Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday Prayer service

This Saturday at St. Mary's Orthodox Community will celebrate a special
prayer service at the church for peace and justice in Gaza and the rest of
the Holy Land as suggested by the heads of the Christian Churches in
Jerusalem. If you are unable to join us, please raise your voices and
prayers with us. The services will be repeated following the Holy Qurbana
on Sunday. Perhaps in the days before this we can have a time of fasting.
There is great power in fasting and prayer.

In the words of these Holy Land bishops" "...we raise our prayers to the
Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both
sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the
current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the
wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those
who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those
living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and
true peace."

Statement on Gaza

Jerusalem on 30 December 2008

Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem
 On the current devastating situation in Gaza

We, the Patriarchs, Bishops and the Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, follow with deep concern, regret, and shock the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent destruction, murder and bloodshed, especially at a time when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King of love and peace. As we express our deep sorrow at the renewed cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued absence of peace in our Holy Land, we denounce the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and all forms of violence and killings from all parties. We believe that the continuation of this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility - and thus continued confrontation between the two peoples.

Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means. We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.

To the various Palestinian factions we say: It is time to end your division and settle your differences. We call on all factions at this particular time to put the interests of the Palestinian people above personal and factional interests and to move immediately toward national comprehensive reconciliation and use all non-violent means to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

Finally, we raise our prayers to the Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and true peace.

We call on all to observe next Sunday, January 4, as a day for justice and peace in the land of peace.

+ Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
 + Patriarch Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarchate.
 + Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate.
 Fr. Pier Battista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custody of the Holy Land
 + Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
 + Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.
 + Abune Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
 + Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate.
 + Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East.
 + Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy
 Land.
 + Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
 + Bishop Youssef Zre'i, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.
 Fr. Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Jerusalem on 30 December 2008

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Reverend Wright's Black Liberation Theology

Reverend Wright's Black Liberation Theology

"We Latin Americans were very interested in Black Liberation theology," said the Chilean theologian, Martin Garate, "but now we know it is more about 'black' than about 'liberation.' " This was the critique delivered long ago in 1975 at the Theology in the Americas' meeting held in Detroit's Catholic seminary. I was there opposite Dr. James Cone, the originator of Black Liberation Theology, who was the target for Garate's evaluation. Garate might just as well have targeted the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Senator Obama's former pastor in Chicago.

At that 1975 meeting, Liberation Theology and Black Power Theology crossed paths. While Garate had protested Cone's expressed desire to have African-Americans sit on corporate boards, take power at the upper levels of Washington and the like, Cone -- at that time - considered that an African American on the Supreme Court would represent black liberation. The mostly Catholic Latin American theologians in 1975 were wary of class attachments and predicted that an upper-class African-American would likely have the same values as an upper-class Euro-American, and thus bring no liberation.

Professor James Cone understood that the United States differed profoundly from Latin America. In the United States, race was a strong if imperfect predictor of class interest. While Karl Marx significantly influenced the Latin Americans, the largest shadow cast on Black Liberation Theology was by Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), whose Universal Negro Improvement Association grew spectacularly until brought down by J. Edgar Hoover in 1923. It was from prison that he wrote his now famous lines: "Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God's grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life."

This was an instance where the movement was greater than the man. Garveyism rose as quickly as any populist movement of its times. Although scorned by black liberals like W. B. DuBois and the NAACP, it instilled pride and self-worth among America's blacks and created capital and enterprise for a population segregated at that time into economic, social and political inferiority within the United States. From Garveyism came Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam and also the Reverend Wright's Christian brand of Black Liberation Theology.

These are radically conservative movements when compared to Latin American Liberation Theology, which runs to the left. Garvey wanted to preserve a cultural and racial identity rather than fomenting class struggle. He wanted his followers to "out-work ethic" the American system and become upwardly mobile. There were complaints about the unfairness of Capitalism, but usually because this economic system has also been racist.

The Christian version of Black Liberation refutes a basic element of Garveyism when it holds out hope that whites may also come to fight against racism. The Promised Land image from scripture develops the contours of this Christian hope, which is admittedly "audacious." Like Jesus condemning Jerusalem while bringing about its salvation (Matthew 23:37-39, 24:1-4; Luke 19:41-44), Black Liberation Theology and the Rev. Wright condemn America to save it. Ironically, far from promoting a radical and anti-American theology, the Rev. Wright falls within the grand tradition of American reformists who seek gradual changes towards the ideal of "liberty and justice for all." It is Garveyism Lite. Ironically, purged of its Black Nationalist tendency, this conservative theology rings true to the quintessential American theology that says: "God helps those who help themselves."

If you were a segregationist redneck who wanted African Americans to stay in their own churches and develop their own institutions separated from yours, Wright would be one of your favorite Black pastors. His message of self-help, suspicion of white liberals, and lack of confidence in the U.S. government would be themes familiar to the right-wing conservatives. Ironically, the visceral horror Rev. Wright provokes from today's unperceptive white-wing conservatives proves he was correct to say with Malcolm X, "The chickens have come home to roost."

source: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/catholicamerica/2008/10/reverend_wrights_black_liberat.html

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Living Church

The Living Church
Rev. Dr. M.K. Thomas

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has to play a vital role in the lives of Orthodox Christians living in the United States. The Church has to become a dynamic force in transforming and guiding the lives of its members. To achieve this goal, the Church has to become alive and has to be continually renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Since the Church is a worshipping community, it should make the worship experience meaningful to its members. Not only should we participate in the celebration of the Holy Qurbana, but we should take part in the Holy Qurbana. By participating in the Holy Qurbana, we become partakers of the Body and Blood of Christ and become alive.

To continue to lead a renewed Christian life, we should spend some time in communion with God. The Church should provide opportunities for its members to experience the joy of fellowshipping with God and with other Christians. Through prayer we experience the joy and peace that God provides us.

For a Church to be alive, its members must receive enough spiritual nourishment by participating in the Holy Sacraments, by studying the Bible and other spiritual writings, and through prayer and fasting. Prayer groups should be organized to pray and study the Bible and the faith of the Church.

