Sunday, December 27, 2015

Scripture Readings to January 1, 2016

Christ is Born ! Glorify Him !!

May we ponder with the readings of the Church upon those displaced from their Homes due to conflict in whatever forms , the Murders of  Innocent  around us- including those due to Abortion and Stem cell extraction.

December-27 ,2015: First Sunday after Christmas (The Holy Family flee to Egypt)
Evening :St.Matthew10:16-23 , Morning :St.John15:18-21
Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis37:13-28 , Zechariah8:3-8
Holy Qurbana
Acts16:6-10 , ICorinthians10:1-13
December 27 , 2015 - Memory of slaughter of Holy Innocents
Evening: St. Matthew 2:13-18 , Morning : St. Mark 6:1-6
Before Holy Qurbana :
Exodus 1: 1-22 , Isaiah 60: 8-14
Jeremiah 31:15 -20
Holy Qurbana
Acts 7: 11-29 , Romans 15:1-7
St. Matthew 2:13 -18
January 1, 2016 : New Year's Day, Circumcision of our Lord, Memory of St. Basil and St. Gregory.
Evening , St.Luke13:6-9 , Morning :St.John9:4-7
Before Holy Qurbana
Genesis12:1-9 , Deuteronomy10:12-11:1
Holy Qurbana
IJohn3:13-18 , Romans2:28-3:8

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Egoism and self-love create an inauthentic life.

 This is  a small portion of a greater homily by Archibishop Lazar Puhalo , as transcribed from the  book "Not by Bread alone' on the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew Chapter 18 :1-5
" Unless you be converted and become as little children , you shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." Unless you cease being egocentric, living in delusion about yourself, and return to authenticity of life , acknowledging what and who you are in reality, you will not be able to enter heaven ; or perhaps just as correctly, " you will not be able to experience the kingdom of heaven in your heart" ( see Luke 17:21)

Is it not our very delusions about ourselves that prevent us from sincerely repenting? Is it not our failure to reconcile ourselves with our self that generates most of our bitterness and anger ? Perhaps one of the great paradoxes of our fallen nature is our tendency to become egocentric about a false illusion of ourselves rather than seeking to have a realization of our actual self. We spent more time cloaking the reality of our person from our own selves than struggling to perfect the virtues that should be natural to us. Often, our lack of humility stems from the desire to acquire that false sense of self-esteem that depend on the opinion of others - or worse still, on our impression of their opinion.  Yet what greater sense of value could we have, what more perfect source of necessary self -esteem could we draw from the fact that Christ our God loved us enough to give His life for our salvation? God loves us and values us for ourselves , provides the means for our sanctification , and never interferes with our freedom to chose or reject all that He has  given us. This is the key to authenticity of life: we have freedom. And God has provided for us the means of a return to our true being as His own image and likeness, letting us chose between reality and illusion, while guiding us toward the better like a loving parent. We are offered a freedom from desire that allows us to fully experience the pure and unconditional love of God


Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Orthodox Christian Faith - (Core faith on Church)

