Questions and Answers


Respected Thirumeni,
It’s been long since I wrote to you. How are you and where are you these days?
The dark shadows of the global recession seem to have waned. No more staff was
laid off in our company and I thank God for it. Thank you for your prayers in
this regard.
I have a couple of questions to ask you. I would be deeply grateful to receive
replies to these questions that have puzzled me for long.
1. Is man alone in the cosmos? What does the faith teach us? What do you
personally think?
2. Also, in the teachings/words of Jesus Christ, does He speak of the different
inventions or the developments that followed His life on earth 2000 years back?
As far as I know, no holy books, be it the Bible, Quran, the Hindu holy books
or any religious books, make any mention of such things. Why is it that these
holy books have dwelt only on the things that were in vogue during the
lifetimes of their founders?
Please remember us in your prayers.
With warm regards, (Name ?)

Dear  (Name ?)

Hope you are keeping fine by the grace of God.

Regarding your questions:

We have to understand religion first. Religion does not tell
us about every thing in advance. Those people who talk to us saying every thing
is foretold by the religion or those who initiated religion or in those sacred
books of the religion, are trying to shut us up in a box.

For Christian religion, Christ is the source of our
information. He worked with a framework of the Jewish religion and what it
taught and developed further. Jewish religion talks about human as God’s
purposeful act in history. That is the starting point and that is the end
point. The whole religion is centered on human and their environment. It is for
human to further the questions regarding any thing that concerns humans
trusting in God’s mercy. Otherwise it will be just against the way human was
created. Human was created according to Genesis account, not as a slave rather
as a co-creator and co-worker. This is evident in several statements in the
Bible both Old Testament and New Testament. Some of the questions human would
ask in the course of history will be answered by God in due course.  This is why God when asked by Moses what His
name was in Exodus 3:14 said “I shall be that I shall be” (the English
translation “I am that I am” [Malayalam: njan akunnavan njan akunnu should be
njan akan pokunnavn] is a wrong translation as there is no present tense in
Hebrew language. Hebrew language has only past [perfect] and [imperfect]. In modern Hebrew they have started using present tense). They
create present through participle forms (this statement of God is not in
participle form). The phrase ahiyer asher ahiye is a hiphil (causative) form of
imperfect (future) form. This means that God will in the course of time reveal
to us what his name or personality shall be and what are His plans with us and
the world. This again is said in the saying of Jesus when he said, “when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth;” (John 16:13). So it is
not that God gives everything in advance and one time, He, bit by bit, will
reveal to us truth about us and our world in history. If He gives everything
just one time we will not be able to hold it. Many of the things Jesus said and
did, His disciples did not understand at that time. So how can they or we
understand more serious things if He had told us about (See John 13:7. Also see Matt. 15:16; 16:9; Mark 4:13; 9:32; Luke 2:50; John 8:27 etc.)? Just as
in the case of old times, He reveals things to us through human beings, nature
and natural forces. So what we see in history should be understood as God’s
revealing to us. This includes new inventions in the world of science and
technology, psychology, sociology, medicine etc.

Regarding
whether there are other life forms in the cosmos, I do not know. If there are,
then God will reveal to me in course of time and when God knows that I am ready
to accept that information. Regarding the teaching of the Church in this
matter, I do not think, the Church has made any proclamation on this.

Hope I
have answered your questions.

With
regards and prayers

Thirumeni.

On Sat, Oct 3, 2009 at 8:42 AM, (?) wrote:

1) Is the Priest (Kasseesa) a Priest (Kohono) or is he only an elder?

2) If he is only an elder (as some bishops teach); what right has he
got to offer the Sacrifice? Or exercise the right of absolution.

3) Is it because of the concept that Kasseesa is only an elder; that
most of the bishops treat the priest with scant respect and care?

4) Why as soon as one is elevated as a bishop, (most of them) their attitude towards priest and people change?

5) Why spirituality/spiritual revival is no more the priority of the Church and its leadership?

6) Institutionalism has become the greatest sin of the Church.

7) What is correct; to bless the Bread and Wine using the cross (as
done by bishops); or the hand? Why the cross is used by the high priest
even in Holy Qurbono; when even the Lord used His hands.

8) Brought up outside Kerala and belonging to the Orthodox
faction; I don’t subscribe to the division in the Church. For me
H.H.the Patriarch is the spiritual head and all these problems have
occurred in the Church because we have not done justice to H.H.the
Patriarch or the northern diocese.

9) If the bishop candidates are elected diocese wise it would have been
much better; giving proper justice and proper representation to the
different parts.

10) After all Theocracy is what the early church practiced, not
democracy (today it is demon-crazy). Democracy is destroying the
Church; where the dynamic corrupt minority rules over the passive
spiritual majority. What is the solution?

Answers:
regarding your questions:

Historically speaking there has been a development in the offices of priest and bishop. This is not he office of deacon we see in the New Testament.

Churches were established initially in homes where several people came to one home for worship. They met in one home and an elder was selected to lead the worship and to break the bread. This is what we call Kasiso. There was no concept of Khohno initially which was added later. This position elder developed in to episcopacy/priest. Episcopo became the supervisor and kasiso became vicar or some one on behalf of episcopos. Being a supervisor he has authority over kasiso or priest. But he is not a servant of episcopos. Primary functions are the same. Now it has come to a stage that without an episcopos a priest can not function. But an episcopo can function without a priest. Episcopos as ordained by other episcopo, but priest by an episcopo. Kasiso is elder but elder with a function to carry out certain duties. It is not an elder in it dictionary meaning of the word. This is no reason for the episcopo to treat a kasiso without respect. He is his vicar and has to take him seriously and with respect at least for the smooth functioning of the system.