As a Church we have frequently neglected the inculcation of moral and spiritual values in our members, putting our selfish interests above everything else. Our attitude is that with money we can influence not only human beings, but also our Almighty God. To become alive, the Church has to practice the commandments of God. We have to learn to love God and to love and serve our fellow beings.

Any organization is judged by its members and leaders. As a Church, we have failed to depend upon Christ and the Holy Spirit to lead us. Church leaders -- clergy and lay persons-- should be people who have experienced the call of God and dedicated their lives for the service of God and humankind. For a Church to become alive, its members and leaders should depend upon God for guidance.

To be alive, the Church should preach the Gospel and bring other people to its fellowship. How many of us share our faith with others ? We should not forget that we are God's ambassadors on this earth.

For a Church to be alive, it should be guided by the Holy Spirit. Every member should continue to experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Unless we submit to the power of the Holy Spirit, we will not become alive. May the Holy Spirit guide our lives and our Church that God's will will be done among us.

source: http://www.1church.org/articles/livingchurch.html

Join us New Year's Eve For AA Meeting

Christmas is a time of celebration, but it is also a time to renew our faith and live our lives as Jesus Christ taught us.  That means to show all people the unconditional love and grave of Jesus without any reservations. All of us at St, Mary’s invite you to join us in doing just that.  And as part of the community’s efforts to live our faith, we have expanded our recovery program.  The expanded program will be kicked off New Year’s Eve with a AA meeting starting at 7 pm and last until the last person leaves.  Our new coffee maker will keep the coffee hot.  Begin our Bible and Big Book.  And some cookies would be nice too. But most important begin ourselves and invite your friends.  We might even have some of that awesome homemade soup. It will be a sober evening of insight and fellowship.

Below is the news release which went out recently which more about New Year’s Eve’s AA meeting and the expanded program. If you can not join in our fellowship, pleas pray for us.

St. Mary the Protectress Orthodox Community in Plymouth, Indiana, will kicked off its expanded recovery program New Year’s Eve with a AA meeting starting at 8 pm and lasting until the last person leaves. This is the start of the parish’s commitment to offer free recovery services and programs to those living in Northern Indiana.

Besides regular AA and NA meetings, 12-Step classes will be offered during the day and evening. There is also all day drop in center at the community for those working their recovery Monday through Friday. Currently, AA meetings are held on Wednesdays at 10 am and 7 pm. There is also a meeting at 3 pm on Sundays. The parish is committed to hold 12-Step support meetings seven days of the week, on any day there are two people wanting a meeting.  All meetings are open meetings. Those attending do not need to be Christian or of any faith at all.  All are welcome.

The all day drop in center at the church will help people working their recovery providing them a place to meet and talk and find support with all issues.

The community’s pastor, Father Theodosius stressed that a person does not have to be Christian or of any faith or religion to take part the program or any of the community’s recovery services. He said that it is merely the community’s desire to live their faith and to show all people the unconditional love and grace of God without reservations due to their lifestyle or religion past or present. The idea is to be part of people’s lives because we truly care for them rather than to fulfill a religious duty.  According the Father Theodosius, we walk with them through all their struggles as part of their lives, not as a religious outsider, but as one who has been there ourselves.  He said that religion too often becomes a false perception of holiness that focuses on law and kills the true message of Jesus Christ.  Jesus called us to live our lives a certain way. That is the goal of the community and the goal of the recovery program.

The program is helped and staffed by volunteers and Father Theodosius.  Father Theodosius has over 15 years in recovery and has also been a counselor working with additions and abuse survivors. Those wishing to help are invited to contact the community. All the volunteers in this program are those who wish to live their recovery in all ways, to take the message they have learned and give it to others. Father Theodosius pointed out that all of us are the Prodigal Son come home and wishing to help his older brother in the door also. He said we live our recovery by our example to our brothers and sisters.

The community is under an allegiance to the hierarchy of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church under His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. St. Mary the Protectress Orthodox Community is located at 1000 South Michigan Street, Plymouth, Indiana.  For more information, please contact the pastor Father Theodosius Walker at (574) 952-4671.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Massacre in Gaza

I received the following email a few moments ago. Maria Khoury is the wife of an Orthodox priest who serves in the Holy Lad where they both live.   Many of you have most likely heard on American broadcast media about the Israeli attack.  You have heard one side.  Read directly from the battleground.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Maria Khoury <khourymaria@hotmail.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 14:57:45 -0500
To: webpage taybeh church <saint-george-taybeh@saintgeorgetaybeh.org>
Subject: [Saint-george-taybeh] Massacre in Gaza

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!
 
Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,
Just wanted to let you know the following information in case you do not see it on your local news today
since more than 200 people were killed within two hours and more than 400 injured
let us pray that people will come to the Light of Christ, maria
---------
 
Please forward to media immediately and pick-up the phone and call media outlets immediately to condemn the atrocities being committed in Gaza (Using US taxpayer money and International and Arab Government Acquiescence).  Demonstrations are ongoing throughout the West Bank. Here is the press release for the one in Bethlehem

A demonstration to condemn the massacres being committed in Gaza

Palestinian Civil Society organizations in the Bethlehem area, people of various political affiliations, Christians, and Muslims, and all people of conscience in the Bethlehem area are gathering at 5 PM in front of the Church of Nativity and Omar's mosque in Bethlehem.

Nearly 200 people were reported massacred so far by Israeli war planes bombings of the besieged Gaza strip.  Hundreds were reported injured so far. The victims include men, women, and children and the number of victims are expected to rise rapidly.  Join us today as we call for ending the massacres, ending the siege on Gaza, for reconciliation between all Palestinians, and for freedom.

