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Archive for January, 2012

3 Day Evening Retreats

January 31, 2012 Comments off

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Categories: NEWS & UPDATES

Tuesday of Three days Lent

January 31, 2012 Comments off

Tuesday of Three days Lent : Have a Blessed Lent
Evening : St. Luke 4: 24-32
Morning:Exodus 22:28 – 30
Micah 1: 1-16
Jonah 2: 1-10
Nahum 1: 1-14
Isaiah 57: 13-19
Acts 8: 9-25
Romans 1: 18- 32
St. Matthew 24: 36-46

Nineveh Lent

January 30, 2012 Comments off

By the grace of God, we have once again entered into the 3 days lent popularly known as `Nineveh Lent’, the smallest of the canonical Lents of the Holy Church.It was common enough at the time of Jesus for him to warn us: “When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do. They pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward”. (Matt 6:16).

There are many ways to keep a good Lent. During Lent time, a faithful believer of Christ is supposed to abstain from some particular food or pleasure, especially avoiding non-vegetarian and sex. This is what exactly St. Paul meant when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self control”.

When Jesus began his public life and preaching, his first message was not “Love one another” or even “Love your enemies”, it was “The kingdom of God is close at hand, Repent”( St. Mark 1:15). The English word `Penance’ is the translation of a Greek word `metanoia’. The root of penance is the Latin word `Peona’, meaning punishment, penalty, pain, grief. It is not surprising that Lent, time for penance, is not our favorite time of the year. Metanoia, however, does not mean punishment or pain: literally, it means a change of mind. So Lent is not meant to be a time for punishment and pain, but a time for changing our minds, changing our outlook and attitudes, a time for changing our hearts. This is vividly illustrated when Prophet Joel tells Israel, “Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn” (Joel 2:13).

Finally, apart from abstention of food and worldly pleasures, it is good to have `Mauna Vretham’ (Keeping silence all through the days of the Lent). Silence is the best way to hear the voice of God for it is written thus in Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God”.

May God give us strength and enthusiasm to observe this Lent without failure.

Nineveh Lent/ Moonnu Noumbu

January 30, 2012 Comments off

Nineveh Lent/ Moonnu Noumbu…starts today evening…
The three day lent is a lent of attrition and repentance commemorating the repentance of the people Nineveh at the preaching of Prophet Jonah. This lent starts three weeks before the start of the Great Lent. Readings for Monday of Three Days Lent:
Evening – St. Matthew 12: 31-41
Morning – Numbers5: 5-10
Jonah 1:1- 17
Isaiah19: 17-22
Acts13:6 – 12
Colossians1: 3-13
St. Matthew 7: 1-12
The Book of Jonah gives us insight of forgiveness of sins by earnest repentance. Fasting and prayer is the means of the repentance. Jonah and Nineveh received the salvation through the mercy of God which was earned by repentance. With our sins, we are also in the belly of a great whale in the sea. The great whale is Satan, and he swallowed us in our sins and he is in the sea of this world. The only way out of his belly and out of this sea is repentance.Let the prayers, meditation, and fasting and almsgiving in our every possible ways of the three days lent, will strengthen our souls to repent from our sins.Have a Blessed Lent….Lord have mercy on us….

Some Lenten Thoughts……

January 30, 2012 Comments off

Once a needy and homeless woman came to church and approached the Priest of that Parish for some immediate help. But the Priest was very busy due to other activities in his Parish….and he promised her, will keep in her in his Daily Prayers…
She later wrote a poem as a response to the act of the Priest.
“I was hungry, and you formed a Bible Study Group to discuss my hunger
I was imprisoned, and you went to your church and prayed for my release
I was naked, and in your heart you debated about the modesty of my appearance..
I was sick, and you knelt down and thanked God for your health…
I was homeless, and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God….
I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me…
You seem so holy, so close to God, but I am still very hungry, lonely and cold….
Dear Friends, we entered in the 3 Day lent….. Jesus is asking, “Will you gain everything, if you win the whole world, but lose your life?
Please think of a healthy spiritual life, a life in the Holy Spirit, disciplined, ruled (governed), controlled, regulated with some guide lines. Our spiritual life should be normal, balanced and integrated with the following elements….
I. A penitential life…..Go to the Church, during these days, take a confession… “My heart became hot within me, while I mused, the fire burned” (Psalms 39:3)…our meditations should lead to a real repentance… and by bearing the fruit of repentance (St Luke 3:8)…through sharing our food and clothes with the needy…. Real repentance is the change of mind…our attitudes…
Do not follow the advice of the wicked….do not take the path that sinners tread…nor sit in the seat of scoffers…But delight in the law of the Lord….and meditate on it, day and night. This will help to bear the real fruit of repentance in appropriate time.

