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Thank you everyone who helped, one way or other, to raise $8,759 for Rheamol for
her cancer treatment. Rheamol’s family members are grateful and humbled by the
support received from community members unknown to them. You walked the talk -
that deserves a BIG Thank You!
In a simple and brief function to be held at Bangalore aramana next Tuesday,
July 5th, at 6pm, the diocesan metropolitan HG Abraham Mar Seraphim, along with
parish vicar Fr. Iype Alex will hand over the money collected ($8,759) to the
child and family.
If you are from Bangalore area or can attend the function, please do so. For a
family going through a tough phase, it will be a big re-assurance and comfort
that so many of us are concerned for their well being. This can also be a good
opportunity to interact with Metropolitan Mar Seraphim and give feedback
regarding the challenges and opportunities that lie before the Bangalore
Rheamol is still under medical care and supervision. All of your prayers are
requested for her speedy recovery.
Ps: If this is news to you, please check http://www.icon.org.in/rm/page1.php to
know more about her story.
This is intended to inform those who are going for summer vacation in Kerala.
During the first Wednesday of every month,there is ABHAYAM intercession prayer
through St.Mary at Kallooppara St. Mary's Church. It is a blessed occassion that
starts at 10 am and concludes at 1.15 pm with nercha kanji. A lot of people,
including me, testify being blessed through this intercession prayer. Please
prepare yourself and attend this ABHAYAM prayer and experience the blessings
through St. Mary.
The nercha kanji booking until April,2013 is already booked. K.S.R.T.C special
buses (Kallooppara Pally) are available from Thiruvalla and Mallappally bus
stations on 1st Wednesday of every month. If you are in need of any further
information please contact the Vicar Rev. Fr. Gigi [Mob. No. 00919447415730], a
Wish you all the blessings through intercession of St. Mary!
George Zachariah, Abu Dhabi
Recently I received a wedding invitation from one of my friends and it stated
that his marriage will be solemnized in St. George Forane Church. This was the
first time I came across the term 'Forane'. So, I started googling and found
that the search results were either showing websites or wikipedia entries of
some Catholic and few Knanaya churches in Kerala. However, I could not find a
place where I could get the meaning of the term or the history of the same.
Please let me if you know some details about it; I'm just curious.
Sudhin Chandy V., St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Broadway, Chennai
(currently in Cincinnati, OH)
Forane is derived from the Old Latin "Foras" meaning "Outside".
A Forane parish is the seat of a Vicar Forane or Vicar Foraneus which is same as
the more commonly used Vicar General.
This position is similar to the position of Proto-Syncellus in the Eastern
Churches and functionally similar to the position of Cor Episcopos.
A Vicar Forane is defined as a priest who with and by the appointment of the
Bishop exercises limited jurisdiction over the clergy of a district in the
diocese, which is located "Outside" and thus at some distance away from the
A Vicar Forane is thus the dean of the clergy in a particular area.
Latin Dioceses outside of Kerala and the Syro Malabar Church no longer use the
title of Forane Parishes.
In the Syro Malabar Church today, many vicars of Forane parishes no longer act
as Deans of the area's clergy.
Glory to God!
Most Respected & Dearly Beloved Brethren,
By the Grace of God we are going to celebrate the Catholicate Centenary
celebrations next year.
I was very happy to see Shri Isaac Varghese's (Singapore) mail.
The points raised by him are worth giving serious thought. Thank you Sir, for
your timely mail.
In this connection I would humbly like to add one more thing. It is regarding
our Bible. We should at least have one copy of Orthodox Bible in all our
churches. This matter was brought to the notice of all concerned through our
ICON forum earlier also. May I request to the concerned authorities to make
speedy arrangements to handover one copy of Orthodox Bible to all churches while
accepting the Catholica day collection next year. Now the church headquarters
has the list of all the churches and it is not difficult to distribute copies of
the Orthodox Bible to all churches. Having at least one Orthodox Bible should be
made mandatory for all our churches. How long can we go on reading and teaching
the protestant/catholic based Bible to our members? Kindly do the needful to
ensure the availability of Orthodox Bible in both English & Malayalam in all of
our book stalls. May I request the respected & beloved priests to propagate the
importance and necessity of Orthodox Bible in our churches and homes.
I wish to humbly draw the kind attention of Shri George Joseph Sir and Shri Jose
Kurian Puliyeril Sir to kindly to take up the matter at higher concerned levels
and do the needful on a priority basis.
Praying for all ever & ever with love,
Raju Baby Thaluvachira, Mehsana
(Church Representative to Malankara Association)
"We know that all the sacraments in our Church are accomplished by calling upon
the Divine Names: first of all the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The
whole of our divine worship is based on invocation of the Names of God. We do
not ascribe magic power to words as such; but when they are uttered as a true
confession of faith, and in a state of fear of God, reverence and love, we do,
indeed, have God jointly with His Names."
"Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; The desire
of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You." Isaiah 26:8
Times have changed; life has become more miserable; old values have lost their
lustre. There is a wide spread clamour that something must be done immediately
to save the society from moral extinction. On a closer look at the
deterioration, it can be seen that our poor judgement and wrong assessment are
at fault. Our power of understanding is unfortunately at a deplorable level. Let
us, the claimants of Mar Thoma heritage, have a pragmatic approach to the whole
There have been several illustrious and informative studies by learned men on
the historical aspects of Mar Thoma heritage. Hence, this is an attempt to just
highlight the precious lessons that emanate from the celebrated Mar Thoma
heritage. The realization of what is right and what are wrong stands out as the
most significant one.
When Jesus Christ appeared to him after His Resurrection, on exercising the
sense of touch and personally experiencing His physical presence, Mar Thoma
declares with full conviction "My Lord and my God". (St. John 20:28). This power
of understanding has been gifted to Indian church as a heritage since AD 52
through St Thomas who propagated Christianity in India.
THE NEED OF THE STUDY OF THE MAR THOMA HERITAGE
As arranged in the the evening prayer of Sunday (Sleeba), the reverend priest as
a prelude recites "Our Lord and our God, We now hold in esteem Your Mother, all
saints, and holy women in Your sacred presence. Let's be protected through their
prayers. Help us imitate their holy life and be pleased to You like them".
Hebrew 13:7 advises "Remember your former leaders, who spoke God's message to
you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith". There is a
truth that this prayer and the verses from the Holy Bible remind us. We must
remember those saints who enabled us be born in Christ and those holy men who
led us through their ways.
