Archive

Archive for December, 2011

Lets Remember 2011!!!

December 31, 2011 Comments off

Lets remember 2011 ..some beautiful moments ..some sad moments .

Lets say  Thank to Lord Almighty for Beautiful 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: SEASONS GREETINGS

Happy New Year

December 31, 2011 Comments off

New Year

In the New year it will be ideal for us to reflect on our status as Orthodox Christians who claim to sustain the true faith in the Church (Orthos-Doxa) the uncontaminated or straight worship). It would help us to have a New Year resolution as to what needs to be changed in our life as an individual, a family, a parish or as Church to witness my saviour as my Lord and my God, the ideal faith that our founder St. Thomas declared. Wish you all a Happy, Loving, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year 2012
The people do not want prosperity and abundance, even after 2000 years, unfortunately, people want Barabbas the poverty. Even today people do not want Jesus the wealth; people want the garbage Barabbas, that’s why Jesus said: John 12:8 “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Every people have who wants to choose. The ruler’s thieves are chosen by the people and not by God!
Obstacles – the opportunity for victories we never thought we could achieve-We are working for the coming of the kingdom of God, the coming of brotherhood among all people, but at the same time we must be under no illusion: we will still have many obstacles to face, and each one should be an opportunity for us to demonstrate qualities we wouldn’t have been able to show in more favourable circumstances. Yes, see how, each time the powers of evil have been unleashed, beings have arisen to ensure the voice of justice and good would be heard, finding inner resources they did not know they had. Obstacles impel us to struggle, to make efforts: they force us to show more courage, more determination than we thought ourselves capable of. You will say it is difficult. Of course, but it is the only intelligent way to react. So, instead of complaining and rebelling, we should say, ‘Thank you, Lord. These difficulties will help me to become stronger, to go beyond myself.’ And what a joy it is to achieve undreamt of victories!
The true Spirit of Christmas is a commitment to overcome prejudices, break down barriers and eliminate situations that pit individuals and communities against each other, in order to build a world of justice, and peace. And this Christmas should help us not only to look forward to the historical events of Jesus, but also enable us to look forward to His promised second coming.
To conclude a New Year can be said to have started only if a New birth – a New beginning to be Christ like has taken place in us; May the Love of the Father the Grace of the Son and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit guide us to a new beginning so that our remaining life will be a dedicated one living as the children of God worthy to inherit the Kingdom of God.

May God Bless us all
Fr.N.S.Varghese

Something you like about MGOCSM

December 30, 2011 Comments off

Continued:

Smiji George: The young spirit that our mgocsm has has really fascinated me.This group has helped to learn n clr many doubts about the church n its practices.

MERLIN JOSEPH: opportunity not only to study but also to serve the society. gaining more biblical knowledge. interaction with people from different walks of life.

Simi Mathew: As the motto of MGOCSM says…. Worship , Study and Service.. Along with it, it gives every individual to express their views.. also helps us to communicate with others and make lots of friends…

to be continued …

Categories: YOU

Understanding Orthodox Church: Great Schism (AD.1054)

December 29, 2011 Comments off

Great Schism (AD.1054)

The Great Schism During the Middle ages there were frictions within the Chalcedonian group and ultimately it led to a division of the Chalcedonians in1054;the Church of Rome (Roman Catholic Church) stood against the Eastern Christianity (Churches of the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire).Numerous doctrinal, political, economic, and cultural factors were working to separate the Church into East-west division, two major issues ultimately emerged.

1. That one man, the Pope of Rome, considered himself the universal bishop of the Church, and

2. The addition of a novel clause to the Nicene Creed.

Papacy: Among the twelve, St.Peter was early acknowledged as the leader. He was the spokesperson for the twelve before and after Pentecost. He was the first bishop of Antioch and later bishop of Rome. No one challenged his role. After the death of the apostles, as leadership in the Church developed, the bishop of Rome came to be recognized as first in honor, even though all bishops were equals.

But after nearly three hundred years, the bishop of Rome slowly began to assume a role of superiority over the others, ultimately claiming to be the only true successor to Peter. The vast majority of the other bishops of the Church never questioned Rome’s primacy of honour, but they patently rejected the Roman bishop’s claim as the universal head of the Church on earth. This assumption of papal power became one major factor in rending the Roman Church, and all those it could gather with it, from the historic Orthodox Church.

Addition to the Nicene Creed: A disagreement concerning the Holy Spirit also began to develop in the Church. Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father or does He proceed from the Father and the Son? Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (St.John 15:26).This is the basic statement in the New Testament about the Holy Spirit “proceeding”, and it is clear : He “proceeds from the Father”. Thus, when the ancient council at Constantinople (A.D 381) reaffirmed the Creed of Nicea (A.D 325), it expanded that Creed to proclaim these familiar words: “And in the one living Holy Spirit, the life giving Lord of all, who proceeds from the Father, and who with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets and the apostles”.