For more information:

Khalid AlAzza 0545439263
Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh 0598939532
Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour 0599255573

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Israeli siege takes toll on Gaza Christians

Someone wrote me privately asking why I posted the videos and articles about violence against Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.  Apparently, the writer never heard what is being done against Christians there.  The writer also thinks that any violence against the Holy Land Christians is from the Muslims.  I guess the writer believes everything they read and heard and see on American national media.  And lets not forget all the comments on talk radio.  According the writer, what ever happens is only the result of their own actions.  In other words, the residents of the Holy Land are forcing the Israelis to do what they are doing.  Will today, it appears that we can read about how the Israeli were forced to fire many more missiles into Palestine.  The article below tells what Israeli did over Christmas, or failed to do. I wonder how many Americas would just set quietly by when told they could not worship Jesus’ birth at the church, or visit their families.  Read below and see what you think.  Is this how a nation should be acting?

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-12/25/content_10559703.htm

Israeli siege takes toll on Gaza Christians
www.chinaview.cn 2008-12-25 22:51:20   
 by Saud Abu Ramadan

GAZA, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- When Christians all over the world rushed to churches for Christmas midnight mass, some 300 followers of the small Roman Catholic community in the Gaza Strip gathered at the Holy Family School in Gaza for a silent ceremony.

"This year, Christmas comes under a siege without anything supportive. No cloths, no shoes, no food and no gifts due to the (Israeli) blockade and the hard economic situation," said Gaza Latin Church pastor Manuel Musallem.

Israeli sanctions on the Gaza Strip, aimed at isolating the Islamic Hamas movement, have taken toll on the Christian community in the Gaza Strip, home to a total of 1.4 million largely aid-dependent residents.

The tiny Christian community in Gaza called off the midnight mass to protest Israel's blockade and show their solidarity after Israel prevented most of them from traveling to the Church of Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus Christ.

About 4,000 Christians live in the besieged Gaza. Most of them belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, while the rest follow the Latin Church Christmas calendar, which falls on Dec. 25.

According to sources, about 900 Orthodox and Catholic followers applied to travel to Bethlehem from Gaza, but only 280 were granted permission, or less than a third.

"I would have been very happy if only few monks and families attended this gathering while the other majority could make it through to the cradle of Jesus in Bethlehem," Musallem.

"Those who remain silent and don't shout in the face of the world: Yes to life, No to death, can not be human beings," Musallem said.

The silent ceremony at the Holy Family School was held in candle lights due to electricity shortage caused by the Israeli sanctions.

Instead of serving chocolates, strawberry was distributed to the participants to deliver support to local farmers who found their products unable to be exported to European markets.

Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza last year after the Islamic Hamas movement seized control of the coastal territory from security forces loyal to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In June 2008, Israel eased the sanctions after Egypt brokered a ceasefire between the Jewish state and Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas.

But since early November, Israel restored the tight restrictions after the ceasefire was rocked by a resumption of violence. The lull expired on Dec. 19.

Fouad Ayyad, 28, was denied permit to leave the Gaza Strip. "I miss the holy city and want to pray in the Church of Nativity and see my relatives who live there," he said.

Last year, the Israeli intelligence told Ayyad that he would get the permission to the West Bank if he cooperates with them by providing information from Gaza.

"I rejected their offer and still wait for the permission," he said.


 

Friday, December 26, 2008

THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY

THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY

Our Lady Virgin Mary is of Juda's tribe and the descendant of King David. She was born in 14 B.C. and was her pious parent's, Yovagim and Hane, the only daughter. When she was three years old, her parents took her to the temple of God as a vowed to Him and they died.

The priests and pious women brought her up. They taught her the worship, the virtuous deeds, the Hebrew language, the Old Testament, spinning wool, and weaving linen and silk until she was fourteen. Then she was espoused to a veracious man called Joseph the son of Jacob, who was a relative of her.

The chief of angels, Gabriel announced to her the descent of the Holy Ghost on her and the birth of Jesus the Redeemer of the world by her. She was pregnant and gave birth to Him while she was virgin in a heavenly miracle which astonished the world. She brought Him up in the house of His foster father Joseph. where He lived. She glanced His first miracle, heard Him preaching His gospel and saw His crucifixion and death in flesh. She believed in His resurrection and witnessed along with the apostles His ascension to heaven and the descending of the Divine Spirit on the day of Pentecost. She lived in the house of St. John the apostle to whom our Lord Christ entrusted her when He was crucified. He took care of her and she persisted on worship and meditation in the heavenly mysteries until she died. The holy apostles conducted the funeral service with a great pomp and her virteous body was buried in Jessemany Village outside of Jerusalem. Afterwards God carried her to His heavenly paradise. This was around 56 A.D. in the sounder novals, after she had lived most probably 70 years.

Our Lady The Virgin Mary's status in Christendom

Our Lady the holy Virgin Mary, the Bearer of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnated God, has a lofty position in Christendom higher than that of the angels, prophets, apostles, martyrs and doctors of the Church, because God has chosen, purified, sanctified and preferred to her to all women of earth. She is the diadem of the virgins and the crown of the Christians. Elizabeth the aged mother of St. John the Baptist called her 'Mother of God' (St. Luke 1:43).

St. Mary is the mediator for all grace and advocate for all the devotees before God. The historians and narrators have registered the different graces and miracles that the believers had won through her. Millions honour her with sweetest songs and seek refuge in her intercession.

The Syriac Orthodox Church calls Mary, 'Mother of God' ('Theotokos'), because she gave birth to Christ, God truly incarnate. She is revered as perpetual virgin and mother of God; and she is first among the saints. However the concept of Immaculate Conception for St. Mary is not accepted. According to the teachings of the Church, God is pleased to respond to petitions offered to Him routed through the intercession of St. Mary the Virgin Mother. This was the constant teaching of the holy fathers since the beginning of the Christian Church.