It is an undisputed fact that it is St Thomas who made all Indian Christian born
in Christ. We have to study in detail the profound faith of St Thomas, his
recognizing of Jesus Christ, and those distinguished leaders who have
interpreted them and handed over their findings to us over the years. It is not
enough that we just learn them; we should follow them unconditionally and pass
the tradition on to posterity. That is why our Church has declared this year as
the Year of the Study of the Mar Thoma Heritage.
Whereas other Apostles were sent in pairs for gospel work to the nearby places,
St Thomas was deputed to a remote country like India, that too all alone.
Despite total ignorance of the language and culture of the country of his visit,
St Thomas made his advent in full compliance with the dictates of his Lord Jesus
Through his gospel work he made us born again in Christ and became our spiritual
and religious leader. He spent the entire wealth he received from the local king
for missionary work. Though he was imprisoned on account of it, Lord Jesus
Christ released St Thomas from the prison by empowering him to show the king the
palace constructed for him in heaven and bring back into life the deceased
younger brother of the king.
However, later on, St Thomas suffered a lot of torture and hardship. He was
attacked with a spear, which resulted in an excruciating pain for three days,
and at the end of which he was taken to the Heavenly Abode. Though he was fully
aware of his impending agonizing experience in India, he came here, willingly
and alone, because he had the deep and correct understanding that his Lord and
God would take care of him.
THE STAIN OF THE SIN OF FIRST DISOBEDIENCE
By totally disobeying the order of God not to eat the fruit from the Tree of
Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, our earliest parents Adam and Eve lost their
guise of holiness and became stark naked. They had been elevated by God as the
crown and protector of everything in the Garden of Eden. "Then the Lord God
placed man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it"(Gen 2:15). God
let them live in all peace and prosperity. He denied them only one thing. "You
may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden except the tree that gives knowledge
of what is good and what is bad.
Man was created in the form and likeness of God; he was given the godly
greatness and full freedom that was not granted to the rest of the creations. In
his famous work "On the Making of Man", Gregory of Nyssa gives an interesting
explanation of why man was created at the end of all creations. Just like a
pregnant woman making all preparations for the happy delivery of the child,
after creating everything needed for the happiness of the man, God shaped up man
in His own form and resemblance, with His hands and breathed life-giving breath
into his nostrils and made the man the crown of all His creations.
Unfortunately, man, on whom God had showered all His hospitality and His trust,
failed to live up to His expectations by surrendering to the cunning Serpent and
got himself expelled from the Garden of Eden for his sin. To save the
descendants of Adam and Eve from this sin, the Second in the Trinity came down
to this world and redeemed all of them through His sacrifice on the Cross and
granted them the power of understanding that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden.
Imbibing this great lesson of realizing what is right and what is wrong from the
very mouth of his Great Teacher and Saviour, St Thomas visited India and
redeemed all of us.
...to be continued.
HG Yuhanon Mar Policarpos, Angamaly
I could see yesterday (on 1 st July 2011) beloved H.H. Bava Thirumenis Press
Meet at NHERE CHOVE Programme in Manorama News Channel. Congratulations to H.H.
Bava Thirumeni for appropriately answering the critical questions of Mr. Lukose.
I appreciate that H.H. Bava Thirumeni told the fact and the Sabha stand on the
subject of Politics at the present scenario and confirmed that never instructed
Orthodox Sabha members on their voting right, and will not interfere in
politics. The Church hierarchy kept quiet after Mr. K.M. Mani denied the seat
to Mr. Joseph M. PuthusserryÂ for Thiruvalla assembly seat. H.H. Thirumeni added
that the twist has made by media in some cases of news against the Orthodox
Church was purely on account of certain Church members individual political
stand and it is nothing to do with the Church. There was a professional touch in
answering all the queries especially regarding solving of the long pending
Church cases and the relation with the Head of other faction. We pray that
Almighty shall provide more wisdom, knowledge and good health to H.H. Bava
Thirumeni to lead Malankara Orthodox Sabha to the heights.
Sam Cherian Karuvely,Visakhapatnam
Please see flyer attached of our perunnal. Kindly remember in prayers and bless
us with your presence if possible.
1 of 1 File(s)
THE THREE SETS WHO UNDERSTOOD JESUS:
In the light of St Mark Chapter 6 and Psalms 34:8, when we approach the topic of
discussion, we get deeper and deeper into the subject. In St Mark 6:1-6, when
Jesus visited his hometown Nazareth, we find the locals were amazed at his
profound wisdom. It was impossible for them to believe that their carpenter
could have such a depth of knowledge. Nazareth simply rejected him. Their
understanding failed them. The chapter on further reading reveals the growing
popularity and understanding of Christ consequent to the commendable missionary
work done by the disciples sent two by two to different places by Jesus and the
miracles performed by Lord Himself. We see a crowd of five thousand excluding
women and children fed with five loaves and two fish. The congregation slowly
caught up with the realization.
The second set consisted of His own disciples. We read of the disciples toiling
to row their fishing boat; with the wind against them. When their Lord saw their
difficulties, He approached them, walking on the water. They were so terrified
that they hardly understood it was their Saviour coming to help them. They
mistook him for a ghost. Their familiarity and day-to-day proximity with Lord
got submerged in their fear. Their understanding flopped. Jesus however revealed
himself to his disciples.
The people of Gennesaret where Jesus visited next had clear understanding of
their Saviour, and they reaped the results. Sick people came in large numbers
and got healed by the Lord. Even a mere touching of his cloth had a tremendous
effect; many incurable diseases were healed to the bewilderment of his critics.
His followers had the real understanding of the power of Son of God.
This chapter (St Mark chapter 6) depicts three types of people who saw Jesus
from three different angles: the carpenter, the ghost and the Healer. The first
was based on preconceived notion, the second borne out of sheer fear and the
third was the real one. It is time for us to think about and evaluate our
understanding level. Many of us boast that we know everything and we have clear
understanding. In reality, we are in the dark. Just as the clouds prevent the
sun-rays from spreading light, our fallacies and fears conceal truth from us and
we fail to understand things in their true perspective. If only we get
enlightened with spiritual knowledge, and if only we recognize reality in its
true shape and spirit, our society will bloom in peace and prosperity.
THE REALIZATION REQUIRED IN DIFFERENT STAGES
1. Who am I?
I am in the likeness of God; I am the Temple of God.
