Ref. SOCM FORUM n. 3421 - CHURCH MISSION IN BRAZIL
It is my mission to inform our Syrian Orthodox Community, that in reality, the so called Church Mission in Brazil reffered to Melthodhaye, was recognized by HH as a brunch of our Church, but on the condition of beeing prepared to assume its real responsability.
The risk of creating a problem with the other traditional Syrian Orthodox Churches, that are four in number, being served by real priests ordained in the sacrament and organization of our Church is great, mainly due to the fact that the 50 so called priests of the so called Church Mission know nothing of our culture, traditions, dogmas, cannons and rituals.
It is ammazing that during all those years in which we dedicated ourselves to teach and bound our parishers to our traditional churches in the diaspora, maintaining the rites and sacraments of our Holy Church today are manipulated by unprepared persons.
From our side, we think that Christ, our Lord and God, really came to the poor and those who are ill or in need of material or spiritual help.
Thus for three times we accompanied bishops os our Church in analysing the situation of those so called missionary churches.
How is it that we can held missions if there are no priests all the time in between them to teach them our dogmas, cannons and rituals.
We made a statistic study of those so called Mission churches when His Eminence the bishop Gregorious Youhanon Ibrahim of Alepo, Syria, visited Brazil for the first time and not more than 19 priests including one of their said bishops appeared at the meeting. Afterwards a new meeting occured with Their Eminences the Bishop Kuriakos of USA and Bishop Severius Murad of the Holy Land, and this last one lived here for three years and I think he didn't had more than two meetings before with those said priests.
Those who call themselves as Syrian Mission Church in reality are agregating anyone who says that he is a priest or opens his house for some persons that accept him as a spiritual leader. The majority of those priests has no study, and no relevant work in any church or community, they simply appear from nowhere and are accepted by their two said bishops, we had the oportunity of interviewing many of them and in our humble position we related their situation to the Holy See.
Remembering also that one of their bishops is married.
The Patriarchate has no access to their properties, because they are all registered in the name of persons such as their priests and bishops so they can enter in any other church as they had already in the past assigned with an Ucranian Orthodox Church, and also tried to enter in the Byzantine Church (Rum Orthodox Church here in Brazil).
It must be known that we are not againts the acceptation of those people in our Church mainly because our Church is universal and is opened to anyone who willingly accept our creed and respect fully our Church.
For more than fifty years the Syrian Orthodox Church exists in Brazil and had priests and parishes, and we never asked for help in any part of our Church, on the contrary, we (community) helped the Patriachate in building the nucleous of Atchane in Lebanon, and also the nucleous of Mar'hat Sednaya and till today the the real Syrian Orthodox parishers contributed and yet contribute to many bishops of the Church during their visits, thus, what those said Missionary Church needs to know is that first of all they must respect and learn the traditions of the Church so that they can get integrated.
They freely copy articles from our sites, translations of the Encyclical Lent or any other Patriarchal Decrees and even Church History and we applaude such actions.
It is important to say that although Father Antonio Naccoud, studied in our seminary at the time of the late Patriach of Mar Ignatius Yacoub III, blessed memory, alone, he will not go ahead in this difficult job that he recognizes, but that needs a lot of help, not financial but intelectual help.
Oportunism is not welcome in religion and in our Church. What do those people know of our Church in India or in Iraque, or in any other place in the world?
Unfotunatelly the language spoken here in Brazil is the Portuguese language and in no other place is practiced in our Church, thus, we took the oportunity in translating the whole liturgy, THE HOLY MASS, explaining all the movements, of the celebrant and the deacons. We translated also the prayers, invocations and supplications as well as many songs of the Christmas, Epiphany, all the Easter ceremonies begining with the Order of foregiveness or Reconciliation at the begining of the Great Lent, or the orders of the parable of the Ten virgins, Washing of the feet, Adoration and Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Redeeming Burial, Celebration of the Ressurection of our Lord and God Jesus Christ and the Adoration and Exaltation of the Holy Cross, etc...
We are now translating from the Aramaic Language to the Portuguese Language the "Priest's Book of Prayers" according to the organization of the great bishop of blessed memory Youhanon Dolabani, of whom my father Abrohom Gabriel Sowmy was a disciple.
I personally think that this is a great help for them.
In our Church site we edited the song book BETH GAZO registered in occidental musical notes, and also we edited in my father's voice, the late deacon Abrohom (1913 - 1996), some solos of our church (gnize - takchefotho).
In my humble suggestion, before sending robes, etc.. or money we must evaluate our acts and understanding the real situation of those priests and their real necessities so that if we really want to build a Missionary Church in Brazil we will be working correctly.
Please this is not a critic but an effort to put things in the right place.
Aniss Ibrahim Sowmy
Syrian Orthodox Church in São Paulo - Brazil.