Monday, November 23, 2009

Mor Yakoub Burdhono, the Sculptor of the Syrian Orthodox Church


by Ypdkno Dr.Paul Samuel

Syrian Orthodox Christians are really very proud to bear the nickname 'Jacobites' as the name lends to the most powerful and magnanimous figure in the history of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Each of its members is delighted to hear this name being called. The name Jacobites were given to us as a nickname because we were the followers of Mar Yakoub Burdhono. As we celebrate the 'dukhrono' of our church's most important and the most eminent Bishop on Nov.28, I would like to share you some facts about this name and other important incidents associated with the name Jacob and our Holy Church.

The Syrian Orthodox Church has three very important Jacobs, not withstanding the numerous others who have sacrificed their entire life to the Holy Church, which is the body of the Son of God.

The first one is Jacob, the Great, the man in the Old Testament, son of Isaac. When we think of Jacob, the Great in relation to church, we see that this Jacob symbolically showed the inception of Church and laid the baseline foundation of it. Jacob saw in his dream angels ascending and descending the ladder to Heaven. Upon awakening, he erected a stone, consecrated oil upon it and offered sacrifice to God. This way he symbolized the great sacrifice and inception of Holy Church. This Old Testament incident was not a miracle; rather it was the will of God.

The second most prominent character with the name Jacob who comes into picture is Jacob, the brother of Jesus Christ. He was not among the Apostles. He was blood related to Jesus and so he got the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Mass first. Our Lord himself taught him the liturgy, now called as Anaphora of Mar Yakoub. (St: John the Apostle who was the most pious and celibate man among the Apostles got only a second chance in celebrating the Holy Mass!).Jacob (Mar Yakoub) later said, "I have neither added nor omitted anything to it (the Anaphora)". This anaphora or the Divine Liturgy is still used by Syrian Christians without omitting or adding anything to it till now. And in fact we are the only Christians in the world who offer the Holy Mass as taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. In this way Jacob, the brother of Jesus revealed the real principle, which was only symbolized by Jacob, the Great. This incident was not
a miracle; rather it was the will of God.

The third and the last prominent character with the name of Jacob is Mor Yakoub Burdhono, who can be rightly called as the sculptor of the modern Syrian Orthodox Church .The church's base line was laid down by Jacob, the Great symbolically. Our Lord himself built it upon the great rock. St: Peter. St: Peter for us is a synonym for the true faith and upon the true faith church was built. Gates of hell can never overturn it. And this was shown by the coming of Mar Yakoub Burdhono to the forefront of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Because the Church had truth in it, the powers of hell couldn't defeat it and Mar Yakoub Burdhono was raised from Constantinople when Church was in severe trouble.

There was truth in the Son of God and that's why the Jews became envious and they insulted and persecuted our Lord. Because there was truth in our Church, it is being persecuted for various reasons all over the world. Because there is truth in our Church, we were insulted being called upon as Jacobites. But it was the will of God, to name it like that and we are proud now being called so. So great is the value of the name Jacob as we have seen above with regard to the various names in the Church history.

In my opinion, Mor Yakoub Burdhono should be called as the sculptor of modern Syrian Orthodox Church. The Church that was created by our Lord and served by Apostles was mutilated by persecutions under the influence of Satan. The mutilated church was given a new shining and powerful face by God through the hands of mar Yakoub Burdhono.

Let's pray to God to give us more efficient hands to protect the Holy Church form persecutors. Let's intercede to Mor Yakoub Burdhono to give power to our Holy Church's leaders.

Let's intercede to him to give strength and ability to our beloved HH Patriarch and HB Thomas I Catholicose to cruise the sea of turbulence. Let's pray for our Church.

Let's keep a vow that we will never allow anyone to mutilate the face of our Church that was nurtured and nourished by Holy Fathers and Saints

Mar Yakoub Burdhono pray for us

(Ref: "Jacobites" written by Late Lamented Sleeba Mor Osthathios Bava entombed at Kunnamkulam)

source: http://www.socdigest.org/articles/04nov09.html

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