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Glory and honor to the Father, Son, and Holy Spririt, one God for ever and ever.
This Sunday is known as "Children's Day" as we recall the birth of the last
major prophet of Old Testament times, St. John the Baptist. The readings for
this week remind us of the importance of children, how precious they are, and
what a great responsibility we have!
There are many important themes in this Gospel passage. Let me outline four
brief ideas we should keep in mind during this week.
1. The birth of St. John the Baptist represents the fulfillment of prophecy –
God keeps His promises to us and hears our prayers. We know the story of how
Zacharias and Elizabeth were both greatly aged and without children. Their
sincere prayer was that God would provide them a child. God did finally answer
their prayer. God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to Him – that
is the sign of true love. Do we possess that kind of love, where we can love
each other regardless of what is said or done to us? It takes a great deal of
humility and a heart of real love. We also have to remember that our prayers are
always heard by God if sincere, and will be answered
in His time and according to His will. St. John Chrysostom said, “Even if God
does not immediately give us what we ask, even if many people try to put us off
our prayers, let us still go on praying.”
2. Upon naming his son “John,” Zacharias’ tongue was loosed. When told by the
angel that he and Elizabeth would have a son, he was bewildered and confused. In
a sense, his faith waivered, if not only for a moment, and as a sign to himself
and those around him, he was
made mute until all had come to pass. Similarly, when we go through trials and
tribulations in life, we have to have the patience and faith of Job, who endured
allthat he could and lost all that he had, and yet remained faithful to God. Do
we have that kind of patience and faith? Because Job was faithful, he was
blessed with much more than he had originally. We too have to go through the
desert of despair before we can enter the land of milk and honey.
3. In verses, 67-79, we see an expression of the joy of Zacharias in what is
commonly called the “Benedictus.” In it, he offers praise to God for His grace
and redemptive acts. He also speaks of the role
his son, John, will play in preparing the way of the Messiah “to give knowledge
of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender
mercy of God…to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of
death.” (St. Lk. 1:77-78). Do we offer proper praise and thanksgiving to God
when we experience His grace and blessings? We receive a shower of blessings
each and every moment in life. Every day should be a day of thanksgiving.
4. “What kind of child will this be?” (St. Lk. 1:66) Any parent is filled with
wonder and awe at the time of the birth of a child. There are tears of joy and
also fear when thinking about the great
responsibilities of rearing a child, especially in our current time. Many of us
dream that our children will become great physicians and engineers; how many
dream of our children becoming faithful, repentent
Christians? We find time to take our children to sports’ practices, music
recitals, parties, and extra classes, but on Sunday mornings, we find it
difficult to take them to the church on time. We find it
difficult to teach them our faith and services. We find it difficult to
encourage them to be orthodox (maybe because we do not ourselves understand what
this term means). What kind of children and youth are we rearing?
Our world today has become less Christ-centered and more world-centered. Our
world today does not need God or Christ. It is even more critical that we
provide our children with a proper mindset from even an early age. We have to
teach our children about God, the Holy Church, Holy Tradition, and our moral and
spiritual responsibilities. “We are here to be changed by the Church, not to
change the Church,” said Very Rev. Michael Dahulich, Dean of St. Tikhon’s
Seminary, during seminary orientation. Is that true
for each of us? If it were so, would there be so much bickering and anguish at
our General Body meetings or in committee meetings? Would there be a need to cut
our services? We are here to be changed by the church – we are here to be
transformed and divinized, realizing the great potential that exists within us.
It all begins with a heart of confession and repentant tears. Are we ready for
such a transformation? During this time of lent, we have a great opportunity
for such a transformation.
May the joy and peace of that first Christmas be with us and transform us into
true Orthodox children of God.
With best wishes for a blessed, life-changing
Fr. George Mathew
This devotional message by the author was previously posted in ICON while he was
By fasting, let's set up some space in our hearts to receive our Lord Jesus
Christ who was born in the City of David for you and me some 2000 years ago.
I hope and pray that you would observe this lent in all seriousness and
Here is a Prayer to be said on the Nativity Lent.
"O our Lord Jesus Messiah, the Son of God who was born of Woman and had bruised
the head of the evil Serpent, and was seen as the son of Abraham on the earth
and had opened the doors of mercy for all generations of the world! Accept
this lent that we observe to the glory of the feast of thy nativity like the
offerings of the kings from the East. Together with the angels who adored thee
at Bethlehem on the day of thy condescension and with the humble shepherds who
bowed down before thee in their simplicity, make us worthy to offer Worship to
thy worthiness on the holy Christmas day. By thy enlightening light of truth,
on this ephemeral era of thy first advent in meekness, help us to live a life
adorned with the garments of light leaving aside all forces of darkness. Thus,
O our Lord and God! May we be risen up for eternal life on thy glorious second
coming and along with thy holy mother and all saints and angels to raise praises
to the majesty of the holy Trinity! Amen."
Wishing you every blessing of the Holy Christmas in advance!
With love and prayers,
George Achen, Ireland.
Our heartfelt condolences to our beloved Diascoros Thirumeni on the sad demise
of Thirumeni's beloved father Shri Mathai Panickar. May his soul rest in the
heavenly abode. May the Lord God Almighty console and comfort the bereaved
Very. Rev. John Thachamperil Cor-Episcopa and Family,
And all Members of St George Orthodox Church,
Jeedimetla, Hyderabad. Phone +919494945580.
Dear Members of Jacobite and Orthodox Church[es] in India.
Read my statement below and compare North/South Korean situation!
