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12778Some questions I found difficult to answer to them (IOC) Part 1

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  • SOCM Moderators
    Jun 30, 2008
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      Dear All in Christ

      Few questions were raised by IOC members to our esteemed member Mr. Alex Thomas (member ID #971) recently. As Mr. Alex found difficulty in answering to these questions, may be due to lack of complete knowledge about the faith; doctrines; traditions and history of the Holy Church, he send them to us for clarifications and answers. These questions are studied by the core group of learned members of this forum and prepared the answers.

      These questions and answers will be posted in this forum part by part for the members understanding, and the same too will be made available in our FAQ section http://www.socmnet.org/FAQ.htm for future reference reference

      In Our Lord�s Love
      Forum Moderators.
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      Question

      You have recently declared HG Paulose Mor Athnasiose of Alwaye (whom you describe as defender of true faith of your church) as a Saint. But still you haven't included HG's name in Tubden. Isn't it because of the fact that the Universal synod opposes/ignores persons from Malankara being included in Tubdens? Isn't it what we call Antiochean supremacy from 1910s�ignoring the name of a saint from Malankara in Tubden, to whom the HH Patriarch had once offered half of his throne. Or the beatification of HG Paulose Mor Athnasiose was just a trick to reinforce the claim over Thrikkunnathu Church?

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      Answer

      Beatification and inclusion of the name in Diptychs are two different things. All the names of saints are not necessarily included in the Diptych.

      The term diptychs has Greek roots and denotes a double tablet. Diptychs were, in fact, the records of each church, in which were recorded the names of all the orthodox bishops who had ruled it from the time of its foundation. Another set of diptychs recorded the names of the living or departed benefactors of the church. It is believed that the diptychs was formally arranged by St. Jacob of Edessa (c. A.D. 633-708). The reading of the diptychs was a practice which originally followed the kiss of peace (in Holy Qurbono). The martyrologies evolved from the ancient diptychs and, when made general instead of local, provided the framework for the original form of the Christian calendar (Blunt, 1891). There are several citations from Bible which do mention about �the book of life� or a heavenly register.

      The Church remembers the Holy fathers who handed down the incorrupt faith, which was nurtured by their blood and life. However, all of them are not remembered in the Diptychs. The Calendar of saints is too long to include them all in the Diptych. St. Osthatheos Sleeba, the Delegate of the Holy See of Antioch (1908-1930), is declared a saint but not included in the fifth diptych but is remembered in the fifth Diptych in the church (Arthat Simhasana church) where the saint is entombed as per the Apostolic Bull of His Holiness, the Patriarch. That was the traditional practice. Therefore, there is nothing unusual if the name of H. G. Mor Athnasiose Paulose is not incorporated into the list or remembered in the Thrikkunnathu church only or in all churches in Malankara as permitted by His Holiness.

      It should be noted that the fifth diptych had only 23 names in it until 1987 and all of them lived during the first six centuries. Later four additions include saints from 17th century onwards. This does not mean that the Church had no saints who lived between 6th and 17th century. Another important practice relevant to the question is that in the early Church the veneration of saints at first was restricted to celebrations at their tombs. Later, veneration of relics soon spread too many places. Therefore, it is quite natural that saints can be remembered in local churches. Therefore, names of the saints can be remembered in a particular church, in the churches in a locality (Malankar)and in the Universal Church. All these are justified in the history and practice of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

      Reference
      Blunt, J. H. (Ed.). (1891). Dictionary of doctrinal and historiacal theology. London: Longmann, Green and Co.