These are notes that was made in a hurry after a small message for the  half day Church School teachers' meeting in Edmonton  May 2015. 
The Orthodox Faith - Church
From Childhood, I have been told that ‘I am Orthodox ‘and figured this is what we as family and those that we meet in our Church must be. 
Not realizing the crux of what the Orthodox Faith is, I presumed these follow the rules; they are strict, conservative and unchanging and must be some kind of group like the Pharisees but Christians that evolved after Jesus Christ.
To see the image that was my mind, a reference passage from the Gospel is St.  Luke 6: 1-3, where even small things like eating a grain on Sabbath day matter to these Pharisees.  
For me these later day rule keepers has enforcers in our homes like parents and to me the main rule keeper was my Grandmother whom we have to grudgingly obey by going to attend Holy Qurbana on Sundays, participate with her in evening prayers together from the Oldest to the youngest, get up early on Feast Days to go to Church for services etc..
It was much later in my Engineering College days when somehow reciting the later part of the Holy creed on the Holy Spirit at lightning speed in a Church during the worship that a thought came to my mind to slow down and realized how carelessly that that I am talking of God the Holy Spirit. That realization made me very much humbled with the fact that this is what I have been doing all along the childhood when we say the Creed every time and the teaching and our faith cannot be separated from  what is ‘Church ‘ .
So I feel it appropriate to start learning and sharing on the four attributes that Holy Creed give to Church – ‘‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic ‘ , from what I have read and come to believe .
One –   To begin to know the Oneness of the Church, we need to know the Oneness is not something new but that we read our Lord praying in St. John 17
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one”  and
We see the early Church gathering together as ‘One’, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit at the feast of Pentecost in Acts 1: 14 and thereafter in Acts 2: 44-48. Teaching of Church as ‘One’ is what was lived by the earliest Christians as taught by St Paul to the Church in Ephesus Ephesians 2: 12 – 22
remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
 For He himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
This form the fundamental faith for the Orthodox Church as ‘One’ Body and thus makes it difficult for us to call the different groups of Christians that departed from it as ‘Branches’ or  ‘Churches’ and deviate from what it has believed from first century.
Holy -   From the above passage of  Ephesians 2 , it should be noted  that  the Holiness of the Church is in the work of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit in its fullness within the Church and each of us joined to it by  Holy Baptism and Chrismation by being ‘ born again’ are called to be Holy .   In the Scripture of St. Mathew 5:48, our Lord asks His disciples to be perfect, therefore as your Heavenly Father is perfect ‘   In the Old Testament, we read the Lord asking the priests to be consecrated (Set apart) and commanding the people of God ‘Be Holy because I, the Lord your God, am Holy’.
 This is reiterated again to the Church in letters of the Apostles and their disciples to the early Church.  Read 1 Peter 1: 3 – 2:10.    Greek word for ‘Holy ‘is ‘Hagios’, which also mean ‘that which is separated’.  Our core faith is that the Church is set part and Holy because the Holy Spirit is guiding it and we have the model of those before who lived in it.
Catholic –   The word ‘Catholic’ using it as solely meaning ‘Universal’ has been misused trying bring to being other jurisdiction as within it and a major cause of for the separation of the Roman Catholics from the Eastern Orthodox in 1054 over the argument by the Church in Rome as overseer over the other places where the Church was (Antioch, Alexandria etc.) , also one of the key reason of disagreement with the Syrian  Church of Antioch which has come to assume it has a position to oversee the ancient Church in India.
The word Catholic actually means ‘in its fullness ‘and comes from joining two words - ‘Kat’ plus ‘Holiki’. Kat mean ‘according to’ and Holiki mean ‘the whole’. It translates to the Church where all its teachings, practices, faith and tradition in its fullness is  the ‘ Church’ and thus every parish by its own if it follows it can be attributed as ‘ Catholic’ . The word ‘Catholic’ was attributed as first used by the great father among the Saints, St. Ignatius of Antioch of 1st Century.
“Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid. — Letter to the Smyrnaeans” (Source Wikipedia)
 This prayer of fullness within the Church is the prayer St. Paul shows as example to Church in Ephesians 3: 14-20.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Apostolic -   Apostolic does not mean a Church has to be founded by an Apostle or it has to have a chain of succession from the Apostles but that which is being built on the foundation of the teaching of Jesus Christ and that followed and practised by Apostles and the Church all along in which the essential is not compromised.
Having gone through the marks and going through the word  ‘ Orthodox ‘(‘ Ortho’ –  ‘Right’  and Doxa ‘ Glory’)  , for each of us as Sunday School teachers and individual members of Church  we have  great role to  understand and do what we are called to   ‘stand separated ‘ and  in continuing its mission in redeeming  humanity and the world  to be truly  give Glory to God.
Two final parting thoughts
How can we avoid the lack of dedication to put to practice like hose baptized and chrismated Orthodox Christians before us to live out the faith - faith that is consistent with what has been followed with Holy Tradition as lived and taught as taught by the Fathers, in accordance to Scripture, Creed and everywhere in the Church ?
What can we do to encourage and continue in foot path of the methods used by the Church consistently in deciphering what is essential and non- essential in our settings today to build on our faith and live it?  May God help us
1.    The Orthodox Church faith and practices – Fr. Mathew Vaidyan
2.    An article by Fr. Bijesh Philip -  St. Thomas Orthodox Seminary , Nagpur

Update :-  September 2016
A wonderful book on this topic recently picked up and will recommend to be read by all Sunday School teachers
- Christ and  the Church  by ArchBishop Gregory Afonsky 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cry of the Assyrian !!!! -2

Cry of the Assyrian -2

On March 26 , posted  here on the pod cast of  Crucible of the Assyrians

On March 27, I wake up to reading that the Spiritual Leader of the Ancient Church of the East enters Eternal rest . Memory Eternal !!! . May his prayers be with the Cry of the Assyrians and with each of us.

I felt it very  appropriate that the community of Christians from Kerala living within India and abroad ,those who owes their paternity as Church to St. Thomas , to listen, take heed and act  to the cry of the Assyrian .

In the podcast  crucible of the Assyrians it is mentioned that the Tradition is that St. Thomas converted the Assyrian to Christianity before the crucifixion and the Ancient Church of the East carried the  faith to India  and China.

It is believed that like me that there are around 5 Million St. Thomas Christians across the world today that trace their origin to the state of Kerala in India where St. Thomas the Apostle of Christ came in AD 52 and founded the Church bringing the Gospel of Christ en-route to the Jewish community. I believe they are  broadly divided into

1. From Knanaya community that trace their heritage either direct lineage to Thomas of Cana an Assyrian  trader from the ancient Church of the East that immigrated as a community to Kerala or those from the local community already evangelized by St. Thomas the Apostle,   that that took to the faith of the Church of the East . Its current local leader Mar Aphrem of India is the Locums Tenens until a new Spiritual leader  is selected for the Ancient Church of the East - those suffering in the podcast ' Crucible of the Assyrians' as well as the very small community in Kerala. Interestingly they are also known as Chaldean Church of the East and not Roman Catholic.

2. From the local Christians in Kerala that chose to be under the Roman Catholic rather than the very small minority under the Church of the East. Interestingly they follow the East Syrian liturgical tradition though certain aspects within it has be modified to be in synch with Roman Catholicism.

3 and 4 . The two groups within the Oriental Orthodox Christian tradition
- Jacobite Syrian also known as Pathrikeese group who chose to be under the  fold of the Syrian Orthodox Church  of Antioch
- Malankara Orthodox Church as an Autonomous and Autocephalous community with its prelate known as Catholicose of East and Malankara Metropolitan of the Ancient see of St. Thomas

Between these two groups alone , it is believed that there are around 3.5 to 4 Million that has from within it many that spend time fighting and quarrelling amongst themselves and forget their own heritage. Interestingly they follow the West Syrian Liturgical tradition that they adapted from 16th Century. I am of the later community not only by accident of birth ,but also by choice . Historically both these groups still claim their heritage to St. Thomas and agree they lived as one community in Kerala , India isolated from the ancient Councils of the Church of Nicea ,Constantinople and Ephesius ( Oriental Orthodox Christians accept these councils as fundamental teaching/foundation to their faith while the Church of the East accepts only the first two Councils and there exist yet another group called Eastern Orthodox Christians who chose to hold 4 other councils as dear to them. The Roman Catholics separated from this Eastern Orthodox  in 1052 AD) .

5. Marthomites - This group separated from groups 3 and 4 , as an isolated group adopting the Protestant Anglican tradition. Interestingly they follow the West Syrian liturgical tradition though there are certain aspects modified to be in synch with Anglican teaching.

All these five groups are either known or  taken pride to be known as Nasrani or Nazarene and called St. Thomas Christians  and sometimes slanderously to those outside to reject Christ. We in His mercy are  granted another occasion to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord .
Let us remember that Christ identified with every one of the least and told to St. Paul that  while he is persecuting Christians, he is persecuting Jesus Christ.

Let us each look to ourselves that by not praying and acting to help the Assyrian when we can , we too could be persecuting Jesus Christ.

May Lord have mercy upon each of us. , Amen


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cry of the Assyrian -3 !!!!

 I felt It as important to post this organization that Ms. Juliana  whose talk was posted


It is the Iraqi Christian Relief Council

There might be other organizations  stepping forward to help .

 Incidentally CBS has aired 60 minutes

It has Archibishop of Mosul from our Syrian Orthodox Church which  has the same faith with the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox as part of Oriental Orthodox Christian commune

Please keep in prayer and act as God lead you

April 2, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Faith , Love and Repentance

Today a young friend gave a talk . He asks to remind ourselves to heed to these Three - Faith, Love and Repentance . Something I know in my head but need to get down to my heart . Lord Help

March 31, 2015


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cry of the Assyrian !!!!! -1

Cry of the Assyrian!!!!

Today I was led to hearing this Special Podcast in Ancient Faith radio - Crucible of the Assyrians.
It so much touched my heart  that it  made me cry and the thought came to me repeatedly  that I should not to go to sleep tonight without sharing  and asking others too to listen to the crying plea of the Assyrian  - A people being systematically made extinct while we live in the comfort of  of our day to day affairs .
Please pray and do what your heart tells you to . May God in His Mercy  .

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Yet another SCOOCH meeting in 2015 !!!

It is indeed with a sad heart that I  wake to see that in this land of North America where racial discrimination and partiality is not acceptable when the Standing Council of Oriental Orthodox Church meet that that the participants and Diocesan Bishops in North America of Orthodox Church in India and its Catholicate is excluded and alienated .

- A whole community founded on its Apostolic faith handed by none other than St. Thomas, that was constantly involved with OO Christian relations including its Catholicose of the East representing the Oriental Orthodox Council of Heads held in 1965 at Addis Ababa and its Theologians like Fr. V.C Samuel , many unknown lay persons struggling on a day to day basis this wonderful faith amidst distractions is excluded and alienated .

While the choice to closing our eyes and pretending not to see or turn the other way , Please remember that allowing this discrimination to continue is not only a wrong against the Children living now including my own children, but also against our Lord Jesus Christ and His Body that we proclaim as ' One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ' . Lord Have Mercy

March 17, 2015


Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday of the Crippled Woman , March 15, 2015

Sunday of the Crippled Woman

Readings St. Luke 13: 10- 17  , I Peter 3:8-16  , Romans 12: 1-15

"And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."

 It is the first time that it stuck me that crippled woman was at the Synagogue to be seen the Lord to be healed. Very often, we too have to come to stand in prayer and in the temple before God to be healed by Him . It is reminder to stand in prayer  even when not expecting a sudden reply or even when what we have come to ask may not be as expected by God to  have that expectation that all seeing God may yet have mercy upon us and heal us ,and touch us  as He did the crippled woman.

Wonderful how we need to focus and see the Epistle Reading that tells -
'Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:'Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing'
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers."
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
as well as the reading from Romans 12
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Another message that I have read or heard is how at this specific event in a specific moment in time when the Eternal God  willed to be incarnate in  His temple of the Old Israel, of the chosen people. He chose to make straight that was bend and  in His mercy continues to making straight all of creation through His Church  where He dwells in its fullness by His very presence . Like the rulers of the Synagogue ,we the custodians those baptised and  especially the Clergy called to serve chose to see only the legal implications and not see and glorify as the Crippled woman gave Glory to Him whom all Glory is due.  Our very birthright to which we are born gain as  ' Orthodox Christians' (' Christians who give 'Right Glory' )have reduced to become sectarian and  fallen short of our calling. Let us cry out and seek His Mercy that he may yet heal us and  through us heal this world, which has fallen short of what good it was created to be. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Remembering our Fathers - February 23, 2015

" We are never allowed to forget even in a small local church the presence of this great cloud of witnesses who share with us the life of the One Church. We remember at every Eucharist the departed as a whole, and especially the Apostles, great teachers, and spiritual leaders who have helped build up and protect the Church from error and deviation. It is not a law that we have to ask the Saints to intercede for us. We do it with great joy and genuine appreciation of their past and present role in the one Church of Jesus Christ."  - extract from St. Thomas Seminary, Nagpur  Webpage
Lest we forget -
  • Our father HG Makarios who served the Catholicate and the Holy Church including 46 years of his ministry to serve the Church in North America.
  • Our saint  Saint HG Geevarghese Mar Dionysius of Vattasseril
When asked at some time what was the mission field of his, Makarios Thirumeni told it is You - You the Future of the Church . May His prayers be with us . See below Final Message by HG Makarios ( 3 parts). It  was of the Church and its mission outside Kerala and India
See below last Kalpana by St. Dionysius
 As the Church is being persecuted by the evil one and his forces to bring disharmony from within the Oriental Orthodox Christian community, within the Catholicate and every Parish , Let us pray that through us the  evil  not spread and cry desperately with tears  our Lord's mercy ,so that even with our shortcomings He may use us for His Glory
May the Prayers of the Fathers to our Lord be our Strength
George Varghese
Calgary, Canada
February 23, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Scripture Readings - First Sunday after Danaha 2015

Evening : St.Mark1:14-34 , Morning : St.John1:18-28

Before Holy Qurbana : Genesis25:19-34,30:36-31:2 , IIKings5:1-14 ,Isaiah49:7-13

Holy Qurbana : Acts2:37-47 , Ephesians1:3-14 , St.Matthew4:12-22

1. Hymn after Gospel

There are no two such beautiful sisters like Holy Baptism and the true Church . The two has seen unseen vital secrets . One give delivery, the other makes to grow. Baptism create spiritual children from water. Church brings then near to God.

2. Excerpt from  Archibishop Lazar Puhalo 's thoughts in his book ' Not by Bread Alone'
(St. Matthew 4:1-12 )

"So let us , as we come to the River Jordan today, make of our hearts the Sea of Galilee, that the love which flows into us from God and the grace which flow into us from the Holy Spirit , will flow out of us again to embrace others and to water the earth with this life-bearing spring so that we can be light in the midst of darkness, so that we can bear life in the midst of death, so that the love and grace of God not die within us and we become like the Dead Sea. Let our hearts be opened and our souls rejoice in one another, even as we rejoice in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen !"


The Church calendar immediately points after  the Theophany of Christ the path of the martyrdom followed by St. John the Baptist and St. Stephen  while the Scripture reading points to Apostles and the early days after resurrection of Christ . It shows how the Lord adds to the Church at all times and the confidence and the guarantee of Baptism and sealed with the Holy Spirit to those who come to it.

In these times when the Church is faced with troubles from within , from even those who call themselves Christians and outside , May the Lord have mercy on us and Let us not stay away or prevent others from coming and being blessed by the Holy Spirit within the Church and grow to be a light to the world , Amen