II. A Prayerful life: life through fasting, lent and prayer. We can have three types of Prayer and each are complementary to each other..
1. Public Prayer…this prayer is official, obligatory, regular and common..
2. Private, Personal Prayer
3. Inner Prayer (Jesus Prayer)
Enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past…. (Isaiah 26:20). Whenever you pray, go to your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Go to your Room…means…enter to your mind (heart) shut the doors of your mind to not allow any unwanted thoughts or temptations and have a personal relationship with your Heavenly Father..For this communication Jesus Prayer is very helpful.

III. A life through Fasting, lent & Alms giving…
1. Share your bread with the hungry
2. Bring the homeless poor into your house
3. Cover the naked
4. Help your own kins.

Jesus Prayer – Prayer of the Heart

January 30, 2012 Comments off

The Jesus Prayer is very simple:
“Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,”
The Jesus Prayer according to numerous Church Fathers is “essential” to our spiritual growth. The Jesus Prayer proclaims our faith and humbles us by asking mercy for our sinfulness. The Jesus Prayer is thought to be as old as the Church itself.

The Jesus Prayer, says Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “more than any other,” helps us to be able to “stand in God’s presence.” This means that the Jesus Prayer helps us to focus our mind exclusively on God with “no other thought” occupying our mind but the thought of God. At this moment when our mind is totally concentrated on God, we discover a very personal and direct relationship with Him.
Jesus Christ – the Power In the Name
The Jesus Prayer’s power comes from the use of our Lord’s Name, Jesus Christ, Son of God. It is a confession of our faith.

Jesus Prayer requires Humility
The Jesus Prayer in its practice assumes you are a regular participant in the worship services of the Church, in her Sacraments and aware of your sinfulness. Be sure to consult with and follow the advice of your spiritual Father. Humility is a prerequisite for all prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer.

Jesus Prayer Has Two Functions
The Jesus Prayer has two important purposes. The first is worship as with all prayer. The second is a discipline to help our soul gain control our overactive brains and create stillness so the Holy Spirit can work through us and help us live the virtues in union with God.

Jesus Prayer Has Three Stages in Practice
The Jesus Prayer involves three stages of progress in its practice. You begin praying the Jesus Prayer by repeating the words of the prayer out loud or at least moving the lips. This is called verbal prayer. After some time saying of the Jesus Prayer becomes silent or mental and is repeated only in the mind. This is mental prayer. Finally, the Jesus Prayer becomes a continuous prayer in the heart, the inner core of our being. We begin with vocal prayer and do not force the move to mental prayer. This will happen naturally when you are ready.

Jesus Prayer in Practice
In praying the Jesus Prayer, our holy Fathers tell us, we say it over and over hundreds of times as part of our daily prayer rule. It is best to add the Jesus Prayer to your morning prayers as this is when the mind is the quietest. Begin by saying the Jesus Prayer verbally focusing on each word. Repeat the Jesus Prayer continually for 15 minutes at first and then expand to 30 minutes. You will experience the challenge of dealing with your thoughts, the tendency for you mind to wander. Attention when praying the Jesus Prayer is important. Be sincere in your prayer and repeat it with contrition. Praying the Jesus Prayer is that simple!

Jesus Prayer is A Long and Difficult Path
Do not be fooled by its simplicity. The Jesus Prayer practice is a difficult task and like all ascetic practices it requires commitment of time, patience and perseverance. Remember Jesus Prayer’s aim is not to obtain a calmness or any kind of spiritual experience, but to become in communion with God and participate in His grace.

Jesus Prayer – When To Pray
The Jesus Prayer will eventually be prayed throughout the day and when this happens, you will find that your life changes.

Jesus Prayer is Not a Form of Eastern Meditation
The praying of the Jesus Prayer should not be confused with methods used in Eastern Yoga or meditation. In praying the Jesus Prayer as in all Orthodox Prayer we are seeking a relationship with a personal God based on faith and love.