Centuries later, in the 9th Century, in a politically motivated move, the Pope of Rome unilaterally changed the universal creed of the Church (The Nicene Creed), without an ecumenical Council, regarding Holy Spirit into “Holy spirit proceeds from the Father and Son”. Though this change was initially rejected in both East and West even by some of Rome’s closest neighboring bishops, the Pope managed to eventually get the West to capitulate.

The consequence, of course, in the Western Church has been the tendency to relegate the Holy Spirit to a lesser place than God the Father and God the Son. The change may appear small, but the consequences have proven disastrously immense. This is issue, with the Pope departing from the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, became another instrumental cause separating the Roman Church from the historic Orthodox Church, the New Testament Church. Conflict between the Roman Pope and the East mounted-especially in the Pope’s dealings with the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Pope even went so far as to claim the authority to decide who should be the bishop of Constantinople in marked violation of historical precedent, No longer operating within the government of the New Testament Church, the Pope appeared to be seeking by political means to bring the whole Church under his dominion.

Bizarre intrigues followed, one upon the other, as a series of Roman popes pursued this unswerving goal of attempting to control all Christendom. Perhaps the most incredible incident of these political, religious, and even military schemes occurred in the year 1054.A cardinal, sent by the Pope, slapped a document on the altar of the Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople during the Sunday worship, excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople from the Church. The Pope, of course, had no legitimate right to do this, but the repercussions were staggering. Some dismal chapters of Church history were written during the next decades.

The ultimate consequence of the Pope’s action was that the whole Roman Catholic Church ended up divided from the New Testament faith of Orthodox Christianity. The schism has never been healed. As the centuries passed, conflict continued. Attempts at reunion failed, and the Roman Church farther from its historical roots

Next: Further Divisions in the West

Categories: CHURCH

Understanding Orthodox Church: Council of Chalcedon (AD 451)

December 29, 2011 Comments off

Council of Chalcedon (AD 451)

The ancient Church used the title “Orthodox” against the Gnostics, Montanists, Arains and Nestorians to qualify it as the Church having the undefiled faith and their opponents are the heretics.

This Church had five main centers at:

Antioch,

Alexandria,

Constantinople,

Jerusalem and

Rome.

Today the heads of these Churches are called either Patriarch (Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem) or Pope (Alexandria and Rome). The ancient Church was divided into two kinds of Christians as a result of the Council of Chalcedon ( AD451).The councils main agenda was to discuss about the Person of Jesus Christ, i.e to say how the divinity and humanity were united in Jesus Christ.

The council adopted a doctrinal thesis, which was accepted by one group and rejected by the other group. Those who rejected the Council’s decision were called the Non-Caledonians and even today the Churches of Egypt, Syria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Armenia and India are known by this name; they are also called the oriental Orthodox Christians.

On the other side the Christians of the major portion of the Roman Empire accepted the Council of Chalcedon and they were referred to as the Caledonians.

Here I recommend a book “ The Council of Chalcedon Re examined” by Fr.Dr.V.C.Samuel(Late) , to understand the Christological controversies of Council of Chalcedon. Read the following book review. I took this from Internet. The Council of Chalcedon Re examined by Fr.Dr.V.C.Samuel Doctoral research: Christological controversy

The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined_ by Fr Dr.V. C. Samuel(Late) is a lengthy dissertation dealing with the political, historical and theological conflicts behind the ecumenical Council at Chalcedon (near Constantinople in Asia Minor) in AD 451. Fr. Dr.Samuel, was priest of the Indian Orthodox Church, has studied extensively in the Syriac language and Christian theology since his youth in India. He brings a frequently disregarded perspective into this obscure theological-political struggle of the fifth century Byzantine Empire. From 451 onwards there has been a continual schism, or broken communion, between the Orthodox Church, the later pro-Chalcedonian churches (Roman Catholic and Protestant) and the so called non-Chalcedonian, or “monophysite”, Oriental Orthodox Church.

The non-Chalcedonian church has distinguished and isolated itself from the rest of Christendom because of this schism and continues to exist today preserving a very ancient and even “primitive” form of Christianity in Egypt, Armenia, Syria, India, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Fr.Dr.Samuel’s book is basically about the events before and after the council of Chalcedon in 451. Chalcedon is sometimes referred to as the “Fourth Ecumenical Council” by Orthodox and Roman Catholic historians, although was not universally acknowledged by ancient Christendom.Fr.Dr. Samuel familiarizes the reader with the subject by over viewing councils (in 431, 449 and 450) where the dominant doctrinal issue at stake was a definition of exactly who Christ was in extremely technical Greek theological terms. This structuring does the reader a service because it provides a backdrop to the issues Fr.Dr.Samuel discusses during 451 and afterwards.