The Syrian Church opens her daily worship by glorifying the Almighty God. After that She uses special invocations in which she praises our Lady the Virgin, and seeks her meditation, in the night, morning, and evening prayers except the most of the lent days. Besides, she recites in her festivals, prose invocations and chants wonderful hymns in which she describes her high virtues and everlasting merits, in a way that captivates the minds and delights the ears. In the sacramental services and prayers of the Church from the early periods, the mediation of St. Mary was an integral part. The altars of the churches are sanctified invariably with the name of St. Mary over and above the other saints.

In our common prayers the Lord’s prayer beginning “Our Father which are in Heaven etc” is generally followed by a repetition of the message of angel Gabriel - St. Luke 1:28- Hail Mary etc and the words of praise of Elizabeth - St. Luke 1:42 - “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your words.” We finish it with an appeal for her mediation on our behalf for ever before Almighty even at the moment of our death.

In the Syrian Orthodox Church, along with the Holy Mass a textual prayer service in the name of St. Mary is generally conducted at the request of devotees for St. Mary’s intercession. The text for this can be seen in the book of ‘Qurbana Kramam’. In Malankara it was first published in Syriac by St. Gregorios of Parumala at the behest of Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Among all the churches of Kerala, the St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church at Manarcad near Kottayam has a very special place. Millions visit this church seeking her intercession, more particularly on the 8 day-lent period in September, commemorating her birth. May God accept her mediation for the world, Amen.

The famous Icon of Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus in the Altar of the

Morth Mariam Jacobite Syrian church, Manarcad (India)


source: http://www.syrianchurch.org/doc/HolyVirginMary.htm

THE HOLY RELICS OF HOLY VIRGIN MARY WITH THE SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

THE HOLY RELICS OF HOLY VIRGIN MARY WITH

THE SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH


Soonoro (Holy Girdle) of Our Lady Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in the Syrian Orthodox Church of Homs - Syria {Photo: Sharjah Church web site}

The Church has the rare privilege to have with her the Girdle of St. Mary. The Girdle of Virgin Mary was handed over to Apostle St. Thomas, during her assumption to heaven. St. Thomas carried this precious treasure of Virgin Mary with him to India where he died a martyr. In 394 A.D. together with the coffin of St.Thomas, this valuable Girdle of Holy Virgin Mary was also moved from India to Raha and was established in a Church. (In the Syriac history of Raha, it is mentioned that in Aug 22, 705 Greek era they brought the coffin of St. Thomas the apostle to his large church in the days of Mar Kora, the bishop of Raha. Ref: The Orien Biblio of Assimaany, Volume I, page 399). This Church where the Girdle of Virgin Mary was established came to be known as the "The Church of Girdle". In those days this was erected a small and simple church as a cellar under the ground because of the violence of paganism on Christianity in the first three centuries, and some forefathers consigned in it the valuable girdle of St. Mary as a precious treasure to the believers. But over a period of time, the church had lost track of the girdle.

In mid April 1953, while scrutinizing some manuscripts, a Garshunian book containing stories and speeches was noticed by the supreme head of the church, Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem - sent by the people of Homs in 1852, to the believers in Mardin. It appeared to be bound with many papers piled up over each other and was very old. In it was fourty six letters in Garshunian and Arabic concerning the diocese of Homs and environs written a few centuries ago by the notables of the archdiocese of Syria to the notables of the city of Mardin (Turkey) close to Za'fran Monastery, the Patriarchal See, implying the conditions of their archdiocese. They included that while wrecking their church called in the name of the Virgin the Lady of the girdle in Homs for the purpose of enlarging and renewing it due to its oldness, smallness and its wooden ceiling, by the order of His Eminence the Archbishop Peter Mousally (later Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV), they found the girdle of our Lady the Virgin put in a vessel in the middle of the holy table in the altar. They were comprised with happiness and blessed by it. According to these information's, on the 20th July 1953 A.D., in the presence of His Lordship Alexandros the Greek Orthodox bishop of Homs and other prominent persons, Patriarch Aphrem I opened the Holy Sanctum and was discovered that in a marble plate it was written that ‘This church was built in the time of the preacher called Malaya, [Elijah] in AD 59”. They also found a stone vessel and a silver vessel and in it was found the Holy Girdle wrapped on itself inside a vessel which broke due to its oldness. Together with it was also found a thin metal pipe in the upper part of the vessel containing a hollow bone that seemed to embody a piece of parchment or thick paper which was left as it was. The Greek Archbishop and other prominent persons who were present witnessed this fact and attested to it.

The Sacred Girdle in the Font when discovered from the 'Church of Girdle'- Homs (Syria) in 1953

1

As the news spread, researchers questioned its authenticity. They examined it and were unanimous in their opinion about its genuineness and about the age of the girdle. Now it is kept in this church which is from very earlier times known as "The Church of girdle" or "The Church of the Lady of the Girdle". Multitudes of Syrian believers and people from different Christian denominations and of all over Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries, come to enjoy the sight of this sacred relic and seek its blessings with Christian desire and piety. In 1982, during the Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas's Holy Apostolic visit to Malankara, His Holiness brought a portion of the girdle and was established in many churches in Malankara, all attained special importance henceforth. The famous Morth Mariam church at Manarcad, Soonoro church at Cochin etc. are some of the prominent churches in Malankara where the Girdle of Our Lady Virgin Mary is established and people pay due respect.

The Girdle spread out to Demonstrate its Measurements

Antiquities Committee examining the Holy Girdle on rediscovery

[iv] THE HAIL MARY IN SYRIAC PRONUNCIATION
(Source - http://www.flash.net/%7Emalel/ )



In Syriac
Hail O Virgin Mary, Shlom lekh bthoolto Mariam
Full of grace Maliath taibootho
The Lord is with thee Moran a’amekh
Blessed art thou among women Mbarakhto at Bneshey
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Wambarakhoo feero dabkharsekh yeshue
Holy Mary O qadeeshto Mariam
Mother of God Yoldath aloho
Pray for us sinners Saloy hlofain hatoyeh
Now and at the hour of our death Hosho wabsho’ath mawtan
Amen Amin
Icon of Holy Virgin Mary in the Syrian Orthodox Church, Aleppo -Syria

source: http://www.syrianchurch.org/doc/HolyVirginMary.htm


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy to the World

Our musical video Nativity card to all of you.