SBGOC, New Brunswick, NJ., USA
November 26, 2010
"In the interests of people in both <Jacobite and Orthodox in India> <countries
and their neighbors in Northeast Asia>, the World Council of Churches urges the
authorities in both <Jacobite and Orthodox groups>[North and South Korea] to
refrain from actions that exacerbate the tensions," Tveit said, calling for a
"return to peace negotiations that will lead to peaceful co-existence and mutual
respect". He added that the [governments of the two states] <Churches> should
"engage in a new process of confidence-building measures at the earliest
From: WCC media <noreply@...>
To: Mathew Chacko <talmi....>
Sent: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 6:10 am
Subject: WCC NEWS: Korea: WCC calls for return to peace negotiations
Contact: + 41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
WCC general secretary calls for return to peace negotiations on Korean peninsula
For immediate release: 26 November 2010
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Rev. Dr Olav Fykse
Tveit, has said that "force and military power will not resolve the problems" in
a 24 November statement issued as an expression of concern over tensions on the
The crisis erupted on Tuesday, 23 November, when cross-border artillery fire
killed several people on the South Korean-controlled Yeonpyeong Island.
Pyongyang accused South Korea of firing first. The Southern military said it had
conducted exercises but shelling was directed away from the North.
"In the interests of people in both countries and their neighbours in Northeast
Asia, the World Council of Churches urges the authorities in both North and
South Korea to refrain from actions that exacerbate the tensions," Tveit said,
calling for a "return to peace negotiations that will lead to peaceful
co-existence and mutual respect". He added that the governments of the two
states should "engage in a new process of confidence-building measures at the
earliest possible date".
The WCC Assembly, the council's highest governing body, is scheduled to meet in
Busan, South Korea in October 2013.
Full text of the general secretary's statement
WCC member churches in Korea
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The
WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of
Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
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"Good and evil deeds are the offspring of freedom. Where freedom is lacking, the
doing of [good and evil] deeds is superfluous with respect to receiving a
recompense. There is no recompense for what is natural. A reward is bestowed for
a conflict, and one does not speak of a victory where there is no struggle. When
opposition is taken away, freedom also vanishes with it. Henceforth nature has
no more struggle."
Saint Isaac the Syrian.
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the
truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32
Spiritual Health and Women
On the third Sunday of Annunciations in the preparation for Holy Nativity, Mary
visits Elizabeth and the Holy Spirit speaks. How honorable and blessed are these
women. Fr John Brian brings up the power of women using a verse from the
appointed reading of Proverbs:
"A wise woman builds her house; but the foolish tears it down with her own
Fr John Brian further discusses how this occasion is filled with spiritual
health, using the Signs of Spiritual Health attributed to Howard Clinebell, a
professor of pastoral counseling. Here are the signs.
You are spiritually healthy when:
1. You feel a sense of belonging
2. You are open to awe and wonder
3. You live with an attitude of hope
4. You have the ability to trust
5. You are able to show appreciation
6. You have a sense of purpose in your life
7. You have a sense of humor
This sermon lesson uses the readings and services appointed from the
Malankara Syrian lectionary and was given on Sunday, November 28, 2010 by Fr.
John Brian Paprock at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Chapel, Madison,
"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the
power of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7.
PODCAST OR DOWNLOAD all sermons: http://feeds.feedburner.com/frjohnbrian or
For more articles and sermons, visit www.Frjohbrian.blogspot.com
Rev. Fr. John Brian, Wisconsin
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Parish
621 N. Sherman Avenue, Suite B3
Madison, Wisconsin - Sundays 9:30am
608.242.4244 ~ transfiguration@...
Just like human computer is installed with deham, dehi, athmavu (body, mind and
soul) and work harmoniously for human salvation which is yet to be bloomed,
predestination, God's foreknowledge and human freewill is a subject that is
beyond the comprehensions of human perception and penetration. While the dictum
“character is destiny' formula that only justifies the justice system of a
glorious and Eternal God, predestination which God seemingly remote-control the
robot man like wanton boys destroying flies without mercy is a devilish mantra
that portrays the benevolent Creator as a despondent and ruthless dictator. The
impossibility of a God who doesn't interfere with human free will is a
precondition of man's creation because the Triune God of 3 personae doesn't
interfere within their own Trinitarian roles, the reason for creating man in the
image and likeness of God. Man is therefore free in doing anything; the only
consequence is that he who eats salt must drink water is the natural and
spiritual law that governs the universe. But we should shudder and tremble that
a God who doesn't harness the destiny of man has the foreknowledge of his
future make a very serious and complex dilemma that cannot be solved by any
human being. How can we escape from the prior knowledge of an omnipotent,
omnipresent and omniscient God, Ps.139? God says that His wrath runs on 4
generations and His blessings for 1000 years, Exo.20: 5-6.How can a person
wriggle out of such 4 generations when genetic qualities or curses haunt over
him for this period? King Hezekiah escaped from death for 15 years against
God's own decision due to his repentance and penitential prayers, but Judas
couldn't, though the warnings were given to him even at the 11th hour. Even
the robber on the right of Jesus was saved at the last moment, whereas the other
one missed the golden opportunity. Whether it was a genetic trait that was
implanted in the good robber's mind at the time of his birth that shown
mercy to child Jesus, while His parents were running to Egypt with the infant
child. The benevolent robber sacrificed his day's booty to the other robber as
a penalty, according to traditions, just for showing mercy to infant Jesus and
His parents while fleeing. God blessed Jacob in his mother's womb, whereas his
elder twin brother lost his birth right that goes in unison with God's
foreknowledge. Esau ate the soup at the expense of selling his birth right due
to his hunger. Jacob got blessing from his father by deceiving him, but Esau
lost his birthright due to his natural hunger which impelled to give up his
birth right, the lifeblood of one's existence in this world, so also is every
Christian to be with the Bride that gives salvation in afterlife. The duplicate
churches that have no right to feed the Body of Christ, because there is only
one Bride for Christ, is likely betraying Jesus' mission. We can argue that
both Esau and Jacob were God's puppets that go in tune with God's
foreknowledge. But God didn't ask Esau to sell his birthright; it was his own
fault. Why did he become a toy in Jacob's hands for a dish of soup? If God
takes the sole responsibility of creating every soul like Adam and Eve, he would
have created only the duplicates of the first parents, whereas the Lord gave
freedom to select from souls who have been waiting for taking their birth and
return to God. But when they come down to the earth here, they face the same
arch leader Lucifer who devotes his whole energy in seducing the soul that took
a neutral or impartial role in the epic War. Know that God who is totally
against predestination is so good because He gives freedom for choosing or in
selecting their own children. When will we know that predestination is a
declared war against God?
