived the the message of the Catholicate amongst those  who were outside of Kerala . May their prayers be with each of us and the Catholicate to the Glory of God. Amen.