Let us examine whether we are really so. The prodigal son took a longer period
to realize his folly. Having squandered all the money he forcefully acquired as
his birth-right from his father, he was deserted by his unworthy friends and
having been subjugated to all worldly pleasures, he at last had the realization
of his foolishness. His expectation that his father would receive him well
however did not turn up a disaster. He was accorded a warm reception much more
than he anticipated. But in the story of Lazar and the rich man, the latter had
the wisdom, but it dawned very late. He pleaded for sending Lazar to his
brothers in the world to warn them, but it was not granted.
2. What is my brother to me?
Cain asked God whether he was the protector of his brother. In fact, he was more
than a protector but a well-wisher, friend and guide. He must have had a deep
concern, love and respect for his brother.
Here, it will be worthwhile to note the special significance in the meeting of
Elizabeth and St Mary. Before they recognized each other, those in their wombs
knew each other. The two mothers had an undisguised, pure love between them. In
their innocent love, recognition was immediate. In the wedding at Cana, Mary
noted the shortage of wine with a honest mind, and without being told, she took
up the role of a friend in need. She recognized the need of the hour. A little
thought on the action of the Mother would show she was reminding Jesus it was
time for him to start his mission. Both Mary and Elizabeth were in the divine
3. The Nature and I
God beautified the nature with all his skill and love to accommodate man, the
pinnacle of His creation. But man, contrary to expectation, has been ruthlessly
exploiting the nature. Where should we categorize the king who plunders his own
property? The ecological balance of the nature gets upset as we exploit the
nature indiscriminately. We must understand we are responsible for the imbalance
of the nature.
4. My God and I
God created man in His own image and likeness and breathed life-giving breath
into his nostrils. That breathing makes Adam the first believer in mankind. He
inhaled the air of life and exhaled the impure air of sin. We should know how to
take in noble qualities and reject all the vices. God blessed Adam with love and
Adam did not reciprocate his indebtedness to God. He did not express the due
gratitude, and fell into the trap of Satan, into the abyss of sin.
St Thomas, the dear disciple of Jesus Christ who came down to save us from the
historic fall, knew God is lovable and dependable. In deference to his Master's
will and pleasure, St Thomas came to India, and he did his missionary work
admirably. Now, it is our turn to hand over this heritage to future generations.
Beware of the warning of time
The social set-up of thirty years before was not the same as ours. It has
undergone tremendous changes. Today's society is explosive, rebellious and
reckless with scant respect for principles. Many of our good customs and virtues
have been totally uprooted. It is the primary duty of our Church to give a sense
of direction to the volatile and unscrupulous society.
Path of Activity
God gracefully granted freedom to Adam and Eve. Instead of enjoying it with full
responsibility, they faltered and fell succumbing to the temptation of Satan.
They lost the grip in making the correct decision. The crucifixion, death and
Resurrection of Jesus Christ and all the sufferings of our Apostles are all
meant for saving us from this great fall and creating in us an understanding to
choose the best. For want of this wisdom, we drift aimlessly and helplessly from
the real life. Hostility and hatred has become rampant and vibrant in family and
religion. Let us pray to have common sense and clear understanding. St Luke
11:13 assures "How much more, then, will the Father in Heaven give the Holy
Spirit to those who ask Him". May God who gave Aaron to the 'poor speaker' Moses
as a smart and trustworthy companion grant us the blessing of the Holy Spirit to
abide in this world as people with real understanding, correct vision of things
and proper judgment.
HG Yuhanon Mar Policarpos, Angamaly
As Orthodox Christians, we give much importance in remembering the past of our
Church and the Church Fathers. Remembering the Apostles and many Fathers who led
the Church in the right path is an inevitable part of our Church life. We
remember them to adapt their holy lives, faith and habits into our own in our
journey of salvation. While commemorating St. Thomas Day, I would like to share
a couple of thoughts.
a) Believer or Unbeliever: Around the world, many people recognize St. Thomas as
an unbeliever or someone who questioned the resurrection of Christ, based on
John 20: 24. But was it just Thomas who didn't believe? Was it just Thomas who
did not have full faith? Luke 24: 36-43 is the account of Christ appearing to
the apostles after resurrection. Verse 37 says, "They were startled and
frightened, thinking they saw a ghost." Seeing this, Christ says, "Why are you
troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" (38). It was not just Thomas
who doubted. The whole crew did, even after three and a half years of direct
experience with the Lord. But this same crew got converted into pillars of faith
after receiving the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost Day.
b) Guidance and Promise: In Acts of the Apostles, we see Christ talking to the
apostles about Holy Spirit. Acts 1: 4 reads, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait
for the gift my Father promised." Two important points to be noted here are
`wait for the gift' and `do not leave Jerusalem'. We are anointed by Holy Spirit
through the Sacrament of Baptism, but should wait for the renewal of anointing
in our spiritual services, prayers, fellowships etc. Consider Jerusalem as the
Holy City. The Church is His holy place where the believers should wait eagerly
for the renewal of Holy Spirit before going out to the world. Like the apostles
waited, we all should wait for the renewal of Holy Spirit in us when we worship.
Once this power is received, we become witnesses in Christ.
c) Witnesses in Christ: Acts 1: 8 reads, "But you will receive power when the
Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all
Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Receiving the Holy Spirit
enabled the Apostles to become witnesses in Christ and to travel to different
parts of the world to preach the Good News. The fishermen and the tax collector
became mighty conquerors in Christ. They didn't doubt the message of the Cross
anymore, and they began to do wonders, miraculous signs, healed the sick,
expelled demons and did much more.
d) Unity in Christ: A very evident feature of the early Church was their unity.
When they received the Holy Spirit, they "were together in one place" (Acts 2:
1). "All believers were one in heart and mind" (4: 32). Apostles worked in
unity. They were very clear in their preaching of the gospel that it is not
their name to be glorified but our Lord's. "Because there is one loaf, we, who
are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf" (1 Cor 10: 17).
Their unity was a result of selflessness and humbleness. "So neither he who
plants nor he who waters is anything but only God, who makes things grow" (1 Cor
e) Enabled by Spirit: Acts 2: 4 states, "All of them were filled with the Holy
Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." While we
look through the lives of the apostles, they were completely led by the Holy
Spirit in their missionary work. The group of fearful, doubtful people
transformed in to great warriors of the Kingdom of God when the Holy Spirit
enabled them. "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Phil 4:
13). The apostles submitted themselves to God and God enabled them for His
Kingdom. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ
lives in me" (Gal 2: 20).