Christmas Prayers by Mor Sewerios

Christmas prayers By Mor Sewerios Malki Murad,
Archbishop of syrian orthodox church-
Jerusalem.

Romanian Christmas Carols By Students

Romanian Christmas carols sang by students from the Theological College of Arad (Romania).

Romanian Christmas Carol

Romanian Christmas carol sung by the psaltic choir of the Romanian Patriarchy.

Thy Nativity O Christ

This video are Meditations on the Nativity
Produced by Theosis Productions
for http://www.ancientfaith.com

Genocide in India

Recently, there has been a mass persecution against Christians throughout India. It started out in the state of Orissa but has quickly spread throughout the country because of authority apathy. Christians have been falsely accused of many crimes, and have been burned, maimed or suffered other atrocities. Churches, schools, orphanages and homes of Christians have been burned. Parents have been ripped from their children and thousands of families are now displaced and have been forced to live in refuge.

The most important thing for us in America to do is to raise awareness about this horrific situation. You may feel as though you have nothing to offer, but you CAN DO SOMETHING. We have the opportunity to give these victims a voice when their voices are being silenced.

Matthew 5:10
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for their's is the kingdom of heaven."

Indian Christians at risk

In the eastern Indian state of Orissa, thousands of Christians are living in camps after deadly attacks forced them to leave their homes.

The violence erupted in August, following the murder of a prominent Hindu priest.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Kumar reports from a camp in Kandhamal, the district at the eye of the storm.

[Saint-george-taybeh] Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Christ is Born!
Glorify Him!
 
This is the 41st year that Christians in Bethlehem celebrate Christmas under Israeli occupation.
Let us remember to pray for peace for the whole world and especially
for Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Lord and Savior.  
 
The Greek Orthodox Christmas Liturgy will be celebrated
in thirteen more days according to the Old Julian Calendar.
 
As I am shopping, eating and entertaining my three college children in Boston,
it is so easy to forget the extreme humanitarian crisis in Gaza,
although I have tried to raise awareness of these crimes against humanity
and bring more support for our Taybeh projects in solidarity of
our Christian presence in the Holy Land by visiting fifteen churches
and six university classrooms in the last six weeks.  

Thank you for your prayers.

This Holy Christmas season, the Israeli army allowed only 300 Christians
to have permits to visit their families in the West Bank.  
 
Please give glory to God for all of your blessings
and seek your salvation.  
I hope you will have a most blessed and holy Christmas celebration.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
 
With sincere good wishes in Christ, maria

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Mad World and a Dream of Peace

This video captures the cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Created after a 2004 Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) trip to the Middle East.

Can it become a reality? Can children in the Middle East have a childhood and future without violence and suffering?

Locked in the ghetto

Video shot in the Occupied Territories (in Hebron) by the Christian Peacemaker Teams on February 2nd 2007. This is a routine experience for Palestinians living under occupation.

Christianity in the Palestinian Territories

Gallup reports from the West Bank on the difficulties that Christian Arabs face living in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Forgotten and Forsaken Christians

FORGOTTEN,ABANDONED, FORSAKEN, DESOLATED,AND NEGLECTED THIS IS THEIR STORY! At the time of the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, it is estimated that the Christians of Palestine numbered Almost 20 percent of the total population at the time, they constituted a vibrant and ancient community; their forbears had listened to St. Peter in Jerusalem as he preached at the first Pentecost. Yet Zionist doctrine held that Palestine was "a land without a people for a people without a land." Of the 750,000 Palestinians that were forced from their homes in 1948, some 50,000 were Christians—7 percent of the total number of refugees and 35 percent of the total number of Christians living in Palestine at the time. In the process of "Judaizing" Palestine, numerous convents,seminaries, and churches were either destroyed or cleared of their Christian owners and custodians. In one of the most spectacular attacks on a Christian target, on May 17, 1948, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate was shelled with about 100 mortar rounds—launched by Zionist forces from the already occupied monastery of the Benedictine Fathers on Mount Zion. The bombardment also damaged St. Jacob's Convent, the Archangel's Convent, and their appended churches, their two elementary and seminary schools, as well as their libraries, killing eight people and wounding 120. The Palestinian Christians see themselves, and are seen by their Muslim compatriots, as an integral part of the Palestinian people, and they have long been a vital part of the Palestinian struggle. As the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, the Reverend Riah Abu al-Assal has explained, "The Arab Palestinian Christians are part and parcel of the Arab Palestinian nation. We have the same history, the same culture, the same habits and the same hopes." Yet U.S. media and politicians have become accustomed to thinking of and talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one in which an enlightened democracy is constantly forced to repel attacks from crazy-eyed Islamists bent on the destruction of the Jewish people and the imposition of an Islamic state. Palestinians are equated with Islamists, Islamists with terrorists. It is presumably because all organized Christian activity among Palestinians is non-political and non-violent that the community hardly ever hits the Western headlines; suicide bombers sell more copy than people who congregate for Bible study.

Palestinian Christians


The Palestinian Christians consider themselves the forgotten faithful. The media around the world outlets do not portray the lives of Christians in Palestine, so the truth does not get delivered on the doorsteps of everybody's homes. Furthermore, the complicated politics and persistent violence in the region make people hesitant to start learning the facts. The big picture doesn't come quickly, and it takes time to become comfortable with the new issues. Many organized Christian Churches recognize the crisis facing the future of the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

Our Palestinian Christians' Goal:
• Educating people about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land.
• Building Christian solidarity between Christians all over the world and Palestinian Christians through pilgrimages, publications, and communications.
• Developing church-to-church, family-to-family, and person-to-person partnership programs in order to bring people of the world and Palestinian Christians together for future cooperation.
• Selecting, funding, and overseeing specific projects that provide better living conditions for Christians in the Holy Land. Project areas focus on employment, education, and housing.

