Re: Meaning of 'Moran Mor', 'Aboon Mor' & 'Mor'
- Dear Mr.Mathew,
There is no harm in addressing the Catholicose as 'Moran Mor' since 'Catholicos' means 'the Universal father' and who is the head of the church in India. Canonically Catholicos has equal status with the Patriarch. It is appropriate to give the title HH in lieu of HB for Baselios Thomas I bava.
God bless you.
From the desk of moderators
'CATHOLICOS OF THE EAST' was originally the title conferred to the ecclesiastical head of the Christian congregation in the erstwhile Persian Empire that extended from Mesopotamia in the west, to the boundaries of the present day Afghanistan and Northern India in the east. In the beginning the bishop who assumed this title was known as MAJOR METROPOLITAN / CATHOLICOS OF SELEUCIA; Seleucia being the capital city of Persian Empire. This institution was initially set up to serve as a link between the Patriarch of Antioch, and the Syrian Christian Community in Persia who found the journey to the Patriarchate at Antioch, hazardous because of the bitter political rivalry between the Roman and Persian empires.
The Church in Persia was known in different names: Persian Church, Babylonian Church, East Syrian Church, Church of East, Chaldean Church etc. Though the jurisdiction of the Seleucian Catholicate was initially within the Persian Empire only, it later extended to few other regions outside the empire in Asia in the further East, through missionary activities.
The term �Catholicos� (Katholikos) is derived from the Greek words �Kath-Holikos�, meaning �General Primate� or �General Vicar�. Even before the primates of the Church adopted this title, it existed in the Roman Empire where its Government representative who was in charge of a large area was called �Catholicos�. The Government servant, who was in charge of State treasury, too was known by that name. In due course, the secular administrative heads in Persian Empire also adopted this title.
The Churches (mainly outside the Roman Empire) started to use this term for their Chief Bishops much later, probably by 4th or 5th centuries. Now the primates of the Orthodox Churches in Armenia, Georgia, Iraq and India, use the title �Catholicose�.
�Maphriyono� (Maphrian) is derived from the Syriac word afri, �to make fruitful�, or "one who gives fecundity". This title came to be used exclusively for the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the East (Persia) after the prelates who occupied the office of the Catholicate since late 5th century adopted Nestorian Christology and separated from the mother Church. From the mid 13th century onwards, a few occupants of the Maphrianate were referred also as �Catholicos�, but the title never came into extensive usage. However in the 20th century when this office of the Maphrianate under the Holy See of Antioch was established in India, the chief of the local church assumed the title �Catholicos�. It is this title that is being used in India today, while the title �Maphriyono� (Maphrian) is no longer used.
The church in Malankara is an integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church with the Patriarch of Antioch [His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas] as its supreme head. The local head of the church in Malankara is the Catholicose of India [His Beatitude Baselios Thomas I], ordained by and accountable to the Patriarch of Antioch.
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- Dear all,
I am glad to find authoritative responses to my query on ' Meaning
of Moran Mor, Aboon Mor, and Mor' and grateful to Mor Deevannasios
Thirumeni for being kind enough to respond to the query.
From the responses till today, I think one can comprehend the
meaning of 'Moran Mor' as 'Our Lord and My Lord' and 'Aboon Mor'
as ' Our Father and My Lord'. The meaning of Mor is well explained
but I couldn't find any specific reply about the usage of this title
as I sought in the latter part of my query. Any way as the Thirumeni
has given "we can see the meaning of the word Mor as Mr. in English
language" I assume it as a salutation when used with the names of
our Metropolitans. I also assume that Mor doesn't change relevance
whether it is used as a prefix or in the middle of the name.
Why I was seeking more information specifically about Mor is because
I have seen Mor used with our Metropolitans' name in some contexts
where something is published in their names. I don't refer to
Episcopal Bulls (Kalpana) and other writings or letters from the
Metropolitans themselves as our Metropolitans will not be using a
salutation of reverence themselves but I refer to the contexts like
when we (laity) publish some notices or invitations in the name of
our metropolitans with their permission. An example I can quote is
the invitation letter of consecration of our Niranam diocesan HQ.
(Available in the link
http://www.syrianchurch.org/news/NiranamHQConsecration.pdf given in
our message # 11247). The invitation is published in the name of the
diocesan Metropolitan Geevarghese Mor Coorilose. What I want to
submit is if Mor is a salutation of respect like Mr. in English how
it can be added to one's own name by himself. This is not a single
incident. I have found many Notices, Invitations or write ups in the
name of our metropolitans, where Mor is used with their names. If I
am right on my contention, I too understand definitely it will not
be happening with in the direct knowledge of our metropolitans as
our learned Metropolitans including Coorilose thirumeni will
definitely not themselves add a salutation of reverence with their
own names. But the mistake might have happened with the person who
published it in his name. Any way if I am right on my understanding
of Mor as a Salutation only, when a notice of this type is
circulated outside, and when anyone finds that the person who writes
a letter concludes saluting himself 'My Lord', what is getting
destroyed is the name of our Metropolitans and our Church. We have
to instruct strictly those who publish notices of this type to get
the final proof vetted by authoritative personnel before printing.