The practice of the Jesus Prayer is integrated into the mental ascesis undertaken by the Orthodox monastic in the practice of hesychasm. Yet the Jesus Prayer is not limited only to monastic life or to clergy. All members of the Christian Church are advised to practice this prayer, laypeople and clergy, men, women and children.

In the Eastern tradition the prayer is said or prayed repeatedly, often with the aid of a prayer rope (Russian: chotki; Greek: komvoskini), which is a cord, usually woolen, tied with many knots. The person saying the prayer says one repetition for each knot. It may be accompanied by prostrations and the sign of the cross, signaled by beads strung along the prayer rope at intervals. The prayer rope is “a tool of prayer”. The use of the prayer rope, however, is not compulsory and it is considered as an aid to the beginners or the “weak” practitioners, those who face difficulties practicing the Prayer.

Parumala Thirumeni

January 28, 2012 Comments off

 

Saint Gregorios of Parumala is popularly known as ‘Parumala Thirumeni’.

Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of the Malankara Orthodox Church who passed away on November 2nd 1902, became the first declared saint from Malankara (Kerala,India) naturally to be called, ‘Parumala Thirumeni’. He shines in the cloud of witnesses as a bright luminary giving rays of hope to millions in their suffering and struggles.

 

BIRTH AND PARENTAGE
Mar Gregorios was born on 15th June 1848 (M.E. Mithunam 3, 1023) to Kochu Mathai and Mariam of Pallathetta family in the Chathuruthy house at Mulamthuruthy. He was called by the name ‘Kochaippora’ and was given the baptismal name ‘Geevarghese’. Kochaippora had two brothers and two sisters; Kurian, Eli, Mariam and Varkey. Kochaippora was the youngest and was therefore the most beloved to everyone. Unfortunately, his mother passed away when he was only two years old. His eldest sister Mariam became to him all that a mother was meant. Mariam was married at that time and had a child of Kochaippora’s age.

 

CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION

Kochaippora started his education under Onakkavil Ayya and Moni Ashan. Kochaippora’s paternal uncle Geevarghese Malpan slowly initiated him the sacred language ‘Syriac’ and to the first lessons of priesthood.

 

READER-DEACON AND FURTHER EDUCATION

He was ordained as a reader-deacon (Korooyo) on 14th Sept, 1858 at the age of ten by Palakkunnath Mathews Mar Athanasios atKaringachiraChurch. Koroyo Geevarghese continued his training under Geevarghese Malpan until the latter died due to small pox. Although Deacon Geevarghese was also infected with small pox, he miraculously survived it. Afterwards Deacon Geevarghese moved to Pampakuda to continued his studies under Konat Geevarghese Malpan. In the mean time Deacon became associated with the visiting Syrian Bishop Yuyakim Mar Coorilos. Mar Coorilos had great admiration for the deacon and was pleased to ordain him as full deacon, priest and cor-episcopa within few months in 1865.

 

VETTICKAL DAYARA

The new priest’s short stay atMulanthuruthyMarthommenChurchgave him an inner conviction that he should lead a hermit’s life in a quieter place. Therefore he shifted his residence to Vettickal Dayara. At Vettickal Dayara, Corepiscopa Geevarghese started a strenuous life of prayer and fasting. Having heard about the vigorous asceticism practised by corepiscopa Geevarghese, the then Malankara Metropolitan Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius made him a ‘Ramban’ (Monk Priest) in 1872.

 

PATRIARCHAL VISIT AND THE SYNOD OF MULAMTHURUTHY

In 1875, the Antioch Patriarch His Holiness Peter III visited Malankara. The Patriarch chose Ramban  Geevarghese as his Secretary and translator during the entire visit. Along with the Patriarch , the Ramban visited many churches. Ramban Geevarghese also assisted the Patriarch in the consecration of the Holy Mooron and in the historic synod of Mulanthuruthy in 1876.