Question about spiritual has several dimensions. I do not know what you mean by that. Generally speaking to me spiritual means togetherness and relationship. With the material growth of the communities, in almost all religious communities this element was lost more or less in varying degree.  Usually spiritually will be revived when there is challenge or a crisis. In the Orthodox Church we always took things in a negative way and hence could not revive it when we faced challenge. So here we are.

Hand held cross of the bishop is the scepter (adopted from monarchy background) and it is used to bless people and things. Bread and wine are blessed by the hand held cross. Of course when Jesus did that there was no cross.

Division in the Church is part of the lank of spirituality in the Church. Patriarch need to be respected. But not as an administrator but as the chairperson in worship. This is the system in the Orthodox Church. But following the Latin way of the Catholics, patriarch started claiming administrative authority with a pyramidal structure of administration. This is not acceptable in the Church. So we have different understanding about the role of the patriarch in the Church. This will create division. If he was wise enough, there was a golden opportunity to get united in 1995. He did not use it, on the contrary rejected every move in that direction. So we continue to be in a divided Church.

Yes me too think that bishops need to be primarily elected by the diocese. I shared this in the managing committee. I said they should be elected by the diocese and endorsed by the association. Every five years there should be a renewal of mandate by the diocese and if a bishop fails in two consecutive
referendum he should go to a monastery.

To me it was democracy existed in the Church. It is the best administrative system available today for the running of any organization. But as in the case of Indian politics, we also do not understand the correct meaning and practice of democracy. In democracy every one should be considered equal. But in our communities, it is not like that. Wealthy and powerful are getting more attention and they control the system. That is where you have problem. Theocracy will not work in a better way as gods does not speak to people directly, but only through mediators. Those mediators are human beings and their ideas will be interpreted as god’s ideas and instead of theocracy, autocracy will prevail.

Regards and prayers
Thirumeni

(Feb. 24, 2010)  Barekmor May it please Your Grace
Thank you for answering my earlier set of questions; please enlighten me on the following:

1) In the Thaksa as seen in the English version by H.G.Yeshu Samuel Mar
Athanasius of blessed memory; there is a shlomo after the sedro and
before menalohan kabel… followed by the blessing of the censor. I have
seen some priests just making the rooshma to the people. Why in India
this shlomo is deleted.
2) In the liturgy there is a general Hoosoyo prayer after the Proemion;
then why insist on personal Hoosoyo in every Holy Qurbana for the
faithful who wants to receive the holy communion; I can understand
after a confession; but the practice now I believe is mockery and
simply consuming time; this becomes very difficult where we have to
finish everything in two hours.
3) We subscribe to consubstantiation theory and the Roman Catholic to
transubstantiation theory. Why don’t we just limit ourselves to saying
it’s a mystery; when even the disciples did not question Jesus; when
the creator say so it is so; how? We cannot explain .please enlighten
me.
4) Why don’t we adopt fermented wafer like some orthodox churches;
where it is much easier to administer communion and we get well
prepared Lahemo rather than what we get today
5) The Blessed Virgin Mary is always called as Theotokos; how has the
phrase mother of God come in to use. Is it theologically right to
translate so.

Invoking blessings n prayer Spiritual son

Answers:

Dear ?

Sorry it took few days to reply. Hope you are doing fine.

1        
1 and 2 Promion and sedro are meant to be
meditations of the day. In the middle of it Husoyo prayer is inserted for the
faithful to put the matter in perspective and ask for God’s pardon to enable
them to be part of the Holy Eucharist and receive the Holy Eucharist. So after
the sedro the priest need to bless the people with the words ‘from God remission
of sins and forgiveness of offenses be received in both worlds’ so that the
priest and people will be absolved after the penitential prayer. This is a
general penitential prayer where a confession is not required. People come
together for H. Eucharist to receive it and not to be spectators. To receive it,
you need to receive pardon of the sins prior to that. This is the purpose of
the husoyo and the following abosolution. The present practice of personal
absolution is a perversion of the rite and has no meaning what so ever. So the
priest should turn to the congregation after the sedro and should bless the
people with the absolution proclamation and that is sufficient for any baptized person to receive H. Eucharist.

2        
Yes the change that happens on the elements in
H. Eucharist is a mystery. We do not exhaustively explain it as consubstantiation.
It is for those who want to categorize the matter this term is used. It is a
mystery.

3        
When we use the fermented wafer, there are more
than one practical and theological difficulties. Wafer will be individual pieces
and not one. We need to break the single bread and then share it. The wafer is already
broken. Again the fermented wafer will not last for several days due to
climatic conditions in our part of the world.  Again it should be as close to what Jesus did.
If we can make bigger bread that can be broken and shared, it will be still
better. Of course we do not know how to make good bread. But we need to learn
it. There is no short cut for that.

4        
Theotokos came to the vocabulary, as in the case
of many other faith expressions, in the context of a schism which said,
Jesus
was not God. If Jesus was not God, then his mother would not have been
God
bearer. Our father wanted to say that Jesus was God incarnate and his
mother was not the
mother of human Jesus, but Jesus the divine one, because they wanted to
say that at the very moment of Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary he
was God. So they called Mary God
bearer. The term theotokos can best be translated as God-bearer rather
mother
of God.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

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