Inauguration of Children’s Park at Prerana Special School


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https://yuhanonmeletius.org/videogallery/prerana-school-park-inauguration

I got another blessed time, along with the Senior Vice President of the seminary H. G. Dr. Jospeh Mar Dionysius Metropolitan of Calcutta diocese, during my current visit to STOTS at the inauguration of Children’s park and plate and cup making machine of Prerana Special School. The rides of the park were gifted by Oriental Insurance Company through their Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. This video is a collection of pictures from the day.

 

Let the Peace of our Lord Prevail


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https://yuhanonmeletius.org/article/let-peace-our-lord-prevail

(This is a meditative note I presented before the students of St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur after the evening prayer to commemorate the UN declared International Day of Peace.)
 
The 21st day of September was declared by UN as the day of peace in 1981.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. Mtt. 5:12 (9).
 
Jesus may have talked about peace with his understanding of the Hebrew word Shalom.
One of the early occurrences of the word in Jdg. 6:24 suggests that it is time of freedom from oppression or slavery. Gideon received the message of peace from the messenger.
‘Lom is the basic root of the word which may mean ‘paid’. So when it is paid for, there is shalom. When due is paid, there shall be peace. What is due to another is respect. Only when what is due to another is paid there will be peace.
 
This is a world of diversity. God created each according to its kind and set them in the garden or in the world.
 
Terry McGonial, a New Testament theologian, comments that, to have Shalom is to leave “the universe the way God designed it to be”. A consumerist attitude was expressed in the garden, fear, breaking of relationships, rivalry and killing entered the world.
 
We understand that the situation prevailed in the garden was of mutual respect. There was a call to accept trees and fruits as they are and not as things “for me”. This was violated or peace was broken. God had set things in proper order and in place.
 
Then we have the creation of human which is primarily related to God as human shared the image and likeness of God himself (Gn. 1:26-27). The animals were created and a different kind of relationship is established but not of ruling over rather for peaceful co-existence. In the second creation story God sees that to be alone is not good and decides to create a community among humans (Gn. 2:18).
 
God further establishes peace between human and the rest of the creation in the garden. The two words used are till and keep. Till to keep earth’s productive and dynamism. To keep means to keep each one’s identity and selfhood.
 
God always wanted to keep it that way. Human consumeristic tendency broke peace in the garden.
This dream of God was jeopardised by human. But continued His dream alive as reflected in the words of Isaiah 11:2 ff.
 
Jesus said, “I leave with you my peace” (John 14:27). He on His part established peace between God and humans and human and human. Paul talks at various occasions about peace. He says, Christ has broken down the dividing wall and has established peace (Eph 2:14). This peace is what He left for his disciples.
 
Peace doesn’t come by itself once there was breach of peace by human. To bring in peace we need to walk back With Christ, the super model for our life, the road human travelled in the opposite direction.
 
For that, first we need to recognize that the world is of diverse nature. It was not created just for humans and not even humans of any particular region of tried or even gender. Any form of discrimination is to be abolished from our society. Each has a space in this world and has a role to play. No one is for another one to be a servant, but every one is for every one else.
 
Again do not listen to the commercial world that tries to sell their interest as in the case of the serpent. People of vested interest sell their products not for the benefit of the consumer, rather for the benefit of the seller. “God has provided everything we need but not for our greed” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Be ready to reply to that world which tries to sell things for their benefit not with over enthusiasm, rather with truth and justice.
 
Again do not be greedy. Human took the fruit of the forbidden tree not because they didn’t have any thing else to eat for their hunger, but was for fancy.
We live in a world driven by greed. Every one says, it was greed that initiated 2008 global economic crisis. Greed for power, greed for wealth, greed for pleasure etc.
Further, don’t be a greedy person but respect each other’s need and respect each others’ identity and diversity of creation.
 