Just like king Hezekiah got 15 years more duration of his life due to his
repentance and submission by using his free will, Esau also could work against
God's foreknowledge and get the blessings of his father by pointing out
Jacob's treachery of deceiving his father. He who fights against the odds of
time and the vicissitudes of life win victory is the real crown receiver at the
end. The kingdom of God is to be conquered by force (repentance and sincerity of
purpose). There are only few people who worked against the tides of time and
willfully changed the foreknowledge of God. It needs probity and the strength of
will and determination to change the mind of God by shedding tears at the feet
of the Lord. Jacob proved it by fighting against the angel and acquired the
title ISRAEL later. Even Adam couldn't prevail the test. Father Abraham
bargained with God for saving his nephew Lot from the fire of Sodom. Genetic
forces are true for a certain period of time, but that again can be altered by
our will power and a conquering mind. The illegitimate birth of Abraham Lincoln,
the person who became a martyr in trying liberating the American blacks from
iron slavery, didn't prevent him in working for the Lord. Mary Magdalene who
proclaimed the resurrected Christ to the world was before haunted with 7 demons,
but such rare persons are the lodestars of mankind. Only the mountains face the
storm and maintain the natural order of preserving the shrubs and trees which
sleep at the valleys. While the majority of the mediocre live and die with their
genetic predispositions, inheritance, the valiant and the potential ones plough
through the rough surfaces of life in leading the humanity to a green pasture by
becoming an architect of time by imprinting their names in the annals of
history. “He who is born to be hanged cannot be drowned" is likely
applicable to the ordinary souls or spirits, while it seems that “character is
destiny"is the golden plaque to one who fight against the tides of time and
become a jewel in the eyes of God and the mediocrity. Character is destiny
is the golden rule which governs the fate of man. Good children to good parents
are the canons of life, Lk. 1: 6. Most of the birth or genetic labels can be
rewritten by becoming a fool for Christ, despite the congenital, means
conception time and birth care and nurture, characteristics or traits hang
around the whole life that hatch one's afterlife. This is why it is a mystery
of a universe that we dream that the created ones have no key to open and grab
the codified literature of this life or the life beyond the grave. One who
lubricates one's heart with tearful life of repentance and prayer for the
forgiveness of sins is likely to absorb some fragmentary truths by being
crucified with Christ.
(The delay of my response is due to the inaccessibility of a computer, as I am
in a different location now because of my mother's sickness that led to her
death and our lamentation)
Click the site www.lightoflife.com and read the topic Predestination that is
posted in May, 2005. For your quick reference see the attachment.
E. S. John, Australia
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We extend our deepest condolences to our beloved Diascoros Thirumeni and his
family on the deepest grief on the death of his father. We pray to the Almighty
God to give you courage, strength and support.
And all Parish Members of St.Mary's Orthodox Cathedral,
Portblair,Andaman & Nichobar
Expressing our deepest condolences to Thirumeni and other family members on the
sad demise of their beloved father. May his soul rest in peace.
Babu Mulamoottil, Muscat
"Prayer offered to God in truth is imperishable. Now and then we may forget what
we have prayed about but God preserves our prayer forever."
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world
you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Today (3rd of December)there was a very grand function organized in
Thiruvananthapuram to felicitate the new Catholicos. The function was very well
organized (beautifully and thoughtfully) and was followed by the Christmas
Celebrations of the diocesan churches (parishes). It was all very good and I
personally was very happy to be there and see our Catholicos even if from a
distance and was reassured by his seeming strength. The celebrations which
followed were also good and the kind organizers gave us packed food to take
home. This was fine because many like myself would have come straight from the
office and the function went on to almost 10.00 PM.
Ommen Chandi, Sashi Taroor, O Rajagopal. The Imam of Palayam Mosque, Alexander
Karaakal, Mr Joseph Mundasserry, Bishop Susa Pakkiam etc were some of the
esteemed persons who attended the function.
I pray that the leadership of His Holiness would be long, happy and blessed .
One thing that struck me there- One apparent outsider, from another state -kept
asking the man who sat next to me- Is this Bishop Basselios? My neighbor tried
to answer but it was clear that Basselios and Malankara meant Mar Ivanios
College , Mar Basselios Engineering College (Syro Malankara Catholics). When he
was told that this Church was born out of the Orthodox, he asked if we were
Marthoma. Again he was told that Marthoma came from Orthodox. He was again
puzzled for he had never heard of Malankara Orthodox. He asked if this was only
a Thiruvananthapuram Church. I told him that just like Greek Orthodox and
Russian Orthodox, we are Malankara Orthodox. He was still puzzled.
How is it that even after 2000 years, no one knows about the Orthodox? Is it a
good thing or a bad thing or of no effect that we are strangers to most?
How can we make ourselves as well as our neighbors better acquainted with the
Malankara Orthodox Church?
HOW & WHY SHOULD WE PREPARE?
Glory be to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. One true God.
Every day we prepare ourselves for lot of things:
We prepare our body for a good look. (Powder, lipsticks,color the face, hair,
polish the nails etc. etc.)
We prepare our body for strength. ( Eat well, vitamins, organic foods,
Exercise, medications etc. etc)
We prepare to increase our knowledge. ( Go to school/College, training, BS,MS,
Ph.D, etc.etc. , become experts.)
This is all good and we do need them. But aren’t we all forgetting to prepare
for a much greater/important preparation.
What is that?
That is what we heard in today’s(12/5/2010) reading of the Gospel.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go
before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
You shall go before Him to prepare His ways. Prepare to receive Him.