HELPFUL LINKS:
A majority of fifty-six percent of Palestinian Christians are found outside of their country. - http://www.al-bushra.org/holyland/sab...
On October 30, 1948, the Israeli Army marched into the northern Galilee village of Eilaboun (عيلبون). My uncle Badia and 17 other men from the village, who had been hiding with the rest of the village in two churches, were marched to the village square. - http://www.sonsofeilaboun.com
News about the Palestinian Christians and Support: http://www.hcef.org/

Our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land

While we celebrate our Lord's birth let us also remember that Christians in the Holy Land are under attach, and not by Muslim. Palestinian Christians are treated exactly the same as Muslim. In the land wher Jesus Christ was born, Christian are becoming a minority. Watch this video and think.


A Real Holy Land Christmas

Christmas

When I was a little kid, I always wanted to open my Christmas present early. When I became a parent, I wanted to help and watch my kids open their presents early. I guess it is something in mu blood. So I still have that problem, so I am going ahead and post two or three of the videos I was going to wait until tomorrow to post. Enjoy.

Santa is on the way





Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Meditation: ABBA


This is just a reflection, being shared with my fellow brethren, of my
nativity lent meditations. Through these days of nativity lent I was
juggling with the answers for a question: Why did Jesus squeeze himself
into the womb of Mother Mary to take birth as a baby? Couldn't He
just appear in the world as a grown up figure and execute His Works?

As mentioned above, out of the several answers that sprouted in my mind,
the one which outstands is shared herewith:

Ask a child, how much does the father values in its life? Well,
obviously the answer would reflect the kind of relationship the child
has with its father. C.S Lewis tells of a school boy who was asked about
his opinion of God. The boy replied that, as far as he could make out,
God was the sort of person who is always snooping around to see if
anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it (see Kassian &
McCleskey 2005). This distorted perception was discovered to be based on
the boy's bitter experiences in life with his earthly father.

I reckon Jesus descended as a child (and as Son of God) to reveal the
true nature of a Father. The idea of fatherhood was central to the
teachings of Jesus. For instance, the Father sent Jesus to secure
redemption for mankind (Jn 3:16-17; 17:3); the Father highly exalted his
Son (Phil 2:9; Heb.5:7-10); Jesus appointed as heir to all things by his
Father (Heb.1:2); Jesus is the rightful heir to everything that belongs
to his Father (Jn 16:15); and everything that Jesus has comes from His
father (Jn.17:7, 22, 24).

Any sensitive person can feel the pain of a father when his son bids
good bye and chooses an independent path, away from the father
(Lk.15:11-32). Concomitantly, the same emotion touches much deeper in
our hearts when the father takes pain to rush to his son, still on his
way to his father's place, in the same story. This humbleness of the
father would have had prompted the son to walk an extra mile (Mt.5.41),
so that he could double his father's asset of love by expanding its
scope (see Mt.25:14f).

Therefore, earthly fathers are expected to be the reflection of heavenly
Father as well as inspiration to their children so that they advance
towards eternal Father. Gospel of Jesus is in fact an untiring effort to
bring mankind closer to the Heavenly Father (Henry 2008).

Our church is blessed with a treasure of many earthly fathers, some
alive and some resting. Pampady thirumeni stands out among those as an
icon who was constantly on the lookout to impart fatherly affection,
considering all as His children (see Pampady thirumeni's biography).
This author is blessed to testify with gratitude the fatherly affection
enjoyed from H.G. Geevarghese Mar Dioscorous of blessed memory. A
charisma, whose door was always open; always inviting, never turning
down; ever willing to lend a hand to his children, my spiritual father
never tried to flee from challenges but loved steering through it, for
he knew his responsibility (for children) very well.

As a devotee puts it, because of dad, it has been an easy transition to
grasp the concept of having a personal relationship with a heavenly
Father. For me Father means someone who cares about me, listens to me,
protects me, and wants to spend time with me∑. I have been given a
glimpse of these things on an intimate level already through my earthly
father. How much more wonderful to experience these things in its full
potential through getting to know my perfect heavenly Father (Kirsten
quoted in Kassian and McCleskey 2005).

I specially thank God Almighty that I have my biological and spiritual
father, inspiring and pulling me towards God the Father, as they did
when they were in flesh. They never tried to ignore me but always had a
heart of compassion; they always tried to pull me towards light, never
tried to push further into darkness; they had a spirit of accommodation
and I have never seen anyone being isolated by them; and above all, they
never had to google for excuses but always had solutions upfront.
(please read Rom 8:15-16).

To conclude, I realise that Jesus' descension in the form of a baby
was to bridge the gap created by earthly fathers and children. His
enactment calls each one of us to be an ideal father figure for others
who desperately needs the care, warmth and love. (Please note-
`father' is not used here as a masculine figure but encompasses
both genders).

I WISH YOU A VERY BLESED CHRISTMAS.

Fr. Saji. K. Mathew
Melbourne, Australia
 

FW: [SOCM-FORUM] Christmas message of Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church

No.E255/08
12-December-2008

Apostolic Benediction to our beloved Metropolitans and to our beloved
spiritual children: the Reverend Vicars and the Parishioners of all
our Malankara churches and congregations in the Arabian Gulf Region,
Europe, Australia and Singapore.

By the Mercy of God, we have once again come to the Feast of the
nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and we have great joy
in sending you this message on this blessed occasion. At the birth of
Jesus, the wise men came from far off places by suffering all the
pains of the difficult journey to see him and to get blessed by this
child who is born as the Saviour of the world. "They saw the child
with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then,
opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and
frankincense and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11). At this Christmas time we
also have to submit to Him the most valuable that we have. But He is
God and He came to this world in search of the lost sheep ˆ the human
kind. St. Paul says "Do not be conformed to this world but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is
the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans
12:2). So the most valuable and acceptable gift that we can offer Him
is nothing other than ourselves ˆ our soul and our entirety. When we
submit ourselves to Him, we shall follow His path truly and
sincerely. Thus we will be transformed to the true image of God. As
we celebrate this Christmas, let us rededicate ourselves to Him and
turn to be the true followers of Him. May the baby Jesus grow through
our lives and we be the bearers of Him.

