Devotional Thoughts - 4th Sunday after Sleebah
- Devotional Thoughts - Luke 16:9-18
1. The background of this passage is the parable of the intelligent steward or manager who acted in an opportune way to reduce the debts of many debtors of the Master. The steward was smart to make friends by reducing the debts. In fact the master or the owner commended this smart move. Our Lord therefore said, �Make friends with the unrighteous mammon or money so that you will get the favor of those you helped.� It is strange that the Lord said to make friends through a strange way that normal owners will not accept. The message of the parable is not to make friends through unrighteous means but to act smartly or intelligently and on time to escape a crisis. Responding to situations intelligently and quickly is the lesson that the Lord wanted to teach through this parable.
2. The Lord touches on faithfulness. �He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much and vice versa.� This is a truth in life. Faithfulness is a huge question in the spiritual world. The world is looking for faithful people. Even in the spiritual world faithfulness is rarely available. Indeed the business world is full of unfaithful practices in order to make money. However we can easily evaluate a person�s personality by means of that person�s faithfulness even in small matters. Honest and truthful people are a scandal these days. But the Lord�s words stay good that if a person is faith in minor matters will also be faithful in major matters.
3. No servant can serve two masters. Here the Lord makes it clear that avarice or love for money and love for God cannot go together. These days even spiritual people are proving to the world that they can love God and money at the same time. For a good number of them they are the same. Such people love God simply for money. Often in such situations God will be relegated to a secondary place. We the weak humans always find it easy to love money more that God. Jesus warns us against it.
4. Often money conditions human relationships. Where there is money, there is love. Such love is simply superficial. Recently I met with a young who received enormous help to establish in business from a cousin of his. They became very good friends through this business relationship. One day this young man needed a huge sum of money. He thought his cousin will help him at this time also. Unfortunately the cousin himself was in financial struggle and could not offer any help. That young man severed his friendship and relationship with that man who was instrumental for his growth and prosperity. When money becomes priority, relationships become secondary.
5. Money is the symbol of material desire. All material desires are alien to God. Those who have materials desires such as wealth, sex and power will struggle to please God. Such people�s primary motto will be material gain where God is moved to a secondary place. Indeed they will despise God and serve their material desire. Indeed many appear to be selflessly loving. The Lord knows their heart. What is valuable in human eyes are detestable to divine eyes. Man is always willing to do something good to gain name, fame or to fulfill a material need but God would not consider such good acts as great. It is a great challenge to forgo humanly acclaimed material things for the sake of God.
6. The Law or the Word of God is perennial. Our Lord makes it point blank clear that the law of God will not change. God has no change and so are His words. It is therefore essential to obey this eternal Word or the Law of God.
7. Finally the Lord connects the entire message to the family. In relation to husband-wife relationship our Lord shows how the entire concept of priority to God and God�s law is related to family life. Our Lord condemns divorce and considers that as sin. Divorce is equated to adultery. Marriage is a life-long relationship and it should be maintained at any cost. In Mathew 19 our Lord clarified that Moses allowed divorce only because of men�s hardness of heart. The main point is that man�s primary commitment is to oneness of family at any cost. Also the primary target of each family is its unity which is the nature of God. A family must acquire this quality through marriage and by no means that should be disturbed. In married life the husband or wife dedicates himself/herself to the spouse without any condition. Married life provides the training to serve God in an unflinching way.
Fr. M. K. Kuriakose.
St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church, Philadelphia.
- "A person standing at an open window hears the sounds from outside; it is impossible not to do so. But he can give the voices his attention or not, as he himself wishes. The praying person is continually beset by a stream of inappropriate thoughts, feelings and mental impressions. To stop this tiresome stream is as impracticable as to stop the air from circulating in an open room. But one can notice them or not. This, say the saints, one learns only through practice."
"Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:26
- Dear Arvind,
I do not know why after 36 years Fr.Mannaraprayil
achan was removed except that Late Bava Mathews 2 in
one of his conversations on 26th June, 2005 which i
heard him saying that he was convinced about his
decision and it was late....
Probably the episode of Keeping the present Bava ,
when he was catholicate designate out at the seminary
and filing Police case against him added fuel to the
crisis to the expulsion of Mannaraparayil achan.