The world has become a very difficult place for people to live in and so we need to pray with Saint Francis of Assisi saying, “Lord make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love”

What Should We Teach Our Sunday School Children


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I gave the Theme Presentation at the Annual General Body Meeting of the Outside Kerala Region of Orthodox Sunday School Association of the East held at St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur on September 17, 2016. This video contains audio of the presentation with pictures from the meeting on two days.

https://yuhanonmeletius.org/videogallery/what-should-we-teach-our-sunday-school-children

Onam for Prerana School Students


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It was indeed a memorable day at St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary for me. I arrived from Kerala at the seminary to fulfil my annual teaching assignment on September 15th of 2016 early morning.  That was the Onam celebration day of the Seminary. The centre of attraction was the children of Prerana School for Mentally Challenged with their sports and games conducted at the seminary. The seminary prepared Onam meal with 25 side dishes for the children, the teachers of the school and the parents. I had to distribute the prizes for the winners among the students and teachers and talk to them about Abundant Love and Care as Onam is all about harvested crop in abundance. It was the 25 deacons of the seminary who prepared the meal spending all night in the kitchen. I salute them and with the Principal, the faculty, administrative staff and students of the seminary who made that day for those beautiful creations of God studying in Prerana School (I get so blessed that every year when I come to the seminary there will be something happening in Prerana that I could attend. Last year it was dedication of the new building)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFE5Jvc3zho&feature=youtu.be

Watch the Signs in Nature


Meditation for Sept. 18 (Mark 13:28 ff Originally published in ICON).

Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan, Thrissur

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Here we have a question of reading and interpreting signs in nature.

God reveals Himself through history and through nature. Both are His creations.

Questions of end time were placed before Jesus many times. On one of those occasions Jesus started His reply with the statement that, ‘one need to read the messages of nature’.

Fig tree gives fresh leaves just before the summer and then it gives fruit. Jesus picked this example to reply to the question. Any one who wants to see the message from God needs to look in to history or nature. When Amos was walking among his sycamore tree garden, he found a basket of fruits rotten as the servants may have forgotten to collect them the previous day. God asked him to see it as a message from God (Amos 8:1 ff.). What all God created will have a message to proclaim. The Psalmist says “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Ps. 19:1, 2).

Everything God created in this world was created with a purpose. In the creation narrative, God’s purpose of creating light is explained (Gen. 1: 14, 15). Further it is said, He created everything “each according to its kind…” (Gen. 1:21), which may mean ‘each according to its nature and purpose’. Humans were created to “till and guard” the earth. Fulfilling the purpose itself will be message (Matthew 7:16). Earth (in a larger context, I must say the whole universe) is the arena where God’s love for his creation is manifested. Each creation should give out a message of this love either as a positive act or as a warning. If the warning is not heard, then it brings catastrophe as a consequence. God can not be blamed for the consequence as it is not God who brings the consequence, rather it is the one who does not either give out the message that is supposed to be giving or one who does not listen to the message from nature and history (look at what happened to the fig tree that did not have fruit but had fresh leaves (Matthew 21: 18-21). When there is a message from nature about the kind of situation prevails, creatures other than humans, in the world listens to the change and tries to survive accepting the change. But humans, on the one hand doesn’t proclaim the message of God’s love and on the other hand fails to listen to the message of God given by God created history and nature (Jer. 8:7; 18: 15 etc.). Ezekiel 12: 5 says, “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house”.

People in Kerala have been complaining that every year summer becomes hotter and hotter. UN sponsored Climate Summit held on September 23rd 2014 in New York with 13 nations including US, Brazil, Germany and Zambia participating reported that by 2050 the weather pattern will drastically shift with drought, hurricanes, increased volcanic activity and landslides. The Summit also warns that climate change is the “single biggest risk to the world economy today”. The melting glaziers cause global warming and rise in sea water level. Warnings of nature in this direction have been there since long back. We failed to listen the testimony of the nature. There was a message from the tree and its fruit (of course it is put in the mouth of God by Bible). But Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree that was not supposed to be for food. They failed to listen to the message of the tree and its fruit. That caused human going out of better relations with God, with nature and with fellow humans to make their lives miserable. We all know that it was simply greed or over consumption of resources that caused the  Global Economic Crisis that started in 2008. Many of the countries that were affected have not come out of it yet. We did not quite learn from it though were careful after that for few years. Rather again we have fallen in to the culture of luxury and lavish spending. Those church buildings and associated structures in Kerala itself will tell us the story. Kerala has been famous for steady married life and strong bond in family. But now with the kind of fast forward life style and crazy run after material prosperity and success, relationships are getting disturbed and divorce rate is escalating. Even those religions who are supposed to be preaching and professing peace are spreading but hate messages and promoting terrorism.