Our dearly beloved, we pray that May the coming New Year also be a
year when through each of you, the qualities of Jesus Christ are
being truly revealed to the world, and testifying Him through your
lives. Then, through each of us the world will see the light of God
and receive the peace of Christmas. We wish you all a Merry Christmas
and an evermore blessed New Year. This celebration may bring peace
and spiritual happiness to your churches, homes, and to all your
endeavours.

We extend our Apostolic Blessings to you. May the Grace of God be
with you all through the intercession of St. Mary the Mother of God,
St. Joseph the Righteous and all the other Saints. Amen.

Copy of the Apostolic Encyclical is available at
http://www.socmnet.org/Bull_HH/08_255_HHs_Xmas_Message.pdf

Christmas message from Catholicose Aboon Mor Baselious Thomas I

CHRISTMAS ˆ THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Let's thank god for giving us an opportunity to commemorate the birth
of Jesus Christ our savior. Christmas is the time of happiness and
celebration all over the world. The celebration has become a business
for the people in the modern world. In the midst of celebrations, the
spiritual meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ has often been
forgotten. In true sense, Christmas is the celebration of Life. The
birth of Jesus Christ reveals the life giving God's involvement in
history. Verses John 10.10 gives the great message of birth of Jesus
Christ. "I have come that they might have life, and they might have
it more abundantly." In this verse lord has given us the purpose of
His coming. Jesus Christ was born in this world to give His life for
all.

Life is an important subject in the Holy Bible it is used more than
35 times in the gospel of St. John. In the holy bible, life is
considered as the gift of God because the base of nature and life is
God himself. In Old Testament God is represented as a living god.
(1st Samuel 17: 26 to 36) The concept of living God clearly assures
us the fact that God provides life. Only God can provide life and
sustain it.

The incarnate birth of Jesus testifies that the living God dwelt
among us. The living God of Old Testament is completely seen in
Jesus. Jesus Christ makes the subject more clear in St. John 14:6 "I
am the way the truth and the life"

Jesus Christ provides life by fighting against all the evil forces.
The purpose of god's kingdom is re-construction of life. The ministry
of Jesus Christ displays that all the obstacles were taken away to
keep life in its fullness. St. Like 4:18, 19 clearly gives the
message of the birth of Jesus Christ and that all facts that object
life is revealed and given to men.

The Christmas celebration of this year is an invitation for all of us
to be a part in Gods ministry for providing life .Many lives are
being aborted due to the reformation of world economy and
consumerism; it is the main hindrance for the prosperous growth of
man's life in this modern society. This truth reinforces that
abortion is an act against God himself.

Today not only is man's life but also nature's existence in danger.
We must work hand in hand to put into practice the important purpose
of the birth of Jesus Christ. Let a Christian's duty be celebration
of life. The Christmas celebration of this year challenges us to keep
life prosperous which is given by god. Along with that let us pray
for the people who lost their life in Mumbai terrorist attack and
other crisis in this modern world.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

H.B. MOR BASELIOUS THOMAS IST
Catholicose Of India & Metropolitan Trustee
Jacobite Syrian Christian Church
 

European church body criticises Turkey over Christian monastery

Ecumenical News International News Highlights

23 December 2008

European church body criticises Turkey over Christian monastery

Brussels, 23 December (ENI)--The Conference of European Churches has criticised what it says is Turkey's lack of legal protection for churches, and called on European institutions to protect the country's Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel monastery, one of the oldest active Christian monasteries in the world. "The Conference of European Churches is deeply concerned about the threat to the survival of the monastery," said the Rev. Rüdiger Noll, director of the Church and Society Commission and associated general secretary of CEC. "CEC invites political leaders to do everything in their power to protect the continued existence of the monastery." [393 words, ENI-08-1035]


Mom's Christmas party












My mother, the great lady who makes the awesome soup for every Sunday after the Liturgy had a Christmas party today. Maybe there were left overs for Sunday. You will have to visit us to find out, however.

The hall was filled with more than 40 people and volunteers who served everyone. And of course good old Saint Nich arrived with something for everyone.

Who is King Herod

As we approach Christmas Archbishop Lazar discusses King Herod in these two videos.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Reply On Women Participation in the Church

I have followed the same discussion on another disscussion group as the bishop who wrote the following. What do you think about his words? Added your comments.

A Reply on Women Participation in the Church
by Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan (Thrissur)

I have been following postings in ICON on the subject of women’s participation in the Church. I am a student of Bible and theology. I have been so for the last three decades. I have never seen any passage in the Bible or any statement in the writings of our fathers that will stop us from giving equal participation to women. I certainly was not reading the Bible or the writings of the father from a prejudice on behalf of women. There are people who bring a statement from Paul who said, “Let women be silent in Church” to argue their case. They say that as if they have fulfilled all other directives from Paul and this is only one left to be implemented. Paul was talking to a specific situation and it was not meant to be taken as a universal law. Again Paul also has said, "there is neither male nor female, neither Jew or Gentile before God" ( Read the Epistle to Romans). We can see Jesus’ attitude on this when people asked him about the question of divorce. To answer that Jesus took the creation story from Gen. chapter 1 and not from ch. 2 (only a biblical student will understand the difference – sorry about that). His statement categorically rules out any kind of sex discrimination. If we look at the kind of followers Jesus had we can understand how much He honored the participation of women. However He was wise enough not to include women among his twelve disciples since He knew that in a male dominated society of His time, that will not help spreading of His Gospel, on the contrary will only adversely affect. However, he made them apostles to the apostles after his resurrection to tell the disciples about his resurrection (John 20:17). The fact that Jesus did not have any woman apostle to go to the world is no reason for us not having women in Church general body. Let me state that once again: there is no reason ethical, biblical, social, legal or practical to segregate women from equal participation in the Church administration.