Though i dont have any second thought about achans
cabalities and the contribution to seminary, i feel 36
years was too long a period when any one including me
should be removed for fresh blood.....
And church is above all of us and we havent lost the
seminary in any ways......my appeal is for its
Dear Koshy Vaidyan Achan,
My intention of the article 'Winning cases are just
not enough" was only to bring to the decision makers
and all to pray and think about upliftment of seminary
and not to throw dust on Fr.M.O.John. I really
apologize if my postings did cause pain to you
- --- In IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com, Mathews David,Randolph, New
Jersey wrote:" I always wonder why people come to orthodox church and
talk about the good things in other churches."
Well, that is a good thing to wonder about. When I was living in the
Middle East, I also some time wondered why our people living in God's
own country Kerala are leaving the wonderful weather, traditions,
karimeen pollichathu and migrate to North America.
After coming to North America we create our small islands of Kerala
in our community in our Church or Malayalee Samajam. And some people
take back the culture and traditions of North America to God's own
country Kerala. And some people leave behind everything they created
in their whole life and migrate to North America to retire.
After migrating myself to Canada, I realised that there is no reason
to wonder about it. I think it is a real and genuine need of every
one to improve their life style.
May be it is for the same good reason that people talk about the good
things in other churches to improve their spiritual style.
- Hi all
This is Alin John Tharayil from Chennai. I am a student doin my 2nd yr B.E. Mech. I belong to the St. George Orthodox Syrian Church, Padi here in Chennai. My native is Ezhamgulam, Pathanamthitta District. I am a part n parcel of Chennai.. I feel proud to be a member of such a huge community consisting of our Church Members all around the world..
Alin John Tharayil,
- Following Church related media for several years, it was H.G. Mar
Osthathios (Niranam) and Mar Athanasius (Kandanad) writing about a
united Malankara Church. Unity will happen only when all of us work
towards that goal.
I read Malankara Deepam regularly. I am looking forward for a single
article in Malankara Deepam promoting the unity of our ancient
Malankara Church. I know that MO john Achen focuses on the history of
the Indian Church. Achen writes a lot about our freedom. I do agree,
but a united Church is better than a fragmented one. Even H.G. Mar
Athanasius wrote about maintaining our freedom. But a lot of our
bishops in the past were ordained by acceptable hierarchs of the SOC
and we cannot end the relationsip so quickly. We may not achieve a
good relationship with the present hierarchy. But, just like Ethiopian
and Coptic Churches ended decades long tension, it can happen in the
future that we have a better relationship with SOC in the future, yet
preserving the freedom of the Indian Church. It all depends on how
much we all work towards it with coherence.
Being from the south and knowing people locally, it is clear to me
that people at large are in favour of unity of this ancient Church.
They really want to see an end to the division. I haven't seen any
article in Malanakra Deepam focusing on the unity of this Church. We
have a great history, but 50 years from now if it is a fragmented
Church, what is the use of having such a great history?
> I am a person from Thumpamon Diocese from where Fr. M.O John hails.who is born and bought up in any of the Northern Diocese to take
> Even though I am against "sons of soil" argument, I am for a Priest
charge of Thrikkunethu Seminary, at least he will not have the feeling
of "Kattille thadi, theverude anna"
>Dear Philip, I am also from Thumpamon and I do agree with you that we
> Philip Ayyamplackal
need to immediately end this North - South arguments. I would like to
explain it a little more. There is no meaning in have such arguments
in a Church served by great Metropolitans and priests from the North
and South. Augen Bava, Parumala Thirumeni all were from the North. We
have a long list of Metropolitans and priests from the North who
served this ancient Church. Our Barnabas Thirumeni of America is also
from the North.
BTW, it is just few kilometers between North and South of Kerala
(considering Kottayam as the center). Outside Kerala people drive
several Kilometers to attend Church. It is like going from Trivandrum
to attend service in Kottayam. So, what is meaning of such narrow
What we have is an ancient Church responsible for the entire Eastern
Asia - Catholicate of the East. We need to think broad. So, the Kerala
based North-South argument is meaningless. We need to outlive such
narrow thinking to grow as a the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East.