During 431, a majority of bishops decided to adopt the writings and anathemas (curses) of Cyril of Alexandria (the largest city in Egypt) as official doctrine. The next generation of bishops in Alexandria, led by Cyril’s successor Dioscorus, stringently supported Cyril’s works. Fr.Dr.Samuel is an adherent of the Alexandrian position and therefore a modern supporter of the deposed Egyptian patriarch Dioscorus. One of the strong points of Fr.Dr.Samuel’s book, is he goes into a lengthy analysis of the wrangling and power struggles of the different sides and how Dioscorus was condemned. _The Council of Chalcedon_ covers which groups had a political stake in the outcomes of Chalcedon. To the vast majority of Egyptians, Chalcedon was the “council of schism.” In contrast, Chalcedon was a bastion of Christian Orthodoxy for the prelates loyal to the Byzantine Empire and its government and the pope of Rome in the west. The pro-Roman and pro-empire parties considered _The Tome of Leo_ as the definitive statement of Christology which supplemented and complemented Cyril’s writings.

Fr.Dr.Samuel does an excellent job in this area of analysis because he differentiates between actual theology and what were in fact worldly power struggles between separatist and nationalist elements in the empire and those interested in maintaining centralized church authority in Rome and Constantinople. Fr.Dr.Samuel also focuses on the outcome of Chalcedon and does not cover up the often violent and criminal conflicts that raged in the Byzantine Empire.

The separate non-Chalcedon church was viewed as a threat by the imperial government to its authority which was bound up with pro-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. Violence broke out in places, involving persecutions of dissident monks and prelates. Factionalists from both sides even assassinated and murdered bishops. In later centuries, debate continued between the non-Chalcedonian church and the Orthodox adherents of Chalcedon. Fr.Dr.Samuel addresses the question of whether or not the non-Chalcedonians were rightfully deserving of the label “monophysite” which has had a heretical and therefore negative connotation in Western Christendom.

Fr.Dr.Samuel does an excellent job of showing how the theologians of the non-Chalcedon church in later centuries maintained inherently Orthodox Christian beliefs. He argues to the modern reader how the label “monophysite” is a misnomer and something of an undeserved slander.

The greatest theologians of the non-Chalcedonians, such as

Severus of Antioch,

Timothy Aelurus and

Philoxenos of Mabbogh,

went to great lengths to maintain their belief in the humanity of Christ. The non-Chalcedonian Church also anathematized teachings as heresies that were associated with “monophysitism” by the Orthodox Church. Among the teachings repudiated were Eutychianism, the belief that Christ was not consubstantial with humanity; the belief that Christ had only one “property” in his being, and Julianism, the belief that Christ’s humanity was of some incorruptible nature. Fr.Dr.Samuel also lists several extremely technical Greek terms became bones of contention because their precise meanings and usage in previous documents were not agreed upon by the debating parties: ousia “essence,” hypostasis “that which exists in itself”, physis “nature”, prosopon “person” and hyparxis “existence”. This section of the book greatly helps the reader understand the precise issues that were up for debate and how they were understood differently by the opposing sides. It appears that the schism heralded by Chalcedon and imperial and papal political and theological agendas was a terrible mistake and both sides were in fact “Orthodox” in their Christology.

Both sides condemned the same views as heretical and both were careful to uphold the true humanity of Christ, as well as his divinity. This is the conclusion that Samuel reaches in his book. His work is of such excellent quality because he defends his thesis so well. Chalcedon was essentially a regional power struggle between different factions masked by what was basically a haggle over words. These are the reasons why The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined is a recommended book for readers interested in theology and the history of religion. The book does have a significant fault in because it does not go into enough detail as to what the specific accusations against Dioscorus were. It also seems to attack Chalcedonian Orthodoxy as inherently dangerous to Christendom and the Church at large. Otherwise, Samuel’s book is an excellent, objectively written text”.

Next: Great Schism (1054)

Fr.Thomas Philipose

St Mary’s Orthodox Church, Aurangabad

Categories: CHURCH

Birthday Wishes

December 28, 2011 Comments off

Abraham Mar Seraphim

Birthday greetings to you, Thirumeni.

Categories: CHURCH Tags: ,

Understanding Orthodox Church: The Church in the New Testament

December 28, 2011 Comments off

The Church in the New Testament
To understanding the Orthodox Church, go back to the pages of the New Testament, specifically to the Book of Acts, and the birth of the Church at Pentecost. On that day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and those gathered in the upper room, and by afternoon some three thousand souls believed in Christ and were baptized. The Scriptures record that when the first Christian Community began, “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). From Jerusalem, faith in Christ spread throughout Judea, to Samaria (Acts 8:5-39), to Antioch and to the Gentiles (Acts 11:19-26).Soon, there were new converts and new Churches throughout Asia Minor and Roman Empire as recorded in Acts and the Epistles.