Now, as we celebrate the first Advent ( Arrival/Coming) of our Lord, Let us
prepare our soul/spirit to receive Him. (Jesus the Christ.)
How should we prepare?
Luke Ch 1:80.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the
day of his shewing unto Israel.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the
grace of God was upon him.
Let us strengthen our soul/spirit.
How can we achieve that? How can we strengthen our soul?
And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes
and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and
keep, and do them.
That is : Listening, Learning & Obeying.
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are
cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that
thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring
forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the
LORD shall be thy reward.
That is when we get the authority to overcome evil/Satan., worldly temptations.
It is by His authority vested (settled/ absolute/clothed) in us that we can stop
Satan/ Evil and other worldly temptations.
The 18 wheeler Truck stops at the sign of the police officer. It is not his
strength but his authority ( his Badge/ His uniform) that made the truck stop.
So, be prepared, Wear the Uniform and show the authority.
What is the Uniform that strengthens the spirit?
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand
in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the
breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all
the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
So, the more prepared we are, the more authority we will receive, the more
strong our spirit will be.
What does He say about those prepared people?
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went
in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
What about the unprepared people?
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Friends, Don’t be the one who will be shut out. Don’t be the one who will be
late. Don’t be the one who is unprepared. Instead be the one that is with Him,
Be early, Be prepared.
Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer;
Let your life SHINE and that light should guide others.
May the lord richly and abundantly bless us and guide us.
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We extend our deepest condolences to our beloved Diascoros Thirumeni and
his family on the deepest grief on the death of his father. We pray to
the Almighty God to give you courage, strength and support.
Vicar & Members
St. George Orthodox Church
His Grace Dr.Yuhanon Mar Demetrios ,co-metropolitan of Delhi Diocese,observed
that true peace is not something that can be easily possessed or
comfortably achieved but is attained by overcoming strife through
justice,fairness and truthful perseverance with unfailing faith, in which
process one aligns with and pleases God. Quoting from Luke 2:14 "Glory to God
in the highest,and on earth peace to men on WHOM HIS FAVOUR RESTS",HG said God
preferred to offer Peace to whom He is well pleased.('Bhoomiyil
Sampreethiyullavarkku Samadhanam').God favored the very simple and
straightforward shepherds and offered them His Peace through the Angel.HG said
Peace even like Grace is God's sweet reward and gift and is secured by battling
strife through the weapon of faithful persevering prayer.HG said a continuous
strife is in place between the 'soul' and 'body'of a faithful individual and
with faithful wrestling between evil dominated body and God seeking soul,victory
over evil and peace is achieved.
HG Mar Demetrios was giving the keynote speech at the 16th OCYM United Arab
Emirates Zonal conference at Saint Thomas Cathedral,Dubai on Thursday the 2nd
December on the theme 'Dialectics of Peace'.('Samadhanathinte
Vairudhyadhmakatha' or Paradox of faith)
Being the UAE National Day holiday,HG congratulated the UAE rulers and the
residents and wished a Blessed 39th National Day observance and festival.
HG Mar Demetrios conveyed the Blessings and heartily Greetings of HG Job Mar
Philoxinoes,the Delhi diocesan Senior Metropolitan.
Mr.Shabu.S.who is the Head of News division at Dubai's Hit FM 96.7 Radio gave a
touching insight to the life and challenges of the 'Expatriate Life'.
Dr.Manojkumar of Herbal Treatment Centre,Dubai who is a Medical Physician and
Ayurvedic Doctor, gave a detailed talk on addictive elements and prevailing
worldly and materialistic tendancies.An "Anti-Addiction Pledge" was also taken
by the youth.
Mr.Shobin Philip Koshy led a debate on whether Church should 'get involved in
Politics or not'.
There was an Art Gallery as well as an Anti Addiction pictorial exhibition that
UAE Zonal President Rev.Fr.Aju Abraham presided over the meeting.Rev.Fr.Biju P
Thomas,Vicar gave Introductory address and Rev.Fr.Pathrose Joy welcomed the
gathering. Mr.Rinu Thomas,Zonal Secretary,Mr.John P John,Dubai Unit Vice
President and Manoj Thomas ,Secretary Dubai Unit also spoke.Mr.Marydasan
Thomas,Secretary,Saint Thomas Orthodox Cathedral and Mr.Thomas George,Secretary
GCC of OCYM offered felicitations. Priests and delegates numbering over 500 from
various emirates took part in the conference which was reviewed and concluded in
the evening by HG Mar Demetrios.
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Instead of going for a unilateral confidence building, why cant it be a
bilateral talk across the table. My feeling is, this is where the orthodox
church fails . By going unilateral . Post 95 your Mathews Second Catholicos
made the worst blunder of appointing a joint committee comprising of people from
both factions, without discussing with the Jacobite leadership. The SC had
clearly accepted the fact of two factions in the church. Yours was only one
among them. There was no God - given or SC given importance to your faction.
But still your Kitchen Cabinet in Devalokam made your own Catholicos to do that
mistake. Finally what happened? On the one side that committee didn't even meet
once and on the other hand the parish churches belonging to the Jacobite faction
upped their antenna against a possible repeat of 58.
Georgy, your CBM's wont work as of now. The first step you have said is to call
our priests for sacraments in your church, and that he should come with a letter
from our diocesan bishop.
Firstly our priests should agree for that. If at all somebody agrees,how he will
get a letter from the bishop. Most probably the answer may be something like
this " Achen avide koodiko".
Second step you have suggested is for your priests to conduct sacraments in our
church. How is it possible?? We cannot accept any sacraments from your priests.
Our hands are tied on that issue. You very well know that. As long as the
Excommunication bull of Patriarch HH Yacub the third is in force how can we do
that. For us to do that, the Excommunication bull needs to be withdrawn first.
But once that bull is withdrawn your CBM's are applicable not only in outside
kerala, but inside kerala, brahmavar and north america!!!! And the whole issue
Georgy, how long this great tom and jerry show can continue? For decades that
cat and mouse had been entertaining billions of children and for the coming
decades too that will happen.At times we see either of them with bodyfull
bandages (court orders!!!). But nothing will happen to them. They will still
be running around with their weapons ranging from spoon to dynamite.
Don't you feel that both the churches are cutting a very sorry figure in front
of the general public. Already the political, civil and police machinery are
fed up with our issues. The civil and police machinery in Ernakulum rural
district by now would have started their preparations for their annual ritual in
alwaye by now. Preparing the prohibitory orders, barricades, lathis, water
cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, original bullets, guns etc etc for their
assistance. All in the name of church case. Imagine the people of that town ( my
sister lives there) being crippled for a week with prohibitory orders, just
because we cant work out a settlement among ourselves. When we are sharing
almost 30/35 churches peacefully for our sacraments, what holds us back from
doing the same in alwaye.
The same is applicable to judiciary also. From lowest court to High court the
judiciary is fed up with the church case. From whatever little association I
have with church case I can vouch for that.
Starting from CJ Kripal in 2002 in SC, many a judges in kerala high court have
voiced it many a times.
Do you know one thing. At least half of the serving judges in kerala high court
excuses themselves from hearing the church case. They will simply tell the bench
clerk 'avoid' when a church case comes up in front of them. The case then
returns to the registry, which then finds another bench for that case.
Some months back one of the serving judges in high court literally blasted both
the churches left and right in open court when a church case came before him.
What he told was that if he hears church case, he is becoming part of a criminal
wastage of public money. When common man with his issues are bogged down due to
the slowness of courts, here are certain people with money, importing big guns
from delhi and taking judiciary for a ride.
The recent high court direction is not something new. Only thing is that till
now it was said in open court, but now it has come in black and white.
So, from judiciary to civil to law enforcement agencies, they are all fed up
with our deeds. We are in a cross road from 95. In my feeling there are only two
options for ending the issues.
1.Unity after a negotiated settlement.( Very best but probably next to
impossible as of now)
2.Parting of ways as two sister churches. ( Best and easiest way out of the
If there is somebody out there who still thinks of 95 SC and 2002 SC, sorry sir
I am not there for an argument, you can live in your own fancy little world.
St George Jacobite Syrian Church, Arakunnam
A Reflection on the Gospel Reading for the Coming Sunday.
How to solve family problems- Joseph an example
Joseph and Mary had just got betrothed and were looking forward to beginning a
new family soon. But even before they got together, a big crisis erupted between
them. Joseph is told that Mary is with a child! One can imagine the emotional
tsunami of a husband in waiting under such circumstances. He must felt betrayed,
broken and totally confused and even angry. This was an open violation of a
Joseph could have reacted very emotionally and gone public. The consequence
would have been fatal for young Mary since according to the custom of the day,
such women had to be stoned to death. As any normal man Joseph also would have
gone through the turmoil of emotions but he being a just man, did not act
immediately as a reaction. Instead, he chose the path of pro-action. Namely,
weigh the fact not only emotionally but spiritually and in mature manner. This
is the difference between reaction and pro-action. The first gives a temporary
emotional satisfaction of revenge, but does not in any way help to solve the
It is worth posing and reflecting on the manner Joseph the just man faced a
crisis in spousal relationship. He reflected much and must have prayed a lot.
Then he waited on the Lord for some clarity. He knew that one should not act
when in an emotionally disturbed and angry state of mind. Also, he thought about
the plight of Mary first rather than his emotional hurt and legitimate right. In
other words, he had love in his heart. He thought to himself: “if I go public it
will have tragic consequences for young Mary and therefore I will secretly
cancel our betrothal”. (Mathew I: 19). It is only just that he could not marry
her since she was with child from an unknown source. This is a typical case of
what we call today as win-win method of transaction.
Because Joseph waited on Lord, He sent an angel in his dream and revealed the
truth about Mary. (Mathew 1:20). Of course, when he woke up he had to make hard
decision of faith in the virgin birth like the rest of us do to this day. It is
the very basis of our Christian faith. He believed and acted. Thus he took Mary
as his wife. This was a bold consequential action for which perhaps the society
must have despised him for the rest of his life. However, he brought blessings
on himself, Mary and the whole humanity. Think of the tragic consequences if
Joseph had acted rashly! Mary together with the child would perhaps been stoned
to death. This is a great example of how families should approach crises: pray,
reflect, wait on the Lord, believe in angels and make decisions based on faith
Sr. Deena, O.S.M.
About the Author:
Reverend Sister Deena is the Mother Superior at the Convent of Bethlehem St.
Mary, Njaralloor, Kizhakkambalam, Kerala. The Sisters of the Bethlehem Monastic
Community of Malankara Orthodox Church will soon celebrate 75th year of its
founding. To learn more about the Convent, please visit:
It is my humble request to the prayer warriors in our holy church to compile a
set of prayers (Special liturgies for Nativity Lent, Shleeho Lent, Shoonoyo
Lent similar to the one which we have for the Great Lent and Nineveh Lent). I
believe that our well -beloved Irenious thirumeni and Dr. K.M. George achen can
do something creative for this cause.
It has always been my opinion that we must discourage the practice of carolling
during the Lent time so that it may not affect the Lent observance adversely.
I opine that the right time for carolling is between Christmas and the New Year
or Danaha which is more logical. Carolling means a divine practice of carrying
the message of Christmas in tandem with the angelic heralding at the time of
the birth of our Lord as we read in the gospel of Saint Luke chapter 2: verses
7-16. But I am sorry to say that it has now become an abominable practice in
the holy Church, made it into a farce with the sole purpose of merrymaking and
moneymaking in most of the parishes. It is a pity that the Santa Claus has now
been made into a buffoon character in many places. Santa Claus originally was a
bishop in the holy Church (Saint Nicholas). Had we ever thought of this saintly
bishop, we would never have shown such irreverence.
Anyway, let's pray and try to uphold the true practices of the Holy Church as
far as possible.
God bless us,
with love and prayers,
George Achen, Ireland.
Last week the visual media again celebrated the dirty & uncivilised incident
happened at Kayamkulam in respect of the funeral of one of the ordinary
faithful. Some people used the occasion of the passing away of a very ordinary
faithful to play church politics . They used the occasion to disrupt road
traffic in the main road for half an hour along with the Dead Body(he should be
an extremely poor person with no one to look after,then only someone could take
courage to use the occasion of his death to create such a dirty public scene).
The whole civilized society got frightened on the scenes happened on the street
through media. There are many letters to the editor getting on this incident in
the print media. TN Gopakumar's "KANNADI" can celebrate one more episode
successfully using this incident in ASIANET.It seems the demand of these
uncivilized group of personnel was to allow a Patriarchese side priest to enter
the Orthodox Church cemetery to conduct the funeral services (which is probably
against the court orders).
The net result is because of such isolated incidents, the general public has
started hating christians as a whole(irrespective of whether Jacobite or
Orthodox or marthomite or Catholic). In a way we are getting trapped in to such
situations and there is a need to be cautious with bold initiatives, knowing
well the intentions of such uncivilized elements in the society.
Can the wise Church leadership make a bold direction that, when anyone tries to
perpetuate such dirty incidents using Dead Bodies etc, just ignore them and
allow the law to take its course later. Nothing is going to happen to the
society, if a Priest of the opposite faction enter a cemetery and conduct
Mad people can do anything, they have nothing to loose, but the civilized
society will lose everything, if we allow such incidents to occur again and
again. Hope the Church Leadership will open their eyes to the realities and
tries to be more wiser for future !!!
Please find attached the photos of the Delhi Diocese annual OCYM conference
held in Chandigarh.
In His Name,
Ninan Philip Achen, Chandigarh
"HH Mar Thoma Paulose II,the Catholicose of the East, has exhorted all the
churches to mark December 5th,the Birthday of John the Baptist, as Childrens
Day of the Holy Church, and conduct special prayers for children of the Church
on that day.
HH directed that on that day churches should allow children from Sunday School
to address the congregation after the Church Service.
As the Church is conducting the anti addiction trimonthly "U-Turn" campaign,HH
has requested the churches to conduct special prayers on December 5th for
persons who have become habituated to drinks,drugs and other addictive
elements.(Ref: St.Luke Ch I Verse 15 on John the Baptist)."
Dear Dr.Vinu Thomas,
5th December is not the birthday of John the baptist; it is only a gesture of
observing the previous religious incidents before Jesus' birth. According to the
church calendar, we remember this as an event of the birth of the herald, a
prelude to the great event of Christ's birth. The herald's birth, not birthday,
we observe in June, prior to 6 months before the birth of Christ. If you say it
as the birthday of John the Baptist, it is not correct. If I write more about
this issue, the moderators' won't post my message. We provide or celebrate the
sacraments irrespective of age, sex, status or position. Sunday school, martha
mariamSamajam, youth group(spiritual organizations), parish day etc are expected
to be observed by each parish according to their parish convenience.
Fragmentation of the parish as each group in the holy church is a copy of the
political culture, the reasons for group therapy decadence.
we don't have to copy the advertisements and therapies for drug, smoking,
epicurianism, etc of the secular set up. The use of pulpits, religious
convention centres, etc are meant for such spiritual therapies. The loss of fear
of God and the fear of man are the root causes for such social evils that are to
be eradicated by spiritual therapies. The Utopian dream of freedom and liberty
that has uprooted the family and societies and communities are the parasites
that scavenge upon the global society at large.
Response to http://icon.org.in/php/playVideo.php?id=973
Dear George Thomas,
We have a video on the history of the Malankara Orthodox Church on ICON's
website that talks about the churches that were founded by St. Thomas and his
ministry. Please visit
Best wishes for your pilgrimage.
--- In IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com, George Thomas, Hong
> We are planning for a pilgrimage to India and intend to visit all the seven &
Arajan's churches founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle of India. Can anyone help
with any relevant material available on the Ministry of the Apostle including
the history of these churches? (Books, websites etc). Information if any may be
posted in the ICON website or mailed to my email id: basuvi@ netvigator.com
Indian Christian Orthodox Network - ICON
This is in continuation to the article regarding funeral of a christian brother
in Kayamkulam Orthodox Church's Cemetery.
There are dirty politics played whenever possible by few people who's job is
only that. We know the fact that troubles in many parishes are started and
wishfully maintained by five or six people. This will damage the message of
Christianity itself. In most cases we may be compelled by the situation to
indulge in such uncouth activities in public. This being the case, the Church
can take a decision that it will go only by legal methods. Our Church should
instruct the parishes that court orders should be strictly adhered to. If one
group is acting against it, we should go to court and should not fight against
it in the street showing our srength which will tarnish the basic ethos of
Christianity itself among others.
Can the Church Leadership take a strong view regarding this to avoid
sreet-fights as it happenns once in a while? We restrain ourselves from taking
responsibility of keeping 'low and order' by ourselves. Can we go for it,
knowing that it is a very difficult decision?
Why not we leave this to Police and Judiciary instead of figting it out in the
Indeed it is a great tragedy that the faction fight in the Kerala orthodox
Church has reached its zenith by disrespecting the body of a faithful. In our
Holy Eucharist we say, "The Body and the Blood of Your Only-begotten Son is
concealed in their organs," This is why the Church teaches that not only the
mortal remains but also the place (cemetery) where they rest need be revered.
Regardless of faction interest in mind I must insist that there is no need to
hair-split the court order. It is already implied when the court allowed both
parties to conduct burials in the cemetery that the priest shall do the
rites. Who does not know the basic belief and tradition that without a priest no
burial shall be complete and valid? It is simple logic and perfectly in order
if a funeral party insisted that their priest should do the rites at the
cemetery. Those who created problems are offenders and they must be identified
and punished to the full extend of law to save a bad name to the church. No one
has yet forgetten the Trivandrum incident where the image of the church was
tarnished. Both faction leaders, I expect to issue a policy statment, and order
the members to behave, identify the culprits and restore the social peace.
I wonder where from these people who quarrel at the funerals, pro or against,
burial of a faithful were taught human values!
This is one of the main huddles in the way of unity. My contention is that no
civilized person would do such a heartless cruelty.
Last time when I visited Kerala I spoke to some of my intimate childhood
friends, about the exigency of unity in the church and the meaninglessness of
fights. My friend who was real earnest in his approach and thoroughly opposed to
unity, told me, "How can we go together with those scoundrels who have created
problems, fight, and police, throw away the coffin, etc at the burial of our
beloved dad?" He had a lot of stories to tell me of blocking the cemetery,
attacking the pal-bearers, the priests and so on. In most cases the problem
makers were from the same blood lineage and erstwhile close allies, all in the
name of "thrones". I visited a close friend and well-wisher right from my
student life long ago. He did not disrespect me, heard a patient hearing and
cautioned me to talk in low voice fearing someone may hear and attach. When
I left, as usual, he accompanied me to the road. There were some neighbors
standing on the veranda of a shop on the
other side of the road, at audible distance; all were keenly paying attention
to my talks with a gazed look. As I distanced about a hundred feet, he in his
full voice shouted to the next neighbor also my friend, who was standing on the
road, "He (did not even mind to say "achen" about me) is a "Chamcha of Nicholas,
the traitor." Many old friends looked at me with contempt and refused to talk to
me. My brother was in fact a bit concerned to accommodate me a day or
two fearing untoward incident. No one had anything to talk about the
unity. 'Unity' for them was the most hated words, but had a lot to talk about
Next Sunday I went to a nearby Orthodox parish to celebrate Holy Quorbono as was
arranged earlier. In fact, thought of taking membership there because my
membership in my native parish has been cut off for obvious reasons. The
secretary and two committee members were my collage mates/classmates and
they were much happy to give me membership. But the vicar took a vindictive
attitude and one old family friend of my elder brother flatly told on my face,
"We will not believe you. You pathrikese people are coming to grab our church;
we shall not let it happen, etc." This is the plight of a priest who opted for
'so-called' unity. My own parish denied me opportunity to conduct prayer or
"Doopam" at the tomb of my parents, yet I am not discouraged.
Most attendees were my former colleagues or close to my family. Some of them
shared the same stories after the service, as the other side friends shared.
Thus both parties have a common grievance. There is no other issue more
sensitive than this, and it is very hard to forget. I cast the whole blame on
the so called "spiritual leaders on both sides," who transformed the members
militants to fulfill their own vindictive ends. I do not think there is a more
savageous act than to desecrate the corpse and create problem at the funeral.
Whoever might be behind, they are the servants of evil and sons of Satan.
The duty of the faithful on both sides is to identify such criminals and cast
them out, that is the only way to get rid of all fights and achieve unity;
however impractical and illusory it may be.
Pray for the criminals also. Love,
Thank you and God Bless you,
This has reference to the message by respected George Achen, Ireland:
My thoughts are summarized below:
Christmas, Caroling and Creating Memories
Christmas always brings in nostalgic memories. When I was a Sunday School
student back in Kerala, our Sunday School always organized door to door
caroling. I wanted to join the carolers, but there was a time when I was not
allowed to join due to my young age. My friends and I had to wait until we were
of certain age, like ten years or so. When we met the age requirement, all of
our friends went together for caroling. None of us knew the theology behind the
caroling, nor did we care to learn at that time. Nevertheless, we trusted in
the wisdom of the elders who organized it. We loved singing the homemade parody
songs created in popular tunes and accompanied by drums, we loved visiting
families in our community, and we loved eating whatever food and snacks they
offered. Even though those families including non-Christians had to wake up in
the middle of the night, they welcomed us warmly. Unpaved roads (or no access
roads at all) or hilly terrain never deterred us since caroling was always fun.
Of course, it was more fun than learning the church history in Sunday School
In reflection, I think about the impact of such memories on our relationship to
our Church. When we work together, sing together and pray together, we are in
fellowship with each other. (‘Fellowship’ means ‘all fellows in one ship’!)
The bonds we create during our fellowship are so strong that we always want to
be associated with Church. Church becomes the common thread that binds us
together and helps nurture relationships with our brethren. Today, many youth
including teenagers are regular attendees, and are active in our parishes.
However, as they get older, their attachment fades. That does not necessarily
mean less religious equals less spiritual. In fact, I see many of our
youngsters are more spiritual, ethical, caring and responsible than many in
their parents’ generation who attend Church regularly. Yet, the fact is that
many youngsters do not enjoy attending church like their parents. This is a
challenge facing every parish and every parent including me. How can we make
church more attractive to our youngsters?
When a parish helps to build relationships among its members, the participation
of members will increase. If we cannot build relationship with our neighbors,
how can we build a relationship with our unseen Father in heaven? Strong
relationship will lead to positive memories. Positive memories create long
lasting loyalty and commitment to the Church.
Caroling is a time-tested tradition announcing the good news of the birth of the
Savior. Caroling is one more opportunity to work together, sing together and
pray together. If Santa Claus can bring cheer to a child or to an adult, let
Santa Claus continue to be a part of caroling. If caroling is one more
opportunity for the parish members to visit a family (new or old, sick or
healthy), and show that they care, why not support it? It is a reality that
nowadays, fundraising has become an integral part of caroling. However, caroling
is much more than fundraising. It should be about sharing the good news of the
arrival of the savior. It is about the celebration of the ordinary people
(shepherds) and the wise men rejoicing together at the birth of their Savior.