The thoughts above denote life of every apostle. When we commemorate the feasts
of the apostles and remember and venerate them, how often do we pay attention to
the involvement of God in their lives? A couple questions that we face are:
a) Did we wait and pray for Holy Spirit?
b) Are we renewed and transformed?
c) Are we eligible to be called `Witnesses of Christ'?
d) Can we claim the unity in ourselves which we saw in the early Church?
e) Have we submitted to God to be enabled by Holy Spirit?
While we celebrate St. Thomas Day, we should also find answers for the questions
above. Compare them with the lives of the apostles and make the necessary
changes. Otherwise, we will be like the Pharisees and the Sadducees. This author
himself is guilty in many ways. And therefore, this is not a judgment sheet but
mere thoughts of an unworthy soul, to get closer to the Lord, who suffered pain
and death for our Salvation.
Jerin Juby, St. Thomas IOC, Philadelphia
Glory to God
Most Resp.& dearly beloved Holy brethren,
Thank you very much for the e-mail of Mr.K.Thomas George, Toronto, regarding code of conduct in the church.
The Shepherds should take care of the sheeps. It is the shepherds to provide what the sheep need. They have to lead the sheep to green grass and leads them to quite pools of fresh water by giving new strength and guides them in the right paths. Then only the sheep feel courage and safety. It is the duty of the shephered to protect and prepare a banquet for the sheep. We wish and Pray may our Shepherds have the innerlight for the same by the Grace of our Lord.
Pray for all ever & ever with love
Raju Baby Thaluvachira-Mehsana
Dear Mr.Thomas K.George,
Quote. "According to the Constitution, treasurer is the joint-steward of a
parish along with the vicar. This person's son is a censor in the altar. Who is
next, the vicar? What is happening to the Church? I am sure this person or any
person holding a position in a parish and desecrating the faith of the Church by
attending to the arch enemies of our faith would have been disciplined under the
great Kallassery bava's leadership. Now, money and influence rule over faith."
This has been the reason for me to write vehemently for many years for making
some improvements in our code of conduct and cheap spiritual observances. If we
write to the spiritual hierarchy, it is proved that their their eyes and ears
are out of action, except their hands that receive money and gifts. There is
better discipline in the secular and club venues and labour unions. There is no
transparency and check and balance in the spiritual arena; every vicar and
bishop go in his own ways of running the parish and the diocese. The bishops are
floating around for grabbing money for their personal achievements of charity
institutions and consumer/political alliances. The Vicars are twisting anything
and everything for their own money-making adventures and copying a political
spirituality and their name-making ventures. The believers duty is to to offer
money, but not to question, while they are threatened with some inappropriate
When I say such things, some people say that I am against my church and betray
our church to other denominations. Let ecumnism and multi-faith agenda survive
like parasites, and let us go to charismatic leaders like Yohannan sir and local
cults of potta- like attributed miracle centres. There is a kalpana from the
church head that we should take disciplinary action against members who go for
the Charismatic preachings of other churches, whereas our spiritual hierarchy go
for ecumenical meetings and encourage multi-faith venues. There are some
parishes that allocate funds in the Parish Budget for inter-church meetings and
combined programmes and elect members to run such miscellaneous meetings. Our
church is a bundle of contradictions because there is no centralised system
which ban our the individual cleric to go in his own way. As there is no peace
and love in parishes that run on fear basis, valuable members who held the
position of Trustee, Secretary, MC members and serving at the altar for about 50
years and Sunday school headmasters are the members of this exodus. I don't want
to add more because it does neither help the exodus to be averted nor make a
good name for me anywhere. This only should be our thought for sanity.
"Neverthless when the son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?, Lk.18: 8.
Those who high jump the discipline fence of our church and do any illegal
monetary or power games label us as the torpedo makers of our church. It is
better to read the sign of the time and live a prayerful life because of
reaching to the level of 'calmness of mind by all passions spent" (John Milton).
1.Have a centralised system
2.Elect members by casting lots, not by ballots
3.Division of labour: Spiritual hierarchy to administer the spiritual service
and the lay parish/church managing committee members controlling the financial
ES John, Australia
It was a great ambition of many to have an orthodox TV for our community and we
along with some clergies of our Church planned and made it a reality. The
Orthodox TV is organized under the chairmanship of beloved H.G. Dr. Geevarghese
The TV is now on test rely and will be inaugurated on 3rd July at St. Thomas
Orthodox Church, Chicago by H.G. Mar Yulios Pulikottil at the presence of Rev.
Fr. Johnson Punchakonam (Atlanta), Dn. George V. Poovathoor (Chicago), Mr.
George Panicker (Chicago), who are representing the Board of Directors, priests
and well wishers of the project. Other directors are Dr. Zachariah Thomas
(Houston), Mr. Mathews John (Dubai) and Charly Padanilam (Texas). Some more may
join as we need financial support to run this project. If anyone is interested
to join please let us know.
Expecting your support and prayer. Kindly spread the news. The TV is available
now on line www.orthodoxtv.in and also on Cell/Mobile phones.
Charly V. Padanilam, charlyvp@ hotmail.com
Director, Indian Orthodox TV.
“Have you built anything for eternity?” HG Dr. Mar Demetrios in Philadelphia
What kind of structure are you planning for your life? What is the foundation of
your life? For whom do you build the house? Have you built anything for
These were some of the questions H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Demetrios Metropolitan
asked the faithful today during his speech at St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church
here in Philadelphia. HG is the chief guest for the Perunnal of the parish,
which is being celebrated on July 2nd and 3rd.
The powerful message delivered by HG was based on the work of St. Thomas and
what it means to us. St. Thomas was a carpenter. Just like a carpenter molds
his ideas, you can mold your life based on your vision. It is recorded that St.
Thomas served as an architect for King Gondophorus. St. Thomas spent the money
for the poor, and told the King that he has built a palace in heaven for the
King. HG went on to ask, “How are you using your money? What kind of structure
are you planning for your own lives? What is the foundation of your life? Have
you built anything for eternity? If you are not building according to God’s
plan, will it last?”
Thirumeni added: The Bible says, “You are the temple of God, and God’s spirit
dwells in you.” The question for each one of us is, “Who dwells in your heart?
