Recently there are some postings in the forum about the usage “Amalolbhava Mathavu” for St. Mary in the hymn added to the video in you tube “Patriach HH Zaka I at Manarcadu”. Though I heard the song many times I couldn’t understand the context in which the word Amalolbhava is used, as the lyrics cannot be comprehended with good clarity. I request anyone who knows the lyrics of this hymn to post the same or guide me where I can found this. The status of St. Mary as immaculate was discussed in this forum two years back and the various postings in this regard are compiled at the end of this message*.
But in this posting I would like to add some other points on how much
careful we are, to follow the exact teachings and practices of our church. Now it is evident that though inadvertently we use hymns which describe Morth Mariam as “Amalolbhava” in our churches which is also an example that teachings of our Church is not given the required care or the same teachings doesn’t reach the faithful as it should be.
I am from Kottayam and frequently visit our Morth Mariam Cathedral,
Manarcad. I have noticed that lot of articles against the teachings of our Church are offered for sale ‘in and around’ the Cathedral. One such thing is the portrait of St. Mary without Infant Jesus. This is so common in all most all the shops which offer church related articles nearby the Cathedral. Out of curiosity, in this Ettunoyambu Perunal, I have checked the articles in the sales counter promoted by the Cathedral in front of the Cathedral office also. Surprisingly there are icons of St. Mary without Infant Jesus for sale there too. (those who doubt-I am stating what I have found as on 5/09/2010 evening, and the article is a dual photo combination piece which show the icons of Lord Jesus from one angle and Mother Mary from another angle. The photo was displayed as a hot piece in the sales desk and I observed that due to the dual angle attraction the article was indeed a hot piece in sales also.) The variety of St.Mary’s photograph sold in the shops nearby the Church are many and a good number of them include Roman Catholic Icons of Mother Mary also. Just imagine how much Syrian Orthodox homes would have received this Icon of St Mary alone without Infant Jesus, against the teachings of the Holy church.
Another thing I observed is the kind of ‘Crosses’ displayed for sale. I understand that what is promoted by our Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is only plane Cross and do not use the inscription on the top –INRI(Iesus Nazarenus Rex ludaeorum-Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) and we also don’t use Crosses with the figure of Crucified Jesus on it(the Crucifix model). But against this the crosses of the kinds above(those with the Inscription INRI and the Crucifix model) are plenty for sale in Manarcad. I was finding a Crucifix model cross with INRI on top offered for sale in the Cathedral’ counter itself (the normal Cathedral’ counter at the North side with the bell tower) for almost last two years. I think this happened as the Crucifix model would have offered to the Cathedral by some RC followers and as per the practice of many of our churches, articles of this kind offered at Churches are recirculated again and again for sale in the church counters. I would request clarification from learned members about the usage of cross, and if I am correct in my understating, with this kind of crosses (Crucifix model) what we end up promoting is “not the icon of Cross but the sculpture of Cross”.
Another thing I want to discuss is the propriety of sale of Rosary in our pilgrim centres. This is so common that this time for Ettu Noyambu, I found that the Cathedral’ Counter at Manarcad is offering a “vast collection of different Rosaries”. I too agree that most of our people use this as a “beaded chain with a Cross” only and not as Kontha(Rosary) as it is accepted in the RC Church. Many of our (SOC)people wear/keep Rosary with them as an “Iconic article giving strength” and also use them in vehicles and photograph but I don’t think any of our people(especially in South) will be using this for Japamala/Rosary Prayers/Chanting. What I would like to point is if above be the use of a rosary in our church members can’t we think about a beaded chain like rosary accepted by Syrian Orthodox faith. Just think about the crosses found at the end of the Rosaries, most of them are Crucifix model as per the RC practices, as most of the Rosaries are made as per the usage requirement of the RC Church. Here we have to be careful about one more thing as I heard from a respected RC priest of Kottayam (Knanaya) Arch Diocese. As per him the devil worshippers are promoting various kinds of Rosaries and intentionally circulate it to the faithful through the pilgrim centers. Most of these rosaries have negative energy and will create
only negative impact than expected. If that be the case I was just thinking how many of the Rosaries on display at Manarcad Cathedral’ Counter (the range was extensive like the display at a jewelers showroom) would have been acceptable even to the Roman Catholic Church who uses and also instructs how a Rosary has to be made. (I have found many Rosaries which the Respected RC priest described as not acceptable to the RC Church at Manarcad-like the one with big black/brown wooden beads).
If above be the case about Rosaries think about acceptability of Sale of ‘Venthinga’( a kind of Amulet worn by RCs) nearby our pilgrim Centres. Lot of shops nearby Manarcad Cathedral also sell ‘Venthinga’, Black strings, and Various kinds of amulets. Though I have not found any of these in the Cathedral’ Counter, I feel the SOC need to be careful about what is being offered for sale on the Cathedral Premises at least. For the past one year we can find a vendor selling church articles in front parking premises of Manarcad Cathedral in a modified mini truck parked there and one could easily find lot of such articles which I described above with the same vendor.
I would like to add that this is not the situation only at Manarcad, I was only quoting the same as I am from Kottayam and my visit to the Manarcad Cathedral is so frequent than any other pilgrim centers. I have observed the same kind of things at Kothamangalam,Kattachira and various other centers related to SOC. Towards the last, though I don’t want to make it a discussion point, I would like to add what I have observed nearby RC churches and the pilgrim centers now controlled by Indian Orthodox group. We can’t find the portrait of any of the Saints not recognized by RC church or any of the books not according to the RC faith nearby RC pilgrim Centers. But we can still find portrait of many RC saints/Icons over and above St. Alphonsa and Our Lady of Velamkanni for sale nearby SOC pilgrim centres. Nobody cares in our Church whether the ‘Kurbanakramam’ and other prayer books sold nearby our pilgrim centers are from our Seminary Publication division. The sale of Syrian Orthodox prayer books offered by publishers like Madona publishers Kottayam, St. Thomas/Syrian book depot Thadiyoor and Thiruvalla are high in the shops nearby our pilgrim centers. I don’t know whether our Church has recognized these publishers, but any way, we can even find the ‘Kurbanakramam’ published by them as kept for use in some of our
churches also. These publishers offer a high margin to the vendor that’s why most of them keep their books and also the reason for its circulation into our homes. I would conclude this point on what I have heard about the Orthodox faction at Parumala- they strictly demands all the shops selling church articles nearby the Parumala Church that they sell only the prayer books published by their MOSC publishers from Devalokam.
I would request all the members of the Holy Church especially authorities at pilgrim centers to be more vigilant to ensure that the practices not acceptable to the Holy Church are not promoted. I feel that our Holy Church leadership in Malankara itself has to take this issue seriously and request the intervention of Holy Episcopal Synod in discussing and ensuring this.
J P Elias.
*Earlier Postings on the discussion on Immaculate Conception of St. Mary.