 

CONSECRATION AS METROPOLITAN

Being pleased with the Ramban Geevarghese, the Patriarch decided to consecrate him as Metropolitan. On December 10, 1876 the Patriarch consecrated six priests as bishops including Ramban Geevarghese atSt. ThomasChurch,N Paravur. He was given the new name Geevarghese Mar Gregorios and was given the charge of Niranam Diocese. The other bishops and their Diocese were:

Murimattath Mar Ivanios (Kandanad)

Kadavil Mar Athanasios (Kottayam)

Ambattu Mar Coorilos (Ankamaly)

Karottuveetil Simon Mar Dionysius (Cochin)

Konat Mar Julius (Thumpamon)

 

Mar Gregorios was only 28 years when he was made a bishop. Since he was the youngest among all the bishops, he was dearly called by all as ‘Kochu Thirumeni’. The first thing the new bishops undertook was a special fasting-vigil for forty days at Vettickal Dayara under the leadership of ‘Kochu Thirumeni’. This fasting was both symbolic and effective in the pursuit of new life in an old church.

Mar Gregorios took charge of the Niranam Diocese and started staying at Parumala. There was at Parumala, at that time, a land donated by Arikupurath Koruth Mathen to the church and in this plot a small building was erected by the Malankara Metropolitan Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius. This building was known as ‘Azhippura’. Mar Gregorios lived there along with few other deacons who came for priestly training. They worshipped in a thatched chapel during that time.

 

THREEFOLD ACTIVITY

Mar Gregorios engaged in a threefold activity of tireless service for the church: Diocesan administration, Ministerial formation of deacons, Missionary witness of the church through inner spiritual and theological consolidation, along with evangelical reaching out.

In addition to these, Mar Gregorios undertook the task of building a church and seminary at Parumala. The diocesan administration, in the mean time, was extended to two more dioceses, Thumpamon and Quilon. The newly constructed church was consecrated in 1895. Mar Gregorios was the co-celebrant for the consecration of two ex-Roman Catholic priests as bishops: Fr.Alvaris as Alvaris Mar Kulius for Bombay-Mangalore Diocese; Fr.Rene Vilatti as Rene Vilatti Mar Timotheos forAmerica.

HOLY LAND – PILGRIMAGE

Mar Gregorios made the Holy Land Pilgrimage in 1895 as the fulfillment of a long cherished dream. On his return he published a travelogue under the title ‘Oorslem yathra vivaranam’ (a narrative of theJerusalemvisit). This book, published in 1895 is to be considered as the earliest printed travelogue in Malayalam. This book had its centenary edition in 1996 and translation into English in 2000.

 

A VISION AND MISSION FOR THE ENTIRE CHURCH

Mar Gregorios believed that the church should engage in educational activity especially to facilitate primary education and English teaching without discriminating gender or religion. Accordingly he started schools at Kunnamkulam, Mulamthuruthy, Niranam, Thumpamon, Thiruvalla etc. The missionary task of the Church was also evinced by his outreach programme to the socially down trodden communities at Chennithala, Kalikunnu, Mallappally, Puthupally, Kallumkathara etc. He also organized evangelical awakening programme for non-Christians at various places like Aluva, under the leadership of the Seminary students.

A major task of Mar Gregorios was to motivate the clergy for effective ministry. With this aim, he formed the Malankara Syrian Clergy Association and took many progressive decisions and made many suggestions for the effective functioning of the priestly ministry.

DISCIPLES OF THIRUMENI

Among the many disciples of Mar Gregorios, three deserve special notice:

  1. Vattasseril Rev.Fr.Geevarghese (later, Malankara Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Dionysius)
  2. Kuttikattu Rev.Fr.Paulose (later, Paulose Mar Athanasios of Aluva)
  3. Kallasseril Rev.Fr,Geevarghese (Punnoose) (later, Catholicos Baselios Geevarghese II)

 

DEPARTURE FROM THE WORLD

Mar Gregorios was already a piles-patient. It became chronic in 1902. Treatments proved futile and slowly His Grace became physically weaker and weaker. At last the blessed soul left the earthly abode on 2nd November 1902. The funeral was conducted at Parumala on Tuesday the 3rd of November 1902 in the presence of thousands of people and hundreds of priests. The many testimonies to the saintly intercession of Mar Gregorios madeParumalaChurch and the tomb a centre of pilgrimage. In 1947 Mar Gregorios of blessed memory was declared a saint by the then Catholicos of the church, His Holiness Baselius Geevarghese II.

 

Categories: CHURCH
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