Better relationship with SOC will automatically happen when that
Church have sensible leaders. But our people should not fight in the
name of SOC and destroy this ancient Church Almighty planted in the
- --- In IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com, Yesudasan Needumoncave, Detroit
>form and its readers by the subjects like Karimeen Pollichathu, Aviyal
> Dear Moderators and ICON members,
> I am at a loss to understand the spiritual value that adds to the
Sambar etc and so on, some times posted as ICON Messages. Why can't we
eleminate such topics which have no spiritual significance?
>I think cooking delicious food and serving it to guest is a spiritual
> Yesudasan Needumoncave,
act. In our Indian tradition it is "athidi devo bhava". We see Abraham
inviting the Three strangers and offering them a satisfying meal.
Abraham was 'bhagyavan', because he treated the Three persons
understood in the Church as representing the Holy Trinity. We cannot
easily separate between earthly and heavenly things - being united
through our faith in Christ.
- dear Mr. Yesudasan,
Perhaps some people like to discuss the food items in the site because of the spiritual values that are seemingly attached to them. Jesus ate fishes, His apostles were mostly fishermen. Besides, Jesus did some miracles with fishes that became the menus for some of them. If we want to increase our spiritual potentials, fish is an imperative item, particularly for Keralites who have an omnivorous taste of all good food and drinks.
You don't like fish perhaps, Mr.Yesudasan,
Despite we used to swallow the Body of Christ, the new theory of chewing it properly and eating it is likely due to the scientific reason that the digesting of the starch take place only in the mouth, so also the way of cooking the fish is important for its absorption in the inner man.
- Respected Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
From its humble beginnings in an apartment building in New York City,
St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary has established itself as
the premier graduate school of Orthodox theology in the
English-speaking world, and certainly one of the top theological
academies in the entire Orthodox world. The Seminary combines an
uncompromising adherence to the Orthodox faith with a living and
dynamic engagement with that tradition, in the context of regular
liturgical, spiritual, and ascetical discipline. The result is an
environment which lives and breathes Orthodoxy, but is also welcoming
to all, male or female, Orthodox or not, who come through its doors
seeking knowledge, scholarship, pastoral training, community, and,
ultimately, an encounter with the living Christ.
St. Vladimir's Seminary, one of three seminaries of the Orthodox
Church in America (OCA), does not limit itself to the training of
pastors and leaders for their jurisdiction, but for all Eastern
Orthodox Churches. St. Vladimir's scope and mission is limited not
only to the American context, but is enriched with the presence of
students from Orthodox jurisdictions throughout the world. This
allows students to have a broader Orthodox experience and education,
allowing them to glimpse the universal mission of the Church.
To date, thirty Eastern Orthodox bishops and hundreds of priests and
leaders from diverse places have studied and graduated from the
Seminary. This extends to non-Eastern Orthodox Churches as well: the
Roman Catholic Church, as well as a number of Protestant
denominations, has had or currently has students studying at the
Seminary. And this is no less true for the Oriental Orthodox
Churches. A number of bishops (foremost among them H.H. Patriarch
Paulos of Ethiopia), priests, deacons, and lay leaders of all Oriental
Churches have passed through her doors. The Malankara Orthodox Church
is exceptionally well represented in this regard by the following:
1. The late Very Rev. T.V Phillipose Chor Episcopos
2. Rev. Fr. Dr. P.C. Eapen
3. Rev. Fr. T.G. Zachariah (first Master of Divinity student)
4. Rev. Fr. C.O. Vargis
5. Rev. Fr. George Koshy (first Master of Theology student), D.Min
6. Rev. Fr. George Mathew (first Master of Arts student)
7. Rev. Fr. Bijesh Philip, M.Th
8. HG Mor Theophilos Zechariah (first Doctor of Ministry student)
9. Rev. Dn. Paul Cherian, M.Div
10. Rev. Fr. Aju Phillip Mathews, M.Div
11. Rev. Fr. M.S. John, D.Min
