The Malankara World Journal Issue 26 (dated September 6, 2011) is now available online at:
We are sorry for the slight delay in publishing this abridged Special Edition of Malankara World to commemorate the Nativity of Virgin Mary, Mother of God on September 8. We will have one more special edition to be published on September 7 followed by a special supplement on September 8.
In this issue, Rev. Fr. Thomas Kora Pulpparayil from San Francisco, a member of Malankara World Board, reviews Virgin Mary's role in Syrian Orthodox Church. He covers it from Virgin Mary's birth to death, looks at the traditions, what the bible and church fathers teaches us about Virgin and how our faith in Virgin Mary differs from those taught by protestant church. I am sure this article will become a reference document for priests and laity alike.
We all know about the miracle at Kattachira with the St. Mary's picture bleeding. An excerpt from Sicily Sunny's ebook looks at reported Tears from St. Mary from all over the world.
We end this special edition with an inspirational devotion. We are all familiar with the psalm verse:
"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Joel Osteen exhorts us not to be deterred by everyday troubles from enjoying today. He rightfully tells us that we will have challenges everyday; so enjoy the day and be thankful to God for giving us today. Yesterday is past; tomorrow is uncertain; today is the present.
More articles on Virgin Mary can be found in Malankara World Supplement on St. Mary at.
Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 26
Virgin Mary - In the Syrian Orthodox Faith by Rev. Fr. Thomas Kora, San Francisco
Mary's Tears by Mrs. Cicily Sunny
Don't Put it Off by Joel Osteen
About Malankara World
Virgin Mary - In the Syrian Orthodox Faith
by Rev. Fr. Thomas Kora, San Francisco, Malankara World Board Member
Throughout the Old Testament we can see the promise of a Messiah, Who is going to be born from a Virgin. It is so clear and vivid in Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Many of the Jewish princess and noble virgin girls had desired to receive this Messiah. But quite contrary to their wish, God chose a very poor and humble virgin in the house of David who was from the tribe of Judah. Her name was Mariyam in Aramaic which means Light and Miriam in Hebrew. Mariyam was born to Joachim and Ann at their old age after patiently praying and fasting a long period of time. So she was offered to serve in the temple of Jerusalem at the age of three, where she was taught Old Testament, Holy Jewish traditions and customs. Especially she was disciplined in meditation and seven times daily prayers. Orthodox tradition says that according to Jewish custom no girl was permitted to stay at the temple after the age of eleven; and so Mariyam was sent back to her parent’s home. There she continued her virgin life.
One day, when Mariyam was praying, God sent His messenger Gabriel to her and said, "Do not be afraid, Mariyam, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:30-33). Virgin Mariyam submitted herself to the will of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit she conceived the son of God (the Word / the Logos).
Virgin Mary gave birth to her only Son, the Son of God in due time. After eight days, the infant was circumcised and named Jesus, in accordance with the instructions that the "angel of the Lord" had given to Joseph after the Annunciation to Mary. These customary ceremonies were followed by Jesus' presentation to the Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem in accordance with the law for firstborn males, then the visit of the Magi, the family's flight into Egypt, their return after the death of King Herod the Great about 2 BC and taking up residence in Nazareth. Mary apparently remained in Nazareth for some thirty years. She is involved in the only event in Jesus' adolescent life that is recorded in the New Testament: At the age of twelve, Jesus got separated from his parents on their return journey from the Passover celebration in Jerusalem; he was later found among the teachers in the temple.
After Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist and His temptations by the devil in the desert, Mary was present when Jesus worked his first public miracle at the marriage in Cana by turning water into wine at her intercession. Subsequently there are events when Mary is present along with Jesus' "brothers" (James, Joseph, Simon and Judas) and unnamed "sisters" . Mary is also depicted as being present during the crucifixion standing near "the disciple whom Jesus loved" along with her sister Mary of Clopas (possibly identical with the mother of James the younger and Joseph mentioned in Matthew 27:55, Mark 15:40), and Mary Magdalene (John 19:25-26), to which list Matthew 27:56 adds "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" , presumably the Salome mentioned in Mark 15:40, and other women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and ministered to him (mentioned in Matthew and Mark).
According to the Acts, Mary is the only one of about 120 people gathered, after the Ascension, in the Upper Room on the occasion of the election of Matthias to fill the vacancy of Judas, to be mentioned by name, other than the eleven Apostles and the candidates (Acts 1:12-26) especially v. 14; though it is said that "the women" and Jesus' "brothers" were there as well, their names are not given. From this time, she disappears from the Biblical accounts, although it is held by some Christian groups that she is again portrayed as the heavenly Woman of Revelation (Revelation 12:1). Her death is not recorded in scripture. Tradition says she has being assumed (taken bodily) into Heaven.
According to tradition, Mary died while surrounded by the apostles (in either Jerusalem or Ephesus) between three and fifteen years after Christ's ascension. When the apostles later opened her tomb they found it empty and concluded that she had been bodily assumed into Heaven.
The House of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus, Turkey is believed by some to be the place where Mary lived until her assumption into Heaven. The Gospel of John states that Mary went to live with the Disciple whom Jesus loved (John 19:27), who is traditionally identified as John the Apostle. Irenaus and Eusebius of Caesarea wrote in their histories that John went later to Ephesus, which may provide the basis for the early belief that Mary also lived in Ephesus with John. "Mary's Tomb" , an empty tomb in Jerusalem, is attributed to Mary, but it was unknown until the 6th Century.
The Apostle’s creed and Nicene Creed both refer to Mariyam as Virgin Mary. Since Apostle’s and the Church Fathers, upon whose faith the Church is built, the whole true Christendom believe virgin birth of Jesus Christ from His ever virgin mother Mary. A very complicated question arises now. How can a virgin conceive? Answer is simple: what ever is impossible to man is possible to Almighty God. Syrian Church fathers explain it as follows: Angel Gabriel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called Holy, the son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:34-38). Syrian Orthodox Fathers teach that at the moment when Virgin Mary submitted to God’s will and salvation plan, the Word of God, "the Logos" entered through her ears and thus she conceived the Son of God by the grace and power of Holy Spirit. Her conception was quiet unnatural and wonderful. Therefore she did not lose her virginity. Nothing is impossible to God. Since the conception of Jesus, Mariyam is the mother of God (Theotokos) for the Syrian Orthodox Church.
Some of the later protestant churches misinterpret the Bible. They argue that Mother Mary had other children besides Jesus Christ and so they do not accept the ever virgin status of Virgin Mary. They argue that Bible talk about the brothers of Jesus (Mathew 13: 55-56). If someone interpret the Bible on the basis of one or two words that will mislead them from the truth. If Mother Mary had other children why did Jesus asked the apostle John to take care of Saint Mary? Patristic fathers Saint Ignatius, Saint Clement and Saint Polycarp and other early church fathers like Saint Yousthinous (120-166), Tertullian (160-210), Saint Ireneous (140-202) and Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) did not have any doubts about her perpetual virginity. The brothers of Jesus mentioned in Mathew 13:55-56 where the children of Mary’s sister who was the wife Clapoas. Saint Clement, Origen and Saint Ephiiphanus and Saint Ambrose say that ‘the brothers’ were the children of Joseph in his first marriage.
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In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956