Any way I request the opinion of fellow members on this as I may be
wrong in understanding the responses and also in contentions
discussed in the above paragraph. But if Mor is some thing more than
a salutation we have to educate our members on its relevance above
that. Eventhough I was not clear about the meaning of Mor before
being explained in the fourm, I was understanding its relevance as a
salutation only. When I try to give the relevance of Mor we use with
the name of our Metropolitans as a salutation, my protestant friends
always reply in fun saying 'Sreeman Njan' or 'Mr. Myself' pointing
to notices in the context I have given in the above paragraph.
That's why I wish to raise the question 'are they (my protestant
friends) wrong in reading the names in the above context as 'My
Lord. My Self'?
I would like to suggest one more thing. It's regarding the spelling
of Mar/Mor. I think this is addressed earlier by some other members
of the forum, any way I wish to present my view. It is well
explained in some earlier messages of this forum m-A-r and m-O-r
means the same in Syriac and there is nothing wrong in using any of
these spellings. But the situation becomes a little bit different
when someone fails to understand that MAR is a Syriac word. We the
Jacobite Syrian Orthodox know the relevance of Syriac in the Church
but we cannot assume that every one outside especially Protestants
and non-Christians are aware of our Syriac connection. If any one
among them presumes the salutatory prefix MAR is an English word
like Mr. I think they may get confused over the usage. Why I felt
this is because of a debate with one of my RC friends a few months
back. As we all know RC Bishops in Kerala as against their
counterparts outside is addressed Mar. Though I don't know exactly
how they started this tradition, I assume it to be from their past
connection with Syriac as their liturgical language. Even though he
was not sure about the language of origin of Mar, my RC friend took
the stand that the salutation MAR they use is from English a
clerical title similar to Mr., as he didn't want to admit any Syriac
connection for their church in the present. I too agreed to his
contention about this language of origin of Mar 'THEY' use as
a 'salutation of (ir)reverance' but with in half an hour my friend
gave me a call and withdrew his contention( as we all know the
dictionary meaning of Mar in English is not some thing that suggest
a reverence but an irreverence only). I think this mistake in
understanding the language of origin of Mar can happen with any one
outside Orthodox or Marthomite Churches and when it is taken as from
English the result is not favorable. So I wish to put forward that
the Church should officially circulate the spelling M-O-R over M-A-R
for the salutation used with the names of High Priests.
One more thing I want to submit. My argument supporting the
spelling 'Mor' may be debatable but we should take care to be
consistent on the spelling (whether Mor or Mar) at least in all
places of the same document. Please again go through the invitation
letter of Niranam Diocese HQ Consecration. The Spelling used for HB
Catholicose is 'Aboon Mar' then it changes to 'Mor' for HG Synod
Secretary and HG Diocesan Metropolitan. I agree that we all use it
interchangeably but when it is intended for public circulation we
must follow consistent usage as otherwise this may confuse an
outsider about the use and relevance of this salutation.
I request alternative contentions or repudiations if I am wrong in
my views above, but if it is otherwise, expect your concurring
- Dear all
This is the response to my earlier posting and a counter response in on of the IOC forum by one of their member (which was brought to my attention by the moderators of this Forum).
"Moran Mor" means Our Lord and is only used for the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch only. In IOC constitution, The Patriarch is noted as the Supreme Head of the Orthodox Syrian Church (not of the Syrian Orthodox Church). The name of our True Church is `idto suryoyto treysath shubho" translated in English as "Syriac Orthodox Church" and the supreme head of the Syriac Orthdox Church is known as the "Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch". In the Syriac Orthodox Church, H.B. Catholicos, the H.Gs Metropolitans (Arch Bishops), and all Episcopos (Bishops) are not equal in ecclesiastical rank to His Holiness the Patriarch. In IOC I think all the Metropolitans are considered equal to the Catholicos and the representative of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the vision of the IOC Forum member and is the difference between our church and IOC.
We have studied and believed as our forefathers did, especially St. Parumala Thirumeni, that the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch is the Supreme Head of our church and is enthroned as the successor of St. Peter, the chief of the apostles, to shepherd the Holy Church. All other Apostles are not equal to him.
In St. Luke. 22:32, we see:
"but have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
After His resurrection as we can see in St.John.20.3-9
"Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter and came first to the sepulcher. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. (Why?) Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead"
All the apostles accept St. Peter's supremacy, including St. John and St. Thomas, for he was blessed by the Most High Priesthood after our Lord's resurrection as we see in St John 21.15-18.
"Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
We translate it from the Syriac Evangelion to Malayalam as "ente anadukale (or muttadukale, ie. men) meyikkuka,......ente pennadukale (ie. women) ... ente kunjadukale (i.e. children) meyikkuka." It was the duty vested upon St. Peter to rule over the church as a whole as the Good Shepherd. His successors, i.e., the Patriarchs, do the same to this day and "strengthen their brethren"; we accept them as our "Idaya Sreshtan" and address them with the title "Moran Mor" (Our Lord).
We can see more evidence from Penkeeza kramam. In a Sedra of the 4th Sunday morning after Kyomtho I quote the original prayer in Syriac"
"Sma menhen Semavun u Yuhanon varheth kad rheebeen vamthah rehtheh thalyo bar Sabdai u qadmeh lsobo bar Yauno .mtho lqabro alymo kadmoyo u lo al nthar thekso lreesh talmeedo ak voleetho."
"avaril ninnum semavoonum yuhanonum kettayutan avar thitukkaththil purappettu.sabdaiyute puthran aaya yuvav yavunante puthranaya semavune munkatannu.yuvav kabarinkal adyam ethi enkilum pravesichilla. yogyamaya prakaram sishya pramughante kramam avan kathu.(keep the seniority of the head of the Disciples)"
In Ougen Bava's translation intentionally avoided this. Other wise Bava should accept Patriarch's supremacy. The leaders of the IOC astray their sheep from truth.
- Dear Mr. Alex,
It is very interesting to read your exhaustive mail related to the holy titles used to address our high priests. We are more inclined to read in between lines than to perceive its broad meanings. In this context I remember a story of Bernard Shaw that is very popular.
One day while making his evening walk he saw a board in front of a fish shop � FRESH FISH SOLD HERE�. Amusingly he called the shop owner and commented that no one will buy old fish. Owner appreciated the advice and removed the word FRESH. Next day gain Shaw stopped and commented that the smell emits from the shop will tell every one that fish is sold there. Owner removed the word FISH. Ultimately at the end the owner threw the board.
Our discussions should not remove those holy titles. We use those Syriac titles as a tradition and with utmost respects and not with its literal meanings. If a bishop uses the title Mar or Mor before HG�s Episcopal name we must read it as �Your Lord in Jesus�. As the trinity is ordained on to HG we must call HG �Your Lord� whilst HG uses �Your Lord in Jesus�.
Let us not use our human intelligence to correct the usages instructed by the holy church. Equating those titles with worldly titles like Mr. Dr. Mrs. Professor etc is indeed suicidal.
If my words are inapt please forgive.
Dr.George K John
- Dear Alex,
Here's my understanding of the usage. I do not have any validated sources on what I am going to write, but this is how I have come up with a rational explanation.
At the time of consecration as a Metropolitan, the individual is given the name of a Saint as an addendum to their baptismal names.
Taking the example of LL Mor Clemis Abraham. Abraham was his baptismal name and the name of the Saint bestowed on him during the consecration was Mor Clemis.
Now the Mor in this case is actually referring to St Clement of Rome or Mor Clemis. Please do note that Mor is also equivalent in usage to St in English and Morth is used for a Female Saint.
Now the name of the Metropolitan can be written as
1. Mor Clemis Abraham or
2. Abraham Mor Clemis
as you see in various publications
In both cases the Mor is attached to the name of the Saint (Here St Clement) and not to the individuals baptismal name (Abraham in this case).
This is the usage pattern I have seen in cases of our SOC Metropolitans both in India and Outside.
You have rightly pointed out the usage of Mar by the Syro Malabar Church. I think they are considering it like Rt. Rev, Monsignor etc. Note that they do not have names of saints given at times of consecration. So there is really is no point in comparison with them.
Regarding the usage of Aboon and Moran, as Divannasios thirumeni has already pointed out we use Moran only for HH Patriarch, the representative of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Aboon can be used for all Metropolitans, note the references in the 1st thubden in the Holy Qurbana or in hymns like "To Ba'shlom ..." My understanding of the usage of Moran Mor and Aboon Mor is as follows.
Taking the earlier example . Aboon refers to Metropolitan Abraham Mor Clemis who is our spiritual father, but the Mor refers to Mor Clemis. So when we say Aboon Mor Clemis Abraham, we are saying "Our father St Clemis Abraham" here the Saint is not for the individual but the saint whose name was given at consecration and the 'Our father' is for the individual.
In case of our Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I, The Mor refers to St Ignatius Noorono and the Moran refers to Our Spiritual Lord the
In short there probably is some misunderstanding on why and what is the proper way, but I would not really attribute it to any wrong intentions.
As you have said, uniformity in this aspect is welcome.
Hope this helps
Prayers and regards
Member id 1011
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Alex Thomas wrote:
> Dear all,
> I am glad to find authoritative responses to my query on ' Meaning
> of Moran Mor, Aboon Mor, and Mor' and grateful to Mor Deevannasios
> Thirumeni for being kind enough to respond to the query.
> From the responses till today, I think one can comprehend the
> meaning of 'Moran Mor' as 'Our Lord and My Lord' and 'Aboon Mor'
> as ' Our Father and My Lord'. The meaning of Mor is well explained
> but I couldn't find any specific reply about the usage of this title
> as I sought in the latter part of my query. Any way as the Thirumeni
Shinu Jesus Abraham
Member ID # 2908