12. Rev. Fr. P.C. Thomas
13. HG Mor Ivanios Geevarghese
14. Very Rev. P.S. Samuel Chor Episcopos, D.Min
15. Rev. Fr. Isaac Raju Varghese, D.Min
16. Rev. Dn. Geevarghese John, M.Div
17. Very Rev. P.G. Varghese Chor Episcopos, D.Min
18. Rev. Dn. Mathew Alexander, M.Div, (M.Th student)
19. Rev. Dn. Leeson Daniel, M.Div
20. Rev. Dn. Abi Chacko, M.Div
21. Rev. Dn. Philip Mathew, M.Div
22. Rev. Dn. Joshua (Binoy) George, M.Div
23. Rev. Fr. Ninan George
24. Rev. Dn. Gregory Varghese, final year M.Div
25. Mr. Abu Koshy George, final year M.Div
26. Rev. Fr. Sunny Joseph
27. Mr. Vijay Thomas, 2nd year M.Div
28. Ms. Mariam Ceena Varghese, 1st year MA student (first female
student of the MOSC)
Evening Extension Classes:
1.) Ray Mathew
2.) Binu Punoose
3.) Renny Mathew
4.) Cibyl Matthula
A number of leaders in the Syrian Orthodox Church have also studied at
1. HG Mor Polycarpos Aydin, M.Div
2. HG Mor Tithos Yeldo, M.Div
3. Mr. George Aramath, MA
4. Rev. Dn. Ephrem Ishac, 2nd year M. Div student
5. Mr. Jesu John
On 6 October 2007, a new phase in our Church's relationship with St.
Vladimir's Seminary will begin. The Malankara Orthodox Chapel, since
2005 located in Room 307 of the Metropolitan Leonty Building, will be
relocating to another room in the same building. A minor blessing of
the new chapel, to be dedicated in memory of the Holy Apostle Thomas,
will be conducted, beginning at 4.00pm. The Chapel blessing will take
place after "Orthodox Education Day 2007", an all-day event at the
We cordially invite all of our brothers and sisters, especially our
alumni clergy, to attend both of these great events. We hope this
will be an opportunity to witness the best of St. Vladimir's while at
the same time rekindling existing relationships between our
seminarians, alumni, clergy, and faithful of our Diocese. Please keep
our seminarians in your prayers.
Dn. Gregory Varghese, Abu George, Vijay Thomas, Mariam Ceena Varghese
- After a break, we will continue the Idukki diary (TID) series.
[Archived at ICON yahoo group or at
http://www.idukkidiocese.blogspot.com/%5d We were discussing what we
could have done better to avoid the current state of Idukki diocese.
In the last article (TID-7:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianOrthodox/message/16951%5d we looked
at couple of questions related to the shortage of bishops and focused
on the first question. In this article, we will look at the second
Q. If we had a shortage of bishops, was it a good idea to form new dioceses?
Let us approach this question by asking another question.
If you had 24 children and you had 24 caretakers, would you consider
getting one more child (making it 25 to care for) and reassign one of
the caretakers (who is currently looking after one of the existing 24
children) and assign it to the new child. Definitely not! We would
drop the idea of getting the 25th child.
In 2002, we added more dioceses. While we were adding these new
dioceses, keep in mind that Idukki did not have a full time
metropolitan for the past 10 years from 1992-2002. We can probably
understand the creation of some of the dioceses that happened as part
of the unification. In addition to dioceses resulting from
unification, IOC also decides to form other diocese such as the
Mavelikara diocese. The new born immediately got a caretaker. Idukki still remained the neglected child and was neglected
It is more interesting to make a note that the full time bishop of the
new Mavelikara diocese was once upon a time a part time bishop of
People can argue the logic behind the creation of Mavelikara diocese,
but we need to ask ourselves: was it a timely decision considering
that there were dioceses that were without a Shepard for more than a
decade. Did this action of creating new diocese aggravate the bishop
People might wish for many things, but it is the responsibility of the
leadership to balance the wishes and the feasibility of achieving the
wishes. Even if people wish for things based on local needs, it's the
leadership that must have a global perspective and act accordingly
regardless of the influences of lobbyists.
If the IOC administration was more proactive in the matters of Idukki
diocese, would there be a black out era in the history of Idukki
diocese? The ideal action would have been to ensure full time
Shepard's for every diocese before adding up more dioceses.
To be continued…
Next Article: TID-9: What could we have done better: The fair share:
Why just me?
- Draft Resolution Of The Summit of Religious Fathers
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Wednesday 26th September 2007-09
A Summit of Religious Fathers, which included Patriarchs from both
the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as from the
Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant Church and various religions
in Ethiopia held a day long discussion and deliberation at the
Plenary Hall of the Economic Commission for Africa, on various
aspects of world peace, its environment, on our common
responsibility in stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS pandemic, on world
economic development and on the theological response to these topics.
The Summit extends its thanks and appreciation to the Ethiopian
Orthodox Tewahedo Church in general, and to H.H.Abuna Paulos I, in
particular for organizing such a timely summit and for the warm
hospitality accorded to visiting summit participants.
This Summit of Religious Fathers wishes to commend the Federal
Democratic Government of Ethiopia whose Deputy Prime Minister,
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and President of the
Ethiopian Millennium Festival National Council, Ato Addissu Legesse
opened the Summit with an inspiring key-note address. The Summit
also wishes to acknowledge the learned contributions of Their
Eminences and Their Graces as well as the Deputy Chairperson of the
African Union and Their Excellencies the Ethiopian Minister of
Health and the Economic Advisor to H.E.the Ethiopian Prime Minister,
as well as by the valuable contribution from H.E. the United States
Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The Summit discussed in depth on the need to maintain peace at a
time when world peace was being threatened by violence and
terrorism. In this regard, the Summit is eager to point out the
very special role of the church and all religions in preaching and
fostering peace, for it staunchly believes that our way of life and
civilizations are solely dependent on the existence of durable
peace. The Summit , therefore, regards that it would be remiss of
its duty if it does not condemn in the strongest possible terms all
forms of violence and acts of international terrorism. This
Millennium Summit of Religious Fathers consequently calls upon the
on-going UN General Assembly and the Security Council, to redouble
their efforts in securing durable peace in regions affected by the
absence of durable peace.
Having discussed and deliberated upon current global economic
issues, the Summit wishes to commend the decision by the developed
nations to cancel the debts of developed nations. The Summit ,
however, is concerned on the increased gap that still exists between
the haves and the have-nots urges developed nations to enhance their
quality and quantity of aid to developing countries and calls upon
developing nations to rid themselves from all forms of dependency
The Summit is acutely aware of and duly concerned with the fact that
HIV/AIDS continues to be a scourge to humankind and calls upon all
churches to redouble their efforts in combating the disease. As an
institution wholly guided by the teachings of our saviour Jesus
Christ, all churches believe first and foremost in abstinence, but
when struck by the disease, a blend of spiritual and medical therapy
must be an option available to all Christian victims of HIV/AIDS.
In tandem with this, the Summit calls on the enhancement of mass
mobilization on preventative education, counselling, care and
support with emphases on the need to the wide use of mobile clinics
in rural areas.
The Summit expressed great concern on the status quo of our
environment in general and global warming in particular which it
believes, continues to adversely affect developing nations in
particular. Consequently, the summit calls upon the UN and its
specialized agencies as well as concerned NGOs to redouble their
efforts in combating what has, indeed, become a pressing universal
The Millennium Summit of Religious Fathers has unanimously agreed
for these Resolutions to henceforth be known as "The Addis Ababa
Accord of Religious Leaders."
Maracheril Thomas Paul Ramban
Office of the Private Secretariat of
H H ABUNE PAULOS I
(Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church and
President of W C C)
- The courage to take right decision at right time, only will come from a leadership which has no black spot on their palm. Of cource the posting of new manager, Edayanal Achen and Yakoob Achen, we will see that the Seminary garden will again blossom with its flowers. Like these decisions, a lot has to come from the Church leadership. We should cry before, not after the glass breaks.
From the Desk of Moderators:
Please sign with place information.
- Thank you Mr.Mathew Samuel (ICON 2897) for the apt selection of Christian related quotes pregnant with meaning from Gandhiji, beautiful narration and related comments .
It has been a good revisit.
My humble prayers and best wishes.