When man loves another fellow being, God lives in him. When a man hates a fellow
human being, God dies in him. St. Thomas built 7 ½ churches . The number 7 is a
symbol of perfection, as indicated in the book of Revelation. We as Christians
are supposed to work towards perfection. When we live and care for one another,
we are working towards perfection. Christian giving, is giving when you feel
the pain. Celebration of the memory of St. Thomas becomes meaningful when it
leads us towards perfection.”
(Hope Thirumeni and his listeners will forgive me for any errors and/or
omissions in this report.)
Thirumeni captured the attention of the young and the old in the audience with
his natural style and touching message. HG spoke using a balanced a mix of
Malayalam and English languages. HG will be the main speaker at the ‘Family and
Youth Conference’ of the Northeast American diocese, which is being held from
Wednesday, July 6th through Saturday, July 9th at the Hudson Valley Resort,
-Oommen Kappil, Philadelphia
Dear ICON friends,
Bava Thirumeni’s TV interview in the “Nere Chowwe” programme on July 1 certainly
came off as a whiff of fresh air. The answers were frank and unambiguous,
reflecting His Holiness’ simple and candid nature.
Bava Thirumeni made the following observations:
(1) The Orthodox Church never interferes or involves itself in politics,
(2) This being so, the Church never issues ‘kalpanas’ or pastoral letters
exhorting the faithful to adopt a particular stance during elections, unlike
some other Church denominations,
(3) It is wrong to assume/ conclude that in the recent Assembly elections, the
Orthodox Church was responsible for the defeat of a number of UDF candidates who
were otherwise fancied to win,
(4) Unity with the Jacobites though desirable was easier said than done due to
the many difficulties on the practical front,
(5) Outside mediation for unity was attempted many times in the past but failed.
Even the one initiated by LL Paulose Mar Gregorios (Delhi diocese) in the wake
of the 1995 Supreme Court Judgement ran aground after a few sittings because
the Jacobites failed to turn up for further meetings for unexplained reasons,
(6) The Orthodox Church has to function within the ambit of the Church
Constitution and the Judicial Verdicts,
(7) All the same, resolution of local disputes through mutual discussions is a
more practical and viable proposition, and this has succeeded in some places
(8) As for the tumultuous professional education sector in Kerala, it is
necessary to first of all clearly define what is “social justice”. Is the
so-called “social justice” for some to be achieved by depriving the rights and
constitutionally guaranteed privileges of some other sections?,
(9) The perception that marriage ceremonies in Orthodox churches are
inordinately lengthy is a fall-out of some of the recent practices like the
intrusion by the church choir which only helps to prolong the ceremony. If these
extraneous practices are dispensed with by the organizers themselves, the
ceremony can be completed in just 50 minutes.
While Bava Thirumeni handled the interview with great élan and poise, the traps
laid by the interviewer were far too many. The TV channel’s main objective was
to prove that Orthodox voters was not responsible for the defeat of a handful
of UDF candidates in Central Tranvancore. When H.H. honestly replied that the
Orthodox Church had not issued any directive during elections and cited the low
victory margin of UDF candidates in a few other constituencies including that of
K.M.Mani in Palai, the interviewer helped out by giving the actual lead in
Palai. The latter was suspiciously a bit too ready with the statistics,
The TV channel’s labour was not lost in that the message that came out of the
interview was that the Orthodox Church was not a force to reckon with in
Kerala’s political arena. While it is alright for the Head of the Church to
declare that the Church does not (and should not) get involved in politics, it
is entirely another matter to give the impression that the Orthodox voters are a
non-entity in the State’s electoral politics. This, when every community and
religious grouping in Kerala is shouting from the roof tops that they can tilt
the electoral balance one way or the other, even though their real strength may
not something to write home about.
So what is the signal for the political parties and their election managers?
Come election time, they can pretty well afford to ignore or side-line the
sentiments of the Orthodox faithful and the aspirations of the ticket seekers
from the community. Because, we as a community are allowing ourselves to be
reduced to political and social lightweights. Our loss is some one else’ gain.
Who will speak up for the Orthodox Church and its faithful?
This has reference to the posting of Mr. Sam Cherian Karuvely on the
interview of HH by Manorama News. Although HH was very open in his
interview and talked about the church stand in Kerala politics, it is well known
that few of the bishops had a different agenda especially in
Pathanamthitta and Mavelikkara which was well reflected in the election
results. These bishops had privately worked through Maratha Mariam Samajam and
other church organizations to ensure that the vote is cast in the opposition
boxes. This was to prove a point that without the Orthodox votes UDF will not
get the seats. To some extent this has worked out in favour of the church but
there were various other factors that helped the LDF.
John Abraham, Kuwait
Yes sir, It was made clear by H.H. Bava Thirumeni that there was no dabbling in
politics by the Centre. As for Regional Leadership HH could not say anything.
Further, the stand of the official publication /magazine was purely the personal
attitude of the editors.
Our Church has no clear policies on public relations, press and publicity which
are applicable for all its regional leaders and its publications.
This often results in the Church giving off confusing signals and hurts its
image as well as the sentiments of its members.
Susan Eapen, Thiruvananthapuram
Respected Fr. Biju P Thomas Achan's spiritual term is getting over this week
at St. Thomas Cathedral, Dubai. Father is leaving to take over the charge
of a church and school Chandigarh under Delhi Dioceses. It was another
Marvellous, peaceful and spiritual three years over for Dubai church.
Fr. Biju achan's Holy Qurbana ( Eucharist ) holy prayers and services were
beautiful and it has taken us too emotionally to green pastures. Prayers
were to facilitate the participants to understand the actual meaning of our
holy worship and effectiveness. Achen's services was clear and slow to
ensure that everyone understood the meaning of the prayers, especially the
I was observing Achen,s classes for senior student's at OVBS last year was
really a memorable one as all students and many elders were completely
emotionally involved in the English Bible classes.
Dubai church is the biggest church or one of the biggest churches for
Malankara Orthodox Church and on Good Friday we have more than 50
Shrishushakkar and few priests and Bishop are attending the service with
more than ten thousands devotees. One of the important service is 'Sleeba
muttu' and was arranged with 12 Sleeba this year. It was nice to see the
way the believers coming for Sleeba muttu. At one occasion all our 50
Shrishushakkars became silent other than Fr. Biju Achen. He was
continuously singing and was fully occupied with the holy service. This was
really something which touch my heart and I am sure others also felt the
same, This show his true dedication towards the religion.
We need such dedicated priests for our churches. I have very limited access
to Achen however whenever I talked to him it was peaceful and relaxing.
'Be still and know that I am God' Let us be on His way.
Abraham Varghese- Ayroor.
Dear Dr. George Paul Sir,
Now a days whenever you clarify Inter Church Council's (ICC) stand
in the visual media (being its spokesperson), the feeling the general public
perceive is that there is no Christ in ICC's midst.
Although we regard you as an eminent and respected professional of our
Community, it seems the Catholic Church is exploiting your stature since they
are the real beneficiaries of this professional education business.
Probably, ICC's stand should be something like "we do not want any
MINORITY RIGHTS at least on this issue, which are not available to
our Hindu Brothers". Then the Church will be regarded &
respected. Social Justice (I am aware that this needs to be defined) should be
our prime objective when we run such
institutions and in this year's Medical PG admission your stand can not be
justified. When Pinarayi Vijayan (although he do not have any right after the
Pariyaram episode)name the Inter Church Council as the modern day Shylocks',
reluctantly we have to agree !! Legally you may be right, but morally & from
Christian perspective it seems the ICC's stand can not be justified.
There should defenitely be a visible difference in the running of Christian
Institutions when compared to instituitions run by other managements.
This I am writing fully aware that the ICC admission procedure is very
transparent and compared to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra etc the fees charged
is also very reasonable (where the charges for one PG seat varis from RS 75 laks
to Rs 1 crore last year against Rs 12 to 19 lakhs you are seeking now!!).The
previous Govt. tried their best to trap the Christinan Managements for any
lapse, but could not succeed. Recently one of my Hindu friends was highly
appreciating the transparent admission procedure followed by Kollencherry
Medical College, where you are the Trust Chairman.It was a news to the group of
people assembled there, when it was told that except for the fees prescribed in
the Prospectus, Kollencherry did not charge anything extra (means no
Thalavaripanam or Capitation fees).Also the quality of education and facilities
in these colleges are superior compared to our Govt. Medical Colleges.
In an age when the media decides RIGHT and WRONG, your RIGHT will not find any
It is quite heart breaking to see that Inter Church Council is receiving much
criticism over the Medical College admission seat distributions. One TV
commentator even said that if it is not a pity that the word "Church" is
involved in the name of the Body heading this non transparent Medical admission
Is it not better that they at least change the name from "Inter Church
Council" to something else? We are not witnessing Christ but anti-witnessing.
Church is getting more and more Institutionalized and profit motivated. Instead
of resisting moral decadence are we spearheading it with a polished face?
I am all the more pained to see 'MALANKARA ORTHODOX Syrian Christian Medical
College' board is often flashed in the screens while discussing these
controversies in TV channels. We are known for our Intra Church fights. We have
one feather more to add to our Cap now as a nuisance maker in social order and
Dr. Vinu Thomas, Dubai
Recently, I came across two articles one in the New York Times, July 1, 2011
and another in The International Herald Tribune March 3, 2006- both written by
Anand Giridharadas. I thought they were social commentaries relevant, and of
possible interest to ICON members:
Following is an excerpt from the first article which you could read at
"To be fair, India is a place of deep, improbable kindness. A society where
villagers will do anything for the chance to serve a guest tea, ...... The
average Indian tends to be flexible, understanding and tolerant by the standards
of a difficult world. But India is also a place where that abundant kindness
fails, far too often, to extend into the anonymous civic sphere, to those beyond
one’s little community and beyond one’s sight. In India, to be someone’s house
guest or son-in-law or teacher can be delightful. To be a stranger beside the
same person at the cinema or bank or airport is another experience altogether..
....There is an idea that low-ranking (airport) gate staff don’t need to be
listened to. There is an idea that you, the individual, are the best judge of
how the system should run, not the people whose system it is. There is an idea
that rules are mere hints, to be applied when useful. There is an idea of
ruthless maximization of one’s interests; the world (and that old lady in front
of you) be damned."
The second article, though written more than five years ago, seems very relevant
Dr. Abraham Phillips
Sts. Basilios-Gregorios Orthodox Church
New Brunswick, NJ USA
- In IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com, K. Thomas George, Toronto, Canada
>He found a common thread when his Orthodox friends and relatives told him: "We
go to church for social activities, pothuyogam, perunaal celebrations and the
like. But, when we want spiritual fulfilment, we go to Yohannan."
All these folks Yohannan, Thanku, Thomaskutty etc.. etc.. were once upon a time
members of our church. They are long gone and they are taking away a lot of our
members in spite of our many existing code of conducts and religious fatwas.
Therefore, I think instead of introducing more fatwas we need to find out what
is wrong with us making our own people running away from us. We should ask why
our people are not getting spiritual fulfillment from our worship. How come our
people finding it extremely difficult to stand for couple of hours of our
worship; whereas they sit patiently for long hours to hear Yohannan and Thanku
who are not as educated in theology as our clergy.
So, I think we are fundamentally wrong if we diagnose this as a discipline
problem. How come the same folks when they join the pentacostal groups have
the discipline to attend their long worship and pay their tithe without fail.
Our failure as far as I can see is that our clergy fail to connect with our
people. The spiritual literacy gap between our clergy and people are widening
day by day. Teaching from the Bible is very little in our worship and sermons
are very few and mostly used to exhibit the theological expertise of the
speaker rather than giving solutions to the day to day problems of the
attending common public.
Therefore, the people run to hear Yohannan and others who meet their
emotional needs. People are of different emotional needs in every community.
Some of us who were lucky to learn the inner meanings of our worship are
spiritually fulfilled with our service and those who are unlucky are not.
In fact most of the traditional apostolic churches are going through this
problem of widening the gap of spiritual literacy. One of my close friends in
Toronto is the organizer of retreats conducted by Potta Divine retreat center
of the Catholic Church. I had to go for one of their events upon his
persistent invitation. It is run by the clergy, however they follow a pattern
of the Pentecostal style worship with the Catholic Holy qurbana fit in to the
middle of it. He told me it doesn't match with the worship culture of the
Catholic Church. Therefore, this Pentecostal type activities of the Catholic
church are run by a different renewal movement called the "Vincentian
Congregation of India", under the wider Roman Catholic umbrella. Potta-Divine
retreat ministry is part of the renewal movement. This is how the Catholic
Church has addressed this problem and avoided loosing their spiritually
super-active members to other protestant groups.