The Church, of course, was not simply another organization in Roman society. The Lord Jesus Christ had given the promise of the Holy Spirit to “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).With the fulfillment of that promise beginning with Pentecost, the Church bore more than mere institutional status. She is not an organization with mystery, but a mystery with organization, St.Paul called the Church “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

The Church is a dynamic organism, the living body of Jesus Christ. She makes an indelible impact in the world, and those who live in her life and faith are personally transformed. But the New Testament also reveals that the Church had her share of problems. All was not perfection. Some individuals within the Church even sought to lead her off the path the apostles established, and they had to be dealt with along with the errors they invented. Even whole communities lapsed on occasion and were called to repentance. The Church in Laodicea is a vivid example (Revelation 3:14-22).Disciple was administered for the sake of purity in the Church. But there was growth and maturation, even as the Church was attacked from within and without. The same Spirit who gave her birth gave her power for purity and correction, and she stood strong and grew, eventually invading the whole of the Roman Empire.

Orthodox Church in the Early Centuries: As the Church moves from the pages of the New Testament, and on into the succeeding centuries of her history, her growth and development can be traced in terms of specific categories.

The first is a category important for all Christian people: doctrine. Did she maintain the truth of God, as given by Christ and His Apostles?

Second, what about worship? Is there is a discernible way in which the people of God have offered a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to Him?

Third, consider Church government. What sort of policy did the Church practice?

1. Doctrine Not only did the Church begin under the teaching of the Apostles, but she was also instructed to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).St.Paul insisted that those matters delivered by him and his fellow apostles, both in person and the writings that would come to be called the New Testament, be adhered to carefully. Thus followed such appropriate warnings as “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ……withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). The doctrines taught by Christ and His Disciples are to be safeguarded by “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) and are not open for renegotiation. And the Church was still young when a way had to be found for providing this safeguard. Mid way through the first century, a dispute arose in Antioch over adherence to Old Testament laws. This matter could not be settled there; outside help was needed.

The leaders of the Antiochian Church, the community which had earlier dispatched Paul and Barnabas as missionaries, brought the matter to Jerusalem for consideration by the apostles and elders there. The matter was discussed, debated, and a written decision was forthcoming. James, the brother of the Lord and the first bishop of Jerusalem, put forth the solution to the problem. This settlement, agreed to by all concerned at what is known as the Council of Jerusalem (Acts:1-135),set the pattern for the use of Church Councils in the centuries ahead to settle doctrinal and moral issues that arose. Thus, throughout the history of the Church, we find scores of such councils on various levels to settle matters of dispute and to deal with those who do not adhere to the apostolic faith. The first three hundred years of Christian history were also marked by appearance for certain heresies or false teachings such as secret philosophic schemes for the elite (Gnosticism), dazzling prophetic aberrations (Montanism), and grave errors regarding the three Persons of the Holy Trinity (Sabellianism).

Then, in the early century, a heresy with potential for Church-wide disruption appeared, propagated by one Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, Egypt. He denied the eternality of the Son of God, claiming contrary to the apostle’s doctrine that the Son was a created being who came into existence at a point of time, and thus was not truly God. This deadly error struck the Church like a Cancer. Turmoil spread almost everywhere. The first Church-wide, or Ecumenical, Council met in Nicea in A.D.325 to address this issue. Some 3I8 Bishops (One Bishop from India also), along with many priests, deacons, and laymen rejected the new teaching of Arius and his associates, upholding the apostles’ doctrine of Christ, affirming the eternality of the Son and His consubstantiality with the Father. Their proclamation of the apostolic teaching concerning Christ included a creed, which, with the additions concerning the Holy Spirit made in 381 at the Council of Constantinople, forms the document today called the Nicene Creed.

In the early centuries, many Councils was held in different cities like Nicea, Ephesus, Constantinople, and

the first Three Councils held at Nicea on AD 325,

at Constantinople on AD 381and

at Ephesus on AD 431, known as Ecumenical Councils.

All dealt first and foremost with some specific challenge to the apostolic teaching about Jesus Christ. The third Ecumenical Council (AD 431), for instance, condemned the Nestorians-those would divide Christ into two persons, one human and the other divine. The Nestorians were concentrated in Persia and eastward, and when some of the Nestorian Bishops would not accept the decision of the Council, the Church experienced the first territorial schism. Evangelistically active, the Nestorians formed communities in Arabia, India, and as far away as China. A remnant still carries on a precarious existence in Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria, and the United States.

Source Orthodox Study Bible. will Continue…

Next topic: Council of Chalcedon (A.D.451)

Fr.Thomas Philipose

St Mary’s Orthodox Church, Aurangabad

Categories: CHURCH
%d bloggers like this: