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HH Patriarch Mor Zakka I's Address at Ernakulam - Sep 22, 2004

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  • drthomas_joseph
    Kochi: Visiting Patriarch of Antioch and All the East H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I, the supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, began the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22, 2004
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      Kochi: Visiting Patriarch of Antioch and All the East H.H. Moran Mor
      Ignatius Zakka I, the supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox
      Church, began the silver jubilee celebrations of his enthronement,
      flanked by thousands of his followers in India.

      Marked with religious fervour and enthusiasm, tens of thousands of
      devotees thronged the Marine Drive here this evening, to greet their
      supreme pontiff on the occasion of his jubilee.

      The celebrations were formally inaugurated at a public meeting
      attended by religious and political leaders. Kerala Chief Minister
      Oommen Chandy inaugurated the celebrations. Union Minister for Power
      P M Sayeed, former Union Minister and senior BJP leader O Rajagopal,
      head of Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal Varkey Mar Vithayathil and
      Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan were among those who attended the

      Visit http://syriacchristianity.com/visit2004/Home_Page.htm for
      detailed news on the third Apostolic Visit of His Holiness to India.

      The transcript of Patriarch's Speech at the celebration is below
      (Source: John Philip K.):

      Patriarchal address at the public meeting in Ernakulam

      We are extremely delighted to be here this evening with you all. It
      is always a great joy to visit India, the great nation of sages and
      saints, this beautiful state Kerala, "Gods own country", and
      particularly our church here in India.

      We remember with much gratitude, the warm reception we received from
      the general public, the previous times we visited India. We still
      cherish the fond memories of those visits. We wish to once again
      thank the honourable governments, both at the centre and here in
      Kerala for their kind hospitality. We are happy that the same spirit
      has been shown to us even this time.

      When we see this great crowd here, we marvel at the love that you
      show to the Holy throne of Antioch. We can only talk about our church
      in India with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we are extremely happy
      to see the progress our church has made under the efficient
      leadership of our spiritual brother in Christ His Beatitude Baselios
      Thomas 1st, the Catholicos and Metropolitan Trustee. His Beatitude is
      a born leader. God has bestowed many good qualities upon him. In
      times of crises he will never waiver. His loyalty to the Holy throne
      of Antioch is unflinching. He will never compromise aspects of true
      faith and traditions. He will always walk ahead and with his people.
      In His Beatitude you have a great leader whom you can always trust
      and look upon. He will stay like a rock when it comes to matters of
      faith. We remember with gratitude the great sacrifices of Late
      Lamented His Beatitude Mor Baselios Paulose IInd along with the late
      Lamented Mor Gregorios Geevarghese made for this church. We want to
      appreciate the leadership of His Beatitude Baselios Thomas 1st at
      this time and thank him for the same. May God grand him good health
      and long life. We also would like to acknowledge the services of all
      our Archbishops who stood with His Beatitude and the faithful,
      especially during the time of crisis. We urge all of you to continue
      to extend your prayerful support to His Beatitude Baselios Thomas 1st
      and to the Holy Episcopal Synod.

      Christianity in India is as old as the beginning of the Christian
      Church. India had the great fortune of having received the gospel of
      Christ in the first century itself through Apostle St. Thomas. The
      relationship with the Syrian Orthodox Church in India and the
      Patriarchate of Antioch started in the first Christian century, was
      confirmed in the council of Nicea in AD 325. We are glad to note that
      this ancient tradition is still kept alive. While we rejoice in this,
      as the spiritual head of the church, we are equally saddened that a
      group has gone astride from the mother church. Unfortunately, this
      rift has lead to many court cases in India, which has become a
      disgrace to the entire Christian community in India. As the Supreme
      head of the church, we have always stood for making peace in the
      church. In fact, the 1995 verdict of the Honourable Supreme Court of
      India provided us with an excellent opportunity for peace and unity
      in the both fractions here. However, we missed the opportunity
      because the other faction was not willing to accept the challenge. We
      tried our level best to make an amicable settlement on the basis of
      the honourable Supreme Court Judgment and waited seven years for
      unity and peace in the church. That was not to be. It was in this
      context and on the request of our faithful here that we decided to
      consecrate His Beatitude Baselios Thomas 1st as the Catholicos of our
      church here. Today when I see this crowd, I am more than convinced
      that we made a correct decision and a correct choice. May our church
      continue to prosper under the spiritual leadership of His Beatitude
      Baselios Thomas 1st and our Holy Episcopal Synod in India.

      At this time, we also would like to appreciate the Government of
      Kerala of its positive role and approach in our church affairs. The
      state government knew that our cause was just. We wish to record our
      gratitude and thanks for the Honourable Government for their care.
      Our particular thanks to the former Chief Ministers Mr. K.
      Karunakaran, late Mr. E.K. Nayanar, Mr. A.K. Antony and his council
      of ministers and his successor Mr. Oommen Chandy for their constant
      support and cooperation. Our sister churches and their leaders also
      expressed their concerns and extended their help in hands for
      reconciliation through mediation. Also the contributions of the
      cultural leaders of Kerala are worthy to be mentioned.

      Once again we are so glad we could come to India, which is the
      largest democracy in the world. You have yet again proved through the
      recent elections that the roots of democracy here are, indeed,
      strong. Everyone can be proud of these traditions of democracy and
      secularism in India. We remember with great respect Mahatma Gandhi,
      the father of the Nation. This land is the cradle of the rich and
      ancient culture and civilization. Kerala has been home to people of
      all faiths and nationalities. When religious fundamentalism and
      conflicts are destroying nations, Kerala has stood as a model for all
      nations to learn from. Here, people of all religion live in harmony.
      We have experienced this during all our visits to India. Minority
      religions such as Christianity have received royal patronage from the
      Hindu rulers in the past. Our own church, the Syrian Orthodox Church,
      has been a beneficiary of this generous attitude of Hindu brothers
      and sisters. Our Syrian community, in turn has accommodated many
      aspects of Hindu culture in their social and religious life. We are
      happy to note that our church has been able to maintain a cordial
      relationship with all religions here. It is our responsibility to be
      faithful to our own religious traditions and to be open to others and
      to respect the faith of the brothers and sisters of other religious
      traditions. We urge to continue this spirit of cooperation and to
      take a stronger role in nation building. The church is the extension
      of God's incarnation in Jesus Christ. Our mission in India is to
      share the immense joy of Gospel, not forceful conversion. Gospel is
      to be shared not to be imposed and our challenge is to witness the
      love of God through our lives. It is our calling to be the voice of
      the voiceless, the poor and marginalized. We should never entertain a
      minority complex; rather we should continue to be part and parcel of
      the national life in India.

      We take this opportunity to thank you all for the preparation of the
      Patriarchal Silver Jubilee celebrations of enthronement to the Holy
      Throne of St. Peter and for the good words. Let me thank Oommen
      Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala and his cabinet ministers for
      making my visit possible and all the facilities provided as a state
      guest and for his personal presence here. I thank Cardinal Varkey
      Vithayathil and all the leaders of the sister churches who were here
      and the social, cultural and political dignitaries present here.

      We expect that you all pray for us to continue our efforts to glorify
      our Lord Jesus Christ through the years to come.

      We wish you all the best and thank you. May God Bless you.
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