Of course the end time many not come tomorrow, but end of peoples’ lives together, end of happiness, end of peaceful living, end of healthy growing up of young generations may come earlier than we think. Listen to the message of nature and see the immanent danger that is to be avoided. God wants us to look in to world around us for a life of peace and love, not to have a premature end. I wish every one a blessed Onam Season.

My Visit to Karad, Maharashtra


 

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I was invited to the Perunnal of St. Mary’s Orthodox Parish, Karad, Maharashtra. I arrived Pune airport in the afternoon of 9th Sept. 2016 and the Vicar Rev. Fr. Siby (Fr. Skariah Thomas) and Dr. Arun (from Koothattukulam, doing MD in Community Health) received me to take up a three hour drive to Karad. It was a pleasant drive through the curves and uphill of the road. On the way we stopped at a tea shop and had cucumber slice and tea. I expressed my wish to visit one of the villages in that remote region of Maharastra. So the next day Mr.  P. D. John (Finance Officer of the University and trustee of the parish) offered to take us to a village called Susere. Very Rev. Younan Mulamoottil Cor-episcopo (founder vicar of the parish) and Dr. Arun joined us. John had talked to one of the district panchayat members Mr. Dhondiram Jado about our tour and he offered to go with us. The road was bumpy and it had its effect on my Spondylitis to go on Steroid. But it was worth a trip. We were given hearty welcome in the village. It indeed was a rare experience. A Maharashtra lady surprised us with her fluent and clear Malayalam at her house. Later we also visited the son of the founder of Krishna Institute of Medical Science which has the status of Deemed University, Dr. Suresh Bhosale in his office. He is truly a humanist just like his father was. We had the perunnal on that evening and the following day. I flew back to Kochi on Sunday late in the evening spending most of the early hours of 12th as I had to conduct re-dedication classes for the tenth grade Sunday School graduates which ended with Holy Qurbana on 13th. I boarded a train the same evening to Nagpur to fulfil my annual teaching assignment. That will bring you another story.

Talk at Acolyte Training


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This video contains my talk at the training of the Acolytes of Thrissur diocese conducted on August 24th 2016 at Unity Chapel of Orthodox Bishop’s House Mannuthy. There are four points in the talk. One, one of the good things about the Western culture is that they have a systematic way of doing things. We need to learn that cultural element in every thing we do in our life and particularly in worship. There is nothing in worship that it can be done this way or that way, only the proper organized way. Two, the purpose of history which is to learn from history; three, why Uzza died when he tried to support the Ark of Covenant while it was taken by King David to his city and when the cart carrying the Ark was about to turn aside (2 Sam. 6:6, 7); and four, why Simon who supported the cross of Jesus did not die (Matt. 27:32; Mk. 15:21; Lk. 23:26)? My reply to the last two questions was, Uzza was trying to protect the Ark which is the symbol of the presence of God. God doesn’t need any support or promotion by humans. But He needs humans to support the cross which is the symbol of the message of God’s love and salvation toward His creation. This is what Simon was asked to support. He was asked to participate in God’s plan to save His creation and not God himself. God doesn’t need any advocate, rather He needs people to support his cause. These points are related to the first, the purpose of history. The lesson from these two historical events will tell us that we need to support and spread the Good News of the cross and not support the identity or existence of God Himself which is God’s job to do. Our job is to be the witness to the message of the cross.

We conduct this training programme twice a year. Each acolyte is to attend at least one training programme every year for him to be eligible to be in the Alter continuously. We also have published a hand book with every single detail of the duties of an acolyte in the Alter. This handbook was translated in to English by St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, Toronto. Malayalam book can be had from diocesan office and soft copy of English version can be had from the metropolitan.

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