Therefore, I think we too need to be accommodative to adjust to the emotional
needs of our people rather than introducing new fatwas which will push more
people away from us. The Church and the clergy must stop monopolizing the
Bible. If our members like Yohannan or Thomas or Varghese is able to convey
the word of God to the people better than an ordained clergy they should be
encouraged to do so rather than raising the sword of discipline upon them and
pushing them away from us. We need to make our tent bigger to include all
those folks who want to worship Lord in a different way.
The psalmist says " Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path". We
need to give every opportunity to our people to make the word a lamp to their
feet and light to their path and teaching from the word of God in his Holy
temple is the first step in this direction. If we don't do it someone else will
do it and no fatwa is going to stop that.
Ronnie Daniel, Toronto, Canada
What Ms Aleykutty Thomas has raised in her posting of 1 July is a
valid question to be answered. To find answer for that we all have equal
responsibility. It is high time that we checked the out-flow of our orthodox
members to sectarian groups like Pentecostals. Though we have many
systematic training programes for the laity like 'Divybodhanam', it is doubtful
whether everyone in your holy Church make use of it or not. We have prayer
meetings in every parish on sundays, but it is a pity that only a handful of
parishioners attend such prayer meetings. Those attendees are
often seen passive and are least bothered even to bring the 'Bible' with them.
In such case, how can our Bible study be effective? Often these prayer meetings
go mere perfunctory acts and become farces . It is the need of the hour
to expedite the publication of the proposed "Orthodox Study
Bible" in Malayalam. It is my humble request to the concerned to look into the
matter seriously and sincerely. I hope and pray that this dream project of our
holy Church will see the light atleast in 2012 when we celebrate the centenary
of our Catholicate Establishment. It has become the rule of the day in our
church also to conduct 'a 3 days or one week Gospel conventions' everywhere and
every year. But it is not that enough, what we need is to have the follow up
mission work following every convention. Otherwise, there is no point in
conducting these events. We have to enliven the activities of the "Suvishesha
Sangham". Here our Mission Board has a vital role to play. More lay
people,especially the retired ones, must come forward in carrying out the
mission activities. Here in the West, Catholic church has a very systematic lay
In this context, I would like to mention that there are a good number of lay men
in our holy church who find time amidst their hectic schedule in doing
some evangelical work. One such is Dr. Babu Thomas of Trivandrum. He has
written a very informative book of which I have a copy with me. I take this
opportunity to congratulate him for the meritorious job that he has done in
compiling the book entitled " Nokku,Avan Ivide; Alla ,Avide!" It is a wonderful
book written in simple Malayalam unravelling the hidden agendas behind the so
called "Born again" groups. One who faces the challenges from these kinds of
spicy movements would find this book a very useful one which is purely
biblically based. I am baffled at his biblical knowledge and I
humbly salute this man of God. Infact, he did not write / publish it for any
monetary motives at all. Instead, with the sole intention of imparting true
information to the faithful in our holy church. I wish, if everybody in our holy
church had read this book.
I think the copies are available in the U.S with his son-in-law ; Mr. Mathew
M.Abraham. ( 85, Old Boonton Road, Denville NJ 07834 . Phone 973 335 9335 /
212 781 1655 / 973 701 9701 )
In Kerala, it is available at our M.O.C publications book store at Parumala,
Peedikayil book stores at Parumala, C.L.S Thiruvalla, S SM, Thiruvalla, Dr.
John Panicker of Santhwana Hospital, Ambalamukku, Trivandrum.
May God bless us all!
With love and Prayers,
In His service,
George Achen, Ireland.
Some of my younger friends (- parents of teen and pre-teen children) have begun
to worry what Faith their children will take and hold in their adult years.
They're seeing children from God-fearing families - with the best possible
upbringing - boys who had been punctual and reliable acolytes for many years and
girls who had been very devoted to the Church - choosing Baptist or other
protestant churches which emphasize certain specific aspects such as Bible
study, preaching or music. Some of them opt not to go to any Church at all on a
regular basis. Many challenge the need to go to a Church.
My younger friends- the concerned parents - are addressing the problem in their
own ways- most of them taking care to be role models themselves, trying to
practice what they preach, and also teaching their children about our tradition,
faith, our uniqueness and the values of our society. Perhaps, this might be an
adequate approach for nurturing and guiding young people growing up in Kerala
(or in other parts of India, to a large extent as well). However, we may have
to do much more- if we live elsewhere, particularly in America where I live and
which gives me the context for my views.
I have several ideas on what we could do here in America; but I want to focus on
just one item: Helping the children establish connections with young people in
other Oriental Orthodox (e.g. Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian) and Eastern Orthodox
(E.g. Greek, OCA/Russian) churches. We COULD do this without sacrificing the
integrity of our traditions, practices and values. We NEED to do this because
our children growing up in America, view us as an isolated community that is
comfortable interacting within its own social boundaries. In my opinion, this
perception is one reason why even the children with the most "community-focused"
upbringing, prefer to look elsewhere for religious or spiritual nurturing and
support as they grow into adulthood.
Our isolationism as a community in America is an inherent contradiction, because
as individuals or families we choose not to live like some of the religious
sects such as ultra-orthodox Jews and the Amish do. On the other hand, our
families and individuals prefer to live in multi-ethnic neighborhoods In
America. We befriend people of other races, religions and denominations. We
take pride in knowing or being close to people of other backgrounds -
particularly those in power. We want our children to go to the best schools and
colleges. We show our pride in the success of our children in their careers and
social activities. As individuals, we have a desire and a drive to be a part of
the society-at-large; but when we gather together as a community, we become
Perhaps, there are good reasons for such preferences. I'm not asking that we
change them ourselves.
However, if we would like our children to maintain the Orthodox Faith, one thing
(i.e. one of several things) we may have to do is to help them establish
connections with their counter parts in other Orthodox Communities in America.
Orthodoxy has to do with Faith. It does not mean that we make ourselves and our
children into true copies of who we were back in Kerala or in India. We have to
evolve with the times and adapt to our own conscious choice of change in
environments. Otherwise, we will move forward with our campaign to create true
copies of the original, but when the copies come out, our children might be
missing in them.