Let our parishes be the centers to create lasting memories in our children and
-Oommen Kappil, Philadelphia
Dear George Achen,
Your comment on Christmas carol and lent observance has a point. But imagine
a Christmas without Christmas carol singing?? How can we sing carol or
celebrate after Christmas? That would not make any sense. Christmas is a
time of joy and celebration not only for Christians but for the whole world.
Knowingly or unknowingly, millions of non-Christians also celebrate
Christmas due to one reason or other and carol singing and Santa Claus are
inherent part of such celebrations. Any event celebrated on such global
scale will have some misuses but better to ignore them or if possible
educate them through these and other forums.
Reji Varughese, Abu Dhabi
A quick update on where we are with the REAP 2010: We have made lot of
progress in the last couple of weeks and have obtained pledges for 62
students as of today. Our sincere thanks to all our helping hands.
Having said that. we have a long way to go to care for all the students for
the year and we are looking for more helping hands. If you can, please pick
a student from the available students at
One of the frequently asked questions is about the amount that is needed to
partially sponsor the education of a student.
Answer: The Donor can decide any amount they would like to offer to the
student. If the donor is looking for guidance, our recommended amounts for
the entire year are as follows:
for Plus 1/Plus 2 : $50-$70 (INR 2000-3000)
for B.Sc, B.A, M.A/BCA : $70-100 (INR 3000-4000)
for Nursing/Engg : $125-$250 (INR 5000 - 10000)
Thank you for considering the REAP project. Please help us to help these
students realize their dream of higher education. Can we count on you...
for the volunteers of ICON Charities.
OKR Sunday School Day
"Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God
belongs to such as these."
Sunday school, our primary educational ministry, lays the foundation for a
childâ€™s spiritual upbringing. It takes care of the spiritual nurturing of the
children, by bringing them up in the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus Christ
and His Church. The aim of the Sunday School is to help children of our church
lead a meaningful life by introducing true orthodox Christian faith, values,
practices and teachings in their early days. We have got a pivotal role in
bringing up the children in true faith and in bearing witness of Christ Jesus.
As this year the Sunday School Day of OKR (Outside Kerala Region) falls on
today, Sunday 5th December, let us humbly submit all our teachers and children
and pray for them.
Lijo Paul - Mumbai
District Court: After years of litigation, the District court orders to open
the church to conduct service.
MOSC: Obeys the court order, collects the key and make arrangements to clean
the church for conducting service.
MJS'C'C: Goes to high court to stall the order and to prevent from
High Court: Upholds District Court order and allows service to be conducted
At Kollencherry Church: Holy Qurbana was conducted on 5th December 2010 by
MOSC. Ordinary faithful from both the factions attended the service and went
home peacefully after a small love feast.
Balance Sheet: MJS'C'C lost a few lacs for moving the high court to prevent
the service and created more hatred between the factions.
Once again the fake enthusiasm of MJS'C'C to open closed churches under the
pretext of peace is revealed.
Structural condition of the church building: Not encouraging, needs urgent
maintenance work and a coat of paint. Will take a week or two of serious
work to finish. But if MOSC attempts for that, there will be blood shed and
will again be closed, so their hands are tied. Let us pray to Lord Almighty
to lighten the hearts of those adamants preventing it.
Does the following prophecy of Haggai have a message for us?
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not
yet come to rebuild the LORD's house.'
Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: "Is it a time for
you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains
Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways.
You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough.
You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm.
You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go
up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I
may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. "You expected much,
but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away.
Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a
ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house..............
Philip Ayyamplackal, Auckland
Mar Coorilos urges Orthodox youth to prioritize Godly ways
By Liju Cherian
BANGALORE â€“ The Orthodox Christian Youth Movement (OCYM) and Mar Gregorios
Orthodox Christian Student Movement (MGOCSM) organised a one-day annual
conference and seminar for the youth of Bangalore Orthodox Church at the St
Baselios Orthodox Church, Anand Nagar, Marathahalli on November 27th.
MGOCSM President and Bombay Diocesan Metropolitan His Grace Geevarghese Mar
Coorilos in his presidential address urged the youth to give significance to God
and to give priority to the Lord in each oneâ€™s life. New Bangalore Diocese
Metropolitan His Grace Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim who presided over the conference
said the Orthodox youth must present itself to the present day needs of the
The theme of the conference was on St Mathew 17:4â€¦Lord, it is good for us to
His Graces Mar Coorilos and Dr Mar Seraphim led the sessions along with Jacob
Mathew from Malaysia.
Rev Â Fr Abraham Thomas from the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam who
delivered the key note address stressed on the importance of correlating
spiritual life with each individualâ€™s daily life. Rev Fr Saji Daniel, Vice
President, Youth Movement, welcomed the gathering.
The Bangalore Youth Choir led the choir session while St George Orthodox Youth,
Indiranagar emerged winners in the Annual Quiz Competition.
The Youth Executive Committee took charge with the formal induction of the five
Joint Secretaries. Youth Movement General Secretary Ajith Mathew George proposed
the vote of thanks.
Youth delegates from Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Secunderabad, Mysore, Tumkur and
Bangalore participated in the conference.
Vicars from all the parish churches in Bangalore who took part include Rev Fr T
K Thomas Corepiscopa (Diocesan Secretary), Rev Fr John Thomas Corepiscopa, Rev
Fr Skariah Mathew, Rev Fr K M Jacob, Rev Fr Saji Daniel and Rev Fr Varghese P
Earlier, on November 26, the Bangalore Orthodox Convention, Meltho 2011, was
held at the St Baselios Orthodox Church in the presence of His Grace Dr Mar
Pictures by Rahul Cherian, Bangalore
3 of 3 Photo(s)
"The purer the heart is, the larger it is, and the more able it is to find room
within it for a greater number of beloved ones; whilst the more sinful it is,
the more contracted it becomes, and the less number of beloved can it find room
for, because it is limited by self-love, and that love is a false one..."
St. John of Kronstadt.
"A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart."
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