Coming to the practical side of the issue; first our women themselves have to be educated on this. I have seen women who hold very important positions in the service sector of the Church saying “what is their problem, why do they want to be part of the general body? These are all western ideas. Now they ask this, once they get it, they will ask for ordination”. I have seen people addressing women as Mrs. Mathew or Mrs Nair. I think this should be changed. Women need to be seen as they are and not as appendix of some other person. I have seen wedding anniversary prayer requests in H. Qurbana with names like Mrs. and Mr. Thomas or Mr. and Mrs. Abraham. Why can’t they mention the name of the wife also? This happens on memorial- day of the departed too. These people have to be educated. Ours is a democratic administrative system. It has its merits and demerits. Our constitution was framed in 1934. Those days, at-least in our community there was no question of equal participation. Then we were in the court ever since and any kind of change on the constitution was looked up on with fear of losing the battle. So we could not take up this question.

In the 1995 judgement of the Supreme Court there was a reference to this issue. The Hon. Court said, ‘you say that all baptized members are part of the Church but do not give equal voting right to women, is it not a contradiction?’. But at that stage we were not able to do anything. After the 2002 Association Meeting, when the new Rule Committee (for the constitution amendment) was constituted, I submitted a petition to them giving eight reasons to make necessary changes to the constitution to include women voting right. But it was not taken up since question of authority of H.H. Catholicos was again brought up in the court by the Jacobites (I do not think that it could not have taken up then itself. But when some say it is risky, people do not venture). Now that all general court cases are over, time is ripe to take up this.

Once again, we should remember that ours is a democratic system of government. It is not just for the H. Synod to decide on this. The Rule Committee has to bring this up to the Managing Committee and then it has to approve this. In both these bodies we have only men members. We need to educate them too. That is why I said in my posting, ‘women should keep raising their voice’. Unless there is continuous voicing of the need people may conveniently forget it. Those who receive Bishops, Achens and prominent members of the Church in your Churches and homes should take up this question with them. It is sad and shameful that the wisdom Moses had, some seventeen centuries before Christ, is still lacking in our post modern community (Ref. Num. 27 with regard to the question of the daughters of Zelophehad. This is particularly in regard to the question Mr. Abraham Joshua of Baltimore put before me). To Mr. Abraham, it is not proper on my part to say who is against it. This has been a deep rooted injustice in our system. It can be removed only slowly and through steady and patient handling of the matter. So let us continue to struggle with this, not only women but also all men with a sense of justice and equality should address this question. The Synod has already shown its green signal (thanks to Barnabas Thirumeni who brought this up). Concerned individuals and congregations write to the Rule Committee to take this question up in its next sitting. Let this come in congregation General Body Meetings. Let the Samajam committees send appeals to Church General Body Meetings and let them be an agenda in the meetings. Let them pass resolutions and send them to the Rule Committee. Let them continue to write about it in all forums. This is the only way in a democratic system any change could be brought in.

Let us be led by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit which our Lord said ‘will lead us to all truth’(John 16:13).

Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan (Thrissur)

source: http://meletiusofthrissur.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!866CC4F0CAF251C6!869.entry

Sunday, December 21, 2008

St. Thomas

ST. THOMAS

Feast: July 3 & December 21.

St. Thomas (Mor Toma in Syriac) was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said that He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities. At the Last Supper, when Christ told His Apostles that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand and received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

But St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of His Master. Thomas’ unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their Risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday merited for him the title of “doubting Thomas.” Eight days later, on Christ’s second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his skepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded-seeing in Christ’s hands the point of the nails and putting his fingers in the place of the nails and his hand into His side. At this, St. Thomas became convinced of the truth of the Resurrection and exclaimed: “My Lord and my God,” thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus.

St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus-at Lake Tiberias when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. This is all that we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament.

Tradition says that at the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost this saint was sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes and Persians; he ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar Coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves “Christians of St. Thomas.” He capped his life by shedding his blood for His Master, speared to death at a place called Calamine and buried at Mylapore, near Chennai (Madras). This is mentioned in the Gnostic Acts of Thomas in Syriac, where he is called Judas Thomas. It is believed that the Apostle arrived in India in AD 52 and was martyred in AD 72. The Syriac Christians of Malabar, the Southwest coast of India, call themselves 'St. Thomas Christians'. It is believed that his body was transferred to Edessa in the 4th century; St. Ephrem's works note that the bones of St. Thomas were venerated there in his time. The great hymnodist alludes to the transferral of the bones in his Carmina Nisibena (42:1.1-2.2, Kathleen McVey, Ephrem the Syrian, Paulist Press, 1989, p. 25).

His relics were moved from Edessa later and rediscovered in 1964 at the Syriac Orthodox Church of Mosul by His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I, the Patriarch of Antioch while he was the Archbishop of Mosul.

There are a number of apocryphal writings under his name, most notably the Acts of St. Thomas which is of Syriac origin. This work dates back to the middle of the 3rd century. Translations in Greek, and portions in Latin, Ethiopic and Armenian exist.

The Church commemorates the memory of St. Thomas on July 3rd. The date marks the transfer of the remains of the Apostle to Edessa. The Church in India also commemorates the Apostle on the New Sunday after Easter, on December 18th when the Apostle is believed to have been speared, and on December 21st when he attained martyrdom.

Patriarch H.H. Ignatius Zakka I in an encyclical dated October 20, 1987, added the name of "Apostle Thomas, the preacher of the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in India" to the the fourth diptych (Syr. Tubden) in the Malankara Church.

source: http://www.syrianchurch.org/doc/Apostles.htm#ST.%20THOMAS,%20Apostle


Monastery of the Holy Martyrs - Orthodox Monastery, Syriac Orthodox

 Have you stopped the monastery's new web site?  Come on by and visit, either on line or in person.  I love meeting new folks and make n...