- Dear Friends,
The Believers persistently try to convert Marthoma & Orthodox. But
they should really try to convert the Politicians who stir communal
feelings, the prostitutes of Mumbai, the prisoners in Central Jail
etc, the kinds Jesus brought to true repentance instead of converting
the baptized. But none of these believers are willing to leave the
comfort of their armchairs and air conditioned houses or prayer halls.
I have come across a few belonging to the believer sects. They show
great fervor about being saved, baptism, bible, fellowship etc. But I
have not found their lives holy as in psalm 15-authentic integrated
life that the psalmist describes as belonging to the one who dwells
on the Holy Hill. In my personal experience, some of them casually
evade tax, cheat on payments, lie etc. and think nothing of it in
their secular environment, even though they pray with great fervor and
try to convert others aggressively. If your faith does not correct
your life, of what worth is it? (Ortho Doxa )
Most of them are rich. Their group also is a society of the rich and
westernized people. Their religion is radical in its showiness, but
not radical in its faith. Their colds and their mothers in law can
become "Cross".The daily dying to the 'self' is unknown to them.
A tree shall be known by its fruits. None of the nine fruits of the
Spirit that St Paul speaks of are indicative of frenzy and noise and
hysteria that characterize them-The true fruits of the Spirit indicate
qualities that come from a heart filled with Christ's Peace.
I think that these people are also searching for God, but they want a
God who would not challenge them to give up their 'self' or their self
centered life styles. They seek a God who will affirm, what they are.
Give them a sense of false comfort and safety. These sects are opiums
of the soul. They are not yet ready to surrender-to say "Thy will be
done" So they create a God with a superficial holiness who fits into
As most of us are also like them in our self centered nature, we
should not dislike them, but we should not mix with their groups
either. We should pray that all of us come to God eventually.
If we are true lights, we would attract them to our fold--that is "If
we are" Why do we fail so badly?
- Dear All,
I read from the posting of Mr.Joice Thottackad and my
friends from Ankamaly that Rev. Fr. M. O. John has been
transferred to Kundara. I think the decision by Bava
on the above is not because Fr.M.O.John did not carry out
his responsibilities but as always voiced, priests
from ANKAMALY was the need of the hour. It is only a
gesture of correction. I think Fr. Edayanal is a great
leader respected by everyone in the diocese and he is
also a great administrator. The spiritual eagerness
and young blood of Fr.Yakob(Shijo achan) will
definitely lift the spirits of seminary. I think
almighty has intervened through Bava and let's all pray
that the new administrators elevate the atmosphere of
It is worthwhile here to think upon a REALITY. Our
bava being the Malankara metropolitan always had/has
the power to transfer (no matter how many years) or
appoint any priests or take charge of any diocese.
Appointments/transfers at seminary starting from
Fr. Mannaraprayil then Fr. Bobby Varghese & Fr. Thomas
paul(presently Rembachan at Ethiopia) after that
Fr.M.O.John and now Fr.Edayanal & Fr.Yakob are
examples of it. All of them were transferred for
corrections at the right time when the church felt and
it would have caused pain and disappointment in all.
The power vested in Bava is the same now and then, the
actions or corrections were taken at the same
place(Thrikkunathu seminary), on different people, but
why only on June 26,2005 the issue was so heated?
Where is H.B.Thomas-1 now? Why there is no 144 in
seminary premises coz Fr.M.O.John is transferred? Why
there are no police even at the kabar or seminary now?
I dont know the reasons. It would be a valuable point
for all in our church to think and then measure our
faithfulness and committment.
The answer in my opinion is we the orthodox people
have now started to be disciplined and UNITED UNDER
OUR LEADERSHIP, obeying the Kalpanas and thanks to
Mathews 2 bava for his firmness in decision with least
majority,who in heaven now will be happy seeing that
we have discipline in our church followed by Didymus
"A great leadership has the ability to foresee crisis
rather than waiting for emergency to act upon."
I request you all to pray that seminary and Ankamaly
diocese will see its glory by glorifying the almighty.
- Dear Mr Babu V thomas
I am very grateful and thanking you for the strong support and pledge. Hope that Poor church members in S. Bathery gets enough fund to build that small church.
Thank you again ,
In Christ .
St. Gregorious Orthdox Church