Dr. Abraham Phillips
Sts. Basilios-Gregorios Orthodox Church
New Brunswick NJ
Ms. Aleykutty Thomas, Seattle, WA wrote on [ICON] Digest Number 4243 dated
<<< We have to meet the needs of our member’s quest for spiritual harmony with
our Lord, not only via the Holy Communion service, but also by gaining a
thorough understanding of His teachings.>>>>>
I agree that we need to be more active in Bible studies – but not for the thrill
of the moment. We need to be honest in absorbing the inner meaning of what we
study and even more honest in practicing what we learn. The Orthodox liturgy
teaches us, I believe, the essential Bible in two hours and employs a complete
prayer system for our spiritual needs. The problem is that we just mechanically
participate in worship service. May be it is because of the complexity of
Malayalam prose. It is a good idea that we have classes taken to teach about
what we recite in simple language.
But the thrust of my post (ICON 4243 dated 1/7/2011) is not about us flocking to
Pentecostals. It is about the code of conduct for office-bearers of a parish,
diocese etc. In any organization, there is written and unwritten code of conduct
for its office-bearers and an Orthodox parish is no exception. When you assume
an office in a parish, you are an official at some level of an organization. And
a parish is the basic unit of our faith-based organization and as such you are
bound to defend faith of the Church.
When a treasurer of a parish, who is also the joint-steward, goes to a Pentecost
pastor for blessing or spiritual favour, he shows a lack of belief in the
doctrines his Church. Ours and Pentecostal’s are divergent in belief and
practice. An altar server of our parish serves our holy altar and then goes to
Pentecostal entity – that is basically wrong. This applies to any office-barer
at any level in the Church. If you insist that pastors are better for your
salvation, al the least stay out of office.
Sajeev V, Fairfax, VA wrote <<<< There are many valid and solid reasons for this
which I do not want to bring into the forum. Perhaps the moderators would be
kind enough to let us exchange email IDs to discuss this offline.>>>>
ICON is a Forum where, I believe, the moderators at their discretion allow us to
discuss issues pertaining to Orthodox Church in an open format. Much can be
gained by such an open forum. There is no need to fear negativity in such
discussions. I started this discussion in an open way and I welcome all views
online. I appreciate the policy of moderators in not exchanging email IDs.
K. Thomas George, Toronto, Canada
Hi ICON Team,
As an Malankara Orthodox member, I request you to provide contacts of the
members working in IT/ITES in Hyderabad. We are planning for Holy Qurbana mass
services in Hitech City / Gachibowli. Please pass on the below message.
We are planning to conduct on 9 th saturday at 2.30PM at
Gachibowli,location/adress details will be sent shortly. The Inaguration we are
planning to conduct on 23rd July, Saturday By H G Seraphim at 2.30 P M. Please
Please contact us on our group mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vikas Thomas, Hyderabad
See attached 'parish news' of St.Mary's Orthodox Cathedral Ernakulam.
K.K. George, Ernakulam
1 of 1 File(s)
This is a hot topic; I have seen atleast 10, if not more, such
articles/discussions in different publications/groups of the church with more or
less same content, in the last six months alone. Only the title changes; content
remains same. It shows how important the topic is and how much the members are
concerned about this.
Well, thats a good sign that we are all concerned of this; still the solution
continuously evades us. Multiple factors may be contributing to this "attrition"
from the church rolls; and the attrition rate is alarming.
I have seen scores of people; in the cities as well as villages, in India as
well as abroad; who sincerely cherish the Orthodox way of worship. I have also
seen scores of our own church members, who find the Orthodox Spirituality not
very useful for the situations in which they live.
Do we have that "will" to take a frank and honest look into why lot of our own
people leave us? How much we are going to loose by sincerely admitting the facts
as facts ? I guess its high time that we in ICON do something constructive about
this, rather than just discussing and then forgetting it for the next topic.
Lets do a brainstorming of the reasons and solutions and submit the compilation
to the highest policy making bodies of our church. If someone of us is willing
to do the submission, I volunteer to make the compilation of our brainstorming
Abey Jacob, Bangalore
--- In IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com, P.V.Mathew, Cochin <IndianOrthodox@...>
> The TV channel's labour was not lost in that the message that came out of the
interview was that the Orthodox Church was not a force to reckon with in
Kerala's political arena. While it is alright for the Head of the Church to
declare that the Church does not (and should not) get involved in politics, it
is entirely another matter to give the impression that the Orthodox voters are a
non-entity in the State's electoral politics. This, when every community and
religious grouping in Kerala is shouting from the roof tops that they can tilt
the electoral balance one way or the other, even though their real strength may
not something to write home about.
The duty of spiritual leaders is to promote spiritual values to their community,
and to the country as a whole. No doubt these values could get presented to
their own community through the adoption of a 'Christian approach' while these
same values ought to contribute in shaping public opinion in matters of national
interest in a more generalized manner. For example, it was rightful on our
Kochubava Thirumeni's part to raise his voice against the 'abuse' of pesticides
in a manner detrimental to the local population there.
Having said the above, considering that our spiritual leaderships are expected
to provide us with the rightful direction insofar as proper values-based
decision-making is concerned, it comes across as a natural extension for the
members of the community to be conscious of the sensitivity, or otherwise, being
shown by political parties upon the presentation of legitimate expectations
before them. In other words, it would be upon the foundation of rightful
Christian values that decision-making takes place during voting by a Christian,
for one. As such, if all religious communities in India were to promote the
correct values, an enlightened citizenry can be expected to take decisions (for
voting, or otherwise) with a proper sense of responsibility. This, in my view,
is the right way forward for spiritual leaders - i.e. focussing on finding
resolutions to matters plaguing mankind, more than the specific act of voting.
Missing out on this balance could end up pitting one community against the other
as competitors which is never a desirable (nor 'Christian', by any figment of
(Let me also make a side-point arising from the above.....much of such messages
(critical, or otherwise) in ICON, with its transparency, have only contributed
to sharpening the thought processes and arriving at rightful decisions, as
against acting as impediments to the general good.)
Needless to say thus, just as any other citizen has a right to speak up on any
matter of public interest, so do the spiritual leaders too. After all,
considering that the spiritual leaders have a larger duty to ensure the
establishment of proper values within the overall society, wouldn't their
speaking up on conscience-matters of national, or local, interest be a just
enactment of their duties? And, their having done their duty, wouldn't it be the
duty of the members of the community to actively work, in whatever ways they
could, to ensure the fulfilment of these values within the society?
Yours in Christ!
John Jacob, Pune
Just address an email to IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com
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